New York’s Broadway or Carnegie Hall might beckon many a DMV music and arts fan, but if it involves bringing along your companion in diapers and/or a stroller and car seat, you can fuggedahboutit. Whether you’re looking for a little culture or just a little fun, these local hotspots are within a binkie’s throw of home, and perfect choices for either a play date with your kids, or a long-awaited date night.

Photo: AMP by Strathmore

AMP by Strathmore
This cabaret style club sits above Rockville Pike in the stylish Pike and Rose shopping center where you can also drop in on the new LL Bean store, or grab an early dinner before the show. The Pajama Jams series features touring acts with big followings in AMP’s intimate space, inviting the whole fam to settle in for a just before bedtime musical treat. Evening adults only sets bring stand up comics and musicians as varied as David Bowie and Eagles tribute bands, or West African funk. Look out too for Strathmore’s popular Saturday Family Jazz sessions, now at AMP beginning in March.

Playdate: Mar. 11- Justin Roberts and the Not Ready for Naptime Players
Date Night: Feb. 3- Steven Page and The Art of Time Ensemble


Busboys and Poets
Wake up with the Rise and Rhyme series offering perhaps a little coffee and eggs for you, and 45 minutes of kiddo preferred entertainment on select Monday, Tuesday and Saturday mornings at Busboys and Poets locations around the DMV. Come for a “Chat and Chew” followed by performers like Culture Queen, Banjo Man Frank Cassel, or Marsha and the Positrons. Longing for some adult conversation? Make it something of a cerebral date night with your choice of book groups, talks on topics like race relations, or poetry readings, film screenings and music.

Playdate: Feb. 12- Zig Zag the Magic Man
Date Night: Feb. 11- The Upper Room Suite for Coltrane Jazz Performance


Jammin Java
Upcoming acts at this strip mall location in Northern Virginia, include local kids band Here Comes Trouble, PBS’s popular Steve Songs, and one the Mid-Atlantic’s finest line-up of adult bands to make you finally schedule that sitter. Not long after they opened in 2001, this family owned music club began booking Tot Rock to appeal to both kiddos, and their captive adult companions. Now appearing most Thursday through Saturday mornings, plus on school breaks, are a whole host of local impresarios, and touring acts kiddo and you both won’t want to miss.

Playdate:  Sat. Feb. 10  Here Comes Trouble
Date Night: Fri. Feb. 9  The Fabulous Dialtones Pre-Valentines Day Party


Kennedy Center
Worth a visit in and of itself, this monument to a President on the Potomac River is home to six different performance spaces, not including the Grand Foyer, site of free, nightly Millennium Stage shows, where families are always welcome. Blockbusters tour several times a year through the Eisenhower Theatre, and powerhouses like the National Symphony Orchestra (NSO) and Washington National Opera take up residence in the Concert Hall and Opera House. Just for families, are the Center’s Performances for Young Audiences ranging from plays to NSO interludes.

Play Date: Apr. 29- NSO Family Concert: Young People’s Concert with Ben Folds
Date Night: Jan. 9- -28, 2018 Humans


Do you know of any other places that host playdates and date nights? Tell us in the comments below. 

—Carolyn Ross



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