Out on the Town

Great places for any night out in Northern Virginia

Great places for any night out in Northern Virginia

Places to Hear Great Riffs
Northern Virginia has a solid lineup of live music venues, including the Birchmere, IOTA, Jammin’ Java and Wolf Trap. But bars and restaurants that aren’t known for live music are making an effort to support the local scene, with intimate settings, affordable covers and a relaxed atmosphere.—Robert Fulton/Edited by Rebecca Norris

Auld Shebeen
When the well-known TT Reynolds closed down last year, the Fairfax music scene dispersed elsewhere, including Fat Tuesdays, the Firehouse Grill and this Irish restaurant and venue. Catch local music on Wednesdays and solid bands on Fridays in the Cellar. 3971 Chain Bridge Road, Fairfax; 703-293-9600


Dogfish Head Ale House (Photograph by Jonathan Timmes)

Dogfish Head Ale house
Beer lovers are familiar with this Delaware-based brewery, but Dogfish Head offers more than just great suds. The Falls Church alehouse has live music from locals on Saturday nights, and with no cover. “They’re into the whole original music scene,” says Leesburg-raised and Clarendon-based singer-songwriter Justin Trawick. 6220 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church; 703-534-3342

Galaxy Hut
“Because Galaxy Hut only has shows Sundays and Mondays, it’s cool to play,” says Trawick about this cozy Clarendon bar. Hipsters know it, as do beer lovers. Intimate is an understatement, but the smallness of the location is a good change of pace. 2711 Wilson Blvd., Arlington; 703-525-8646

Lakeside Inn
Next to Lake Thoreau in Reston is this overlooked spot with live music on Fridays. “It’s a little, teeny bar … with a faithful crowd that loves the local talent,” says area singer-songwriter Ted Garber. 11150 South Lakes Drive, Reston; 703-264-0781

The Light Horse
Better than its beer selection and egg-topped burger is the live music upstairs at this Old Town location. “It’s a cozy, good environment,” says Joanne Kim, an Arlington resident and bassist for area band Idea Track. 715 King St., Alexandria; 703-549-0533

Old Brogue
This Irish bar in Great Falls is a favorite of Garber’s. “It’s really come-as-you-are. The bar maintains an ethos of anyone is welcome there,” Garber says of his favorite venue. His reasons: No televisions (except behind the bar), small stage, supportive ownership and receptive crowds. 760 C Walker Road, Great Falls; 703-759-3309

Spanky’s Shenanigans
It has a funny name, but open mic night on Wednesdays and live music on Fridays make this Loudoun County bar a must-hit spot. 538 E. Market St., Leesburg; 703-777-2454

Girls’ Night Out
Since the days of Greek mythology, nothing has fascinated cultural zeitgeists more than when the women ditch the men to engage in Dionysian, “girls only” behavior. —Alissa Ponchione/Edited by Rebecca Norris

Glam Night Out
Certain things are important to every woman. Among them: shoes, dresses, accessories. Start your girls’ night a little early by hiring a personal stylist at Nordstrom (multiple NoVA locations) to get your group ready for going out. Show off your new looks out on the dance floor to the beat of live music at Caribbean Breeze (4100 N. Fairfax Drive, Arlington; 703-812-7997). They offer salsa dance lessons every Saturday night.

Foodies’ Night Out
Nothing leads to hot gossip like good food and good company. Start your girls’ night with tapas and wine at Evo Bistro (1313 Old Chain Bridge Road, McLean; 703-288-4422). Their DIY wine system allows you to try over 50 small pours, paired with their Mediterranean small plates. Keep the night going with dancing and drinks at Irish Lounge (1524 L-M Spring Hill Road, McLean; 703-760-9000).

Girls’ Night In
Ease the anxiety of shaving, plucking and waxing by sharing in the rituals with friends. Call a stylist from Arlington-based Miracles Mobile Spa (703-516-9800) for at-home facials, waxing, manicures and more. Polish off the night with makeovers from makeup artist Marti at Tica (703-282-1347).

Girls’ Day Out
Trade in those pumps for hiking boots, and take your girlfriends on an outdoor adventure at Shenandoah National Park (Front Royal; 540-999-3500). You can work up a sweat riding horses on one of the 180 horse trails, then grab a meal at Main Street Mill Restaurant (500 E. Main St., Front Royal; 540-636-3123) before ending the evening with drinks and live music at Lucky Star Lounge (205A E. Main St., Front Royal; 540-635-5297).

Girls’ Weekend Out
Girls’ night is fun, but it doesn’t have to end at last call. Indulge in a girls’ weekend at Lansdowne Resort (44050 Woodridge Parkway, Lansdowne; 703-729-8400). Relax at the spa or pool during the day. By night, dine at an exclusive on-site restaurant. Reserve a wine tour via Reston Limousine (Dulles; 703-478-0500). They’ll chauffeur you to area wineries of your choosing, like Loudoun Valley Vineyards (38516 CharlesTown Pike Waterford; 540-882-3375) and Veramar (905 Quarry Road, Berryville; 540-955-5510).



Guys’ Night Out
Relationships can sometimes turn a guy’s friends into distant acquaintances. Take a break from the romantic comedies to spend time with Y-chromosome buddies. .—Chase Johnson/ Edited by Rebecca Norris

Cultural Night Out
A night out with the guys doesn’t have to be about drinking. Our area is home to a number of theaters, perhaps the most noteworthy of which is Tony Award winning Signature Theatre (4200 Campbell Ave., Arlington; 703-820-9771). Catch dinner at one of the fine restaurants in the Village at Shirlington, then check out Busboys and Poets (4251 S. Campbell Ave., Arlington; 703-379-9757) for open mic poetry or music.

Photograph by James Kim

Shoot ’Em Up Day Out
There’s nothing quite like NRA-sanctioned entertainment. If you’ve never tried range shooting, there’s no time like the present. Head to Blue Ridge Arsenal (14725 Flint Lee Road, # K, Chantilly; 703-818-0230), where firearm rentals are on site, and classes are available. Afterward, put your newfound skills to use at Hogback Mountain Paintball (20217 Hogback Mountain Road, Leesburg; 703-777-0057).

Gluttons’ Night Out
Put a twist on barhopping for this foodie-themed evening. Instead of going from bar to bar, visit several restaurants instead. Travel up Alexandria’s King Street to Las Tapas (710 King St., Alexandria; 703-836-4000) for Spanish apps. The main course: 219 Restaurant (219 King St., Alexandria; 703-549-1141) for savory Creole. To top it off: The Scoop Grill (110 King St., Alexandria; 703-549-4527) for frozen dessert.

Active Night Out
Looking to expend some energy? Try nine holes of twilight golf at Reston National Golf Course (11875 Sunrise Valley Drive, Reston; 703-620-9333). Work up an appetite at Ultrazone Laser Tag & Amusement Center (3447 Carlin Springs Road, Falls Church; 703-578-6001). Then head to Ballston Commons (4238 Wilson Blvd., Arlington), to grab a beer and a bite at Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery (4238 Wilson Blvd., Arlington; 703-516-7688).

Sporty Night Out
Nothing says guys’ night out like a sporting event. Baseball’s leisurely pace provides ample time between the action to chat and catch up with buds over beer and peanuts. If you don’t want to brave the Metro for a Nationals game, plan a trip to the next best thing: the Potomac Nationals, who play at G. Richard Pfitzner Stadium (7 County Complex Court, Woodbridge; 703-590-2311). Avoid the concessions by grabbing a burger at Ray’s Hell Burger (1725 Wilson Blvd., Arlington; 703-841-0001) or any of the many Five Guys locations across the region for a tasty start to the night.


Late Night Bites
The end of an evening’s events is when the hunger pangs strike. Luckily, there are a handful of 24-hour joints ready to cater to any craving, so scouring through your fridge isn’t the only option.


Photograph by Kate Bohler

This after-hours institution serves up gargantuan subs (club-on-a-sub, meatball and cheese are perennial favorites), Sicilian-style pies and Carvel ice cream anytime. 3322 Wilson Blvd., Arlington; 703-525-0222

Generous breakfast platters, savory Mediterranean-style entrees and a round-the-clock bakery? Yes, please. 377 Maple Ave. W., Vienna; 703-938-7877

Frost Diner
Traditional country eats (cooked-to-order steaks, gravy-drenched eggs, crunchy hash browns) in a friendly setting. 55 Broadview Ave., Warrenton; 540-347-3047


Krispy Kreme (Photograph by Kate Bohler)

Krispy Kreme
Jonesing for freshly brewed java or a still-warm-from-the-oven donut? Krispy Kreme’s 24-hour drive-thru window has got you covered. 6328 Richmond Highway, Alexandria; 703-768-1002

First Date Spots
The ruffled silk blouse or tailored crop jacket? A quiet dining experience or drinks and appetizers at the bar? Does he pick me up? Do I meet him there?—Katie Greenan/Edited by Rebecca Norris

When you live in a highly transient area such as Northern Virginia, dating can be even trickier. Business professionals can be hired and fired in a heartbeat. Motivated individuals may work for the government for a term or two and then move on, depending on the political climate.

And it’s not just about whom we choose to spend our time with, but what we wear and where we go. Certain decisions are simple. Buffalo wings versus chicken fingers? Order the chicken fingers—much easier to eat and half the mess. A second martini? Unless this is a date to nowhere, keep it to one drink. Kiss or no kiss? When in doubt, save the smooching for another night. If you’re into each other, there’s no rush.

Other decisions may require a bit more thinking, such as where to go on a first date. There is nothing worse than a boring date, but today’s standards allow for more variety and flexibility.

Top Golf
It doesn’t matter if you’re not an athlete. You and your date can enjoy swinging out a bucket of balls on the driving range. You’ll have your own station, and a server is always around to take your food and drink order.
Ice Breaker: Challenge your date to a golf game on the computer screen at your station to stimulate innocent flirting and conversation. 6625 S. Van Dorn St., Alexandria; 703-924-2600


NIck's (Photograph by Jonathan Timmes)

Prepare for a night of fun at this karaoke, country line dancing and live music night club. You don’t have to be a cowboy or a dancer to have a good time here; after a tune or two, you’ll get the hang of it. 624 S. Pickett St., Alexandria; 703-751-8900

Mount Vernon/Inn
George Washington’s old stomping grounds aren’t too shabby, especially if you plan it right by hitting up a wine festival or candlelight tour on the estate. This will get you and your date outdoors to enjoy the views and some history. And don’t forget to head to the Inn for dessert.
3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway, Mount Vernon; 703-780-2000

Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse
Multiple NoVA locations
You are in for a treat at Ruth’s Chris Crystal City location. It overlooks Washington Reagan National, so sit at the bar facing the window. It’ll be wheels up and wheels down over cocktails and appetizers. It’s a classy, top-notch experience that doesn’t have to break your bank.

Great Falls National Park
Grab your sneakers, and challenge your date to a sight-seeing excursion away from traffic and “torons” (tourists + morons). Benefit: Your date will most likely be wearing spandex.
9200 Old Dominion Drive, McLean; 703-285-2965


Cheesetique (Photograph by Jonathan Timmes)

It’s just you, your date, a glass of wine and a cheese-and-meat board in the back section of this quaint cheese deli. If all goes with stop No. 1, head across the street to the next date place on the list. 2411 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria; 703-706-5300

The Dairy Godmother
Whether you come for a visit after Great Falls, nibbles at Cheesetique or a romantic dinner for two, this is a no-brainer first-date must for anyone who likes to lick up tasty treats. The turtle sundaes are among the best to be had in NoVA, and the shop’s conveniently located in an area great for a stroll. 2310 Mount Vernon Avenue  Alexandria, VA 22301; 703-683-7767

Three Fox Vineyards

This vineyard boasts bragging rights to beautiful scenery, free events and tasty Virginia wine. Pack a picnic lunch, grab a cozy blanket, and split a bottle of wine as you enjoy getting to know each other away from everyone else. Then take a stroll through the vineyards. You’ll feel like the property is yours. 3 Fox Lane, Delaplane; 540-364-6073

Signature Theater
Washington, D.C., is not the only place to take in entertaining stage performances. Forego the movies and popcorn, and head to the theater in Shirlington’s Urban Village. You and your date are more likely to better remember a live performance than a movie. If it’s a good date, hang onto the ticket stub for your scrapbook. 4200 Campbell Ave., Arlington; 703-820-9771

Classy Nights Out
When’s the last time you shunned old blue jeans in favor of Ol’ Blue Eyes, or strolled through a gallery instead of a galleria? Northern Virginia is flush with venues affording residents prospects for top-shelf outings. “The cultural opportunities in Northern Virginia are there on a weekly basis,” says John Alciati, president and CEO of the Greater Reston Arts Center.—Todd McElwee/Edited by Rebecca Norris

The Athenaeum
The Old South meets modern art at the Athenaeum. Headquarters of the Northern Virginia Fine Art Association since the mid-1960s, but with roots predating the Civil War, the Athenaeum is an Alexandria landmark and regional treasure. Neoclassic columns, hardwood floors and wainscoting welcome you into an eclectic display of permanent, as well as rotating exhibits, showcasing an ever-changing myriad of mediums and genres. A wide range of musical and dance performances also dot the schedule of the former bank and U.S. Army facility. 201 Prince St., Alexandria; 703-548-0035

Greater Reston Arts Center
If you’re searching for the cutting edge in visual art, since 1974, GRACE, located in the Reston Town Center, has been a receptacle for artists wishing to expand the boundaries of their respective mediums. Prepared to be surprised. The museum has everything from neon light sculptures to mixed-media prints and elaborate installations. GRACE also stages the annual Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival in May. 12001 Market St., Suite 103, Reston; 703-471-9242

Fairfax Symphony Orchestra
As you lay back and gaze up at the night sky, notice how the stars twinkle in unison with the timeless notes of Mozart and Beethoven during one of the FSO’s summer recitals within county parks. Performing throughout the year, the organization stages its renowned concert series at George Mason University’s Center for the Arts. Multiple performance locations; 703-563-1990

Loudoun Symphony
On the cusp of its second decade, the Loudoun Symphony is celebrated for its community spirit. Led by maestro Mark Allen McCoy, the organization is known for presenting a hodgepodge of traditional performances, smaller ensemble shows and amateur talent competitions. Multiple performance locations; 703-771-8287

The Carlyle Club
The Carlyle Club is where the Rat Pack would retire to in Northern Virginia. Take a seat in one of the high-back leather booths or at the backlit bar, and enjoy a drink before stepping onto the parquet dance floor. The club’s art deco decor harkens back to the age when speakeasies, playing host to notorious big band leaders, used to dot the landscape. 411 John Carlyle St., Alexandria; 703-778-4830

Virginia Ballet Company
Ballerinas are grace incarnate. Dating back over half a century, the Virginia Ballet Company is a regional custodian of the divine art form. Your eyes will fixate on the elegance of the dance performers as they float across the stage, exhibiting the poise and physical aptitude of professional athletes. Performances at the Ernst Community Cultural Center, Northern Virginia Community College, Annandale Campus. 8333 Little River Turnpike, Annandale; 703-249-8227

Aurora Opera Theatre
The majesty of the genre resonates across NoVA, thanks to Aurora. Staging little-known works at a variety of venues, the opera theater is known for lending a stage to some of the region’s premier vocalists in performances that are both affordable (adults tickets start at $20) and accessible (most productions are in English). Multiple performance locations; 703-528-1433

Port City Playhouse
Whether for comedy or tragedy, few venues come as close to breaking down the fourth wall as Port City Playhouse. Immerse yourself in the intimate setting marked by the subtle, but not too subtle, gestures of the seasoned thespians who shine in the limelight. Port City strives to challenge its audiences, and only produces works that have not been seen locally in the past five years. Lee Center for the Performing Arts. 1108 Jefferson St., Alexandria; 703-838-2880

Dance Factory
Sweep her off her feet (but mind those toes) as you glide across the ballroom during one of the Dance Factory’s Sunday Skyline Dances. Let some of the world’s preeminent classical masters be your guide while elegantly stepping to the majesty of their music. Almost every weekend, the Dance Factory offers some variety of class or celebration. Fridays feature a ballroom instructional session and party. The tempo picks up Saturday as the facility hops with the modern rhythms of fusion, country or swing. 954 N. Monroe St., Arlington; 703-528-9770


 Venues For Parties

It’s Friday night, and two of your oldest friends are coming into town. It’s been a few years, and you haven’t seen them since college—those scrappy days of cheap liquor, tattered sweatshirts and long nights at the library.–Katherine Neubert/Edited by Rebecca Norris

All that has changed now. You’re older, and no longer drinking the cheap stuff, or at least that is the impression you want to give off. To really show your friends how far you’ve come, take them out for a night that proves it.

A rooftop patio, uniquely crafted cocktails and dishes and curtained-off areas make Eventide a must-hit hot spot. Heavy royal blue curtains fall to the floor of three separate sections in the main dining room, and 10-foot-high windows grace each room. Bookings are available for select times, or pay a fee to secure the room for the entire night ($1,500). Eventide will also work with you to help create a special night—bartending lessons, cooking classes and a private table on the roof. 3165 Wilson Blvd., Arlington; 703-276-3165

Library Room
A snug nook for small parties, Potomac Point Vinyard and Winery’s Library Room features brick walls showcasing the best of the best: the winery’s gold medal-winning reserve vintages. Winery staff hosts 30-minute public tours of the vineyard, situated on lush, rolling hills (weekends at 1, 3 and 5 p.m.). Then slip off into the quiet of the reservations-required room, where seating maxes out at eight, and room rental fee is $60 per hour. Food, wine and cleaning fees extra. 275 Decatur Road; Stafford; 540-446-2266

Restaurant Eve
Reserve a spot in their intimate Tasting Room, and choose from three menus offering five-, seven- or nine-course meals. Multicourse meal options start at $110 for food, with $70 for wine pairings. The Tasting Room offers the highest level of service, along with special gifts sent out by the chef, not shown on the menu. After dinner, tell your waiter you’d like to head down the street to PX for an aperitif, and he’ll reserve you a spot at the local speakeasy. 110 S. Pitt St., Alexandria; 703-706-0450

PX (beneath Eamonn’s)
Modeled after a 1930s speakeasy and requiring a jacket and tie for gentlemen, PX was named for VIP guests of Restaurant Eve. If you’re not coming from dinner at Eve, reservations can still be made through the resturant’s website. And if that’s not VIP enough, gather a small crowd to rent the Blue Room for a two-hour increment. A minimum of 10 guests is required (max. 15), with a three-drink minimum per person. 728 King St., Alexandria

If this establishment’s koi pond, hanging sculptures and glass walls aren’t enough, 2941’s VIPs have two options to impress guests: the Chef’s Table, which can be reserved for a four-course lunch ($65 pp) or a six-course dinner ($110 pp, including wine pairings), or private dining in the Tasting Room. Reservations for the Tasting Room need to be made through event directors, while Chef’s Table reservations can be phoned in. 2941 Fairview Park Drive, Falls Church; 703-270-1500

Sea Pearl
Sea Pearl Restaurant and Lounge offers a chic and serene atmosphere created to represent the open sea at sunset: Mother-of-pearl chandeliers, a variety of blue tiles, hardwood floors and decorated lighting. Sea Pearl will work with you on whatever you have in mind for entertaining your out-of-towners, from semi-private rooms to reserving the bar or lounge. Prices for appetizers range from $7 to $15, while entrees run from $13 to $29. 8191 Strawberry Lane, Suite 2, Falls Church; 703-372-5161

Maybe you’ve got a few more rungs to climb on the corporate ladder. If you want the glitz without having to throw down the green, restaurant-lounge Guarapo offers a punch of Latin flavor in its tapas and authentic drinks. Hookahs are for rent in the $20 range, and weekend salsa music attracts people who know their way around a dance floor. 2039 Wilson Blvd., Arlington; 703-528-6500

Places to Get a Laugh
Feel like your sense of humor has been down like the economy? You’re not the only one. It’s no secret that folks in our region have been working a little too hard and taking themselves a little too seriously as of late. So why not partake in some public humiliation? Or frequent an establishments that’s based on it. Whether it’s comedy, karaoke or good old-fashioned humorous antics that you crave, we’ve got your bases covered in our top 10 places to visit if you’re looking for a laugh, below. Drop into one—before you become as blah as the manila folders piled on your desk.—Lindsay Holst/Edited by Rebecca Norris

The Comedy Spot/ComedySportz
Ever leave a comedy show thinking you were funnier than the comic? At ComedySportz, you can prove it. Located in the Ballston Mall, this venue offers weekly interactive shows that encourage audience participation, as well as regular classes for comedy novices and experts alike. Bonus: Students of the comedy classes get free admission to all weekly comedy shows occurring during their class sessions. 4238 Wilson Blvd., Arlington; 703-294-5233

The Capital Steps (Traveling Comedy Group)
We love good, smart, political theatrics around here (We watch them on the news every day!). Toss in clever skits, song parodies and a heavy dose of satire, and we’re in—no matter which side of the aisle we prefer. Formed in 1981 by a group of Hill staffers looking to poke fun at their notoriously self-important profession, the Capitol Steps has evolved into a national act with headquarters in Old Town. So find a nearby performance, and enjoy 90 minutes of sheer bipartisan humor. (Leave party insignia at home.) 210 N. Washington St., Alexandria

The Rock It Grill
Cheap pitchers, wild dancing and a song list thicker than a phone book: This is the Rock It in a nutshell. This dive-y karaoke bar’s bare-bones, working-class nature has distinguished it as the illegitimate second cousin of the posh, pristine drink-and-dine establishments that comprise the rest of King Street. Arrive early—the sign-up list fills up faster than you can say “PBR.” 1319 King St., Alexandria; 703-739-2274

The Eleventh Street Lounge: Open Mic Comedy Night
Open mic comedy nights are something of a rare commodity in this area, and this sleek, urban watering hole has one every Monday night, in addition to half-price select small plates. Sit back, relax, and see who will pleasantly surprise with their witty repertoire and who will crash and burn—hey, it’s all funny. Bonus: No cover charge! 1041 N. Highland St., Arlington; 703-351-1311

Arlington Cinema ‘N’ Drafthouse
Thursday night is $5 Stand-Up Comedy Night at the Drafthouse, a classic Arlington establishment that never disappoints. Bonus: If you should happen to catch a showing of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” or “Sing Along Sound of Music,” you get to participate. The ensuing spectacles often rival the comedy shows in hilarity. 2903 Columbia Pike, Arlington; 703-486-2345

Wiseacres Comedy Club and Pub
When you sit down at a card table at this no-frills comedy spot, located in the former meeting room of a Best Western Hotel off Route 7 near Tysons, just bear this in mind: It’s about the comedy—not the decor. The laughs you’ll get out of the acts will render the scene endearingly grubby. Win the raffle for two free tickets, and come back for another wisecracking show. 8401 Westpark Drive, McLean; 703-734-2800

Del Rio Comedy Club
Laugh into your enchiladas at the standup acts this brightly hued Mexican restaurant features every Saturday night. A quirky, improbable comedy spot, Del Rio provides a warm, jovial atmosphere for its patrons and comics, who are as eclectic (and spicy) as its dishes. 701 E. Market St., Leesburg; 703-777-9554

All Stars Comedy Club (at Young Chow Restaurant)
When it comes to winning combinations, you really can’t beat comedy, beer and Chinese food. Located six blocks from the Crystal City Metro station, this upscale, comedian-owned comedy club also offers regular month-long comedy classes and open mic nights for those looking to try out their jokes on a few unsuspecting victims. 2317 Wilson Blvd., Arlington; 703-739-7377

Formerly the Laughing Lizard Lounge, this seedy hidden gem is tucked above the New York Deli on the corner of King and West Streets in Old Town. Order a cold beer and a hot pastrami sandwich off the menu downstairs, and enjoy the improv and comedy troupe shows that regularly perform at this lovably gritty pub. 1322 King St., Alexandria; 703-836-7885

Lulu Karaoke and Café
With a full bar, lounge and four individual karaoke rooms for its patrons to enjoy, Lulu is all business when it comes to karaoke-singing. If your friends are looking to humiliate themselves in private, this is your spot. Bring a group, and choose from Lulu’s varied selection of Korean and American pop songs. Choose your tune wisely, but remember it’s all fun and games. 13830 Braddock Road B-10, Centreville; 703-815-5656

Places to Impress the In-Laws
Marrying into the family does not always earn you a spot at the top of the in-laws list. In order to do that not only do you have to treat their son or daughter with the utmost respect and shower them with affection, but you must show the in-laws that you are a responsible adult who knows how to have a respectable good time.

History in the making
Known as a hub for shopping and dining, Old Town Alexandria has more to offer than what meets its cobbled streets. In the heart of a historic town steeped in stories from the Colonial Era, a guided tour is sure to pique the interest of any mother- or father-in-law, and make great fodder for breaking those uncomfortable moments of silence. Hire a speaker to tailor the tour to your in-laws’ personal interests (Alexandria Colonial Tours, 201 King St.; 703-519-1749). After treating their minds, treat their palates to the Fish Market (105 King St.; 703-836-5676), a place entrenched in history and crustaceous delights.

Performing Acts
Show the in-laws that you not only partake in local culture, but that you are also in the know when it comes to of-the-moment venues. The soon-to-open Hylton Performing Arts Center (opening May 21, 10900 University Blvd., Manassas; 703-993-9364) will offer the cultural gamut of performances, from music, dance and theater to visual art exhibitions. Once the in-laws have had their fill of culture, treat them to a cold one at a Manassas staple, Kline’s Freeze (8200 Centreville Road; 703-368-2013). Or, if classic American theater is what they trend toward, catch a performance at The American Century Theater (2700 South Lang St., Arlington; 703-998-4555), followed by cocktails at nearby Willow (4301 N. Fairfax Drive, Arlington; 703-435-8800).

Organic Dining
Fiscal responsibility is a key characteristic parents look for in their son- or daughter-in-law. But using that hard-earned money to treat them to a top-notch, five-course organic meal with some of the most beautiful views this area has to offer may just rank a little higher. The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm (42461 Lovettsville Road, Lovettsville; 540-822-9017) is just the spot. In a glass-enclosed conservatory nestled in the hills of Loudoun, overlooking the Potomac River, diners are served a la carte meals with ingredients from the adjoining garden.