Things to Do

When the Weather’s Too Cold: Indoor Fun in Washington

Just because the temperature’s dropping doesn’t mean your spirits have to as well. Washington offers some great opportunities for indoor fun and games, so as the leaves fall, don’t let the weather keep you at home.

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For most of us, mini-golf season ends when summer does. But not at H Street Country Club, where putters can find a nine-hole indoor course, skeeball, daily drink specials, and a large Tex-Mex menu. The DC-themed course offers holes featuring monuments, Presidents, and even a putt-putt-size U Street complete with the landmark Ben’s Chili Bowl. The course opens at 5, and games are $7 per person. Ages 21 and up, except on Sundays, Mondays, and Tuesdays.

Looking to bring out the kid in you? Well, let’s hope he or she is a good shot—you’ll need it at Ultrazone Laser Tag (3447 Carlin Springs Rd., Falls Church; 703-578-6001). The largest laser-tag facility in Washington, this multi-level battleground equips you with the most advanced technology in infrared warfare, including vests that transmit play-by-play updates to spectators in the lobby. Weekends are packed at Ultrazone, where up to 60 players can engage in the 6,000-square-foot arena. Don’t miss high-school night on Wednesday and college night on Thursday, when students can play all night for just $10. Other times, individual games are $8.50, or $24.95 for unlimited play.

Of course, when the weather’s gray and no one’s outside, there’s always bowling. Strike Bethesda (5353 Westbard Ave., Bethesda; 301-652-0955) has 34 lanes to try for that 300 score. Swing by for some football on Sundays and grab an order of wings and a pitcher of domestic beer for $15.95. Games here are $6.25 per person on weekdays, and on weekends parties can rent a lane for $38.95 per hour.

For a bowling alley that also fancies itself an upscale club/lounge, check out Lucky Strike Lanes (701 Seventh St., NW; 202-347-1021). Here you’ll find 14 lanes, happy hour from 4 to 7, and a dress code that goes beyond funny-looking shoes (click here for the dress-code rules). Games here are $4.95 to $7.95 per person, and daily specials include a Sunday football menu and all-night Bottomless Bowling Mondays.

There was a time when arcades ruled the rainy days. And while those joystick-mashing days may be waning, there’s still Tilt Arcade (4238 Wilson Blvd., Arlington; 703-524-4917) at the Ballston Common Mall. Here you can find classic beat-’em-ups, shooters, racers, those terribly frustrating crane games, and even some good old-fashioned air hockey. Spending all your quarters here is your best excuse yet for putting off the laundromat one more week.

Have any more ideas where you can find indoor fun? Tell us about them in the comments!

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Staff Writer

Michael J. Gaynor has written about fake Navy SEALs, a town without cell phones, his Russian spy landlord, and many more weird and fascinating stories for the Washingtonian. He lives in DC, where his landlord is no longer a Russian spy.