In our pre-kid days, we would carve out time in the midst of demanding jobs, events, pets, and chores and steal away for a mani-pedi or shopping date that would seamlessly turn into cocktails, long talks and dinner. Now that our little ones, and the happy chaos that surrounds them, are thrown into the mix, finding time to schedule that girlfriend-date becomes even more elusive. For those time-crunched D.C.-area moms out there who miss their best friends, we’ve rounded up the coolest date ideas for girlfriends with kids in tow.

monica

A Day in Annapolis: City Dock, Crepes and Crabs
Annapolis is a great day trip to take with kids and becomes a perfect one when your best friend goes along with you. Pick up a latte at City Dock Coffee (18 Market Space, Annapolis, Md) and check out all the sailboats downtown.  An afternoon full of fun is all within easy walking distance.Stop for a delicious treat at Sofi’s Crepes (1 Craig Street, Annapolis, Md) or pick up a milkshake at Chick & Ruth’s Delly (165 Main St, Annapolis, Md). If the kids desperately need to get a game of tag or Red Rover out of their systems, go down the street to the St. Johns College campus (60 College Avenue, Annapolis, Md) and have fun on the lawn. Finish up your day by hopping into the car to go have an early supper at the famous Cantler’s Riverside Inn (458 Forest Beach Rd, Annapolis, Md).  This waterfront restaurant and crab house is perfect for kids–think: mallets, crab bibs, happy noise and big rolls of paper towels on every cafeteria-style table.

An Afternoon Downtown: A Fabulous Lunch and Bulldozing at a Construction Zone
One of D.C.’s coolest museums, the National Building Museum (401 F Street NW, Washington, DC), happens to be in one of the coolest neighborhoods in the city, Chinatown/Penn Quarter. Bring the gang to Daikaya (705 6th Street NW, Washington, DC) and sit at the bar and watch the ramen chefs craft those delicious bowls of noodles. Or head next door to Graffiato (707 6th Street NW, Washington, DC) and bring the kids upstairs. It’s a nice big space with fun murals on the wall. If you happen to be there on a weekday, you and your girlfriend can enjoy an excellent and affordably priced three-course price fixe. Then head over to the Building Museum and let your kids loose in the huge atrium (they can romp around and build towers with big blocks!). There is also a café to pick up an espresso and a sugar cookie. You can also check out the Building Zone, an amazing play space outfitted with bulldozers, construction trucks and gear and a life-size play house.

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Take a Long, Beautiful Hike and Savor a Long Catch-up Chat
This is the perfect time of year to call your best friend and get your little hikers ready to trek. Meet at Riverbend Park (8700 Potomac Hills St, Great Falls, Va), a gorgeous Fairfax County park that doesn’t charge an admission fee and is directly adjacent to Great Falls National Park. There is a beautiful (and very manageable) 2.5 mile round-trip hike that goes from Riverbend to the Great Falls Visitors Center and then loops back. After you’ve admired the Falls and made your way back to Riverbend, have a picnic on the waterfront. And rejoice–there are bathrooms with plumbing at Riverbend! End the day with a delicious cone at Great Falls Creamery (766 Walker Road, Great Falls, Va).

Good Food, Good Treats, Good Company and a Target Run
There is no shortage of kid-friendly dining in the Mosaic District in Farifax (2910 District Avenue, Fairfax, Va.) From milkshakes and pop-tarts at Ted’s Bulletin to wonderful Thai at Sisters Thai to pizza at Matchbox, your loud and happy party can find a place for a fun meal. Top it off with a gelato at Dolcezza and make your way to the courtyard with space for being rambunctious, a giant chess set and interactive splash fountains during the summer months. If meltdowns don’t seem at all imminent and your kids are game, bring everyone over to Target. Leisurely push your cart alongside your best friend, chat and multitask while you pick up household necessities.

Where do you go to hang with your BFF when little one’s are tagging along?

–Monica Nelson

Photo: Monica Nelson