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

Jun 09, 2011

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

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. 

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?

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.

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.

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).

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!

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.

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?

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. 

What time do artists go on, specifically Melanie Fiona performing tomorrow?

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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?

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.

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

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?

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!

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. 

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.

Another idea for the person looking to escape  the humdrum.

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!

Free drinks? Lucky you!

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!

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).

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

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.

Have you guys been to El Centro d.f.? Thumbs up/ down?

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. 

Hi is this chat working?

Yes. Do you want to be our intern? 

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.

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.

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."

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

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

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

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.

Is the all day jazz concert on Saturday or Sunday?

Jazz on the Mall is Sunday.

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

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!

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

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

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!

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

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...

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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?

Funny is good. I like it.

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.

Well put.

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.

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

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.

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.

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?

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. 

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?

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!

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!

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." 

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.

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.

Free outdoor movies, Jazz in the garden, and then -- Millennium Stage!

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

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!

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.

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!

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.)

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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?

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.

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!

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.

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.

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!

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!

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. 

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

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

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.

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

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!

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.

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?

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. 

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!

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.

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

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

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.

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

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.

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

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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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.
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