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Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Top 5 DC Things To Do This Summer

Is it summer yet? I know, I know. It's only May and frankly, once the humidity really gets going, I'm going to kick myself for saying this but -- I just can't wait for summer in DC! The sun has finally come out after our long, strange winter (sun in January? snow in March?), and now all I can think about are the wonderful outdoor activities that DC holds in the summer time. In the spirit of sunny weather, high humidity, and this friendly contest over at Problogger, I've assembled my Top 5 things to do in DC this summer:

#5 Hotel Washington's Sky Terrace Restaurant: The weather gets warm, and I start itching for cold beers on roof decks and patios. There are few finer places for an outdoor happy hour than the rooftop at the Hotel Washington. The drinks are expensive and the food is only ok, but you just can't beat it for the view. Located next to the White House at 15th and Pennsylvania, you can relax over a mango mojito and shrimp cocktail, and watch the sun set over the White House, the Treasury, the Washington Monument, and Georgetown. I enjoy it as a local, but it's also a wonderful and impressive place to bring your out of town visitors.

#4 Larry's Homemade Ice Cream: The great foods of summer: tomatoes, corn, grilled steaks (I'm lookin' at you, Lee), watermelon and of course, ICE CREAM. Although this is highly debatable, I'm convinced that the best ice cream in the city can be found at the little underground shop on Connecticut Ave in Dupont, Larry's Homemade. The shop is nearly as old as I am, and as the name implies, all of the creative and fabulously flavored ice creams are homemade. Along with the normal flavors, they've created more exotic ones, including Key West, ecstasy, Fred and Ginger, rum raisin (with real booze) or haluah (named for the Syrian candy of honey and sesame paste). I keep meaning to try something different, but I absolutely cannot resist their oatmeal cookie dough flavor, with big chunks of oatmeal cookie dough and chocolate chips in a cinnamon flavored ice cream.

#3 E Street Cinema: DC gets mighty sticky in August and sometimes you just need to retreat to an air conditioned room for a couple of hours. I'd recommend the E Street Cinema, which specializes in independent and foreign films. You might even learn a thing or two from that new documentary or get some culture out of the latest film from Italy. The concession stand serves beers and gourmet treats along with the usual popcorn and sodas.

#2 Wolftrap: I adore Wolftrap in the summertime. The beauty of the outdoor venue in the middle of a national park, the wooden stage and majestic seating structure, the camaraderie of my fellow concert goers seated together on the lawn. There is something for everyone to see over the summer - something on their schedule will appeal to all people from all age groups. There is opera, comedy, folk music, Broadway musicals, rock bands way past their prime, crooners and disco bands and guitarists who don't wash their hair. Over the years I've seen Ben Folds, Garrison Keillor, Rent, Eddie From Ohio, the Louisiana Swamp Ramp (an all day festival of jazz and Cajun music), Ani DiFranco and Joss Stone. Few things are as pleasurable as packing a really fabulous picnic dinner of tomato salad, brie cheese, babaganoush, sandwiches from the Italian Store and a bottle of cold white wine and picnicking on the lawn of the Wolftrap before your show. Then, once the sun goes down, lie back on your blanket, surrounded by the humidity and the mosquitoes (bring your bug spray) and enjoy the show.

#1 Screen on the Green: If you know me, you know that this is my most favorite thing to do in DC all summer. Ok, let's be honest -- all year. Yes, I know that it is hotter than damnation, and I know that the movies generally suck (though check out the schedule; this year they're pretty good). But I'm up to a rotating group of around 30 people who join each Monday night, we put together really spectacular pot luck picnics (Peruvian chicken, pasta salad, charcuterie, blue cupcakes, grilled sausages, homemade cookies, cheez-its), and every color of box wine you could want. Or not want, but it's there. The party gets started around 7:00, and the movie gets started around 9:00, once it's dark. Then, after the cartoon and before the movie comes the HBO dance. If you've been to SotG, then you know what I'm talking about. I know that other cities do free outdoor movies in the summer, but only DC can they be on the National Mall, with the Capitol Dome illuminated behind the movie screen. It is my favorite DC summer activity.

So now it's your turn. What are your "can't misses" for the summer? What should I add to my list of things to look forward to? Leave a comment, let me know what to put on my summer to do list.

13 comments:

Goolia said...

I am a huge fan of the Hotel Washington sky terrace, but it's always good to keep in mind that they don't take reservations. You have to stand in line and seating is done first-come, first-served. It's not such a bad deal unless you're really hungry or desperate for a drink. Despite the wait, the view of the snipers poised on the roof of the white house is utterly thrilling!

Anonymous said...

then where does trolling for skinterns fit in?

dc365 said...

Oh "Anonymous", who I totally know who you are, that is on YOUR top five, not mine.

dc365 said...

Oh, and to Goolia, thanks for adding that note about the Hotel Washington. I had forgotten that it was first come, first serve (either that, or they see me coming and roll out the red carpet). You'll definitely see me and my "Anonymous" friend up there for happy hour soon!

John said...

E Street Cinema is excellent.

alec said...

Anonymous beat me to it, but I can recommend the places: Lafayette Park, Dupont Circle, Farragut Park, and anywhere in Capitol Hill where a 20 year old can have some alone time with the senior staffers.

dc365 said...

See my post about the Hawk & Dove. That upstairs room on weekends is chock a block with skinterns.

Although I don't know WHY I am encouraging this discussion.

C said...

This is a great list. Have you been to the skydome at the Doubletree Hotel in Crystal City? It's not outdoor, but it revolves! And the view at night takes my breath away. I've never been to the sky terrace at Hotel Washington, but I'd be curious to see how the two views compare (Hotel W is closer to the monuments, but you can see more stuff up higher from across the river. It's kinda cool seeing 395 and other roads winding their way into the city).

If you're interested in unusually flavored ice cream-like things, the Argentinian gelato place in Georgetown has some great flavors (I love the ciltantro-lime and lemon-basil sorbet). I don't know the exact address but it's on Wisconsin. Wish I could try Larry's, but ice cream makes me sick and the all the calories on top of that just make it not worth it.

catalyst0527 said...

Thank you for the great blog.
I'm planning a trip of DC.

I'm very excited about Hotel Washington's Sky Terrace Reataurant & Larry's Homemade Ice Cream & Screen on the Green.

dc365 said...

John - I visited your blog. I'd love for one of my "things" to be a bird watch. Let me know if I can ever tag along!

C - Did you say CILANTRO LIME GELATO?! I am so there.

Catalyst - Thank you! I hope you enjoy your trip to our District this summer. I hope you write in when you get back and let us know how the trip went!

Justin Schuck said...

Screen on the Green is fabulous! I'm glad you had it as your top #1. Thanks for the post on my Facebook Group!

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2259561297

Anonymous said...

According to its website, Hotel Washington has closed as of Jan. 2008. Bummer...I wasn't going to check it out because of the great comments.

Hamasara said...

The W Hotel bought out the Hotel Washington. The POV ROOF TERRACE is there now. Don't know if it has the same view though.