Entertainment is not something Northern Virginia lacks. From old favorites to new debuts, let this year’s Best of NoVA list be your comprehensive guide to year-long amusement.
Outdoor Movie Screening Spot
Winner: Mosaic District
Mosaic District’s annual Films in the Park series is a must-do during summers in Northern Virginia. Held in Strawberry Park, family-friendly movies are projected every weekend. Pack a picnic basket, round up the kids and go! // 2910 District Ave., Fairfax
Every Friday this summer, head to Gateway Park to enjoy your favorite movies under the stars. Movies begin at dusk, and the series starts June 7. // 1300 Lee Highway, Arlington
Winner: Angelika Film Center and Café at Mosaic
Since its opening in 2012, the Angelika Film Center and Café at Mosaic has become a go-to for movie buffs. Featuring independent and specialty films, as well as popular releases, Angelika at Mosaic features high-tech digital projections and sound technology and plush velour stadium seating. Grab your popcorn and settle in. // 2911 District Ave., Suite 200, Fairfax
Runner-Up: Alamo Drafthouse Cinema
For over two decades, Alamo Drafthouse Cinema has focused on three things: good food, good beer and good films. Fans know it hasn’t faltered on that spirit. // Multiple locations
Winner: Gallery Underground
Artwork at Gallery Underground rotates every month, ensuring returning guests an enjoyable experience every time. The Crystal City exhibition space also features juried solo and group shows in the Focus Gallery and its own members’ work in the Main Gallery, including paintings, drawings, sculptures, glasswork, ceramics, photography and jewelry. // 2100 Crystal Drive, Suite 2120-A, Arlington
Runner-Up: Torpedo Factory Art Center
In its 45th year, the Torpedo Factory Art Center holds the nation’s largest collection of working-artists’ open studio under one roof—there’s 82 artists’ studios in total. // 105 N. Union St., Alexandria
Live Music Venue and Outdoor Concert Space
Double Winner: Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts
Does Wolf Trap even need an introduction? A summertime staple in NoVA, the venue-at-a-national-park hosts over 100 performances every summer, across all genres of music. It took top honors for Best Live Music Venue and Best Outdoor Concert Space in our reader poll this year. Below, check out our top must-see concerts happening this season. // 1551 Trap Road, Vienna
13 hot concerts coming to Wolf Trap
Heat up the season with these big-name stars hitting the stage this summer.
· Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo with Melissa Etheridge // June 25, 7:30 p.m.
· Diana Ross // June 27, 8 p.m.
· Earth, Wind & Fire // July 2, 8 p.m.
· Josh Groban // July 7, 8 p.m.
· Sheryl Crow // July 18, 8 p.m.
· JoJo Siwa // July 19, 7 p.m.
· Reba McEntire // July 28, 8 p.m.
· Sarah McLachlan // Aug. 3, 8 p.m.
· Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band // Aug. 10 and 11, 8 p.m.
· The Beach Boys // Aug. 25, 3 p.m.
· Sting // Aug. 26, 27 and 28, 8 p.m.
· Jennifer Hudson // Sept. 5, 8 p.m.
· Kacey Musgraves // Sept. 7, 8 p.m.
Live Music Venue
Runner-Up: The Birchmere
Music lovers flock to The Birchmere, not only to watch known artists perform, but to see up-and-coming talent. Who knows; in a few years you may be saying, “I saw them at Birchmere before they were cool,” about a future favorite band. // 3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria
Outdoor Concert Space
Runner-Up: Jiffy Lube Live
The popular outdoor amphitheater, Jiffy Lube Live, is the place to be this summer, especially for country and rock fans. See the summer lineup below. // 7800 Cellar Door Drive, Bristow
· Thomas Rhett // June 15, 7 p.m.
· Dave Matthews Band // July 20, 8 p.m.
· Iron Maiden // July 24, 7:30 p.m.
· Hootie & The Blowfish // July 27, 7:30 p.m.
· Nelly, TLC and Flo Rida // July 30, 7 p.m.
· Florida Georgia Line // Aug. 3, 7 p.m.
· Brad Paisley // Aug. 10, 7:30 p.m.
· KISS // Aug. 11, 7:30 p.m.
· Alice Cooper & Halestorm // Aug. 13, 7 p.m.
· Santana // Aug. 14, 7 p.m.
· Rascal Flatts // Aug. 24, 7:30 p.m.
· Zac Brown Band // Aug. 25, 7 p.m.
Winner: The Legwarmers
Please welcome to the stage, NoVA’s favorite blast from the past. The Legwarmers, known for its band members committing to their ’80s personas, perform all the best songs from the golden age of MTV.
Runner-Up: The Reflex
Rewind to the decade of neon as The Reflex sings retro hits from Duran Duran, Journey, Prince, Heart, Cyndi Lauper, Madonna and more.
Winner: City of Fairfax Chocolate Lovers Festival
Who doesn’t love chocolate? The answer may be, “Some people, I guess,” but at the annual City of Fairfax Chocolate Lovers Festival, the answer is, “No one; everyone loves chocolate.” The event’s sweet lineup always includes local chocolatiers, competitions and plenty of samples to satisfy guests.
Runner-Up: Taste of Reston
With live entertainment on multiple stages, a family fun zone, beer and wine and local restaurants, featuring cuisine from around the world, Taste of Reston will turn any Northern Virginian into a self-proclaimed foodie. // 11900 Market St., Reston
Bar with Games
Winner: The Board Room
There isn’t enough space in this short blurb to list out all the games you can play at The Board Room, but we will say, the selection is awesome. Most board games have a rental fee of only $2, and you’re allowed to bring in your own games from home. There’s Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit, Aggravation, Apples to Apples, Uno, Trouble, Jenga and much more. // 925 N. Garfield St., Arlington
Editor’s Pick: Punch Bowl Special
With two floors featuring games (and three levels in total—all with their own bars) like bowling, foosball, board games, giant Jenga and a vintage arcade, newcomer Punch Bowl Social in Ballston Quarter is a total knockout. // 4238 Wilson Blvd., Suite 1180, Arlington
Winner: Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
Fly high at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, the premiere place to learn facts about aviation and space. The museum includes thousands of artifacts, including the space shuttle Discovery and a Concorde Boeing airplane. When visiting, it’s acceptable to keep your head in the clouds. // 14390 Air and Space Museum Parkway, Chantilly
Editor’s Pick: Morven Park
Morven Park is home to three museums: The Morven Park Mansion, the residence of Westmoreland and Marguerite Davis; The Winmill Carriage Museum, featuring a collection of horse-drawn vehicles, antique coaches and more; and The Museum of Hounds & Hunting of North America, which preserves art, artifacts and memorabilia of fox hunting. // 17195 Southern Planter Lane, Leesburg
Winner: Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse
Originally an art deco theater from the 1920s, Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse is now a converted restaurant and theater. Big-name comedians hitting the stage this summer include Hari Kondabolu from Politcally Reactive, Adam Ferrara from Rescue Me and Comedy Central, Phoebe Robinson from 2 Dope Queens and Brian Posehn, known from TV shows like The Sarah Silverman Program. // 2903 Columbia Pike, Arlington
Runner-Up: Club Eclipse Restaurant Bar & Billiards
A hot spot for live music and dancing, Club Eclipse is also home to comedy shows, featuring local and DC up-and-coming performers. // 5615 Wellington Road, Suite 101, Gainesville
Winner: Signature Theatre
We’ve got a Tony Award winner in the house! Signature Theatre, a nonprofit professional theater company, produces top-quality contemporary musicals and plays, and its accolades speak for themselves. // 4200 Campbell Ave., Arlington
Runner-Up: Encore Stage & Studio
Inspiring the next generation of artists and performers, Encore Stage & Studio is theater for kids, by kids, featuring classes for grades K-12 and signature performances all ages can enjoy. // 4000 Lorcom Lane, Arlington
Place to Meet Singles
Winner: Circa at Clarendon
Wine, dine and potentially meet your next Friday-night date at Circa at Clarendon. Its happy hour includes reduced prices on beer, wine, cocktails and food. // 3010 Clarendon Blvd., Arlington
Runner-Up: Sportrock Climbing Centers
There’s no easier way to meet new people then by joining a community of like-minded individuals. Head to Sportrock and get to climbing—you never know who you’ll meet at the top. // Multiple locations
Winner: Tarara Summer Concert Series
Dance, dance, baby. Tarara’s Summer Concert Series happens every Saturday night, all summer long, featuring a variety of genres, including classic rock, pop hits from the ’80s and current Top 40 songs. // 13648 Tarara Lane, Leesburg
Runner-Up: Rosslyn Jazz Festival
This year’s annual event, expected to draw in more than 10,000 music fans, will be held on Sept. 7, featuring big names in jazz, wine and beer and local food trucks. // 1300 Lee Highway, Arlington
Winner: Rock It Grill
Karaoke isn’t just for the weekends when you’ve had one too many drinks. Rock It Grill hosts live DJs and features karaoke on weeknights. We asked Rock It Grill Manager Laura Seiss for the five most-requested karaoke songs (below). Grab a drink, pick your favorite melody and belt it out. // 1319 King St., Alexandria
5 Most Popular Karaoke Songs
1) “Bohemian Rhapsody”
2) “Don’t Stop Believin'”
3) “Before He Cheats”
4) “Friends In Low Places”
5) “Sweet Caroline”
Runner-Up: The Auld Shebeen
Take it down low to The Auld Shebeen’s cellar level and jam out loud for karaoke on Friday nights, starting at 9:30 p.m. // 3971 Chain Bridge Road, Fairfax
Winner: Open Road
Plan your weekday happy hour with friends stat: Open Road’s beer list includes local craft breweries and bartenders’ seasonal handcrafted cocktails. // 8100 Lee Highway, Falls Church
Runner-Up: Palette 22
Chill out after work with light bites, a couple beers and house-made cocktails. Happy hour drinks are all $4.22, except specialty cocktails ($7.22). // 4053 Campbell Ave., Arlington