Celebrate the end of an era – the school lunch prep era that is – with a fun family outing around D.C. With summer on the horizon, slow down and take the time to peruse Kramer Books, wait for the weekend and head out for a casual day trip or finally take the outing you’ve been eyeing all year. Whether it’s kiddo playdate or movie time, we’ve listed local and awesome low-key ways of “partying it up” with your munchkins below.

Make mealtime sparkle
Now that you’re in no rush for an early bedtime, add a little sparkle to dinner by allowing your kiddos to pick where to eat. Choose a location that feels a bit more special than the average like the Georgetown Waterfront, where many restaurants offer waterside seating.

Head to Union Station for long time favorite options like Shake Shack or Kabuki Sushi. If staying away from downtown is more your speed, check out Clarendon Blvd in Arlington or Woodmont and Bethesda Avenues in Bethesda fwhere ice cream shops are plenty. Nothing screams summer like walking down a sweet little street with an ice cream cone in hand.

georgetownharbor-cc-Geoff Livingston-flickr

photo: Geoff Livingston via flickr

Create a giant playdate
Though chock full of lazy days, summer also brings a feeling of random busyness that makes planning playdates a bit tricky. Use Facebook  Events (perfect for an easy headcount) to get your kids’ friends together. Host the party at your house or venture into the city. Meet up at the National Zoo or retreat from the hot sun and wander around Roosevelt Island. Explore the monuments on the Mall before the tourists come in. Let loose at Cabin John Regional Park. Just remember to keep the invitation casual and open-ended, just like summer should be, and then celebrate with whomever can be there!

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photo: usoceangov via flickr

Get away in the city
Break out of winter hibernation and wander the city. Revisit your favorite spots, take a slow walk around your favorite parts of the city, and see what’s changed since it was last warm enough for this kind of stroll. Or maybe you want to check out an area that you haven’t spent much time in before. Penn Quarter doesn’t make the top list of places to visit with kids very often but with the Spy Museum, nearby Chintatown, and loads of shops and restaurants, it’s a great place to sneak away to. Georgetown is always changing and fun to explore and there is no better place to wander and stroll than Eastern Market on the weekends.

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photo: Tim Evanson via flickr

New season, new book
For the days that are all about relaxing, indulge in some words instead. A book, especially one that your child has wanted to read but didn’t have time to during busy school days, can be the perfect gift to cap off a great year. Head over to the great selection at Kramer Books, or bring your child with you and spend an hour browsing the shelves together.

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photo: Chris Staley via flickr 

Because there’s no school tomorrow…
… make time to take in a movie! Options are endless when it comes to figuring out what to put on the screen (and which screen to watch). If you want to go big, there is always the IMAX at the Smithsonian. For a more low-key time, choose a family favorite and watch the film from the comfort of your own couch. Import a few treats from local shops like Georgetown Cupcake. Try unique candy from across the pond over at It’Sugar. Don’t have the means to make popcorn? Try Stella’s Pop Kern – they have mystery flavors.

How will you celebrate the end of school this year? Let us know in the Comments below! 

— Tricia Mirchandani