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Get your stomachs — and wallets — ready for Summer Restaurant Week, which is coming to Arlington in two weeks.

From Monday, Aug. 28 to Sunday, Sept. 3, eateries around Arlington will be dishing out three-course lunches, brunches and dinners for prices that only come around twice a year. Brunches and lunches will cost $25 and dinners either $40 or $55.

“This bi-annual event invites diners to experience Washington’s top restaurants at an affordable price point,” a press release said.

Here is what some participating local spots have on the menu:

  • Ambar Clarendon, a small-plates restaurant celebrating Balkan cuisine, will serve lunches and dinners with spreads, charcuterie, flatbreads and slow-roasted meats and dessert.
  • Clarendon Mexican restaurant Buena Vida will offer a lunch and dinner menu.
  • Pentagon City barbeque joint Epic Smokehouse will have breakfast, lunch and dinner options.
  • Shirlington Italian restaurant Osteria da Nino will have a dinner menu featuring pizzas, pastas and more.
  • The Crystal City location of a global steakhouse chain, Morton’s Steakhouse, will have a dinner menu.
  • Potomac Social Tavern, an American restaurant in Crystal City, is offering guests a dinner menu.
  • The award-winning Ruthie’s All-Day, an Arlington Heights standby for Southern fare, will offer lunch and dinner menus this year.
  • For its dinner menu, WHINO in Ballston Quarter will serve modern small-plate dishes fusing American and international flavors and ingredients.

Other local participants include Bar Ivy in Clarendon, Cheesetique in Shirlington, Circa in Clarendon, La Cote d’Or Cafe in East Falls Church, Lyon Hall in Clarendon, Matchbox in Pentagon City, McCormick & Schmick’s in Crystal City, Rustico in Ballston, SER in Ballston, Sfoglina in Rosslyn, Spice Kraft in Clarendon, Liberty Tavern in Clarendon, The Melting Pot in Ballston, Salt Line in Ballston, and a number of restaurants inside National Airport.

Many restaurants will pair their courses with wine or a cocktail.

The event is happening across the D.C. area. A rewards program gives guests the option to access discounted meals and the chance to win gift cards to participating restaurants.

Bethany Beach (file photo)

You might have noticed that it’s a bit quieter around Arlington in recent days.

Based on traffic volumes and out-of-office email responses it’s pretty clear that a lot of people are on vacation (including, at least in theory, the person writing this poll).

With vacation season in full swing, we were wondering about the favorite genre of summer trip for our readers. Among the following eight options — beach, lake, mountain, city, international, camping, cruise and national park — which is your go-to destination?

Have a different favorite summer vacation in mind? Let us know in the comments.


Free, family-friendly events are happening this summer at the newly renovated Metropolitan Park in Pentagon City.

Now through August and September, there will be jazz performances, outdoor movie screenings and fitness classes at the base of Amazon’s new second headquarters, sponsored by the National Landing Business Improvement District and other partners, including Amazon.

Every Thursday through mid-August, people can enjoy live jazz at the park, located near the corner of S. Elm Street and 13th Street S. The next performance tomorrow (Thursday), will be by a jazz quartet led by New York City-based saxophonist Langston Hughes II. A free ticket is required to attend and attendees can start setting up at 4 p.m.

After a hiatus next week due to the Independence Day holiday, the weekly series will pick back up on July 13 with a D.C.-based quartet led by percussionist Julian Berkowitz, and continue through Aug. 10. The entire lineup for the series, co-sponsored by DC Jazz Festival, is online.

This Friday, meanwhile, the BID will be screening “Super Mario Bros” at 7 p.m. at the park as part of its weekly Movies @ Met series. Tickets are available online and more movie dates will be announced soon, per an event page.

There will be food trucks and the BID will be passing out complimentary blankets, the event page says, noting that attendees can bring lawn chairs and leashed pets.

Another Metropolitan Park event promises a workout before the start of work. The Fit @ Met series takes place Wednesday mornings from 8-9 a.m. at the park, through Sept. 27. The classes are instructor led and free with online registration.

Upcoming classes include:

  • July 5: Boxing from BASH Boxing
  • July 12: Karin from Pure Barre Pentagon City
  • July 19: Yoga from CorePower
  • July 26: HIIT from Orangetheory Fitness Pentagon City

Separately, for those looking to sweat after work, there will be free fitness classes on Mondays from 6-7 p.m. at a temporary park nearby (101 12th Street S.) dubbed “Gateway Green.” No experience is necessary to participate but attendees will need a free ticket.

“Gateway to Fitness” classes, led by instructors from gyms in the area, are running now through Sept. 25. The days and participating gyms are as follows. Equipment is not required — besides a yoga mat — when CorePower Yoga classes are taught.

The newly renovated Met Park, which Amazon paid for, is part of the tech company’s new HQ2, which was unveiled earlier this month after years of planning and construction.

The area is also home to numerous restaurants, cafes, and other storefronts, many of them newly opened on the ground floor of HQ2.


After its debut last year, the Arlington Pride Festival is back — this time, with a whole weekend of events.

The inaugural festival in 2022 lasted one day, with thousands of attendees, according to the festival’s website. Now, it will run Friday, June 23, through that Sunday.

“Our goal is for The Arlington Pride Festival to grow year after year,” according to the event’s website. “For 2023, we have decided to expand Arlington Pride to an entire weekend of celebration!”

Before the 2022 festival, Arlingtonians celebrated LGBTQ pride with independent events throughout the county. Now, festival organizers say they expect more than 7,000 attendees next weekend — building on the unexpected turnout for its inaugural festival.

Arlington Pride Weekend 2023 promotion (photo via

“In 2022, we anticipated ~3,000 attendees for The Arlington Pride Festival,” organizers said. “However, Arlington really came out to show [their] pride, and we ended up welcoming over 5,000 attendees throughout the day!”

The pride weekend will begin on Friday at 8 p.m. with a drag pageant at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City hotel near Reagan National Airport. Tickets, which range from $20 to $160, are required to attend the event and can be found on Eventbrite.

“This event will be full of charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent from our contestant, and an abundance of drag entertainment as we determine who takes the crown for 2023,” the event description says. “This is a family friendly event that is taking place at Arlington Pride’s host hotel.”

Saturday will kick off with a free hour-long fitness class in Gateway Park (1300 Langston Blvd) at 10:30 a.m. Organizers encourage registration as space is limited.

From 12-7 p.m., the park will host vendors, live entertainment, a DJ, photo stations, games and prizes, per an event page. The evening will conclude with an after-party.

On Sunday, a drag-themed brunch held at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema (1660 Crystal Drive) will go from 12-3 p.m., with a $20 ticket required for entry. The movie theater is concurrently showing movies about the LGBTQ experience, through June 25.

Advance general admission ticket sales and spot reservations for the pride fest are scheduled to end tomorrow (Friday).

Jeni's Shirlington
New Jeni’s shop at the Village at Shirlington (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Salute the summer with free ice cream this evening at Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams in Shirlington.

The ice cream shop at 4150 Campbell Ave in the Village at Shirlington will offer free scoops, a limited number of “swag bags” and a sneak peek at new flavors tonight (Monday) from 7-11 p.m.

“This event is our way of saying, ‘Hey it’s summertime, bring your friends and family, come out for a date night’ — we want to celebrate the warm summer months,” said a spokeswoman for the company.

It also celebrates the kickoff of the first summer season for the Shirlington outpost, which opened earlier this year.

To scoop up this deal, one must be a Jeni’s Splendid Rewards member.

“Rewards members really have so many things in store for them — they get a heads up with news, special deals and rewards,” the spokeswoman said.

People do not have to be members to vye for merch, including tote bags with notebooks, sprinkles, koozies and other freebies. Instead, they need to be one of the first 25 spots in line.

Arlington is a unique place but it is not immune to the charms of free treats from national chains. The free donuts for “National Donut Day” this past Friday drew larger lines than usual to local Dunkin locations, ARLnow observed.

This Thursday, ice cream lovers can commemorate wedding season with the return of Jeni’s “Wedding Cake” flavor — made with vanilla cake, lemon, blackberries and buttercream icing. The seasonal treat will only be available for in-store scoops through June and may retire after just two weeks, the company says.

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A child plays in a sprayground at Virginia Highlands Park (file photo)

Sprayground season has finally arrived in Arlington.

Families will be able to put the county’s spraygrounds to use starting this Friday — the beginning of Memorial Day weekend and the unofficial start to consistent summer weather.

These outdoor spaces, where children can play for free in water during hot summer months, are located throughout the county:


Interactive Water Features

“Spraygrounds at Drew Park, Hayes Park, Lyon Village Park and Virginia Highlands Park will be open on Friday, May 26,” Dept. of Parks and Recreation Jerry Solomon told ARLnow. “Spraygrounds at Mosaic and Penrose Parks will be undergoing some final system adjustments and open on Saturday, May 27.”

Weekly hours vary by location and are listed online.

Although the parks are open to everyone, the parks department requires appropriate swimwear and adult supervision, as no life guards will be present.

The spraygrounds are scheduled to remain open through Labor Day weekend.

Columbia Pike Movie Nights is back at Penrose Square and Arlington Mill (photo courtesy of Columbia Pike Partnership)

Summer movie nights are coming back to Penrose Square and Arlington Mill for a 12th year.

Columbia Pike Movie Nights is a free outdoor summer movie series taking place on Friday nights at the Arlington Mill Community Center Outdoor Plaza (909 S. Dinwiddie Street) and Saturday nights at Penrose Square Outdoor Plaza (2503 9th Road S.).

It’s scheduled to begin July 7 and run for 8 weeks through August 26. The movies will begin at sunset, generally between 8 and 8:30 p.m.

The series is organized by the Columbia Pike Partnership. It returned to the outdoor plazas last year after being drive-in only in 2020 and 2021.

Movies set to be shown are a mix of old and new classics intended to be relatively family-friendly, including Back to the Future, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, Top Gun: Maverick, and Till.

The full schedule for each location is below:

Arlington Mill 

  • July 7 — Spirit Untamed
  • July 14 — Puss in Boots: The Last Wish
  • July 21 — Dog
  • July 28 — Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank
  • August 4 — Lady and the Tramp
  • August 11 — Raiders of the Lost Ark
  • August 18 — Lightyear
  • August 25 — The Goonies

Penrose Square

  • July 8 — Cave Rescue
  • July 15 — Star Wars – Episode IV: A New Hope
  • July 22 — Back to the Future
  • July 29 — A Man Called Otto
  • August 5 — Till
  • August 12 — Top Gun: Maverick
  • August 19 — The Woman King
  • August 26 — Jurassic World Dominion

The movies will be shown in English with Spanish subtitles. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own blankets and chairs. Leashed pets are welcome, organizers note, and alcohol is not permitted at either site.

Free parking will be available, though bus and bike travel is encouraged. There will be restroom access inside of Arlington Mill Community Center and at the businesses around Penrose Square.

In case of inclement weather, check the event’s webpage and social media channels for updates. Information will be “typically posted at 3:30 p.m. on the day of each screening.”

Ferris wheel at the county fair (staff photo)

The Arlington County Fair is set to kick off this Wednesday and run through Sunday, Aug. 21.

As usual (though it was not without some debate) the fair is being held at the Thomas Jefferson Community Center, at 3501 2nd Street S. It is free to attend and open to the whole family.

Apart from the usual food and craft vendors, competitive exhibits and amusement rides, we’ve compiled a list of some lesser-known fair features this year.

The poster for axe throwing and the escape room at the fair (via Arlington County Fair)

1. Axe throwing

Fairgoers can try their hands at axe throwing inside a mobile trailer operated by Odyssey Mobile Adventures. Coaches are set to be present. Those interested need to first buy tickets on site, which are priced at $10 for 10 throws.

2. Escape room

The same company that runs the axe throwing is also set to provide an escape room for those interested in testing their problem solving abilities. Tickets are priced at $20 per group of a maximum of five people. Both activities are scheduled to be open all week.

The poster for the sensory hour at the fair (via Arlington County Fair)

3. Sensory hour

A new feature this year, this hour is set to happen between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. on Saturday (Aug. 20). During the hour, the fair plans to eliminate loud noises and music so that patrons may enjoy the fair without feeling overwhelmed.

This is a collaboration effort with the county’s Therapeutic Recreation Office, which focuses on providing equal access in recreation programs, like the fair, to individuals of differing needs and abilities. Sensory break tent areas are also scheduled at different hours over the weekend, according to an Arlington County Fair Instagram post.

The poster for the beer garden at the fair (via Arlington County Fair)

4. Beer (and rosé) garden

This year’s beer garden is a partnership with Arlington-based New District Brewing Company. Beers on tap include an IPA, pilsner, kettle sour and hard seltzer. For wine drinkers, a Virginia winery is providing its 2021 La Grange rosé as well this year.

The garden is set to open throughout the week, with a special trivia night on Thursday. Packs of beer and wine tickets may be purchased in advance.

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Ruthie’s All-Day (courtesy photo)

The annual summer Restaurant Week is a week away.

The regional event will be held between Monday, Aug. 15, and Sunday, Aug. 21 and is currently set to feature nearly a dozen Arlington restaurants.

During the event, the participating restaurants are expected to offer lunches for $25 and dinners for either $40 or $55.

The participating Arlington restaurants include:

  • Big Buns Damn Good Burgers (Ballston and Shirlington) — serving burgers, burger bowls, cocktails, shakes and fries. Menu not yet released.
  • Epic Smokehouse (Pentagon City) — will offer a three-course meal, charging $25 for lunch and $55 for dinner.
  • La Cote d’Or Café (East Falls Church) — three-course menus of traditional French cuisine, priced at $25 for lunch and $40 or $55 for dinner.
  • McCormick & Schmick’s (Crystal City) — a seafood restaurant that offers a $55 dinner option. Menu not yet released.
  • Mussel Bar and Grill (Ballston) — a Belgian restaurant offering three-course menus at $25 for lunch and $40 for dinner.
  • Osteria da Nino (Shirlington) — three-course meals of Italian cuisine, priced at $40 for dinner.
  • Ruthie’s All-Day (Arlington Heights) — the award-winning restaurant that specializes in Southern cuisine will offer $40 and $55 dinner options. Menu not yet released.
  • SER Restaurant (Ballston) — three-course meals of Spanish cuisine, priced at $25 for lunch and $40 for dinner.
    The Freshman (Crystal City) – a café that serves bar food, sandwiches and pastas. Menu not yet released.
  • The Melting Pot (Ballston) — three-course menus of fondues, priced at $40 for dinner and $5 extra per person for a chocolate fondue.
  • Yume Sushi (East Falls Church) — five-course menu of Japanese cuisine for $55 per dinner.

Some of the restaurants listed above are pairing their meals with wine or cocktails. All the eateries, except The Melting Pot, offer delivery, takeout or outdoor spaces in addition to indoor dining.

Organized by the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington, which also hosted the RAMMY awards, the event is sponsored by public and private groups, such as the D.C. Mayor’s Office, the National Landing Business Improvement District and Airbnb, according to its website.

Over 200 restaurants from the D.C. metropolitan area are participating this year, according to a RAMW tweet.


Morning Notes

The Italian Store and Westover after sunset (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

House Fire Near Columbia Pike — From ACFD last night: “Units are on the scene of a working structure fire in the 3100 BLK of 15th St S. Avoid the area.” [Twitter]

Will ‘NaLa’ Catch On?  — “At first, it showed up on freebie water bottles. Then it made its way onto rainbow shirts for Pride Month. In June, it popped up on Instagram as a hashtag, and in July, it was suddenly plastered on the surfboard and silver Airstream set up in a grassy patch of Arlington, declaring to the commuters, dog walkers and joggers strutting by that their neighborhood had earned a new nickname: NaLa.” [Washington Post]

Will Home Prices Fall? — “The real-estate industry’s equivalent of the ‘f-word’ – ‘falling,’ as in ‘falling prices’ – is beginning to be used across the nation even by some who earlier felt that the homes market would withstand economic pressures without seeing declines in sales prices. But in the local area, one expert believes that localities remain largely insulated from the prospect of dropping prices over the near term.” [Sun Gazette]

Latin Masses Curtailed — “Thirteen parishes in the Diocese of Arlington, Virginia, must stop offering Traditional Latin Masses come Sept. 8 under new rules issued Friday by Bishop Michael J. Burbidge to conform with Pope Francis’ liturgical directives. Under the rules, eight other parishes may continue to offer Masses in what is called the Extraordinary Form, but five of those may only do so in other locations besides their churches, including school buildings and a former church.” [Catholic News Agency]

Arlington Man Wins Jeopardy! — Luigi de Guzman, an attorney from Arlington, won Friday’s episode of TV quiz show Jeopardy! with a final score of $23,401. [J! Archive]

Summer School Success — “There were the inevitable glitches, but it appears Arlington Public Schools’ soon-to-wrap-up summer-school program was a relatively smooth endeavor. ‘We’re really excited about all of the great learning,’ Superintendent Francisco Durán said in an update to School Board members on the effort, which attracted 3,152 students, ‘the vast majority’ in person, Durán said.” [Sun Gazette]

Monday Was Dark Star Park Day — From the Rosslyn BID: “While the clouds parted a little later than 9:32AM, we were glad to watch this year’s Dark Star Park Day alignment with all of you!” [Twitter]

It’s Tuesday — Humid throughout the day. High of 89 and low of 75. Sunrise at 6:12 am and sunset at 8:20 pm. []


Locals now have a chance to enjoy different coastal-inspired installations and outdoor activities in Crystal City this summer.

The National Landing Business Improvement District launched the NaLa Beach Club on Wednesday (July 27), opening several pop-up installations near Long Bridge Park to the public. The installations include two sandboxes, a cabana and an Airstream caravan.

It’s located at 101 12th Street S., a grassy area near Long Bridge Park known as Gateway Green that’s eventually set for redevelopment.

NaLa Beach Club will be hosting a series of dog- and family-friendly events over the next couple of months, including:

  • Aug. 10: a Yacht Rock dance party between 5-8 p.m. featuring performances by local music groups as well as food and mocktails
  • Aug. 17: Mermaid Landing, a mermaid-themed event between 2-6 p.m. featuring kid-friendly crafts, games and snow cones
  • Aug. 24: Latin Beach Party, a salsa class accompanied by live music, food and mocktails
  • Sep. 7: Bark at the Beach, an event geared towards dogs between 5-7 p.m.
  • Sep. 14: Sunset Hour, the last event of the NaLa Beach Club scheduled between 5-9 p.m., featuring live music, food and giveaways.

All the events are free to attend. However, because of limited space, those interested need to first register for the salsa class online.

The NaLa Beach Club follows the similar Summer House pop-up last year. Last year’s installation at Gateway Green was designed as a beach-themed outdoor work and social space, as well as a venue for weekly events.

The beach club aims to “bring the community together and engage with local and small businesses,” according to a press release.

“With the success of last year’s Summer House installation and events, we wanted to bring that same energy and excitement back to the community this summer,” said Tracy Sayegh Gabriel, president of the BID.


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