Even though summer doesn’t officially begin for a few more weeks, Memorial Day weekend is always my mental change of season. Besides the rising temps and the “okay” on wearing white (is that even a rule anymore?), it also marks the beginning of many awesome seasonal family activities. Here’s a run-down of some fun exclusive to the Memorial Day-Labor Day stretch. And if you have anything to add, feel free to do so in the comments section.
Jazz in the Garden
A great way to start a summer weekend is with Jazz in the Garden, the free concert series that takes place at the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden every Friday from 5:30 – 8:30pm. The first performance is this Friday, May 28, rain or shine. Lay out a blanket, pack a picnic dinner, and enjoy a range of jazz artists and sounds.
Outdoor Pool Season
Ready for a swim under the sky? All of the outdoor pools within the DC Department of Parks and Recreation open this Saturday, May 29. After that, pools will be open all summer Monday through Friday 1 – 8pm and Saturday/Sunday 12 – 6pm. Visit the DPR website to find a pool near you. Admission is free for DC residents, $7 for non-residents. For a pool that’s a little more posh, the Capitol Skyline Hotel is open to the public, and summer memberships are available (or you can pay a daily rate of $15, children under 4 are free). Check out this post for more info.
Here’s a great way to cool off with the kids and have a blast while doing it: Spray Parks! Kids can run through fountains and splash around at many area spraygrounds. Several are within the DC Department of Parks and Recreation, and you can find out where on their website. Starting this Saturday, May 29, DPR Spray Parks will be open Saturdays and Sundays 10am – 4pm. Starting June 21, they will also be open Monday – Friday 11am – 7pm. But some of the best places to play in the spray can be found in Arlington County—Lyon Village Park, Hayes Park, and Drew Park are spray fan favorites.
The Childrens Garden
The U.S. Botanic Garden is a wonderful place to spend time with the kids, and it’s even better from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day when the Childrens Garden is open. Kids can try on their green thumbs and dig in the dirt, plant some buds, and tend to their plots. There is also a working water pump, a couple of fountains, and a little garden house where kids can play. Like all things Smithsonian, admission is free.
Carter Barron Amphitheatre
Rock Creek Park’s own amphitheatre is the summertime site of some great musical and theatre performances, many of them free of charge. The entertainment begins shortly after Memorial Day and continues all summer. Check out the website for the schedule and details.