Who said date night has to mean leaving the kids home with a sitter? Sometimes the entire family needs a night out. Many child psychologists say that spending quality time with the entire family helps kids perform better in school and gain emotional maturity. So we say ditch the sitter and take the kids out for one of these family-friendly activities guaranteed to be fun for everyone.

13975418_1380774588605041_3344170242991703526_o Photo: Art Jamz

Get Creative at ArtJamz
Let each member of the family unleash her inner artist for an hour or two at one of DC’s two popular Art Jamz locations. For an hourly fee, Art Jamz gives you the space and the tools, and all you have to bring is some inspiration! On weekends from noon to 6pm, ArtJamz has all-ages freestyle sessions where kids 3 and up will have everything they need to create a masterpiece.   A one-hour session includes a smock, easel, acrylic paints, brushes, graffiti markers, glitter, stencils, and many other “weapons of mass creativity.”

ArtJamz Dupont Studio at 1728 Connecticut Ave., NW
ArtJamz Brookland Studio at 716 Monroe St., SE, Studio 24
Online: artjamzdc.com

Go Ice Skating at Kettler Indoor Rink
It’s the same rink that D.C.’s pro hockey league practices in, but don’t worry–you don’t have to know how to ice skate to have fun at Kettler. The rink is open year round and there are many public skate opportunities for your crew. If you want to save a little bit of money, schedule a day date for your family when the rink offers its $1 skate afternoons (2:10 pm-3:20 pm). Finish the outing with a cup of hot chocolate at the rink’s on-site cafe, and take it upstairs where you can watch all the skaters passing by.

627 N. Glee Rd. (Arlington, Va)
Online: kettler.com

10533122_923576280987677_713994109558684279_nPhoto: Union Market

While away an afternoon at Union Market
Appease the whole family’s appetite for indie bites at the newly-renovated Union Market, where you can stroll the nearly 100 (and counting) stalls of this hip food-lovers haven. Don’t know where to start? Read our guide of the most kid-pleasing options. Afterwards, stroll across the street for a family selfie in front of the ultra cute heart wall.

Union Market
1309 5th St., NE. (Union Market)
Online: unionmarketdc.com

Catch an IMAX Film at the Smithsonian
The Smithsonian’s three IMAX theaters have the largest screens in the DC region, each one measuring up to six stories tall. Screens like these could make the worst movie in the world seem like a masterpiece! Luckily, all of the Smithsonian’s IMAX films truly are masterpieces of cinematic beauty, making this a family outing that is sure to please the entire crew. Some of the most popular titles are Dinosaurs Alive in 3D, Journey to Space, and Living in the Age of Airplanes. If you want to maximize the experience, you can also visit the Einstein Planetarium at the National Air and Space Museum where you and the kids can explore the Dark Universe, take a Journey to the Stars, or embark on a Trip To Space and Back.

IMAX Theater at the National Museum of Natural History at 10th St & Constitution Ave., NW
IMAX Theater and Einstein Planetarium at National Air and Space Museum at 6th & Independence Ave., SW
Online: si.edu



3380466910_2a1d130de1_zPhoto: Jeff via Flickr

Drum it Up at Meridian Hill Park
As one of the most beautiful parks in the city, Meridian Hill features unique statues, fascinating architecture, and the largest cascading water fountain in North America. If that’s not enough to make it the perfect place for a family picnic, add the fact that every Sunday the grounds come alive with a dynamic and entertaining drum circle. Everyone is invited to join as long as you can help carry the beat.

2400 15th St., NW (Adam’s Morgan)
Online: nps.gov

Dine at Pinstripes Bistro
Why did no one think of this before? Pinstripes in Georgetown Park is more than a restaurant. It’s a place to eat, bowl and play bocce. This is probably the most kid-friendly place for a meal in the city, so why not work it into your family date schedule? The daily menu has everything from pizza and burgers, to filet mignon. Sunday brunch features made-to-order omelets, carved prime rib, and daringly delectable sweets. You can choose to bowl or play bocce before or after your meal. If you go for brunch, Mom and Dad can sit back with bottomless mimosas, while the kids get tuckered out on games. Perfect!

Georgetown Park
1064 Wisconsin Ave., NW (Georgetown)
Online: pinstripes.com

Where do you go for a whole-family date night? Tell us in the comments. 

—Ayren Jackson-Cannady and Jamy Bond