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.
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.