Spring is just around the corner, though the customary season of rebirth and rejuvenation is marred a bit this year by the sequester, a battle over continued funding of the government and a generally cloudy economic outlook.
Still, as the days get warmer and lighter, it’s good to get out and about. And with folks around Washington facing the prospect of furloughs and a reduced standard of living, we offer the following Beltway-centric weekend guide to some pleasant distractions, all of which are Metro- and/or Capital Bikeshare-accessible.
District Brewery Tour
D.C.’s brewery scene is booming, with a trio of full-scale facilities plying their wares.
Check out all three on any given Saturday, when they show off their operations, offer sample beers, sell beer “growler” service (take-home jugs) and host some of the area’s better food trucks to feed the beer-curious crowds.
DC Brau. 3178-B Bladensburg Road NE. Saturdays, noon- 4 p.m.
3 Stars Brewing Co. 6400 Chillum Place NW. Saturdays, 1- 4 p.m.
Chocolate City Beer. 2801 Eighth St. NE. Saturdays, 12:30-4:30 p.m.
Personalize Your Own Movie Festival
Quentin Tarantino just scored another Oscar win for his screenplay for “Django Unchained.” Want to catch up on some of his previous gonzo offerings? The American Film Institute’s Silver Theater at 8633 Colesville Road in Silver Spring, Md., is offering a “Quentin Tarantino Retro and the Roots of Django” series.
Not only can you see the likes of the “Kill Bill” movies and his underappreciated masterpiece “Jackie Brown,” you can also catch up on some of the flicks that helped shape his twisted and fun view of cinema, such as “The Mercenary aka A Professional Gun,” a 1968 spaghetti western by Sergei Corbucci and starring the original Django, Franco Nero. The series lasts through April 13.
Of course, Tarantino wasn’t the first director to combine violence and laughs. How about some Alfred Hitchcock? AFI’s “Mr. and Mrs. Hitchcock” series highlights Alfred’s collaboration with his wife, Alma Reville, on such films as “Suspicion,” “Shadow of a Doubt” and “Strangers on a Train.” For dates and showtimes, check out afi.com/silver/films/series.aspx.
Not in the mood for blood, guts and snark?
The annual Environmental Film Festival, slated for March 12-24, features screenings, many of them free, throughout the city and area, including some of the fancier theaters in embassies around town.
Among the films being screened this year are the John Huston classic “The African Queen” at the National Museum of Natural History, as well as films of local interest, such as “The Anacostia River,” which will have its world premiere at the National Museum of Natural History on March 17.
The return of baseball is a signal moment of spring, and this year the Washington Nationals are expected to contend for a World Series title.
The first weekend series is April 13-14, against the National League East rival Atlanta Braves, and the following weekend series is April 27-28 against the Cincinnati Reds.
Pretty much every other weekend is a homestead through September. And it’s easy to make a full day of the outing thanks to an almost bewildering transformation in the adjoining neighborhood surrounding Nationals Park.
Want to learn how to fly on the trapeze? Trapeze School New York’s Washington campus at Fourth and Tingey streets Southeast will gladly hoist you up.
Care for ice skating? You can partake at Washington Canal Park at 1100 New Jersey Ave. SE, at least until Sunday, when the park closes off its ice skating trails.
Blue crab season for the Chesapeake Bay is just around the corner. Start getting ready by scoping out two of the best places in and around the city for crabs, shellfish, drinking beer and lazing about: The Quarterdeck, at 1200 Fort Myer Drive in Arlington, Va., and the Maine Avenue Fish Market at 1100 Maine Ave. SW in D.C.
The Quarterdeck, a decades-old neighborhood haunt bordering the Army’s Fort Myer, is the kind of place at which it’s easy to lose track of time. Instead of a metropolitan area of millions of people, you’ll feel like you’re in a shack in the boonies with a great crowd and good grub.
The same vibe goes at the Maine Avenue Fish Market, a throwback that feels a million miles away, not across the street, from the Mandarin Oriental luxury hotel. Crabs, clams, oysters, shrimp and everything fried and unholy cram onto a gritty part of the Potomac River. But grab some steamed shrimp and a beverage, and hang out on the water and try to think of a cooler way to spend a spring weekend day.
Notice we didn’t mention the cherry blossoms and their annual festival? Don’t worry. Everyone else will.