On a time crunch? Fun activities only 10 minutes by metro


Graphic by Charlotte Alden.

By Maddy Frank

An adventure into DC can seem daunting; it probably means a long metro ride or an unpleasant drive through crowded streets—not to mention the impossibility of parking. But for a student still looking to get out of Bethesda, there are places to go in DC within an easy 10-minute metro ride.

Friendship Heights

Just a 3-minute ride from the Bethesda Metro station, the small but bustling neighborhood of Friendship Heights gives students a chance to explore different restaurants, shops and more. Its urban environment gives a pleasant change in scenery for students looking for something a bit livelier than in comparison to the quieter Bethesda streets.

“It’s a really fun place, and a lot of the stores, like H&M, are pretty cheap, and they have nice stuff,” senior Kasey Chatterji-Len said. “It’s a great place to go shopping if you’re sick of Bethesda.”

Friendship Heights is full of affordable department stores like TJ Maxx and Nordstrom Rack, but the neighborhood also has high-end stores like Bloomingdales, giving shoppers a wide range of options. For food, there are many affordable but high-quality restaurants like Clyde’s, which also has live music most Friday and Saturday nights.  

Wilson Pool

Attached to Woodrow Wilson High School in Tenleytown, the Wilson indoor pool is only two metro stops away from Bethesda, providing a quick escape from the cold winter. With ten lap lanes, a hot tub and a kiddie pool that has water sprayers and sculptures, it’s already a popular attraction for DC residents. And, for a cheap price and convenient location, it’s also attracted many of the students of the neighboring school.

“It’s a really fun thing to do with your friends on the weekends if you’ve got nothing else to do,” Wilson junior Natalia Facchinato said. “It’s meant for people to come and enjoy themselves. If you don’t want to pay $20 to come to some pool, just come here; it’s much cheaper.”

The pool is one block from the Tenleytown metro station and a quick walk from a hotspot of fast-casual eateries like Cava, Panera, Starbucks, Chik-fil-a and more. Admission is $5 for non-DC residents.

Hillwood Estate

The Hillwood Estate is a museum and garden near the Van Ness Metro stop. The mansion is the preserved house of art collector and socialite Marjorie Merriweather Post, for whom Merriweather Post Pavilion is named. Post, who decorated all 36 rooms in the mansion, leaves her elegant and lavish lifestyle on display, and her art collection—the largest collection of Russian Imperial art outside of Russia—is enormous and well-renowned.

With a large variety of different things to see, the estate piques the interest of people interested in everything from art and history to nature, Hillwood Estate Communications director Meghan White said.

The estate also has art by the 18th-century artist François Boucher and porcelain pieces by the French porcelain manufacturer Sèvres, giving it the air of a famous art museum. Outside, there are 13 acres of themed gardens—one inspired by Japan, another by France and another by the four seasons.

“We do encourage visitors to picnic in our gardens,” said White. “Picnic maps and complimentary picnic blankets are available in the visitor center.”

With the gardens and the house, this activity may take a full day to explore, but it still has appeal to people on a budget: tickets for visitors under 18 only cost $5.

Even with a rigorous course load, high schoolers should still try to enjoy themselves when they have the opportunity. Luckily, whether someone is on a time or money budget, D.C. still has activities for them.

Friendship Heights, the Wilson Pool and the Hillwood Estate are just some of the accessible locations. Within only ten minutes on the metro, there’s still more to explore.

“Bethesda can get boring sometimes,” Chatterji-Len said. “I like that there are so many other places I can go.”