DC’s families are five months and 15 days into extended time at home, but who’s counting?
Between an extraordinarily hot summer and a global pandemic, keeping your kids safe AND entertained has taken on a new level of challenge. Whatever tricks were up your sleeve five months ago are surely old hat by now, and parents across the board are seeking new ways to survive and connect as a family–especially with most DC schools starting virtually this fall.
This day is for you, young families. Below are safe, fun ideas that will help you create experiences and enjoy new activities together on your schedule. What’s even better– all of these activities are by small, local businesses, so you can feel great about supporting the backbone of the [struggling] economy. So grab your masks and little people, prepare to socially distance, and get ready to explore your neighborhood.
Start your morning at Creative Grounds
Kid(s) have you up early? Creative Grounds opens at 7:30 a.m. on Saturdays and 8 a.m. on Sundays. Pack your picnic blanket for later and head over to start your morning with a latte and delicious baked goods. Pro tip: there is a walk-up window for ordering and an outdoor patio for dining. If you can’t make it out of the house pre-coffee, order delivery via GrubHub.
What people are saying:
“Never have I had a better cinnamon coffee cake in my life!” – Molly D. on Yelp
“Great coffee and even vegan treats (yes, plural! There are OPTIONS, my veggie friends!). The vegan banana loaf was on point,” – Lyndsey W. on Yelp
About Creative Grounds
Creative Grounds is new(ish) to the scene. They opened in November 2019 to promote good coffee and support local artists. It was created as a gathering space for everyone, and before COVID-19, one patron affectionately called it “the unofficial living room of Bloomingdale.” In lieu of its former in-person art classes, Creative Grounds now offers art kits for purchase.
Owner Asmara Sium and her family live and work in this neighborhood. She wants you to know that Creative Grounds is here for you, it’s open, and it’s for everyone. You can support Creative Grounds by patronizing, purchasing art kits and art from the gallery, and spreading the word on your personal social media accounts. If you are interested in seeing the art for sale, visit Instagram, stop by the storefront’s bay windows, or set up a private tour (maximum 2 people, masks required.)
Grab an art kit for kids & head to the park
While at Creative Grounds, pick up an art kit for your kid(dos). The first kit, which was released on August 7, 2020 is a Black Art edition. Prices range from $20-$35, which includes everything you need to recreate famous artworks by uber talented Black women.
Walk to Crispus Attucks Park, unpack that picnic blanket, bring out the art kits, and let those creative juices flow. Here’s what’s included in your kit: pre-cut imagery, baggies for organization, scissors, paper, glue, glitter, and a QR code to instructional videos of Asmara and her kids creating the very same art. Share a photo of your replica on social media and be sure to tag @creativegroundsdc and @northcapitoldc.
Lunchtime! It’s BBQ at DCity Smokehouse
After completing a masterpiece and scampering around the park, everyone will be ready for lunch. We highly recommend ordering takeout or outdoor dining at DCity Smokehouse. They also partner with GrubHub for delivery.
What people are saying:
“Things you HAVE to get: SMOKEHOUSE MELT & SMOKE WINGS. These were my favorites, but honestly everything was so so good.” – Mekdela T. on Yelp
“One of the Best” BBQ rib slanging, rib-tip dropping and wang bangin’ places I have eaten in DC — Heck!…the whole DMV….in a long time!” – Don C. on Yelp
About DCity Smokehouse:
DCity Smokehouse launched in 2013, and prior to opening the storefront, began as a catering company in 2011. Owner Melvin Hines decided to sell BBQ because it’s relatable, comforting, and something everyone loves.
Melvin wants you to know that you’re getting the same great food and service as always, and the restaurant has the same hours and same menu. They haven’t made downward adjustments and have increased efficiency of takeout orders.
Melvin thanks you for the community support, especially during the last few months. The best way to continue is by ordering takeout or dining on the outdoor patio (call ahead to avoid the line). DCity has suspended indoor dining due to COVID-19, but has made improvements to the outdoor patio including social distancing the tables and adding fans and umbrellas.
Take virtual music lessons at 7DrumCity
When your kids are ready for the next activity, make your way to 7DrumCity, where students can take virtual music lessons –at the studio– in one of seven private, soundproof rooms. Or, if you have the equipment at home, Zoom your private instructor from there.
Music lesson details:
- Cost: $29 for a 30 minute intro lesson, $49 for a 45 minute intro lesson ($180/month and $260/month respectively for weekly lessons)
- Recommended ages: 6 years and up
- Instruments: Drums, guitar, voice, piano
- Bookable hours: 1-11 p.m. on weekdays, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. on weekends
What people are saying:
“It has been a wonderful experience having drum lessons with Andrew. He is very patient, knowledgeable, and knows exactly how to guide a novice drummer. Overall, It’s a very good studio and staff are friendly and helpful.” – Rujun Y. on Google
“The practice space for students has made it possible to play without having to own a kit at my house.” – 6942069 on Google
7Drum moved to the neighborhood in 2016 and offers a variety of music-related services, from private lessons and practice space for brands, to a concert venue (“The Pocket”) and an opportunity for one time bands (“Flashbands”) to jam together. COVID-19 has caused operations to shift significantly, but is still open for virtual lessons, band rehearsals, and live stream shows.
Owner Miles Ryan founded 7DrumCity for the people who understand the importance of underlying hobbies. He combines the power and magic of music as a healing tool and encourages adults to be kids again and have fun while learning and perfecting a new skill. He wants you to know that 7Drum is open and invites you to work on something you’ve always wanted to do. You can show support by taking lessons, donating on PayPal, or referring a friend.
Dinner: Red Hen’s make-from-home pasta kit
Red Hen’s make-from-home Mezzi Rigatoni pasta kit is a win-win: the kids will enjoy being involved in preparing dinner and learning about the fresh ingredients, and you’ll feast on Red Hen’s most popular food dish from your very own kitchen. The kit provides dinner for at least 2 and costs $30. You can order or pick up online. (Pro tip: Red Hen also offers cocktails to go).
What people are saying:
“The rigatoni was amazing and it’s a must try item on the menu.” – Krishna K on Yelp
“Great place if you’re looking for a nice restaurant with a good glass of wine paired with the perfect pasta dish. The food is amazing. This is the best restaurant to go for pasta in the DC area.” – Sarah M. on Yelp
About Red Hen:
Red Hen joined North Capitol in 2013 and is a sister restaurant to Boundary Stone and All Purpose (whose locations are in Shaw and Capitol Riverfront). It has an outstanding wine list and cocktails-to-go to accompany its Italian comfort food menu. To keep customers and employees safe during COVID-19, Red Hen has closed its dining room entirely and has begun offering online and takeout orders.
Red Hen wants you to know that they’re still open, and you can support them by ordering wine and food through the Toast app or on the Red Hen website.
Pints of gelato from Bacio Pizzeria
“You knew that Bacio Pizzeria sold pizza, but did you know they also sell gelato? Their pints-to-go are the perfect completion to a COVID-friendly family day. In case you were accustomed to Bacio’s gelato by-the-scoop, you should know that this service is temporarily on hold as a precaution to keep employees and customers safe. Gelato is now available by the pint in any of the following flavors: salted caramel, mint chocolate, mocha chocolate chip, cookie overload, coconut almost, black raspberry chocolate chip, strawberry, and pistachio (vegan).
What people are saying:
“Great joint for pizza to go. The gelato is hard to beat. Bacio, you are keeping me fat.” – Charles M. on Yelp
“Truly the best pizza I’ve had in DC! They are the only pizzeria that puts just the right amount of sauce (without asking), in addition to fresh flavorful cheese, and updated toppings. The crust is also crisp where it needs to be and softer in other places. It’s a pizza like no other! – NaBeela W. on Yelp
About Bacio Pizzeria:
Bacio Pizzeria is a family-owned pizzeria established in 2010 that sources local ingredients whenever possible. Owner Atilla wants you to know that he cares about your safety and is taking every precaution. Even pre-COVID-19, the pizzeria made dough at an off-site location and only one person touches it: the chef. Bacio uses their own brand of cheese and is very picky about both the quality of ingredients and cleanliness of their facilities. To minimize cost to the customer while improving food, Bacio offers takeout only.
Attila is most proud of the restaurant’s personal touch, where Bacio employees know customers by name, recognize their voice on the phone, and remember customer orders. Customers can trust they’ll receive quality service every time. You can support Bacio Pizzeria by order takeout or eating on the patio (note that full service is not available as a COVID-19 precaution).
Put those kids to bed and enjoy some grownup time. Now is the time to pull out the cocktails from Red Hen. Connecting as a family is important, but let’s not forget alone time. Speaking of, you’ll want to keep your eyes peeled for Self-Care Day – the next lineup in our series of five local experiences on North Capitol Main Street. Coming next week!