From Sunup to Sundown: Make a Day of it at Navy Yards Park

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Soon the warm weather will be here to stay (really, it will!) and we’ll all be looking for places to enjoy the sunshine without melting. That’s where the Navy Yards Park comes in! Located along the breezy Anacostia River near the super-accessibly Navy Yard metro stop, and just blocks off of I-395, this is a fantastic—and growing—place to spend a lazy, we-have-no-place-to-be-but-here day.

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Park and Play
Slip on your swimsuits at home or before leaving the restaurant—the only public potties are of the “port-o” variety—and hit up the splash park, located next to the steps of the 11’’ wading canal. But, get there early before crowds start to swarm (it’s open at 7am daily). There’s also a lush green hill where you can open up a picnic blanket and relax—which we all know isn’t easy to do at deeper swimming holes. Kids can splish and splash to their hearts content, and run their fingers through the gushing waterfall. Pack your camera—the award-winning pedestrian bridge is the perfect background for a family photo op.

335 Water St., SE
Online: yardspark.org

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Work Up an Appetite
The food options are expanding around Navy Yards Park—Agua 301 (a Mexican restaurant), Bluejacket (a cool little craft brewery), and Buzz Bakery (known for their to-die-for cupcakes) recently opened in the area. But, for a no-brainer, kid-cool meal, head over to Nando’s Peri-Peri for delish flame grilled chicken (though they also have staples like grilled cheese). Order inside and then have a seat on the patio or at one of the funky indoor seating areas. P.S. Every kid meal comes with a bottomless bowl of frozen yogurt. Insider tip: Kids eat free on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Nando’s Peri-Peri
350 Tingey St., SE (Navy Yards Park)
202-554-1920
Online: nandosperiperi.com

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Save Room for Dessert
Lawyer turned ice cream maker Victoria Lai is opening the uber-unique Ice Cream Jubilee shop in June (and previewing her goods in May at the Friday Night Concerts), and—trust us—you’ll be glad she decided to make the switch from practicing law to whipping up milk. With wild and whimsical flavors like Sweet Potato Pie, Fluffernuter, Thai Iced Tea, and Banana Bourbon Caramel, this is clearly more than just another run-of-the-mill ice cream shop.

Ice Cream Jubilee
301 Water St., SE
Online: icecreamjubilee.com

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Fresh Air Fun
Yards Park hosts a series of concerts and movies throughout the summer. Your kids can shake their little groove things at live Jazz, Reggae, Pop and Blues shows on Friday nights (starting May 9). Thursdays (June 5- Sept 11) are more low-key with movies, like The Avengers from last year’s series, on the lawn. Check the Yards Park website for more details, including which food and drink vendors will be there.

New Jersey Ave., SE at Tingey St., SE
Online: capitolriverfront.org

Have you hung out at The Yards Park? What did you love most? Tell us in the comments section below. 

—Besa Pinchotti

Photos courtesy of Ice Cream Jubilee via Facebook, Capitol Riverfront Bid via Flickr, The Navy Yards Park