A fun, successful DC summer can best be had outdoors: outdoor dining, swimming, bicycling, hiking, boating, sun bathing, exercising, reading, listening to music, watching movies, visiting the monuments and front porch sitting. It’s all here. A lot of it’s free.
In summer, Washington is remarkably informal. You can spot some very powerful people in shorts showing knobby knees strolling through Eastern Market or having coffee at an outdoor cafe. Wildly democratic and unique for a major city, we don’t look down on tourists. In fact, it’s everyone’s patriotic duty to visit us. So, relax, remove your stockings, slip into comfortable shoes, bring the dog and enjoy this great city for exactly what it is.
LISTEN TO THE MUSIC
In 2018, the 9th annual Kingman Island Bluegrass & Folk Festival joins the District of Columbia in celebrating the “Year of the Anacostia.” Nestled between the banks of the Anacostia River, Kingman Island has become a park dedicated to preserving natural resources and educating District youth about conservation and becoming better stewards of the natural world. This year’s festival is on June 9 from noon to 8 p.m. at 575 Oklahoma Ave. NE. General admission tickets are $35; $45 at gate Children are free under 10. It features multiple stages, over eight hours of performances by dozens of local Bluegrass, Folk and Americana artists, food and drink, artisan merchants, outdoor activities including kayaking, boat tours and several activities for children. Read more at kingmanislandbluegrass.info.
The Botanic Garden, 100 Maryland Ave. SW welcomes everyone this summer with their American Roots Music Concert Series, every other Thursday evening from 5 to 7 p.m. Here’s the lineup: June 14, Hank, Pattie and The Current, progressive bluegrass; June 28, Davis Bradley, Appalachia/Americana; July 12, Justin Trawick & The Common Good, Americana/bluegrass; July 26, Seth Kibel, jazz; Aug. 9, Moonshine Society, blues/rock; Aug. 23, Ruthie & The Wranglers, country. Provided seating is limited and available on a first come, first served basis or bring your own blanket or chair. National Garden Amphitheater. The rain location is Conservatory Garden Court. usbg.gov.
On Wednesdays through Aug. 22, 6 to 8 p.m., The Wharf welcomes lovers of music, water and boats to its Transit Pier for free concerts. Haven’t visited The Wharf yet? This is a perfect introduction. Here’s the lineup: June 6, Lloyd Dobler Effect; June 13, Jarreau Williams Band; June 20, Justin Trawick and The Common Good; June 27, AZTEC SUN; July 4, David Thong Band; July 11, Brent & Co.; July 18, The Woodshedders; July 25, La Unica; Aug. 1, Pebble to Pearl; Aug. 8, Monster Band; Aug. 15, Dixie Power Trio; Aug. 22, 19th Street Band. wharfdc.com.
Since its debut in 2014, Moonrise Festival at Pimlico Race Course, has grown into one of the most anticipated East Coast summer festivals. This year will be held on Aug. 11 and 12, both days from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Musical styles span from heavy-hitting bass to hip hop, live electronic acts to house music and everything in between. The event also features art installations, a vendor village, food and beverages. The lineup is at moonrisefestival.com/lineup. As with most of summer festivals, the earlier you purchase your tickets, the lower the price of admission. Pimlico Race Course is at 5201 Park Heights Ave., Baltimore, MD. moonrisefestival.com.
GET IN SHAPE
Marine Corps Marathon training is a great way to start running. Whether or not you commit to doing the marathon, you can still train. You’ll be 5k or 10k–ready quickly. Runcoach is the official training program for the Marine Corps Marathon. On average participants see a 7 percent improvement in race finish time over prior races. Develop a personalized plan and set goals. Each plan includes an individualized training schedule; daily or weekly workout emails; individual pace assignments; cross training guides and links to video demonstrations; access to the member-only forum; live chat feature with real US based running coaches; and GPS enabled iPhone and Android Apps that track your performance with real-time splits, maps and audio feedback. Go to marinemarathon.com/events/marathon/mcm-info/training.
District Running Collective (DRC) is an urban movement that consists of runners of all levels that take to DC streets to promote culture, health, community and diversity through running. Meet up at Exhale Bar & Lounge, 1006 Florida Ave. NW, and run with them every Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m. “We are looking to positively impact DC through running. We do our best to build a community of runners that reflects our beautiful city and its diversity. Our goal is take make running feel less like a chore, but a lifestyle. There are a lot of running clubs/groups that meet but we look to change some of the stigma that is associated with running. ” districtrunningcollective.com.
Get active in the fresh air this summer, as outdoor fitness classes return to both Capitol Riverfront parks. Free classes are available Sundays through Saturdays for all fitness interests and levels with instructors from Orange Theory Fitness, VIDA Fitness, Barre3, Freedom Group Exercise, Powered Fitness and Mimi Rieger Trainers. Here’s the schedule: Monday, 7 p.m., Yoga with VIDA (Yards Park); Tuesdays, 7 p.m., Conditioning with Orangetheory (Yards Park); Wednesdays, 7 p.m., Barre Yoga with Barre3 (Canal Park); Thursdays, 5:30 p.m., Freedom Barre with Freedom Group Exercise (Yards Park); Fridays, 7:30 a.m., Strength Training with Powered Fitness (Canal Park); Saturdays, 9 a.m., HIIT with VIDA (Yards Park); and Sundays 9 a.m., Yoga with Mimi Rieger Trainers (Yards Park). All classes are free. Just show up. capitolriverfront.org.
WATCH SOMEONE ELSE SWEAT
Since 1909 the Congressional Baseball Game has been an annual bipartisan event beloved by all and enjoyed by thousands. Members of the United States Congress from each party solidify friendships off the floor and on the field. Over the last century the Congressional Baseball Game’s popularity has contributed to its evolution into a foundation called Congressional Sports for Charity that supports worthy and effective DC area charities, including The Washington Literacy Center, The Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Washington and the Washington Nationals Dream Foundation among others including charities that will show their gratitude to the US Capitol Police officers and those injured at the Republican practice shooting on June 14, 2017. This year’s game is June 14, at Nationals Park. Gates open at 5:30 p.m.; first pitch is at 7:05 p.m. Reserved seats are $15; general admission, $10. Tickets and rosters are at congressionalbaseball.org.
The DC United Audi Field Inaugural match is on July 14, 7 p.m., vs. the Vancouver Whitecaps. Here’s the rest of the season: July 25, 7:30 p.m., vs. New York Red Bulls; July 28, 7 p.m., vs. Colorado Rapids; Aug. 15, 7:30 p.m., vs. Portland Timbers; Aug. 29, 7:30 p.m., vs. Philadelphia Union; Sept. 12, 7:30 p.m., vs. Minnesota United FC; Sept. 29, 7 p.m., vs. Montreal Impact; Oct. 17, 7:30 p.m., vs. Toronto FC; and Oct. 21, 3 p.m., vs. New York City FC. Audi Field features a fan plaza outside the main gate, the rooftop patio with sweeping DC views, a team store and a rooftop bar. Get tickets at dcunited.com.
The Citi Open Tennis Tournament is on July 28 to Aug. 5, at the Rock Creek Tennis Center, 5220 16th St. NW. Single session tickets range from $15 to $120 depending on the seat location and session. Week long passes range from $200 to $750. Registration is now open for those interested in volunteering at the tournament at citi.allow.me/volunteer. citiopentennis.com
GET OUT ON THE WATER
If learning to sail is on your bucket list, visit dcsail.org. They have adult and children’s sailing lessons and refresher courses, April through October. DC Sail is the community sailing program of the National Maritime Heritage Foundation. Their mission is to promote and sustain affordable educational, recreational and competitive sailing programs for all ages in a fun and safe environment. DC Sail empowers its participants to develop self-respect and sportsmanship, foster teamwork, and cultivate sailing skills and an appreciation for maritime-related activities. Sailing opportunities are available for adults and youth aboard small boats as well as their 65-foot schooner, American Spirit. See their boats at The Wharf/Gangplank Marina, 600 Water St. SW and Diamond Teague Park Piers at 99 Potomac Ave. SE. dcsail.org.
The Potomac Riverboat Company’s newest water taxi service offers direct routes between the Wharf, Georgetown, Old Town Alexandria and National Harbor. Pick up a water taxi at Transit Pier, 950 Wharf St. SW; 3100 K St. NW; Cameron St, Alexandria, VA; and 145 National Plaza, National Harbor, MD. One–way adult pricing is $10 and $7 for kids. Round-trip is $18 and $12.60 for kids. There’s also a Washington Monuments Cruise; a Mount Vernon Cruise; a Wharf Sightseeing Cruise; an Alexandria Seaport Cruise; and a Canine Cruise. Tickets and more details are at potomacriverboatco.com.
Boating in DC (BIDC) offers rents kayaks, canoes, row boats, paddle boards, bikes and hydro bikes at more than four locations. Learn sculling, canoeing, paddle boarding and kayaking. No disability should prevent someone from enjoying the water. BIDC offers all–access kayaking at their Thompson Boat Center location. They have equipment to make kayaking accessible for all. Sessions include all equipment, life jacket and a boat with instruction both on and off the water. BIDC operates the Thompson Boat Center, 2900 Virginia Ave. NW, The Wharf Boathouse, 700 Water St. SW and The Ball Park Boathouse, 1492 Fourth St. SE. For rental hours, visit boatingindc.com.
Capitol SUP, located at 1492 Fourth St. SE, rents kayaks paddleboards and SUPS. Their hours are weekdays from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and on weekends from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Lessons are available for SUP basic and race skills. capitalsup.com
GET IN THE WATER
Public spray parks are small outdoor parks equipped with kid-friendly fountains that are perfect for splashing around and escaping the summer heat. The fountains are turned on from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., daily. Find a spray park, listed by ward, at dpr.dc.gov/page/spray-parks. For a more immersive experience, find DC outdoor pools, by ward, at dpr.dc.gov/page/outdoor-pools. DC indoor pools operate year–round with varying hours in summer to accommodate kids’ camps. Find them at dpr.dc.gov/page/indoor-pools.
Sandy Point State Park is a 786-acre Maryland State Park on the Chesapeake Bay, at the foot of the Bay Bridge. It is perfect for swimming, picnicking, fishing, crabbing and boating. In summer, the southern portion of the beach has on-duty lifeguards from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays, and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekends and holidays, Memorial Day to Labor Day. Admission is $5 for Maryland residents; $7 for non-residents. Take route 50 east for about 40 miles. Watch for signs.
Maryland Seafood Festival is at Sandy Point State Park on Sept. 8 and 9. It’s a weekend full of delicious seafood dishes, interactive cooking demonstrations, competitions, kids’ activities and more. mdseafoodfestival.com.
Enjoy river tubing on the Potomac River where it meets the Shenandoah River at Harpers Ferry. Each trip is about two hours long, depending on river conditions. To make a day of it, ask to be shuttled back to the tubing starting point and do it again. River guides are available as well. People tubing must be at least 12 years old, weight 50 lbs. or more, and swim. Anyone under 18 must be accompanied by an adult or reserve a guide. At the end of the trip, freshen up in their bathhouse equipped with sinks, toilets and hot showers. Rate are $20 to $30 per trip. Harpers Ferry is about one hour and 15 minutes from Washington, DC. harpersferryadventurecenter.com.
This is the summer to ride the National Harbor Observation Wheel. Soar 180 above the Potomac River waterfront for 12 to 15 minutes in a climate-controlled, fully-enclosed gondola. Visible sights include the National Cathedral, Washington Monument, Masonic Temple, City of Alexandria, Prince George’s County and the lush parklands throughout the DC-Maryland-Virginia region. Adult tickets are $15 ($13.50, over 60); and $11.25 for children, 3 to 11. The Wheel opens at 10 a.m. on weekends in June and daily in July and August. Otherwise it opens at noon. The National Harbor Observation Wheel runs 365 days a year. thecapitalwheel.com.
The Flying Circus Air Show is a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon out of town. Gates open at 11 a.m. Shows begin at 2:30 p.m. and end at about 4 p.m. After the airshow, the audience can come on to the airfield and meet airshow performers for about 30 minutes. Watch a parachute jumper opens the show as he glides down while carrying the American flag. Gander at a wing walker waving while hanging from his ankles below the biplane’s bottom wing. Adult admission is $15; $7 for kids through 12; under five, free. The Flying Circus Aerodrome is located 14 miles southeast of Warrenton, VA and 22 miles NW of Fredericksburg, VA. They are just off Route 17, 5114 Ritchie Rd. in Bealeton, VA. flyingcircusairshow.com.
Terrapin Adventures invites you to experience the thrill of gliding through the trees 30 feet in the air at speeds up to 20 miles per hour on their 450–foot zip line. First, climb a ladder and cross a swaying cable to get to the zip platform. Then, take off and let gravity do the rest. Participants must at least eight years old, at least four-feet tall and between 60 and 275 pounds. The experience is $15. They also have a climbing tower, high ropes, a giant swing and a doggie dash. Walk-ins are fine, but they prefer reservations. Open daily in summer. Terrapin Adventures is at Savage Mill, 8600 Foundry St., Savage, MD. terrapinadventures.com.
The White House Historical Association presents Jazz on Jackson Place, a summer concert series held in the courtyard of historic Decatur House, on Lafayette Square. The $35 ticket includes live music, hors d’oeuvres, open bar, tours of Decatur House and a chance to win raffle prizes. Jazz on Jackson Place is from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Here’s the lineup: June 14, Clarinetist Oran Etkin; July 12, Bassist Adi Meyerson; and Aug. 9, Drummer Sanah Kadoura. Decatur House is named after its first owner and occupant Stephen Decatur. whitehousehistory.org.
Experience the Freer|Sackler After Hours with programming combining art, film, music and food. On June 23, 5:30 p.m. to midnight, celebrate the 2018 summer solstice at this special after-hours event, with museums open until midnight across the Smithsonian. On Fridays@Freer|Sackler, July 13, 20, 27, and Aug. 3, 5 to 8 p.m., enjoy live music on the museum steps, drinks on the plaza and in the courtyard, Asian flavors by local chefs, and evening access to their exhibitions. Plus, catch a Hong Kong Film Festival screening starting at 7 p.m. The twenty-third annual Made in Hong Kong Film Festival is organized by the Freer|Sackler and the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office. Arthur M. Sackler Gallery is at 1050 Independence Ave. SW. freersackler.si.edu.
Phillips after 5 is a lively mix of art and entertainment, including live music, food, and cash bar on the first Thursdays of the month from 5 to 8:30 p.m. On June 7, enjoy Jazzin’ at the Phillips. On July 5, celebrate 100 years of ‘mate–ship’ between the United States and Australia at Phillips after 5. Adult admission is $12. $10 for students and seniors (over 62). Those 18 and younger are free. Tickets to Phillips after 5 include entry to special exhibitions and the permanent collection galleries. Advance ticket purchase is strongly advised as this popular event tends to sell out. The Phillips Collection is at 1600 21st St. NW. phillipscollection.org.
AND WHEN IT’S RAINING…
Visit the National Geographic Museum and travel back in time to the mid 1980s during the height of the Cold War. National Geographic Explorer-at-Large Robert (Bob) Ballard was sent on a top-secret mission to investigate the remains of two nuclear submarines. After successfully investigating the submarines in the North Atlantic, Ballard discovered the RMS Titanic. Titanic: The Untold Story will be told among historical naval artifacts such as the HOV Alvin, the titanium research submarine that dove to a depth of 12,540 feet to document the wreckage. Additionally, the exhibition contains a collection of artifacts belonging to survivors that have not been reunited since the night the ship sank in 1912. The National Geographic Museum, 1145 17th St. NW, is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. ngs.org.
In the Newseum Ethics Center, interactive kiosks challenge visitors to tackle real-life reporting dilemmas and see how real journalists responded. Find activities by century, topic, theme, grade and format. Learn to weed out propaganda; analyze turning points in history and identify fake news. From July 1 to Sept. 3, Newseum is free for up to four kids, 18 and under with a paid adult. There also a small discount for online ticket purchase. Newseum, open daily, except some holidays, is at 555 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. newseum.org.
“The Watching Oprah: The Oprah Winfrey Show and American Culture” at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, explores the era that shaped Oprah Winfrey’s life and early career in TV, her talk show that dominated daytime TV for 25 years. Examine the ways in which she has influenced American popular culture. The exhibition features original artifacts from Harpo Studios in Chicago and from Smithsonian collections as well as video clips, interactives and photographs. “Watching Oprah” is on through June 2019. Museum entry is by timed-pass. Because the timed-pass policy is fluid, visit nmaahc.si.edu/visit/passes for current details. The National Museum of African American History and Culture is at 1400 Constitution Ave. NW. nmaahc.si.edu.