While some of us can’t wait to see 2018 go away, it’s undeniable that this year brought many fun and exciting new things to the DMV–from new museums to explore and restaurants galore, to sporting arenas, and  theater performances. So, as you’re making your 2019 resolutions, check out some of the fabulous things that came our way this past year and get ready for some exciting fun in the new year!

Photo: Audi Field via Facebook

Audi Field
Located along the Anacostia River in the historic Buzzard Point neighborhood, Audi field made its debut last summer. It seats about 20,000 people and, aside from soccer games, it also hosts a variety of other sporting and cultural events, community activities, and concerts. The state-of-the-art urban facility features 31 luxury suites, a bike valet, and 500,000 total square feet of mixed-use retail and residential space on site, making it at 365-day destination for fans and D.C. residents alike. Go D.C. United!

32-60 R St., SW (Washington, D.C.)
Online: audifielddc.com

Photo: hamilton musical via Instagram

Hamilton
Forget about Santa Claus, Hamilton came to town in 2018! The award winning, eye-popping Broadway musical took over the Kennedy Center and fulfilled everyone’s expectations! Its creative story, stunning performances, smart choreography and incredible lyrics excited theater and history buffs alike. The Kennedy Center was lit from June-September. How will they outdo themselves in 2019….perhaps a HUGE addition?!

Photo: Playseum

Playseum
Local families got some great news in 2018 when Playseum, an indispensable locale in Bethesda, opened a second (and much bigger!) location inside the Annapolis Mall. Yes, inside the mall….hint, you can also go shopping! Kids will love longtime favorites like the “Cityshops” designed to allow their imaginations to run wild. There are also a number of places to sit and read to your little ones, hands-on projects and a cute cafe. If you haven’t been, you must definitely go!

Annapolis Mall, 2002 Annapolis Mall (Annapolis, MD)
Online: playseum.com

Photo: Guiomar Ochoa

The Wharf
While it officially opened in 2017, this place BOOMED in 2018! The Wharf is D.C.’s revitalized Southwest Waterfront. This year, it became one of the city’s most popular destinations for dining, shopping and entertainment. This extraordinary, mile-long stretch along the Potomac River is chock full of fun things to do, including heaps of restaurant options both fast food and sit down, fun stores, games, amazing views and an energetic culture. From family-friendly activities to oversized games to the boats at the piers, you’ll find plenty to do and see at The Wharf. They constantly have free public events, which almost always have programming, crafts, and performances for the whole family to enjoy.

690 Water St., SW (Washington, DC)
Online: wharfdc.com

Photo: National Law Enforcement Museum

National Law Enforcement Museum
Yes, the D.C. area has LOTS of museums to choose from but the new National Law Enforcement Museum is definitely a first. Opened in October, it explores both the history and modern-day world of policing and kids love it! There are a lot of interactive experiences including old police call boxes, police-themed games and toys, and even real equipment used in modern day forensics labs. Kids of all ages love the real police car you can get into, tiny jail cell you can go into and watching a video about how police dogs are trained. The museum has many family-friendly events including STEM Saturdays, story times, and sensory-friendly mornings.

50 F St NW (Washington, D.C.)
Online: lawenforcementmuseum.org

Photo: Baked Bear 

Baked Bear
Founders Rob Robbins and Shane Stanger opened the first Baked Bear in San Diego four years ago. They have slowly expanded east, and finally opened in North Bethesda’s booming, Pike & Rose last spring. You mix and match freshly baked brownies, doughnuts, and cookies…YES…ALL THREE CHOICES…. for the top and bottom. You stuff this delectable “sandwich” with yummy ice cream flavors like rocky road, salted caramel, and ‘bear batter.’ But wait, it gets better! Your delicacy is “pressed” in a magical machine that warms the top and bottom but keeping the ice cream cold in the center, before they are rolled in toppings. Options include brownie bits, Fruity Pebbles, mini chocolate chips, and whipped cream, among others.  

929 Rose Ave. (North Bethesda, MD)
Online: thebakedbear.com

Photo: Zazzy Peacock Studios

Zazzy Peacock Studios
Meet Jill Newman and you’ll understand why she chose the name Zazzy Peacock for her new studio located in Bethesda’s Studio D of Triangle Art Studios. She’s a colorful, creative soul who is full of energy and loves working with equally minded youngsters. You must be eight and up to host a party at ZPS and Jill will work with you on the materials you’d like to work with as well as what you’ll be creating. Tweens are encouraged to create a custom project! You bring food and cake but can leave decorations behind as Jill has zazzed ZPS in such fun, bright colors, you won’t need to lift a finger.

7711 Old Georgetown Rd. (Bethesda, MD)
Online: zazzypeacockstudios.com

Photo: Sophie’s Dough

Sophie’s Dough
We know eating raw cookie dough is risky business but sometimes, rules are meant to be broken! Enter Sophie’s Dough, a gourmet edible cookie dough parlor that started as a kiosk in Pentagon City Fashion Centre (and later moved to the Springfield Mall), which opened earlier this year. Sophia Fellers, owner of Sophie’s Dough, always thought you should be able to enjoy cookie dough without the worry of getting sick. So, she tested and perfected a handful of recipes, and used her professional experience and Business degrees from George Mason University to open the first edible cookie dough shop in the DMV.  Cookie Dough is fresh on site and is EGG FREE! They offer cookie dough in a cup or cone, with a scoop of ice cream, as a sandwich or in a milkshake. 

6500 Springfield Mall (Springfield, VA)
Online: sophiesdough.com

—Guiomar Ochoa