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Kid-friendly Rosslyn

Neighborhood has lots to offer the younger set

Rosslyn is a great place to spend time with kids, whether you're looking for close-in summer weekend activities or trying to find a place to take them to eat after work. Check out our top picks for creative and low-cost ways to have family fun in Rosslyn!

1. Take in a free Netherlands Carillon Saturday evening concert.

The free summer Netherlands Carillon Concerts are a slam-dunk activity for families with kids (and pets!). Live performances on the Carillon’s bells take place 6-8 p.m. every Saturday evening through August 31. Bring a blanket, pack a picnic and spread out at the base of the Carillon to enjoy music by some of the best carilloneurs in the world. Meanwhile, take in the views of Washington, D.C., and snap some great family photos. There's ample parking nearby and there are also Porta Potties onsite. Learn more

2. Grab a bite to eat at Continental Beer Garden, District Taco or Vitality Bowls.

Dining out with kids can be challenging but it doesn’t have to be. Our favorite kid-friendly spots are Continental Beer Garden and District Taco. At the hip and lively outdoor beer garden, enjoy an adult night out with a great selection of cocktails and craft brews while your kids partake of good food they’ll actually eat. The fast-casual District Taco is delicious and easy on the wallet: The kids’ meals are just $5.

3. Catch a free flick at Rosslyn Cinema.

Rosslyn Cinema takes place every Friday during the summer starting at 5 p.m. It’s a win-win situation for everyone. You can enjoy hanging out with other parents while your kids play and have fun with games we’ve set up, including Giant Jenga, cornhole and ping pong. There are food trucks on-site, so you can grab dinner, too. Rosslyn Cinema starts at dusk. We always make sure to include kid-friendly flicks in our schedule. This year, these films include “Paddington” and “Incredibles 2.” Learn more

4. Sink your toes into the sand at The Sandbox at Gateway Park.

If you're out and about in Rosslyn, be sure to check out The Sandbox at Gateway Park, the largest sandbox in Arlington County. Created by the Rosslyn BID from a disused fountain, it's located at the western edge of Gateway Park. The fountain walls are painted with lively scenes by local artists Evelyn Powers, Patrick Kirwin and junior designer Emily Krause. Dozens of stone animals—from bunnies to turtles to frogs—are part of the scene. With several Adirondack chairs nearby, you can sit back and relax while your little ones play. Learn more

5. Shop and stroll at the FRESHFARM Rosslyn Farmers Market.

As most parents would agree, grocery shopping with kids is not ideal. But strolling through the FRESHFARM Rosslyn Farmers Market, open Wednesdays from 3-7 p.m. May through October at Central Place Plaza, is far more pleasant. With fresh fruit and produce grown on local small farms, it's a great place for kids to learn about nutrition and gain an understanding of where their food comes from. Tables and chairs nearby provide a comfortable spot where you can enjoy a drink and a treat together before heading home. Learn more

6. Go for a Saturday morning run on Teddy Roosevelt Island (or just meander around if you're not up for running).

If you're a parent who likes running and your older kid wants to join you, consider doing the Teddy Roosevelt Island parkrun together. It's a free, timed 5K held every Saturday morning at 9 a.m. The parkrun community prides itself on being low-key and inclusive, so kids are definitely welcome to run (or walk) the course with you. If running isn't your thing, you can still visit the island, hike around on the unpaved trails and check out the memorial plaza with a monument to our 26th president. This page features great activities you can do with kids, including a Junior Ranger program. Learn more

7. Have an astrophysics lesson/art history lesson at Dark Star Park.

Dark Star Park is a wonderful spot to visit with kids. Created by land art pioneer Nancy Holt, it's composed of five large spheres, two reflecting pools, a stairway, a tunnel, metal poles and plantings. Kids of all ages can explore the unique structures while older ones can learn about the Land Art movement, of which Holt was a member (there's an information panel explaining Land Art on site). Come by on August 1, Dark Star Park Day, for an astrophysics lesson. On this day at 9:32 a.m., shadows created by the poles align with shadow patterns on the ground. If the weather cooperates, it's quite a sight to see. Learn more

8. Pay your respects at the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial.

This iconic memorial, more commonly known as "Iwo Jima," is based on a Pulitzer prize-winning photograph by Joe Rosenthal depicting Marines raising the flag atop Mount Suribachi during World War II. Created by Felix W. de Weldon, the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial is one of the largest bronze sculptures in the world. It's a fairly easy walk from downtown Rosslyn and a great place to take kids or out-of-town guests. A visit to the memorial is a good activity to combine with a Netherlands Carillon concert, which is nearby. Learn more

9. Go on a 1.5 mile self-guided art walk.

Home to more than 60 permanent public art projects, Arlington, Virginia, is a community that recognizes the important role art can play in creating meaningful connections between people and places important to civic life. Walk around any of Arlington’s urban villages and you’re sure to spot a sculpture, mural or other artistic creation. Rosslyn is home to many of these art pieces and you can check them out by downloading Walk Arlington's free self-guided art walk app

10. Cross the Key Bridge from Rosslyn into Georgetown (a quick 15 min walk) and rent a kayak or paddleboard. 

The Key Bridge Boathouse is an easy way to have some fun on the Potomac River. Rent a paddleboard or kayak (single and double options available) and float past the Georgetown Waterfront, Roosevelt Island and some of DC’s most stunning monuments and under the beautiful Key Bridge. Or, you can kayak and board your way up river to the C&O canal for a relaxing day of tranquility. Prices and details here

Photo at top: Enjoying some of our oversized outdoor games at Rosslyn Cinema, which takes place every Friday night during the summer in Gateway Park. Movies start at dusk.

 Featured Rosslyn Events

Rosslyn FRESHFARM Farmers Market
Wednesday, May 1 - Wednesday, October 30
at Central Place Plaza

Trail Tuesdays with Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail
Tuesday, May 14 - Tuesday, September 10

Rosslyn LIVE: Uncle Jesse
Thursday, July 25
at Gateway Park