American University Park is a neighborhood in NW DC named for the American University. AU Park consists almost entirely of single-family homes and therefore has a community feel with hidden gems throughout the family-friendly neighborhood perfect for bringing the little ones. We’ve highlighted some great spots for you to take advantage of.
Families are always looking for new playgrounds to explore. Adults get just as excited as the kids do because they know their little ones will be entertained as they discover new equipment. There are 2 very popular playgrounds around AU Park.
Friendship Recreation Center but known by most as Turtle Park is part of the DC Playground Renovation effort and will undergo an update in 2015. It is a favorite playground due to the extensive collection of donated toys and gear, it’s giant sand area and splash pad. The plan is to build a new recreation center as part of the renovation. In addition to the building they plan to update the tot lot and upper playground, add a new basketball court, a new splash pad, site amenities and landscaping. 45th and Van Ness Street, NW Washington, DC 20016
St. Columba’s School playground is connected to the Nursery School but they allow visitors to play when school is not in session. The playground has wood chips and many wood play structures. Lots of room to run around, tire swings and regular swings are sure to keep your kids smiling. 4201 Albemarle St NW, Washington, DC 20016
Keeping children entertained can be challenging sometimes as routines set in. DC is known for the free Smithsonian museums but as locals we sometimes steer clear of The Mall. AU Park has so many places to take the little ones to explore and play.
Sled and play at Fort Bayard playground, climb the enormous hill at Fort Reno, stretch out, sing songs and say ohm at Lil Omm, create a masterpiece at Children’s Art Studio and finally, march to your beat at Meadowlark Music.
Family friendly restaurants are important for parents in any area to become familiar with. Eating out allows everyone to get out of the house and takes Mom off the hook for having to prepare a meal for the family. It’s critical to find an eatery that welcomes children, hopefully hands them crayons to keep them entertained, has a higher noise level and perhaps a TV or 2. There are several restaurants in and around AU Park so we’ve chosen a few that won’t disappoint.
Chef Geoff’s is a great place for Bambinos but it gets very crowded with AU students and families. It is a restaurant that has been consistent when it comes to the food and enviornment. Awesome place to go when it’s warm outside as you can sit out on the large patio. They have a kids menu as well as a kids brunch menu and kiddie cups. Finish your meal and across the walkway is a Wagshals if you need any groceries or drinks. 3201 New Mexico Ave Washington, DC 20016
In the mood for some Tex Mex? Guapos has a casual ambiance and can be noisy making it perfect for families. There is an outside patio with shaded tables. As you can imagine it’s a popular place to sit and have chips and salsa once the weather is nice so get there early with the kiddos and order yourself a margarita. 4515 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, DC 20016
Le Pain Quotidien or LPQ as we call it at our house because we can’t pronounce it properly, is a great place to grab a breakfast treat, coffee or stay for brunch. The centerpiece is the communal table where your family will reconnect with conversation over a croissant, petit déjeuner a tartine and amazing coffee. 4874 Massachusetts Avenue NW Washington, DC 20016
Grab a slice or a small, medium or large pie that is locally-sourced with all natural ingredients at Pete’s New Haven Style Apizza. They also serve house-made gelato and other treats. This is another place that has a large patio to enjoy in those warmer months. This is definitely a neighborhood pizza and beer joint you want to become familiar with. 4940 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, DC 20016
If you have a sushi lover, Murasaki is your place. Carry-out or eat in, they have an outdoor patio with a koi pond, reminiscent of a Japanese garden. Apparently service can be spotty but the sushi has always been solid. 4620 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, DC 20016
Finish up a meal at Blue Moo or just stop by for a cool treat. Don’t all kids (and adults) love adding toppings to their Fro-Yo? Kids and adults will enjoy unique flavors like Thin Mint, Cheesecake and Red Grapefruit. The space is bright, clean, large and has an outdoor space. 4530 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, DC 20016
When living in a city we take some things for granted, like being able to walk to a grocery store or having the option of choosing which restaurant to pop in to for dinner. Families in and around AU Park can find the following places to be a convenience they don’t take for granted.
Wagshals is a “family of fine foods since 1925” and offers made-to-order sandwiches, including but not limited to their critically acclaimed brisket sandwich, prepared foods, a good selection of wine and holiday treats. 3201 New Mexico Ave NW, Washington, DC 20016 and 4855 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, DC 20016
Sullivan’s Toy Store has been in operation since 1954 by the Sullivan family. A favorite place to get birthday gifts and the newest fads. An added bonus is gift wrap free of charge. 4200 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, DC 20016
Rodman’s Food and Drug is very similar to a throwback department store, selling anything from groceries to toys to appliances and even has a full service pharmacy and huge selection of beer, wine and chocolate. Speaking of chocolate, for all of you with children who love “surprise eggs” Rodman’s has them! 5100 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, DC 20016