Category Archives: Festival

The Weekend Round-Up: June 15-17

Quality time on the trail


There are some great reasons to celebrate — the school year is ending, summer break is beginning, it’s Father’s Day — and this round-up is full of great ways to do it. Happy Weekend! And Happy Father’s Day to all the dads!

Celebrate Dad
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

If you’re still in need of plans for dad’s big day, there are so many great ways to celebrate. There are activities and offerings especially for the occasion, special events that coincide with the date, and everyday outings that can be made special with a few extra touches and great company. See this post with a bunch of ideas to help plan your day.

Summer Fun
Where: Throughout the DMV
When: All weekend long
Admission: Varies by locale

The calendar may not yet say so, but it’s summer for all intents and purposes, so celebrate with one — or several — of the many activities exclusive to the season. Swim under the sky, catch a concert beneath the stars, see a special exhibit, play at a water park, and more. For the whole gamut of seasonal fun, check out the 2018 KFDC Summer Guide.

Tiny House Festival
Where: Prince William County Fairgrounds | Manassas, VA
When: Friday – Sunday,
Admission: Free – $25 (see below)

TINY Houses across America, a nationwide celebration of the Tiny Living Movement is bringing its one-of-a-kind, for-charity Tiny House Festival to the Nation’s Capital. There will be a large assortment of tiny houses and micro homes, work shops, presentations, LOTS of vendors, music entertainment, fire performers, children’s activities, and more. Friday from 9AM-2PM is FREE for students, their teachers, and immediate family — you must pre-register and download tickets here http://www.unitedtinyhouse.com/shop/. Otherwise, admission is $10/age 13+ at 12pm, and free for everyone at 5pm. Saturday & Sunday is $25/day.

World Cup Watch Party
Where: Central Place Plaza | Rosslyn, VA
When: Friday, 1-5pm
Admission: Free

It’s World Cup time! Join a watch party at Central Place Plaza by McDonald’s for the Portugal vs. Spain match. Rosslyn BID is partnering with DC United to bring fun activities, including a soccer kick game, a prize wheel, and a foosball set up. Adults can also grab a drink at the pop-up bar starting at 1pm.

Taste of Reston
Where: Reston Town Center | Reston, VA
When: Friday, 3-11pm & Saturday, 12-11pm
Admission: Free (purchase tickets for tastings)

The largest outdoor food festival in NoVA has also been named “Northern Virginia’s Best Food Festival” by Virginia Living magazine for several years. Reston Town Center will be bustling for two days with restaurants and community vendors, live entertainment on three stages, a Wine ‘n Dine area, and the Family Fun Zone featuring activities, interactive games, demonstrations, and arts & crafts for all ages.

Juneteenth Celebration
Where: Watkins Regional Park | Upper MArlboro, MD
When: Saturday, 12-5pm
Admission: Free

Bring the whole family to celebrate this historic date and enjoy free concerts, exhibits, and activities honoring African American culture. Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States, marking the date that the last enslaved people learned of their freedom — the month of June and the nineteenth day were combined to form the name. Be sure to enjoy all of the wonderful offerings at Watkins while you’re there.

Innovations in Flight Family Day
Where: Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center | Chantilly, VA
When: Saturday, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Head to the Chantilly arm of the Air & Space Museum for a special Family Day and Outdoor Aviation Display. See military, recreational, and home-built aircraft as well as classic automobiles. Enjoy presentations, demonstrations, special tours, and hands-on activities for all ages.

Colonial Wheat Harvest
Where: Claude Moore Colonial Farm | McLean, VA
When: Saturday, 1-4pm
Admission: $5/adult, $3/child, free/under 3

Help the Claude Moore Colonial Farm family harvest their precious wheat crop. Learn how wheat became a vital cash crop in Colonial Virginia. Educational and fun. Great family outing. Read more about the 18th century living history farm here.

Shows on Strings
Where: The Puppet Co.
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: $10 & $6

Sleeping Beauty is the Main Stage production at the puppet theatre in Glen Echo. Told with rod puppets and wonderful special effects, the show is a real treat for princesses and princes, big and small. And little ones will enjoy Teddy Bear’s Picnic, this weekend’s featured Tiny Tots show on Sunday — the lights stay on, doors remain open, and performances are short for newbie theatre-goers.

Columbia Heights Day Festival
Where: 11th St NW btwn Park & Irving | Columbia Heights, DC
When: Saturday, 11am – 6pm
Admission: Free

Whether or not you live in the Columbia Heights neighborhood of DC, you’re invited to bring the fam out for a fun, free day of excitement and activities to help celebrate the community. In its 12th year, Columbia Heights Day brings together residents and businesses for all kinds of festivities. Enjoy local food vendors, live music and entertainment, a beer garden, and tents full of fun and unique vendors, and more.

Columbia Pike Blues Fest
Where: Columbia Pike & S. Walter Reed | Arlington, VA
When: Saturday, 1-8:30pm
Admission: Free

Enjoy food and beverages, arts and crafts vendors, and kids’ activities as you spend the day on Arlington’s oldest and newest Main Street—in one of its most diverse, vibrant communities—listening to quintessential American music that will make it impossible not to get up and dance. The Blues Festival covers three blocks at the intersection of Columbia Pike and Walter Reed Drive. So put on your dancing shoes, grab friends and family and head to the Pike for a day of great music, food, art and fun!

Bike to Market
Where: Markets in Fairfax, VA
When: Saturday (& thru June 22)
Admission: Free

Dust off your bikes, pump up your tires, and bike to your local farmers market! The Fairfax County Farmers Markets will be celebrating Bike to Market Week at select locations in collaboration with the Fairfax County Department of Transportation. Bring your family and friends along and you will receive a free bike map and giveaways.

Strawberry Fields in Petworth

Where: St. Paul’s Episcopal Church | Petworth, DC

When: Saturday, 4-8pm

Admission: Free


Okay, maybe not fields, but a Strawberry Festival is even better! St. Paul’s Episcopal Church welcomes all to the the 152nd Strawberry Festival to celebrate the season. Free family fun will include moon bouncing, pony rides, face painting, field games, crafts, rock climbing, music, and tours of Rock Creek Cemetery (where the church is located). There will be BBQ, strawberry shortcakes and other food items for sale — cash only! Located in Petworth DC, the main entrance to the grounds is on Rock Creek Church Road NW & Webster St NW.

Family Stroller Strides
Where: Yards Park | Capitol Riverfront, DC
When: Saturday, 10:30-11:130am
Admission: Free

Start the weekend with a free family fitness class! FIT4MOM Capitol Hill offers prenatal fitness, mommy & me fitness, and HIIT classes in Capitol Hill, NOMA, and Brookland, and you can try out a FREE family Stroller Strides class on Saturday morning. The stroller-based fitness program is a 60-minute, total body workout that incorporates cardio, strength, core, songs, and activities.  Register here.

Sound of Music Sing-a-long
Where: Wolf Trap
When: Saturday, 7:15pm
Admission: $25-45

A few of your favorite things are back! A Wolf Trap tradition, the Oscar-winning movie will be shown on big screens in-house and on the lawn, accompanied by an audience sing-a-long. Be sure to dress in your Sound of Music best — the sing-a-long is paired with an unforgettable costume contest.

Dragon Boat Fest
Where: Thompson Boathouse | Georgetown, DC
When: Saturday & Sunday, 8:30am – 3:30pm
Admission: Free

The Washington, DC Dragon Boat Festival is a two day celebration held along the Potomac River complete with cultural exhibitions, craft demonstrations, and of course… dragon boat racing. The event is sponsored by the Taiwan-U.S. Cultural Association to promote Taiwanese culture in the DC area through the sport of dragon boat racing.

Harry Potter Wizard School Scavenger Hunt
Where: National Gallery of Art | National Mall, DC
When: Saturday, 2-4pm
Admission: $17.50/ages 10-17, $19.50/adult

Join Watson Adventures on a unique Harry Potter-themed scavenger hunt that kids and adults will love! Follow in the footsteps of young wizards on a field trip to the National Gallery in search of art that echoes characters, places and enchanted objects in the famed Harry Potter books and movies. The hunt is not an addition to or variation on Harry’s adventures, but instead references to the books will provide a surprising bridge to many strange and wonderful works of art. This hunt is designed for kids and adults to do together (but all-adult teams are allowed to compete separately) Kids must be accompanied by an adult. Read about this super fun adventure in this KFDC post.

DC Way Soccer Festival
Where: Tyler Elementary | Capitol Hill, DC
When: Sunday,
Admission: Free

Join DC Way in a free day of family fun! It’s a great chance to introduce kids to the magnificent game of soccer, test your own skills, participate in fun competitions, and ask the DC Way coach questions regarding the game and sports in general. Festival programs will include multiple games and activities such as soccer tennis, a kids vs. parents game, sharpshooters game, 2v2 tournament, penalty and accuracy contests, and obstacle courses. Plus, there will be prizes like drawstring bags, water bottles, T-shirts, bracelets, soccer squeeze balls, and sunglasses, gift cards, and more. Parents and kids all ages welcome to participate in the fun.

Kids Pajama Party Jam
Where: AMP by Strathmore | North Bethesda, MD
When: Sunday, 5:30pm
Admission: $12

It’s time for a pj party! Slip into some slippers, zip your little ones into their favorite jammies, and get ready to dance, sing, and play. Grammy-winning funk and hip-hop artist Secret Agent 23 Skidoo brings the excitement and energy of hip-hop to children’s music in this special Father’s Day performance. 23 Skidoo will be joined by students from the Maryland Classic Youth Orchestras for a performance of Mozartistic. Kick back and relax while your kids enjoy a fun afternoon of music that wraps up well before bedtime.

***MORE GOOD STUFF TO KNOW***
* The Library of Congress has announced the author line-up for the annual National Book Festival and, as usual, it’s pretty stellar!
* The next batch of free tickets for Carne Y Arena, the incredible virtual reality immigration experience for tween ages and up, will be released Friday, June 15, at 8am.
* Need name labels for all your kids’ camp gear? Mabel’s Labels has a great Flag Day Sale going on.
* If you haven’t watched every episode of A Cook’s Tour, No Reservations, or Parts Unknown, put them on your binge list. This is why I think you should.

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Filed under 2018, All ages, Annual, DC, Eats, Educational, Exhibit, Farm, Festival, Free, Holidays, Live Entertainment, Museums, Music, Nature, Outdoor, Seasonal, Special Event, Spring, Summer, Theatre, Virginia, Weekend

The Weekend Round-Up: June 7-10

ALL CAPS (and summer ready) at CityCenter





I don’t even follow hockey, but am still excited about tonight’s game. Hence, the info for a Thursday evening viewing party included below. And there’s way more to be amped about over the next few days — Capital Pride, a festival full of 90’s faves, lots of other live music, awesome art, cycling races & cycle repairs, summer fun, the Nats, and more. So, Rock the Red along with a… Happy Weekend!

ALL CAPS
Where: The Wharf | Southwest DC
When: Thursday, 8-10:30pm
Admission: Free

If you weren’t among the lucky thousands who scored tickets to the Game 5 watch party at Capital One Arena in the 10 minutes before they sold out, you can join another fun viewing party at The Wharf. They are rocking the red at the Southwest waterfront and showing the game on a large LED screen on Pearl Street. Grab a bite at one of the many restaurants, then watch the historic hockey game and cheer on the Caps! (FYI: You can also watch the game outside the Capitol One Arena on large screens located at G and 8th streets NW at 8pm. It’s guaranteed to be packed.)

Celebrate Fairfax
Where: Fairfax County Government Center | Fairfax, VA
When: Friday, Saturday, Sunday
Admission: $8-22/adult, $5/youth, free/2 & under

The annual Celebrate Fairfax! Festival has something for everyone — live music, carnival rides, children’s activities, art, food vendors, and much more to keep guests entertained throughout the weekend. And with Good Charlotte, Gin Blossoms, Sugar Ray, and Cracker headlining, you get a little time trip back to the 90’s, too! More details, along with the full musical line-up, see the Celebrate Fairfax website.

Celebrate Capital Pride
Where: Dupont Circle, Logan Circle, & Downtown DC
When: Saturday, 4:30-7:30pm & Sunday, 12-7pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate Capital Pride at the annual parade that’s expected to draw tens of thousands of spectators! The procession steps off at 4:30pm at 22nd & P Streets NW and will wind its way through Dupont, Logan, and other areas of NW. It’s sure to be a spectacular extravaganza of ornate floats, street performers, music and dancing, glitter and beads, and plenty of reveling. Sunday’s family-friendly festival, on Pennsylvania Avenue from 3rd to 7th Streets NW, will feature three stages of live entertainment and host 300 exhibitors, including local and community groups, national sponsors, local businesses, food vendors, restaurants, and businesses looking to promote their services. It’s all a fun and fabulous opportunity to show support for the LGBTA community and join the celebration!

Kingman Island Bluegrass Festival
Where: Kingman Island | Hill East, DC
When: Saturday 12-9pm
Admission: $35, free for ages 10 & under

The 9th Annual Kingman Island Bluegrass and Folk Festival will feature great entertainment and plenty more revelry. The celebration of local music, food, and culture as well as the revitalization of the Anacostia River features a whole day and evening of performances by local bluegrass and folk acts on multiple stages. Fuel up with DC’s favorite food trucks and beer from Sierra Nevada and Atlas Brew Works. For kiddos, Living Classrooms and a Kids Zone will have activities just for them. Kingman Island is located on the Anacostia River at 575 Oklahoma Avenue NE (at the entrance to RFK Stadium). Read more about Kingman & Heritage Islands in this KFDC post.

Joys of Summer
Where: Throughout the DMV
When: All weekend long
Admission: Varies by activity

Free concerts in the open air, outdoor swimming, movies under the stars, sprayground fun, and SO much more! Activities exclusive to the season can be enjoyed this weekend, and the 2018 KFDC Guide to the Best of Summer in DC has the whole scoop on all of them.

To Future Women
Where: Hirshhorn Museum | National Mall, DC
When: Friday, Saturday, & Sunday, 10am – 5:30pm
Admission: Free

Be part of a twenty-year-long art project! Part art and part time-capsule, Georgia Saxelby’s To Future Women invites you — and thousands from across the globe — to write a letter to women of future generations in this pop-up interactive installation. Archived for 20 years, the letters will be re-exhibited in 2037 on the 20th anniversary of the Women’s March. (I love this so much!) Plan to stay for the children’s Check It Out program, and on Sunday for a Rosie Revere, Engineer STORYTIME.

Maryland Faerie Festival
Where: Darlington, MD
When: Saturday, 10am – 6pm & Sunday, 10am – 5pm
Admission: $5/ages 3-12, $15/ages 13-99

Indulge little faerie dreams at the annual festival inspired by faerie folklore and literature. Apparently, it’s kind of like Renn Fest on a much smaller scale with facets that will delight children, especially those who believe in faeries. Treasure hunts, craft projects, nature walks, and acrobats are some of the activities kids (and adults) will enjoy. Art, crafts, musical performances, and jewelry vendors will appeal to the bigger faeries in the crowd.

Solo Sensory-Friendly Screening
Where: Regal Rockville Center Stadium | Rockville, MD
When: Saturday, 10:30am
Admission: $6.50

Join the Rebellion with a Sensory-Friendly Screening of Solo: A Star Wars Story. The newest My Way Matinee from Regal gives everyone the opportunity to experience a movie once a month with the sound turned down and the lights turned up. Watch the trailer for the movie here.

Armed Forces Cycling Classic
Where: Throughout Clarendon & Crystal City, VA
When: Saturday, 11:30am & Sunday, 11:15am
Admission: Free

The official race is for adults, but kids ages 9 and under can get in on the cycling, too – there are special races just for them along with the main event. The Saturday kids races will take place in Clarendon at 11:30am, and Sunday’s will be held in Crystal City also around 11:30am. Multiple heats for different age groups will vary in distance; the older the kids, the further they ride. Participants must bring their own helmets and bikes, and trikes are welcome, too. Online registration has ended, but you can still sign up kids day of.

DC Jazz Fest
Where: Venues around DC
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by show

The first weekend of the annual DC Jazz Festival presents a selection of the jazz genre’s most acclaimed artists as well as emerging artists at venues all around the city. Bring the kids for some afternoon jazz or make it a date night at a show in the evening. See the full schedule of concerts on the website to help you plan.

Tinner Hill Blues Festival
Where: Various locales | Falls Church, VA
When: Friday, Saturday, & Sunday
Admission: Starts at $25/adult, kids are free

From blues in restaurants to Cherry Hill Park, and gospel on Tinner Hill, it’s three days of music and blues-related events for all ages all over the City of Falls Church. The 25th Annual Tinner Hill Blues Festival will bring loads of activities along with the live music, including fun for young festival-goers. Kids can enjoy a blues reading, films, and an instrument petting zoo. See the website for details on all of it.

Free Bike Repair
Where: Anacostia Neighborhood Library | Anacostia, DC
When: Saturday, 12-2:30pm
Admission: Free

Need a two-wheel fix? Volunteers from The Bike House, Gearin’ Up Bicycles, Phoenix Bikes, and Velocity Coop will provide bike repair services at no cost to the public outside of Anacostia Neighborhood Library on Saturday. This program will take place n select Saturdays this summer, so look out for other dates if you can’t make this one!

Nats vs. Giants
Where: Nationals Park | Capitol Riverfront, DC
When: Friday, Saturday, & Sunday
Admission: Tickets prices vary

It’s a weekend of home games for the Nats as they host the Giants. There are games Friday (7:05pm), Saturday (12:05pm), and Sunday (4:05pm). Check for special promos here. And before you go, get some KFDC tips on doing Nats game without breaking the bank.

As the Wheel Turns
Where: Peirce Mill | Rock Creek Park, DC
When: Saturday, 10a – 4pm
Admission: Free

Learn about the power of water and its connection to food on a mill tour with Friends of Peirce Mill or a National Park Service Ranger at this historic site in Rock Creek Park. Ages are welcome to drop in. Read more about Peirce Mill in this KFDC post.

Shows on Strings
Where: The Puppet Co.
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: $10 & $6

Sleeping Beauty is the Main Stage production at the puppet theatre in Glen Echo. Told with rod puppets and wonderful special effects, the show is a real treat for princesses and princes, big and small. And little ones will enjoy Teddy Bear’s Picnic, this weekend’s featured Tiny Tots show on Saturday — the lights stay on, doors remain open, and performances are short for newbie theatre-goers.

Ever in the Glades
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: Throughout the weekend
Tickets: $20

This show for the T(w)een Scene is recommended for ages 12+. On an isolated island deep in the heart of the Everglades, five teenagers struggle to survive in a land where the adults are as dangerous as the gators. When one of the kids returns from juvenile detention to help the rest escape to the mainland, it seems their prayers have been answered. There’s only one problem: they need a boat, and they need it before the adults catch wind of their plan and end it—or end them.

Alice
Where: Theatre on the Run | Arlington, VA 22206
When: Saturday, 3pm & 7pm & Sunday, 3pm
Admission: $20/adult, $10/child

Why does a girl need to create a Wonderland, and what happens there? This family dance and theater show, starring the young performers of Momentum Dance Theatre’s Jazz Hip Hop Academy, will tell the tale through this production. Running time in 2 hours.

Kennedy Street Festival
Where: Kennedy & 3rd-8th Streets | Northwest DC
When: Saturday, 11am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate new and old businesses, buildings, and more on Kennedy Street NW. Now in its 5th year, this year’s festival is sure to be their best yet. The street will not be closed for the event, but they’ll have a whole host of vendors, entertainment, and activities available to enjoy on sidewalks, at storefronts, and in parking lots. Especially for kids will be a scavenger hunt, crafts, face painting, balloon animals, and more.

Planetary Pendant Shrinky Dink Craft
Where: American Visionary Art Museum | Baltimore, MD
When: Saturday, 1-4pm
Admission: $5

Join the museum for the months Weekend Walk-in, a hands-on, drop-in, art-making workshop in the AVAM classroom! During this session, design and draw your own planets on magical Shrinky-Dink plastic. Supplies & boundless inspiration provided.

Books in Bloom
Where: Downtown Columbia Lakefront | Columbia, MD
When: Sunday, 11am – 4pm
Admission: Free

The 2nd annual Books in Bloom festival will feature a world-class lineup of children’s authors and activities for families to enjoy, including roaming interactive flower carts, glitter tattoos, face painting, balloon artists, story time, and a puppet show. The event will also bring together some of the country’s best and brightest writers for a daylong festival celebrating the joy of books and reading.

End-of-Year Bash
Where: Julia Bindeman Suburban Center | Potomac, MD
When: Sunday, 10am – 1pm
Admission: $15-20/child, free for parents

This fundraiser for Washington Hebrew Congregation focuses on ages 1-6. Families can enjoy rides, inflatables, games, entertainment, face painters, food, and much more! Wristbands are $15 each until Friday, June 8 at 4pm. Regular price is $20.

El Reto Descubre el Bosque
Where: Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens | Northeast DC
When: Saturday, 2:30-5:30pm
Admission: Free

Join Corazón Latino, an organization that hosts outdoors events for multicultural families in the DMV, for an afternoon of activities for kids and adults — be ready to observe, learn, dance, eat, and make new friends!  Learn from Entomologists (scientists who study insects!) and engage in civic science using iNaturalist and iTree. Together with scientists and educators, Descubre el Bosque (Discover the Forest) and talk about ways to address issues around an invasive beetle known as the emerald ash borer. Take action as civic scientists to help protect our trees and our communities and learn how to take part in forest restoration. End the day with a boat tour along the Anacostia river with the support of the Anacostia Riverkeeper and Hispanic Access Foundation.

Take Your Pick
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

Strawberries, cherries, even spinach are ripe and ready for harvest, and many area farms welcome guests to come PYO. It’s always a good idea to check websites or call ahead to confirm availability the day you plan to go. Sunscreen and hat also recommended.

Out in DC
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

Capital Pride isn’t the only thing bringing peops out this weekend. The area is full of great places to enjoy being outside. You can read about them in The Best Places in the DC Area to Enjoy a Beautiful Day Outdoors with the Kids. (But if weather has you seeking shelter, check out The Great Indoors post instead.)

***MORE GOOD STUFF TO KNOW***
* Capitol Hill Cooperative Nursery School welcomes the community to the 2nd Annual Family Night at the Miracle Theatre on Monday, June 11! Watch the movie SING and enjoy tacos from Santa Rosa Taqueria plus more treats & surprises! Doors open at 5:30pm, show begins at 6:15pm. Single tickets are $15, a family package is $48.
* See a rainbow in Penn Quarter as the National Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian American Art Museum celebrate Pride Week with a lighting display on their F, G, and 7th Streets NW building facades this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evening.
* Saturday, apparently, is National Rosé Day. (And if some random person designates a random day as a national holiday, then it’s practically our duty to celebrate, right?? 😉 )
* Some info that may be of interest to many.

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Filed under 2018, All ages, Annual, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Festival, Free, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Music, Outdoor, Parade, Seasonal, Special Event, Sports, Spring, Summer, Theatre, Virginia, Weekend

The Weekend Round-Up: May 25-28

The World War II Memorial is one spot to observe the holiday this weekend



With Memorial Day Weekend comes an extra day off — and plenty of ways to enjoy and observe it. Whether you seek events that honor those who have served and sacrificed, are ready to get your “summer” started, or just want to enjoy some quality time with the kids over the long weekend, this round-up easily has you covered. Happy Weekend!

“Summer” Fun
Where: Throughout the DMV
When: All weekend long
Admission: Varies by activity

It may not be official on the calendar, but “summer” is underway! Water fun, outdoor concerts, movies under the stars, and more ongoing seasonal treats have begun or are about to begin in DC. Start the weekend with free music at the Yards Park’s first concert of the season or Jazz in the Garden on the National Mall. Make a splash at an outdoor public pool or a sprayground, see a family flick outdoors at National Harbor on Sunday night, and so much more. The KFDC 2018 Guide to the Best of Summer in DC has the scoop on where and when you can experience all the joys of season that start Memorial Day weekend.

Rockin’ on the Riverfront
Where: Yards Park | Capitol Riverfront, DC
When: Friday, 6:30-8:30pm
Admission: Free

Kick off the weekend as the Yards Park kicks off its seasonal Friday Night Concert series! Pebble to Pearl is playing the first installment of the summer staple. Enjoy the music along with food and drinks for purchase (or BYO picnic), let the kids play in the fountains and grassy spaces, and take in the scenic river views.

Memorials & Poppies on the Mall
Where: National Mall, DC
When: All Weekend
Admission: Free

Tributes to those who have served our country will take place at the many memorials and monuments on the National Mall throughout the weekend. Times vary, but you can look for schedules on the National Park Service website. Be sure to stop by the pop-up poppy memorial on the southwest side — 645,000 poppy flowers, one for every soldier lost since WWI, should be quite a remarkable sight. The Mall will likely be crowded, so plan accordingly.

Duck, Duck…Race!
Where: Yards Park | Capitol Riverfront, DC
When: Saturday, 11am – 3pm
Admission: Free

See thousands of environmentally-friendly toy ducks race along the Anacostia River! The third annual DC Duck Race, a fundraiser to benefit more than 30 non-profits executing sustainable service projects in the community, will showcase the flock of sponsored rubber duckies “racing” along a contained course on the water. The race begins at 2pm. There will be even more at the community festival, including entertainment, food, and activities for kids.

Strawberry Jubilee
Where: Great Country Farms | Bluemont, VA
When: Saturday & Sunday, 9am – 6pm
Admission: $10/child, $12/adult

The longest running strawberry festival in Loudoun County takes place this weekend and next, rain or shine. Get ready for lots of fun activities for all ages, including the popular diaper derby, pie-eating contests, tart toss, strawberry princess, great food, and live music. As if that’s not enough to keep the family entertained for the day, there’s also the five-acre play area, complete with the jumping pillow, slides, rope swings, mazes, a tractor tire mountain, and animal encounters.

Delaplane Strawberry Festival
Where: Sky Meadows State Park | Delaplane, VA
When: Saturday & Sunday, 10am – 5pm
Admission: $25/car

Spend Memorial Day weekend at the 25th Annual Delaplane Strawberry Festival! In addition to having delicious, gourmet-sized strawberries for sale, the festival features live music, hayrides, old fashioned field games, dancing, music, magic, storytelling, crafts, a petting farm, hikes in the shadow of the Appalachian Trail, face painting, cake-walking, Corn Hole, a monkey, and much more!

ViVa! Vienna!
Where: Historic Downtown Vienna, VA
When: Saturday, Sunday, & Monday
Admission: Free

Join the family and community oriented celebration of Memorial Day and the greater Vienna Community spirit. Amusement rides, food, crafts, vendors, and entertainment will be part of the all-ages fun. Even better, 100% of proceeds go to charitable, community, and humanitarian organizations.

Homefront Street Cars
Where: National Capital Trolley Museum | Silver Spring, MD
When: Saturday, Sunday, & Monday
Admission: $5/child, $7/adult

Recall the role of the transit industry during wartime in observance of Memorial Day. Enjoy Tilley the Trolley and Billy the Bus, a wartime production of the Capital Transit Company, and Ten Seconds to Go, a wartime production of Kansas City Public Service. The special exhibit, Homefront Street Cars, will also be on view.

Room for Children
Where: House of Sweden | Georgetown, DC
When: Saturday & Sunday, 12-5pm
Admission: Free

Pop in to the House of Sweden’s space for children up to 10 years old, recently updated with new books, games, and crafts.The Swedish library and arts studio was designed to stimulate their desire for books, music, storytelling, and self-expression. Storytime sessions are offered every Saturday at 2pm. Located at the Washington Harbour, pair this with some outdoor time at Georgetown Waterfront Park for a whole day’s outing!

Dinos & Then Some
Where: Port Discovery | Baltimore, MD
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission:

This weekend is the opening of Port Dicovery’s new Dinosaurs: Land of Fire and Ice exhibit. Enjoy fun Dino-themed activities and drop-in programs along with Memorial Day themed projects. Of course, there are many more galleries and exhibits to explore in among the many levels of the wonderful children’s museum. It’s also the start of tsummer hours, with the Museum now open seven days a week for fun, learning and adventure. Visit Monday through Saturday from 10am – 5pm, and on Sundays from 12-5pm.

Here Comes Hamilton
Where: Mount Vernon Estate | Mount Vernon, VA
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission:

George Washington’s Mount Vernon has caught Hamilton fever! This weekend, they will debut four new Washington-Hamilton objects that highlight the partnership and friendship between the two founding fathers in temporary exhibit, History has its eyes on you: George Washington & Alexander Hamilton. And from 12-2pm on Saturday, sing your favorite Hamilton song, during HAMILTUNES: An American Sing-Along! During that time, singers from Mount Vernon Community Children’s Theatre and DC-area adult musicians will lead guests in a rousing rendition of the hit musical’s songs. Bring a blank and enjoy your favorite Hamilton tunes during the family-friendly event.

On Stage: A Wildly Fun Treasure Hunt
Where: Adventure Theatre | Glen Echo, MD
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: $19.50

Judy Moody and Stink: The Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Treasure Hunt, is the current production at Adventure Theatre, and it’s a hilariously entertaining and engaging one. Based on the popular children’s books, the play follows Judy Moody and her little brother Stink on a weekend family getaway to Ocracoke Island that turns into quite an adventure for the duo. Read a full KFDC review of the show here.

Shows on Strings
Where: The Puppet Co.
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: $10 & $6

Sleeping Beauty is the Main Stage production at the puppet theatre in Glen Echo. Told with rod puppets and wonderful special effects, the show is a real treat for princesses and princes, big and small. And little ones will enjoy Panda-Monium, this weekend’s featured Tiny Tots show on Saturday — the lights stay on, doors remain open, and performances are short for newbie theatre-goers.

Hometown Holidays
Where: Rockville Town Square | Rockville, MD
When: Saturday, Sunday, & Monday
Admission: Free

A music festival, the Taste of Rockville, and Memorial Day events make up most of the festivities at the Rockville Town Center this weekend. Kids activities, food, and more fun will also be part of the lineup. View the website for the complete schedule of events.

Model Trains and Thomas
Where: Historic Vienna Train Station | Vienna, VA
When: Saturday & Sunday, 1-5pm
Admission: Free (donations accepted)

While you’re at Viva Vienna, stop by the Historic Vienna Train Station where you can see and hear HO scale model trolleys and trains, including Thomas and some of his friends on display and in operation. It’s a great family fun and activity for the young and young at heart. The Station is at 231 Dominion Road NE, Vienna, VA along the W&OD trail just past the Caboose.

Take Your Pick
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

Strawberries are ripe and ready for harvest, and many area farms welcome guests to come PYO. It’s always a good idea to check websites or call ahead to confirm availability the day you plan to go. Sunscreen and hat also recommended.

Go with the Flow
Where: Waterways around the DMV
When: Ongoing
Admission: Varies by locale

Enjoy the weekend on the water, where you can paddle and explore. A bunch of places around the area rent kayaks, canoes, rowboats, and stand up paddleboards. Fletcher’s Boathouse is a popular place to go and has a great riverside area to hang out and picnic when you’re off the water. You can also row from Ballpark Boathouse then picnic and play at Yards Park. We spent a wonderful Mother’s Day a couple of years ago at Quiet Waters Park in Annapolis — with lots of options for outdoor recreation along with paddling, it’s particularly awesome. This post has a round-up of even more places to navigate the local waterways.

National Memorial Day Concert
Where: West lawn of the Capitol | Capitol Hill, DC
When: Sunday, 8-9:30pm, gates open at 5pm
(or Saturday for the dress rehearsal)
Admission: Free

Why watch on TV when you can be there in person? The 2017 National Memorial Day Concert will take place on the west lawn of the Capitol on Sunday from 8 – 9:30pm. Joe Mantegna is hosting the event this year, and an all-star line-up of artists will join the National Symphony Orchestra in honoring those who have served and sacrificed for our country. If you’re planning to go, the FAQ page on the concert website is worth a read. KFDC Tip: If you can’t make Sunday’s show or don’t want to deal with the crowds, Saturday’s dress rehearsal is also always open to the public — gates open at 5pm, and the show begins at 8pm.

Memorial Day Observance
Where: Arlington National Cemetery | Arlington, VA
When: Monday, 10:30am
Admission: Free

Observe the holiday at one of the most iconic spots to honor those who have served. A prelude concert by the United States Navy Band will begin in the amphitheater at 10:30am, and a wreath-laying ceremony will take place at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at 11am followed by an observance program in the amphitheater. Space is limited to standing room only for the wreath-laying ceremony, and seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis in the amphitheater. Attendees are encouraged to arrive early to ensure access to these events and should plan to be seated no later than 9:30am. Read more about Arlington National Cemetery here.

National Memorial Day Parade
Where: Constitution Avenue NW, 7th to 17th Streets | Downtown DC
When: Monday, 2pm
Admission: Free

The annual National Memorial Day Parade celebrates and honors American veterans with a grand procession through the city. Get a curbside view of military units and vehicles, marching bands, flag teams, and hundreds of veterans as they travel up Constitution Avenue.

The Ins & Outs of DC
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by adventure

For even more ideas for things to do, depending on the weather or simply your preference, these posts are chock full of evergreen pursuits:
The Great Indoors
The Best Places in the DC Area to Enjoy a Beautiful Day Outdoors with the Kids

***MORE GOOD STUFF TO KNOW***
* You can help keep Claude Moore Colonial Farm stay open and operating by attending the Save the Farm Rally this coming Thursday, May 31!
* Next Saturday, the DC chapter of Moms Demand Action is hosting a Wear Orange Day event to honor those lost to gun violence and their loved ones with a family-friendly day of food, fun, and friendship.
* As you’re taking advantage of Memorial Day sales, sign up for Ebates and use the service to get cash back on all your purchases.
* Don’t forget to enter the giveaway for a chance to win admission for 4 to “Under the Big Top” at the B&O Railroad Museum.
* Currently binging this show and forking love it!

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Filed under 2018, All ages, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Farm, Festival, Free, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Music, Seasonal, Special Event, Spring, Summer, Virginia, Weekend

The 2018 KFDC Guide to the Best of Summer in the DC Area

The look of summer fun

I love this time of year as we make the casual shift into summer. The weather is warming up (though maybe a little too fast for some). We’re swapping boots for sandals, replacing jackets with baseball caps on coat hooks, and enjoying slushies outside instead of hot chocolate indoors. The end-of-school-year excitement is starting to build.

Even though summer doesn’t officially begin for a few more weeks, seasonal activities around the area are starting to kick off, and the warm months bring some of the area’s best recreation. From water-inspired fun to music and movies in the open air to special fests and feasts to bonus attractions at everyday places, the joys of summer are abundant around DC — and this annual guide will help you take advantage of it all!

So, unpack the flip flops, get out the blender for frozen drinks (slushies for kids, margaritas for adults), bookmark this page, and start planning your local summer fun. The 2018 KFDC Guide to the Best of Summer in the DC area has all the details and inspiration you need!

* * * * *

Play in the Sprays
Outdoor Pool Season
Water Parks
Summer Concerts
Festivals
Beaches
Big Screen Under the Stars
Museum Programs & Seasonal Exhibits
Movies, Storytimes, & More
Mini Trains, Carousels, Mini Golf, & a Ferris Wheel
Theatre Time
Summer Sports
Crab Feasts
Seasonal Experiences


A refreshing run through the sprays at Georgetown Waterfront Park


PLAY IN THE SPRAYS
Kids can run through fountains and splash around at many area spraygrounds. Several are within the DC Department of Parks and Recreation, but some of the best are built right into the urban landscape, making the concrete jungle a cool place to hang out during the hottest months.

  • Georgetown Waterfront Park, right next to the Washington Harbour, has a fountain with arcing sprays that makes for a fun, refreshing way to cool off on a hot, summer day. The rest of its pretty green space along the Potomac is a great place to hang out, too.
  • Yards Park is a favorite for many in the city with two levels of super fun sprays, a wading pool and wall of water (essentially a water fall between the levels), plus a great scenic location on the Anacostia River in the Navy Yard.
  • The newest addition to the splash circuit is the in-ground fountain at The Wharf in Southwest. Kids can run through water shooting up from jets on opposite ends, play in mist spraying up in the center, and ride on waterproof rocking horses amid all of it, all with the beautiful new waterfront area as a backdrop.
  • Canal Park in the Navy Yard is great for all ages with both a gentle, shallow fountain that is perfect for really little ones to enjoy, plus a bigger fountain with lots of sprays for more enthusiastic play where the ice rink is in the winter.
  • Starting Memorial Day Weekend, May 26, DPR Spray Parks will be open for the season from 10am – 7pm daily.
  • Some of the area’s most popular spray parks — Lyon Village Park, Hayes Park, and Drew Park — can be found in Arlington.
  • The interactive fountain in Downtown Silver Spring plaza is open daily from 10am – 8pm. While my kids have never played there, I recall seeing very happy youngsters playing in the sprays on the colorful mosaic design during my lunch breaks when I worked at Discovery. It always looked like a blast.
  • The fountain in the Columbia Heights Civic Plaza located at 14th and Park Road, NW is a great place to cool down on a hot day, with many sprays that surge up from a pretty, circular tiled surface. Do a little shopping while you’re there — Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, and many other big retail stores are right there — and plan to grab a bite at one of many kid-friendly eateries around. Plan to stop in Tivoli’s Astounding Magic Supply Co. at 826DC located nearby.
  • The Fountain on the Square at Rockville Town Square welcomes kids to splish splash from May to September. It’s open Monday – Saturday 11am to 9pm and Sunday 12-8pm, but it’s turned off for maintenance at certain times during the week, so be sure to check the schedule before you go.
  • Also on the sprayground scene, the fountains in the Mosaic District welcome all to play in the sprays that jet up from concrete. Surrounded by retail stores and restaurants, you can make a day of it there with some shopping and eating, too. Plan to go on a Tuesday with little ones when you can also enjoy Stories from Strawberry Park.


  • Rosedale pool in NE DC has slides and even a kiddie pool


    OUTDOOR POOL SEASON
    Nothing says summer like swimming under the sun, and there are plenty of public pools in the area where you can jump in for free or a small admission fee.

  • DC outdoor public pools will open on Memorial Day Weekend, Saturday, May 26. Days and hours vary from pool to pool so be sure to check the schedules before you go. A couple of years ago, they began opening earlier on weekdays, at 11am, and that’s continuing! (And some open even earlier than that for lap swim.)
  • For outdoor swimming outside of the city, Montgomery County outdoor public pools will open on May 26 through Labor Day — the Department of Recreation website has locations and hours.
  • In Northern Virginia, Arlington’s Upton Hill has a whole water park for guests to enjoy, and Alexandria has several places where the public is welcome to swim. Be sure to check the City of Alexandria website for hours, as they vary by pool.


  • Make  splash at Soak City in Kings Dominion

    Make splash at Soak City in Kings Dominion


    WATER PARKS
    Giant water slides, wave pools, waterfalls, sprays and splash pads…this is the stuff kids’ summer dreams are made of. There are actually several water parks around the area offering many of these attractions, just about all of them opening Memorial Day weekend for limited hours, until they open daily in a few weeks. Here’s a quick list — visit the websites for more details.

  • Ocean Dunes Water Park at Upton Hill in Arlington
  • Six Flags America
  • in Upper Marlboro, MD

  • Great Waves at Cameron Run in Alexandria
  • The Water Park at Bohrer Park in Gaithersburg
  • Atlantis Water Park at Bull Run in Centreville
  • Splash Down Water Park in Manassas
  • Chesapeake Beach Water Park
  • Soak City Water Park at Kings Dominion
  • Water Country USA at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, VA


    Friday night concerts at Yards Park are a great way to kick off a summer weekend

    Friday night concerts at Yards Park are a great way to kick off a summer weekend


    SUMMER CONCERTS
    Free music in the fresh air has become a staple of the season, and there are opportunities to enjoy just about every genre regularly at outdoor venues all around the DC-Metro.

  • The Capitol Riverfront Friday Night Concert Series at Yards Park begins May 25 and will run through August 24, presenting a different band each week on the boardwalk stage overlooking the Anacostia River. Along with the free music, food and beverages are available for purchase. (Unfortunately, the NO BYOB polic still holds). I recommend getting there early, so the kids can play in the fountains before the concert starts at 6:30pm. And on a hot summer day, it’s nice to continue the water fun even while the tunes are playing — you can still hear them from across the park!
  • Experience live music amid art at Jazz in the Garden, the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden’s free concert series, every Friday from 5–8:30pm. The first performance of the season is May 18, rain or shine, and there will be weekly shows through August 24. Spread out a blanket, pack a picnic dinner or purchase food and drinks there, and enjoy the sounds of a variety of jazz artists. Note: Adult drinks are available from the pavilion; BYO alcohol is not permitted.
  • The U.S. Air Force Band’s Summer Concert Series begins June 1 and runs through Aug 28: Fridays at the Air Force Memorial at 7:30pm, Saturdays on the National Plaza (National Harbor) at 7pm, and Tuesdays at the U.S. Capitol (West Side Steps) at 8pm. Outdoor concerts are subject to weather cancellation.
  • In Silver Spring, the TGIF Downtown Street Party brings free music once a month on Friday evenings to the Fountain Plaza 6:30-8:30pm. Enjoy everything from pop to jazz to R&B to classic rock from May 11 through September 14.

  • All summer long, families can enjoy a variety of free fun at Rockville Town Square. Concerts for all ages on Friday evenings started in April and will run through September 14 — enjoy live music, good food, and beverages from 6-9pm.
  • Rock at the Row returns to Pentagon Row Thursdays July 12 – August 23. From 7-9pm, all are invited to the lounge on the new plaza for food samples and craft beer in the VIP section or to gather at one of the outdoor cafés while enjoying live music, giveaways, and merchant specials.
  • The U.S. Botanic Garden is bringing back the American Roots Music Concert Series every other Thursday 5-7pm. Celebrate American roots with Americana and folk, country, blues, jazz, and even zydeco outside on the Conservatory Terrace from June 14 – August 23
  • You can kick-start your weekends at Tysons Corner Center’s Fresh Artists Concert Series. Grab a blanket and enjoy performances ranging from ballet to blues, folk to funk, poetry to pop. Schedule still TBD, so check back.
  • Get a nice dose of nature as you listen to live tunes at Potomac Overlook Park in Arlington on Second Saturdays of the month from mid-May 13 – early September. The free, family-friendly performances take place on a stage in the woods surrounded by trails to explore. (FYI: The Nature Center — with snakes, turtles, owls, hawks — is great, too.
  • Enjoy music in Northern Virginia parks! The Fairfax County Park Authority presents their Summer Entertainment Series, a summer-long calendar of shows, concerts and movies appropriate families held in local parks. Bring a picnic dinner, blankets, and lawn chairs to enjoy the best local and regional entertainers.
  • Strathmore, the North Bethesda performing arts center, hosts Live from the Lawn, free outdoor concerts, every Wednesday from July 11 – August 29.


  • There’s a whole festival to celebrate the lotus and water lilies at Kenilworth!


    FESTIVALS
    Several stand-out events are anticipated around the area this time of year, celebrating everything from music to art & culture to neighborhoods to food.

  • Get folksy at Glen Echo Park June 2-3, when the 38th Annual Washington Folk Festival showcases the diversity of traditional music in Washington. All of the artists hail from the DC area, but cultures from around the nation, as well as the world, will be represented through music, dance, crafts, and stories. The public is invited to enjoy the free festival that is renown in the folk community.
  • It sounds like a grown-ups-only event, but the Vintage Virginia Wine & Food Festival offers plenty of family fun, too. Taking place June 2-3 at Bull Run Park in Centreville, VA, festivities include wine tasting (of course), chef demos, food truck fare, live music, and a whole family-friendly area with activities especially for kids.
  • Imagination Bethesda, an annual festival occurring in the heart of its namesake city, is all about children. On June 2 from 10am – 3pm, Woodmont & Elm downtown will be lined with activity tents offering tons of fun for kids — arts & crafts, face painting, games, etc. There will also be live entertainment, food from local restaurants, and more. Admission is free.
  • The DC Jazz Festival presents a variety of performers at venues all around the city from June 8-17, but the most family-friendly of them actually precedes the main event. Jazz n’ Family Fun Days will take place June 2-3 with free shows for all ages at The Phillips Collection.
  • The Kingman Island Bluegrass Festival make sits first appearance in the guide this year, as it’s taking place a few week later than past years. The celebration of local music, food, and culture as well as the revitalization of the Anacostia River features a whole day and evening of performances by local bluegrass and folk acts on multiple stages. Fuel up with DC’s favorite food trucks (and beer). Kids are very welcome, and there are usually activities for kids presented by Living Classrooms and other organizations.
  • Attend one of the biggest summer barbeques around June 23-24 as the National Capital Barbeque Battle returns to pit some of the nation’s best barbequers against each other as they compete for big prizes. The reward for attendees: Samples from all the entrants (plus, more food), live music, cooking demos, kids’ fun, and more.
  • Every summer, the National Mall becomes stomping grounds of folks from around the globe to celebrate living cultural heritage and community traditions at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. This year’s event will run from June 27 – July 1 and July 4-8, celebrating Armenia and Catalonia, and ending with a Sisterfire Concert
  • For the first time since the in over 50 years, DC is hosting the MLB All-Star Game, and there will be a week of festivities leading up to the main event, including a FanFest at the Washington Convention Center, Play Ball Park . an interactive area of fun at Yards Park, and tons more fun from July 13-17.
  • The lotus and water lilies in full bloom at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens are such a ravishing sight it calls for a celebration. Along with the spectacular display of flowers, the annual Lotus & Water Lily Festival on July 21 will feature traditional Asian and African dancing and drumming, gardening workshops, park tours, arts & crafts, face painting, and other family-friendly pursuits. View scenes from last year’s bloom here.
  • Take a little time trip back to the 18th century at the Claude Moore Colonial Farm Summer Market Fair the weekend of July 21-22. There are all kinds of hands-on activities to do, interesting demos to view, foods to savor, and vendors to browse at the seasonal event. Read more about the living history farm here.
  • It might run into fall, but it starts in August, so I’m counting the Maryland Renaissance Festival among the summer fun. Plus, it’s one of my very, very favorite annual events (more confirmation on that here). The merriment begins August 25 and will continue every weekend through October 21. (Go! I promise, it’s the best.)



    Beach it a Flag Ponds Nature Park


    BEACHES
    Summer and beach trips go hand-in-hand, so why not hit one with the kids? You don’t have to drive all the way to the ocean for it; there are several places where you can get a nice dose of sand and surf that are within day trip-distance from DC.

  • Head out to Calvert County for a day at Flag Ponds Nature Park. Not only is there plenty of sand for playing and nice mellow waters for swimming, it’s also a great spot for fossil hunting — look for shark teeth and other prehistoric remnants along the shores while you’re there, too! Hours are 9am – 6pm Memorial to Labor Day. Admission is $8/car.
  • Bayfront Park aka Brownie’s Beach is a nice little spot in Chesapeake Beach, MD. With a small but nice stretch of sand, gentle shallow water, shark teeth to fin, and cliffs edging the shoreline, it’s a great place to spend a day — especially with little ones since they can’t roam too far. The only downside is the admission fee: $18/adult, $10/child for non-residents of the county.
  • Enjoy views of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge from the beach at Sandy Point State Park near Annapolis. At nearly 800 acres, it’s a big beach park with lots of recreational opportunities — swimming, picnicking, fishing, crabbing, hiking, and more. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, there are lifeguards on duty. And snack food and beach and picnic supplies are available. Hours are 6am – sunset. From May 1 through September, admission is $5/Maryland resident, $7/non-resident on weekend, and $4/ Maryland resident, $6/non-resident on weekdays.
  • The beach is narrow, and you’re on a river, but you still get sand and water at Purse State Park in Charles County, MD. This is best if your main purpose is fossil hunting — it’s a great place to go for it — and you want to get in some “beach” time, too. Wear swimsuits, bring a picnic, and be sure to check the tide table so you can make the most of your time there. Open sunrise to sunset, and admission is free.


  • Sit back, relax, and enjoy a film outdoors at the Union Market Drive-in


    BIG SCREEN UNDER THE STARS
    Outdoor movies have become a DC summer tradition in the last few years with films al fresco in several neighborhoods. Even better, all of them are FREE! (*Before you make plans to enjoy any of the series, be sure to check schedules, as some movies may not be appropriate for children.)

  • Catch a flick on the big screen from the comfort of your car at the Union Market Drive-In Series, occurring monthly on Fridays throughout the summer, with several family-friendly films in the mix. Get there as early as 6pm and have a bite to eat in the Market or bring food back to your car. The film starts at 8:30pm. Admission is $10/car, free for walk-ins. Advance purchase is recommended.
  • National Harbor’s Movies on the Potomac already started their Sunday night film series for families, and it will run through September 30. Movies are shown on the plaza screen starting at 6pm.
  • Movie lovers of all ages can head to the Four Mile Run Movie Series in Alexandria on the last Friday of the month from May 25 – August 31, when the park is transformed into an outdoor cinema. This free event will also include two hours of activities and entertainment leading up to show time. Films start at dusk, fun begins at 6:30pm
  • The Golden Triangle (BID) is raising the curtain on its Golden Cinema Film Series to be hosted this summer in Farragut Park. Outdoor movies will be shown at sunset every Friday beginning June 1 – August 3, and there are many family-friendly films among the line-up.

  • This year’s Wonder Women- themed NoMa Summer Screen features a variety of movies with strong female leads. The 12-week outdoor film series starts on June 6 and runs weekly on Wednesdays through August 29. The movies begin at sunset, but you can get there early to picnic — BYO or grab a bite from a food truck
  • See your favorite stars beneath the stars at the Capitol Riverfront’s Canal Park Outdoor Movie Series. Catch films every Thursday evening at sundown from June 7 through August 23.
  • Bethesda Outdoor Movies will bring five days of flicks al fresco to downtown at the corner of Norfolk and Auburn Avenues from July 24-28. Be sure to check the titles to see what’s appropriate for your kid.


  • A fairy house almost as tall as Owen at Annmarie Sculpture Garden


    MUSEUM PROGRAMS & SEASONAL EXHIBITS
    Extraordinary installations, lovely annual exhibits, kids’ programs during the school break, and admission deals are some of the special experiences at our museums and galleries to take take advantage of over the summer.

  • First there was indoor mini-golf, after that it was a giant maze, then came the super awesome BEACH, followed by ICEBERGS, and last year it was HIVE. This summer, the National Building Museum will welcome visitors to FUN HOUSE, “a freestanding structure that recalls and re-imagines the idea of the traditional home” with interactive elements and a “peculiar, yet accessible way of reinterpreting the built environment”. Admission is $5/youth member, $10/adult member and $13/youth non-member, $16/adult non-member. Open July 4 through September 3.

  • ARTECHOUSE, the destination fusing art and technology that debuted last summer with XYZT: Abstract Landscapes, will dazzle us once again with Naked Eyes. “Comprised of four unique installations, with each piece very site specific, this audio visual light exhibition is a celebration of light. The light has been sculpted, contained, diffused, projected and reflected so Naked Eyes can enjoy the three dimensionality of it.” All ages are welcome, but it’s recommended for 12+. Run May 16 – June 30, and admission is $15/adult, $8/12 & under.
  • Annmarie Sculpture Garden is enchanting any time of year, but it’s especially so in the summer when the fairy and gnome houses are on display. The adorable collection of little whimsical abodes for spritely creatures have all been selected from many submissions in an annual fairy house building contest. And they are just fantastic. Created by all ages, individuals and groups, each one has a different theme, but together they are a brilliant showcase of imagination and craftiness. View scenes from last year’s exhibit here.
  • You can walk amid a garden of butterflies at Brookside Garden’s amazing Wings of Fancy exhibit. The seasonal display featuring live butterflies and caterpillars from all over the world opened in April and will welcome visitors through September 16, 10am – 4pm. Admission is $8/ages 13 and up, $5/3-12, free ages 0-2 (admission to the rest of Brookside is free). Read about a KFDC experience there and view some of our pics from last year’s exhibit.
  • No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man at the Renwick isn’t a special summer exhibit, but it will make for a great outing with kids while they’re on break from school. It brings a piece — or, make that pieces, and big ones! — of the annual Black Rock Desert event to DC in the form of large-scale installations, several of them taking up whole galleries in the museum. The works range from sculptures to immersive installations to jewelry to costumes, and much of it appeals to all ages. Museum hours are 10am – 5:30pm, and admission is free.

  • Yoko Ono’s Wish Tree for Washington, DC, is returning to the Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden for its third year. It opens on Solstice Saturday, June 23, and will be there through the summer. The public is welcome to write wishes on small cards and tie them to the tree’s branches. They’re collected throughout the summer, then sent to Ono’s “Imagine Peace Tower” in Reykjavik, Iceland.
  • Every year, the Newseum offers the Summer Fun Deal. From July 1 – September 3, there is no admission fee for kids ages 18 and under. The promotion waives the $12.95 regular entrance charge for youth with one paid adult admission, senior admission, or Newseum membership (a benefit to ages 7 and up, as kids 6 and under are always free). Up to six kids can enter free with the offer. Read a KFDC take on the Newseum and look for a deal on adult admission here.
  • During the warm months, little ones can flex their green thumbs in the outdoor Children’s Garden at the U.S. Botanic Garden. Renovated last year, the adorable outdoor area features dirt to dig in, plants to tend to, and a cute play structure to romp in. The rest of the USBG’s outdoor gardens are great to explore, too!
  • The National Archives is hosting some free programs for kids and families in June and July, including it’s regular monthly drop-in storytime, Family Learning Labs, and a few special events on weekends. Some require advance registrations and have age recommendations, so check them out and sign up soon!

  • For the T(w)een Scene and older, Carne Y Arena is a very powerful virtual reality experience that immerses viewers in the Sonoran desert as a group of migrants attempts to cross the border from Mexico to the US. Be sure to read the review to determine if your tween or teen should go! It’s running through August in Northeast DC, and tickets are being released every two weeks and going very quickly — reserve yours here.


  • The National Gallery of Art's Drop-In program returns this summer

    The National Gallery of Art’s Drop-In program returns this summer


    MOVIES, STORY TIMES, & MORE FOR KIDS
    Family movies at local theaters are a great way to stay cool and keep kids entertained when the weather heats up. And several seasonal programs keep little ones engaged with storytimes and more interactive fun. Even better, they’re all free or super cheap!

  • The Regal Summer Movie Express presents flicks for kids on many Tuesdays & Wednesdays at 10am starting June 26. Admission is just $1. Be sure to check the website for the film schedule and theater locations, as it doesn’t run at all theaters every week.
  • The Cinemark Summer Movie Clubhouse will also offer fun films for kids throughout the summer for just $1. Dates and films vary by theater, so check the schedule to see what’s playing at a theater near you

  • On Wednesdays From May 17 – September 27, Kids Corner on The Plaza at CityCenter welcomes little ones for outdoor story time, singing, and fun with DC Public Library.
  • Kids in Canal is coming back with its weekly series of kid-friendly entertainment every Wednesday 10:30-11:30am beginning June 6. Bring little ones to the middle block of Canal Park to enjoy magic shows, kids tunes, science demonstrations, and puppet shows. Top off the day with a refreshing splash in the dancing water fountains!
  • The National Gallery of Art’s wonderful drop-in program for children returns once again! Formerly Stories in Art, Art Investigators, geared toward ages 4-7, introduces kids to art and encourages them to make observations and use their imaginations as they discover different works. It’ll run Friday – Monday from July 13 – August 5. Read a KFDC review of the program from a few years back (we’ve been since, and it was just as good!).
  • The Mosaic District‘s Stories from Strawberry Park series takes it outdoors during the warm months (in the Angelika Film Center on rainy days and the rest of the year). Join them there on the first and third Tuesdays of the month at 10:30am from May through September for live interactive performances by unique storytellers.

  • Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Ashburn welcomes families to Kids Camp, a movie series that is inexpensive ($1-3) and benefits local charities, to boot.
  • Old Greenbelt Theatre, a nonprofit cinema located in Greenbelt, MD, presents their School’s Out Summer Family Series every Thursday at 1pm from June 21 through August 30. The movie line-up is all kid-friendly and admission to all of them is FREE!


  • Give the National Harbor carousel a whirl

    MINI TRAINS, MINI GOLF, CAROUSELS, & A FERRIS WHEEL!
    These extra delights bring even more fun to several parks around the area that are already great outdoor places to hang with the kids.

  • Watkins Regional Park opens its attractions on a limited schedule in early May, but come Memorial Day weekend, they can be enjoyed for extended hours almost every day of the week. Tuesdays through Saturdays, 10am – 7pm; Sundays 12–5 pm, closed Mondays except May 26 (Memorial Day), July 4 (July Fourth Holiday; closes at 4pm) & September 3 (Labor Day). Read about the rest of the fun you can enjoy at Watkins!
  • Cabin John Regional Park opened its Miniature Train on weekends only back in April, but as of June 1, it’ll be operating daily 10am – 7pm through September 3. After that, hours will be limited, so check the schedule. Read about the wonderful Cabin John playground here
  • The Miniature Train and Ovid Hazen Wells Carousel at Wheaton Regional Park started taking guests for spins in early April on weekends and will be open daily May 19 through September 3 (limited times after that). Hours are 10am – 6pm Monday to Friday, and 10am – 7pm Saturday & Sunday. Read about the super fun Wheaton playground here.
  • The beautiful historic Dentzel Carousel is open for its 98th season at Glen Echo Park. Plan to go for a spin before or after a show at Adventure Theatre or The Puppet Co. From May through August, it’s open Wednesday – Friday 10am – 2pm, and Saturday and Sunday 11am – 5pm.

  • The Clemyjontri carousel has been running on weekends since April, but will be offering rides daily starting May 26 on weekdays 9:30am – 1:00pm and weekends 9:30am – 6:30pm. Read more about Clemyjontri here.
  • There are a couple of ways to go for a spin at National Harbor. Kind of like a London Eye of the U.S., The Capital Wheel is a great way to get a bird’s eye view of DC. The 42-gondola ride (all closed and climate-controlled with room for 8) soars 180 feet above the Potomac River waterfront, offering vistas of the White House and Capitol, the National Mall, Arlington Cemetery, and more amazing sites. Ticket prices start at $15. For an on-ground whirl, the Carousel features a herd of whimsical creatures and the sparkling Potomac as a backdrop. It’s $7 for each rider, and they can ride an unlimited number of times. Read about both rides and more National Harbor fun here.
  • The RIO Express Train and Carousel at RIO Washingtonian are open 3pm – dusk on weekdays, 11am – dusk on weekends through June 10. After that, they’ll open daily 11am – 9pm. A day pass is $6.
  • Burke Lake Park’s Mini Train and Carousel are open April to October, daily from Memorial Day – Labor Day 11:30am – 5:30pm. The park is free to access for Fairfax county residents. For non-county residents, the park is free on weekdays and has a $10 entrance fee on weekends/holidays for a car or large capacity van. Carousel rides are $2-3, and train rides are $3-4.

  • A setting as great as the entertainment at Children's Theatre in the Woods

    A setting as great as the entertainment at Children’s Theatre in the Woods


    THEATRE TIME
    All the world’s a summer stage at these venues that present special entertainment series for children and families throughout the season.

  • From late June through early August, Wolf Trap presents the fantastic Children’s Theater-in-the-Woods, over 70 family-friendly performances at 10am Tuesdays through Saturdays. Amidst 117 rolling wooded acres and nestled in a shady grove, the stage is set for lively adventures in music, dance, storytelling, puppetry, and theater. All of the productions are recommended for children between Kindergarten and 6th grade, though I think kids even younger can enjoy them, too (mine did!). Read a KFDC review of the series from a few summers ago.
  • Backyard Theater for Children, Strathmore’s summer theater series brings live music and fun to kids – all outdoors under a big tent. Weekly performances take place every Thursday at 9:30am and 11:30 from July 5-26. Admission is $8/advance, $10/day of, free/2 & under.
  • See a Shakespeare play in the park! The Chesapeake Shakespeare Company presents Shakespeare in the Ruins at the Picturesque Patapsco Female Institute Historic Park in Ellicott City this summer. A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Shakespeare’s play featuring fairies, magic, and romantic mix-ups, runs from June 22 – July 29. Not only can you picnic as you watch the play, kids are free (two for every adult). Advance reservations are recommended as tickets are limited.

  • Shakespeare Theatre Company’s annual Free For All will present Romeo and Juliet from August 21 – September 1 this summer. The Washington tradition offers free performances of a Shakespearean classic to the public. Get tickets through an online lottery or waiting in line day-of with a limited number available.


    Root for the home team at a Nats game


    SUMMER SPORTS
    Some of the season’s best action takes place in ballparks, stadiums, and arenas thanks to our local sports teams. Here’s where you can join the fan clubs.

  • A day at Nationals Park is all it takes to understand why baseball is America’s favorite pastime. Catching a Nats game is one of our family’s preferred ways to enjoy a nice summer (or spring) day (or evening), anyway. The excitement extends well beyond the diamond with games and activities in the park, a playground for kids, the Racing Presidents, fun in the stands, and more. Before you go, check out these tips on doing a Nats game without breaking the bank. And I highly recommend the Jr. Nationals Kids Club for children 12 and under. Just $20 gets them membership, which includes Nats swag, plus a coupon book with offers for free meals, BOGO tickets, a ballpark tour, and all kinds of discounts. Even a few months into the season, it’s still worth it!
  • Tennis, anyone? The Washington Kastles, the DC franchise of World TeamTennis, will bring some on-court thrills to the Smith Center, where Kastles Stadium is located, July 15 – August 2. For some background, see this post and this one from a few years back.
  • Every summer, the Citi Open Tennis Tournament serves up exciting competition along with other fun activities for fans of all ages. See some of the sport’s top players in action and enjoy the thrills on and off the court at Rock Creek Park Tennis Center July 28 – August 5.
  • Whether or not you’ve got a little soccer fan in your fam, DC United matches are fun experiences for all ages. And since games only last 90 minutes, it’s not too long for antsy young spectators. Be sure to check for any pre- or post-game activities for kids.
  • Can’t stand the heat? Head to the Verizon Center to see the Washington Mystics (w)hoop it up on the basketball court. Tickets start at $13.
  • Swing up to Charm City to see the Baltimore Orioles play. Camden Yards is a beautiful ballpark, and you can head to the Inner Harbor before or after to make a day of it up north.
  • If the Nats or O’s aren’t in town, or you want to see baseball on a smaller but still fun scale, you’ve got several great options around the area. Take ’em out to the minors at a Bowie Baysox, Potomac Nationals, or Aberdeen Ironbirds game. Summer collegiate team Bethesda Big Train is also very popular for non-majors baseball action.
  • Women’s pro soccer team, Washington Spirit, plays in Germantown. Per a KFDC reader, “you get affordable tickets and concessions, picnic seating behind the goal, a really intimate, family-friendly environment, and top-level soccer.”


  • One of the best treats of the season

    One of the best treats of the season

    CRAB FEASTS
    Easily one of the best activities during summer in Maryland and neighboring areas (this is where I get non-DC-centric because I have to give credit where it’s due). Here are some suggestions for places to get ’em, though the “best” is always a subject for debate.

  • Cantler’s is an Annapolis institution.
  • Mike’s Crab House in Annapolis also gets raves.
  • Enjoy great crabs and an awesome beach area at Kentmorr.
  • The Jetty on Kent Narrows has crabs, scenic views, and a fun beachy vibe.
  • In Baltimore, Bo Brooks on the Canton Waterfront is popular.
  • Enjoy a feast in the District at Ivy City Smokehouse.
  • Stay close to the city at Quarterdeck in Arlington.
  • Eat crabs in the ‘burbs at Bethesda Crab House.
  • Make it a day trip to Waterman’s in Rock Hall, MD.
  • Pick up your own at the Maine Avenue Fish Market. Buy them already steamed or get them while they’re still alive to cook at home.


  • Reaping the fruits at Homestead Farm


    SEASONAL EXPERIENCES
    Some particularly cool activities and offerings are only possible this time of year. Sure, you can say that’s most of this guide, but these experiences that fall into the “other” category shouldn’t be missed.

  • On Thursday evenings and some Saturdays during late spring and summer, the Anacostia Watershed Society hosts their free Discovery Series, which include boat tours, paddle tours, and wetland walks a few local parks. Bladensburg Waterfront Park, Anacostia Park, Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, Diamond Teague Park, and Kingman Island are locations for these jaunts.
  • For other adventures on the water, a bunch of places around the area rent kayaks, canoes, rowboats, and stand up paddleboards. Fletcher’s Boathouse is a popular place to go and has a great riverside area to hang out and picnic when you’re off the water. You can also row from Ballpark Boathouse near Yards Park. Quiet Waters Park in Annapolis has paddling options along with lots of other outdoor recreation. This post has a whole round-up of even more places to go with the flow on local waterways.

  • Pick your own produce at local farms. While it starts in the spring with strawberries, it carries on through summer with even more delicious fruits — blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, plus veggies and more produce you can gather yourself. Find out where you can PYO around the DC area.
  • Friday Night Fishing begins June 15 and runs through August 17. Join Anacostia Riverkeeper on most Fridays from 6-8:30pm for catch and release fishing at the dock at Diamond Teague Park (located next to Yards Park). Rods, reels, bait, and instruction are free. No sign up is required.
  • Aaaaaar, mateys! As the weather warms up and cruising conditions become more comfortable, pirate voyages are offered on local waters. In DC, take a Family Treasure Hunt Cruise on the Boomerang Pirate Ship. Head out to Annapolis for Pirate Adventures on the Chesapeake. Go for a jaunt with Urban Pirates in Baltimore or stay closer to home where they’re invading National Harbor.
  • Some of the most spectacular flower blooms occur during the summer. Enjoy a gorgeous display of azaleas. View a whole park bursting with pink, white, and peach-hued lotus fowers and water lilies. Fields upon fields of sunflowers are sure to brighten any day. Stop and smell the roses at a favorite National Mall spot. Get details on all of them in this post about our bloom town.
  • Get rolling in Southeast! The Anacostia Park Skating Pavilion, the only skating pavilion within in a national park, opens May 26 will welcome skaters daily from 9am – 5pm. Even better, both admission and skate rentals are FREE! And along with skating, Anacostia Park offers a multitude of water and land based recreation, including Ranger led programs, birding, tennis, fishing, biking, and three playgrounds. Read more about the park in this KFDC post.


    Have I left out anything really good? If you think so, let me know in the comments below!

    Summer in the City: Keeping it cool at Yards Park



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