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Bundle up and hit these slopes when the snow starts to accumulate. By John Scarpinato
Where to head with your sled when the snow starts to pile up. Image via Shutterstock.

It’s time to pull the snow gear out of storage! Washington has seen its first snow of the season, and what better way to celebrate than to put together a sledding bucket list? Here, we scout out some of the more popular toboggan spots.

Capitol Hill
With a not-too-steep hill and beautiful views, this spot is great for all members of the family. Plus what’s more American than sledding on the lawn of the Capitol Building?

Book Hill Park
Located right behind the Georgetown Library, this spot offers some good sledding hills. Just make sure you have enough control to stop yourself at the bottom, as the hills lead into the street.

Rock Creek Park
Specifically between 23rd and P streets, Northwest, this spot is secluded and has a steep hill for those looking for more of a thrill.

Fort Reno Park
As the highest natural point in DC, this area has multiple hills for winter fun.

Battery Kemble Park
This is one of the most popular sledding areas in the District. Its hill offers an enjoyable experience for all sledders—the more daring can begin at the top, while others can start in the flatter middle section. Come early, as sledders flock to this spot at the earliest snowfall.

George Washington Masonic Memorial
Located in Alexandria, it offers thrilling multi-layered hills and great views of busy Kings Street.

Jefferson Manor Park
Sledders heading to this location should ride from the park’s shelter toward Telegraph Road for the best experience.

Lake Fairfax Park
Known for its western themed water park, this location isn’t only enjoyable in the summer months. The hills here are great for sledding, specifically behind the picnic area’s restrooms.

Mason District Park
Located in Annandale, this is another popular spot for sledders. The hill at the end of Meadow Trail is the place to be. Rangers will enforce the park’s closing after dark, so it’s best to visit earlier in the day.

Pine Crest Elementary School
A popular spot for those in the Woodmore area, this offers a nice sledding area in the field next to the tennis courts. Make sure to watch out for snowballs—snowball fights often break out at the bottom.

Hearst Recreation Center
Here the sledding hill is short but steep and conveniently flows into the soccer field.

Takoma Park Middle School
At the Lee Jordan athletic field is a large hill that is perfect for sledding—part of which is double-tiered. The cement stairs also make the trek back up the hill a bit easier.

Posted at 11:20 AM/ET, 11/26/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Haunted houses, costume contests, scavenger hunts, and more. By Sara Gilgore
Halloween isn't only about candy. (Though it's mostly about candy.) Image via Shutterstock.

The balmy temperatures outside aren’t much indication, but Halloween will be upon us before you know it. Washington offers plenty of ways to celebrate, including ghost tours, costume parties, and themed scavenger hunts. Grab your favorite candy corn-flavored treat and read on for some of the spooky options.

PARTIES, COSTUME CONTESTS, AND CELEBRATIONS

The Nightmare on M Street bar crawl is back October 25 for its 15th year in the District. The area favorite is brewing up some new twists: A handful of Gallery Place bars have joined the roster of seasoned Dupont spots, amounting to more than 35 stops along the tour. Enjoy food and drink specials with no cover from 5 PM to 1 AM. The traveling party culminates in a midnight costume contest, so don’t be scared to dress in your eeriest ensemble. You’ll have to check in at one of four registration locations—the Front Page, the Exchange, McFadden’s, or the Green Turtle—before 10 PM, and purchase your ticket in advance. Prices start at $15 but could go up to $40 depending on availability, so get them early.

If you’d rather dance than crawl, shimmy over to the Hamilton on the 25th for its 2nd annual Halloween Howl. The live concert features a selection of spooky tunes, from a lineup of artists including Steve and Annie Sidley, Cal Everett, Cairo Fred, Brandon Ehrgood, the Crimestoppers, John Trupp, and Sara Curtin. Come in costume before the show starts at 8:30 PM; doors open at 7. Tickets are $20 to stand, $25 to sit.

It’s almost time for Boo at the Zoo! The National Zoo’s annual trick-or-treating extravaganza has been a DC cornerstone for years, and 2014 is no exception. October 24, 25, and 26 from 5:30 to 8:30 PM, the whole family can enjoy treats and souvenirs, demonstrations and chats, and ornamented trails for a fun and friendly pre-Halloween with the animals. Tickets for members ($20) and nonmembers ($30) are available online, as are parking passes, discount info, and additional details.

The zoo’s celebration continues with Night of the Living Zoo on October 30 from 6:30 to 10 PM. Performance artists, glow-in-the-dark lawn games, and a costume contest are just some of the staples you’ll witness at the yearly event. More information can be found on the zoo’s website.

The Mansion on O Street’s Halloween Costume Party on October 31 kicks off with a treasure hunt, a chocolate fountain, a deejay, and a mansion tour. Bring a pumpkin to decorate, and you could win a $100 gift certificate. There’s also a costume contest, which hands out awards in categories such as craziest shoes, grossest costume, and best pet costume (yes, pets are welcome if they are clothed for the occasion). Doors open at 8, and the party goes until midnight. Reserve tickets online ($40 through October 27, $50 through October 30, and $60 on Halloween).

On the big night, head to Bethesda’s Doubletree for the Monster Bash. Between 9 PM and 1 AM, dance in the grand ballroom or take advantage of tables and lounge seating with fellow boogeymen and -women. Enjoy treats from the sweets stations and cash bars, or watch horror films in the two movie theaters (with popcorn!) while awaiting the results of the costume contest. The event is 21 and up, so make sure you bring your ID. You can find more details on the grand prize and the event online, where you can also order your tickets ($10).

Want to start celebrating right after work on the 31st? Memories and Nightmares Halloween Night at Policy starts at 6 PM with happy hour. The bartenders will conjure up complementary cocktails, until the cauldron is empty. Come in costume (encouraged but not required), and stay for the deejay as dusk turns to dark. If you can’t make it until later, don’t worry: The spirits will be out until 3 AM.

The Halloween Fiesta at La Tasca is perfect for witches and vampires who are at least 21 and want to get down in Old Town. There’s no cover charge at this Alexandria party, but you will find bar specials, scary movies, and a surprise for the best circus-themed costume. October 31 from 10 PM to 2 AM.

Does the full moon awaken your competitive streak? Check out Lucky Strike’s Bowlloween Costume Bash. It’s happening across the country October 31, and the Gallery Place location invites you to join the ghouls and goblins for costumed bowling, magical potions, and supernatural songs from 9 PM to 2 AM. Tickets ($15, $40 VIP) are available online.

To get an authentic Día de los Muertos experience, don’t miss Fuego Cocina y Tequileria’s Day of the Dead Celebration. For the second consecutive year, Arlington’s “fire kitchen and tequila bar” opens its doors for this Mexican fiesta, which begins Halloween eve and continues through the weekend until November 2. Symbolic decorations, themed cocktails, and traditional sweets such as “bread of the dead” and Mexican hot chocolate are just a few ingredients you can look forward to.

HAUNTED HOUSES, TRAILS, AND TOURS

Everyone’s looking for ghosts this time of year, and Nightmare Manor is the place to see them. Also known as Seth’s Folly, the 200-year-old estate has been haunted by victims of the 1824 fire that engulfed it but left it standing. Formerly situated on a quarry, and now abandoned, the manor is open for you to tour. Get $25 tickets for a range of dates and times: from now until November 1, Thursday and Sunday 7 to 10 PM, and Friday and Saturday 7 to 11 PM. Be sure to check the website in the event of inclement weather.

A Maryland classic, Markoff’s Haunted Forest has been operating since 1993 and continues to bring the scares. Hunt for zombies, zip-line through the woods, and choose a haunted trail to explore. This year, Calleva is donating proceeds to a new list of local charities and organizations: Girls on the Run, Maryland Off-Road Enthusiasts, Poolesville Green, Poolesville Wrestling, Stronghold at Sugarloaf Mountain, Team River runner, and WUMCO Help. See the website for full ticket information and dates of operation, and check out our video for a preview of the scares.

The Haunted Trail at the Workhouse Arts Center invites you to take a family tour before dark ($5), or a more unsettling journey, recommended for teens 13 and older ($10). As part of the Workhouse’s 31 Nights of Frights, all funds will support its programming. You can preorder tickets for October 24, 25, 29, 30, and 31, as well as November 1. Some dates don’t offer family tours, so check specifics before purchasing.

Discover a new side of Old Town with Alexandria’s Ghost and Graveyard Tour, which leads you through the historic district with chilling mysteries and folklore. An Alexandria Colonial Tours guide is well-equipped for the exploration through time, armed with a lantern and dressed in 18th century garb. Don’t bring your pets, but kids nine years old and up are welcome. Groups will be sauntering through the streets all month; visit the website to see the calendar and purchase tickets.

It’s scavenger hunt season, and Watson Adventures is extra-prepared. The Haunted Scavenger Hunts over the next several weeks will combine family, Halloween, history, art, politics, and more. For those of you who like a slower pace and in-depth questions about prominent historical figures (and their ghosts!), get tickets ($22.50) for the Haunted Washington Scavenger Hunt October 25 at 6 PM. If that’s not your cup of witch’s brew, bring your kids to the Fright at the White House Family Scavenger Hunt, October 18 at 4 PM or October 25 at 3:30 PM. Tickets for kids (ages 7 to 17) are $15.50, and for adults are $19.50. There’s also the Murder at the National Gallery Scavenger Hunt, the Wizard School Scavenger Hunt, and others. For a full list of hunts, dates, and times, visit the Watson Adventures website.

Gravensteen Haunted Productions is back in NoMa with The Curse of Frau Mueller, at a site of tragedy cursed since 1932, as the story goes. The 50,000-square-foot warehouse features multiple rooms of terrifying scenes. Tickets are $30 for dates from now to November 1.

Posted at 04:30 PM/ET, 10/17/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Plays, musicals, and more to see this month. By Tanya Pai
Synetic Theater's The Island of Dr. Moreau begins October 1. Photograph by Mark Finkenstaedt.

OPENING THIS MONTH

H.G. Wells’s 1896 horror novel The Island of Dr. Moreau gets the Synetic Theater treatment, with an original score and direction by Paata Tsikurishvili, who also stars. October 1 through November 2.

Every weekend in October, Washington Improv Theater offers a new, Halloween-appropriate improv show (sample title: Witch, Please!). The puns will likely be the scariest part. October 3 through November 1 at DC Arts Center

October 7 through November 9, Signature Theatre stages Elmer Gantry, the story of a broke salesman who joins up with an evangelical group and uses his snake-oil charm to gain power and influence—until it all threatens to blow up in his face. The musical is based on a 1927 novel by Sinclair Lewis.

In Fetch Clay, Make Man, Round House Bethesda explores the unlikely bond between boxer Muhammad Ali and Stepin Fetchit—an African-American entertainer known for stereotypical Hollywood roles—in the days leading up to Ali’s most famous match. The play is a coproduction with California’s Marin Theatre Company. October 10 through November 2.

The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is having a resurgence in Washington: After Landless Theatre put on a prog-metal version of Stephen Sondheim’s twisted musical Sweeney Todd this summer, the Virginia Opera opens its 40th-anniversary season with this more traditional take. October 12 at George Mason University’s Center for the Arts.

Sex With Strangers at Signature Theatre, directed by Aaron Posner, stars Holly Twyford and Luigi Sottile as two people whose instant attraction and subsequent one-night stand are complicated by their respective online lives. October 14 through December 7. 

At Studio Theatre beginning October 15 is The Wolfe Twins, Rachel Bonds’s dark drama about a man named Lewis, his estranged sister, an Italian vacation, and secrets coming to light courtesy of Lewis’s friendship with a beautiful stranger. Through November 2. 

October 21 through November 9 at Arena Stage is Our War, a new series of monologues by 25 playwrights including Pulitzer Prize winners David Lindsay-Abaire and Lynn Nottage. At certain performances, notable Washingtonians—among them Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and MSNBC’s Chris Matthews—will read a monologue of their choosing. The production is part of the National Civil War Project.

Visible Language, a co-production with Gallaudet University and WSC Avant Bard, has its world premiere at WSC October 21. For more on this play, read our earlier story

The world-premiere musical Little Dancer is inspired by the ballerina on whom Degas modeled his sculpture “Little Dancer Aged Fourteen” (which you can see at the National Gallery of Art). Tony winner Susan Stroman directs. October 25 through November 30 at the Kennedy Center

Shakespeare Theatre Company opens its season with the Bard’s cross-dressing comedy As You Like It, helmed by British director Michael Attenborough. October 28 through December 7.

Folger Theatre presents Julius Caesar, Shakespeare’s drama of political machinations, which feels especially relevant on the eve of midterm elections. October 28 through December 7.

Beginning October 30 at Forum Theatre is the regional premiere of How We Got On, Idris Goodwin’s play about three suburban kids coming of age and discovering themselves through the rap music of the 1980s. Through November 22.

Fiddler on the Roof, the musical about love, tradition, and acceptance, turns 50 this year, and while its plot may be a bit outdated, the songs (“If I Were a Rich Man,” “Sunrise, Sunset”) are as catchy as ever. Arena Stage’s production stars Tony nominee—and Walter Johnson High School grad—Jonathan Hadary as Tevye. October 31 through January 4. 

 

ONGOING/LAST CHANCE

Awake and Sing! is at Olney Theatre through October 19. Read our review

Belleville closes at Studio Theatre October 12. 

Driving Miss Daisy is at Ford’s Theatre until October 26. 

Marie Antoinette closes at Woolly Mammoth October 12. 

Take Me Out is at 1st Stage until October 12. Read our review

Taffety Punk’s The Devil in His Own Words closes October 4. 

The Seven Year Itch is at American Century Theater’s Gunston Theater until October 11. Read our review

The Shoplifters is at Arena Stage until October 19. 

Three Sistahs is at MetroStage through November 2. Read our review

Yentl closes at Theater J October 5. Read our review

For more arts and entertainment coverage, follow After Hours on Twitter at @afterhoursblog

Posted at 12:45 PM/ET, 10/01/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Themed runs, dance nights, and more booze-free ways to enjoy the city. By Francesca Saunders
The Color Run and other themed races are a great way to enjoy DC booze-free. Photograph by Melissa Romero.

The nation’s capital attracts thousands of young people every year, both during the summer for internships and when colleges are in session. But in a city where the nightlife centers on young professionals boozing at a plethora of happy hours, trivia nights, networking events, and galas, the 18-to-20 set seemingly gets overlooked. If you fall into that awkward half-legal age group—or know someone who does—there are plenty of ways to enjoy the city sans alcohol. Read on for some suggestions, then tell us yours in the comments. 

Go Retro

When you’re not old enough to drink, why not embrace youth by returning to what made you euphoric as a kid? From Go-Karting to laster tag to bowling and bocce, DC is rife with opportunities to reconnect with your inner child. 
A few to try:
Go-Karts
Go-Kart Track
Autobahn Indoor Speedway
Go-Kart Raceway

Laser Tag
Ultrazone Laser Tag
Shadowland

Bowling
Pinstripes
Bowlmor

Get a New Perspective

Yes, you’ve seen the monuments and the Potomac—but those scenic views are even more beautiful with the sun rising in the background. Use those all-nighter skills you learned during exam week and end your night (or start your morning) by catching the first rays of the day from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. 

Try a Fun Run

For the competitor out there, every run is a fun run. For non-runners, this couldn’t be further from the truth. In an attempt to make running appealing to a larger audience, a slew of themed races have cropped up in Washington. From mud runs to zombie chases, these events allow you to party and get fit at the same time.
A few to try:
Down and Dirty Obstacle Race
Dirty Girl Mud Run
Zombie Run
Color Run
Glow Run
Electric Run
Jingle All the Way 8K


Meet Your Food

Washington has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to farmers markets. Visiting one with your friends is a great way to explore the city, learn about the local offerings of the area, and meet new people. See our farmers market directory to find one near you. 

Shop (or Window Shop)

Shopping is fun at any age, and Washington has a place to accommodate every taste. Thanks to the Silver Line, Tysons is now easily accessible, and Georgetown’s M street offers the same types of stores with a bit more fresh air. For those with more eclectic tastes, there’s U Street for funky boutiques and Eastern Market for food and art. Strapped for cash? Malls are a great place to people-watch.
A few to try:
Tysons Corner
M Street
U Street
Eastern Market 


Try Family-Style

Going out for a meal can be expensive and a hassle when it comes to figuring out the check with a big group. Not so at DC’s myriad Ethiopian restaurants, which serve up family-style meals that are good for larger parties. Dim sum is a fun way to try a variety of dishes for relatively cheap; Thai Xing, in Shaw, is another stellar and reasonably priced option for groups. And you can’t go wrong with a visit to Ben’s Chili Bowl, known as much for its food as for its status as a city icon. 
A few to try:
Ethiopian: Addis Ababa, Meaza, Dukem, Etete, Ethiopic
Thai Xing
Dim sum: Ping Pong, China Garden, Oriental East 

Ben’s Chili Bowl

See Live Music

Alcohol is never necessary to enjoy good music. Plenty of DC venues are all-ages, whether you’re into indie rock or EDM. In the summertime, the wildly popular Jazz in the Garden is a major hub for summer interns after a long work week.
A few to try:
9:30 Club
Echostage
The Hamilton
U Street Music Hall
Black Cat
Rock & Roll Hotel 


Bust a Move

Under-21 dance clubs in DC are a bit tricky to find, but not impossible. You can find 18-and-up admission at Ibiza on Saturday, at Ultrabar Thursday through Saturday, and on Friday at Town Danceboutique, which also offers a fantastic drag show.
A few to try:
Tuesday at Josephine
Saturday at Ibiza
Thursday through Saturday at Ultrabar
Friday at Town Danceboutique 


Cheer On the Home Team

It’s often hard to be a sports fan in this city, but one huge upside is that you can get tickets to pro games for cheap. The Nationals, the Wizards, the Mystics, and DC United offer reasonably priced admission—and no venue cards for a hot dog.
A few to try:
Summer: Nationals and Mystics
Winter: Wizards
Spring: DC United 


Get Outside

DC was recently named America’s fittest city, and we sure didn’t get there just by running on the treadmill. The Washington area is full of fun outdoor fitness opportunities whether you’re with friends or flying solo. Try bikes and hikes, standup paddleboarding, or kayaking—then head to brunch to pound bacon guilt-free as the over-21 set nurse their hangovers.
Standup paddleboarding
Kayaking
45 great bikes and hikes


Enrich Your Mind

Whether you’re looking for a new novel to read or want to hear some spoken-work poetry, local bookstores are a great bet. Spots such as Politics & Prose and Kramerbooks offer free author talks, live music, and other events to amuse and inform.
A few to try:
Kramerbooks & Afterwords
Politics & Prose
Busboys and Poets
Soho Tea & Coffee 


Harness Your Inner Michelle Kwan

Many of us haven’t been on the ice since elementary school, so revisiting the rink with a new center of gravity can be a fun challenge. A trip to the ice rink is equally good for an adorably cheesy date and a night with friends—not to mention it’s extremely Instagrammable and makes hot chocolate even more enjoyable.
A few to try:
Year-round: 
Fairfax Ice Arena, Silver Spring Ice Skating
Outdoor: Georgetown WaterfrontPentagon Row, National Gallery of Art

If you don’t want to be on skates yourself, check out a DC Rollergirls match—they’re inexpensive and always entertaining.

Puff It Up

Not all vices are off-limits until you’re 21. Hookah lounges, most of which are 18 and up, are a fun place to hang out with your friends while getting a little dose of “adult” fun. Many lounges have a bar-like feeling or offer great food, too.
A few to try:
Zenobia Lounge
Soussi Lounge
Prince Cafe
Farouz Cafe 

Posted at 02:01 PM/ET, 08/12/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Parades, concerts, and other patriotic fun. By Tanya Pai
Parties, parades, and more way to celebrate the Fourth of July in Washington. Image via Shutterstock.

Dancing With the Stars’ Tom Bergeron hosts this year’s Capitol Fourth concert on the west lawn of the Capitol Building. The lineup includes performances by Frankie Valli, Patti LaBelle, Jordin Sparks, and the Muppets, among others, as well as music from the National Symphony Orchestra conducted by John Williams, the Choral Arts Society of Washington, and the US Army Band. Gates open at 3 PM, and the show is, as always, followed by fireworks. 

Mount Vernon holds its own celebration at George Washington’s former home, featuring a reading of the Declaration of Independence, daytime fireworks over the Potomac, a performance by the National Concert Band of America, and more. 8 to 5. 

The annual National Independence Day Parade starts in downtown DC at 11:45 AM. Bring the whole family to see fife and drum corps performances, floats, giant balloons, and more. 

The Hamilton hosts a post-fireworks show with the 19th Street Band, who’ve opened for acts such as Toby Keith and Rascal Flatts. Doors open at 8:30 so you can grab a seat and a drink before the show. 

The first annual Freedom Fest “celebrates the unification of our local brewing community.” Head to Takoma Park for beer from 16 local breweries, plus barbecue and live music. Tickets are $35, all-inclusive; the event runs 11 to 7. 

DC’s City Tap House has organized a BeerBQ Brewery Battle, in which the restaurant’s team competes with representatives from 3 Stars Brewing and Evolution Craft Brewing to see who can create the best barbecue. For $10 you get barbecue and sides, and suds from the breweries will be available for $5 each. When you’ve had your fill, you can compete in the cornhole tournament for the chance to win a City Tap House gift certificate. 

Read More

Posted at 10:10 AM/ET, 07/03/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
The Mall isn’t the only option. By Francesca Saunders
Catch the fireworks for free at one of these spots around town. Image via Shutterstock.

There’s no place quite like the District to celebrate the Fourth of July. Patriotism, along with the temperature, runs high in the nation’s capital as residents, interns, and tourists alike don their red, white, and blue and settle in for some star-spangled celebration. While the packed city lends the day an unbeatable holiday buzz, the crowds can drive up prices and cause everything to book up fast. For those of you just looking for great seats to the best free show in town, check out these awesome venues to catch fireworks sans cost. 

 

Kennedy Center North and South Plazas

2700 F St., NW

Metro: Foggy Bottom

Tip: While the hidden gem that is the Kennedy Center Roof Terrace will be closed for a private event on the Fourth, the North and South Plazas will remain open to the public, boasting firework views and a fantastic location. Stroll along the Potomac to the Georgetown waterfront to catch dinner before the fireworks begin. 

Gravelly Point Park

Metro: Reagan Airport, Crystal City

Tip: Reflections of the fireworks on the waters of the Potomac make watching from Virginia a superb option. The crowd is always substantial at Gravelly Point, so avoid the rush to get on the Metro after the fireworks end by taking a longer walk along the trail and boarding at Pentagon. Be warned, though, that with DCA right next door, the low-flying planes can make this spot a bit noisy.

East Potomac Park/Hains Point Picnic Area

Metro: L’Entfant Plaza

Tip: The views aren’t quite as good as they can be elsewhere along the river, but there’s often more room for large groups, and grilling is legal in this park, so if you’re looking for a place to host a barbecue, it’s a good option. (Note that reservations for picnic areas are required.) Parking is available, but be sure to get there early to secure a spot.

Lady Bird Johnson Park

Metro: Arlington Cemetery

Tip: It’s a little tougher to get to, but decidedly less crowded than the National Mall and with possibly even better views. Find more information online. If you’re a hiker or biker, the park is accessible by the Mount Vernon Trail, so hop on the trail anywhere along its 18-mile route and head toward the park.

Air Force Memorial

Columbia Pike and S. Joyce St., Arlington

Metro: Pentagon/Pentagon City

Tip: Arrive by 8 PM for the Air Force Band’s pre-fireworks concert. Click here for more information. 

US Marine Corps War Memorial (Iwo Jima)

N. Meade St. and N. Marshall Dr., Arlington

Metro: Rosslyn

Tip: Probably the best choice for shutterbugs looking for the most spectacular options to frame their fireworks photographs. Do your best to stake out a clear view of the Lincoln Memorial, and try to avoid getting stuck behind any trees. Find more info online.  

Cardozo High School

1300 Clifton St., NW

Metro: U Street/Cardozo

Tip: Prepare for extra crowds as people return to this popular spot post-renovation closing last summer. Try and claim a space on the top of the grassy hill on the east side of the campus. You can also see the fireworks from the western side, but the 11th Street side offers a neighborhood party atmosphere, with plenty of families setting off their own firecrackers and sparklers all around. Not recommended for those who are skittish about the potential for firecracker-related mishaps. 

Washington National Cathedral

3101 Wisconsin Ave., NW

Metro: Tenleytown-AU/Cleveland Park

Tip: The bathrooms in the cathedral parking garage are usually kept open until about 8 PM. Music lovers can start their day early with the annual Independence Day Organ Recital at 11 AM. 

National Mall

Metro: Archives-Navy Memorial-Penn Quarter/Smithsonian

Tip: It’s the classic choice for a reason: It attracts the biggest crowds by far, which can help make your celebration that much more festive. But don’t forget about how hairy things get at the Smithsonian Metro station on July Fourth. While the station will remain open during the day, the Mall-side entrance will become “entry-only” when the fireworks end. Our advice? Avoid the overrun station by walking to downtown.

A version of this article, by Sommer Mathis, appeared online in 2011. 

Posted at 12:57 PM/ET, 06/27/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
See Side Show, The Totalitarians, Healing Wars, and much more this month. By Tanya Pai
Side Show, the musical about conjoined twins and vaudeville entertainers in the 1920 and ’30s, comes to the Kennedy Center June 14. Photograph by Cade Martin.

OPENING THIS MONTH

The classic musical West Side Story returns to the National Theatre after a pre-Broadway run in 2008. June 3 through 8.

At Warner Theatre June 3 through 8 is We Will Rock You, the Queen jukebox musical about a dystopian future.

The Tony Award-winning puppet musical Avenue Q comes to Olney Theatre Center, offering hits such as “What Do You Do With a BA in English?” and “Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist.” June 11 through July 6.

Beauty and the Beast, the musical version of the Disney film with a Grammy- and Academy Award-winning score, comes to Wolf Trap June 6 through 8.

No Rules Theatre Company presents Boeing Boeing, about a man juggling several women whose complicated love life is thrown into a tailspin in part thanks to flight delays. June 4 through 29 at Signature Theatre’s Ark Theatre.

Ugly Betty’s Michael Urie stars in Buyer & Cellar, about a struggling LA actor who takes a job in the basement “mall” of a Hollywood star. June 20 through 29 at Shakespeare Theatre.

Ordinary Days, at Round House Bethesda through June 22, is Adam Gwon’s off-Broadway hit about four New Yorkers trying to nativate their romantic lives.

Cloak and Dagger , from Helen Hayes Award winner Ed Dixon, is a musical-comedy whodunit that sends up classic 1950s film noir. June 12 through July 6 at Signature Theatre.

The smash musical adaptation of Disney’s The Lion King, with direction and costumes by Julie Taymor, returns to the Kennedy Center for the first time since 2008, June 17 through August 17.

Arcturus Theatre Company presents Distracted, about two parents trying to deal with their nine-year-old son’s recent diagnosis of ADD. At Atlas Arts Center June 12 through 22.

At the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop is Enter Ophelia, Distracted, Taffety Punk’s depiction of Hamlet’s Ophelia as she descends into madness. June 20 through 28.

London’s Gate Theatre brings Grounded—about a female fighter pilot who, because of an unexpected pregnancy, is relegated to flying drones—to Studio Theatre June 10 through 29.

Nancy Robinette stars as a woman trapped up to her waist in earth in Samuel Beckett’s dark comedy Happy Days. June 7 through July 5 at Atlas Arts Center.

At Arena Stage is the world premiere of Healing Wars, a theatrical dance piece narrated by Bill Pullman that explores the experiences of doctors who treat patients during wartime. June 6 through 29.

American Century Theater presents Judgment at Nuremberg, playwright Abby Mann’s work based on the true story of post-World War II war trials. Through June 28.

Cock, Mike Bartlett’s story of a gay man fixated on his encounter with a woman while on a break with his boyfriend, is at Studio Theatre through June 22.

The first play of Pulitzer Prize winner Tracy Letts (August Osage County), Killer Joe is a black comedy about a Southern family who hires a hit man to kill the matriarch in order to collect on insurance money. June 5 through 29 at DC Arts Center.

Academy Award winner Bill Condon directs a reimagined Side Show, the 1997 Broadway musical about conjoined twins and vaudeville entertainers Violet and Daisy Hilton. June 14 through July 13 at the Kennedy Center.

At Round House Silver Spring is The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, about the trial of the biblical traitor taking place in purgatory. Through June 14.

Imagination Stage presents the beloved Roald Dahl classic The BFG, about a friendly giant who brings good dreams to children and the little orphan girl who befriends him. June 26 through August 10.

The Prostate Dialogues , a one-man show by Jon Spelman that explores the effects of cancer on an individual’s life and relationships, runs through June 29 at Theater J.

Private Lives, Noël Coward’s 1930 comedy about a divorced couple who discover they’re honeymooning in adjacent suites, is at Shakespeare Theatre through July 29.

The Totalitarians, Peter Sinn Nachtreib’s farce about a speechwriter’s attempts to get a wealthy housewife into political office, is at Woolly Mammoth through June 29.

Theater Alliance’s The Wonderful World of Dissocia, which premiered at the 2004 Edinburgh International Festival, tells the story of a woman with dissociative identity disorder who’s lost the memory of one hour of her life. June 4 through 28 at Anacostia Playhouse.


ONGOING/LAST CHANCE

A Midsummer Night’s Riot closes June 6 at Keegan Theatre.

Henry IV parts 1 and 2 close at Shakespeare Theatre Company June 7. Read our review.

Things You Shouldn’t Say Past Midnight closes June 7 at Keegan Theatre.

The Piano Lesson closes June 8 at Olney Theatre.

Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog) closes June 8 at Synetic Theater. Read our review

Freud’s Last Session is at Theater J until June 29. Read our review.

Posted at 11:00 AM/ET, 06/02/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Catch kid-friendly hits, classics, and more around town. By Tanya Pai
Screen on the Green is just one of the many options for free outdoor movies. Photograph by Flickr user Andi Narvaez.

After several gray days, the weather is expected to clear up this weekend—just in time to take advantage of one of the highlights of summer in Washington: free outdoor film screenings. A few film series have already started, with several more kicking off in the next couple of weeks. Get the scoop on many of the major ones in DC, Maryland, and Virginia below, and find even more options at DC Outdoor Films. Films begin at sundown unless otherwise noted.



DC

Screen on the Green

July 21 and 28, and August 4 and 11

National Mall between Seventh and 12th sts., NW

The popular film festival this year shows The Karate Kid, Lover Come Back, Key Largo, and A Soldier’s Story.

Follow @SOTGinDC for updates.

NoMa Summer Screen

Wednesdays through August 20 at 7 PM

Loree Grand Field, Second and L sts., NE

The theme this year is “unlikely friendships,” which means you can see favorites such as The Sandlot and Top Gun, as well as newer movies including The Perks of Being a Wallflower, The Dark Knight, and Pitch Perfect.

Follow @NoMaBID for updates.


Family Film Night at Sursum Corda

June 24, July 8 and 22, and August 5

Sursum Corda at L and First sts., NW

The lineup of family-friendly movies features Wall-E, Frozen, The Lego Movie, and Despicable Me 2; kids’ activities and free snacks are available.


Canal Park Thursday Movies

Thursdays, June 5 through September 4

Canal Park at M and Second sts., SE

Head here to catch sports-themed flicks, from Bend It Like Beckham to Space Jam to the beer-pong comedy Balls of Fury.

Follow @CanalParkDC for updates.


Films at the Stone

July 17 and 24, and August 28 at 8:15 PM

Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, 1964 Independence Ave., SW

See Documented, about the struggles of undocumented immigrants in America; the Jackie Robinson biopic 42; and Mandela, which examines the life and influence of Nelson Mandela.


Golden Cinema Series

Fridays through July 11; seating begins at 7:30 PM

Farragut Square

The DC-themed lineup features Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Legally Blonde 2, and The American President; see the full list online.



MARYLAND


Bethesda Outdoor Movies

July 22 through 26

Woodmont Triangle at Norfolk and Auburn aves., Bethesda

The five-day run of films features Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Moonrise Kingdom, Citizen Kane, Pitch Perfect, and Top Gun.


Movies on the Square

Thursdays, June 12 through August 21

Rockville Town Square; 200 East Middle La., Rockville

The mix offers family-friendly movies (including a Frozen sing-along on July 3) and more adult fare such as Gravity.


Movies on the Potomac

Sundays through September 28 at 6 PM

The Plaza at National Harbor

Visit the website for the full schedule.


Columbia Lakefront Summer Festival

Mondays and Fridays June 16 through August 18; Fridays through Sundays beginning August 23

Columbia Lakefront Stage, 10275 Wincopin Cir., Columbia

All movies are rated G, PG, or PG-13; see the full list of titles online.


Comcast Drive-In Film Festival

August 15 through 17 at 8:30 PM

850 Hungerford Dr., Rockville

The event benefits National Institutes of Health charities; check the website closer to the start date for the schedule of movies.

Moonlit Movies

Every other Saturday through October 4; times vary

101 Centerway, Greenbelt

The Wizard of Oz, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Up are all on offer; see the website for the full schedule.


VIRGINIA


Crystal Screen

Mondays, June 2 through August 25

Bell Street Courtyard, 1850 Bell St., Arlington

The airplane-themed movies include Red Eye, Snakes on a Plane, and Flight. See the full lineup online.


Rosslyn Outdoor Film Festival

Fridays through August 22 at 8 PM

Gateway Park; 1300 Lee Hwy., under the Key Bridge

The theme this year is “work,” which encompasses flicks such as Anchorman, Horrible Bosses, and the 1995 cult hit Empire Records.

Follow @RosslynVA for updates


Mosaic District Films in the Park 

Fridays through August 29 at 7 PM

Strawberry Park at Strawberry La. and District Ave., Fairfax

June’s theme is “blockbusters,” July’s is “All-American,” and August’s is “food and film.” Check out the schedule online.

Starlight Drive-in Cinema

Saturdays in August

5875 Trinity Pkwy., Centreville

The options this year are Casablanca, Despicable Me 2, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2, Frozen, and The Lego Movie.


Lake Anne Summer Film Festival

June 8, July 13, August 10, and September 14 at 7 PM

Lake Anne Plaza, 1690 Washington Plaza, Reston

Each screening has a different theme, from family (Up on June 8) to date night (Skyfall in September).

Movies on the Green

August 16, 23, and 30 at 8 PM

Tysons Corner Plaza, 1961 Chain Bridge Rd., Tysons Corner

This Tysons Corner movie series (now accessible by Metro!) is screening Jaws, Man of Steel, and The Blind Side. Lawn chairs are available on a first come, first served basis, so get there early if you want to snag one. 

This post has been updated from a previous version. 

Posted at 12:51 PM/ET, 05/30/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Where to cool down this summer in DC, Maryland, and Virginia. By Maleana Davis
Here’s where to go for water slides, lap pools, and more this summer. Image via Shutterstock.

Memorial Day weekend is upon us, and with it many of the pools in the Washington area are open. Here, we’ve got information on opening hours and dates, features, prices, and more. Don’t see your favorite one on the list? Let us know in the comments, and we’ll add it. 

PRIVATE POOLS IN DC


The Penthouse Pool and Lounge

1612 U St., NW; 202-939-2563

Located on the rooftop of Vida Fitness U Street, with a Navy Yard location opening in August, this pool is meant to feel like a resort with cabanas, king-size daybeds, a full-service bar, and complimentary towel service.

Price: $159 a month for single membership that includes full access to all Vida Fitness area locations.

Hours: Sunday through Wednesday 10 to sunset, Thursday 10 to midnight, Friday and Saturday 10 to 1


The Embassy Row Hotel

2015 Massachusetts Ave., NW; 202-265-1600

This newly renovated rooftop oasis features a 450-square-foot pool with cabanas, lounge seating, a new food menu, and views of the Washington Monument and National Cathedral. Scheduled to open June 15.

Prices: $25 for a day pass, $500 for single membership that includes one complimentary guest and a hotel room discount.

Hours: Thursday through Sunday and Wednesday 11 to 8, Saturday 11 to 10. Closed Monday and Tuesday.


Capitol Skyline Hotel

10 I St., SW; 202-488-7500

The Capitol Skyline Hotel pool will continue to host its popular weekend pool parties and has updated its food menu and patio furniture for the 2014 season.

Prices: $20 entry fee, $225 for single membership, $425 for family membership, $325 for couples membership.

Hours: Weekdays 11 to 9, weekends 10 to 9


Courtyard Marriott Dupont Circle

1900 Connecticut Ave., NW; 202-332-9300

Enjoy food and drinks poolside while relaxing in the sun at this Dupont Circle hotel. The Bistro is open daily from 1 to 8.

Price: $20 for daily pass, $250 for single membership, $300 for couples membership, $375 for family membership.

Hours: Weekdays 10 to 8, weekends 10 to 9


The Liaison Capitol Hill

415 New Jersey Ave., NW; 202-638-1616

Relax on chaise lounges or daybeds with a beverage in hand at this Capitol Hill rooftop pool and lounge. For $50, guests can also enjoy yoga on weekends from 7:30 to 8:30 AM. Head up to the pool and lounge after 5 for free entry and happy hour. 

Price: $25 for a day pass.

Hours: Open daily 11 to 10


The Washington Hilton Dupont Circle

1919 Connecticut Ave., NW; 202-483-3000

Relax at this heated pool and sun deck and take in views of the Washington Monument. There’s also a wading pool for children.

Price: $1,249 for single membership, $2,249 for couples membership, $650 for child membership.

Hours: Open daily 6 AM to 10 PM


Washington Plaza

10 Thomas Cir., NW; 202-842-1300

This hotel offers complimentary towel service and a poolside bar open daily from noon.

Price: $50 for daily pass, $800 for single membership, $1,500 for couples membership, $2,100 for family membership (two adults, two children).

Hours: Open daily 9 to 9


Waterside Fitness and Swim Club

901 Sixth St., NW; 202-488-3701

Water aerobics, swim lessons, lap lanes, and numerous fitness classes are just some of the features of this neighborhood fitness and swim facility. With an indoor and outdoor pool, there’s room for everyone to enjoy the water.

Price: Membership information available upon visit to the club.

Hours: Weekdays 6:15 to 9, Saturday 8:30 to 6:30, Sunday 10 to 5



PUBLIC POOLS IN DC 


Banneker Pool

2500 Georgia Ave., NW; 202-673-2121

This is one of the more popular pools in the city, so space fills up quickly. If you make it before the rush, enjoy this large outdoor pool for all ages and swim levels.

Price: Free for DC residents.

Hours: Weekdays 1 to 8, weekends noon to 6. Closed Thursday.


East Potomac Pool

972 Ohio Dr., SW; 202-727-6523

This Olympic-size pool is located on Hains Point between the Potomac River and Washington Channel with a nearby miniature golf course and driving range.

Price: Free for DC residents.

Hours: 1 to 7 on weekdays. 12-6 on weekends. Closed Wednesday.


Francis Pool

2435 N St., NW; 202-727-3285

Swim lessons, water aerobics classes, and two 25-yard lap lanes are all offered at this popular DC pool.

Price: Free for DC residents.

Hours: Weekdays 1 to 8, weekends noon to 6. Closed Tuesday.


Volta Park Pool

1555 34th St., NW; 202-645-5569

This small Georgetown pool is a great place to enjoy the summer weather and catch some rays. Volta Park is also home to two tennis courts, two basketball courts, and a playground.

Price: Free for DC residents.

Hours: Weekdays 1 to 8, weekends noon to 6. Closed Monday.

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Posted at 10:30 AM/ET, 05/23/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Parades, bar crawls, and more. By Josh Paunil
Guinness specials abound this weekend during St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. Photograph via Shutterstock.

Even if you aren’t Irish, St. Patrick’s Day is one of the most fun holidays to celebrate every year. And there are plenty of ways to do it, from all-you-can-drink bar crawls to more family-friendly activities. For more ways to celebrate, check out Best Bites Blog’s roundup of food and drink specials.

 

PARTIES

Clyde’s

11905 Market St., Reston

It’s a family event in Northern Virginia as Clyde’s brings in bagpipers, moon bounces, face-painting, and other activities for kids. Saturday kicks off with the Lucky Leprechaun 5K at 8:30 AM and includes live music at 6:30.

When: Saturday, March 15

Duffy’s

2106 Vermont Ave., NW

Between green Jell-O shooters Friday, green beer Saturday, and all-you-can-eat corned beef and cabbage ($10) Sunday, you might not even make it to Monday. Listen to bagpipers while you enjoy your Guinness ($5), and grab a free T-shirt at the door.

When: Through Monday, March 17

The Front Page

1333 New Hampshire Ave., NW

This spot offers a heated tent party from 10 AM to 3 AM. Enjoy Baileys and Guinness ($5) as well as specials on both domestic drafts ($2) and rail drinks ($4) that last from Friday through St. Patrick’s Day.

Logan Tavern

1423 P St., NW

You can celebrate with themed cocktails such as Emerald Isle punch ($6) all weekend, plus all-day happy hour on Monday. In addition to the cocktails, get half-price draft beers and food specials. Bonus: One lucky Irish quiz winner will receive a $50 EatWell gift card.

When: Through Monday, March 17

Mintwood Place

1813 Columbia Rd., NW

This restaurant is closed on Monday, but celebrates a day early with a special three-course dinner meal ($35) and live Gaelic music from a local guitarist. Irish beer and specialty cocktails will also be available.

When: Sunday, March 16; special dinner menu from 5:30 to 9:30

P.J. Clarke’s

1600 K St., NW

The annual St. Patrick’s Day celebration includes a special on corned beef and cabbage ($16.90) and a performance from the DC Fire Department’s Emerald Society Pipe and Drum Corps. But the biggest reason to head there is that a $1,884 bar tab, in honor of its founding year, will be raffled off.

EVENTS

National ShamrockFest 2014

8707 Quarry Rd., Manassas

Want to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day a week late? Head to RFK Stadium for this annual festival, with more than 30 deejays and bands on seven stages and pub games.

When: Saturday, March 15, at 11 AM

DC Public Library Events

26 different locations

From arts and crafts on Saturday to Irish folk tales Monday, there are events throughout the weekend specially crafted for kids. They’re capped off by a St. Patrick’s Day party for kids ages 5 to 12 at 4 on Monday.

When: Saturday, March 15, through Sunday, March 17

Greater Manassas St. Patrick’s Day Parade

8707 Quarry Rd., Manassas

Head to Northern Virginia to watch Irish dancers, drummers, and other local and regional groups; afterward you’ll be in the middle of a number pubs and taverns to extend the celebration.

When: Saturday, March 15, at 11 AM

Gaithersburg St. Patrick’s Day Parade

209 Boardwalk Pl., Gaithersburg

Sixty-nine different groups will stroll through Gaithersburg tomorrow, including politicians, school groups, bagpipers, and Irish organizations. The 14th annual parade is organized by the Harp & Shamrock Society of Gaithersburg.

When: Saturday, March 15, at 10 AM

Shamrock Crawl

Clarendon

More than a dozen bars, including Clarendon Ballroom, Mad Rose, and Velocity Five, are participating. Carry around your refillable shamrock mug ($20) and enjoy $2 pizza slices and different specials at each stop.

When: Saturday, March 15, from 2 to 9

Shamrock Beer Bash

1300 First St., SE

If you don’t want to leave the District, take advantage of three hours of unlimited tastings ($50) of more than 75 beers. Live entertainment and numerous Navy Yard food trucks will be available, and you get unlimited pours of two select beers.

When: Saturday, March 15, from 1 to 4 and 6 to 9

Leprechaun Leap

1303 Wisconsin Ave., NW

If you decide you want to feed your competitiveness along with your stomach, sign up for this free scavenger hunt in Georgetown tomorrow. Create a team of three to five other people and compete to win the interactive games that involve food and drinks.

When: Saturday, March 15, at 1

Posted at 04:40 PM/ET, 03/14/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()