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June 9, 2011

1:08
P.M.

Got Plans? Discuss great ideas for local entertainment, dates and family fun with the Going Out Gurus.

Total Responses: 52

About the hosts

About the host

Host: The Going Out Gurus

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. Join the thousands of readers who have followed us on Twitter and Facebook. And for nightlife news delivered twice-weekly to your inbox, make sure to sign up for the Going Out Guide newsletter.

About the topic

The Going Out Guide staff discuss great ideas for local entertainment, dates and family fun.
Q.

Alex Baldinger :

We've got a pair of tickets to see Thievery Corporation spin June 23rd at the W Hotel -- the ones that were on general sale sold out in minutes, so there are an absolute steal. (see what I did there?)

Since we're on the topic of getting things for free, whether because we're giving them out or because of some thievery, here's what we want in exchange for the tickets:

Tell us your favorite free summer experience in and around D.C. and why. We're pretty open-ended; as long as it's fun and it doesn't cost money, it's fair game. We'll pick a winner at the end of the hour, which we're really late getting started on. Oops. 

Q.

Beach

Although I've lived in DC for a few years, I've never made it to the beach. What are the main differences between the different beaches (Bethany vs. Rehoboth vs. Dewey ect)? Which beach would you recommend for a group in their mid-twenties?
A.
Fritz Hahn :

I've been to all four (including Ocean City) in the last few weeks, and used to go to a couple as a kid. The breakdown is generally like this:

Rehoboth: Upscale-ish bars and restaurants with good food, wine and microbrews. Decent beach. Lots of shopping. Predominantly gay nightlife scene.

Dewey: Cover bands, day-drinking, late-night shenanigans. Small beaches, none of the arcades/shopping/etc. Best for 20-somethings who'd rather be at a bar listening to a band on Sunday afternoon than working on their tan.

Bethany: Quiet. No arcades, few restaurants. Last call at 11:30 p.m. Great beach, though. Best for families or for spending time with good friends.

– June 09, 2011 1:12 PM
Q.

What's New To Do

I've challenged my boyfriend and our friends that we should try to do something new (or "new'ish") every weekend this summer. Last weekend we went biking on a trail we've never been on before, and ventured up to Baltimore for a drive-in movie (really cool!). So now I've been tasked to find cool things to do all summer. Would love the GOG's (and your fabulous readers) help for ideas -- what are some cool things to do in the area this summer to spice it up from the typical dinner, movie, lounge things we typically do. A few of us are slightly adventurous and open to zip lining, kayaking, etc. Thanks in advance.
A.
Stephanie Merry :

If you're adventurous and active, then you could try out Paddleboarding, which Lavanya wrote about a few weeks ago. We actually have a weekly feature in teh Weekend section called Try This that might provide some inspiration. Recent topics have included the twice-monthly Chit-Chat Run, Sunrise Cinema at BloomBars and a trip to the National Pinball Museum (which you'll have to hit up quickly, since it's slated to close in July).

– June 09, 2011 1:15 PM
Q.

Escaping the heat in Arlington tonight

Help! My husband and I have a sitter but no plans since our group plans were cancelled at the last moment. We don't get out much so what's the new hotspot in Arlington preferably w/ lots of indoor room or a well-shaded deck? We've been to Lyon Hall, Liberty Tavern and Screwtop in the past 6 months so something newer would be great. Thanks!
A.
Fritz Hahn :

I really like the deck at Arlington Rooftop Bar and Grill (and there's plenty of room inside if a pop-up thunderstorm intrudes on your night out). Whitlow's also has a new tiki-themed roofdeck, though the lines to get in there are often a little longer than ARB&G. You can read more about both here.

– June 09, 2011 1:17 PM
Q.

Juevos Rancheros

Hi GOGS! For Father's Day my DAD would like to go to brunch at a place where he can get some fantastic juevos rancheros, any ideas?
A.
Alex Baldinger :

Your dad would probably like Guapo's or Uncle Julio's; my dad does. Both have locations around the area and are reliably good, but also typically very crowded. For more authenticity and tranquility  (and a bowl of menudo), head up to Taqueria D.F. Personally, my faaaaaavorite Mexican brunch dish these days are the chilaquiles coming out of the kitchen at the Passenger. 

– June 09, 2011 1:18 PM
Q.

Park at 14th

What time do artists go on, specifically Melanie Fiona performing tomorrow?
A.
Fritz Hahn :

It really varies, depending on the artist. (We're also pretty excited about Ryan Leslie performing tonight.) The rule of thumb is that the artists go on between 9 and 10, often on the latter side. Easiest way to beat the lines is to get there early; $5 drinks from 5 to 8 make the wait a little bit easier.

– June 09, 2011 1:19 PM
Q.

Fashion Q for Holly

I have a pair of slim gray pants (like Audrey Hepburn would have worn) that have a cute jacket to match, but the suit looks to fallish/wintery. What sort of tops and shoes can I put with the pants for hot weather? I work in an air-conditioned office.
A.
Holly Thomas :

These sound really cute! I'd try the pants with a loose, breezy top or a floaty, nearly-sheer button-up shirt to balance the silhouette, and add some ballet flats or chunky wedges. Boxy tops are a big trend for summer, and they'll look cute with your skinny pants and flats.

– June 09, 2011 1:21 PM
Q.

Holly -

Can I wear a brown belt and brown sandals with a black summer dress? And what about turquoise jewelry with this combo?
A.
Holly Thomas :

Yes, definitely -- so long as you have more than one brown accessory (ie, a belt and shoes,  shoes and a bag, etc), you can definitely mix the two neutrals. Turquoise baubles sound like the perfect finishing touch.

– June 09, 2011 1:22 PM
Q.

4th of July

This may be a stupid question, but with the 4th being a Monday this year, would fireworks be on Sunday, given that everyone has off Monday?
A.
Stephanie Merry :

That would be convenient, but no. Fireworks on the Mall and the Capitol Fourth show, which features Steve Martin (aka the love of my life), will be on Monday.

– June 09, 2011 1:23 PM
Q.

date ideas

Any good ideas for dates this weekend in DC? We like music, theater, hiking, trying new things and new foods. Thanks, I love the chats
A.
Amy Orndorff :

I almost always encourage hiking, but with the threat of t-storms and high temperatures I am going to have to suggest staying inside. For something new I'd go to the National Pinball Museum. For theater I would check out the Source Festival. Music? Celebrate Fairfax. Food? How about some ice cream?

– June 09, 2011 1:24 PM
Q.

Live on Penn!

I miss the days when Live on Penn used to be best free activity in DC. Wycleff, Big Head Todd - and free admissions? Seriously, I'm still sad! Screen on the Green was great for those intern days when you could be out of work in time to get a front row seat. These days there's one thing I look forward to each summer, the Capitol Fourth dress rehearsal! Always a fun fun time, minus the crazy Fourth crowd!
A.
Alex Baldinger :

Yeah, those Live on Penn shows were sneakily one of my favorite things about summer in Washington during those years. They also had them in front of the National Portrait Gallery for a year or two, if I'm not mistaken. And your vote for the Capitol Fourth rehearsal performance is one of D.C.'s best kept secrets. 

– June 09, 2011 1:24 PM
Q.

For "What's New to Do":

An introductory flying lesson. The chatter didn't say where exactly he or she is, but Montgomery County Airpark, Leesburg Executive, and Manassas Regional are fairly close to downtown. Go as early as you can manage so as to have cooler, calmer air. You can usually get an introductory lesson for around $100.
A.
Stephanie Merry :

Another idea for the person looking to escape  the humdrum.

– June 09, 2011 1:24 PM
Q.

Favorite Free Things to Do in DC

Strolling around the tidal basin, letting the beauty (and humidity) of the Jefferson Memorial wash over me? Grabbing my roommates, a bottle of Pinot and parking ourselves in the Sculpture Garden on a Friday evening? Taking in the artistic excellence at the Torpedo Factory in Old Town? To be honest, my favorite free summer activity is heading to my local bar where everyone knows my name for some free drinks. If you go somewhere enough, and tip like a star, eventually the perks start coming. Lucky me that my local bar is Local 16, the best roof deck with the nicest staff in the city!
A.
Amy Orndorff :

Free drinks? Lucky you!

– June 09, 2011 1:27 PM
Q.

Getting Jazzy on the Mall

My brother is visiting from California this weekend. He loves jazz, so I would like to make the trek in from Annapolis Sunday for the jazz concert on the mall. Any tips for what we should do in DC before/during/after? Is the concert a mob-scene, or a pleasant place for a picnic? We're both so easy going that if I don't get help with a plan we'll end up stuck in traffic, meandering into the wrong neighborhoods, and eating at a tourist trap. Median age is 30, and we both enjoy music, good food, the outdoors, and the occasional museum. Thanks!

A.
Lavanya Ramanathan :

For readers who aren't onto it yet, this weekend is the big event of the D.C. Jazz Festival. No, it's not a mob scene, and you should have no problem picnicking (just be sure you're aware of the Mall/National Park Service rules). The concert starts at 1 p.m. and goes till 7, so I'd actually come a little bit later and hang out in the city early in the day.  Maybe you guys could check out the Phillips Collection's new Kandinsky show (opening Saturday) and meander around Dupont, checking out the farmer's market and doing some people-watching. If you go there, I'd grab lunch at Pizzeria Paradiso or Scion. Get to the concert by 3, though, when things start to get really good (Frederic Yonnet is amazing).

– June 09, 2011 1:27 PM
Q.

CP

Hi Gurus - I heard the Chipolte is coming to Cleveland Park in the Cereal space. Do you have any news on that?
A.
Fritz Hahn :

I know they applied for a zoning variation, because fast food restaurants are prohibited in that strip (and for good reason). But with Chipotles in Glover Park, Woodley Park and Columbia Heights, the California Tortilla already making tacos and burritos in the Park N Shop, and the arrival of Tackle Box in the old McDonald's space, I'd find it really, really hard to get excited about Chipotle in Cleveland Park.

– June 09, 2011 1:28 PM
Q.

El Centro

Have you guys been to El Centro d.f.? Thumbs up/ down?
A.
Alex Baldinger :

The basement at El Centro D.F. is one of the most transporting spaces in D.C. Seriously worth checking out for dinner or even just a cocktail. Feels a million miles removed from the hustle-bustle of 14th. The roof deck is also a nice little hideaway, though it would be even better if they served food up there, though they're planning to at some point. The main floor is a bit helter-skelter, and I've definitely had better tacos in D.C. Sorry if this is a bit of a cop-out, but overall, I think I'm thumb neutral. 

– June 09, 2011 1:29 PM
Q.

College Guest Columnist for Going Out Guide

Hi is this chat working?
A.
Alex Baldinger :

Yes. Do you want to be our intern? 

– June 09, 2011 1:29 PM
Q.

Fritz - you mentioned, but skipped over OC

which I would argue is at least the second choice (depending on how you feel about Dewey) for 20 year olds. The beach may be a lot more family than beautiful, but I think it offers a lot of nightlife, and really with all the development, a lot of everything.
A.
Fritz Hahn :

For bars and minigolf, it beats Rehoboth, Bethany and Fenwick for sure, and I love how wide the beach is. I'd agree that it should be second choice for a group of 20-somethings -- don't forget the Dew tour is coming this summer -- but I wouldn't go there in June. Waaaaay too many college/high school students.

– June 09, 2011 1:31 PM
Q.

A little Thievery poetry for tickets

My longing for Thievery Corporation [tickets] is so great, my heart melts for them 'til the dusk of day. The night seems so dark when Thievery is away, weeps, wails 'til day's dawn. The beauty of their music is great, Wondering mind 'til it sees, Wandering blindly about in sorry is all I do, While waiting for the moment, for one to say, "Your tickets, sir."
A.
Stephanie Merry :

That was truly moving. But we're going to need you to send in a favorite free pastime...

– June 09, 2011 1:31 PM
Q.

FREE ACTIVITY: Eagle-spotting

A fun way to pass the time is to stroll along the mall (or pretty much anywhere there are sure to be plenty of beefy, patriotic-fueled tourists) and count the number of: a) American flag shirts/pants/hats/shoes/bandanas b) articles of clothing adorned with an eagle (or 3 eagles) c) cowboy hats d) crocs (those versatile, all-American shoes that McCain thought would save our trade deficit) How in God's name can walking and laughing at tourists actually be fun!? Why gambling, of course! Get a baseline after 5 minutes and then start playing some over/under games. Nothing quite like laughing at tourists and then getting your buddy to buy you a few drinks (or taking his money). dclawstudent@mailinator.com
A.
Amy Orndorff :

This is oh-so-very-true. Still, be nice to the tourists and don't laugh too loud.

– June 09, 2011 1:31 PM
A.
Fritz Hahn :

Friends and I play "Punch Old-Navy-Flag-T-shirt" the way some people play Punch Buggy with Volkswagon. It can get painful strolling around Woodley Park -- and at Jazz in the Garden.

– June 09, 2011 1:33 PM
Q.

jazz on the mall

Is the all day jazz concert on Saturday or Sunday?
A.
Stephanie Merry :

Jazz on the Mall is Sunday.

– June 09, 2011 1:34 PM
Q.

Dress quest.

I haven’t been in a wedding for years and turns out that I will be the Maid of Honor of a wedding so I need to get a dress and I have no idea where to go. I’m looking to spend no more than $200 and the dress should be conservative (i.e. no strapless) and long. Nothing fancy as I’m not use to this type of garment. I have a David’s Bridal close by and found a dress, it’s OK and is on my budget, but honestly…It’s so boring, nothing special, and believe me my standards regarding dresses are not high. Would you recommend a store where I may be able to get my dress under that budget? MANY THANKS
A.
Holly Thomas :

Hang on ... you're in the bridal party and the bride doesn't have any more specific guidelines for your dress? Hmm ... if you're really on your own in terms of choice, David's Bridal is a good starting point, but you might also want to try bridal consignment shops/sites, like I Do I Do in Gaithersburg or WeddingBee.com. You might have some luck at EDressMe.com, though the offerings aren't all that conservative ... also try Overstock.com, where you can narrow the bridesmaid options by style, sleeve-length and more. Good luck!

– June 09, 2011 1:35 PM
Q.

Favorite free summer experience in DC

Hi. My FFSE in DC is walking into anywhere with air conditioning. Ah, sweet relief...
A.
Stephanie Merry :

Especially today. I may just skip lunch today, because I'm afraid to leave the office...

– June 09, 2011 1:40 PM
Q.

Favorite DC summer activity

Last summer I went to an outdoor movie in the little plaza on Mt. Pleasant Street. Pretty much anything that happens on that plaza (movies, live music, farmers market) is fantastic. I would bet that other similar neighborhood-based events are just as wonderful, and free!
A.
Jess Righthand :

Spent a summer living right off that little plaza and loved it.

– June 09, 2011 1:40 PM
Q.

Meeting the new girlfriend

My wife, my parents and I will be meeting my brother's new girlfriend in a few weeks. We anticipate this being very awkward. Any advice on a place to meet that doesn't involve us sitting around the dinner table searching for neutral topics? My first instinct was Jazz in the Garden, but my parents weren't thrilled about the idea of sitting on the ground...
A.
Lavanya Ramanathan :

Maybe it's very Hax of me to ask, but why will it be awkward? Neutral topics!? That sounds intriguing. Well, you could keep the jazz and lose the outdoors part of it: Try checking out Bayou or one of the other places on Fritz's list of nice jazz bars.  And add to that Black Fox Lounge.

– June 09, 2011 1:40 PM
Q.

VA Strawberry Picking?

Hey Gurus, I'd like to go Strawberry picking this weekend and then hold a strawberry party. I'm in Alexandria, and would prefer not to drive up to Montgomery County. Any suggestions for a local u-pick? Extra hugs and kisses if it's cheap, I expect to need something like 20lbs. Thanks!
A.
Amy Orndorff :

Twenty pounds! Wow. How about taking a trip to Loudoun County and visit Wegmeyer Farms? I just gave them a call and they said they have plenty of ripe strawberries.

– June 09, 2011 1:41 PM
Q.

Fashion question for Holly

I am going to New York City for a few days in August. This may sound silly, but I have a white summer hat that I would like to plan my outfits around. (Doesn't everyone plan their outfits around their hats? ;) I'm thinking of basic pieces in black, white, and coral for my clothes--does this sound reasonably chic? Thanks much; I sure do miss the Fashion Chats.
A.
Holly Thomas :

Thanks for the kind words! It's completely reasonable to plan an outfit around a hat ... or shoes/bags/belts/jewelry. A good rule of thumb for packing outfits is to choose pieces in two neutral colors, then use one bright hue (like your shade of coral) to tie them all together. A white hat would definitely work with that mix ... and if you get bored with it, bring a scarf in a new, fun color and tie it around the crown of the hat to change it up.

– June 09, 2011 1:42 PM
Q.

Best freebie

The free standup nights at Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse. There's always a handful of really funny comedians, it's a very laid back atmosphere, beers are $2, and it's free on a Saturday night! What's not to love?
A.
Jess Righthand :

Funny is good. I like it.

– June 09, 2011 1:43 PM
Q.

Beach - Assateague

Don't forget Assateague! If you own a 4x4 you can drive out on the 9 mile stretch of beach and pick your spot. If not, the assateague national park is a calmer more removed option than OC, Bethany, etc. and you can easily make it into OC for the night life after too.
A.
Amy Orndorff :

Well put.

– June 09, 2011 1:43 PM
Q.

Favorite free summer experience

I think I have to go with the monuments at night. A clear, cool night is the best for a walk, bike, or longboard ride on the mall. There is never a crowd and they leave all the lights on. My personal favorite is FDR, the monument is infinitely more impressive after the sun goes down, and the fountains add an amazing soundtrack to your adventure. Coupled with a stroll around the tidal basin, and you have a night no one will forget.
A.
Jess Righthand :

Classic D.C. This is one of my most memorable dates, hands down.

– June 09, 2011 1:46 PM
Q.

Brit Rest for Brit Book

Gurus-my book club is reading a British author for this month's book club selection. Where could we meet to discuss it? I am looking for a low to moderately priced restaurant/pub with relatively authentic British food, metro accessible, and in DC or VA? There will be a group of 5 and we'd need a place that would let us hang for 90 minutes to 2 hours to eat and discuss.
A.
Fritz Hahn :

The place that suits all your needs is Public House No. 7 in Seven Corners. Really authentic food with a neighborhood pub vibe, so you can feel free to linger with drinks and chat after you eat. 

I'd say the runner up would be the Queen Vic on H Street, which has good food, room to stretch out and a nice back patio with tables, in case that's what you're looking for.

Just don't be the people who keep talking at a table once your food/drinks are gone and you're not planning to order more. I've been hearing more complaints about that from bartenders and waiters lately. They're not happy about it.

– June 09, 2011 1:46 PM
Q.

Pride Week

Which events for Pride Week are the most worth checking out? and Do you know if there are any aperif, aperitivo type happy hour destinations in DC?
A.
Alex Baldinger :

Fritz's list of top Pride Week events is heavy on party and DJ suggestions. Of course, this weekend's parade and street festival are can't-miss. 

– June 09, 2011 1:46 PM
Q.

Hotel Pools

My birthday is coming up and I was thinking about taking the day off of work and spending it at a pool. Are there any hotel pools in DC that offer daily passes to the public?
A.
Holly Thomas :

We talked about this a bit in last week's chat, and the Deal Hunter column offered some ideas/options a few weeks ago ... happy early birthday!

– June 09, 2011 1:48 PM
Q.

Southwest Waterfront Date Ideas

Hi, Gurus! Any ideas for a fun date night down at the Southwest Waterfront on Saturday, aside from (or in addition to) dinner and drinks at Cantina Marina? We're looking for something off the beaten path this weekend. Thanks!
A.
Lavanya Ramanathan :

Really off-the-beaten-path, I think, would be a cruise. Odyssey leaves from the SW waterfront; my bet would be to try the moonlight one, so you're not dining on the boat , too. Or hit Arena Stage, which no longer has "Ruined" (sadly), but has two other plays up: "A Time to Kill" and "The Glass Menagerie." 

– June 09, 2011 1:49 PM
Q.

Fun in DC

I just signed on and have not had a chance to read through the responses but my favorite thing in DC in the summer is the Smithsonian Folk Festival. I always enjoy going. The one I remember most was the one that celebrated the Bahamas a number of years ago. I had gone to the Bahama with friends and met some of the dancer of their carnival type dancing and these dancers ended up being part of the folk festival that year. We had a great time visiting with the dancers and enjoying the food and music that the festival has to offer. I wish I could put down one major experience to outline the fun to be had at these things but there is not just one thing to mention. You get to travel out of the country without ever leaving DC. You can taste the food and listen to the music as well as see native costumes.
A.
Amy Orndorff :

Amen. We are lucky to have such a great, annual event in our backyard. Mark your calendars now, the festival this year highlights Columbia, the Peace Corps and rhythm and blues.

– June 09, 2011 1:50 PM
Q.

So much free stuff, how to choose?! A limerick.

Free outdoor movies, Jazz in the garden, and then -- Millennium Stage!
A.
Stephanie Merry :

Good choices, but I'm going to have to deduct a few points -- that's a haiku.

– June 09, 2011 1:50 PM
Q.

Going Out Guide

Hi. I love the going out guide, and it is always one of the first places I check when looking for something fun to do. However, it is soooo slooooow sometimes! Does anyone else have this issue? It has been trying to load the page events for this weekend for about 5 minutes. Also, would it be possible to make the default number of events 50 instead of 10 on the results page? And it would be great if you could pick multiple categories - like Exhibits AND Performing Arts, instead of being limited to one for each search. Just a few ideas.... Thanks!
A.
Lavanya Ramanathan :

Thank you! We'll make a note of the multiple categories request.

The pages do seem to be loading slow today -- I'll send a note to the tech gods and see what's up. But I'm going to put it out there: I think it's Theivery fans, crashing our site, too.

– June 09, 2011 1:51 PM
Q.

Jamaican Places

I'm interested in watching the Gold Cup game tomorrow at a Jamaican place in NoVA or DC. I'll even go to a Guatemalan place. Anywhere that will have the game on. Thanks!
A.
Fritz Hahn :

The first place I'd go (or call) would be the Island Cafe on Upshur near Georgia. They have a good-sized bar there with flatscreen TVs, good oxtail and curry chicken, and Caribbean beers. (The owners are Jamaican, so I'll bet they'll have the game on.)

– June 09, 2011 1:53 PM
Q.

Thievery Corportaion

I am a big fan of the Going Out Guide and I was wondering how I can score tickets to the thievery corporation concert. Talk to you guys soon!
A.
Lavanya Ramanathan :

Tell us your favorite free summer experience in and around D.C. and why -- send it in now. We'll keep this going for about 25 more minutes.

– June 09, 2011 1:53 PM
Q.

one night of freedom

My husband and I will be child free on Saturday night for our anniversary. We will be staying at the Mayflower and are looking for suggestions for a bar or club near by where two people in their mid-30's won't be the oldest people there.
A.
Lavanya Ramanathan :

Congratulations. Luckily, one good option is right down the street; I'd try Eighteenth Street Lounge. I know the review says "ultra-hip" but don't let that be a deterrant. Just dress up a little more than you usually might, and be patient in line.

– June 09, 2011 1:55 PM
Q.

Free Summer Comfort

On a day like today I like to start the morning with a little pond hockey on the canal near Chain Bridge. In the early afternoon, head in for the snowball fight in Dupont CIrcle before strolling the Mall for picturesque views of the momuments as evening approaches. Pretty sure that's what I have planned, anyway. I'm feeling a little faint today for some reason.
A.
Jess Righthand :

Snowball fight. Yeah, I'm pretty sure that's what I had planned for this afternoon as well.

– June 09, 2011 1:57 PM
Q.

Alliance Francaise short films

Hi, I think that checking some foreign films at this point is a cool idea to beat the heat. You might get lost in translation but at least you will avoid the heat wave, for a little bit. Any other suggestions, please?
A.
Fritz Hahn :

I'm a big fan of the theater at the Goethe Institut (surprise, I know) and their film series. Later this month, they're showing a series of documentaries on cycling races, mountain climbing and, most curiously, a hockey team from East Berlin.  In August, there's a month-long series of short films on climate change.

– June 09, 2011 1:57 PM
Q.

Question for Holly...

Hey Gurus, and happy Thursday! I have a fashion question for Holly...I'm looking to spend some $$ on a nice leather bag, but I'm afraid I can't buy something brand new. I'm looking for an "investment" piece that I'll take good care of and carry for years, maybe something I could pass along to my kids one day...thinking YSL, LV, etc. As I mentioned, I dont have the budget for something brand new, so I was curious if you had any recommendations for local consignment stores that carry bags like this? Or any reputable websites/eBay stores where I could find one? Thank you so much for the help!
A.
Holly Thomas :

If you're on a tight budget, I'd try starting with consignment stores -- Treat and Pretty People in Old Town, Second Chance in Bethesda, Secondi in Dupont, the new Current outpost on 14th St, Annie Creamcheese in Georgetown and Inga's Once is Not Enough in the Palisades are all worth checking out. I'd stay away from eBay, due to the onslaught of fakes -- I generally find Etsy to be a little easier to navigate. But don't rule out the possibility of a new bag from a lesser-known designer -- Ralston is a local line of beautiful bags made from Argentine leather (available online and at Bloomingdales), and there are loads of good options coming out from smaller designers in NYC and beyond. Remember that an "investment" in a luxury item only pays off if someone actually wants said luxury item in a few years -- so stick with classic, timeless shapes and colors if you want it to hold its value.

– June 09, 2011 1:57 PM
Q.

Best place to go dancing

I've found that many of the free events in D.C. start out being great finds and soon become overcrowded an lose their appeal over time. It's probably best to catch them within the first two or three years. One such example is the D.C. Caribbean Carnival, which, for anyone who has been to Carnival in Trinidad or anywhere else in the Caribbean, was a little taste of the Caribbean right here in D.C. It was fun the first year or two, and then it became bigger and started attracting a different crowd and took on a different energy. I haven't been to Jazz in the Garden in the past couple of years, but it is one of my favorite free summer experiences in D.C. I loved the music and the whole laid back summer atmosphere. Back then, I had summer hours at work and my good friend and I would leave at 2:00 pm on Fridays, have a late lunch and find a good spot. I plan to check it out again this year. I hope it's still the same.
A.
Amy Orndorff :

This can be true, which is why you need to read the GOG and the Weekend section to know what is new and worth your time!

– June 09, 2011 2:01 PM
Q.

Recommendations?

Hi Gurus - it's been 7 years since I've lived in the area, but am visiting in September, along with a first time visitor to DC. In addition to touristy places and museums, I'd love to give them a taste of the local life there - what do you recommend in the Downtown area, Dupont, or Adams Morgan area that may be new since I last lived there? We are up for anything, and will dedicate about a half day in these 3 areas :) Thanks for your help!
A.
Lavanya Ramanathan :

Actually, I'd point you to two different neighborhoods entirely. The ones that seem to have changed the most in the past several years are Barracks Row/Eastern Market and H Street NE (we know what you're thinking: Northeast?). Check out our neighborhood guides; H Street is great for nightlife, and increasingly, dining. Barracks Row has more of a mix. You may also want to check out 14th Street, which has new bars and restaurants, including Churchkey, Estadio, shops such as Redeem, cafes, etc. etc. 

– June 09, 2011 2:01 PM
Q.

Perfect Summer Day

Grabbing sandwiches from Booeymonger, picnicing at the overlook next to the boathouse, then kayaking in the Potomac...done.
A.
Alex Baldinger :

Any day is a good day with Booeymonger. But what's your sandwich of choice? 

– June 09, 2011 2:03 PM
Q.

Summatime in DC

Drum circle in Meridian Hill!! Love how it brings out the many different types of people who live in the neighborhood- age, race, hipster/non, etc, and I love how everyone comes out to enjoy the music in any way they want- dancing, hula hooping, learning/teaching dance moves/hula hooping. AND there's yoga. Bliss.
A.
Jess Righthand :

Just moved to that neighborhood, will have to check it out. Especially if there's hula hooping.

– June 09, 2011 2:05 PM
Q.

Jazz in the Garden Alternative

Hi Gurus! There will be a group of us headed to Jazz in the Garden tomorrow to celebrate my friend's 25th birthday. However, with the threat of storms tomorrow, we figured we needed a plan b just in case. Any ideas for a group of about 15 girls? Thanks for your help!
A.
Fritz Hahn :

15 is a tough number for an indoor party. If you like jazz, what about heading to Bayou (near Foggy Bottom Metro) for live music plus a great happy hour with New Orleans-themed food and drink? Bonus: It will be much cheaper than you'd pay for wine at the Sculpture Garden.

– June 09, 2011 2:05 PM
Q.

Clarendon, VA

What is the scene like at the Southwest waterfront on Saturday during the day? Crowded? Is there anything to do but get drinks? Also any safety concerns?
A.
Alex Baldinger :

Depending on if there's a Nats game that afternoon, the Waterfront can get pretty well-traveled but not uncomfortably so. Lots of bicycles, but most of the traffic is on the water (and the parking lot). Dining/drinking and boat cruises are the main function of the SW Waterfront, yes, but there's also the fish market which is an experience unto itself. 

– June 09, 2011 2:08 PM
Q.

Favorite Free

My favorite free summer experience has always been Carter Barron Amphitheatre. I'm a country music fan, and years ago I caught John Michael Montgomery at CBA juuuuuuust before he hit it big -- Beer and Bones was barely playing on the radio, to give context to other fans. There were about 500 people there and most of them were there to see the opening act, Virginia Rose. Being able to see this future great (and most there knew he was destined for it -- there was lots of talk after of "wow, we'll be able to say we saw him when) in an up-close and personal atmosphere was extremely memorable. That's why I still go to as many of these free events as I can. You never know what future great you're going to see!
A.
Fritz Hahn :

Great call. Love Carter Barron, still mad about Shakespeare going indoors.

And hey, don't forget that we're hosting our own series of free concerts with up-and-coming local artists at Carter Barron. They start with Jazz and Soul night on June 17.

– June 09, 2011 2:08 PM
Q.

Booeymonger

Patty Hearst! However, that probably wouldn't travel well. For a picnic, I'd go with the Californian.
A.
Alex Baldinger :

I'm a Manhattan guy myself, but I'm glad we had this chat. 

– June 09, 2011 2:09 PM
Q.

Free Summer Fun

One of my favorite free summer things is to head to the Smithsonian museums that have extended hours during the summer during the work week. After extracting myself from a packed train and clawing my way out of an overheated metro station, I stroll over to the NMAH. I enter the cool atrium and spend the next couple of hours revisiting my favorite exhbits (IF these walls could talk and Julia Child's kitchen are two of my favorites) and checking out the new ones. A lot of the tourists have left so its uncrowded. By the time I leave the sun is low in the sky, the temperature has dropped a few degrees and the metro trip back home is considerably more comfortable.
A.
Fritz Hahn :

Good insider advice here -- especially true about all the tourists going to dinner so you feel like you have the museums to yourself.

– June 09, 2011 2:14 PM
Q.

hey whats that place...

whats the name of the nightclub that has like side show type stuff (swallowing swords, etc.)? i think its near H St. or maybe i'm just all around confused.
A.
Alex Baldinger :

It used to be called Palace of Wonders; now it's just the Red Palace

– June 09, 2011 2:16 PM
Q.

Fritz Hahn :

There were a lot of good tips on free events this week. It was a tough decision, but our favorite was the chatter who suggested going to the Smithsonian museums during their late summer hours -- it's been our experience that it's the best way to see exhibits without being surrounded by tourists and school groups.

Could the winner please send their name (and the name of their guest) to ramanathanl@washpost.com? We'll make sure you get on the guest list.

Thanks to everyone who participated. We'll see you back here next week.

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