The next time you’re stumped on what to do during that awkward after dinner/before bed time, when it’s still light outside and the kids haven’t quite tapped out all of their energy, put on your sneakers and go for a walk. But not just any walk. The District is home to some of the prettiest, leafiest streets around (Hello, Georgetown and Takoma Park!), each dotted with trails, water views and a surprise playground or two. Read on for a few of our favorite places take your after-5 trek to a whole new level.

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W&OD Trail
Just minutes off 395 in South Arlington is the W&OD Trail with the Four Mile Run Trail thrown in just to wear those little ones out before bedtime. Start along Walter Reed Drive and head towards the woods. A path through Barcroft Park will lead you to a sweet spot with two play areas and ball fields to really wear the tykes out.   Stop by the local library for a quick bedtime story and then head home. Do it all again the next night.

Eastern Market/Capitol Hill, SE
The calm, quiet sidewalks in the Eastern Market/Capitol Hill area of the city beckon all family members. Whether Mom is looking to pick up a few things for the house or the kiddos want to check out the adorable playground at Stanton Park, this little haven in the South East part of the city is a mixture of beautiful Victorian and Federal style homes and small well-kept gardens that are a graceful and tranquil sight at the end of the day. Bonus: The friendly community atmosphere helps you feel like a local whether you live.

Heart of Kensington
If you live in the Kensington area in Montgomery County, then pick a spot to start your walk right along Beach Drive for a full foliage experience that meanders through several miles of walking paths. While bustling on most nights it isn’t too crowded, so feel free letting the kids run ahead of you for a bit. Deer spotting is common as even Bambi and friends like to go out for a bit of a stroll.

Do you have a favorite place to go for a walk with your family when the sun starts to set? Tell us where in the comments below. 

—Victoria Mason

Photo courtesy of André Mouraux via Creative Commons