Washington, D.C., Essentials

From kite flying to salsa dancing, Washington, D.C., has great entertainment, shopping and activities for everyone.

Entertainment Essentials: Best Places to...

HAVE FUN FOR FREE

  • Smithsonian Museums and Galleries
    Air and Space, American History, Natural History, Asian Art, African Art: They are all free, and many have live music.

  • Take Five!, 8th and F streets NW, Washington, D.C.
    This free concert offers live jazz every third Thursday evening in the indoor courtyard cafe of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

  • National Symphony Orchestra Labor Day Concert, U.S. Capitol Building, West Lawn, Washington, D.C.
    Enjoy this free annual outdoor concert on the Capitol Building’s lawn.

  • Shakespeare Free for All, 16th Street and Colorado Avenue NW, Washington, D.C.
    The Shakespeare Theater Company gives free performances each summer at the Carter Barron Amphitheatre, an outdoor, open-air theater in Rock Creek Park. Get there early and bring a picnic.
MEET NEW PEOPLE

  • Clarendon Grill, 1101 N. Highland St., Arlington, Va.
    Salsa lessons are on Monday nights followed by open dancing. The cover is only $5. The party is for all dance levels, so the pressure’s off.

  • The International Club of D.C.
    The dance club offers a range of activities from fencing lessons and Scotch tastings to cruises on the Potomac, organized to bring together a diverse crowd with multicultural interests.
  • Tryst, 2459 18th St. NW, Washington, D.C.
    Coffee, exotic teas, snacks and desserts sweeten the heart of Adams Morgan. The living room setting is conducive to casual chatting with the person on the next sofa. The name says it all.

Go With Your Significant Other

  • Busboys and Poets, 2021 14th St. NW, Washington, D.C.
    It’s more than a bookstore. It’s also a bar and a meeting place.

  • Comet, 5037 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington, D.C.
    The pizza joint in Chevy Chase has ping-pong tables in the back. It’s old- fashioned rec room fun!

  • Top Golf, 6625 S. Van Dorn St., Alexandria, Va.
    Just outside the Beltway, this is an entertaining outing for golfers and nongolfers alike. Hit computer-tracked golf balls to targets on a driving range from your personal bay where you are served drinks and bar snacks.

  • Sticky Rice, 1224 H St. NE, Washington, D.C.
    Funky, modern decor and funky, modern wait staff, on the funky H Street strip. In addition to classic sushi, the menu offers inventive sushi, ribs and tater tots.

TAKE THE KIDS

  • Ice skating at the Kettler Capitals Iceplex, 627 N. Glebe Road, Arlington, Va.
    The indoor rink is the Washington Capitals’ training arena.
  • Newseum, 555 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, D.C.
    There are lots of fun hands-on activities, interactive exhibits and 3-D movies, all about the news world.
  • Kite flying on the National Mall
    There is a colorful kite festival at the same time as the famous National Cherry Blossom Festival every year, but it’s also a great place to go fly a kite any time the weather permits.
  • Planetarium, 5200 Glover Road NW, Washington, D.C.
    Located in the Rock Creek Park Nature Center, on the weekends there are shows especially for children.
  • Baseball game at the new Nationals Park
    Remarkably, every seat in this beautiful stadium offers a good view, and the Metro takes you right there.

CHECK OUT A FUNKY LOCAL BUSINESS

  • Cakelove Bakery, 1506 U St. NW, Washington, D.C.
    Ahh, the cupcakes. Make sure you let the butter cream temper before you bite into it. Thankfully they recently opened the Love Cafe across the street so you can have your cake and sit, too.
  • Shake Your Booty, 2206 18th St. NW, Washington, D.C.
    The clothes are young and funky, but reasonably priced.
  • Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington, D.C.
    Local bookstores are a dying breed, and this is one of the few intimate places for book readings by well-known authors from around the country.
  • Melody Record Shop, 1623 Connecticut Ave., Washington, D.C.
    A fixture of Dupont Circle since 1977, the record store has a great selection. You can always find something in the value bins at the front.

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