Things to Do

Best of Bethesda: Three Fun Outings

How to spend a casual date, girl's day out, or have fun with the kids

Pack a picnic lunch at the Bethesda FreshFarm Market, Saturdays from 9 am to 1 pm through October 30. You can stock your basket with local produce and cheese plus a sweet from the Praline Bakery stand. Then hop into the car and head to one of the picnic tables at Glen Echo Park —about a 15-minute drive—where you can take in the vintage charm of the former amusement park’s arcade and bumper-car pavilion. On Saturdays and Sundays through September, the park’s 90-year-old carousel still offers rides. After lunch, stop in for a pint at the cozy Irish Inn at Glen Echo, where wood-paneled walls and plaid booths make you feel as if you’ve stumbled into an authentic Irish pub. 

Warm up your credit cards at some of Bethesda’s many stylish boutiques such as Denim Bar, Daisy Too, and Zelaya Shoes. A tasting of mozzarellas and wine by the glass from Assaggi Mozzarella Bar makes a fun lunch break before an afternoon of relaxation at a spa. The $120 Refresh package at Aveda Bethesda Salon and Spa includes a customized facial and a manicure or brow wax.

Start out at All Fired Up, a paint-your-own pottery studio that provides premade ceramics, stencils, sponges, and idea books. Finished pieces ($6 to $60) can be picked up in a week. Then make your way to Rock Bottom. The brewery chain may be known for its beer, but create-your-own pizza and sundaes on the kids’ menu keep the under-21 set smiling. After lunch, channel the sugar highs at Be With Me Playseum. The indoor space has more than a dozen themed rooms including a play grocery store, hardware store, and beauty salon as well as a pet shop with live animals and an art studio. It targets kids from nine months to about 11 years old; admission is $5. If you’re with older kids, hit the bowling lanes at Strike Bethesda.

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