Thursday, August 30, 2012

Where to Take a Teenager in D.C.

I took a trek back to the official Capital Katie homestead in Ohio this weekend, and while I was there I had the distinct pleasure of celebrating my cousin's 13th birthday.

Let me just assure you all of this: Hollister and Aeropostale are in. Neon and zebra print are in. One Direction is waaaaayyyyyy in.

My cousin always wants to hang out with her "cool older cousins," so my sister and I indulged her in some girl talk. As we lazed about in her pink, purple, blue and yellow bedroom on her fuzzy neon pink area rug, I found myself missing adolescence a bit. My cousin is experiencing her first school dances and she's discovering boys. Ohhh, how I remember the days before I knew to fear a broken heart. Sigh.

In any case, my wistful state inspired me to invite this plucky young woman to come visit me in D.C. sometime. Her eyes widened and she seemed so excited by the prospect of spending a weekend with me.

And then I wondered: What the hell could I do with a teenager for an entire weekend? I can't take her to bars, fine dining ain't her thing and I don't think she'll appreciate the many D.C. museums (too much like school, after all).

Hence, blog post. If there's a teenage visitor on your immediate horizon, here's a handy itinerary!


The teenager in your life might initially pooh-pooh the idea of riding around on a Segway listening to historical facts about the District, but then you immediately shut that down by going, "Oh, a SEGWAY isn't COOL enough for you??? Your wardrobe was inspired by these guys!!!"

Once you have quelled any hesitations, hop on one of these bad boys. Trust me, you can't frown on a Segway. It's just too fun.

There are several companies that offer the tours through D.C., but City Segway Tours is the least expensive at $65 a person (I know, I know -- still pricey, but better than other places). I took my brother on one of their tours several summers ago, and we had a phenomenal time!

City Segway Tours
Unfortunately, a caveat: This is one thing I actually won't be able to take my cousin to because D.C. law requires that all Segway operators be at least 16. However, it's still a good suggestion for your older teenage visitors.

FOR MORE STUFF ON THE MALL: Flight simulators at the National Air and Space Museum, Independence Ave. SW & 6th St. SW

The National Air and Space Museum is the most visited museum on the Mall, but did you know that in between viewing space memorabilia and learning about the hole in the ozone layer, you can play around in a flight simulator!

The museum has two different ones: ride simulators, which, basically, you sit in and they shake you around a little bit, and interactive flight simulators, which have you and a partner at the controls of a simulated F-4 Phantom II jet fighter performing barrel rolls and shooting down enemies.

Clearly, the latter is the one you want, and it is INTENSE. It's $8 per person.


There's perpetually an 8-million-mile-long line out in front of Georgetown Cupcake for a reason: DC Cupcakes is filmed there.

I will never stand in this. 
Swing by and see if you can catch a glimpse of the ladies who made this shop famous, then walk across the street to Kafe Leopold, which frequently appeared on the ill-fated Real Housewives of D.C. (The daughter of one of the housewives worked there. Fun fact: I dated the pastry chef there for a while.)

If your guest is a movie buff, you could even take him/her over to the Exorcist Stairs (36th St. NW & M St. NW), the staircase that appeared in the movie The Exorcist (technically not reality TV, but hey, it's right there so you might as well visit it).

FOR CHILDLIKE CUISINE WITH AN ADULT TWIST: DC-3 for hot dogs and The Dairy Godmother for frozen custard

DC-3 is a little hole in the wall on Barracks Row, easily accessible from the Eastern Market Metro. It serves all kinds of fancy hot dogs, from your standard New York City street vendor hot dogs to Cincinnati chili dogs (my personal favorite) to even crazier selections. The teenager you're with won't turn up his or her nose to hot dogs, and considering the variety of flavors offered, you'll be able to satisfy your desire for higher-level cuisine.

Dairy Godmother, unfortunately, is located at 2310 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria, VA -- AKA way the eff out in the Del Ray neighborhood. It's not Metro-accessible (not unless you want to walk a mile to and from the Braddock Road Metro station, anyway), but if you've got access to wheels in some fashion (borrow a car, use ZipCar, take a taxi, etc.), it's totally worth the trip.

The Dairy Godmother

Dairy Godmother specializes in frozen custard, and frequently rotates flavors. It is creamy, delicious, and unlike any other frozen treat place in D.C. What's more, Obama ate there with his daughters on Father's Day a couple years ago, so there's that little added touristy point.

So with that, take your teenage guest out on the town. Hopefully, they won't be too cool for school.


  1. The 10A, 10B, and 10E Metrobuses stop right outside the Dairy Godmother, and hit several Metro stations along the way.