Alexandria Guitar Festival
Old Presbyterian Meeting House
321 S. Fairfax St.
Classes and afternoon performances: The Athenaeum
201 Prince St.
Classical guitar music. Suzuki children’s classes, master classes and concerts by internationally acclaimed artists, such as Benjamin Berdery, Ricardo Cobo and Nicholas Goluses. July 15-23.
Relax with Bluegrass
1116 King St.
Tiffany on upper King Street, the best place in town for bluegrass on Friday and Saturday nights. The crowds range from barely-legal to gray-haired and fill the tavern quickly. The owner and his wife are congenial and the music is great.
Go Hear the Symphony
2121 Eisenhower Ave. Suite 608
For music lovers there is of course the Alexandria Symphony now in its own space at Northern Virginia Community College.
Hear the Local Chorus
Alexandria Choral Society
Don’t miss their summer garden party as well as their concerts throughout the year.
Music at Twilight
Fort Ward Park
4301 W. Braddock Road
From June 18 to Aug. 10 this year, the Music at Twilight series enlivens the evenings at Fort Ward Amphitheater. Relax in the park and listen to good music. Enough said.
St. Elmo’s Coffee Shop
2300 Mount Vernon Avenue
Thursdays, 8 to 10 p.m.
The Not So Modern Jazz Band plays straight-up Dixieland at the coffee shop every Thursday nights, purely for the joy. It’s not your espresso that’s making your feet tap.
A Legacy of Music
Alexandria Citizens Band
301 King St.
Friday nights in the summertime, the city’s oldest performing arts organization performs in Market Square.
Pipes, Pedals, Praise and Prayer
Old Presbyterian Meeting House
321 S. Fairfax St.
The program Pipe, Pedals, Praise and Prayer continues this summer at the Old Presbyterian Meeting House.
Half-hour concerts begin at 5 p.m. and are followed by a reception and a church service at 6:30.
Upcoming performances will feature Edward Moore of Catholic University (July 9) and Jason Abel of Christ Church (July 16).
Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts
1645 Trap Road
Wolf Trap features daily concerts during the summer.
Over the next several months, a handful of acts will grace the stages at this venue, spanning several genres and generations of artists.
Wolf Trap will also play host to Riverdance and other performance-based acts.
For ticket information, call 703-255-1868 or go online to www.wolftrap.org.
The State Theatre
220 N. Washington St.
Falls Church, Va. 22046
Built in 1936, the State Theatre acted as a movie house until the 1980’s. Now serving audiences of live music, the theatre is a half-seated, half-standing room venue with seating available on a first-come, first-serve basis. The main-floor auditorium seats 160, while the balcony consists of 200 theatre-style seats. The theatre also features a full service restaurant for patrons; tables may be reserved.
The ticket booth is open from noon to 5 p.m. on Monday-Friday and noon to 11:30 p.m. on all show nights. Check out www.statetheatre.com for more information.
3701 Mount Vernon Ave.
Alexandria, Va. 22305
Many musical acts have found their way to this cozy, indoor (all-seated) listening hall. Mary Chapin Carpenter, Lyle Lovett, Shawn Colvin, Jerry Jeff Walker, Dave Matthews, Vince Gill, John Prine, Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt, and k.d. Lang are just a few of the artists counted as friends of the Birchmere.
Tickets can be purchased through Ticketmaster or in advance at The box office from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., on performance night. More information can be found online at www.birchmere.com
DAR Constitution Hall
1776 D St. NW
Washington, D.C. 20006
Annually, more than 600,000 people visit Constitution Hall, D.C’s largest concert hall. Owned by National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, the hall was originally built in 1929 and has played host to big acts such as U2, Aerosmith, Billy Joel and Bruce Springsteen, as well as classical performers like the National Symphony Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic.
Tickets for concerts are only sold through Ticketmaster.
The Black Cat
1811 14th St. NW
The Black Cat features local, national, international, independent and alternative music. Tickets for “mainstage” shows — performed in a 7,000 square-foot arena —are available in advance at the box office from 8 p.m. until midnight or through Ticketmaster at 202-397-SEAT or www.ticketmaster.com.
Tickets for “backstage” shows are available at the door only. The backstage is located downstairs next to the Red Room Bar and fits about 150 patrons for an intimate, coffee-house feel.
815 V St. NW
Washington, D.C. 20001
Located two blocks from the Cardozo Station stop on Metro, Nightclub 9:30 is a quaint concert spot, one which attracts a myriad of musical talent such as Frank Black, the Killers, Sheryl Crow, the Smashing Pumpkins, John Fogarty, the Reverend Al Green, Sarah McLaughlin, David Gray and Better Than Ezra.
Doors open at 7:30 p.m. for concerts Monday-Thursday and 9:00 p.m. for concerts Friday-Sunday. The club offers an upstairs and downstairs section with bars located in each.
Tickets are available at the box office and online (www.930.com).
601 F St. NW
Washington, D.C. 20004
The site of the area’s largest indoor concerts, MCI will be lending its stages in the coming months to various acts.
For more information go to www.mcicenter.com.
Merriweather Post Pavilion
10475 Little Patuxent Parkway
Columbia, Md. 21044
Located in the Baltimore/Washington corridor off Route 29, Merriweather typically features quality outdoor entertainment and a friendly crowd. Pearl Jam, Cake, Sarah McLaughlin, the Killers are listed among past performers.
Both pavilion and lawn seating is available. For tickets, call 703-573-SEAT or go online to www.merriweathermusic.com.
1140 Connecticut Ave.
NW Washington, D.C. 20036
The best comedians perform at the D.C. Improv Comedy/Restaurant. Margaret Cho, Matt Kazam, Colin Quinn and Tommy Davidson are just some of the past performers. Shows generally feature three comics; a newbie comedian, followed by another comedian with a longer routine, and finishing with the headline performer for the night. The club is a small enclosed area, and offers food and drink.
The club also provides classes through the D.C. Improv Comedy College. Students can partake in the club’s summer camp as well. For more information go to www.dcimprov.com.
The Comedy Spot
Ballston Common Mall
4238 Wilson Blvd.
Arlington Va. 22203
The Comedy Spot offers four different shows; the comedy sportz, clean curse-word free performance suitable for all ages, a comedy improv for adults only — The Blue Show and Poppy Cock, and finally the open-mic night on Sundays with a $25 prize for the funniest joker. The club also offers summer events for tweens and teens. There is the “Creative Drama Workshopz,” which allows children to be spontaneous. The Blue Show is a mix of improv shows shown on television such as “Whose Line is it Anyway?” Each improve show is different since they play new games with new audience suggestions.
Lafter Hours Comedy Club
14114 Lee Highway
Centreville, Va. 20120
Lafter Hours sticks to the standard comedy club set up with an up-and-coming comedian kicking things off, followed by the featured headliner. Past headliners have been “Last Comic Standing” star Corey Kahaney and Comedy Central’s Andy Campbell. There is an option for food and drink with catering provided by Fast Eddie’s Sports Bar, offering typical bar food such as buffalo wings and french fries. Reservations are recommended for both the 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. shows on Friday and Saturday nights.
Parks and Nature
Ridge Trail at Great Falls Park
Great Falls Park
9200 Old Dominion Drive
McLean, Va. 22101
Imagine biking a beautiful 1.5 mile trail smack dab between Old Dominion Drive and the Potomac River. The bike trail offers breathtaking scenery of upland forests, the river and the wildlife around it. The terrain is random, varying from hilly to flat; therefore the biker also needs to be on guard, always ready to change gears. The ride is relaxing and peaceful especially since it’s a short distance. For further information about hours of the park call 703-285-2965 or visit the website, www.nps.gov/grfa.
Ride the Train at Burke Lake Park
7315 Ox Road
Fairfax Station, Va.
For a $1.75 fee, guests can ride a classic five-car miniature train across a tressle around the picturesque park. The park is open on the weekends in the spring and early fall and daily during the summer.
Spaced across 560 square miles, the Occoquan River intersects Northern Virginia’s Route 123. Many kayakers, boaters, fishermen, and even crew teams use the river as a sporting facility. For more information contact the Occoquan River Marina at 703-324-5616.
Shenandoah National Park
3655 U.S. Highway 211 East
Luray, Va. 22835
Skyline Drive is a 105-mile road that curves throughout the mountain tops of the Shenandoah National Park. The scenic view attracts visitors from all over the eastern United States. A panoramic view of the Blue Ridge Mountains is best viewed at sun up or sun down.
Dog Day Afternoon Cruises
Lake Accotink Park
7500 Accotink Park Road
This event offers dog owners a chance to cruise Lake Accotink with their canine friends on a pontoon boat. Reservations are required for this event, which is open to humans ages eight and older. To register, send participant’s name, address, phone number, program title and a check payable to FCPA to Lake Accotink Park, 7500 Accotink Park Road, Springfield, Virginia 22150. Please call 703-569-0285 for credit card registrations or more information. $5 for adults, $3 for kids (ages 8-15). Maximum one dog per adult.
The 3rd and 16th Holes at Westfields Golf Club
13940 Balmoral Greens Ave.
Clifton Va. 20124
Westfields Golf Club in Clifton, Virginia offers a course that any golfer can enjoy from beginner to advanced. Signature holes are the 3rd and the 16th hole. “One reason why Westfields is so appealing is because there are no houses near or on the course, so members have no reason to be worried or paranoid about hitting anything,” said Tournament coordinator Colin Gooch. Westfields runs over 100 events, combination of corporate and charity.
The World’s Longest Mini-Golf Hole
Upton Hill Regional Park
6060 Wilson Boulevard
This 26-acre park, featuring the world’s longest miniature golf hole, is open daily from dawn to dusk. The park also features multiple swimming pools (in season), batting cages with baseballs and softballs, a nature trail, shuffleboard, horseshoe pits, snack bars and a picnic area.
Senior Tennis League
Fairfax County Park Authority
Over the age of 55? Looking to stay active? The Fairfax County Golden Racquets Club is an indoor and outdoor doubles year-round weekday competitive league for seniors. A $10 annual membership gets you a share of daytime courts and membership into one of the area’s most prestigious tennis leagues. For more information go to www.goldenracquests.com.
The Slides at Tuckahoe Park
2400 North Sycamore St.
Arlington, Va. 22213
Slide down the black and white slide on the Tuckahoe Playground located in Arlington County. The slides are very long, thus children enjoy the thrill of sliding longer. The ride is fast and the slider never knows when the tube will end. Along with having a playground, Tuckahoe Park offers a variety of activities. For the competitive athlete or dads playing catch with their children, there are two baseball fields as well as two softball fields. For aspiring Andy Roddicks, there are also two lighted tennis courts. Nature lovers are provided with one water fountain, a paved trail, a nature area, and a wildlife observation opportunity. For further information visit the Arlington County Authority’s website at www.co.arlington.va.us.
Museums, monuments, fairs and galleries
Tour Old Town Alexandria
Alexandria is located on the west bank of the Potomac River, six miles below D.C. and nine miles north of Mount Vernon. The Old Town historic district is known for its museums, architecture, special events, restaurants and hotels, water-side shopping and other attractions that draw more than 1.5 million visitors annually.
To learn more about the city’s various attractions, go to ci.alexandria.va.us.
Arts Afire Glass Gallery
102 North Fayette St.
Alexandria, Virginia 22314
The Art Museum Arts Afire Glass Gallery is the country’s largest glass jewelry gallery, featuring more than 300 American artists. The shop offers fine metal, ceramic, wood, and leather crafts. The museum is famous for its kaleidoscope selection, comprising works by more than 30 internationally acclaimed artists. There is also a Judaic selection available. The beading is extremely detailed as is the jewelry. The gallery hosts six trunk shows a year, allowing the public to witness fine art at its best. or further information visit the website www.artsafire.com or call 703-838-9785.
18th Century Fair at Mount Vernon
3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway
Mount Vernon, Va. 22121
An annual fair that goes beyond the usual arts and crafts sales. Visitors are able to witness Colonial-attired artisans demonstrate 18th-century crafts before having a chance to purchase baskets, woodcarvings, tin and iron work, leather workings and furniture. Live music, fire-eating, sword-swallowing, puppet and magic shows, rat-catchers and gypsies make this more than just a marketplace. Details can be found at www.mountvernon.org.
Tour the National Mall and Memorial Parks
Established in 1965, the National Mall in D.C. is home to such icons as the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, World War II Memorial, Vietnam War Memorial and Capital Reflecting Pool.
Also visit Ford’s Theatre — the house where Lincoln died — and the mall’s various museums, including The Smithsonian.
For more information, go to the National Park Service on-line at www.nps.gov/nama.
D.C. Museum Tour
District of Columbia
One could literally spend days trolling through the Art, Science and Nature, as well as History and Culture museums offered in the nation’s capitol. The most popular facilities include the Smithsonian Institution’s collection of 16 museums and galleries, including the National Air and Space Museum, The Holocaust Memorial Museum, and The National Museum of American History. One of the district’s newest additions is the International Spy Museum — a spy exhibit which offers an interactive experience for kids and adults. For more information on museums in the District of Columbia call the Smithsonian Institution at 202-633-1000.
Marine Corps Sunset Parade
Iwo Jima Marine Corps Memorial
A free event held on Tuesday evenings during June through August, the US Marine Bugle and Drum Corps and the famous Silent Drill Corps perform at the memorial. Seating is on the lawn, while parking is only available at Arlington National Cemetery. Marine Corps shuttle buses will take people to the Iwo Jima Memorial starting at 6 P.M. and will return them after the event.
Shop Tysons Corner Center
1961 Chain Bridge Rd.
McLean, Va. 22102
One of the premier shopping malls on the East Coast, Tysons Corner — features two malls in Tysons I and Tysons II — has over 250 stores, including Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s, Hecht’s, Lord & Taylor, L.L. Bean and Banana Republic.
2001 East Capitol Street Southeast
Washington, D.C. 20003
Washington’s auditorium is a big top ballroom with a gigantic dome that towers over its visitors. There is always something going on at the D.C. Armory, which is home to a year-round string of exciting events. The armory hosts conventions, circuses, inaugural balls, horse, home, car and food shows. It can hold up to 10,000 people. Take the Stadium/Armory stop on the metro.
Bordered by the Potomac River, Rock Creek and Glover Park, Georgetown’s heart is located on M Street and Wisconsin Avenue in North West D.C. It’s home for high-fashion stores, outdoor bars and restaurants, boat races, as well as some embassies.
Other landmarks include Dumbarton Oaks, where the United Nations was outlined in 1944, and the oldest structure in D.C. — Georgetown Old Stone House. It is also the place where the movie ‘The Exorcist’ was filmed in 1973. The film’s famous staircase scene was located between Prospect Street and M Street.
1523 22nd St. NW
Washington, D.C. 20037
This dining house and down-home saloon offers over 1,000 varieties of beer. Foreign. Domestic. Lagers. Ales. Dark. Light. From Argentina to Zimbabwe, the “Brick” has the brew to satisfy.
Doors open for lunch at 11:30 a.m. during the week and 6 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. The Brickskeller stays open until 2 a.m. Sunday-Thursday and 3 a.m. Friday and Saturday.
Visit www.thebrickskeller.com for more information.
Tour Channel 10 Studios
2929 Eskridge Road
Fairfax, Va. 22031
Channel 10 is the gem of Fairfax County’s local programming which airs a range of different programs including local sports shows and lifestyle shows. With 74 hours of programming a week, something is always on Channel 10. Go to the station and take a class or just take the station’s tour. You can even volunteer your time. Become part of the Channel 10 crew.
Amusement Parks Sidebar
16000 Theme Park Way
Roller coaster enthusiasts will not be disappointed with the collection of classic and cutting-edge rides at this popular theme park, located right off of I-95. The park features the world’s first air-launched coaster, HyperSonic XLC; Flight of Fear, an indoor coaster; Volcano, a linear-induction coaster that literally launches riders out of a smoking mountain; Anaconda, a steel coaster; and a trio of wooden coasters. The park also features water rides, a section for young ride enthusiasts and several shows during the day.
A “pay once/visit twice” ticket can be had for $45.99, and it allows visitors to use the same ticket for two trips to the park during public operating days (from the spring through selected weekends in September and October).
Busch Gardens/Water Country USA
One Busch Gardens Blvd.
Located nearly 150 miles away from Washington, D.C., Busch Gardens is a destination where an overnight stay might work best. Also visit Colonial Williamsburg, which is located only three miles away from the park. The park is open April through selected weekends in October.
Busch Gardens is split up into “countries,” each with their own theme. Among the popular rides are the new Curse of DarKastle, an intense thrill ride with state-of-the-art special effects and Apollo’s Chariot, a “hypercoaster” that plummets passengers a total of 825 feet. The park also features daily shows and animal attractions.
Water Country USA, open May through September, is located next to Busch Gardens. It is the mid-Atlantic’s largest family water play park, featuring state-of-the-art water rides and attractions all set to a 1950s and ’60s surf theme.
The best bet for the parks are multi-day “Bounce” tickets, which are good for two or three days of admission to both parks.
Six Flags America
This park, part of the national Six Flags family, features great family fun and some intense action rides. Superman: Ride of Steel, a coaster that’s 200 feet tall with a 190-foot drop, and which reaches 75 mph; and The Joker’s Jinx, a linear induction coaster that goes from zero to 60 mph in three seconds, are just two of the rides. The park also features slightly less high-impact rides for the whole family, including a Looney Tunes-themed kids’ land.
Tickets purchased online at www.sixflags.com feature a discount down to $32.99 for general admission for one day. The park is open from April to October.
The Water Mine Family Swimmin’ Hole
1400 Lake Fairfax Drive
Operated by Fairfax County Park Authority, the Water Mine is geared to elementary-aged children but offers attractions for everyone from toddlers to teenagers. It’s an acre of slides, flumes, sprays, showers, and floatables, circled by Rattlesnake River with a 2.5 mile per hour current that gently nudges tubes along. The park opens in late May and has hours of operation until September. Children two-years-old and under are free; people under 48-inches tall have a $10 admission fee, while anyone over 48-inches has a $12 fee.
Splash Down Waterpark
500 Ben Lomond Park Drive
Billed as Northern Virginia’s largest water park, Splash Down Waterpark features five different water areas, along with great summer food at the Coney Island Café, Paradise Pizza and Sweets N Treats. Among the attractions are two 4-story waterslides; Big Kahuna Beach, which features 250 tons of sand; and the 770-foot lazy river. The park is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Guests 48 inches or over pay $12.95, while guests under 48 inches get in for $9.95.
Planet Splash & Play
4600 Brookfield Corporate Drive
Billed as “the premiere water park destination in the Northern Virginia Area,” Planet Splash And Play features the “Master Blaster” waterslide and the relaxing “Lazy River.” The park is open on the weekends in early summer and then daily for the summer. Guests 48 inches or over pay $12.95 for admission, while those under 48 inches pay $8.95; the prices are cut in half after 4 p.m. Children two-years-old and under are admitted free.