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Plan It: Four Days With the Kids in Washington, DC
Comments () | Published April 28, 2008
1 PM: Explore Georgetown
If the kids are up to it, there’s plenty of shopping this neighborhood. Wisconsin Avenue and M Street, Georgetown’s two main arteries, are home to many shops and boutiques. Retail chains such as H&M, Urban Outfitters, and J. Crew have found homes here along with smaller boutiques such as A Mano (for leather goods) and Wink (known for carrying designer jeans). Kids might like Piccolo Piggies (1533 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-333-0123), a children’s clothing and toy store.

If shopping doesn’t appeal to the little ones, the Georgetown Visitor Center (1057 Thomas Jefferson St., NW; 202-653-5190) might. At 11, 1:30, and 3 Wednesday through Sunday, you can hop aboard a mule-pulled canal boat for an hourlong tour of the C&O Canal. A tour guide in period dress gives you the history of the canal and explains what life was like for the people who lived and worked here in the 1800s. Tickets are $5 for ages four and up; under age four is free. Plan to get there 20 minutes before the boat takes off to get tickets. Reservations are required for groups often or more. The tour runs April 30 through October 31.

Can’t get enough of the open water? Rent a canoe on the Georgetown waterfront and to explore Theodore Roosevelt Island in the Potomac. The 88-acre park, a tribute to the nature-loving president, includes a statue of Roosevelt surrounded by a memorial plaza. The rest of the island features a 2½-mile wooded walking trail and boardwalk over a swamp. Boathouses along the Georgetown waterfront, including Thompson Boat Center and Jack’s Boathouse, rent canoes by the hour and day. Thompson charges $8 an hour or $22 for the day; canoes must be returned by 6 PM. Jack’s charges $10 for each of the first and second hours or $35 for a full day; canoes must be back by sunset.

For more ideas of fun, food, and shopping in Georgetown, check out our neighborhood guide.
6 PM: Dinner at Westend Bistro
Treat yourselves to an early dinner at one of Washington’s newest hot spots—Westend Bistro by Eric Ripert (1190 22nd St., NW; 202-974-2900), from the New York chef behind Manhattan’s famed Le Bernardin. It’s in the West End Ritz-Carlton but doesn’t feel formal or stuffy; the fun, swanky vibe matches the bistro fare. At 6 PM, the place will just be filling up. Ask for a booth by the window where the fire station across the street will distract the youngest set as they share one of the city’s best burgers or a very grown-up crock of mac and cheese laced with ham. Parents who have never made it to Le Bernardin can get a taste of it in the pristine fish dishes and a salmon rillettes to spread on toast. Prices for appetizers range from $9 to $16, sandwiches from $14 to $18, and entrées from $18 to $24. Kids might want to order from the sides menu, where prices range from $7 to $10.

7:30 PM: End the Night With Family Fun
Head to the Foggy Bottom neighborhood and try your luck on the bowling lanes. The George Washington University’s Hippodrome, on the fifth floor of the Marvin Center (800 21st St., NW; 202-994-3866), features 12 bowling lanes, six pool tables, air hockey, and foosball. Billiards and air hockey cost $8 an hour per table; foosball is $6 an hour; and bowling is $5 a person per game plus $2 for shoe rental. The Hippodrome is open during the academic year only, from the end of August to mid-May.

In the summer and fall, you could also head down to the sculpture garden at the National Gallery of Art (700 Constitution Ave., NW) for free Friday-night jazz concerts. Take a blanket and find a perch among the dozens of sculptures or near the fountain. Refreshments, including wine and dessert, are available at the Pavilion Cafe. Concerts run from about 5 to 8:30 PM from late May to early October. Check out the Web site for more details and this year’s program.
Another nighttime option is a sports game. In the spring and summer, catch a baseball game at the new Washington Nationals Ballpark (1500 South Capitol St., SE; near the Navy Yard Metro stop on the Green Line). Evening games usually get under way between 7 and 7:30. Tickets start at $10; purchase tickets in advance here.

The DC United, Washington’s Major League soccer team, plays from the spring through the fall at RFK Stadium (2400 E. Capitol St., SE, near the Stadium-Armory Metro stop on the Orange and Blue lines). Evening games usually start between 7:30 and 8. Tickets start at $20; purchase here.

Fall through spring, Washington’s professional basketball and ice hockey teams, the Wizards and Capitals, play at the Verizon Center (601 F St., NW). Evening Capitals games usually start between 7 and 7:30, with tickets starting around $30; Wizards games between 7 and 8, with tickets starting at $40. Get tickets for the Capitals here and for the Wizards here.

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Posted at 12:00 AM/ET, 04/28/2008 RSS | Print | Permalink | Washingtonian.com Articles