It’s taken a long time, but it seems that spring has finally sprung in Washington, DC. The temperatures are getting warm enough for you to spend some real time outside without wanting to dash in for a hot beverage. And, as every DC denizen knows, you’ve got to get outside now, because pretty soon, every time you are outside, you’ll want to dash in for a cold beverage.
So here’s my list of fun favorite things to do during the spring in my fair city.
1) Walk Rock Creek Park.
While everyone else is busy crowding each other to see the cherry blossoms on the Mall, take a stroll/run/bike ride down in Rock Creek Park. You can see spring coming alive in its wooded banks, green starting to cover an old cemetery, and a rushing rivulet. To me, it always seems cool down in Rock Creek Park. And if you get hungry, take an exit near Georgetown and walk up for some refreshments before descending back into the cool stillness of the park below.
2) Visit the monuments at night.
When all those children are sleeping, go check out one of the most impressive of Washington’s assets. Lit up, the monuments look even more impressive and beautiful than they do during the day. And if you’re lucky enough to be there when the cherry trees are blooming, they will add an ethereal, ghostly quality to the whole experience. I highly recommend it.
3) Check out the National Zoo.
Spring is a great time to walk the Zoo, which is always free. The animals are more likely to be in their outside habitats. And if you’re lucky, you can watch an orangutan pass over the walkway on the O-Line! Here’s an insider tip for those entering and exiting via the Zoo’s main entrance on Connecticut Avenue. The Zoo sits on a very long hill. On your way in, stick to exhibits on the left side and avoid the Asia Trail, which winds its way on the right side of the zoo almost toward the base. Then pick up the Asia Trail at the bottom and take it all the way back up the hill. The climb is so much easier if you get to see fun animals like the Sloth Bear on the way back up!
4) Grab ice cream sandwiches at Sugar Magnolia.
Boy, are you ever in for a treat! Near the Zoo in Cleveland Park, Sugar Magnolia is a side arm of nearby restaurant Ripple, but if you’re in town on Saturday and Sunday (hours: 12-5), be sure and check it out. They have really tasty and innovative ice cream sandwiches. You can try out the waffle cookie with maple bacon ice cream, coconut macaroon with coffee ice cream, or gingersnaps with pumpkin ice cream. And don’t worry. For the faint of heart among you, they have traditional chocolate cookie, vanilla ice cream options. Make sure to go in with an open mind, though. Flavors change often.
5) Check out the Washington Nationals
Nothing says spring like the beginning of baseball season. Wander over to Southeast DC to check out the team and the relatively new stadium. With some of the best selection of food in a ballpark (including DC classics like Ben’s Chili Bowl), you should come with an appetite. Whether you’re root-root-rooting for the home team or you’re in town to cheer on the challengers, stick in your seats for the President’s Race in the middle of the fourth inning. Choose your favorite from George, Abe, Tom (Jefferson), Teddy, and now Bill (Taft) and cheer him on!