A round of miniature golf is one of summer’s pleasures, whether putt-putting past pirate statues at a course by the beach or playing in a regional park closer to home. It works equally well as part of a date night or a group outing with friends. And it’s definitely not the kind of thing you’d expect to find popping up in the plaza outside a Rosslyn office building.
Rosslyn Putt-Putt, open through at least the end of August, is a nine-hole course sponsored by the neighborhood Business Improvement District, whose annual surveys showed that residents and workers wanted “more entertainment” and “more nightlife” in an area known more for office towers than artsy installations.
So now there are nine temporary mini-golf holes in what had been a small park at Wilson Boulevard and North Oak Street, set up among adirondack chairs and cornhole sets. Each hole has a local theme. Some are obvious — one forces golfers to putt around inflatable globes meant to represent the brutalist spheres in Dark Star Park. Another has a kayak blocking the hole, probably to remind you that Rosslyn is on the banks of the Potomac? Some of the landmarks are more successful than others: Most of our D.C.-centric group were mystified by a modernist stack of rectangles, until one realized it was a model of “the Heights,” the building replacing H.B. Woodlawn high school.
Mini-golf aficionados are probably aware that Arlington’s Upton Hill Regional Park has one of the longest holes in the world. There’s nothing that challenging here: A group of four will probably be on and off the course in around half an hour, even on a busy Friday afternoon, and our average course score was just over two strokes per hole.
But that’s okay. We were hanging out, sipping local craft beers and chatting while waiting for the couple ahead of us to finish putting. Inside, there’s a game room with pop-a-shot basketball or foosball; a candy bar with Pleasant Pops ice pops and old-fashioned candies; and a bar with $5 glasses of rosé or merlot, $6 draft beers from Aslin and Solace, and $6 glasses of sangria. It’s more fun than sitting in another been-there, done-that happy hour bar or being packed into Jazz in the Garden, and golfing at least let us feel like we were being active. Besides, the price — $15 for a round of golf and two pints of craft beer — felt right.
Rosslyn Putt-Putt and Candy Bar , 1401 Wilson Blvd., Arlington. Open Fridays from 5 to 9 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. $3 per round. Reservations are recommended, but not required: On a recent Friday night, walk-ins were playing with no wait.
Looking for the perfect date night? Here are three things to do after you turn in your scorecards:
Catch a movie: The annual Rosslyn Outdoor Movie Festival takes over Gateway Park every Friday night, beginning with lawn games and food trucks in the park at 5 p.m., with films shown on a giant screen at dusk. (Blankets and picnics are encouraged.) This year’s calendar includes “Crazy Rich Asians” on Friday, and a special family-night presentation of “Incredibles 2” (July 12). Park opens at 5 p.m. Free.
Take in the views: For most Washingtonians, a visit to the View of D.C. — a 360-degree observation deck on the 31st floor of Rosslyn’s Central Place Tower — is something you might do when your parents come to town. Sweeping views from 400 feet above the ground are fantastic, but the tickets — $22 for adults, $16.98 for seniors — aren’t cheap. On Friday nights, the View offers a happy hour from 5 to 8 p.m. with discounted wine and champagne, and cuts admission to $10. If you haven’t visited yet, that might be the nudge you need. 5 to 8 p.m. $10.
See D.C.’s monuments in a new way: If you need a little exercise after a leisurely round of golf, stroll across the Key Bridge and head down to the Key Bridge Boathouse. (It’s literally under the bridge.) On Fridays and Saturdays, Boating in D.C. offers 90-minute guided kayak tours on the Potomac, cruising past the Kennedy Center, the Lincoln Memorial and Roosevelt Island. No previous kayaking experience is needed, as the evening starts with a beginner lesson, but wear clothes you can get wet. 7 to 8:30 p.m. $45.