10 Ideas for Summer Entertaining in Washington

By D. Channing Muller May 3, 2011, 9:10 AM EDT

Photo: Courtesy of Valley Mill Kayak School

Here are new ideas for group outings, catering, client entertaining, gifts, and entertaining summer associates and interns in Washington.

1. Top Golf, the Alexandria driving range with accompanying entertainment complex, is launching a new after-hours golfing option. Beginning May 28th, NiteGolf will allow golfers to play with illuminated targets on the darkened course. There are 76 hitting bays that can host 5 people each for parties. Adding to the party atmosphere are waitstaff dressed as caddies and an on-site DJ. NiteGolf is $6 per game of 20 shots, including club rental, though group packages including food and drinks are available for $20 to $50 per person. There is an on-site private room that can host 100 for a cocktail reception and full buyouts are available for as many as 450 people.

2. Private cruise company Odyssey created new lunch, dinner, and brunch menus earlier this year. The menus are comprised of three courses with two to six choices for each course. The company can accommodate tours or private parties for groups of less than 20 to nearly 700 people. Prices start at $50.90 per person for lunch cruises Monday through Friday and include catering, music entertainment, and a dance floor. Souvenir glasses and photos, premium bar packages, and other add-ons are available for additional fees.

3. Bring your group together with a customized scavenger hunt from Watson Adventures. Unlike your traditional find-and-record hunt, Watson’s new Grab ‘n Go hunt introduced earlier this year will have your team looking for unconventional items like strangers wearing certain words on their clothing or any list of company-specific requests. The hunts can accommodate groups of eight up to 300 people and prices range from $45 to $95 per person depending on the customization and length of the hunt. A month’s notice is preferred for booking.

4. One of the latest savory food trucks to hit the scene, PORC: Purveyors of Rolling Cuisine food truck can be rented for special events and meetings. Ideally suited for carnivorous groups, the truck serves a variety of pork dishes like sausages, barbecue, and cassoulet (French beef stew) as well as tacos. There is a $1,000 minimum rental fee with prices per person ranging from $16 to $26. Additional fees for staffers at $50 per hour per person and fuel for areas outside of the District apply and at least a week’s notice is needed for booking.

5. After breaking box office records during its last run in Washington in 2005, Tony Award-winning Wicked returns to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts this summer. Stage June 15 to August 21, there will be nightly performances at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday and additional matinees at 1:30 p.m. on weekends. Tickets begin at $37 each and discounts are available for groups of 20 or more.

6. For in-office catering, skip the Domino’s and sample newly-opened the Upper Crust Pizzeria. The Boston-based pizzeria’s signature thin crust pies are available in 14- and 18-inch options for $11.75 and $15, respectively, with meat, seafood, and vegetable toppings available for an additional charge. Other signature Italian dishes like lasagna—both vegetarian and Bolognese—chicken, veal, and eggplant parmigiana, calzones, and salads are also available in servings for groups of 10 or 25. About 24 hours notice is requested for large orders, though pizza and salad orders can be accommodated within hours. The pizzeria offers complimentary delivery within a one mile radius of its location, though large catering orders of more than $100 will include a 15 percent gratuity and the delivery range expands to five miles.

7. Opened for a limited time on the east lawn of the Yards Park, the Sensorium pop-up dinner theater brings together avant garde entertainment and dining at the Capital Riverfront. Housed in a geodesic dome seating 30 people, groups can sample the 12 course tasting dinner, complete with wine pairings, while witnessing creator and chef Byron Brown’s mix of circus, performance art, and supper club entertainment. Tickets are $150 each and group bookings are available. There are two showings nightly running through May 22.

8. If your group is looking for a bit more adventure, Valley Mill Kayak School is the first Washington company to offer stand-up paddleboarding on the waterways of the District. Only available May through September, the weekend lessons are $139 per person and includes tips on water safety, how to stand and maneuver the board, and all the gear needed for the three-hour session.

9. Dippin' Dots recently expanded its service offerings with the launch of its food truck on May 1. The truck serves its signature ice cream in 10 flavors like banana split, cookies and cream, and newly added Forty Below Joe (coffee-flavored dots covered in chocolate or caramel). Ice cream beverages like frappes, floats, and milkshakes as well as ice cream cakes are also available. Items are priced at $3 to $6. One week's notice is required for booking.

10. For an afternoon retreat from the city, Terrapin Adventures has a 330-foot zip line set 30 feet in the air amongst the trees just outside Baltimore. Experienced and trained guides accompany our group to ensure safety. Each ride down the line is $15 per person, though group rates are available for 10 people or more.

Your email inquiry will be sent to 3 venue