<![CDATA[NBC4 Washington - Worth the Trip]]> Copyright 2016 http://www.nbcwashington.com/blogs/worth-the-trip http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/WASH+NBC4+BLUE.png NBC4 Washington http://www.nbcwashington.com en-us Sat, 30 Apr 2016 13:13:34 -0400 Sat, 30 Apr 2016 13:13:34 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Chemistry of Perfect Beer: 'Science on Tap' Fest]]> Fri, 29 Apr 2016 11:12:16 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/craftbeerfestival.jpg

Get educated on the chemistry of a perfect beer at Richmond's upcoming craft beer festival, Science on Tap.

Held at the Science Museum of Virginia, the all-ages festival will feature live music, food trucks and a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into creating a signature draft.

In addition to the 10 participating local breweries serving up their drinks, five special beers crafted exclusively for the festival will be unveiled, said Sarah Zalesiak of the Emerging Leaders Council of the Science Museum of Virginia.

Admission is $10 for attendees 12 years and older. Kinds younger than 12 will be admitted free with a paying adult. Museum exhibit admission is not included with festival admission.

The festival is set for Saturday, May 7 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Participating Breweries:

  • Ardent Craft Ales
  • Bold Rock Hard Cider
  • Hardywood Park Craft Brewery
  • Legend Brewing Company
  • Midnight Brewery
  • Old Bust Head Brewing Company
  • Steam Bell Beer Works
  • Strangeways Brewing
  • Starr Hill Brewery
  • Triple Crossing Brewery



Photo Credit: Shutterstuck]]>
<![CDATA[Celebrate Pirates at the Blackbeard Pirate Fest]]> Fri, 29 Apr 2016 11:22:57 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Blackbeard+Festival+pic.jpg

Ahoy, matey! Grab your eye patch and bandana and join 50,000 other pirate enthusiasts for... a giant pirate festival, obviously.

The Blackbeard Pirate Festival in downtown Hampton, Virginia returns for its 17th year, featuring pirate costumes, battle re-enactments, bird shows, replica pirate ships, colonial games, cannon-loading and so much more.

Named one of the Top Five Pirate Festivals in North America by USA Today Travel last year, the celebration will kick off with the Blackbeard Ball on June 3 from 7 to 11 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza Hampton Marina Hotel (700 Settlers Landing Road). It will continue with a weekend of events on June 4 (10 a.m.-10 p.m.) and June 5 (noon-6 p.m.).

The festival will offer a nod to Blackbeard the Pirate and other outlaws who sailed through Virginia shores in the 1600s and 1700s, looking to rob ships filled with tobacco and other goods.

Blackbeard himself (played by interpreter Ben Cherry) will be at the festival, along with more than 100 other pirate and militia re-enactors, who are sure to get into some street skirmishes.

Other attractions will include a replica of Blackbeard's pirate camp and vessels, 17th- and 18th-century goods for sale, a re-enactment of Blackbeard's well-known battle with Lt. Maynard, a funeral procession parade and a plethora of treasures for all.

A children's area will feature kid-friendly colonial games and performances and the Picaroon School for Aspiring Pirates.

Saturday night will end with a firework show to celebrate the festivities.

Although the weekend festival is free admission, the Friday ball costs $35 in advance (call 757-727-6348) or $40 at the door.

For pirates who are shipping into the festival, dock space is available. For more information, call Hampton Public Piers at (757) 727-1276, Customs House Marina (757) 868-9375, Bluewater Marina (757) 723-6774, Sunset Boating Center (757) 722-3325, or Joy’s Marina (757) 723-1022.



Photo Credit: Hampton Blackbeard Pirate Festival]]>
<![CDATA[Shenandoah Apple Blossom Fest Kicks Off April 22]]> Mon, 21 Mar 2016 15:51:23 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_114014035.jpg

So let's take stock. Carnival? Check. Wine festival? Check. Talent show? Check. Tennis competition? Check. Fire truck rodeo? Sure, why not?

The Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival pretty much has any type of small town-style fun you could want to have, and then some. It's all happening April 22 to May 1 in Winchester, Virginia.

Events run the gamut from an Apple Blossom's Got Talent! competition to a midway chock full of rides and games, plus that wine fest we mentioned: two days (April 22-23) featuring 20 Virginia wineries and serving as the official kickoff for the 89th annual Apple Blossom Festival.

Other notable events include tasting and orchard tours of Winchester Cider Works, an Oldies Rock 'n' Roll Dance, an apple pie-baking contest, the coronation of Queen Shenandoah, and a fire truck rodeo with a display of new and antique firefighting equipment.

Winchester is far enough that you'll feel like you're getting away from everything, but not so far that you'd need to stay the night... unless you're really interested in that wine festival, anyway. Plan for about a two-hour trip if you're driving from downtown D.C. on a Saturday or Sunday.



Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[5 Music Fests Just a Bus Ride Away]]> Wed, 30 Mar 2016 16:29:12 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/181*120/GettyImages-495071509.jpg

Can't make it to Coachella? That's not a problem -- there are plenty of great music festivals on the East Coast. 

If you're ready for a road trip or bus ride, these five festivals not only have a diverse lineup but are also accessible to east coast music lovers. 

1. Roots Picnic: June 4 -- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Lineup: Usher, Future, Migos, Kehlani & more

The 9th annual day of music hosted by The Roots boasts a lineup of older and newer talent: Usher, DMX and Swizz Beatz share a stage with Kehlani, Willow Smith and Leon Bridges. The venue is Festival Pier at Penn's Landing, so you can also enjoy a waterfront view of the Delaware River. Find tickets online here.

2. Firefly Music Festival: June 16-19 -- Dover, Delaware

Lineup: Florence & the Machine, Earth Wind & Fire, D.R.A.M & more

The four-day festival returns for its fifth year. It'll be especially poignant this year with Earth, Wind and Fire as part of the lineup; founding member Maurice White died earlier this month. D.C. rapper Goldlink will also share the stage. For those who want a full festival experience, campgrounds are available for tents and RVs. Other activities include an on-site craft beer bar, public hammocks and group yoga classes. Find tickets online here.

3. Moogfest: May 19-22 -- Durham, North Carolina

Lineup: Grimes, Skepta, Ryan Hemsworth & more

For serious music lovers and creators, Moogfest is a combination music festival and technology conference. Its namesake is Dr. Robert Moog, a pioneer in electronic music and inventor of the Moog synthesizer, which continues to be used by musicians today. Festival partners include Google and MIT Media Lab, with presentations and workshops available. As for the lineup, it includes music innovators GZA from the Wu-Tang Clan, Grimes and Blood Orange. Find tickets online here.

4. Governors Ball Music Festival: June 3-5 -- New York City

Lineup: Miguel, The Strokes, Kanye West & more

Governors Ball is quickly growing to be one of the biggest music festivals on the east coast. Its lineup has grown enormously since it started as a single-day festival in 2011. Kanye West returns as a headliner with The Strokes and The Killers. Spanning the first weekend of June, a range of music genres will be represented from Beck and FIDLAR to Miguel and Joey Bada$$. While there won't be a camping experience, a range of activities from lawn games and food trucks to art installations will make sure you're entertained, just in case you find some down time between sets. The Randall's Island location is accessible by ferry, subway, bus, car and even on foot. Find tickets online here.

5. Boston Calling - May 27-28 - Boston, Massachusetts

Lineup: Sia, Janelle Monáe, Haim & more

Since 2013, Boston Calling has festivals twice a year, one in May and one in September. It’s also one of those rare festivals where female musicians are just as represented as their male counterparts. This year will feature performances from Janelle Monáe, Australian singer-songwriter Sia, and Swedish pop star Robyn. Get to City Hall Plaza by public transportation, walking or driving. Find tickets online here.



Photo Credit: Getty Images for Reebok]]>
<![CDATA[Deciding to 'Tri']]> Mon, 25 Apr 2016 17:18:49 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/2016-04-25_1718.jpg "Tri" -- about a woman who has trouble finishing things, until she's inspired to do a triathlon -- opens Tuesday night at the Northern Virginia Film and Music Festival. Director Jai Jamison and producer Ted Adams.]]> <![CDATA[Reston's First Nanobrewery Now Open]]> Mon, 18 Apr 2016 21:15:26 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/224*120/2016-04-19_1000.jpg

Cheryl Brio Simon, the widow of Reston founder Robert E. Simon, cut the ribbon Saturday at Reston's first and only nanobrewery.

The Lake Anne Brew House is located at Washington Plaza.

A nanobrewery operates on a smaller scale than a microbrewery.

Owners Jason and Melissa Romano say they could have up to 12 selections on tap.

]]>
<![CDATA[NOVA Film Festival Kicks Off Thurs.]]> Thu, 21 Apr 2016 13:42:45 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000014455918_1200x675_670868547592.jpg The biggest film festival in the Mid-Atlantic kicks off Thursday, offering 10 days of screenings, music and parties. Fernando Mico, director of the Northern Virginia International Film and Music Festival, stopped by News4 Midday with a preview of the big event.]]> <![CDATA[Mid-Atlantic Spring Beer Fest Stars 35 Local Breweries]]> Mon, 18 Apr 2016 16:31:55 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_215895166.jpg

Taste-test beers from 35 regional breweries at Capitol City Brewing Co.'s third annual Mid-Atlantic Spring Beer Festival.

Coming up Saturday, April 30 in Shirlington, the event will feature craft brewers such as D.C. Brau and Flying Dog.

But don't drink on an empty stomach! A variety of local restaurants and food trucks, including Busboys & Poets and Urban Poutine, will be showing off their favorite springtime fare as well.

Tickets must be purchased at the event, and ticket sales begin at 11:30 a.m. The festival runs from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m., but all beer taps close at 6 p.m.

Admission for beer drinkers is $30, which includes a wristband, an official tasting glass and 10 drink tickets. Additional (or unlimited!) drink tickets can be purchased at the event.

The festival is free for non-drinkers and children.

It will be held rain or shine.



Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Nat'l Park Week Offers Free Entry to 410 National Parks]]> Fri, 08 Apr 2016 06:47:00 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/national+park+pic.jpg

How many national park trips can you fit into one week?

With dozens of national parks in the DMV alone, you better start planning!

From April 16 to 24, all 410 national parks in the United States will have free admission to celebrate the National Park Service's 100th birthday.

"It's a great time to experience and celebrate our parks and historic places, and discover and share with each other how these treasured places are vital and relevant to people from all backgrounds from all over the country," said Will Shafroth, president of the National Park Foundation in a press release.

This unique celebration will open with National Junior Ranger Day on April 16, where parks will host kid-friendly activities and hand out Centennial Junior Ranger booklets and badges.

Events throughout National Park Week include Earth Day (April 22), a National Park Instameet (April 23) and more. Find more info about National Park Week events and locations online here.



Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Top 10 Virginia Day Trips for Spring]]> Wed, 30 Mar 2016 17:26:44 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/180*120/8.+Ride+a+horse.jpg

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Top 10 Maryland Day Trips for Spring]]> Wed, 30 Mar 2016 17:26:13 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/thumb-Elk-Neck-State-Park-shutterstock_71828848.jpg Temperatures are rising and flowers are blooming. Celebrate springtime at one of these Maryland spots for the perfect day trip.]]> <![CDATA[Marine Corps Museum Reopens With 2 New Aircraft]]> Fri, 01 Apr 2016 14:28:57 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/IMG_0020_HD.jpg

The National Museum for the Marine Corps in Virginia is reopening Friday, with a newly renovated space and several upcoming events.

The museum had been closed since January due to "significant" logistical and engineering processes needed to install two new historic aircraft in the space, museum officials said.

The museum opened its doors Friday with the new aircraft on display: A restored World War II SBD Dauntless dive bomber is suspended from the ceiling of the central gallery, and a new tableau features a Vietnam-era Sikorsky UH-34D helicopter, the museum said.

"The addition of the aircraft is part of the Museum's ongoing efforts to more completely interpret the history of the Marine Corps and share more of the collection," Museum Director Lin Ezell said on the museum's official website.

But the new additions are just the start. In March, the museum also broke ground on another 117,000 square feet of new space, which will ultimately feature a giant-screen theater, a children's gallery, a sports gallery, a Hall of Valor, two additional historical galleries and more. The new galleries will begin opening in 2017, with all exhibitions completed by 2020.

Next Saturday, April 9, Family Day will offer an afternoon of kid-friendly activities throughout the museum and on the grounds, featuring games, crafts, learning activities and more from noon to 3 p.m.

Other special upcoming events include History in Your Hands (April 17), a program for visitors who are blind or who have low vision, and Geography Day (April 20).

You'll find the museum at 18900 Jefferson Davis Highway in Triangle, Virginia, about 34 miles from downtown D.C. The museum, which launched in 2006, is free and open to the public.



Photo Credit: National Museum of the Marine Corps]]>
<![CDATA[Light City Brings Jaw-Dropping Displays to Baltimore]]> Wed, 30 Mar 2016 11:24:00 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/cms696.jpg

Baltimore will shine bright this week during Light City, a large-scale celebration of lights and innovation featuring jaw-dropping displays and special events.

The first large-scale light festival of its kind in the U.S., Light City Baltimore is running now through Sunday, featuring 29 light art exhibits along Baltimore's scenic waterfront, as well as delicious food options, innovation conferences, and dozens of concerts and performances.

Some of the week's events include Light City Cruises on the Bay (Friday-Saturday), a light-themed scavenger hunt at the National Aquarium (through Saturday) and a Family Glow Party at the Port Discovery Museum (also Saturday).

See the full schedule of Light City events, times and locations online here.

During daylight hours, four conferences will center on the question: How do we become a more responsible and equitable society? Industries represented in the conferences include health, sustainability and more. See all conference info here.

At night, music groups such as local 9 Mile Roots and performers such as the Theatre of Fire will take over the scene, among the illuminated exhibits. 

For younger festival-goers, the Bright Lights Youth Festival will take place at the IMET Columbus Center on Friday and Saturday. The schedule of events includes a youth debate, rap battles and more.

Families can also visit Mini Kiddie Light City in Pierce's Park on the Baltimore waterfront, nightly from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., and until 10 p.m. Saturday. Find interactive crafts, kid-friendly entertainment and unique snacks such as lighted cotton candy.

As if free entertainment and beautiful exhibits aren't not enough, local restaurants, bars, tourist attractions and stores will have special deals and discounts during the festival. You won't want to miss the Light City Sunset Specials at Aggio or two rides for $5 on the scenic Harbor Carousel.



Photo Credit: Atelier Mateo M]]>
<![CDATA[PHOTOS: Light City's Jaw-Dropping Displays in Baltimore]]> Wed, 30 Mar 2016 16:31:37 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/lightcitybaltimore21.jpg Light City Baltimore brightens up the city this week with interactive and unique illuminated exhibits for all ages to enjoy.

Photo Credit: Jen Lewin Studio by Frank Lanza]]>
<![CDATA[Spring Road Trip: Chanticleer Gardens in Pa.]]> Wed, 30 Mar 2016 16:28:47 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/177*120/chanticleer22.jpg

Martha Stewart called Chanticleer Gardens "breathtaking," so you know it must be good. 

The gardens, located in Wayne, Pennsylvania, date back to the early 20th century, featuring 5,000+ plants and 35 acres of gardens. Seven horticulturists are responsible for the design, planting and maintenance of specific areas -- they basically keep everything looking fantastic for your viewing pleasure. 

Inside the grounds, you'll find many varieties of trees and gardens, including the Asian woods, a pond garden, a ruin and gravel garden, a teacup garden, a tennis court garden and a woodland area.

Brand new is the elevated walkway with two viewing platforms and staff-made White Oak furniture. At its highest point, the walkway is eight feet above a blooming meadow where a grove of quaking aspens runs through it. Sounds magical, right? 

We've been told the gigantic Katsura Tree in the middle of the garden is a must-see.

Chanticleer Gardens is located at 786 Church Road in Wayne, Pennsylvania, about two and a half hours from downtown D.C. It's open Wednesdays through Sundays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. From May through Labor Day, the garden is also open Friday evenings until 8 p.m. The 2015 season begins April 1 and ends Nov. 1.

Admission is $10 for those age 13 and older, and free for kids age 12 and younger. Members of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society and local arboreta get in for $8; Radnor Library cardholders get in for $5. Garden professionals are admitted free.



Photo Credit: courtesy of Chanticleer, photo by Lisa Roper ]]>
<![CDATA[Blossoms Without Crowds: Alternative Viewing Spots]]> Wed, 16 Mar 2016 12:04:29 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/CherryBlossoms2.jpg

It's getting warmer, Metrorail is standing room only and "escalefters" (those who stand on the walking side) are clogging the escalators. Ah, it must be cherry blossom season.

As thousands of people flock to the Tidal Basin to see the blossoms in peak bloom, consider one of these alternative locations for an uninterrupted view.

  • American University in Northwest D.C. also serves as an arboretum and is home to more than 75 different tree species, including the Korean Cherry. The trees were planted in 1943 outside of the old School of International Service, now renamed as the East Quad Building, blooming each year as a plaque testifying to the AU-Korean friendship.

  • Anacostia Park offers a view of the blossoms along the Anacostia River. The National Park Service and the 11th Street Bridge Park are hosting the second annual Anacostia River Festival on Sunday, April 17, the official closing program of the 2016 National Cherry Blossom Festival. The free event will feature activities including kayaking, boating, fishing workshops, art projects, music and a bike parade (although the cherry blossoms themselves will be long gone by then).

  • Historic Dumbarton Oaks in Georgetown is one of the most scenic areas in the city. Formerly home to Robert Woods Bliss and his wife, Mildred, the estate and the garden make for a perfectly lovely, perfectly tucked-away place to view the blooms.

  • Foxhall Village, slightly northwest of Georgetown, is a secret spot where locals like to take in the blossoms. Yoshino cherry trees line most streets, but Surrey Lane features Quanson cherry trees that blossom slightly later than trees around the Tidal Basin.

  • The Kenwood area in Chevy Chase is (quietly) renowned for its beauty during cherry blossom season. Locals say this is one of the best, least congested ways to take in the cherry blossoms.

  • The Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Northern Virginia has a number of walking paths that circle around beautiful lakes surrounded by cherry trees. The flowering trees at Lake Caroline echo the scene of the blossoms along the Tidal Basin.

  • Montrose Park is a well-kept secret in Georgetown just a few steps from Dumbarton Oaks. The park is publicly owned and chock full of open space and beautiful trees.

  • Stanton Park, a four-acre park located in Capitol Hill, is surrounded by cherry trees. Busy streets run nearby, but the park offers a play area, walkways and a grassy area perfect for a spring picnic.

  • The U.S. National Arboretum is not just a primo locale to check out the cherry blossoms; this botanical research center is also home to several other varieties of shrub and floral life. For the botany buffs, an open-air tour will give you the history and habits of the arboretum's blossoms.

  • Washington National Cathedral is one of D.C.'s most awe-inspiring structures. The beautiful neo-Gothic design makes it a wondrous place to just sit and exist any time of year, but during the spring when the cherry blossom trees are in full bloom, the cathedral's other-worldly beauty becomes even more apparent.

We're collecting the best of the best cherry blossom pictures to post to our site, so tweet your best cherry blossom snaps to @NBCWashington with the tag #cherryblossoms.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cherry Blossoms: Peak Bloom Dates Narrowed]]> Sat, 19 Mar 2016 07:49:55 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_128774186.jpg

The National Park Service said the peak blooms for the cherry blossoms around the Tidal Basin and East Potomac Park will start on March 23-24.

NPS said the current progression of the blooms and a cooler weather forecast over the next seven days has allowed them to narrow the target to two days.

Last week, they announced the peak bloom would occur between March 18 and 23. Two weeks ago, the NPS had announced peak bloom dates would be March 31 to April 3.

Peak bloom is considered to occur when 70 percent of the Yoshino cherry trees along the Tidal Basin are in bloom. The NPS said that in past years, unusually warm or cold temperatures have resulted in peak bloom as early as March 15 and as late as April 18. The average date for blooming is April 4.

In response to the earlier peak bloom, the Tidal Basin Welcome Area, located near the paddle boats at Maine Avenue SW and Raoul Wallenberg Place SW, is now scheduled to be open from March 18 to April 3, moved up from April 2-17.

Organizers have already announced the dates for this year's National Cherry Blossom Festival. It's scheduled to run for four weeks from March 20 to April 17. The festival is a big boost for city and regional tourism.

Here's a peek at some of the best events:

  • Saturday, March 26: The official opening ceremony features performances at the Warner Theatre (513 13th St. NW). Tickets are free but are required to attend; see the festival website.
  • Saturday, April 2: Oh, go fly a kite! The Blossom Kite Festival, a family-favorite tradition, has competitions and demonstrations. You can bring your own kite, or kids can make their own!
  • Saturday, April 9: The Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival will blast off above the water after a full day of enjoying food vendors, an artists' marketplace and more.
  • Saturday, April 16: The National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade boasts a 10-block-long lineup of balloons, bands and all things pink. Grandstand tickets are on sale now for $20, but standing room along the route is free.
  • Saturday, April 16: After the parade, six blocks near Capitol Hill turn into a celebration of Japanese culture with food, performances and more during the Sakura Matsuri Festival. Tickets are $10 and free for children under 12.
  • Saturday, April 16-Sunday April 17: The Cherry Blast at the Carnegie Library (801 K St. NW) is a celebration of Japanese pop culture, including anime, cosplay, fashion and gaming, plus a Japanese-inspired dance party. You can also indulge in Tokyo street food, sake tastings and sushi workshops. The event runs from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m.

To celebrate the National Park Service's 100th birthday, festival officials say they will also hide a special cherry blossom themed gnome in parks this spring. Those who find "Petal the Gnome" will win a festival prize package.

This year marks the 104th anniversary of the gift of the cherry blossom trees from Japan as a symbol of friendship with the United States.



Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[National Harbor Restaurant Week Starts Mon.]]> Mon, 21 Mar 2016 08:16:07 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/national+harbor.jpg

How does dinner with a view sound? Well, you're in luck. Monday kicks off restaurant week at National Harbor. 

From Monday through Friday, more than a dozen restaurants will offer $20 two-course lunches or $38 three-course dinners. 

Many of the participating restaurants are located along the waterfront. Click here to make your lunch or dinner reservations.

After your meal, you can take your receipt to the Capital Wheel for 20 percent off a regular price ticket. 



Photo Credit: Erica Jones]]>
<![CDATA[Cherry Blossom Festival: 8 Key Events ]]> Thu, 17 Mar 2016 21:41:03 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-98192546.jpg

The cherry blossoms might peak earlier than expected, but this year's National Cherry Blossom Festival is also on the horizon.

The fest will run for four weeks, from March 20 to April 17, and it's usually a big boost for city and regional tourism. It always includes dozens of events, including everything from high-end bashes to family-friendly arts and crafts projects, plus several festivals-within-the-festival.

You can see a complete calendar of events here, and read on for a breakdown of some of the key events:

  • Saturday, March 18: The Pink Tie Party is held before the festival even officially begins. Held at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center (1300 Pennsylvania Ave. NW), the party is a chance to don your finest pink attire, chow down at food and beverage stations and bid in silent auctions. Tickets are $225 for regular admission and $300 for VIP admission. The bash is a fundraiser for the National Cherry Blossom Festival.

  • Saturday, March 26: The official opening ceremony features performances at the Warner Theatre (513 13th St. NW). Tickets are free but are required to attend; see the festival website.

  • Saturday, March 26: A free family day at the National Building Museum (401 F St. NW) offers hands-on activities for kids including making origami, designing a memorial for the National Mall, building tatebanko dioramas and meeting DuAro the robot. Kids will also have the chance to try on traditional Japanese clothing. The event runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

  • Saturday, April 2: Oh, go fly a kite! The Blossom Kite Festival, a family-favorite tradition, has competitions and demonstrations. You can bring your own kite, or kids can make their own!

  • Saturday, April 9: The Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival offers a full day of food vendors, live music, an artists' marketplace and more, ending with fireworks high above the water. Admission is free; the event runs from 1 to 9 p.m.

  • Saturday, April 16: The National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade boasts a 10-block-long lineup of balloons, bands and all things pink. Cast members from "Jersey Boys," pop artist Tiffany, Miss America 2016, "The Voice" contest Sisaundra Lewis and many more will join in. Grandstand tickets cost $20, but standing room along the route is free. The parade runs from 10 a.m. to noon.

  • Saturday, April 16: After the parade, six blocks near Capitol Hill turn into a celebration of Japanese culture with food, performances and more during the Sakura Matsuri Festival from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tickets are $10 and free for children under 12.

  • Saturday, April 16-Sunday April 17: The Cherry Blast at the Carnegie Library (801 K St. NW) is a celebration of Japanese pop culture, including anime, cosplay, fashion and gaming, plus a Japanese-inspired dance party. You can also indulge in Tokyo street food, sake tastings and sushi workshops. The event runs from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m.

To celebrate the National Park Service's 100th birthday, festival officials say they'll also hide special cherry blossom-themed gnomes in parks this spring. Those who find "Petal the Gnome" will win a festival prize package. (See what Petal looks like here.)

This year marks the 104th anniversary of the gift of the cherry blossom trees from Japan as a symbol of friendship with the United States. 

Peak bloom for D.C.'s famed cherry trees is expected to begin around March 23-24, the NPS said. Peak bloom is considered to occur when 70 percent of the Yoshino cherry trees along the Tidal Basin are in bloom. 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Spring OysterFest Means Seafood, Music and Plenty of Wine]]> Thu, 03 Mar 2016 17:19:15 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_170943890.jpg

Whether you're a seafood fan or an avid wine lover (or both, let's face it), there's a Spring OysterFest for that.

The fest, to be held in Madison, Virginia, will dish up a menu from Rappahannock Oyster Company featuring fresh oysters, crab cakes and stuff'n muffins, as well as a variety of the vineyard's Virginia wines.

It's happening March 19 from noon to 5 p.m. at Early Mountain Vineyards (6109 Wolftown Hood Road, Madison, Virginia.). Admission for ages 21+ also includes an Early Mountain wine tasting and a stemless wine glass to keep.

You're also welcome to bring picnic lunches to enjoy on the back lawn.

Advance tickets are $15; vineyard wine club member tickets are $12, and tickets at the door are $20. Those under 21 get in for free. Find tickets online here.



Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA['Taverns, Taprooms and Tippling Houses' Festival]]> Tue, 01 Mar 2016 13:21:44 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Day+in+Old+New+Castle.jpg

If you love history, gardens, festivals or even just beer, A Day in Old New Castle is there for you (if you can get to Delaware, anyway).

This event, featuring beautiful and historic home and garden tours in a 350+-year-old town along the Delaware River, is 92 years old, making it the nation's oldest event of its kind.

Old New Castle's cobblestone streets will be filled with historical civilian and military encampments, the Fort Delaware Coronet Band, colonial dancing, a beer garden, theater, a homebrew competition, activities for children, storytelling, old-time games and more.

The festival is set for on Saturday, May 21 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Adult tickets are $20, tickets for kids ages 6-12 are $5, and children under 5 get in free. Purchase tickets here.



Photo Credit: Photo Courtesy of the Greater Wilmington Convention & Visitors Bureau]]>
<![CDATA[5 Beers, 5 Bands for DC Brau's 5th Anniversary Bash]]> Tue, 01 Mar 2016 13:18:13 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_2072816111.jpg

DC Brau promises to satisfy all the beer connoisseurs, audiophiles and foodies in your friend group at their 5th anniversary party, coming up April 16.

Tickets are now on sale for the event, which will be held from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the DC Brau Brewery (3178 Bladensburg Road NE).

DC Brau will also debut five beers at the party, developed via collaborations with other breweries across the country. The headlining brand-new brews will be two IPAs, an imperial stout, a Belgian-style saison and a German-style dunkel.

The musical lineup is stacked with metal bands including D.C.-born Loud Boyz. Serpent Throne, Torche, The Sword and Kvelertak will also take the stage. 

Food trucks will serve up barbecue, pizza, hot dogs and Dangerously Delicious Pie.

Tickets are $45 in advance, or $60 at the door. The ticket only includes admission to the concert; beer will be for sale at the event. A $200 VIP ticket includes the concert, free unlimited beer, a special bar and special access to the new beer releases.

DC Brau will offer a free shuttle ride to the event from the Rhode Island Metro stop and warns people about driving. Parking is limited.



Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[NoVa Restaurant Week Now Through Mon.]]> Tue, 08 Mar 2016 14:26:37 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_72296035.jpg

Cross ramen noodles off your shopping list for the week: Northern Virginia Restaurant Week is running from March 7 to March 14.

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

If you want to impress a date (or your mom), Restaurant Week can help you without making your wallet cry. Here are a few participants that Yelp gives triple-dollar sign ratings, making them some of the priciest in the entire Restaurant Week lineup:

  • Morton's The Steakhouse (11956 Market St., One Freedom Square, Reston)
  • The Melting Pot (11730 Plaza America Drive, Suite 100, Reston)
  • Tuscarora Mill (203 Harrison St., Leesburg)
  • Vinifera Wine Bar & Bistro (11750 Sunrise Valley Drive, Reston)
  • McCormick & Schmick's Seafood Steaks (multiple locations)
  • Trummers on Main (7134 Main St., Clifton)

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



Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Day Trip: Delaware's Wildflower Celebration Is Coming Back]]> Mon, 22 Feb 2016 12:58:04 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Wildflower+Celebration.jpg

Looking for a fun, cheap way to celebrate the beginning of spring?

Plan a day trip with friends and family to the 12th Annual Wildflower Celebration at the Mt. Cuba Center in Hockessin, Delaware (3120 Barley Mill Road).

The free festival will take place, rain or shine, on Sunday, April 24 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Visitors will have a chance to explore the park and its wildflowers, enjoy live music and participate in gardening demonstrations and other family programming. Food will be available for purchase.

The first 1,000 families to enter will receive a free native plant.



Photo Credit: Photo Courtesy of the Greater Wilmington Convention & Visitors Bureau]]>
<![CDATA[Find D.C.-Area Ice Skating Rinks]]> Mon, 22 Feb 2016 17:47:25 -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 ice skating rinks in D.C., Maryland and Virginia for you to explore.

(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, located on the National Mall. The rink's perfect soundtrack will get you pumped to stay even once you get chilly. Open 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 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 through mid-March. Rates: $10 adults; $9 kids, seniors and military; $5 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 through mid-March. Rates: $9 adults; $8 kids, seniors and military; $4 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 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. 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 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. Rates: $8 adults; $7 kids age 10 and younger; $4 skate rentals. 



Photo Credit: NBC Washington]]>
<![CDATA[Lineup Revealed for Roots Picnic Fest in Philly]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 12:16:26 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-81489402.jpg

The Roots Picnic music festival announced its lineup last week, which features covers a wide range of hip-hop and soul super-acts, including Future, Usher, Leon Bridges, The Roots (well, of course) and Blood Orange.

The Roots Picnic will take over Philly on Saturday, June 4 on the Festival Pier at Penn's Landing (601 N. Christopher Columbus Blvd., Philadelphia), meaning festival-goers can soak up the music right on the Delaware River. 

You can also expect to flip your hair back and forth with Willow Smith and have an experience extraordinaire with Jidenna. Twenty-three artists are scheduled to perform during the day-long festival; all of them are listed below and on the festival website

As of Tuesday, DMX was also still scheduled to appear, despite reports that he collapsed Monday night and was hospitalized after being found unresponsive. He is expected to fully recover, sources said

Fans of the Comedy Central show "Broad City" may recognize the funny ladies who announced the lineup on YouTube, Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson.

Tickets are on sale for $85 through Ticketmaster

Whether you decide to hoof it with a three-hour (without traffic) cruise via car or three-hour train ride, the 2016 Roots Picnic will likely be worth the trip.

Roots Picnic 2016 Lineup:

  • Future
  • Usher (backed by The Roots)
  • Leon Bridges
  • The Roots
  • Blood Orange
  • Kehlani
  • Kaytranada
  • Swizz Beatz
  • Jidenna
  • Ibeyi
  • DMX
  • Metro Boomin
  • Migos
  • Lil Dickey
  • LOLAWORLD
  • Willow Smith
  • Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals
  • Everyday People featuring DJ MOMA
  • LIL UZI VERT
  • Rich Medina
  • Tish Hyman
  • Paris Monster
  • GoGo Morrow



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cherry Blossom Peak Bloom Dates Announced]]> Sat, 05 Mar 2016 09:12:48 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_78620002.jpg

The Tidal Basin will be covered with cherry blossoms in just four weeks, the National Park Service revealed Wednesday. 

The NPS says peak bloom for the city's famed cherry blossom trees will occur between March 31 and April 3.

Peak bloom is considered to occur when 70 percent of the Yoshino cherry trees along the Tidal Basin are in bloom. The park service says unusually warm or cold temperatures have resulted in peak bloom as early as March 15 and as late as April 18. The average date for blooming is April 4.

Organizers have already announced the dates for this year's National Cherry Blossom Festival. It's scheduled to run for four weeks from March 20 to April 17. The festival is a big boost for city and regional tourism.

Here's a peek at some of the best events:

  • Saturday, March 26: The official opening ceremony features performances at the Warner Theatre (513 13th St. NW). Tickets are free but are required to attend; see the festival website.

  • Saturday, April 2: Oh, go fly a kite! The Blossom Kite Festival, a family-favorite tradition, has competitions and demonstrations. You can bring your own kite, or kids can make their own!

  • Saturday, April 9: The Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival will blast off above the water after a full day of enjoying food vendors, an artists' marketplace and more.

  • Saturday, April 16: The National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade boasts a 10-block-long lineup of balloons, bands and all things pink. Grandstand tickets are on sale now for $20, but standing room along the route is free.

  • Saturday, April 16: After the parade, six blocks near Capitol Hill turn into a celebration of Japanese culture with food, performances and more during the Sakura Matsuri Festival. Tickets are $10 and free for children under 12.

  • Saturday, April 16-Sunday April 17: The Cherry Blast at the Carnegie Library (801 K St. NW) is a celebration of Japanese pop culture, including anime, cosplay, fashion and gaming, plus a Japanese-inspired dance party. You can also indulge in Tokyo street food, sake tastings and sushi workshops. The event runs from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m.

To celebrate the National Park Service's 100th birthday, festival officials say they will also hide a special cherry blossom themed gnome in parks this spring. Those who find "Petal the Gnome" will win a festival prize package.

This year marks the 104th anniversary of the gift of the cherry blossom trees from Japan as a symbol of friendship with the United States. 



Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Sip Unlimited Wine at DC Wine Fest]]> Tue, 01 Mar 2016 13:12:31 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_246308947.jpg

Wine lovers: This is the big one! The D.C. area has an endless parade of booze and beer festivals, and the D.C. Wine Fest is classily stepping in line with the local tradition of all-you-can-sample sips on Saturday, April 16.

Long View Gallery (1234 9th St. NW) will host the tasting, when 10 wineries will be pouring out dozens of favorites like pinots, cabernets, roses. You can also try exotic pours like Hungarian Furmint and French Vouvray.

You shouldn't be sampling all that wine on an empty stomach, though. D.C. Wine Fest has lined up Red Hook Lobster Pound and Proshuckers to sell lobster rolls and local oysters. Planners also promise live music.

You can grab tickets now for the event. Regular tickets cost $29 (plus a fee) and will get you into one of three sessions. Each session lasts two hours. VIP ticket holders get three hours of wine tasting for $60. They are available on the Wine Fest DC website.

]]>
<![CDATA[B'more's Brew at the Zoo: Early Bird Tickets on Sale Now]]> Thu, 25 Feb 2016 17:05:32 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/brew+in+the+zoo.jpg

The Smithsonian's National Zoo isn't the only zoo in the area to host a beer-focused event later this year -- in fact, Brew at the Zoo at the Maryland Zoo is coming up sooner than D.C.'s.

In the mood for a Memorial Day weekend trip to Baltimore? Act fast, because Early Bird tickets are on sale now for $39 (for thoses ages 21+), and prices will go up Monday.

During the event, tour the zoo (including the Penguin Coast exhibit!) and enjoy unlimited samplings from among 80+ different beers and wines while listening to local rock and pop bands. All proceeds will go to the Maryland Zoo's education, conservation and animal programs. 

This year's bands include  blues group the Kelly Bell Band, Celtic rock band the Kilmaine Saints, funk pop band Bosley and more.

You'll find Brew at the Zoo at the Maryland Zoo Waterfowl Lake Pavilion on May 28 and May 29 from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. each day. Festival-goers may enter the zoo at 10 a.m. to explore the animal exhibits; the event area opens at 1 p.m.

Tickets (age 21+) after the Early Bird deal ends will cost you $55, and tickets for those who are not drinking are $25.

Limited "Super Sipper VIP" tickets are $69, and include early entry to the event and a tasting glass that is double the size of the general admission glass (for more drinks and less time waiting in lines).

Maryland Zoo members get $10 off tickets.

And if you're waiting for the National Zoo's similar event, that one is set for July 16; see more info here.



Photo Credit: Maryland Zoo in Baltimore]]>
<![CDATA[B&O Railroad Museum Throwing 2-Day Bash]]> Mon, 22 Feb 2016 12:47:06 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/FOIH-York-Locomotive.jpg

The B&O Railroad Museum (901 W Pratt St., Baltimore) is celebrating the 189th birthday of the railroad with two days of special events, complete with the debut of an old model train and train rides.

This Saturday and Sunday, narrated 20-minute train rides will wind riders along the first commercial mile of tracks laid in America. Rides will depart Saturday at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. Sunday rides will depart at 12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. Tickets for the train rides are $3 for adults and $2 for children.

Visitors can also view the museum's recently acquired 1926 replica of a 1831 York locomotive. The museum now has all three of the working replicas of early B&O locomotives built by Mt. Clare Shops in Baltimore for the 1927 Fair of the Iron Horse. The trains will be on exhibit in the B&O Roundhouse.

The celebration will also feature a hands-on presentation about the Underground Railroad, conducted by the C&O Canal Historical Society about the significance of the canal and the competition that existed between it and the railroad in reaching transportation completion in the early 1800s.

On Saturday, kids are invited to participate in the Railroad's Birthday Bash, featuring train and party games and interactive education stations.

Event times vary between the days. Saturday's activities run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday's run from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Tickets are $18 for adults, $16 for seniors (60+), and $12 for children (2-12).



Photo Credit: B&O Railroad Museum]]>
<![CDATA[Giant Bunnies! Light Art at Yards Park]]> Sat, 27 Feb 2016 10:31:28 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/bunnies3.jpg

The Yards Park at D.C.'s Southeast Waterfront is glowing during a two-week-long light-themed art installation.

Melding light, sculpture and music, the installation will officially kick off Saturday with a large-scale projection mapping a visual display set to the beat of a live DJ set from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

White light sculptures named Point Cloud and Cube, constructed by New York architect and light artist John Ensor Parker, will be the focal point of the event and will remain throughout the two weeks.

Giant luminescent rabbits designed by Australian artist Amanda Parer will be joining the display on Saturday, Feb. 27. To kick off Parer’s U.S. tour, families are invited from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. to see the glowing bunnies while enjoying children’s activities, including a giant Lite-Brite. From 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., the Yards Park will blend music and art with a performance by electric violinist DJ Manifesto.

Food and beverage will be available for purchase during the special events Saturday and Feb. 27.

Light Yards is a free event, and cameras are allowed. The installation closes March 6.



Photo Credit: The Yards]]>
<![CDATA[Megafort Competition Back at Nat'l Building Museum]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 14:07:32 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/180*120/Ultimate+Megafort+2015.+Photo+by+Yassine+El+Mansouri+%2813%29.jpg

Look, there are just some facts you have to acknowledge in this world. And one of them is that you're never too old to build an indoor fort.

The Ultimate Megafort building competition is returning to the National Building Museum (401 F St. NW) in March.

On Wednesday, March 2, hack together cardboard, tape and other materials provided by the museum in an effort to make the best fort and prepare for the Great Battle of the Foam Balls.

Check out the gallery above to see some of last year's forts, castles and strongholds.

Aspiring cardboard architects must register in advance online here. Admission to the event will run you $20, unless you're a member of the Keystone Society. (In that case, the event is free!). The competition runs from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

Port City Brewers will serve drinks and Union Kitchen will be catering, as if you need a reason beyond adults-only fort building to attend. 



Photo Credit: Yassine El Mansouri]]>
<![CDATA[Cherry Blossoms: Peak Bloom Dates Bumped Up]]> Wed, 09 Mar 2016 00:30:44 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_128774186.jpg

Spring-like temperatures have arrived with gusto -- and the weather is so warm that the National Park Service has bumped up its prediction for the cherry blossoms' peak bloom dates.

Peak bloom for D.C.'s famed cherry trees is now expected to occur between March 18 and March 23, the NPS announced Tuesday.

Just a week ago, the NPS had announced peak bloom dates would be March 31 to April 3. The NPS said Tuesday that it had considered March's above-average temps when making the original prediction, but "potentially record-setting temperatures, averaging nearly 20 degrees above normal for the next week, have greatly accelerated the bloom watch."

Peak bloom is considered to occur when 70 percent of the Yoshino cherry trees along the Tidal Basin are in bloom. The NPS said that in past years, unusually warm or cold temperatures have resulted in peak bloom as early as March 15 and as late as April 18. The average date for blooming is April 4.

In response to the earlier peak bloom, the Tidal Basin Welcome Area, located near the paddle boats at Maine Avenue SW and Raoul Wallenberg Place SW, is now scheduled to be open from March 18 to April 3, moved up from April 2-17.

Organizers have already announced the dates for this year's National Cherry Blossom Festival. It's scheduled to run for four weeks from March 20 to April 17. The festival is a big boost for city and regional tourism.

Here's a peek at some of the best events:

  • Saturday, March 26: The official opening ceremony features performances at the Warner Theatre (513 13th St. NW). Tickets are free but are required to attend; see the festival website.

  • Saturday, April 2: Oh, go fly a kite! The Blossom Kite Festival, a family-favorite tradition, has competitions and demonstrations. You can bring your own kite, or kids can make their own!

  • Saturday, April 9: The Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival will blast off above the water after a full day of enjoying food vendors, an artists' marketplace and more.

  • Saturday, April 16: The National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade boasts a 10-block-long lineup of balloons, bands and all things pink. Grandstand tickets are on sale now for $20, but standing room along the route is free.

  • Saturday, April 16: After the parade, six blocks near Capitol Hill turn into a celebration of Japanese culture with food, performances and more during the Sakura Matsuri Festival. Tickets are $10 and free for children under 12.

  • Saturday, April 16-Sunday April 17: The Cherry Blast at the Carnegie Library (801 K St. NW) is a celebration of Japanese pop culture, including anime, cosplay, fashion and gaming, plus a Japanese-inspired dance party. You can also indulge in Tokyo street food, sake tastings and sushi workshops. The event runs from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m.

To celebrate the National Park Service's 100th birthday, festival officials say they will also hide a special cherry blossom themed gnome in parks this spring. Those who find "Petal the Gnome" will win a festival prize package.

This year marks the 104th anniversary of the gift of the cherry blossom trees from Japan as a symbol of friendship with the United States. 



Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[23 Places to Go for This Weekend's Mini-Spring]]> Fri, 19 Feb 2016 17:58:29 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_360988064.jpg

Storm Team4 predicts this weekend will give the D.C. area a taste of spring-like weather, with highs from the mid 50s all the way up to the mid 60s. Granted, it's sandwiched between last Monday's snow and the possibility of rain early next week... but that just means you need to enjoy it while you can! NBC Washington has the guide to get you out of the house.

GET OUTSIDE, STAY OUTSIDE

  • Take a tour: See Georgetown's true haunts, learn about the night of President Lincoln's assassination or choose from a variety of other events via Free Tours by Foot. You should book the tours in advance through their website. Every tour is pay-as-you wish. 
  • Eat (or drink) something outside: We're pretty sure that dozens of local restaurants and bars will be opening up their patios, courtyards and rooftop decks for this weekend's warm weather -- and we're equally sure that they'll be letting everyone know via social media. Check out @DCscene's restaurants and bars list for up-to-the-moment updates from more than 160 local spots.
  • Visit Bei Bei: Get a peek at D.C.'s very own panda cub this weekend at the National Zoo (3001 Connecticut Ave. NW). Enjoy daily events including the Elephant Training Demonstration at the Elephant Outpost at 11 a.m. On Saturday, attend the Keeper's Choice Demonstration at 1:30 p.m., where staff will introduce visitors to one of the species on the American Trail. 
  • Ride the Capital Wheel: Visit National Harbor and ride the Capital Wheel (116 Waterfront St., National Harbor, Maryland) to rise 180 feet over the Potomac River, catching views of the White House, National Mall and other D.C. sites. The wheel runs until 10 p.m. General admission tickets are $15; get them online here.
  • Stroll the National Arboretum: If you really want to be outside to enjoy the springy weather, go to the National Arboretum (3501 New York Ave. NE) and walk through the gardens or the woods for free until 5 p.m. each day. The arboretum has plenty of winter-blooming plants and more than 100 types of evergreens, as well as fragrant wintersweet shrubs in the Asian Collection, and hollies in the Holly Magnolia Collection.
  • Explore the Yards Park: One of the District's most impressive newer spots, the Yards Park (355 Water St. SE) is part park, part art installation. Dip your toes in a fountain that's more like a shallow pool, grab a snack from Ice Cream Jubilee or settle in for a meal at waterfront spots Aqua 301 or Osteria Morini. What's more, a two-week light art display launches at the park this weekend.

BE ACTIVE, INSIDE OR OUT

  • Hit the trail: Explore Roosevelt Island, Great Falls or Rock Creek Park for some local walking or hiking. If you're up for a road trip, consider Shenandoah National Park, about three hours from D.C., which has a variety of trails from easy to strenuous. Our pick: White Oak Canyon and Cedar Run, which offer stunning waterfall views, and might be a little less crowded than the wildly popular Old Rag.
  • Dust off your sad, ignored bike: Head out to explore one of D.C.'s many bike trails (see maps here), take loops around Hains Point or the National Mall, or join in a group ride like the ones that depart from the Bike Rack. Don't have your own bike? It's OK -- rent one from one of Capital Bikeshare's many stations throughout the area. Or has it been awhile since you've ridden? Consider the Washington Area Biking Association's adult education classes.
  • Go ziplining or take a ropes course: Find outdoor thrills high in the trees. Terrapin Adventures (8600 Foundry Street, Savage, Maryland) offers ropes courses, ziplines and giant swings, as well as caving, biking, geocaching and more.
  • Take a free fitness class: RSVP for your chance at free fitness classes from local studios through Yelp Fit Club. This Saturday, Spark Yoga in Arlington is offering aerial yoga; and Zengo Cycle in Kentlands is offering an intense but fun cycling class.

VISIT SOMEWHERE NEW (OR AN OLD FAVE)

  • The Renwick Gallery (1661 Pennsylvania Ave. NW): The recently renovated gallery usually has a line on weekends that allows you to stand outside for at least 10 minutes and catch a glimpse of the White House -- and in this weather, you probably won't mind being outside. If you haven't seen the Wonder Exhibit yet, do not miss it before it ends later this year.
  • Eastern Market (225 7th St. SE): This Capitol Hill mainstay is part farmers' market, part bazaar and part flea market. It's open Saturdays and Sundays starting at 7 a.m. Expect big crowds and make sure to sample produce and cheese. When you're done, make a stop at the packed-to-the-gills Capitol Hill Books (657 C St. SE), which offers thousands of used books (and plenty of wonderfully snarky signage from the owner).
  • Torpedo Factory Art Center (105 N. Union St., Alexandria): The Torpedo Factory's mission is to connect artists with the public, and their open space allows that. Artists work in the factory and the public can visit the building from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. most days. Remember, each artist keeps their own studio hours.

EVENTS

  • Black History Month Instameet and Tour: Instagram teamed up with the Congressional Black Caucus and Congressional Black Caucus Foundation to find some of the most interesting and beautiful spots in D.C., including the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, Howard Theater, Blagden Alley and Ben's Chili Bowl. Meet for a walking tour in front of the Lincoln Theater (1215 U St. NW) at 1 p.m. Sunday.
  • The Travel & Adventure Show at the Washington Convention Center (801 Mt. Vernon Place NW): Get new travel inspirations to cure your wanderlust. Speak directly with travel experts to plan your next trip and maybe score money-saving deals. The two-day convention runs Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. One-day tickets are $16; two-day tickets are $25. Children 16 and under get in free with a paid adult. 
  • Chinese New Year at the Leesburg Corner Premium Outlets (241 Fort Evans Road NE, Leesburg, Virginia): Celebrate the Year of the Monkey with children's crafts, food samplings and martial arts demonstrations Saturday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. in the food court. You'll also find a fashion show and live performances featuring the guzheng, a Chinese instrument, and a Peking opera. 

FARMERS' MARKETS

  • Dupont Circle FRESHFARM Market (20th Street NW between Q Street NW and Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, D.C.) is open Sunday, 9:30 a.m. from 1:30 p.m. 
  • Takoma Park Farmers' Market (Laurel Avenue between Carroll Street NW and Eastern Avenue, Takoma Park) is open Sunday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Farm Women's Market (7155 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Bethesda): The Farm Women's Market has an indoor building and regular outdoor vendors. The market is open Friday and Saturday from 7:30 a.m. until 4 p.m.
  • Farmer's Markets in AlexandriaThree of Alexandria's farmers' markets stay open in the winter season. Old Town Farmers' Market (301 King St., Alexandria) is scheduled to run Saturday from 7 a.m. to noon. Del Ray Farmers' Market (corner of East Oxford & Mount Vernon avenues) is open Saturdays from 8 a.m. until noon. Four Mile Run Farmers' & Artisans Market is indoors during winter and is open Sundays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

DISTILLERY AND BREWERY TOURS

  • One Eight Distilling (1135 Okie St. NE): You can sample spirits, visit the tasting room and tour 7,500 square feet of spirit-making space every Saturday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Tours are free.
  • DC Brau (3178-B Bladensburg Road NE): The District's only combination brewery and beer packaging plant offers free tours on Saturdays at 2, 3 and 4 p.m. Make sure to wear closed-toe shoes!



Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[11 Things to Do for V-Day -- With or Without a Date]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 17:30:16 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_244651840.jpg

Whether you're spending Valentine's Day with a significant other or with friends this year, take a look at these 11 Valentine's events and deals in the DMV area this weekend.

1. Union Market Valentine's Weekend

Head over to Union Market (1309 5th St. NE) for Valentine's specials throughout the weekend.

Buffalo & Bergen is offering four cocktails for $40 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., Friday through Sunday. Call (202) 543-2549 or email amy@buffalobergendc.com to reserve your spot.

Participate in Chris and Alex Perrin's #SweatDate workout at Dock 5 on Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Righteous Cheese presents a cheese, champagne and chocolate tasting class Saturday and Sunday from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. This event is 21+ and tickets are $79.06; you can buy them online here.

Get Valentine's Day portraits taken at Lab 1270 on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The package is $82.99; photographer Emma McAlary will photograph customers for 15 minutes and give them three high-resolution downloadable images. Purchase tickets here.

2. "Brunch in Love" at Smith Public Trust

Brunchman D.C. is throwing a Valentine's brunch party Saturday at Smith Public Trust (3514 12th St. NE), featuring brunch chow and mimosas available for purchase from noon to 2 p.m. Four DJs will throw a dance party from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. This is a 21+ event and tickets are $10. RSVP here.

3. "Black as Your Heart" Dinner at City Tap House

City Tap House (901 9th St. NW) presents an "Anti-Valentine's Day" celebration with a three-course dinner for $45 with optional beer flight pairings of porters and stouts. Call (202) 733-5333 or email lcascone@publichouseusa.com to make a reservation.

4. Glen Echo Park's Red Dress Ball

Singles, couples, beginners and advanced dancers are all invited to to the Spanish Ballroom at Glen Echo Park (7300 MacArthur Blvd., Glen Echo, Maryland) for swing dancing Saturday. The Eric Felton Jazz Orchestra will perform. Tickets are $18 for adults and $12 for those under 18. Swing lessons run from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m., and dancing is from 9 p.m. to midnight.

5. Art Soiree at the Ritz-Carlton Georgetown

The Ritz-Carlton Georgetown (3100 South St. NW) will host a bevy of events leading up to Valentine's Day, starting with a performance by jazz singer Cassandra Allen Thursday at 7 p.m. The event is free; you can RSVP online here.

On Friday at 8 p.m., the annual "Single Valentine" event will feature Philly's Tara Hendricks band and DJ Sabeel Chohan. RSVP to this free event to mix and mingle with fellow singles.

Spice up your weekend with a Valentine's Silent Disco featuring three live DJs on Saturday at 8 p.m. Tickets include headset rental and are $15-20. RSVP online here.

For a more traditional Valentine's Day, enjoy a candlelit five-course dinner while listening to the Lauren White band on Sunday at 7 p.m. View the dinner menu and reservation menu here.

6. Valentine's Day Winemaker's Dinner and Party at Veritas Winery

Veritas Winery (151 Veritas Lane, Afton, Virginia) is offering a five-course meal with wine pairings for $140 per person this Saturday starting at 6:30 p.m. Courses include pan-fried gnocchi, caramelized sweet potato bisque, and chocolate and coffee chili-braised pork shank. After dinner, stay for music and dancing. Find tickets here.

7. Galentine's Brunch at Joe's D.C.

Joe's Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab (750 15th St. NW) is hosting brunch Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., with half-priced wine by the glass, draft beers and cocktails. Make a reservation here or call (202) 489-0140, and mention "Galentine's Brunch" to get a free glass of sparkling wine with your meal.

8. Pizzeria Paradiso Valentine's Day Extravaganza

Each Pizzeria Paradiso location (Dupont, Georgetown and Old Town) will feature a tap takeover and different beer theme (sour, sweet and chocolate and flower) from noon Saturday to 11 p.m. Sunday. What's better than pizza AND beer?!

9. Valentine's Weekend Special at Vendetta Bocce Bar

Enjoy a "Lady and the Tramp"-inspired dinner for two, available Friday through Sunday at Vendetta Bocce Bar (1212 H St. NE). This meal comes with shared pasta, a half-bottle of champagne and a shared dessert for $35. There are also free bocce ball courts for a fun game with your date!

10. Cupid's Undie Run

If you're willing to brave the cold, strip down to your skivvies and dash a mile for charity for Cupid's Undie Run, which will raise money for the Children's Tumor Foundation this Saturday. The event kicks off at noon, with the run set for 2 p.m. Registration is $55.

11. Crawl in Love Bar Crawl

The Crawl in Love bar crawl will meander through NoMa and Bloomingdale this Saturday from 2 to 10 p.m. The first 100 people to sign up will score coozies, as well as specials at five participating bars: Boundary Stone, Pub & The People, Wicked Bloom, Ivy & Coney and Baby Wale.



Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Presidents Day at the Nat'l Constitution Center]]> Tue, 09 Feb 2016 18:22:16 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/180*120/shutterstock_268449434.jpg

Hey, it's an election year. What better way to learn about the role of the POTUS than with a Presidents Day Weekend Celebration in Philadelphia? 

Interactive exhibits and lots of kid-friendly activities will help examine the role of the Constitution to visitors of all ages. You'll also find craft activity tables, a presidential costume contest, and a chance to meet re-enactors depicting Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Roosevelt. 

You'll find it all at the National Constitution Center (525 Arch St., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, about three hours from downtown D.C.). Admission runs $8-$14.50 per person this Friday though Sunday, with free admission Monday for Presidents Day.

EVENTS INCLUDE:

  • Presidential Costume Contest for Kids
  • Kids Town Hall: Meet the Presidents 
  • Hail to the Chief Quiz Game 
  • Growing Up: President Style Show 
  • Presidential Leadership Tours 

You'll also find plenty of programming for Black History Month at the center, including a giant game board to test your knowledge of history; an Emancipation Proclamation document workshop; an interactive show that looks at the lives of Thurgood Marshall, Bessie Coleman, Jackie Robinson and more; President Obama inauguration artifacts, and plenty more.



Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[8 Things to Do for Black History Month]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 17:28:51 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_242294497.jpg

Black History Month has officially started. Check out eight events happening around the city to commemorate the month, learn more about important historical leaders and celebrate black history.

1. See Civil Rights Movement exhibits at the Newseum

Learn more about the Civil Rights movement from current exhibitions at the Newseum (555 Pennsylvania Ave. NW). The exhibition "1966: Civil Rights at 50" depicts the events of 1966, including the rise of the Black Power movement and the riots in more than 40 cities that summer. "Make Some Noise: Students and the Civil Rights Movement" takes a look at the college students involved in the movement and features a part of the original Woolworth's lunch counter from the first sit-ins in Greensboro, North Carolina.

2. Attend the 27th Annual Black Film Festival at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library: Feb. 2, Feb. 9, Feb. 23

The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library (901 G St. NW) near Chinatown will play three movies from 2015 during their free film festival: NWA biopic "Straight Outta Compton" (Feb. 2), Spike Lee's "Chi-Raq" (Feb. 9), and Stanley Nelson's "The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution" (Feb. 23). Visit the library's website for showtimes and other information. 

3. Celebrate Frederick Douglass' Birthday at the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site and around Anacostia: Feb. 12 from 1:30 to 10 p.m. & Feb. 13 from 10:15 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Celebrate Frederick Douglass' 198th birthday throughout the weekend of Feb. 12-13 at his home (1411 W St. SE) and around Anacostia. Several free events will take a look at Douglass' remarkable life, including a children's story program and a book signing for local historian John Muller's "Frederick Douglass in Washington, D.C.: The Lion of Anacostia." Go here for specific times and locations for the events.

4. See "Queen Nur's Voices of Courage: Profiles of 19th Century African-American Women": Feb. 18, 10:15 a.m. & 12 p.m.

Storyteller Queen Nur highlights the lives of seven notable African-American women: Sojourner Truth, Maria Stewart, Cathay Williams, Frances Harper, Ida B. Wells, Mary McLeod Bethune and Mary Church Terrell. Familiarize yourself with these important historical figures through the vivid art of storytelling at the Publick Playhouse Cultural Arts Center (5445 Landover Road, Cheverly, Maryland).

5. Attend "Ashes and Embers: A Screening and Discussion with Ava DuVernay": Feb. 27 from 7 to 9 p.m. 

The 1982 film "Ashes and Embers" chronicles the life of an African-American Vietnam War veteran, directed by Ethiopian filmmaker Haile Gerima. "Set amidst the challenges of Black urban life in the early 1980s, the film is the story of a disillusioned African-American Vietnam vet grappling with his turbulent past and struggling inside a chaotic political environment to make a future for himself," event planners say.

Academy Award-nominated director Ava DuVernay will lead a discussion with Gerima about the film and its re-release. The event, to be held in the National Museum of Natural History's Baird Auditorium (10th Street and Constitution Avenue NW), is free, but attendees should register online here

6. See "From History to the Dream" at Zenith Gallery: Feb. 5-March 5

Discover contemporary black artists at Zenith Gallery (1429 Iris St. NW), which is showcasing works from local artists across a wide variety of media from watercolor paintings to jewelry. The exhibit runs for a month starting on Feb. 5; meet-the-artists receptions will be held Feb. 5 from 4 to 8 p.m. and Feb. 6 from 2 to 6 p.m.

7. Take a Black History Month Lunch Cruise on the Potomac: Feb. 20, boarding at 11 a.m.; sailing from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Enjoy a lunch cruise on the Potomac River with a performance from D.C. saxophonist Frankie Addison. A DJ will also be on board spinning music from a variety of African-American artists through the ages, including Duke Ellington, Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross, Michael Jackson and more. You can book tickets ($49.90 for adults; $29.95 for kids) online here. The Spirit of Washington cruise leaves from Pier 4 on Water Street SW.

8. Attend "Blacktivism: The New Generation" at The George Washington University School of Media & Public Affairs: Feb. 5 from 7 to 9 p.m.

This event looks at the new generation of black activism and current experiences of black lives through photography, multimedia pieces and artistic performances. You'll find it the second floor of GW's SMPA building (805 21st St. NW). Register for the free event online here.



Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Celebrate Mardi Gras With These 6 Events in DC]]> Tue, 09 Feb 2016 12:03:39 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_323360105.jpg

Traditionally, Mardi Gras is a celebration all about stuffing yourself with delicious foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season. So you kind of have to do it... right?

Check out these local spots celebrating the holiday with specials and events:

1. Bayou Gras Block Party

Chef David Guas, a New Orleans native, invites guests to his newest outpost of his popular Bayou Bakery (901 Pennsylvania Avenue NE) for the fifth annual Bayou Gras Block Party this Tuesday. The event will feature a live band and tons of food and drinks under a heated tent.

From 6 to 9 p.m., enjoy authentic "N'awlins" dishes, including parade route food that consists of the choice of jambalaya, Crawfish Monica, Muff-a-lottas or andouille and shrimp gumbo, among other traditional meals and desserts. All night, a pop-up bar will serve up New Orleans-style cocktails, and Abita draft beers will be poured in souvenir cups. Additionally, kids 12 and under eat free, with mac and cheese, hot dogs and Abita root beer on the menu.

Tickets can be purchased at the eatery or online here.

2. Mardi Gras at Black Rooster Pub

The Black Rooster Pub (1919 L Street NW) will host a Mardi Gras celebration Tuesday. Starting at 5 p.m., catch live entertainment including stilt walkers and fire eaters. Additionally, planners say "original songs, gritty vocals, a slamming horn section and driving rhythms" will be provided by the D.C. band King Soul starting at 6 p.m.

The pub will be serving a special Cajun menu and 22-ounce Hurricanes all night long.

3. Round Robin Bar at the Willard

From now through Tuesday, the Round Robin Bar (1401 Pennsylvania Ave. NW), a lively meeting place for the political and social elite since the 1850s, will be serving up Mardi Gras-themed cocktails.

Located just off the lobby of the Willard InterContinental, the bar will offer specialty cocktails for $15, including the Bayou Bloody Mary, made with Tito's vodka, Tabasco sauce and spicy green beans and garnished with crawfish, and the Vieux Carre, made with rye whiskey, cognac, sweet vermouth, Benedictine and bitters.

Cajun cuisine lovers can choose from two dishes: a New Orleans po-boy on a french baguette or a chicken and andouille gumbo.

4. Venetian Mardi Gras at Masseria

Experience a Venetian Mardi Gras celebration at Masseria (1340 4th St. NE) from Tuesday through Feb. 14. Chef Nicholas Stefanelli will prepare a $95 five-course tasting menu with dishes including Grande Lasagna di Carnevale (lasagna, meatballs, beef, salumi, ricotta, mozzarella and tomato.

On Friday, Feb. 12, a "super-chic soirée" following dinner will be complete with free-flowing Italian sparkling wine from Ca' d'Or Franciacorta, which will debut at Masseria before anywhere else in the U.S. Keeping with the European theme, the celebration will begin late and continue until the wee hours of the morning. From 10:30 p.m. to 2 a.m., up to 100 guests can party Venetian-style, complete with decorative masks, candles and dancing for $75.

You can make reservations for the dinners or event online here.

5. Paladar Latin Kitchen & Rum Bar

As part of its annual Carnaval celebration, several locations of Paladar Latin Kitchen will offer a two-week long special menu that runs from now and ends with a Fat Tuesday party on Feb. 9. The first week's menu features drink specials including half off select Latin beer and wine bottles. The second week includes half off select mojitos and margaritas.

As the Brazilian Carnaval festivities typically involve street parties, diners can also enjoy a $5 street food menu. Celebrations will be held at the restaurant's Annapolis, Rockville, Gaithersburg and Tysons Corner locations and will offer live entertainment, dancing and, of course, beads.

You can make reservations online here.

6. Clarendon-Courthouse Mardi Gras Parade & Ball 

Arlington's 17th annual Clarendon-Courthouse Mardi Gras Parade is set for 7 p.m. Tuesday, when participants donning decorative masks and dressed in festive outfits will parade down Wilson Boulevard from N. Barton Street to N. Irving Street at this family-friendly event. 

After the parade, head to the Clarendon Ballroom (3185 Wilson Blvd.) for the Mardis Gras Ball from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. This ticketed event will feature traditional Louisiana food and a variety of beverages, as well as live music from the Yamomanem Jazz Band and the 8 Ohms Band. Tickets can be purchased in advance for $20 or at the door for $25. Proceeds help offset parade costs and also benefit St. Charles Church.



Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[5 Things to Do in Alexandria After Seeing 'Mercy Street']]> Fri, 15 Jan 2016 17:09:19 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/MS_101_AP_0518A--057.jpg

PBS's new drama "Mercy Street," set in a Civil War-era hospital in Alexandria, is premiering Sunday. Museums and tours throughout Alexandria have special events and exhibits to further explore the area's Civil War history.

Museums

Carlyle House: This historic home shared grounds with the real-life "Mercy Street" hospital but today, it's a museum. Step back in time to see Civil War medical supplies and hospital rooms at a new exhibit, "Who These Wounded Are: The Extraordinary Stories of the Mansion House Hospital."

Alexandria Black History Museum: Alexandria was one of the first cities on the Union side during the Civil War. The exhibition "The Journey to Be Free" tells the dramatic and tragic story of the freedmen who came to Alexandria. The museum's director, Audrey Davis, is a historical consultant for "Mercy Street."

Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum: The apothecary opened in 1792 and operated until 1933. Now it's a museum hosting a collection of medical artifacts from botanical herbs to hand-blown glass equipment, along with archival material from figures like Robert E. Lee and Martha Washington. In honor of the PBS show, the museum will feature special relics purchased by the real-life versions of the characters.

Tours

Mercy in Alexandria Tour: Stops on this tour include the Carlyle House, three other museums and the site of the first Civil War casualties. All tours are conducted by a trained military historian, according to the website. The short version of the tour is tailored for "Mercy Street" fans; the long version dives deeper into the Civil War medical history and includes a boat trip.

Explore the Real Mansion House: The Mansion House is normally closed to the public, but on Jan. 30, the doors will open for a view of the original lobby. The tour begins in the original hospital lobby with coffee, bagels and a presentation co-conducted by "Mercy Street" historical consultant Audrey Davis. It includes a visit to the Carlyle House museum.



Photo Credit: Courtesy of Antony Platt/PBS]]>
<![CDATA[Chocolate Lovers' Festival in Fairfax]]> Sat, 06 Feb 2016 09:50:38 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/180*120/chocochallenge2.jpg

The annual Chocolate Lovers Festival in Fairfax is an excellent leadup to Valentine's Day: It's your chance to buy your sweetheart (or yourself) whatever chocolate goodies they (OK, or you) desire.

The two-day chocolate festival, to be held the weekend of Feb. 6-7, features historic re-enactments, children's activities, and a Kiwanis Club chocolate chip pancake breakfast. You can also check out the chocolate sculptures submitted for the event's art contest. But keep your hands to yourself: All you can do it sit back and drool over the beauty of it.

The Taste of Chocolate event during the festival will have vendors offering samples of their creations, as well as items for sale. Many historic buildings around the area will have open houses for the public to meander through.

Most events are free, but some require a fee. The festival website lists any costs for each event in the festival.

The festival runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. A good starting point for the festival is at Old Town Hall, 3999 University Drive in Fairfax.



Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[7 Chinese New Year Bashes You Won't Want to Miss]]> Wed, 03 Feb 2016 16:31:40 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-73363280.jpg

Ready to ring in the year of the monkey? Celebrate Chinese New Year at these special events around the D.C. area.

1. Chinese New Year Parade in Chinatown: Feb. 14

D.C.'s Chinese New Year parade marches through Chinatown on Feb. 14 starting at 2 p.m. Head downtown for your chance to see lion dancers, dragons, marching bands, Chinese folk dancers and more amid the crackle of fireworks.

2. Chinese New Year at the Kennedy Center: Feb. 5- 8

The Kennedy Center will host several free events, kicking off the first weekend in February with a free pop music show Friday featuring artists from a major southern Chinese city, Shenzhen. On Saturday, Family Day will offer all-day activities including calligraphy lessons and red lantern-making. The Shenzhen Lily Girls' Choir performs Sunday night. The last free event is set for Monday, with performances in Beijing Opera and acrobatics from the Henan Arts Troupe. Go here for more info on events.

3. Lunar New Year Ceremony and Festival at Maryland Live!: Feb. 5

Maryland Live! Casino (7002 Arundel Mills Circle, Hanover) will host a day of special events Feb. 5 to welcome the Year of the Monkey. A Cai Qing ceremony at 11:30 a.m. will feature the "plucking of the greens" by a "lion" to bless the New Year and bring prosperity, planners said. A Lunar New Year festival will follow from noon to 4 p.m., with lion dances, the chace to visit the money god for good luck, and more.

4. Chinese New Year Festival in Falls Church: Feb. 6

The 9th annual festival will be held at Luther Jackson Middle School (3020 Gallows Road, Falls Church) with free admission and a full day of activities spanning across different Asian cultures. Along with traditional Chinese dragon and lion dances, the festival will include Korean, Thai and Indian dances. See the full program of events online here. The fest will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

5. Family Art Activities at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery: Feb. 6, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

Spend a day in a Smithsonian museum with your little ones, making masks and learning about ribbon dancing. A local dance troupe from the Madison Chinese Dance Academy will perform. Find more info here.

6. Wolfgang Puck's The Source: Feb. 8 to Feb. 20 

For something a bit more luxe, savor a seven-course Chinese New Year menu at The Source (575 Pennsylvania Ave NW), available Feb. 8-20. At $110 per person, it's definitely a "treat yourself" meal. A night market with lion dancers and traditional market stalls will be open Feb. 11 for a cool $85 per person. See the full list of events online here.

7. Chinese Lion Dance at the Mandarin Oriental: Feb. 11 in the main lobby

The Mandarin Oriental (1330 Maryland Ave SW) will offer a range of events and special packages this month. A lion dance Feb. 11 starts at 5 p.m. and will include refreshments and appetizers. Their Empress Lounge will offer afternoon tea and cocktails with a Chinese New Year menu Fridays through Sundays throughout February. For fine dining choices, order from a limited Chinese New Year menu at their restaurant, Muze.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Can You Sled on Capitol Hill This Year?]]> Fri, 22 Jan 2016 09:04:24 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/465277094-%281%29.jpg

With a historic blizzard expected to wallop the D.C. area, residents are getting ready to hunker down and ride out the storm. But once it's safe to venture back outside, they'll be able to do something that's been banned for 15 years: sled down Capitol Hill.

In December, D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton added language permitting sledding on Capitol grounds to a new federal spending bill, lifting a ban that took effect in 2001.

Language added to the 2016 omnibus spending package instructs Capitol Police not to interfere with sledders in the future, and President Barack Obama signed it into law.

The Library of Congress relays the language used in the bill:

"Use of Grounds.–The Committee understands the need to maintain safety and order on the Capitol grounds and commends the Capitol Police for their efforts. However, given the family-style neighborhood that the Capitol shares with the surrounding community the Committee would instruct the Capitol Police to forebear enforcement of 2 U.S.C. 1963 ("An act to protect the public property, turf, and grass of the Capitol Grounds from injury") and the Traffic Regulations for the United States Capitol Grounds when encountering snow sledders on the grounds."

Last winter, determined children and families gathered for a "sled-in" to protest the ban after U.S. Capitol Police warned that sledding was prohibited on Capitol Hill.

Local blog Popville.com reported details of the March 5, 2015 "sled-in," which was shared via a Change.org petition. "If you are up for a little civil disobedience, a sled-in is planned for today.... Come armed with sleds!" the petition said in part.

While the sled-in wasn't legal, Capitol Police did not enforce the ban that day.

Holmes Norton said she's looking forward to giving families a chance to enjoy the snow.

"Capitol Hill is this city's iconic snow sledding hill, and Congress got out of the way, allowing our kids to freely enjoy what promises to be one of the best snowfalls in years," she said. "Last year, when D.C. families came together with strong community support for non-enforcement of the antiquated sledding ban on Capitol Grounds, they empowered our efforts in the Congress. All families need to worry about now is picking the best time to go sledding."



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>