Best of Bethesda 2013: Five Fun Outings

Five ideas for how to spend a day or evening in Bethesda.
The children’s theater Imagination Stage hosts plays and offers workshops and classes. Photograph by Blake Echols.
The children’s theater Imagination Stage hosts plays and offers workshops and classes. Photograph by Blake Echols.

Toddler Play Date

Start out at Imagination Stage (4908 Auburn
Ave.; 301-961-6060). In addition to plays, the children’s theater hosts
weekly story times, workshops, and classes designed to foster creativity.
Two blocks away, you’ll find cozy Mia’s Pizzas (1926
Cordell Ave.; 301-718-6427) for a kid-friendly lunch (except Monday). The
little ones can try a simple Mia’s or Margherita pizza; adults will find
options such as the Salsiccia (topped with sausage, pepperoni, and
portobello mushrooms) and arugula salad with pears and Gorgonzola. Wrap up
the day at Daisy Baby & Kids (4912 Del Ray Ave.;
301-654-7477), where the kids can pick up a new book or toy.

Date Night

For a romantic night, try Bistro Provence
(4933 Fairmont Ave.; 301-656-7373), which has the feel of a crowded
Parisian dining room. For something more casual and exotic,
Passage to India (4931 Cordell Ave.; 301-656-3373) serves
a lot of hard-to-find dishes organized around India’s geographic
quadrants. From there, catch a movie at Landmark Bethesda Row
(7235 Woodmont Ave.; 301-652-7273), which specializes in
independent films, or a play at the 400-seat Round House
Theatre
(4545 East-West Hwy.; 240-644-1100), known for literary
adaptations and contemporary work.

Work Out and Refuel

Lululemon Athletica (4856 Bethesda Ave.;
301-652-0574) hosts a running club that knocks out three- and five-mile
jogs every Wednesday evening at 6:30. Or join the staff at
Freshbikes (7626 Old Georgetown Rd.; 703-248-9600) for a
beginner-friendly social ride Thursdays at 6:15. Afterward, stay healthy
with a local, organic salad at Sweetgreen (4831 Bethesda
Ave.; 301-654-7336). Or—if you feel your hard work has earned you a juicy
hamburger and a shake—try BGR the Burger Joint (4827
Fairmont Ave.; 301-358-6137).

Tween Bonding Time

Once or twice a month, L’Academie de Cuisine
(5021 Wilson La.; 301-986-9490) offers Saturday morning and afternoon
classes for parents and children on such topics as chocolate, Chinese
food, and healthy eating. Then you can wander through the Kenwood
neighborhood, off River Road, to admire the 1,200 Yoshino cherry
trees that typically peak in late March or early April—they’re just as
beautiful as the ones on the Mall but draw much smaller crowds. If the
weather’s nice, you could even walk there from downtown Bethesda on the
Capital Crescent Trail, which lets out on Kenwood’s
Dorset Avenue.

Girls’ Day Out

The Bethesda area has top-notch consignment shops, unusual
clothing and shoe boutiques, and a variety of stores for home goods and
gifts. So pick a few spots from our shopping guide on page 120, then head
to Blue Zen Nails & Spa (4926 Elm St.; 301-907-6868)
for a mani-pedi. Afterward, hit sleek Black’s Bar &
Kitchen
(7750 Woodmont Ave.; 301-652-5525) for anything from a
light shrimp-and-avocado salad to the hearty fried chicken. Either way,
grab a seat in the bar—the service is more reliable there than in the
dining room.

Best of Bethesda ››

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