The arrival of a small fleet of Zipcars to campus will make it easier for students (well, students over 21) to explore more of D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. While we talk about breaking the Georgetown Bubble a lot, getting around via public transportation isn’t the easiest thing in the world, and it can only take you so far.
While Zipcars can be useful for picking up groceries and running other errands, they can also carry you to great hiking, music, shopping and more. So grab a friend, buckle up, and see what the greater DMV area has to offer!
Hiking and Camping
Now that it’s finally cooling down and safe to go outside without immediately sweating through your shirt, the thought of spending long periods of time outside is less terrifying. Great Falls Park in McLean is where the Potomac leaves the Appalachians and descends a series of rapids onto the coastal plain. It’s great for a picnic or short hike to see the majestic rapids along the Potomac. If you’re in for something a little more removed, the
If camping and hiking aren’t your thing but you want to get outside, the time is ripe for apple picking. Places like Homestead Farm in Maryland and Stribling Orchard in Virginia offer pick-your-own specials on apples, pumpkins and other fall staples.
While Georgetown is home to many shops and boutiques, we lean towards the high-end – not always compatible with a college student’s budget. Luckily for us, there’s some great shopping to be found just outside the District.
A 20-minute drive from campus, Tyson’s Corner Center in Northern Virginia is one of the largest malls in America. It’s home to department stores like Macy’s, Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s that don’t quite fit in our cramped quarters in Georgetown. You can also find stores like L.L. Bean, Forever 21 and Old Navy in addition to restaurants and an enormous movie theater. It’s also great for people-watching (especially if you’re amused by tweens) while munching on an Auntie Anne’s pretzel.
If you’re looking for deeply discounted designer clothes though, you might want to head a little further into Virginia to check out the Leesburg Outlets. It’ll be about a 45-minute drive to reach the outlets of Ralph Lauren, DKNY, Vineyard Vines, J. Crew and more, but it’s not hard to find great deals. Bonus points if you’re a member of AAA – you can stop at the front desk and pick up a huge book of coupons to use around the outlets.
The ultimate deal though, can be found in thrift stores. While Georgetown is home to vintage stores like Annie Creamcheese and Secondhand Rose, we’re lacking in the type of thrift stores where you can stumble upon the leather jacket of your dreams wedged between wool blazers on the 50-cent rack. There are Goodwill and Salvation Army stores scattered throughout the greater D.C. area, plus independent thrift stores like American Rescue Workers Thrift and Finders Keepers.
D.C. has a diverse music scene, with clubs like 9:30, the Black Cat, the Rock n Roll Hotel and more catering to all sorts of genres. But beyond Verizon Center, there aren’t many large venues that are easily accessible within the city. But Maryland and Virginia are different stories.
Merriweather Post Pavilion has played host to the Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix and Tom Jones. It was originally planned as the home of the National Symphony Orchestra, but now features a mosh pit (care of Green Day) and solar panels (inspired by Jack Johnson). Located about half an hour away in Columbia, MD, hosts acts from Bon Iver to Gotye to music festivals like Virgin Mobile Freefest in the fall and Sweet Life in the spring. The lawn seats usually aren’t too expensive and offer a great view – as long as it’s not raining.
If you’re looking for something a little more classical, Wolf Trap, the National Park for the Performing Arts, is about 30 minutes in the other direction in Vienna, VA. Wolf Trap features musical theater and a lot of classic rock acts.
So those are our ideas. Where will the new Zipcars take you?
Martin Hussey and Shakti Nochur contributed to this article.
Photo: Rebecca Goldberg for The Hoya