Got Plans? The Going Out Gurus and spa and travel writer McLean Robbins discussed Spa Week, nightlife, fashion and travel.

Apr 12, 2012

Got Plans? The Going Out Gurus discussed fashion, nightlife, weekend outings and more.

Hi everyone. We've got a lot to cover today. Our special guest is McLean Robbins, whose job is writing about spas, travel, shopping weekend getaways and all kinds of fun things. She'll be talking about Spa Week, among other things, so we hope you have your questions ready.

(A lot of you have questions about happy hours, girls' nights out and Cherry Blossom events, and we're more than ready to answer those, too.)

As I mentioned on the blog this morning, we're giving away two Junion League of Washington Shop Around discount cards today, which you can use to get 20 percent off purchases at Kate Spade, Urban Chic, Dawn Price Baby, the Bar Method, Stuart Weitzman, Juicy Couture, Vineyard Vines and a bunch of restaurants and bars.

To win, all we want to know is your favorite way to pamper yourself without spending too much money.

Everyone sitting comfortably? Let's begin...

I have never been to Eastern Market, but I have heard good things about it. Is it like a normal street market where you need to get there early or all the vendors will be gone by the afternoon? What kind of vendors do they have? Thanks!

Easter Market is wonderful because it really has a little of everything. One-of-a-kind art? Check. Farm-fresh veggies? Check. Vintage furniture? Check. And that doesn't even begin to cover the indoor merchants. Earlier is better, but there are still plenty of vendors worth visiting if you come in the afternoon. The market is open until 5 or 6 p.m.

First, let's make one big distinction. During the week, Eastern Market is an indoor food market, with vendors selling meats, veg, cheese, bread, etc.

On weekends, you have the market, plus fruit and veg vendors outside, all kinds of arts and crafts, vendors selling antique books, home furnishings, coffee, homemade jewelry, etc. Everything usually gets going around 9 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday, and most vendors stay until 5 or 6, depending on the day.

Hi GoGs! My friends and I (a group of 13 twenty-somethings) are planning a night out in DC next Saturday, April 21. Do you know of any events or parties that would be fun for a large group of girls? We would love to a place with drinks and dancing - and we are fine with any type of theme nights (like a 90's dance party). Any idea for where we should go? Anywhere in DC is fine for us - we don't mind taking cabs.

Cherry Blast might be a good option for a big group, although it may be an artier event than you're looking for, with video installations and aerial dancers in addition to drinks, DJs and dancing. If you're more in the mood for the theme party thing, you can always check out the 80s prom party at Black Finn, which happens to be that night.

Hi McLean and Gurus. I want to surprise my boyfriend with a Spa Week outing, but he's never been to a spa and think it's "not a guy thing." Are there any spas you recommend for first-timers, especially when they're one-half of a couple? Thanks!

Of course! I'd say that The Willard's Red Door is classy but not intimidating if you're looking to do something within Spa Week pricing. I'm also intrigued by the Pamper Me Please travel spa - they come to you, so you can always see if he'll try a massage in the comfort of your home, and the 60 minute massage for $50 is a great deal. 

If you're able to splurge a bit, I convinced a very skeptical and non spa-going boyfriend to go once by getting a couple's massage at Lansdowne's Spa Minerale. I had to send a receptionist back to the men's relaxation area to find him post-treatment. He was having so much fun he didn't want to leave. 

Gurus- I'm going to meet up with a friend Saturday afternoon to watch the Caps game. We are looking for a bar that has a big screen, good beers and hopefully won't be too crowded at 3 in the afternoon - and will of course be playing the game. Any suggestions?

I know we've talked about the best times to go to ChurchKey in the past, and this is one of them. They don't have a ton of TVs -- just five behind the upstairs bar -- but it's usually not too hard to get a seat in the middle of the afternoon. R.F.D. and Meridian Pint are other options. If the forecast holds (fingers x'ed) you may want to look into Cleveland Park Bar and Grill, which has TVs on its roofdeck. Public Bar, too.

Submitting early as I have a meeting during the chat, and thanks for taking my question! I am traveling to DC in July for a meeting, and am thinking of coming a day early to wake up early to kayak and go out to brunch. This will probably be on a Wednesday. I travel to DC 2-3 times per year, so I'm pretty comfortable with the metro and directions. Looking on line, it looks like my best bet is Jack's Boathouse for an early morning kayak. I'm also looking for a good place to stay in the city the night before - after kayaking and breakfast (maybe at Open City, I love that place) I'll go out to Bethesda for my meeting the next few days. Do you think that sounds like a good plan, or can you suggest a better plan? Any ideas for a fun little hotel or bed and breakfast close to Jack's or Open City? Thanks a lot, I'm looking forward to my one-day vacation!

That sounds like an excellent plan. I'm partial to weekend brunches at Kafe Leopold, which is in Georgetown right by Jack's, but you might also find inspiration in our best brunches list. As for hotels, Kimptons are usually a good bet, and the Arlington location of Hotel Palomar is right across the bridge in Rosslyn.

Since you need some place that rents kayaks and is Metro accessible and would have a nice place to get breakfast,  you are best going with Jack's. You might also want to consider Thompson Boat Center, which is also on the Potomac just slightly farther south.

My husband and I want to go to a game on Sunday. We rather go there and buy tickets. We actually want to sit in the cheapest seats, we don't mind. Will it be really crowded? Should we buy tickets online?

I'm seeing $10 seats available on the Nats Web site for Sunday's game. And let's be honest - you're not going to do a whole lot better than that. I would just get them - that way you have the peace of mind of definitely having a seat when Sunday rolls around. Others might disagree though...

You guys know where it's at all the time - I've been following you for years now (wow...years!). So of course I turn to you when I need to know where to go even though it looks like today's topic is about spas and travel. What bar would you send 2 mid-thirties single women who want to catch-up over drinks? We want something downtown DC, an interesting scene, where we can sit at the bar and still talk without shouting. We're meeting up tonight around 6. Suggestions?

Ah, the old interesting-scene-with0ut-too-much-noise conundrum. (No, really, it comes up more than you'd think.) If you want somewhere classy, I'd say Quill at the Jefferson Hotel or Le Bar at the Sofitel. 

Hi Gurus, I've been working on personal fitness for about a year, and so have spent a decent amount of time on the treadmill. I'd like to actually participate in a 5K at some point but I've found that running outside is (surprise!) a totally different beast, and I have a much harder time pacing myself. So I was thinking that a club might motivate me. But it seems like all the clubs out there are either assuming that one has literally never run before and needs to start with 1/2 hour walk, or that one has already completed 3 5Ks and can totally do a 10 minute mile (or faster!) for a five mile run. Any guidance from you and the chatters for a club between "brand new runner" and "setting new personal records in races?"

Kudos on the new pastime. I've done the Pacers run before, which starts at the Logan Circle location on Tuesday and Thursday nights, and the group is a pretty good mix of people (including, yes, some pretty hard-core speed racers). I've also been wandering by when the Logan Circle Lululemon run group is congregating (Monday evenings) and the pack is usually huge, so I'm guessing abilities run the gamut. I know Lavanya tried out one of the running Meetups, which she really enjoyed. Chatters, any other run groups you recommend for a not-quite beginner?

Gurus and Ms. Robbins, I would like to give my husband the gift of a massage for his upcoming birthday in NoVa, DC or close in MD. He had a wonderful spa day at the Greenbrier a few years ago and I'd like to replicate that as opposed to getting him a massage at a place that services men as an afterthought. I've found places like the grooming salon for maintenance and upkeep but I'm looking for a massage. Idea? Thank you.

Of course! I have had great luck with the custom massages at The Boutique Spa at The Ritz-Carlton, Georgetown. It's intimate and not an overly "manly" or "feminine" feeling place. The Tysons Corner hotel also has a great spa, with a large indoor pool too if he likes to swim. And of course, you can't go wrong with The Four Seasons or The Mandarin Oriental either - all of these will cater equally to men and women.

WHERE WOULD YOU SUGGEST I GO FOR A HIGH END MASSAGE - ONE THAT INCLUDES ALL THE BELLS AND WHISTLES?

Bells and whistles! I love them.  But what I really love is a great massage. I'd pick the custom massage at one of my favorite hotels ever, The Jefferson. Ask for the larger of the two spa rooms, and you'll get a private shower area too. 

I have to be at the Navy Memorial between 11:30 and noon on Saturday. I was thinking of coming in a little early to take some time at the National Gallery. Normally, this wouldn't be a problem as they are pretty close, but I'm not sure how the parade will impact the area. Do I need to take the metro to Smithsonian so I can get to the museum from the south rather than need to cross the parade route? Will I be able to cross the parade route on the way back? I've had issues with this at other times when main roads are being used for demos (I'm looking at you Rolling Thunder), but that wasn't really a parade situation.

The Cherry Blossom Parade will close Constitution Avenue from 7th to 17th streets, so you should be fine. Get out at Smithsonian, walk to the museum, and cross at Sixth Street. If you're worried about logistics, I might Metro to Archives/Navy Memorial and walk up to the Portrait Gallery or American Art instead.

Hi McLean! Lisa A. here! :) I regularly get very cheap but very good pedicures at Red Sun Nails on 7th St. NW at M St - directly across the street from the Conv. Ctr. metro stop, and very conveniently located to my house! I'm wondering what is your favorite place for a very good but inexpensive facial... if that even exists in DC!?!

Hi Lisa! Great tip for a good nail salon - they're hard to find. for I love the $99 seasonal treatments at The Spa at Sports Club\LA in Foggy Bottom. There's almost always a 50-minute facial on the specials list. It's not cheap, but the facials at Nectar Skin Bar in Georgetown, or Bliss at the W are my two best go-tos. I don't like to skimp when it comes to really doing the best for my skin.

I recently lost about 50lbs and have started strength training, but yoga does sound interesting. That said...where should I start? Is there a good instructor/studio/class where those of us who sometimes have trouble with putting the left foot in front of the right foot can go and NOT feel like America's Most Awkward Yoga Student?

You chatters are really on a health kick today, eh? I'm partial to Flow (although, full disclosure, that's where I did my teacher training), and they have some great yoga fundamentals courses that take things really slowly. There are any number of great studios around town -- Tranquil Space, Willow Street, Yoga District, among many others -- and all offer beginners classes. And if you belong to a gym, that might be a good place to start, because classes are usually multi-level and focus more on the fitness than the touchy-feely stuff, which can ocassionally scare off newbies. But probably the most important thing to keep in mind is that when people do yoga, they're generally too focused on their own stuff to notice whether or not they're in the company of America's Most Awkward Yoga Student. Hopefully that gives you a little peace of mind!

In Russia, it seemed typical at the spa I was at that they massaged people with sticks. Is this something found in America, as I have not observed such a practice in my few experiences here?

We sadly don't have a great Russian bathhouse in DC - the closest you can get to that experience is Spa World out in Centerville.  That said, The Spa at the Mandarin Oriental offers a great bamboo massage, where they'll give you a great deep tissue rubdown with heated and oiled bamboo rods. I found it more relaxing and a better deep-tissue treatment than most hot stone massages.

Gurus please help. Do you have any suggestions for events or thing happening Saturday during the day. My SO and I are meeting up with another couple from college (we are all in our mid 20's.) The only things I have come up with are some museums. We are in VA but DC (metro accessible) is Ok. Please no music related things.

Lumen8Anacostia sounds like it is going to be interesting. Noon to midnight there will be tons of exhibits in the most unlikely of places.

Are there any bars in or immediately around Nats Park that will be showing the Caps game on Saturday? I'd like to catch the first hour of the Caps game on TV before watching the Nats live...

First: A plug for tomorrow's Weekend cover story, which is a guide to all the cool new stuff around the stadium (and in the stadium), from Fairgrounds outside to the new food vendors.

For watching the Caps, I'd head for Justin's Cafe, or stick to some of the bars on Barracks Row, such as the Ugly Mug or Molly Malone's, before walking to the park.

WHAT BAR IN THE CITY MAKES THE BEST MARTINI?

I vote Proof, but I'm sure others will want to weigh in... chatters?

It's very simple, but it works every time. I go to one of my favorite chocolate shops and choose two pieces of heavenly chocolate. Then, I pop them in my mouth one at a time!

I'm just impressed you have more than one favorite chocolate shop.

What is the best hotel in the area to pamper both you and your dog? Do they have size restrictions? I absolutely adore all the articles you write!

Aw, thanks! I wish we had spas that did fun pet massages like Trump in Las Vegas. All of the Kimpton hotels are pet friendly - you can definitely book a spa treatment at The Lorien in Old Town  and stay over with your pooch. I'd just check to see if you can bring your dog into the actual spa proper before arriving with Fifi or Fido!

In past seasons, they offered $5 tickets to most games, if you walk up to the ticket counter before the game. They are way up in the corner of the upper deck, but if you like spending some of the game roaming around the stadium, they are perfect. Also, then no fees from buying online!

I do love the $5 Grandstand seats, despite their nosebleediness. They go onsale at the box office two hours before game time. (For big games, get there early.) I usually just get in and head right for the Red Porch, then hang out watching with a beer in my hand for the rest of the game.

Want to meet up for HH/Dinner with a friend tomorrow in Columbia Heights. We were thinking of maybe going to the Heights. Your review is quite old, any recent thoughts on the place. Or do you have other suggestions in that area?

I'm not a big fan of the Heights. There are better options for both happy hour and dinner in the neighborhood. Pho 14 for Vietnamese, Room 11 for good American/Aussie cuisine and small plates,  Meridian Pint for wings and burgers and sandwiches, low country cooking at Acre 121, the goodness that are the tacos at Taqueria D.F. (followed by rooftop drinks at the Red Derby) ...

I'm in the lookout for a photo-shooting spot that involves grass (tall grass) or a forest like area, a small pond will add a little something but it's not necessary. Between Rockville and Urbana, which place will you suggest? I've only been in Blackhill and Seneca Park and Im getting tired of it! Thanks

Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park in Sandy Spring has grounds that sound like they would fit your needs. And have you visited the Schaeffer Farms portion of Seneca Creek State Park? It is popular with mountain bikers, but I think it would offer plenty of places for you to take a pretty picture.

What is your fav spa getaway outside of the DMV area? Suggestions for getaways that won't break the bank?

I'm partial to luxury, that's for sure. If you're looking to maximize fun without breaking the bank, pick a place that has lots of amenities you can enjoy for the day after a single treatment. Within driving distance, I'd suggest trying Nemacolin up in Pennsylvania, where you could also golf or do a tour of Falling Waters. Otherwise, I'm all about flying out to Las Vegas - hotel rooms are certainly cheap enough! That city has some of the best spas in the country, and you'll find lots of bells and whistles like steam rooms and even ice chambers. Try Qua at Caesars - a girlfriend and I spent all day there once after a single treatment. We definitely got our fill!

They have tvs at the Red Loft - I remember watching the Caps there last year. Also, I'm a bit skeptical about the Fairgrounds - can you relieve me of that?

Yeah. I watched the Euro 2008 Germany/Spain final in the Red Loft. (It was the same day as an O's-Nats game, and I didn't want to miss either.)

Some advice for the Caps fan who doesn't want to miss ANY hockey action during the Nats game...

Just an FYI. The Hotel Palomar in Arlington was sold and is now a Le Meridien property. The bar/outdoor deck still feels the same!

The best things about that patio are the views of Georgetown and being able to watch planes descend towards National Airport. 'Sbout it, really.

I'm sorry, but I disagree about the spa at the Ritz in Tysons. I would not recommend going there. The "relaxation" room is quite small and, because of the pool, the changing rooms are used by all the kids staying in the hotel. The Mandarin in DC is my favorite if you have the money.

Good tip - The Mandarin is great. Re: The Ritz, I've always had it feel pretty quiet when using the spa during the week. I'd avoid anything inside a mall on the weekends!

Have you tried Bookside Gardens in Wheaton? It's gorgeous this time of year!

D'oh. I am even including Brookside in next week's garden story. Shame on me. Though one add: it gets really, really crowded and you might want to call ahead. The gardens require a photo permit for shoots with large parties.

Hello GoG's! Asking this question early because I'll be in a meeting during the chat! Got a friend we are taking out for his birthday in the U Street area this Saturday night. Shouldn't be a huge group, maybe at the very most ten people. Not really doing dinner or anything, just going out for drinks; maybe get some snacks along the way since the birthday boy likes pickles and stuff like that! What would be some places you would recommend going to?

As much as Steff and I love the fried pickles at Standard, I don't think you'll be able to get 10 people in there on a Saturday night. So we'll recommend American Ice Company instead -- especially if you can score some of the picnic tables on the patio. We'd also suggest making the Rock and Roll Hotel's rooftop an early stop on your way -- it's a great (large) space with cheap drinks before 8.

Places we think 10 people will be able to all get in at the same time: Dodge City (again, great patio), Solly's, Lost Society if you're in before 11, maybe El Centro for late-night dancing and frozen drinks.

If a restaurant has an outside patio, can I assume I can sit outside with my dog? Or do I have to call and ask? I'm thinking particularly in Arlington (Clarendon). Thanks!

There were dogs galore outside last weekend in the Barracks Row area! I've definitely seen dogs outside on the patios in the Clarendon area, although I'd probably call to check if you're looking for something like American Tap Room, where the patio is behind a gate.  Chatters, any thoughts?

Little Bennett Regional Park in Clarksburg has a whole array of terrain, plus miles and miles of trails.

Little Bennett is pretty popular, too, but it fits the requirements.

your blog about spa week triggered me to ask this question: can 2 men go to berkeley springs wv and feel comfortable? ps - I am from Asia where going to hot springs is a treat. Thanks

Berkley Springs has three times as many massage therapists as they do lawyers. (Didn't know that one before today!)

I'd say so. Most spas these days are catering to men as well as women - and you might as well spa with a friend. There were tons of "dude groups" at Spa World last time I was there, so I wouldn't think Berkeley Springs is much different.

I'm turning fifty next week and my husband will turn fifty in June. We would like to celebrate our Fiftieth together next month at a glam spot in DC with great food and music. Any ideas?

Two options come to mind for a fancy 50th:

Head to the Carlyle Club in Alexandria, a retro supper club with jazz, big bands, soul and oldies performers.

Visit the new Hamilton at 14th and F downtown. There's an interesting lineup of events, from funk to blues to singer-songwriters, and the food upstairs is very good. (I'm partial to the sushi.)

I won't be able to participate in spa week, but I'd love to know where to go for a good massage that's on the inexpensive side? I live in Arlington, but would travel within reason. Thank you!!

I am in love with the treatments at Bella Donna spa in the Kingstowne area of Alexandria. Ask for Chris (a woman) - she's my favorite. It isn't super fancy, but they do an awesome job, and it's only a 20-minute drive, if that.

I'm not too familiar with Iota, but since they don't sell tickets in advance how early should I get there to see Lambchop on Sunday?

According to David, getting there by 8 should be fine.

I find that a morning run, a nice long shower with some drug store body polish and then a home-done manicure can really make you feel like a new person...even if it's just for no other reason then taking some time out for JUST you!

The Hotel Palomar in DC (on P Street) would fit the bill since it's within healthy walking distance of both Open City - via Connecticut Ave. - and the Boat Houses (through Foggy Bottom)

Another option for the kayaking visitor...

Of Monsters and Men are performing a free show Saturday at the Fillmore in Silver Spring.. any idea how early people probably are lining up? Doors open at 7, and they sold out the black cat the other week...

David (who's not on the chat today) has a great answer: How badly do you want to see the band? Anyone can print out a ticket, so there are potentially thousands of people out there trying to get into the show. If you really want to see the band, I'd get there no later than 5, and make sure your phone is charged so you have something to do while you're in line.

Hi McLean, Lisa Marie here! I work very long hours during the week. I would love to find a place where I can get regular massages. However, I need to do so without breaking the bank. Do you know of any affordable places that have weekly/monthly packages?

Hello Lisa Marie! This question calls for ony one answer - Massage Envy. Some people love it and some don't, but for $59 a month, you get a 50-minute massage. No frills, but it does the trick for my tight shoulders and terrible tension headaches. If you don't use the service that month, your massage rolls over to the next month. You have to shop around a bit to find the therapist you like, and I'd suggest booking a few weeks in advance for weekend appointments. I love that they're open late during the week.

Congrats to the OP for the weight loss and for wanting to start yoga. I was in the same boat, and just googled for a while til I found something convenient for me. (And what I found was the 'Intro to Yoga Workshop' at Balance in Bethesda.) Try looking for "intro to" and "beginners". I think Circle Yoga in Friendship Hts is doing a one-time intro class sometime in the coming weeks, also. (BTW, I love yoga now!)

Thanks for the tips!

My favorite trick? Trick my husband into giving me a head, neck, back and foot massage. I win b/c I am more relaxed, and he wins b/c I am more relaxed.

Lucky you!

Is "trick" the right word? If so, how do you "trick" him into giving you a massage?

So you mentioned Kafe Leopold and gave the link but your reviewer only gives it one measly star. Has it gotten better since July of 2011?

Excellent question, and thanks for reminding me -- I usually recommend Leopold with a caveat. That place really at breakfast fare, but I wouldn't go there for any other meals.

Dieting girlfriend is out of town 4 nights. Looking for interesting restaurants in Penn Quarter, Arlington, Cleveland Park. I like Estadio, Chef Geoff's, Ray's the Steaks. Will try out Pear's Oyster for sure. Other ideas? I am comfortable dining solo just about anywhere.

Restaurants where pigging out is in order: Hill Country BBQ for sure. Fiola if she's not a carb consumer. (I love eating at the bar there, btw. Great bartenders.)  Proof, for sure. All the offal dishes I had at the new Green Pig in Arlington the other night were great.

And, of course, Medium Rare.

I add Ardeo/Bardeo and Palena Cafe to the list!!

Thanks for the heads up about the Red Loft! That sounds like the right spot.

Yep. I'd still go to Justin's for pre-baseball hockey and drinks to save a few bucks, though.

Natural Hot-Springs within 3 hours of DC? Already tried Berkeley springs in WV and was just ok. Im not looking for big spas just for simple natural hot springs.

Have you tried Hot Springs, VA, near The Homestead? Beyond that, I'm not much of a mineral bath person - any ideas from the chatters?

I like to unwind & pamper myself with a long hot shower, plush robe, at home mani & pedi, Sex & the City reruns, big ole glass of wine :)

You know who has the best spa robes? Red Door. It's not attractive, but definitely one of the most comfortable things I own.

I love taking my dog out to diiner with me during warm weather. Most reataurants are good, but there are a few meanies out there. Georgetown Waterfront comes to mind. If you have your heart set on a particular place, I would check beforehand.

It's really about the size of the patio and the space between tables.

Speaking of dogs and patios, I wanted to put the word out that the Blue Banana in Petworth is now hosting a monthly doggie happy hour that doubles as a fundraiser for the Washington Animal Rescue League, one of my favorite pet-related charities. Next one is April 26th from 6-9 p.m.

My favorite way to pamper myself without spending a lot of money is to make my own sugar scrub, take a hot bubbly bath, and drink wine. I might even splurge on the wine selection!

For those of you wondering how to make your own sugar scrub, I love this recipe for spring and this one for around the holidays. Thank you, Pinterest.

A few weeks back you recommended the Prince/Madonna/Michael Jackson dance party at the end of April. Is that the kind of thing you need to get tickets for beforehand, or can you just show up and buy them at the door?

I'd think you can buy them at the door -- Rock and Roll Hotel dance parties are popular, but shouldn't be sold-out levels.

Then again, DJ Dredd has a ton of fans. Maybe you could go on the early side and then head upstairs to the rooftop bar for a drink?

Great. Now I have that stupid UPS commercial in my head. It wouldn't be so bad if the commercials didn't drive me batty because they are meaningless.

Great, now I do too.

I really, really hate corporate-speak anyway. This make it worse.

Stay home. Hot tap water and bath salts. Glass of wine. Much cheaper.

Just make sure to lock the door for some privacy.

Hi Gurus, My friend is visiting the DC area for a few days, and while I am at work, she needs something to do Friday morning. She is catching a plane in the afternoon, so will probably have free time between 10am and 1pm. She has lived in DC before, so I don't think walking the monuments or visiting the museums is what she is looking for. Anything fun happening tomorrow? Otherwise she'll just go see Titanic in 3D. Thanks!

I know she's done D.C. museums before, but it might be worth her while to check out a couple of wonderful cherry blossom-related exhibits: Hokusai's View of Mt. Fuji at the Sackler and the amazing 18th century bird and flower paintings at the National Gallery. There's also a gallery talk at the Hirshhorn at 12:30 tomorrow, related to the very cool Suprasensorial show.

I would HIGHLY recommend Paul at Yoga District for the person looking for a place to take yoga. The class frequently has brand new people in it, and he does a great job and helping you with the poses so that you don't feel awkward or embarrassed.

Thanks!

My (adult) family is coming to town this weekend and I was trying to plan something to do on Saturday afternoon. While I found some great festival options (Anacostia, Japanese festival), I was wondering if you've thought of adding "Outdoor" as a filter on your event search? Also, it would be great if there were a "Best Of" devoted to outdoor options in the District and surrounds (I'm thinking things like the Acquatic Gardens, Sculpture Garden, etc.). Does this already exist? Thank you, I love the chats and your always thoughtful responses!

It doesn't and it should. As for outdoors, I highly suggest Dumbarton Oaks, the Aquatic Gardens are at their peak bloom in late May (still a neat place to visit) and the Arboretum. Searching "garden" will get you a fair number of other options, too.

Wow. Great chat today, even for those non-spa types like me. Thanks for all your questions, comments and tips on pampering yourself. We're going to give the Junior League of Washington Shop Around cards to the readers who like chocolate shops and making their own sugar scrub. Send your name/contact information to fritz.hahn@washingtonpost.com and I'll make sure you get your gifts. And if you didn't win, remember you can still get the 20-percent-off deal by purchasing a card (and helping local literacy efforts) on Gilt City.

Another round of applause for guest Guru McLean Robbins, please.

And we'll see you back here next Thursday.

In This Chat
The Going Out Gurus
The Going Out Gurus are the experts behind The Washington Post's Going Out Guide. They write about restaurants, bars, movies, the arts, special events and visitor attractions, and they're out every night to keep you on top of the D.C. entertainment scene.
McLean Robbins
McLean Robbins writes about travel, spas and weddings for a variety of publications, including Washingtonian, the Forbes Travel Guide and Gadling.com. A native of Annapolis, McLean lives in Arlington with her German Shepherd, Deacon.
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