<![CDATA[NBC4 Washington - Worth the Trip]]>Copyright 2017http://www.nbcwashington.com/blogs/worth-the-trip http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/WASH+NBC4+BLUE.png NBC4 Washington http://www.nbcwashington.comen-usSat, 25 Mar 2017 02:26:50 -0400Sat, 25 Mar 2017 02:26:50 -0400NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[It's Really Happening! Cherry Blossoms Reach Phase 5 of 6]]> Wed, 22 Mar 2017 16:52:13 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/160*120/Pagoda+and+blossoms.jpg

The cherry blossom survivors of last week's snowy cold snap are preparing to bloom just as impressively as ever -- and they've reached the 5th of 6 blooming stages, the National Park Service (NPS) announced Wednesday.

Seventy percent of D.C.'s surviving Yoshino cherry blossoms reached the puffy white phase Wednesday, the NPS said. Although there is still one more phase to go before peak bloom, the puffy white stage is gorgeous on its own, as evidenced by photos the NPS released Wednesday.

It's a moment we weren't sure we'd get to see -- about half of the Yoshino blossoms were killed by last week's freezing temperatures. But the NPS announced Friday that blossoms that were still in earlier stages at the time of the freeze had survived.

The Yoshino trees also reached the start of their blooming period Wednesday, the NPS said, which is defined as when 20 percent of the blossoms are at full bloom. This period starts a few days before the peak bloom date and can last as long as 14 days -- although be warned that deep frost or extreme heat combined with wind or rain can shorten it, the NPS said.

The NPS is predicting the blossoms to reach peak bloom this weekend, with temps expected to be in the 60s Friday and the 70s Saturday.

The National Cherry Blossom Festival started last weekend and continues for four weeks.

'There Will Be a Peak Bloom'

Unseasonable warm weather had experts a few weeks ago predicting an early bloom. Then a late-season snowstorm and a cold front changed everything. Temps in the low 20s killed most of the blossoms that had already reached the puffy white stage.

"There was almost complete loss of those emerging blossoms," said Mike Litterst of the NPS.

But about half of the trees were in the fourth stage or earlier. Horticulturists examined some earlier stage blossoms, putting them in warmer conditions to coax them to bloom and found that they did survive the cold.

"There will be a peak bloom of the Yoshino cherry trees this year at the Tidal Basin, and we are delighted to be able to say that we know it's going to be beautiful, spectacular as ever," said Gay Vietzke, the NPS superintendent of the National Mall.

However, Vietzke said they anticipate there will be fewer blossoms than usual, so the color may not be as dense as we've seen in past years. Yearly visitors may notice a difference, she said.

"For those who are coming for the first time ... there will be a brilliant display of the white and pink blooms," Vietzke said.



Photo Credit: National Park Service
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<![CDATA[NoVa Restaurant Week Kicks Off Monday]]> Mon, 20 Mar 2017 06:28:36 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_72296035.jpg

Looking for a lunch or dinner idea? Well, you're in luck! Northern Virginia Restaurant Week kicks off Monday.

More than 60 restaurants in Arlington, Fairfax, Prince William and Loudoun counties are participating. Each restaurant is encouraged to set their own lunch and dinner menus and offer a special discount price.

The week-long event will last until March 27. 

Many other restaurants are participating, and all of them can be found on the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce website



Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Cherry Blossoms Bring Specials to DC Bars, Restaurants]]> Mon, 20 Mar 2017 16:16:13 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/cherry-blossom-specials-2017.jpg Many bars and restaurants around D.C. will be celebrating the National Cherry Blossom Festival with these cherry-inspired cocktails and menu items. Here's your go-to list.]]> <![CDATA['Infinity Mirrors' Dazzles at the Hirshhorn]]> Tue, 21 Feb 2017 18:02:34 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Infinity+Rooms+14.jpg "Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors" is now open at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. This much-anticipated exhibition, complete with dazzling lights, mirrors, polka dots and pumpkins, is bringing in large crowds.

Photo Credit: Julie Gallagher]]>
<![CDATA[Stunning 'Light City' to Illuminate Baltimore's Inner Harbor]]> Fri, 17 Mar 2017 14:09:46 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/light-city-baltimore-2017.jpg Light City Baltimore, a nine-day free art festival, will return to the Inner Harbor for its second year starting March 31.

Photo Credit: Light City Baltimore]]>
<![CDATA[Cherry Blossoms Will Be 'Spectacular as Ever': NPS]]> Sat, 18 Mar 2017 07:23:16 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/20170317+Cherry+Blossoms.jpg

While some of the cherry blossoms on the verge of bloom before the cold snap were damaged, earlier stage blossoms survived and will emerge next week, the National Park Service said Friday afternoon.

"There will be a peak bloom of the Yoshino cherry trees this year at the Tidal Basin, and we are delighted to be able to say that we know it's going to be beautiful, spectacular as ever," said Gay Vietzke, the National Parks Service superintendent of the National Mall.

Unseasonable warm weather had experts a few weeks ago predicting an early bloom. Then winter storm Stella and a cold front changed everything.

This week's temperatures in the low 20s killed most of the blossoms that reached the puffy white stage, the fifth of six stages of the bloom cycle.

"There was almost complete loss of those emerging blossoms," said Mike Litterst of the National Park Service.

But about half of the trees were in the fourth stage or earlier.

Horticulturists examined some earlier stage blossoms, putting them in warmer conditions to coax them to bloom and found that they did survive the cold.

“We anticipate there will be fewer blossoms than normal and the color therefore may not be quite as dense as we've seen in past years,” Vietzke said.

Yearly visitors may notice a difference, she said.

"For those who are coming for the first time ... there will be a brilliant display of the white and pink blooms," Vietzke said.

The cherry blossoms are a major boost to D.C.’s tourism business.

“We’re pretty discouraged by that news, but we know that people planning to be in Washington will still be able to enjoy a festival related that’s not just focused on the trees but focuses on many of the offerings around the city,” Mayor Muriel Bowser said. “They will continue to be able to go to all of free museums and monuments and enjoy Washington, D.C.”

The National Cherry Blossom Festival starts this weekend and continues for four weeks.



Photo Credit: Sarah Dean/NBCWashington]]>
<![CDATA[At Least 3 Cherry Blossom Varieties Could Survive the Freeze]]> Thu, 16 Mar 2017 16:40:19 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-653286560.jpg

The cold weather may be holding our Yoshino cherry blossoms hostage, but with 11 more varieties of cherry trees in the District, there may still be hope to see some blossoms. 

The popular Yoshino cherry trees make up about 70 percent of D.C.'s approximately 3,800 cherry trees, according to the National Park Service (NPS), and by now you may have heard cold temperatures could have frozen many of our little blossom friends.

However, all hope is not lost -- it's possible that not all Yoshino blossoms were damaged, and some other trees have different blooming cycles. Here are D.C.'s 10 other cherry tree types, where to find them, and what we know about their blooming schedules:

LATER THAN YOSHINOS:

Kwanzan cherry trees -- the second-most abundant species in D.C. after the Yoshinos -- bloom 10-14 days after the Yoshinos. Because the Kwanzan cherry trees bloom later, their buds are protected from the bitter cold we're experiencing right now, the NPS said Wednesday. 

The Kwanzan trees are projected to bloom April 10-13 this year.

They produce large, dense flowers with clear pink double blossoms. Find them in East Potomac Park on the Lower Potomac River side, near Buckeye Drive SW. 

The Shirofugen cherry tree blooms later than most cherry trees. You can recognize these blooms by their fluffy pink petals. To find these trees, try the area along Ohio Drive SW just south of Independence Avenue, south of the Korean War Veterans Memorial.

The Usuzumi-zakura cherry tree variety also blooms after the Yoshinos, and the blossoms change from pink to white. In Japan, some Usuzumis are more than 1,500 years old. Find D.C.'s along Ohio Drive SW, northwest of the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial.

RANDOM BLOOMING SCHEDULE:

The autumn flowering cherry trees can bloom at any time of year, including fall and during warm spells in the winter. Look for smaller, less showy blossoms. You can find these trees near Bathing Beach, just slightly northeast of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial.

BLOOMING SCHEDULE UNCLEAR:

(We're waiting to hear back from the NPS on when these varieties bloom.)

The Akebono is a variant of the more common cherry tree and is located along Ohio Drive SW near Independence Avenue, just south of the Korean War Veterans Memorial. These small blossoms look very similar to the classic Yoshino cherry blossoms but have a slightly pink look. The NPS says they are also "less showy."

The Fugenzo trees are a great example of how cherry trees are grafted and are easily distinguished by their thick, straight trunks, according to the NPS. These are located along Ohio Drive SW on the Lower Potomac River side, west of the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial.

Sargent cherry trees are planted individually and scattered throughout Potomac Park. You can find some southwest of the Jefferson Memorial, just south of the Washington Channel bridge in Potomac Park. To spot these small pink blooms, look for the leaves that unfurl with a purplish or bronze hue.

The Takesimensis cherry trees have shorter, stubbier twigs compared to other cherry varieties. They were planted at Hains Point, the tip of land between the Washington Channel and the lower Potomac River, because they were expected to better tolerate the flood-prone area.

Weeping cherry trees are easily identified by their long, drooping branches. They are found throughout the park, but you can find some along the Washington Channel by the Ohio Drive SW and Buckeye Drive SW intersection.

EARLIER THAN YOSHINOS:

It may be a bit too late to see some of these this year.

Afterglow cherry trees bloom early and tend to peak ahead of the Yoshino blossoms. These are situated just south of the U.S. Interior Department and U.S. Park Police buildings, along the Lower Potomac River side of Ohio Drive SW in Potomac Park.

Okame cherry trees have an earlier bloom and peak before the Yoshinos. Their bright pink blooms with longer, thinner pedals make them easy to spot. Find these near the cherry blossom shuttle stop on the Washington Channel side of Ohio Drive SW, just north of the Francis Case Memorial Bridge.



Photo Credit: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[17 Places to Celebrate St. Patrick's Day in DC]]> Fri, 17 Mar 2017 07:29:50 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_579536866.jpg

Guinness and Jameson will flow, and corned beef and cabbage will be served. Hey, it's St. Patrick's Day. There's certainly no shortage of green-filled fun in the D.C. area, so we've rounded up 17 of the best spots to make the most of your March 17.

The Dubliner (4 F St. NW), a local favorite, will open its doors at 9 a.m. Friday with 43-cent Guinness from 9 to 10 a.m. You'll find live Irish music and a full menu available all day. Check out the pub's website for more information.

Kelly's Irish Times (14 F St. NW) -- Another Irish D.C. staple (just down the street from The Dubliner!), Kelly's opens at 10 a.m. Friday, with live music and drink specials all day.

If you're around Adams Morgan, Shenanigans (2450 18th St. NW) is a must-visit. Every Friday and Saturday night, the Irish pub offers $10 cover with an open bar from 9 to 11 p.m. Shenanigans has a lengthy selection of Irish beers and doors will open at noon Friday.

Fado Irish Pub (808 7th St. NW) will open its doors for brunch at 8 a.m. until 11 a.m., and will have a $10 cover and live music in the afternoon. Irish dancers and bagpipers will play throughout the day. Head to Fado's Facebook page for more information.

Rí Rá Irish Pub (3125 M St. NW) in Georgetown will have live music all day starting at noon. You can scope out the lineup here.

Shaw's Tavern (520 Florida Ave. NW) will have dancers from The Boyle School of Irish Dance performing at 6:30 p.m. and The Harvey Sometimes Band taking the stage at 8 p.m.

Ireland's Four Provinces (105 W. Broad St., Falls Church, Virginia) has events all day long! Enjoy "kegs and eggs" from 9 to 11 a.m., and 11:30 a.m. lunch and live music by Gerry Timlin, and dinner at 5, 7 or 9 p.m., also with live music by Gerry Timlin. From 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. enjoy more live music on the outside patio. Call (703) 534-9000 for more details or to make a reservation.

Star & Shamrock (1342 H St. NE will open at 8 a.m. Friday with a full Irish breakfast available. There will be music by The MollyHawks and a chance for you to get your March Madness fix, too.

James Hoban's Irish Bar & Restaurant (1 Dupont Circle NW) will have St. Patrick's Day deals and celebrations as they've labeled Friday as "The Big Day." Bonus: On Saturday, they'll show the Ireland vs. England game at noon.

Old Engine 12 Restaurant (1626 N. Capitol St. NW) in Bloomingdale is having a St. Patrick's Day Pig Roast from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. You can RSVP by emailing events@oldengine12restaurant.com. Cost: $20.

Blackfinn Ameripub (1620 I St. NW) is having deals and giveaways on Friday, such as $2 shooters, $5 Jameson shots and $3 beer deals. Learn more about their St. Patrick's Day specials here.

Party in green at the Hard Rock Cafe (999 E St. NW) on Friday. For a $5 cover, you'll have access to deals on drinks, giveaways and prizes.

Want to extend the fun into Saturday? The NEXT Whisky Bar (2650 Virginia Ave. NW) at the Watergate is offering a St. Patrick's Day Kindred Spirits Whisky Class. From 2 to 4 p.m. you can learn "how to talk, enjoy and shop for Irish whiskey." The class (with some drinking included) costs $40. Buy a ticket here.

ShamROCK & ROLL with Buffalo & Bergen's Suburbia at Union Market (1309 5th St. NE) from 5 to 10 p.m. For $10, St. Patrick's Day enthusiasts can each enjoy one pint of beer, access to food and drink deals, and a free bloody Mary on Saturday morning. There will be $5 frozen Irish coffees, Guinness pints and Jameson shots. Get your tickets here.

Driftwood Kitchen (400 H St. NE) will be open from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday with $5 Guinness, $6 Jameson shots and $8 Irish Mules. Happy hour at Driftwood Kitchen will be from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Looking for a way to cure a St. Patrick's Day hangover or satisfy your sweet tooth? The Irish Dough Bombs or the Lucky Charms Donut at Sugar Shack Donuts (804 N. Henry St., Alexandria, Virginia; 1014 S. Glebe Road, Arlington, Virginia) might just do a trick. These festive donuts are available for a limited time, so order them while they are still available!

Nanny O'Brien's (3319 Connecticut Ave. NW) will open at 10 a.m., with a special St. Patrick's Day menu and live music all day.



Photo Credit: Shutterstock
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<![CDATA[Brewery Offers Free Ski Hat With Beer Purchase Before Snow]]> Mon, 13 Mar 2017 12:53:18 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_120711982.jpg

A Loudoun County brewery is offering a snow-friendly bonus ahead of Monday night and Tuesday's expected winter storm.

Adroit Theory Brewing Company touted its "Snowmageddon readiness kit" on Twitter on Monday. The brewery said customers who buy two bottles or a 64-ounce growler fill will receive a free Adroit ski hat.

Adroit Theory, which bills itself as a nanobrewery, is located in Purcellville, Virginia.



Photo Credit: Shutterstock
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<![CDATA['We Tell The Story': Md. Visitor Center Honors Tubman's Life]]> Fri, 10 Mar 2017 15:09:16 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Harriet+Tubman+Underground+Railroad+Visitor+Center+2.jpg

By the time she decided to run, Harriet Tubman knew the forests and marshes of Maryland's Eastern Shore like the back of her hand. 

She ran through the night, gravitating toward the peninsula's cold, still water. She could move quietly through it. Her father taught her how. 

But after completing the perilous journey to freedom, Tubman realized she was alone. 

"I had crossed the line. I was free, but there was no one to welcome me to the land of freedom. I was a stranger in a strange land," Tubman would later say. 

Desperate to be reunited with her family, Tubman quickly got a job and saved money so she could rescue her friends and family personally. She returned to the Eastern Shore 13 times, bringing 70 slaves to freedom. 

On Saturday, you can see a list of those names at the new Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center in Church Creek, Maryland.

The visitor center is just one of 36 stops on the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway, a 125-mile, self-guided driving tour through Tubman's native land. 

'It Was Guerrilla Warfare'
As you wander through the 10,000-square-foot visitor center, bronze-colored statues depicting scenes from Tubman's life are positioned throughout the exhibition space. 

All are inspiring, but a piece recreating the Combahee River raid may stop you in your tracks. 

On the night of June 2, 1863, Tubman became the first and only woman to lead an armed assault during the Civil War. Working as a wartime spy, she helped guide three steamboats around Confederate mines. 

Once the boats reached the shore, they sounded their whistles and attacked. 

"It was guerrilla warfare, basically," said assistant park manager Angela Crenshaw. "They were flooding rice fields, they were blowing up plantations and they were emancipating people."  

Hundreds of slaves ran for the shore when they heard the steamboats' whistles. Tubman later said she had never seen "such a sight."

Tubman and the Union troops rescued 720 to 800 people that day, Crenshaw said. 

The statue in the visitor center depicts that rescue, with Tubman leaning over the bow of a small boat to pull fleeing slaves out of the water. The scene is one you don't often hear about in the retelling of Tubman's life. 

Despite her heroic efforts, Tubman didn't receive any payment for her service for years. 

'I Had No Bed, No Place to Lie Down'
Before she was known as the Moses of her people, Tubman was Araminta "Minty" Ross.

As a child, Tubman was often loaned out to other slave owners and suffered unimaginable cruelties at their hands. At the Bucktown Village Store, she committed her first act of defiance and suffered a blow that nearly killed her. 

While working for a nearby farmer, Tubman went to the store with the farm's cook to purchase some items. At the same time, a young slave who left his home without permission entered the store with an overseer in hot pursuit. The overseer ordered Tubman to hold the slave, but she refused.

Angered, the overseer threw a 2-pound counterweight at the slave, but he missed and struck Tubman. The weight fractured her skull.

“They carried me to the house all bleeding an’ fainting. I had no bed, no place to lie down on at all, and they lay me on the seat of the loom, and I stayed there all that day and next,” Tubman later recalled, according to the byway's website.

The injury plagued her for the rest of her life, causing symptoms similar to epilepsy. But that same injury gave her the "potent dreams and visions she claimed foretold the future," author Kate Larsen said in Tubman's biography "Bound for the Promised Land."

"The sleeping disease is actually what made her very successful in her life, because she said when she would fall asleep God would speak to her," said Susan Meredith, who owns and operates the Bucktown Village Store with her husband, Jay.

The Bucktown Village store is one of the stops on the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway. The store was once owned by Jay Meredith's great-great-grandfather, but Susan and Jay Meredith purchased it years later, renovating it and opening it as a museum. 

"When we bought it, we made Maryland Life magazine as one of the top 10 places in Maryland in danger of falling down," Susan Meredith said, laughing. 

Once the visitor center opens, the Merediths plan to open the store to guests Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.

'We Tell the Story'
After stopping by the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center, guests are encouraged to immerse themselves in Tubman's story by driving along the byway and visiting sites like the Bucktown Village Store.  

"We tell the story, and then people go out and explore," Crenshaw said. 

This weekend, re-enactor Millicent Sparks will embody Tubman while historian Tony Cohen leads a simulated Underground Railroad journey. Park rangers will also teach the games enslaved children plays. 

“Harriet Tubman is a true Maryland treasure,” said Maryland Park Service Manager Dana Paterra. “Her path to freedom was wrought with peril but she persevered and overcame many struggles to become an American icon.”


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<![CDATA[13 Spots to View Cherry Blossoms (Minus the Crowds)]]> Thu, 09 Mar 2017 13:54:44 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/163*120/cms736.jpg When the cherry blossoms bloom, you can expect to face crowds of thousands who gather at the Tidal Basin each year to check them out. Maneuvering through traffic and trying to get a good view can be quite the challenge -- so we're sharing this list of 15 spots where the flowers are just as beautiful to look at... without quite as much of a crowd.

Photo Credit: Legendary Homes]]>
<![CDATA[Smithsonian's Objects of Wonder' Exhibit Opens Friday]]> Thu, 09 Mar 2017 13:57:36 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Objects-of-Wonder-Smithsonian.jpg Set up to feel like a behind-the-scenes tour, the Smithsonian's "Objects of Wonder" exhibit will open Friday at the National Museum of Natural History.

Photo Credit: Smithsonian Institution; Henn GmbH]]>
<![CDATA[MAP: Md. Byway Highlights Sites From Harriet Tubman's Life]]> Thu, 09 Mar 2017 13:44:25 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/2017-03-09_1101_002.png

The Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway is a 125-mile, self-guided driving tour through the beautiful landscape Harriet Tubman once called home.

With 36 sites to explore, the byway lets visitors take an inspiring journey through Maryland's Eastern Shore. From the plantation where Tubman worked to the general store where she committed her first act of defiance, guests can stand where Tubman and other freedom-seekers once stood and experience a piece of history. 

On Saturday, the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center --the newest site along the byway -- will open. The visitor center will tell Tubman's story before sending guests out to explore the byway. 

See some highlights from the byway above. Click here to see the interactive map in full screen mode.


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<![CDATA[2017 National Cherry Blossom Festival]]> Wed, 08 Mar 2017 12:22:18 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-483607599-%281%29.jpg

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[10 Great New Jersey Weekend Getaways]]> Mon, 27 Feb 2017 14:09:39 -0400 here.]]> here.]]> http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/lambertville-71333940.jpg Need a staycation? Keep these New Jersey destinations in mind for your springtime travels. ]]> <![CDATA[Celebrating Black History Month]]> Mon, 06 Feb 2017 11:26:18 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/199*120/PicMonkey+Collage49.jpg
View Full Story]]>
<![CDATA[Top 10 Day Trips Less Than 100 Miles From DC]]> Wed, 22 Feb 2017 12:10:38 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_146652008.jpg Where do you go when you want to get away... and also sleep in your own bed that night?

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[ 'Infinity Mirrors' to Open Thursday at Hirshhorn]]> Tue, 21 Feb 2017 22:31:59 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/sparkles+katy+perry+instagram.png

Japanese artist Yayaoi Kusama's much-anticipated exhibit will open Thursday at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.

"Infinity Mirrors" will feature six of Kusama's iconic kaleidoscopic spaces, the most to ever be featured together, according to the museum. A number of Kusama's other works, such as paintings and her "Pumpkin" statue, also will be on display. 

An artist and a novelist, Kusama started using mirrors in her work in 1965. She has created more than 20 infinity mirror rooms, according to the museum. The rooms and Kusama's other works have received worldwide admiration.

Members of the general public can get free tickets on the museum's website. The museum is releasing a week's worth of passes at a time, but they've been snapped up quickly for the exhibit's first two weeks. New batches of tickets will be available each Monday at noon.

The Hirshhorn is releasing these timed passes because large crowds are expected to visit the exhibit. The rooms are small, despite their captivating illusion of infinity.

The exhibit will be open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

The exhibit will be on view until May 14. A limited number of same-day passes will also be available at the museum on a first-come, first-served basis.



Photo Credit: Katy Perry Instagram]]>
<![CDATA[Top 10 Maryland Day Trips for Spring]]> Fri, 24 Feb 2017 14:15:13 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/thumb-Elk-Neck-State-Park-shutterstock_71828848.jpg Temperatures are rising, and flowers will be blooming soon. Celebrate springtime at one of these Maryland spots for the perfect day trip.]]> <![CDATA[Top 10 Virginia Day Trips for Spring]]> Mon, 20 Feb 2017 11:48:34 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/180*120/8.+Ride+a+horse.jpg After hiding inside this winter, you're probably ready to enjoy warm weather. Whether you want a beautiful nature hike, fast-paced thrills or wildlife spotting, here are 10 awesome Virginia getaways.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Weekday Passes for 'Infinity Mirrors' Exhibit Available]]> Mon, 20 Feb 2017 13:57:31 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/sparkles+katy+perry+instagram.png

The next round of passes for the artist Yayaoi Kusama's much-anticipated exhibit at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden became available Monday -- but you may have to visit on a weekday. 

The Japanese artist's exhibit, "Infinity Mirrors," opens at the museum on the National Mall Thursday. Members of the general public can get tickets on the museum's website.

While passes for the weekend sold out quickly, there are a few weekday passes still available.

"Infinity Mirrors" will feature six of Kusama's iconic kaleidoscopic spaces, the most to ever be featured together, according to the museum. A number of Kusama's other works, such as paintings and her "Pumpkin" statue, also will be on display. 

An artist and a novelist, Kusama started using mirrors in her work in 1965. She has created more than 20 infinity mirror rooms, according to the museum. The rooms and Kusama's other works have received worldwide admiration.

The Hirshhorn is releasing these timed passes because large crowds are expected to visit the exhibit. The rooms are small, despite their captivating illusion of infinity.

The exhibit will be open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Missed out this time around?

There's some good news! Free passes to the exhibit will be available every Monday at noon, and the exhibit will be on view until May 14. A limited number of same-day passes will also be available at the museum on a first-come, first-serve basis.



Photo Credit: Katy Perry Instagram]]>
<![CDATA[Find DC-Area Ice Skating Rinks]]> Fri, 18 Nov 2016 17:24:55 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/IMG_5767.JPG

Grab your friends, family or special date and lace up your skates! We've picked out the top skating rinks in D.C., Maryland and Virginia where you can take a spin on the ice.

(Did we miss your favorite? Tell us @DCscene!)

D.C.:

Sculpture Garden Ice Rink (between 3rd and 9th streets NW along Constitution Avenue) -- Bring friends for an artsy spin in the National Gallery of Art's Sculpture Garden on the National Mall. The rink's perfect soundtrack will get you pumped to stay even once you get chilly. Open now through March 13, weather permitting. Rates: $8.50 adults; $7.50 kids and adults 50 and older; $3 skate rentals.

Washington Harbour Ice Rink (3050 K St. NW) -- This Georgetown rink is billed as D.C.'s largest. You'll find it at the Georgetown waterfront surrounded by restaurants... just in case you need to warm up with a tasty bite when you're done. Open now through mid-March. Rates: $10 adults; $9 kids, seniors and military; $6 skate rentals. 

Canal Park Ice Rink (202 M Street, SE) -- If you're looking to spice up your skating experience, check out College Night on Thursdays, Rock n Skate on Fridays or Cartoon Skate on Saturdays. Open now through mid-March. Rates: $9 adults; $8 kids, seniors and military; $5 skate rentals. Two admissions for the price of one on Tuesdays. 


MARYLAND:

Silver Spring Ice Skating at Veterans Plaza (8523 Fenton St., Silver Spring) -- This covered (but outdoor) rink is smack in the middle of downtown Silver Spring. After you're done skating, explore the surrounding restaurants and shops. Open now through March 25. Rates: $9 adults; $8 kids and adults 55 and older; $4 skate rentals.

Skating at the Square (131 Gibbs St., Rockville) -- Take a twirl on the ice at Rockville Town Square, just steps away from plenty of restaurants and shops if you need to warm up afterward. Open daily including all holidays. Rates: $9 adults; $8 kids and seniors; $4 skate rentals.

VIRGINIA:

Pentagon Row Ice Outdoor Skating Plaza (1201 S. Joyce St., Arlington) -- Grab your friends and skate adjacent to the Pentagon City area's abundant restaurants and stores. Rates: $9 adults; $8 kids and adults 55 and older; $4 skate rentals.

Tysons Corner Ice Rink (1961 Chain Bridge Road, McLean) -- Right outside the Tysons Corner Center, step into a wintry world... with a Shake Shack conveniently right next to the rink for when you're in need of sustenance. Open now through early March. Rates: $10 adults; $9 kids, seniors and military; $6 skate rental.

The Loy E. Harris Pavilion (9201 Center St., Manassas) -- Take a spin on the ice in Old Town Manassas. Opens Nov. 25. Rates: $8 adults; $7 kids age 10 and younger; $6 skate rentals.

Reston Town Center Ice Skating Pavilion (1818 Discovery St., Reston) -- The outdoor pavilion at the Reston Town Center will be sure to get you in the holiday spirit. You may want to arrive a little bit early to check out all the nearby shopping. Open now through mid-March, Rates: $10 adults; $9 kids under 12 and adults 55 and older; $6 skate rental.



Photo Credit: NBC Washington]]>
<![CDATA[Bao Bao's Last Day in DC: Your Zoo Visit Survival Guide]]> Mon, 20 Feb 2017 09:22:18 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/180*120/30294433602_3682756444_k.jpg Planning to visit the National Zoo's 3-year-old giant panda before she makes her grand farewell? Monday's your last chance! Read on for our tips on making the most of your visit.

Photo Credit: Smithsonian's National Zoo]]>
<![CDATA[National Parks Free for Presidents Day]]> Mon, 20 Feb 2017 12:01:35 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/204*120/harpers-ferry_80300179.jpg

If entrance fees stopped you from visiting a national park in the past, now’s your chance to experience the beauty for free.

National parks will be free Monday in honor of Presidents Day.

The "fee-free" day cover entrance fees, commercial tour fees and transportation entrance fees. While no entrances fees will be collected, camping and tour fees may still apply.

Here's a list of Maryland and Virginia national parks you can explore for free this upcoming weekend (bonus: the forecast looks sunny!):

Maryland

  • Antietam National Battlefield
  • Assateague Island National Seashore
  • Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park
  • Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine
  • Fort Washington Park
  • Harpers Ferry National Historical Park

Virginia

  • Appomattox Court House National Historical Park
  • Colonial National Historical Park
  • George Washington Memorial Parkway’s Great Falls Park
  • Manassas National Battlefield Park
  • Petersburg National Battlefield
  • Prince William Forest Park
  • Shenandoah National Park

Find the full list of participating parks here.



Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[13 Ways to Enjoy DC's Spring-Like Weather This Long Weekend]]> Fri, 17 Feb 2017 17:53:31 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-482995765.jpg

Last weekend was supposed to be a mini-spring here in DC... but Mother Nature didn't quite deliver. That's OK, though, because it looks like she'll redeem herself this weekend!

Storm Team4 predicts temps will be in the upper 60s both Saturday and Sunday.

Here's a roundup of some fun ways to enjoy this weekend's unusual February warmth.

Get some exercise:

  • Roosevelt Island Parkrun: Lace up your sneakers and head outside to burn some calories. Parkrun offers free weekly 5Ks on Roosevelt Island. You can get your exercise in on Saturday at 9 a.m.! Register online here just once and you'll be able to participate in any parkrun, anywhere! There are also weekly parkruns in Fletcher's Cove and College Park.
  • Free Entrance Day at National Parks: Entrance fees will be waived on Presidents Day at national parks across the country to celebrate the National Park Service's 100th birthday! Go for an invigorating hike or a leisurely stroll at nearby favorites such as Harpers Ferry, Shenandoah or maybe even Assateague Island National Seashore.

Visit a Market:

  • Union Market: This favorite D.C. hotspot is the perfect place to grab lunch with a friend this weekend. Bonus: Union Market will be open on Presidents Day! Find the list of hours and vendors at Union Market's website.
  • Eastern Market: This Capitol Hill treasure is a hub for food, art and community events. Vendors and special items are highlighted here.
  • FRESHFARM Dupont Circle Market: From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday, you can scope out some delicious produce, pastries, desserts or anything else you may crave. Just take a quick Metro ride to the Dupont Circle stop and check out this massive, award-winning farmer's market.

Check out a museum (or the zoo):

  • Smithsonian National Zoo: Visit Bao Bao, one of D.C.'s favorite giant pandas, before she leaves for China on Feb. 21. Admission to the zoo is free; the zoo is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. We've put together a zoo visit survival guide for what will likely be a busy weekend there.
  • The Newseum: Calling all news junkies! This interactive museum has several new exhibits that will spark curiosity in people of all ages. Be sure to check out the "1967: Civil Rights at 50" exhibit, 'Louder Than Words," a tribute to rock and roll's political and social influence, or the Top 10 VR Videos of the Month. General admission tickets are $24.95 plus tax.
  • Tudor Place: This National Historic Landmark and former home to descendants of the Washington family features a collection of artifacts from George Washington. This month, visitors can tour the house for $1 in celebration of the first president's birthday! Reserve a tour in advance online here.

Go Ice Skating:

If you're clinging to that winter feeling despite the warmer temperatures, rent some skates and hit the ice. Spend an afternoon at one of D.C.'s ice rinks.

  • National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden Ice Rink: This outdoor rink is open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday. Admission for adults is $8.50 and skate rentals are $3.
  • The Washington Harbour Ice Rink: This rink will be particularly fun on Saturday night from 8 to 10 p.m., with the weekly Rock N Skate. The rink is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $10 for adults with a $6 skate rental.
  • Pentagon Row Outdoor Ice Skating: You can skate before or after shopping and dining in Pentagon City; the rink is open from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $9 and skate rentals are $4.
  • Find more local ice rinks here.

Eat Some Good Food: 



Photo Credit: Getty Images for EDENS
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<![CDATA[Alexandria Restaurant Week Kicks Off ]]> Fri, 17 Feb 2017 11:59:19 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/volas_Interior_JeremyBrandt-Vorel.jpg

Couldn't make it to D.C. Restaurant Week? Here's one way to solve your sadness: Head to Alexandria, where 70 local eateries are participating in Alexandria Winter Restaurant Week, now through Feb. 26.

Local spots are serving up $35 three-course dinners for one and $35 dinners for two. In addition, 30 spots are also offering lunch specials for $10-$20 per person.

Participating restaurants are located throughout the city, including in Old Town, Del Ray, Carlyle and West End.

Five new restaurants are taking part in the 10-day event, including Vola's Dockside Grill and Northside 10. Other participating spots include Live Oak, BRABO, Carluccio's and Dos Amigos.

This year's Alexandria Winter Restaurant Week has the largest restaurant lineup since the event's launch in 2009, planners said. You can make reservations online here.



Photo Credit: Jeremy Brandt-Vorel for Vola's Dockside Grill and Hi-Tide Lounge]]>
<![CDATA[Newborn Giraffe Makes Arrival at Maryland Zoo]]> Thu, 16 Feb 2017 17:21:31 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/imageedit_2_9930206276.jpg

The Maryland Zoo has welcomed a new baby giraffe to their giraffe herd.  

Born Feb. 6, the little one is the first giraffe to be born at the zoo in Baltimore in more than 20 years. Measuring 6 feet, 1 inch tall and weighing about 125 pounds, the zoo has a very healthy and strong girl.

The reticulated giraffe calf was born to four-year-old Juma and 11-year-old Caesar, the zoo said Thursday. Juma went into labor at about 3 p.m. and the calf was born at 4:35 p.m.

"Standing is one of the first major milestones for a newborn giraffe, and she was able to fully stand on her own in just 50 minutes," Erin Cantwell, mammal collection and conservation manager, said in a statement.

"It's safe to say that we were all silently cheering her on and were very excited to see her up on four legs," Cantwell said.

Juma is a first-time mother. Cantwell said she is an amazing mother and her instincts are on target: "She is very attentive and has been very patient with the calf as she learns to nurse."

The mother and calf are bonding well and appear to be settling into their new life, she said.

Zoo guests won't be able to see Juma and her baby right away, because staff members want to observe the two together and see their interactions with the rest of the herd in a quiet setting, Cantwell said.

The other giraffes are curious about the new baby, she said.

The tallest species on the planet, reticulated giraffes are one of nine recognized subspecies of giraffe. The worldwide giraffe population has shrunk nearly 40 percent in the last 30 years, the zoo said in Thursday's press release.

In 2016, all giraffe subspecies were put on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature's red list of threatened and endangered species worldwide, calling the giraffes "vulnerable," the zoo said.

For updates on Juma and her new baby, and to have a chance to help name the calf, visit the zoo's Facebook page



Photo Credit: Maryland Zoo
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<![CDATA[Newborn Giraffe Makes Arrival at Maryland Zoo]]> Thu, 23 Feb 2017 17:00:49 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/160*266/_JFB1258.jpg

Photo Credit: Maryland Zoo in Baltimore]]>
<![CDATA[When Will the Cherry Blossoms Bloom? Think March, Not April!]]> Tue, 14 Feb 2017 17:17:11 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/180*120/AP_850720194179-blosson.jpg

Sure, it's still winter, but unseasonably warm temperatures are making it feel like spring some days. Even better, the mild winter may bring an early cherry blossom bloom to D.C., a National Park Service (NPS) spokesman said Tuesday.

The warm winter will likely get the blossoms to bloom in the last week of March -- unless we get a lot of snow or a major cold snap, Mike Litterst of the NPS said Tuesday.

The cherry trees' blooming period is directly related to weather, which makes it notoriously difficult to forecast precise peak bloom dates more than 10 days in advance.

"Like you know, it's dependent on the weather," Litterst told Storm Team4's Chuck Bell. "If you can tell me exactly what the high temperature's going to be for the next six weeks, we'll tell you exactly when the trees are going to bloom, but that's a little bit of a challenge."

Peak bloom is officially considered the day when 70 percent of the Yoshino Cherry Blossoms along the Tidal Basin are in bloom. Of course, they're plenty gorgeous even before peak bloom, so the week or two leading up to it are also full of beautiful views.

Experts at the NPS monitor the five stages of bud development closely to create the most accurate peak bloom prediction. The NPS makes at least one official prediction of peak bloom dates each year and sometimes later revises that date.

The blooming period kicks off when the flowers begin developing as green buds; then florets become visible. The florets become extended, which is followed by a stage known as peduncle elongation. Once the cherry blossoms reach the puffy white stage, we know peak bloom is around the corner.

Because of the delicate growth process, even the slightest weather change could alter or halt cherry blossom development. According to the National Park Service, cool and calm weather can make the bloom period last longer, but rainy or windy conditions could bring an abrupt end to the already fleeting bloom period. Snow could completely prevent the trees from blooming.

Average peak bloom is usually the last week of March or the first week of April, Litterst said. Peak bloom last year fell on March 25.

The latest peak bloom in D.C. was April 18 (1958), while the earliest was March 15 (1990). Both dates were a result of unusual weather.

The National Park Service will continue to provide updates as they get closer to predicting the 2017 peak date.

If the blossoms do peak in the last week of March, they'll dovetail nicely with the Cherry Blossom Festival. Although the dates don't always quite match up, this year, the festival will run from March 20 to April 16.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[First Passes for 'Infinity Mirrors' Exhibit Now Available]]> Mon, 13 Feb 2017 17:48:23 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/021017+yayoi+kusama+art.jpg

Free timed passes for the artist Yayaoi Kusama's much-anticipated exhibit at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden became available at noon Monday. 

The Japanese artist's exhibit, "Infinity Mirrors," opens at the museum on the National Mall Feb. 23. Members of the general public can get tickets on the museum's website. Subscribers to the museum's email newsletter were able to make online reservations an hour early.

"Infinity Mirrors" will feature six of Kusama's iconic kaleidoscopic spaces, the most to ever be featured together, according to the museum. A number of Kusama's other works, such as paintings and her "Pumpkin" statue, also will be on display. 

An artist and a novelist, Kusama started using mirrors in her work in 1965. She has created more than 20 infinity mirror rooms, according to the museum. The rooms and Kusama's other works have received worldwide admiration.

The Hirshhorn is releasing these timed passes because large crowds are expected to visit the exhibit. The rooms are small, despite their captivating illusion of infinity.

The exhibit will be open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

After Monday, free passes to the exhibit will be available every Monday at noon. The exhibit will be on view until May 14. A limited number of same-day passes will be available at the museum on a first-come, first-serve basis.



Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden]]>
<![CDATA[10 Valentine's Day Weekend Getaway Ideas]]> Thu, 09 Feb 2017 14:24:50 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/boards+head+resort1.jpg Need to get away? We've got you. Check out these local resorts and hotels that are definitely worth a special Valentine's Day trip.

Photo Credit: Boar's Head Resort ]]>
<![CDATA[5 Ways to Celebrate Black History Month in Baltimore ]]> Mon, 06 Feb 2017 12:55:37 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Aquarium.png

If you're looking for a way to celebrate Black History Month outside the D.C. area, several events celebrating the contributions of African-Americans are being held just an hour north in Baltimore, Maryland.

From attractions at the National Aquarium to cruises on the Patapsco River, Charm City has a lot of ways to celebrate while you learn something new. 

We've rounded up a list of five fun things you can do this month: 

1. The National Aquarium's Black History Month Celebration

On Friday, the National Aquarium is hosting an evening of family fun. From 5 p.m. until 8 p.m., you can watch live performances and learn how African Americans have contributed to the Chesapeake Bay’s maritime and seafood industries. You’ll also learn the role African-Americans play in shaping the industry’s future. 

The event will include hands-on activities like oyster tonging. All of the festivities are included in your half-price Friday night admission ticket. Click here for more information.

2. Bob Marley's Birthday Soul Shakedown 

Celebrate reggae legand Bob Marley's birthday at a concert in Charm City. The annual dance party will be held Feb. 4 at Creative Alliance on Eastern Avenue. Creative Alliance is a nonprofit that promotes art in the city.

See-I, a reggae band founded by two brothers, will perform some of their hit songs. Local DJs Papa WaBe and Papa T will also be at the party. Jamaican food will be available for purchase. 

Doors open at 8 p.m., and tickets are on sale for $18. If you're a member of Creative Alliance, discount tickets are available for $15. 

3. Picturing Frederick Douglass

The Reginald F. Lewis Museum is hosting "Picturing Frederick Douglass" as a part of its genealogy and history series. On Feb. 4, John Stauffer of Harvard University will examine Douglass' work and fight for African-American representation through 50 years of photographs. 

Admission to the event is included with your museum ticket. Tickets to the museum are $8 for general admission and $6 for senior citizens and children. Because the event is on the first weekend of February, you can get in for free if you are a Bank of America or Merrill Lynch credit or debit holder by showing your card and ID at the door.  

4. Creativity Exchange - Intersection Between Black Artists and Black-Owned Businesses 

The Baltimore Museum of Art is inviting you to a day of discussion and networking at the Creativity Exchange on Feb. 11 from noon to 5 p.m.

Do you own a business? You can learn how to brand yourself and connect with customers during a workshop at 12:30 p.m. Because space for this workshop is limited, you'll need to RSVP in advance. 

You can also listen to a panel discussion about how to develop innovative projects. 

Throughout the day, afro-punk jewelry, bath and body products and apparel will be available for purchase at a vendor fair. The event is open to the public. 

5. Black History Month Lunch Cruise 

Cruise the Patapsco River during a 2-hour cruise Feb. 25. Spirit Cruises is hosting the Black History Month lunch cruise.

Participants can dine on a delicious buffet and enjoy beautiful river views while learning about important black history moments in the city. 

Tickets are available for $46.90, but if you want a better view, you can purchase a seat at a window table for $61.90. T

These are just some of the Black History Month celebrations happening in Baltimore. Check out other exciting events here! 

]]>
<![CDATA[Broccoli City Festival Returns With Star-Studded Lineup]]> Tue, 24 Jan 2017 19:01:18 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Broccoli-City-Festival-Edited.jpg

The festival that brings hip-hop, trap and soul music to D.C. while promoting sustainable, healthy living is headed back to town.

Broccoli City has announced an all-star lineup for its fifth annual festival in D.C. this spring.

Rae Sremmurd -- the duo behind "Black Beatles," which set off the viral mannequin challenge -- will hit the stage with singer Solange and rapper 21 Savage. AlunaGeorge, a London-based duo, will also perform, along with Atlanta rapper Lil Yachty. Kevin Abstract, Rapsody, Smino, Chaz French, Nick Grant, Rejjie Snow and Sir the Baptist are among the other artists set to perform.

The Broccoli City Festival will be held May 6 at Gateway DC, an outdoor, state-of-the-art pavilion in the Congress Heights area. The venue houses a green space, complete with a vegetated roof, as well as a cafe and a 1-acre park.

Events leading up to the concert include a 5K run April 29 and Broccoli City All Night, an art and music pop-up in D.C.'s Ivy City neighborhood on May 4.

Presale tickets go on sale Wednesday at 10 a.m.; general sale begins Friday at 10 a.m.

Broccoli City originated as an organic T-shirt company, but has since expanded to promote an eco-friendly lifestyle in urban communities.

Co-founder Brandon McEachern was inspired to start the movement when he noticed that fast food restaurants were easier to find than grocery stores in South Central Los Angeles. In 2010, McEachern and his friend Marcus Allen began hosting block parties in L.A. They first brought the unique festival to D.C. on Earth Day in 2013 with the goal of promoting an environmentally sustainable lifestyle through music.

Past festivals have included the iconic Erykah Badu and Willow Smith, along with local D.C. artists such as Goldlink and Reesa Renee.



Photo Credit: Getty Images; composite by NBC Washington]]>
<![CDATA[14 Fun Ways to Soak Up This Weekend's Warm Weather in DC]]> Thu, 09 Feb 2017 17:28:35 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-482995765.jpg

Has spring sprung?

Not permanently, but Storm Team4 predicts this weekend will have warmer weather than normal in the DMV. Temps will be in the upper 50s and 60s on Saturday and Sunday, with some evening showers Sunday night.

After a week of drastic weather changes, we've rounded up some of the best ways to make the most of a beautiful February weekend.

Go For a Run:

  • Cupid's Undie Run: Take advantage of the warm weather and... go for a run in your underwear? Hey, it's for a good cause. All proceeds from Saturday's run will benefit the Children's Tumor Foundation and support neurofibromatosis research. The one-mile "brief run" (get it??) starts on 14th Street at 3 p.m. but celebrations kick off at 1 p.m. Register for the Undie Run online here.
  • Roosevelt Island Parkrun: Want to go for a run, but not super jazzed about doing so in your underwear? No problem. Parkrun offers free weekly 5Ks on Roosevelt Island. You can get your exercise in on Saturday at 9 a.m.! Register online here just once and you'll be able to participate in any parkrun, anywhere! There are also weekly parkruns in Fletcher's Cove and College Park.

...Or a Dip?

  • Freezin' for a Reason Virginia Polar Dip: If you're craving summer and feeling bold enough to go swimming this weekend, this is for you. The money raised from this charity swim will help send families to Camp Sunshine, a retreat in Maine for children with life-threatening illnesses. If you're not into the full-body swim, that's OK! You can participate in the "Chicken Dip" and just get your toes wet! Extra perk: Participants who raise $100 will each receive a T-shirt. Take the plunge Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Reston Community Center in Reston, Virginia. Register or donate online here.

Visit a Market:

  • Winter Warmer at Glen’s Garden Market: This free annual event celebrates everyone's favorite feel-good winter treats and local businesses! Snack on some fried chicken biscuits or sip on some hot chocolate as you mingle at the Shaw location. Vendors include Vigilante Coffee, Harper Macaw, Cakelove and Prescription Chicken. The market is this Saturday from 12 to 4 p.m.; find more info online here.
  • Union Market: This favorite D.C. hotspot will have pop-up vendors in anticipation of Valentine's Day. Capital Candy Jar and Union Kitchen's DreamBites will satisfy your chocolate cravings, while Mallory Shelter's Valentine's jewelry may be a gift option for your loved one! Find a list of hours and other vendors at Union Market's website.
  • Eastern Market: This Capitol Hill treasure is a hub for food, art and community events. This weekend, vendors will have Valentine's Day-themed goodies, such as heart-shaped ravioli and rose and violet bath bombs! Vendors and special items are highlighted here.
  • FRESHFARM Dupont Circle Market: From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday, you can scope out some delicious produce, pastries, desserts or anything else you may crave. Just take a quick Metro ride to the Dupont Circle stop and check out this massive, award-winning farmer's market.

Check out a museum (or the zoo):

  • The Newseum: Calling all news junkies! This interactive museum has several new exhibits that will spark curiosity in people of all ages. Be sure to check out the "1967: Civil Rights at 50" exhibit, 'Louder Than Words," a tribute to rock and roll's political and social influence, or the Top 10 VR Videos of the Month. General admission tickets are $24.95 plus tax.
  • Tudor Place: This National Historic Landmark and former home to descendants of the Washington family features a collection of artifacts from George Washington. This month, visitors can tour the house for $1 in celebration of the first president's birthday! Reserve a tour in advance online here.
  • National Postal Museum: If you're looking for something fun to do with your kids this weekend, head to the museum's Valentine's Day Card Workshop! From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, your little ones can make handmade cards and send them with a special postmark from the Postal Museum. Find more information online here.
  • Smithsonian National Zoo: Visit Bao Bao, one of D.C.'s favorite giant pandas, before she leaves for China! Admission to the zoo is free; the zoo is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Keep in mind that the Asia Trail (Bao Bao's home) will be closed to the public 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Saturday for a special event.

Go Ice Skating:

If you're clinging to that winter feeling despite the warmer temperatures, rent some skates and hit the ice with your Valentine. Spend an afternoon at one of D.C.'s ice rinks.

  • National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden Ice Rink: This outdoor rink is open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday. Admission for adults is $8.50 and skate rentals are $3.
  • The Washington Harbour Ice Rink: This rink will be particularly fun on Saturday night from 8 to 10 p.m. with the weekly Rock N Skate. The rink is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $10 for adults with a $6 skate rental.
  • Pentagon Row Outdoor Ice Skating: You can skate before or after shopping and dining in Pentagon City; the rink is open from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $9 and skate rentals are $4.



Photo Credit: Getty Images for EDENS
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<![CDATA[Punxsutawney Phil Sees His Shadow]]> Thu, 02 Feb 2017 11:49:44 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-633510168_master.jpg Crowds gathered in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, to see whether their celebrity groundhog would see his shadow and predict six more weeks of winter.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[This Underground Art Show Is Serving Pancakes and Booze]]> Tue, 24 Jan 2017 18:59:22 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_561903061.jpg

This is not a drill: You can get all the pancakes you want at an underground art exhibit... for a whopping $5 to $10.

The Pancakes and Booze Art Show highlights the work of local artists, photographers, DJs and bands -- as well as that free pancake bar -- through the wee hours this Thursday night, from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Big Chief (2002 Fenwick St. NE) will be hosting Pancakes and Booze; this New Orleans-inspired venue is home to three bars, including one on the rooftop. On Thursday, it will also be filled with great art, drinks and positive vibes.

Besides pancakes, pancakes and more pancakes, the showcase will include live music, body painting and regular ol' (i.e., non-body) painting.

Pancakes and Booze has been held in more than 30 cities worldwide since 2009. You must be at least 21 to attend, so don't forget to bring your ID. 

Admission is $5 cash at the door, or $10 for a skip-the-line VIP pass.



Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[National Harbor Restaurant Week Kicks Off Jan. 14]]> Mon, 09 Jan 2017 18:10:01 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_538664995.jpg

Can't wait for this year's D.C. Restaurant Week? Here's a little pre-game:National Harbor Restaurant Week is coming up this Saturday, running from Jan. 14 to Jan. 20.

Twelve of National Harbor's 30+ dining spots will be participating in the event, offering $20 two-course lunches and $38 three-course dinners.

Participating restaurants include Bond 45, Rosa Mexicano and Sauciety at The Westin.

You can also make a mini-trip out of your time at National Harbor: Bring your receipt to the Capital Wheel to get two tickets for $22 or four tickets for $44, or show a receipt at Bobby McKey's for free general admission.

Created in 2010, National Harbor Restaurant Week features many restaurants located along the waterfront. You can make lunch or dinner reservations online here.



Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Highlights From the 2017 Harbin Ice Festival in China]]> Thu, 05 Jan 2017 09:50:24 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-630944498-harbin.jpg In frigid northeast China, one city kicks off the 33rd Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival, which began on Jan. 4, 2017. It is one of the world's largest ice and snow festivals, an annual event that last year drew more than a million visitors.

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[U2 to Play Full 'Joshua Tree' Album on Stadium Tour ]]> Mon, 09 Jan 2017 18:03:16 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/u2band.jpg

U2 will play the entirety of its classic 1987 album, "The Joshua Tree," at each stop during a summer stadium tour to celebrate the 30th anniversary of its release.

Powered by singles "With or Without You," ''Where The Streets Have No Name" and "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For," ''The Joshua Tree" became the band's first chart-topping album in the U.S. and has sold 25 million copies worldwide.

The North American leg of the tour kicks off May 12 in Vancouver and wraps up on July 1 in Cleveland, before heading to Europe. The tour includes a June stop at the Bonnaroo Festival in Tennessee.

Mumford & Sons, The Lumineers and OneRepublic will alternate opening for U2 on the North American leg.



Photo Credit: FilmMagic]]>
<![CDATA[Brunch Is on the Menu for DC Restaurant Week]]> Mon, 02 Jan 2017 14:37:20 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_546263887.jpg

Rejoice, brunch lovers (meaning, pretty much everyone)! The next Metropolitan Washington Restaurant Week will include great deals on brunch for the first time at participating restaurants.

Restaurants across the region will offer $22 brunches, $22 lunches and multi-course $35 dinners during the week organized by Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington.

D.C. Restaurant Week runs Jan. 30 through Feb. 5. Check out the full list of participating spots online here. Restaurants include 1789, Filomena, Graffiato, the Melting Pot and SAX. 

The Restaurant Association will also be rolling out a new rewards program for those who book reservations through their website and opt in to receive exclusive deals on meals. Some of the prizes include tickets to local food-related events and restaurant gift cards.



Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Aquarium in NJ Welcomes Loggerhead Sea Turtle Hatchling]]> Mon, 02 Jan 2017 14:36:57 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Adventure+Aquarium+Loggerhead+Sea+Turtle+Hatchling.jpg
View Full Story

Photo Credit: Adventure Aquarium]]>
<![CDATA[10 Sensational NY Theater Performances of 2016]]> Mon, 02 Jan 2017 14:37:45 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/214*120/BestOf2016Theater.png
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Photo Credit: Joan Marcus]]>
<![CDATA[Welcoming 2017: Your Ultimate NYE Roundup]]> Fri, 30 Dec 2016 07:11:41 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_439117372.jpg

It’s time to ring in the New Year, so why not make it fun?

Leave 2016 behind with these dining options, parties, clubs and family-themed events in the D.C. area:

DINING

Enjoy these dining deals on New Year’s night, ranked by price. The cheapest deals are listed towards the top while the pricier menus are at the bottom:

Declaration

Join recent Food Network "Chopped" champion Demetrio Zavala at Declaration in the Shaw neighborhood for two New Year’s Eve menus. A 3-course meal will cost you $35 while a 4-course meal will run $45.

Teddy & the Bully Bar

Teddy & the Bully Bar is offering dining, entertainment, party favors and a champagne toast during its New Year's Eve event. Guests can enjoy a 5-course meal for $50 or a 6-course meal for $70.

Slate Wine Bar and Bistro

Slate’s 5-course meal is $60, plus an additional $30 for wine pairings. Reservations at the Glover Park restaurant are available starting at 5 p.m.

Ambar

Savor unlimited plates of Ambar's signature Balkan cuisine as you ring in the new year. The restaurant, located on 8th Street in Southeast, offers three different seating options, ranging in price from $69 to $99.

Lincoln

Lincoln restaurant on Vermont Avenue NW, the sister restaurant to Teddy & the Bully Bar, will also be offering dining and entertainment for $70 per person.

Whaley’s DC

Whaley’s in Southeast D.C. is offering a 4-course meal for $75 on New Year’s Eve. Guests can enjoy the seafood-packed menu as they celebrate the new year.

Rastika

If Indian food is your favorite, try Rastika for New Year’s Eve. The restaurant has two locations in D.C.-- one on D Street NW and one on New Hampshire Avenue NW. The restaurant's special NYE dinner costs $85.

Boqueria DC

If you’re looking for unlimited tapas and drinks, Boqueria is the place for you. Earlier seating is $90 per person and later seating is $135 per person.

Chez Billy Sud

Feeling French? Enjoy a dinner straight from southern France at Georgetown’s Chez Billy Sud. The three course meal costs $95 per person.

DBGB Kitchen and Bar

Meat lovers will appreciate the carnivorous selection at DBGB on H Street NW. The NYE gala menu begins at 7:30 and costs $95 for four courses.

Del Campo

Sample the flavors of Latin America with Del Campo's New Year's tasting menu. The special dinner at the downtown restaurant costs $110 per person.

Proof DC

Countdown to 2017 with a 5-course chef’s tasting menu at wine-centric Proof on G Street NW. Dinner costs $125 per person or $195 with wine pairings.

Fiola

Celebrate 2017 with award-winning chef Fabio Trabocchi's "Decadence Menu of Celebration" at the sophisticated Fiola restuarant on Pennsylvania Avenue NW. Four courses and dessert cost $175.

Minibar

It's a splurge, but Minibar on E Street NW is one of the top rated restaurants in D.C.-- it's got two Michelin starts. Chef Jose Andres' NYE dinner will set you back between $300 and $550.

CLUBS/PARTIES

If you want to dance 2016 away, check out these parties and clubs, ranked by ticket price:

A Clockwork Brixton

This party won’t break the bank with a $25 admission fee (although there’s no open bar). You can catch deals on food and drink, however, from 8-10 p.m. The party will go down at Brixton on U Street.

Black Cat's New Year's Eve Ball

For $30, you can dance the night away at The Black Cat on 14th Street NW. Performer Peaches O'Dell and her Orchestra will be rocking out as the clock strikes midnight.

Back in the Day 90s New Year’s Eve Party

Feeling nostalgic? Throw it back to the 90s at the Mellow Mushroom in Adams Morgan and enjoy dancing, a champagne toast, appetizers and more. Tickets start at $35.

Destination Cuba at Cuba Libre

Take an exotic trip to Cuba over New Year’s Eve-- well, almost. Cuba Libre is ringing in the new year with a Cuba themed bash. Regular admission is $35. Want to enjoy an open bar? That will cost you $100.

Silent Disco - Embassy Row Hotel

Throw on a pair of wireless headphones and dance to your own beat at this silent disco at the Embassy Row Hotel. Included in your ticket are headphone rentals and a complimentary sparkling wine toast. Additional drinks and food are available for purchase. Ticket prices range from $40 to $50.

Maskquerade Party at A-Town Bar and Grill

If you’re looking for a shindig in Arlington, check out the party at A-Town Bar and Grill. The $42 admission will get you three drinks and party favors at this masked costume celebration.

Midnight in Paris

Enjoy a Parisian evening at the Malmaison DC in Georgetown. The evening includes a DJ, a one-hour open bar and a midnight champagne toast. Tickets start at $50.

Let’s Get Lucky Party at Kelly’s Irish Times

Celebrate St. Patty’s a little early-- Kelly’s Irish Times near Union Station is throwing an Irish themed New Year’s bash. Tickets start at $53 for this open-bar party.

White Tie Wonderland

Join D.C. art group Art Soiree for their New Year’s Eve gala at The Graham Georgetown. Eat, drink and be merry atop the rooftop bar-- don’t worry, it will be heated and covered. Tickets start at $75, but you can snag limited earlybird tickets for $50.

New Year's Eve Roaring 20s Bash

Be transported back to the 1920s and dance the night away to a live jazz band at Ri Ra Georgetown. Guests are encouraged to come in costume, with prizes for the best period costume. Ticket prices range from $90 to $120.

6th Annual Downtown Countdown at the Hilton

Joonburg.com will be hosting their 6th annual downtown countdown at the Washington Hilton. The event will include an open bar, buffet and performances by Bowling for Soup, EC Twins, the Rockets and more. Tickets start at $99.

International Club of DC

Travel around the world with the International Club’s New Year’s Eve gala. Each ballroom at the Marriott Marquis will represent a different destination. Guests can enjoy live entertainment, an open bar and dining. Tickets start at $105.

Spy Gala

Turn into a secret agent for the 15th annual International SPY Gala on New Year’s Eve. Dress in your best spy-themed ensemble and enjoy a buffet, drinks, balloon drops, dancing and more. Tickets prices range from $109 to $400.

Tony and Joe's River Bash

Come down to the Georgetown waterfront for a riverside bash. The event includes live music, appetizers and open bars. Tickets are $110, with $10 off for groups of 10 or more.

Prohibition NYE DC

Held at a secret location, this party is a nod to bygone days of flappers, speakeasies and bootleg debauchery. Tickets for this glamorous celebration start at $115.

Big Night DC at the Gaylord

Spend your New Year's Eve at the Gaylord Hotel and Resort for their Big Night DC. Their party this year includes dance floors, bars and a midnight countdown. Ticket prices range from $119 to $340.

Cocktail Countdown at the Mead Center for American Theater

Join Drink the District for a cocktail extravaganza at the Mead Center. Take advantage of the open bar and try a new signature cocktail every hour. Keep your stomach lined with food from the dinner buffet or mix things up with a hand-rolled cigar from the cigar bar.

New Year's Eve at the Watergate Hotel

Dine, drink and party with a live DJ at the Watergate Hotel. The New Year’s Eve countdown will be televised at the event. Tickets are $160.

W Washington Hotel - Roaring New Year

The W in Washington, D.C., invites you back to the 1920s for their New Year’s Eve party. Guests can dine at either POV or Pinea Restaurant, enjoy an open bar and dance the Charleston. Tickets are $299 per person.

Bar 7 DC

Dress in your best upscale attire, gather your crew and enjoy an open bar and hors d’oeuvres at Bar 7. Tickets prices range from $400 to $1500 for groups ranging for four to 15 people.

FAMILY FUN

Bring the kids out to these family-friendly events:

Noon Yards Event at The Yards DC

If the little ones can’t stay up for the real ball drop, count down with them at noon on Saturday at The Yards DC. Admission is free. There will be face painting, crafts, inflatables and a balloon drop.

First Night Alexandria

Bring the whole family for a night of local entertainment, activities for the kidsand fireworks over the Potomac in Alexandria. It’s $30 per adult and free for kids under 12.

Watch Night - Falls Church

Enjoy a night of entertainment in downtown Falls Church with the whole family. There will be food trucks, live performances, obstacle courses, balloon artists and more. The event is free and begins at 7 p.m.

First Night Winchester

Winchester will host their First Night celebration with performances, face painting, crafting, fireworks and more. Buttons are $10 per person and free for kids under 10.

Downtown 31

Celebrate the end of the year in downtown Fredericksburg. This year’s event will include food, activities and a ping-pong ball drop.

First Night Williamsburg

Williamsburg, Virginia, will host their First Night for the 24th year. The event this year includes performances, food vendors, fireworks and more. Adult admission buttons are $20 and kid's wristbands are $10.

New Year’s Eve Spectacular - Baltimore

There’s a lot for families to do jat Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. The New Year's Eve Spectacular will include live music, fireworks and ice skating.

BEST BRUNCH ON NEW YEAR'S DAY

What better way to celebrate the first day of 2017 than to get brunch? Trust us, you’ll need it! Check out these restaurants offering brunch on New Year’s Day:

Dino's Grotto

Don’t worry about getting up early because Dino’s Grotto opens for brunch at noon and serves bottomless brunch at $29 until 4 p.m.

Lincoln

Enjoy unlimited mimosas and brunch for $49 in your pajamas at Lincoln. The customer with the best pajamas will get a $100 gift card.

Watergate Hotel New Year's Day Brunch

Try brunch at the Kingbird at the Watergate Hotel for $110 per person and $55 for kids.

Medium Rare - PJ Brunch

You don’t have to change out of your pajamas to go to Medium Rare for brunch on New Year’s Day.

The Front Page

Enjoy bottomless mimosas, champagne and a buffet at The Front Page. Brunch will also be served on New Year’s Eve.

Lavagna

Start off your New Year on a fresh foot with a locally sourced Italian brunch at Lavagna on 8th Street SE.



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