Tag Archives: Washington DC Kids Activities

National Children’s Chorus Holding Auditions on October 18th!


Looking to get your child involved in the arts with one of the premier choral organizations in the country? The National Children’s Chorus based near Thomas Circle in Washington, DC, is holding auditions on October 18 for children ages 5 to 18, offering the opportunity to learn and grow in an extraordinary musical environment. Recent and upcoming performances include the Kennedy Center and Cherry Blossom Festival Parade, in addition to Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York, Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, and internationally every summer!

The finest instructors work with students weekly to develop their vocal skills from the most basic concepts through the college level. Tone quality, breath support, and musical expression are cultivated within the individual singers, while working together as an ensemble culminates in world-class performances. With a spectacular musicianship curriculum to accompany its first-rate vocal training, the National Children’s Chorus is an unparalleled educational resource for children who love to sing. If your child has musical ability, don’t waste another minute!

Auditions will take place on October 18, 2019 at National City Christian Church: 5 Thomas Circle NW, Washington, DC, 20005. Children ages 5 to 18 are invited to apply. Set up an audition today!

This post is sponsored by the National Children’s Chorus, however, I only promote programs, events, and places that I genuinely believe in and think would appeal to KFDC readers.


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Filed under 2019, Gradeschoolers, Music, Teens, Tweens

Live Entertainment for All Around the DC Area this Fall

Cirque de Soleil’s Volta is still in town and mesmerizing audiences of all ages


With autumn comes a whole new season of live entertainment. From plays to puppet shows, concerts to comedy, dance performances to Disney on Ice, even a two-week long showcase of European performing arts, there is something to indulge all theatrical interests on DC stages this fall, including several KidFree recommendations. This list, ordered by opening date, has details.

The REACH Opening Festival
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: Through September 22
Tickets: Free

The REACH, the wonderful expansion of the Kennedy Center where the public is welcome and encouraged to interact with the arts, just opened. The new building and spaces within are stunning, and they will host an array of arts programs for the public to enjoy. The Opening Festival runs through September 22 and features all kinds of performances and more opportunities for creativity in action. See what’s on the schedule and reserve free tickets for events here. And heads-up: Sunday, September 15, is Family Day, so there will be lots of programs especially for kids and families then.

Cirque de Soleil: Volta
Where: Under the Big Top| Tysons II, VA
When: Through September 29
Tickets: $49+ (look for discounts)

Energetic, urban and contemporary, VOLTA is a captivating voyage of discovery that showcases never-before-seen under the Big Top acrobatics in a visually striking world. Driven by a stirring melodic score and inspired in part by the adventurous spirit that fuels the culture of street sports, VOLTA is about finding yourself and unveiling your personal powers. VOLTA is a story of transformation. It is about being true to oneself, fulfilling one’s true potential, and recognizing one’s own power to make it possible. Ultimate freedom comes with self-acceptance, and with the liberation of the judgement of others.

What the Constitution Means to Me
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: September 11-22
Tickets: $49-169

Fifteen-year-old Heidi Schreck earned her college tuition money by winning Constitutional debate competitions across the United States. In her boundary-breaking new play, the Obie Award winner resurrects her teenage self in order to trace the profound relationship between four generations of women in her family and the founding document that shaped their lives. This “endearingly funny and deeply affecting” (Washington Post) exploration breathes new life into our constitution and imagines how it might impact the lives of future generations. Recommended for ages 12+.

Jitney
Where: Arena Stage | Southwest DC
When: September 13 – October 20
Tickets: $56-132

August Wilson’s Jitney opens Arena Stage’s season-long Festival celebrating the Pulitzer Prize-winning giant with Ruben Santiago-Hudson directing his 2017 Broadway production — recipient of the 2017 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play. The dramatic story of a Pittsburgh jitney station, a symbol of stability, struggles against an oppressive lack of opportunity and unnerving neighborhood gentrification that threatens the way they live and work. The drivers resist powerful forces while coming to grips with their pasts to fulfill their own hopes and dreams for the future. Arena Stage’s presentation kicks off the National Tour of one of this great master’s masterpieces. Jitney runs approximately 2 hours & 15 minutes with one 15-minute intermission. Recommended for teens and up.

Cats
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: September 17 – October 6
Tickets: $49-149 (look for discounts)

Cats tells the story of one magical night when an extraordinary tribe of cats gathers for its annual ball to rejoice and decide which cat will be reborn. The Tony Award-winning, record-breaking musical spectacular by Andrew Lloyd Webber is now on tour across North America. Audiences and critics alike are rediscovering this beloved musical with breathtaking music, including one of the most treasured songs in musical theater, “Memory.”

The Diary of Anne Frank
Where: Olney Theatre | Olney, MD
When: September 17-24
Tickets: Call Box Office

In 1941 Amsterdam, 13-year-old Anne Frank goes into hiding with her family from the Nazis. For the next two years, she never leaves the attic where her family is concealed. With fear of discovery ever present, Anne finds solace writing in her diary, capturing the daily lives of the secret annex’s inhabitants—from the horrors of war to the excitement of first love—with wit, determination, and idealism. With a multicultural cast, National Players brings the true story of this incredibly insightful young girl that is often read in school to the stage in hopes of inspiring the next generation to stand up for justice rather than sit back in apathy.

Elephant & Piggie’s “We Are In A Play!”
Where: Adventure Theatre | Glen Echo, MD
When: September 20 – October 27
Admission: $25

The award-winning, best-selling children’s books jumps from page to stage as a musical experience you won’t forget! Gerald and Piggie are “bestus” friends, with Gerald taking care of all the worrying and Piggie living her best life. Piggie’s even happier and more excited than usual. They’re going to a party hosted by the Squirrelles! And so begins a day when anything is possible.

Bobtail Bong Bong: A Monkey’s Tale
Where: Montgomery College Arts Center | Rockville, MD
When: September 20-28
Tickets:

InterAct Story Theatre presents the world premiere of a new play made just for early childhood, and you’re invited! Bob the Monkey is the smartest monkey in the land, and they want everyone to know it! Bob the Monkey wants what they want, and they should be able to get it! But why is everyone mad at Bob? Why is everyone so mean? Bob didn’t do anything! In this interactive theatre forum, children follow Bob’s misadventures and help Bob figure out where they went wrong, and where they could try out Caring, Fairness, and Respect to turn things around. Led by InterAct’s Artistic Director Ali Oliver-Krueger, audience members make suggestions about how Bob could do things differently, and watch Bob roleplay out their suggestions to see if Bob can make things better by making better choices. Does it work? What happens next? Recommended for ages 4+.

The Tempest (KidFree Suggestion!)
Where: Synetic Theatre | Pentagon City, VA
When: September 20 – October 20
Tickets: $10-60

Synetic’s legendary, cinematic adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Tempest returns — with the famed water-filled stage and visual poetry that made the original production an unforgettable sensation when it premiered in 2013- plus a new twist as Synetic co-founder Irina Tsikurishvili steps into the role of “Prospera.” When the magical and powerful Prospera creates a sea storm, she gets more than she bargained for as romantic drama, deception, and quests for vengeance emerge from the depths. Spirits, monsters, witches, drunken fools, and lithe lovers contort and cavort with passion and bravado in one of Shakespeare’s most high-stakes and irreverent comedies.

The 3 Billy Goats Gruff
Where: The Puppet Co. | Glen Echo, MD
When: September 20 – October 6
Tickets: $12

The 3 Billy Goats Gruff is a marionette romp in which three brothers get the goat of a hen-pecked troll, in their attempts to trip-trap-tromp to where the grass is greener. Three variety numbers precede the performance, demonstrating the making of a simple hand puppet, and manipulation of rod puppets and marionettes, as an introduction to the Art of Puppetry. Recommended for ages 3.5-9.

Coat of Many Colors: The Music of Dolly Parton
Where: Mead Center, Arena Stage | Southwest DC
When: September 21
Tickets: $25-75 (look for discounts)

Join The American Pops Orchestra for a season opener featuring the music of the iconic, country legend, Dolly Parton. Let this timeless American music enchant you with fresh arrangements performed by the best in the biz. From greatest hits to hidden gems, this Dolly tribute is sure to delight. One night only!

Mike Birbiglia’s The New One (KidFree Suggestion!)
Where: National Theatre | Downtown DC
When: September 24-29
Tickets: $39-114

He’s made you laugh in Sleepwalk With Me (it was a play presented by Nathan Lane, then a movie, THEN a book), My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend and “Thank God for Jokes.” (He was also really funny in that one season of “Orange is the New Black.” And in “Billions.” And “Broad City.”) Now he’s direct from Broadway, telling a new story in a new way with the same heart and humor we’ve come to expect. Lin-Manuel Miranda called The New One “as perfect a night as you’re gonna get.” Recommended for ages 13+, but probably great for a grown-up night out.

Escaped Alone (KidFree Suggestion!)
Where: Signature Theatre | Arlington, VA
When: September 24 – November 3
Tickets: $40-90

In a serene British garden three old friends are joined by a neighbor to engage in amiable chitchat—with a side of apocalyptic horror. The women’s talk of grandchildren and tv shows breezily intersperses with tales of terror in a quietly teetering world where all is not what it seems.

The Royale
Where: Olney Theatre | Olney, MD
When: September 25 – October 27
Tickets: $54/adult, $49/child

In 1905, Jay “The Sport” Jackson dreams of becoming the first African American boxer to fight for the heavyweight championship. Despite racking up a string of vicious knockouts, racial segregation and his white manager’s own reservations stand in the way. Inspired by the true story of Jack Johnson, The Royale breaks new ground by taking us inside the fighter’s mind where the disciplined brutality of boxing reveals itself in theatrically-unforgettable bouts. At stake is more than wins or losses, but equality and survival. Recommended for tweens and up.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Where: Imagination Stage | Bethesda, MD
When: September 28 – October 27
Tickets: $15-30

Beloved by children for generations, Eric Carle’s children’s books come off the page and onto the stage in an unforgettable theatrical experience. With more than seventy larger-than-life puppets and original music, this special event follows all your favorite characters from Brown Bear, Brown Bear, The Very Lonely Firefly, 10 Little Rubber Ducks, and –of course – The Very Hungry Caterpillar. From a lumbering brown bear, to a curious caterpillar, to a fleet of rubber ducks, to countless other critters, Carle’s beautiful illustrations come to life through theatre magic. Recommended for ages 3+.

Peppa Pig’s Adventure
Where: Warner Theatre | Downtown DC
When: September 28, 12pm & 3:30pm
Tickets: $33+ (look for discounts)

Peppa Pig Live! is coming with the all new action-packed live show featuring favorite characters as life size puppets and costume characters in her new live show, Peppa Pig’s Adventure! Join Peppa on an exciting camping trip to the woods with George and her school friends, including Pedro Pony, Suzy Sheep and Gerald Giraffe. With lunchboxes packed and Daddy Pig driving the bus, Peppa and friends are excited about their outdoor adventure, full of singing, dancing, games and surprises!

Tot Rock
Where: Jammin’ Java | Vienna, VA
When: Ongoing
Tickets: $5/weekdays, $10/weekends

Tot Rock is Jammin’ Java’s super-popular kids music concert series, providing wholesome family entertainment at one of the DC Metro area’s finest music clubs. Local acts perform every Thursday and Friday, and touring performers drop by on many weekends. Check the calendar often to see when your favorite act is performing, and for other calendar updates.

Boogie Babes
Where: The Miracle Theater | Capitol Hill, DC
When: Thursdays, 10:30am
Tickets: $6/child, free for sibling 6 months and under

Little ones can boogie along with their favorite local musicians on Barracks Row (8th Street SE) every Thursday morning. Even better, proceeds from all shows benefit DC Diaper Bank! Go for the entertainment, then grab lunch at one of many nearby eateries after.

Tiny Tots
Where: The Puppet Co. | Glen Echo, MD
When: Most Wednesdays, Saturdays, & Sundays at 10am
Tickets: $5

The series presents puppet shows designed for the youngest theater patrons (ages 0-4). They are shorter, the lights stay on, and the doors stay open. They have an arsenal of shows that they switch up every performance, so be sure to check the schedule to see what’s playing when you go.

Millennium Stage
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: Ongoing daily, 6pm
Tickets: Free

The Kennedy Center presents these free, no-tickets-required performances every day at 6pm, and the public is welcome to enjoy them. The acts span the genres — you can see everything from contemporary dance to folk music to puppetry to comedy shows to opera scenes. Millennium Stage showcases everyone from local youth choirs to internationally known bands (They Might Be Giants performed there a few years ago). This is a great series to keep in mind for whenever you’re looking for some free, easy entertainment.

Rise+Rhyme
Where: BusBoys & Poets | Brookland, DC & Hyattsville/Takoma Park, MD
When: Mondays
Tickets: $5

The weekly series welcomes children 5 and under with their caregivers to enjoy a morning of performances and stories from 9:30-11am. Go to one of three locations: Brookland in DC or Takoma Park or Hyattsville in MD. Plan on breakfast, too — full service is available while the little ones are grooving.

Children’s Arts & Entertainment
Where: BloomBars | Columbia Heights, DC
When: Ongoing
Tickets: Varies by show/activity

The arts center in Columbia Heights offers a variety of enriching, entertaining, and cultural activities and performances for children. From Harambe sessions to puppet shows to musical theatre to sing-a-longs, there’s something going on for little ones just about every day of the week.

Saturday Morning at the National
Where: National Theatre | Downtown DC
When: Most Saturdays
Tickets: FREE!

The free theatre program runs on select Saturdays with performances at 9:30am and 11:30am. Musicals, plays, storytelling, and comedy shows are all part of the live entertainment line-up. See the complete schedule of performances here. Tickets are distributed day of performances on a first-come, first-served basis. Everyone must be in line to receive a ticket.

Disney On Ice presents Road Trip Adventures
Where: EagleBank Arena | Fairfax, VA
When: October 2-6
Tickets: $25+ (look for discounts)

Hit the road with Mickey Mouse and his pals for a high-octane ride in Disney On Ice presents Road Trip Adventures. Exciting twists and turns await as Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and guests of all ages embark on an interactive and memory-rich adventure to iconic Disney destinations. See the world from the rooftops of London with Mary Poppins and Jack and his band of dancing lamplighters. Travel to the sun-soaked Motunui and help Moana restore the heart of Te Fiti. Set off on a safari and snap unforgettable photos of wild cheetahs and monkeys when guests traverse through the Pride Lands with Simba, Timon and Pumbaa… Be prepared for a getaway jam-packed with unexpected hijinks and surprise, up-close character interaction as Disney On Ice presents Road Trip Adventures makes a pitstop right in Fairfax!

Moon Mouse: A Space Odyssey
Where: Hylton Performing Arts Center | Manassas, VA
When: October 6, 1pm & 4pm
Tickets: $15/adult, $10/child

Calling all space enthusiasts! Lightwire Theater Company uses glow-in-the dark puppets, electro-luminescent wire, movement, and dance to present a visually stunning theatrical experience that is out of this world. In an imaginative story without words, join Marvin—an outcast mouse who craves acceptance and adventure—on a thrilling space odyssey. With his homemade rocket, Marvin blasts off to the moon where he meets a strange cast of misfit creatures, learns of infinite danger, and views awesome beauty.

¡¡CUENTOS!!
Where: Discovery Theater | National Mall, DC
When: October 9-10
Tickets: $3-8

Cuentos means stories, and this delightful Discovery Theater original offers a fresh bilingual take on three magical tales. The Little Red Hen asks the question “Who will help?” Jack and the Beanstalk proves that small is mighty. And as for The Gingerbread Man, well, he’s just one bad cookie. Filled with delightful songs, puppets, and audience participation, this story-time spectacular is not to be missed! Recommended for ages 3-7.

Retratos: My People, Myself
Where: Discovery Theater | National Mall, DC
When: October 9-10
Tickets: $3-8

Originally created for the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery and with Young Playwright’s Theater, this joyous theatrical gallery of the many faces of Latin America is rooted in the writings of D.C. school students. Their vibrant words and images infuse this interactive play with intensely personal reflections on themes of identity and heritage—and a new generation’s dreams for America’s future. Portrait Gallery educators are on hand to connect with teachers and students after the performance. Recommended for ages 6-12.

Footloose
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: October 9-13
Tickets: $59-175 (look for discounts)

The Kennedy Center presents an all-new, semi-staged concert production of everyone’s favorite rock’n’roll musical. When rebellious teenager Ren McCormack moves from Chicago to a small town in Texas where dance and rock music are forbidden, he leads his classmates around the law, and Reverend Shaw Moore, to break free and have a rock’n’roll senior prom.

Pinocchio
Where: The Puppet Co. | Glen Echo, MD
When: October 11 – November 22
Tickets: $12

A life-size marionette version of Carlo Collodi’s classic children’s tale, created in the 1960s by the father of the Puppet Co.’s co-founder, Christopher Piper. This production has been completely refurbished and adapted for the Puppet Co. stage. Recommended for ages 5+.

Culture Queen’s Dance Party
Where: Atlas Performing Arts Center | H Street NE, DC
When: October 11-12
Admission: $15

Join the Culture Queen as she does “The Locomotion” on a journey through the swinging ’60s. This energetic show introduces young audiences to the music of Dance Hall kings and queens like Chubby Checker, Little Richard, Little Eva, and Dee Dee Sharp. She’ll teach your royal children the hottest dances of the era like “The Twist”, “The Mashed Potato”, “The Bird” and many more through music and storytelling.

Disney’s Frozen Jr.
Where: Thomas Jefferson Community Theatre | Arlington, VA
When: October 1-20
Tickets: $15/adult, $12/child

Encore Stage & Studio presents this”by kids for kids” production: A story of true love and acceptance between sisters, Frozen Jr. takes us on a journey with Princesses Anna and Elsa. When faced with obstacles, the two discover their hidden potential and the powerful bond of sisterhood. With a cast of beloved characters and loaded with magic, adventure, and plenty of humor, Frozen Jr. is sure to thaw even the coldest heart! Recommended for ages 4+.

Right to Be Forgotten
Where: Arena Stage | Southwest DC
When: October 11 – November 10
Tickets:

The internet never forgets. A young man’s mistake at 17 haunts him online a decade later. Desperate for a normal life, he goes to extraordinary lengths to erase his indiscretion. But freedom of information is big business, and the tech companies aren’t going down without a fight. Secrets, lies and political backstabbing abound in this riveting new drama about one man’s fierce battle to reclaim his right to privacy. Recommended for teens and up.

Everybody (KidFree Suggestion!)
Where: Lansburgh Theatre | Penn Quarter, DC
When: October 15 – November 17
Tickets: $49-112

Everybody–a role assigned each night from a small cast of actors by lottery live on stage—is a happy person, a free person, a person who believes nothing but the best lies ahead. Then Death comes calling and Everybody must go on the journey of a lifetime. Obie Award winner and MacArthur “Genius” Grant recipient Branden Jacobs-Jenkins (An Octoroon) has created an irreverent, rollicking ride that asks deep questions of all who see it.

Kid Prince and Pablo
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: October 19 – November 3
Tickets: $20

Mark Twain’s classic The Prince and the Pauper is reimagined as a digital age American Hip Hop story by playwright Brian Quijada, with direction by Pirronne Yousefzadeh and music by Marvin Quijada. In the divided Capital City, the ruling class called The Promised has banned rap and dance after an attempted revolution by the progressive New Wave people. Royal Kid Prince is set to inherit the throne—until he meets Pablo, a New Wave drummer who performs for underground rap battles. When the two switch identities, mayhem and confusion follow. But by standing in one another’s shoes, Kid Prince and Pablo unearth discoveries that could start a whole new revolution. Recommended for ages 9+.

NSO Family Concert: Halloween Spooktacular
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: October 20
Tickets: $16-18

An annual tradition! The Concert Hall transforms into a ghostly sight when our ghoulishly attired musicians perform new and old classics to celebrate Halloween. Arrive early for trick-or-treating and a special Haunted Hall Musical Instrument “Petting Zoo.” Recommended for ages 5+.

Kids Euro Festival
Where: Venues throughout DC
When: October 26 – November 10
Tickets: FREE

The 12th annual Kids Euro Festival will present numerous FREE children’s performances all around the DC-Metro area. Mimes, storytellers, dancers, and puppeteers are just a few of the exciting acts on the schedule that take place at a variety of venues, from public libraries to embassies to performing arts centers. Stay tuned for more details and the complete schedule.

Dragons Love Tacos
Where: Olney Theatre | Olney, MD
When: October 26-27
Tickets: $20 (look for discounts)

Taco-loving dragons headline this collection of your child’s favorite books including The Interrupting Chicken, The Dot, Mercy Watson Goes for a Ride, and Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa Schools Days.

Paw Patrol LIVE!
Where: Hippodrome | Baltimore, MD
When: October 26-27
Tickets: $44-158

It’s the day of the Great Adventure Bay Race between Adventure Bay’s own Mayor Goodway and Foggy Bottom’s dastardly Mayor Humdinger, but Mayor Goodway is missing. Ryder assembles the PAW Patrol to run the race and save the day! Using their unique skills and teamwork, the pups show that “no job is too big, no pup is too small” as they make several heroic rescues as they race to the finish line.

Balancing Bodies
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: October 31 – November 3
Tickets: $20

Take a seat in a rolling office chair and observe an ordinary space transform into a universe full of surprises and twists. Dance/theater company Woest from the Netherlands brings this interactive show in which the interplay between performer and spectator is the nucleus around which everything orbits. As a world builds from nothing to something, audience members take part in balancing playfulness and organization, young and old, foolishness and seriousness, and more. Recommended for ages 9+.

Hoop of Life with Ty Defoe
Where: Discovery Theater | National Mall, DC
When: November 1
Tickets: $3-8

With his vivid presence as a performer, Ty Defoe recounts an eloquent story of life though movement, music, and words rooted in his Oneida and Ojibwe heritage. He uses the athletic form of the ritual Hoop Dance to explore Native American stories framed by traditional and contemporary culture, history, and values. As the colorful interlinked hoops move, they speak of the unity and interdependence of all living things—and offer lessons for our everyday lives. Recommended for ages 5+.

Newsies
Where: Arena Stage | Southwest DC
When: November 1 – December 22
Tickets: Start at $66

In the summer of 1899, the newsboys of New York City took on two of the most powerful men in the country — Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst — and won. Inspired by true events, the Broadway smash hit is a testament to the power of standing up and speaking out. The Tony Award-winning musical features fan-favorites like “Carrying the Banner,” “King of New York” and “Seize the Day.” Newsies is “a winning, high-energy musical” (Entertainment Weekly) just in time for the holidays and perfect for the whole family.

Inside Out
Where: Imagination stage | Bethesda, MD
When: November 2-24
Tickets: $12

It’s bedtime! But instead of getting ready, two children use their imaginations to turn their room into a wonderland of mess! While playing dress-up, a glove becomes a dancing fish, a shirt becomes a fantastic creature, and a sock dance rocks the closet. In this interactive show, discover the joy of turning things inside out! Recommended for ages 1-5.

GET’M
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: November 2-3
Tickets: $20

Watch a television show go uproariously wrong. Three television hosts prepare to go live in the studio. The problem? There’s only one microphone! Witness the great lengths these so-called “mature” presenters go to hold the attention. Dutch theater company Bontehond presents this imaginative production in the spirit of Tom and Jerry and Looney Tunes, featuring silly misunderstandings, a fantastic puppet show, and some hilarious hide-n-seek. Recommended for ages 3+.

The Jungle Book
Where: Creative Cauldron | Falls Church, VA
When: November 8-24
Tickets: $20/adult, $18/student

A musical adaptation of one of the most well-loved books in the English language in 2015. Danger lurks everywhere for young Mowgli as he learns the “laws of the jungle” from his friends Akela, the wolf, Baloo, the bear, and Bagheera, the panther, who warn him that Shere Khan, the tiger, wants to eat him. But when Mowgli is forced to leave his friends and return to the village from which he came, he soon learns that man is the most dangerous creature of all. With sensitive themes about loyalty, honor, courage, and persistence, the Jungle Book stories have irresistible appeal for audiences of every generation.

Amadeus
Where: Folger Theatre | Capitol Hill, DC
When: November 5 – December 22
Tickets: $27-85 (look for discounts)

Genius and jealousy collide in the opulent salons and opera houses of 18th-century Vienna. When an impulsive and eccentric prodigy outshines an envious, God-fearing composer consumed by bitterness, theatrical fireworks emerge. The mediocre Salieri will do everything in his power to destroy his musical rival. Recommended for tweens and up.

Singin’ in the Rain
Where: Olney Theatre | Olney, MD
When: November 8 – January 5
Tickets: $42-79 (look for discounts)

The greatest movie musical of all time comes to life on the Mainstage and for once, rain during the holidays is guaranteed to make you smile. Comden and Green’s ingenious tale of Hollywood’s transition from the silent era is buoyed by the thrill of live singing and dancing to some of the greatest songs in the American canon including “Good Mornin’,” “Make ‘em Laugh,” and “Moses Supposes.” Our biggest production of the year is certain to impress Broadway regulars and enchant kids meeting this musical for the first time.

EGG-tion HERO
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: November 9-10
Tickets: $20

See that egg? The one in the museum gallery guarded by two boring attendants? It’s very expensive and no one is allowed to touch it. But just when the job of these attendants starts to feel extra boring, they’re needed more than ever! Will they succeed at keeping the egg safe? Join Dutch theater/dance company Maas in a charming production for young audiences featuring miming actors, a chase scene, and a hysterically egg-cellent time. Recommended for ages 3+.

The Velveteen Rabbit
Where: Adventure Theatre | Glen Echo, MD
When: November 15 – January 3
Admission: $20.50

Margery Williams’s classic toy story gets a vibrant retelling in this brand new adaptation. When the Child gets the Rabbit for Christmas, she is at first disappointed in her gift. But as the two quest and adventure through her storybooks, both Rabbit and Child grow and care for each other. And they discover that love is the greatest force in the Universe and can make impossible things Real.

Baby Beats with Max and Root
Where: Atlas Performing Arts Center | H Street NE, DC
When: November 15-16
Tickets: $15

Two Beat Boxing Dads making music and songs the whole family can enjoy! Take little ones to the Atlas for some fun and beats with Hip Hop Artist Jamaal Collier and Beatboxer Max Bent. Recommended for ages 0-8.

Circo Comedia
Where: Hylton Performing Arts Center | Manassas, VA
When: November 17, 1pm & 4pm
Tickets: $15/adult, $10/child

In the tradition of the Quebec Circus, Circo Comedia brings thrills, comedy, stunts, magic, and eccentricity to delight and amaze the whole family. Direct from Montreal, “straight man” Jean Saucier juggles, cycles, balances, and performs magic atop dizzying heights, while Patrick Côté clowns around on skates or while drumming as his (imperfect) assistant.

Disney Junior Holiday Party!
Where: Warner Theatre | Downtown DC
When: November 17
Tickets: Start at $29 (look for discounts)

Disney Junior Holiday Party! is a dazzling musical wonderland where children and their families can sing and dance along to their favorite Disney Junior songs plus holiday classics with their favorite Disney friends, including Mickey & Minnie Mouse, the Puppy Dog Pals, Vampirina and many more, plus a special visit from Santa Claus!

Grandma’s Thanksgiving Visit
Where: Discovery Theater | National Mall, DC
When: November 21-26
Tickets: $3-8

Back by popular demand! Grandma has arrived for the holiday—and that can only mean making puppets, cooking together, washing the car, and learning lots of fun new things. This musical play with a great big heart brings the whole audience into the family with singing, finger play, and call-and response as we all give thanks for being together. Recommended for ages 3-6.

Washington National Opera: The Magic Flute
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: November 2-23
Tickets: $25-299 (look for discounts)

This great adventure starts with an unexpected pair: Tamino, a handsome young prince, and Papageno, his silly bird-catcher sidekick. When the mysterious Queen of the Night enlists the duo to rescue her kidnapped daughter Pamina, a fantastic journey follows. Armed with a magic flute and bells, they’re prepared for whatever trials they may face. However, not all is as it seems—and not everyone can be trusted. Friends will become foes and enemies will become allies in Mozart’s final and beloved opera. A whimsical production designed by children’s author/illustrator Maurice Sendak, known for his rumpus-filled artistry, sets a playful landscape for this enchanting fairy tale. Rich with colorful characters, unforgettable vocal acrobatics, and evocative symbols and allegory, Tamino’s quest for love and truth is fantastical entertainment for all ages.

Family Look-In: The Magic Flute
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: November 23-24
Tickets: $15-50

In this introduction to opera designed for children and families, audience members will experience excerpts from The Magic Flute along with insight into the behind-the-scenes aspects such as lighting, scene changes, costuming, and more that go into creating stage magic. A whimsical production designed by children’s author/illustrator Maurice Sendak sets a playful landscape for this enchanting fairy tale. Join handsome prince Tamino and his silly sidekick Papageno as they set out on a fantastic journey to rescue the kidnapped Pamina in this special opera exploration. Recommended for ages 5+.

NSO Music for Young Audiences: Peter and Friends
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: November 23-24
Tickets: $20

Inspired by Sergei Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf, this concert developed specifically for toddlers is sure to have audience members playing like ducks, catching a wicked wolf, and engaging with music all along the way! This wild adventure features actors, puppets, and a quintet of woodwind and brass musicians from the National Symphony Orchestra, presented in collaboration with Atlanta, Georgia’s Teller Productions. Recommended for ages 5+.

Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! (The Musical)
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: November 23 – January 5
Tickets: $20

Whatever you do, don’t let the Pigeon star in his own musical production! Starring an innovative mix of actors, puppets, songs, and feathers, this world premiere Kennedy Center commission features a script by Mo Willems, creator of the best-selling “Pigeon” picture books, along with Muppet Babies executive producer Mr. Warburton, plus music by Deborah Wicks La Puma, the composer of Elephant & Piggie’s We Are in a Play! Recommended for ages 5+.


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Filed under 2019, All ages, Annual, DC, Educational, Fall, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Music, Seasonal, Special Event, Theatre, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend

Live Entertainment Around DC Through Summer

The wonderful Synetic Theatre presents “Treasure Island” this summer


Summer is here and so is a whole new lineup of live entertainment. Here are details on what’s coming to local stages, listed in order of start date, with discounts noted where available. Happy Viewing!

Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods
Where: Wolf Trap | Vienna Virginia
When: June 18 – August 3
Tickets: $8-12

From late June through early August, Wolf Trap presents Children’s Theater-in-the-Woods, over 70 family-friendly performances at 10:30am Tuesday through Saturday. 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. The productions welcome all ages, though most are geared toward younger children. The full schedule of shows is available on the Wolf Trap website. And you can read a KFDC review of the series from a previous summer here.

Outdoor Summer Concert Series
Where: Throughout the DMV
When: Various day and times
Tickets: Almost always FREE

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. From Jazz on the National Mall to riverside entertainment to music amid the nature of local parks to shows in local shopping centers, the 2019 KFDC Summer Guide has a round-up of where and when you can enjoy the sounds of summer.

UniverSoul Circus
Where: National Harbor | Oxon Hill, MD
When: Through July 28
Tickets: $18+ (look for a ticket deal)

The world-class, live entertainment attraction that has captured the hearts and imaginations of a new generation of families is celebrating its 24th year of FUN. UniverSoul connects with progressive, upwardly mobile, urban pop cultures from around the world, embracing and celebrating the unique and familiar aspects of global cultures and ethnicities into a stellar production that blends circus arts, theater and music. A fresh, cool, and hip approach to live family entertainment!

The Cat in the Hat
Where: Adventure Theatre | Glen Echo, MD
When: Through August 18
Tickets: $20

From the moment his tall, red-and-white-striped hat appears around the door, Sally and her brother know that the cat in the hat is the funniest, most mischievous cat they have ever met. With the trickiest of tricks and craziest of ideas, he is certainly fun to play with. And he turns a rainy afternoon into an amazing adventure. But what will mom find when she gets home…? Recommended for all ages.

Matilda the Musical
Where: Olney Theater | Olney, MD
When: Through July 21
Tickets: $54-99 (look for a ticket discount)

From the author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory comes another unlikely hero: Matilda Wormwood. Born to parents who prize their own ignorance and disdain books, learning, and any information they can’t get from television, Matilda somehow manages to emerge…a genius. Maybe even a magical one. However, she and the rest of the school are under the tyrannical rule of a deliciously devious villain, principal Agatha Trunchbull. Matilda embraces the fearful and terrifying moments of childhood with humor, hard-earned optimism, and astoundingly witty musical numbers. Songs like “Miracle,” “Naughty,” and “Revolting Children” will ring true to adults and belong in the survival kit of any child making their way through pre-adolescence and beyond.

Byhalia, Mississippi
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: Through July 7
Tickets: $25-89 (look for a ticket discount)

Don’t miss this new Kennedy Center production of Evan Linder’s heartfelt comedy. Winner of Chicago’s prestigious Joseph Jefferson Award for Best New Work in 2016, the play centers on Jim and Laurel—they are broke, young, and deeply in love. They are also about to become new parents. When Laurel gives birth to their overdue child, the biracial baby is a surprise to everyone, especially her husband Jim, igniting a firestorm in their small southern town. Recommended for age 14+.

Justin Roberts
Where: Hylton Performing Arts Center | Manassas, VA
When: June 25, 11am
Tickets: $15/adult, $10/child

Navigate the adventures of childhood and parenthood with this three-time Grammy nominee and indie music family favorite! The show is part of Hylton’s 2019 Summer Performances for Young Audiences, an entertaining, affordable series of three lighthearted performances in June and July.

The Ballad of Mulan
Where: Imagination Stage | Bethesda, MD
When: June 26 – August 11
Tickets: $17-35
Courage, honor, and country! When China is forced to war with the invading Xi Xia, each family must send one man into battle. In her quest to protect her baba, our young heroine proves girls can do anything- including saving a nation. Inspired by Peking Opera, this partnership production with the Honolulu Theatre for Youth is full of music, pageantry, and humor. Recommended for ages 4+.

Kuumba Kids
Where: Discovery Theater | National Mall, DC
When: June 26-28, July 2-3
Tickets: $3-6

The smash-hit show is back! Gather round the iconic tree of life for traditional, songs, stories, and dances from “Iya” Bashea Imana and her talented troupe of Kuumba Kids. This high energy, interactive show features puppets, movement, and motivational music that rouses the spirit and moves the heart. Recommended for ages 4-8.

L’homme Cirque The One Man Circus
Where: Strathmore | Bethesda, MD
When: June 27 – July 7
Tickets: $30-33/adult, $20-23/youth

Enter the magical world of David Dimitri. Lauded “Lord of the Wire” by The New York Times, this world-famous high wire dancer and veteran of Cirque du Soleil and Big Apple Circus epitomizes innovation as he alone performs an entire circus. Creating what he calls “a unique magic” in the intimate setting of a one-of-a-kind tent, his L’homme Cirque—or one-man circus—balances dramatic feats like high wire flips and a human cannon launch with humor, poetry, and an accordion serenade. It’s as gripping as it is charming—and with grand flourish, you will be awestruck as he exits the tent on his high wire, crossing above at 150 feet and into the sky.

Circus!
Where: The Puppet Co. | Glen Echo, MD
When: June 28 – August 4
Tickets: $12

In grand circus tradition, the “Greatest Show on Strings” features a collection of clowns, death-defying acrobats, and an amazing menagerie of fauna from the farthest reaches of the globe. Many of the acts were built more than 50 years ago by Christopher’s parents for “Len Piper’s International Marionette Circus.” Recommended for all ages.

Tot Rock
Where: Jammin’ Java | Vienna, VA
When: Ongoing
Tickets: $5/weekdays, $10/weekends

Tot Rock is Jammin’ Java’s super-popular kids music concert series, providing wholesome family entertainment at one of the DC Metro area’s finest music clubs. Local acts perform every Thursday and Friday, and touring performers drop by on many weekends. Check the calendar often to see when your favorite act is performing, and for other calendar updates.

Boogie Babes
Where: Eastern Market | Capitol Hill, DC
When: Thursdays, 10:30am
Tickets: $5/child, free for sibling 6 months and under

Little ones can boogie along with their favorite local musicians at Eastern Market’s North Hall on Thursday mornings. Even better, proceeds from all shows benefit DC Diaper Bank! Go for the entertainment, then grab lunch in the market or at one of many nearby eateries after.

Tiny Tots
Where: The Puppet Co. | Glen Echo, MD
When: Most Wednesdays, Saturdays, & Sundays at 10am
Tickets: $5

The series presents puppet shows designed for the youngest theater patrons (ages 0-4). They are shorter, the lights stay on, and the doors stay open. They have an arsenal of shows that they switch up every performance, so be sure to check the schedule to see what’s playing when you go.

Millennium Stage
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: Ongoing daily, 6pm
Tickets: Free

The Kennedy Center presents these free, no-tickets-required performances every day at 6pm, and the public is welcome to enjoy them. The acts span the genres — you can see everything from contemporary dance to folk music to puppetry to comedy shows to opera scenes. Millennium Stage showcases everyone from local youth choirs to internationally known bands (They Might Be Giants performed there a few years ago). This is a great series to keep in mind for whenever you’re looking for some free, easy entertainment.

Rise+Rhyme
Where: BusBoys & Poets | Brookland, DC & Hyattsville/Takoma Park, MD
When: Mondays
Tickets: $5

The weekly series welcomes children 5 and under with their caregivers to enjoy a morning of performances and stories from 9:30-11am. Go to one of three locations: Brookland in DC or Takoma Park or Hyattsville in MD. Plan on breakfast, too — full service is available while the little ones are grooving.

Children’s Arts & Entertainment
Where: BloomBars | Columbia Heights, DC
When: Ongoing
Tickets: Varies by show/activity

The arts center in Columbia Heights offers a variety of enriching, entertaining, and cultural activities and performances for children. From Harambe sessions to puppet shows to musical theatre to sing-a-longs, there’s something going on for little ones just about every day of the week.

Saturday Morning at the National
Where: National Theatre | Downtown DC
When: Most Saturdays
Tickets: FREE!

The free theatre program runs on select Saturdays with performances at 9:30am and 11:30am. Musicals, plays, storytelling, and comedy shows are all part of the live entertainment line-up. See the complete schedule of performances here. Tickets are distributed day of performances on a first-come, first-served basis. Everyone must be in line to receive a ticket.

Capital Fringe Festival
Where: Various venues in DC
When: July 5-28
Tickets: Varies by show

Filling the city with non-stop theater, dance, music, visual art, and everything in-between, the annual Fringe Festival presents an eclectic mix of performances — from all genres, for all ages. Family-friendly shows are always among the lineup; other acts would make for a great date night or adult evening out. Check out the calendar to plan your Fringe experience.

Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire in Concert
Where: Wolf Trap | Vienna, VA
When: July 5-6
Tickets: $35-60

The Harry Potter™ film series is a once-in-a-lifetime cultural phenomenon that delights millions of fans around the world. This concert will feature the NSO performing every note from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire™. Audiences will be able to relive the magic of the film in high-definition on a giant HD screen while hearing the orchestra perform Patrick Doyle’s unforgettable score live to picture.

Balloonacy!
Where: Imagination Stage | Bethesda, MD
When: July 6 – August 3
Tickets: $12

Nothing can go right for the character of the old man, whose days are gray and dreary until he is visited by a friendly red balloon. Reminiscent of the silent films of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton, the playwright has imagined the man as an older version of the boy in the movie The Red Balloon, now grown up and grown old, having forgotten his youthful adventure. That is until the red balloon returns to the rescue! Recommended for ages 1-5.

The Amazing Max
Where: Hylton Performing Arts Center | Manassas, VA
When: July 9, 11am
Tickets: $15/adult, $10/child

Bring your imagination and sense of wonder for magic tricks, humor, and a show filled with boundless energy! The show is part of Hylton’s 2019 Summer Performances for Young Audiences, an entertaining, affordable series of three lighthearted performances in June and July.

Sprit of South Africa with Lesole’s Dance Project
Where: Discovery Theater | National Mall, DC
When: July 9–12
Tickets: $3-6

South African-born Lesole Maine invites you to discover the vibrant dance heritage of his homeland. Experience the energy, customs, and cultures of South Africa as reflected in three distinctive regional dances: indlamu, a traditional Zulu village dance; a gumboot dance slapped out on gold miner’s rubber boots; and the upbeat urban pantsula. And don’t miss the chance to try out some steps! Recommended for ages 5-16.

The Band’s Visit
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: July 13
Tickets: $49-149 (look for a ticket discount)

In this joyously offbeat story, set in a town that’s way off the beaten path, a band of musicians arrive lost, out of the blue. Under the spell of the desert sky, and with beautiful music perfuming the air, the band brings the town to life in unexpected and tantalizing ways. Even the briefest visit can stay with you forever. The cast of world-class performers is led by award-winning Israeli actor Sasson Gabay, star of the original film and the Broadway production, and Chilina Kennedy, known best for her historic run as Carole King in Broadway’s Beautiful–The Carole King Musical. Recommended for age 10+.

Free For All: Hamlet
Where: Sidney Harman Hall | Penn Quarter, DC
When: July 10-21
Tickets: FREE!

Shakespeare Theatre’s Company’s annual program that brings free performances to the public is featuring a favorite. Shakespeare’s classic revenge tragedy, is kinetic, shocking and “a play for now” (Theatermania). Set in a modern surveillance state Denmark, the characters spy and report on one another, even in their most intimate and vulnerable moments of grief, agony and despair. After his father’s abrupt death, Hamlet returns home from university to find his mother remarried, his uncle on the throne and a world seemingly gone insane. When his father’s ghost appears demanding vengeance, the increasingly desperate Danish prince must decide: Submit or Resist. Accept or Avenge. Live or Die.

Backyard Theater for Children
Where: Strathmore | Bethesda, MD
When: Thursdays, July 11-25
Tickets: $8-10, free/under 2

Enrich your little ones’ summer mornings with sunshine, music, and laughter at Strathmore’s Backyard Theater for Kids. This eclectic program is the perfect summer escape for busy families. Pack a picnic and enjoy live performances by highly esteemed and innovative family-friendly entertainers. From folk and jazz to the amazing sounds of the steelpan, Backyard Theater makes it easy to engage kids at every stage. They promise to keep both kids and parents entertained, so bring your family for a morning of inspiration and celebration!

Don’t Let the Pigeons Do Storytime
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: July 13
Tickets: $20-35

Join a Concert Hall Storytime like you’ve never experienced before, featuring your favorite performers from TV, movies, and stand-up. Presenting Mo Willems’s books as sketch comedy, these hilarious performers invite the audience to laugh, sing, and draw along! This hysterical concert variety show is an expanded, fancy-dress version of sold-out performances at the 2018 San Francisco Sketchfest, and not to be missed by fans of comedy, books, or pigeons desperate to do Storytime! Recommended for ages 5+.

Out of this World: The Science of Space
Where: Discovery Theater | National Mall, DC
When: July 16–19
Tickets: $3-6

Live demonstrations, fun factoids, and space stuff with the Science Guys of Baltimore! Join us on a mission to investigate the physics and chemistry that govern the rotation and orbit of planets, how astronauts live in space, and power the spacecraft that hurtle among the stars. Recommended for ages 5-12.

Treasure Island
Where: Synetic Theatre | Arlington, VA
When: July 17
Tickets: $19-60

This classic coming-of-age tale follows Jane Hawkins, an orphan who longs for adventure, as she is swept up on a wild hunt for buried treasure with a ruthless band of buccaneers. Along the way, Jane’s bravery, morality, and sense of self are put to the test as she learns about her past and the path she wants to follow. Synetic’s athletic artists will bring their signature brand of bold theatricality to sword fights and high-seas battles with notorious pirates in a daring and modern adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s tale of “buccaneers and buried gold.” Recommended for ages 8+.

Disney’s Aladdin
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: July 18 – September 7
Tickets: $39-179 (look for a ticket discount)

Discover a whole new world at Disney’s Aladdin, the hit Broadway musical! From the producer of The Lion King comes the timeless story of Aladdin, a thrilling new production filled with unforgettable beauty, magic, comedy, and breathtaking spectacle. It’s an extraordinary theatrical event where one lamp and three wishes make the possibilities infinite. Recommended for age 6+.

Earthrise
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: July 18 – August 4
Tickets: $20 (look for a ticket discount)

While the world waits for the launch of Apollo 11 in 1969, three children of key NASA employees watch from different perspectives: a mathematician’s daughter, an astronaut’s son, and an engineer’s daughter. By dreaming a collective dream of landing on the moon together, the kids learn to understand the historic mission—not fear it. Recommended fo ages 5+.

Newsies
Where: Kenmore Middle School Theatre | Arlington, VA
When: July 19-28
Tickets: $15/adult, $12/child

Encore Stage & Studio presents its signature By Kids for Kids theatre in this production. Set in turn-of-the century New York City, Newsies is the rousing tale of Jack Kelly, a charismatic newsboy and leader of a band of teenaged “newsies.” When titans of publishing raise distribution prices at the newsboys’ expense, Jack rallies newsies from across the city to strike against the unfair conditions and fight for what’s right!

Jabali African Acrobats
Where: Hylton Performing Arts Center | Manassas, VA
When: July 9, 11am
Tickets: $15/adult, $10/child

Experience the athleticism and grace of African circus performance in this high-octane show through percussive music, dancing, and acrobatic stunts. The show is part of Hylton’s 2019 Summer Performances for Young Audiences, an entertaining, affordable series of three lighthearted performances in June and July.

Summer VIBEZ with SOLE Defined
Where: Discovery Theater | National Mall, DC
When: July 23–26
Tickets: $3-6

The excitement of the hip-hop revolution used music as Afrocentric expression, social protest, and a celebration of life. Rewind to its golden age in a DJ-spun 90’s music and high-energy percussive tap and stepping show. For more information, visit their website. Recommended for ages 5-12.

Cirque de Soleil: Volta
Where: Under the Bog Top| Tysons II, VA
When: July 26 – September 6
Tickets: $49+ (look for a ticket discount)

Energetic, urban and contemporary, VOLTA is a captivating voyage of discovery that showcases never-before-seen under the Big Top acrobatics in a visually striking world. Driven by a stirring melodic score and inspired in part by the adventurous spirit that fuels the culture of street sports, VOLTA is about finding yourself and unveiling your personal powers. VOLTA is a story of transformation. It is about being true to oneself, fulfilling one’s true potential, and recognizing one’s own power to make it possible. Ultimate freedom comes with self-acceptance, and with the liberation of the judgement of others.

Coco the Movie in Concert
Where: Wolf Trap | Vienna, VA
When: July 27
Tickets: $40-65

Disney Pixar’s Coco In Concert Live to Film is a family-friendly, live-to-picture concert event featuring Michael Giacchino’s beautiful musical score and the 2017 two-time Academy Award®-winning film for Best Original Song as well as Best Animated Feature Film. Produced by Pixar Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures, audience members will follow the story of a 12-year-old boy named Miguel who travels to the Land of the Dead, where he seeks the help of his deceased musician great-great-grandfather to return him to his family.

Beatboxing with Max
Where: Discovery Theater | National Mall, DC
When: July 30 – August 2
Tickets: $3-6

Max picks up the mic to make some crazy-good mouth music—and wants everyone to join in! This astounding human beatbox introduces kids to the most powerful musical instrument ever: their own body. With lots of audience participation and exciting on-the-spot improvisations, Max covers themes in hip-hop culture, language, math, and music. Get ready to make some truly hip beats! Recommended for ages 5-12.

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial in Concert
Where: Wolf Trap | August 2
Tickets: $40-60

Director Steven Spielberg’s heartwarming masterpiece is one of the brightest stars in motion picture history. Filled with unparalleled magic and imagination, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial follows the moving story of a lost little alien who befriends a 10-year-old boy named Elliott. Experience all the mystery and fun of their unforgettable adventure in the beloved movie that captivated audiences around the world, complete with John Williams’ Academy Award-winning score performed live by a full symphony orchestra in sync to the film projected on huge HD screens!

Legally Blonde
Where: Keegan Theatre | Dupont Circle, DC
When: August 3-25
Tickets:

Elle Woods appears to have it all, but her life is turned upside down when her boyfriend Warner dumps her so he can attend Harvard Law. Determined to get him back, Elle geniously charms her way into the prestigious law school. While there, she struggles with peers, professors and her ex. With the support of some new friends, though, Elle quickly realizes her potential and sets out to prove herself to the world.

Dear Evan Hansen
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: August 6 – September 8
Tickets: $79-175

A letter that was never meant to be seen, a lie that was never meant to be told, a life he never dreamed he could have. Evan Hansen is about to get the one thing he’s always wanted: a chance to finally fit in. Dear Evan Hansen is the deeply personal and profoundly contemporary musical about life and the way we live it. (Ths is one of my favorite shows of all time. REcommended for age 12+. Read a KFDC review from when it debuted at Arena Stage several years ago.)

The 3 Billy Goats Gruff
Where: The Puppet Co. | Glen Echo, MD
When: August 8 – September 4
Tickets: $12

“The 3 Billy Goats Gruff” is a marionette romp in which three brothers get the goat of a hen-pecked troll, in their attempts to trip-trap-tromp to where the grass is greener. Three variety numbers precede the performance, demonstrating the making of a simple hand puppet, and manipulation of rod puppets and marionettes, as an introduction to the Art of Puppetry. Recommended for ages 3.5-9.

Sound of Music Sing-a-long
Where: Wolf Trap | Vienna, VA
When: August 24
Tickets: $25-45

Celebrating over 50 years, the classic family film returns to the screen in Technicolor…with a twist! Sing-a-long with the movie using on-screen lyrics and become the star of the show. Lederhosen and veils welcome! A costume contest precedes the performance.

* * * * *

Is there a great show running soon that you don’t see listed here? Let me know in the comments, and I’ll add it!


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Filed under 2019, All ages, DC, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Music, Seasonal, Summer, Theatre, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend

The 2019 KFDC Guide to the Best of Summer in DC

Feeling summer vibes at The Yards




This time of year, when we switch seasonal gears from spring to summer, is one of my favorites. As the weather warms up and the school year starts winding down, I always look forward to the changes and casual vibe it brings. Swimsuits and sandals come out of storage while sweaters and boots go in it. Baseball hats hang on coat hooks where there used to be a mess of jackets. The back patio is vibrant with flowers instead of littered with dried leaves. Stops at the gelato shop during evening walks are once again a brilliant idea. And that ridiculously giant bottle of tequila from Costco (it was such a good deal!) finally sees some action as margaritas replace red wine.😁

Even though summer doesn’t officially begin on the calendar for a few more weeks, seasonal activities in the area are starting up — and these 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 in 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, bookmark this page, and start planning for summer fun. The 2019 KFDC Guide to the Best of Summer in DC has all the details and inspiration you need to make the season awesome. Happy Summer!

* * * * *

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


A refreshing run through the sprays at The Wharf


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.

  • One of the newer additions 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 within all of it, all with the beautiful waterfront area as a backdrop.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 25, 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.
  • 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.
  • There’s a new little in-ground fountain on Capitol Hill at the C Street Plaza right across from Eastern Market. It runs weekdays 10am – 10pm.


  • Making a splash at Capitol Skyline


    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 25. 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.) They will close for the summer in waves, starting August 11 — view the schedule here.
  • The pool at the Capitol Skyline Hotel in Southwest DC offers summer memberships as well as daily passes. And for those that remember it as a singles party spot, I can vouch that it’s become very family-friendly over the past couple of years.
  • 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 a 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 a few weeks later. 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


    Catch a summer concert at an iconic DC spot


    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.

  • 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 17, rain or shine, and there will be weekly shows through August 23. 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.
  • Get a nice dose of nature as you listen to live tunes at Potomac Overlook Park in Arlington on Second Saturdays of the month through 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.
  • At Riverdale Park Station’s Bear Square, enjoy live musical performances from some of the area’s most talented artists every Friday night from May 24 to August 30. From pop rock and folk acts to Latin- and Swing-themed nights, there is something for everyone playing this summer.
  • The U.S. Air Force Band’s Summer Concert Series begins May 25 and runs through Aug 27. They’ll perform throughout the summer at the U.S. Capitol (West Side Steps), Air Force Memorial, and on the National Plaza at National Harbor Outdoor concerts are subject to weather cancellation.
  • Enjoy outdoor performances at one of my favorite outdoor places places in the city, the National Arboretum every Thursday evening from June 6 – August 8. Bring a lawn chair or blanket, and relax in the Meadow below the Capital Columns. These concerts are free, but reservations are required. (Note: Children’s fave Rocknocerous is playing on July 25.).
  • The Capitol Riverfront Friday Night Concert Series at Yards Park begins June 7 and will run through August 30, 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!
  • 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 — dates are June 14, July 12, August 9, and September 13.

  • All summer long, families can enjoy a variety of free fun at Rockville Town Square. Concerts for all ages on Friday evenings start June 7 and will run through September 20 — enjoy live music, good food, and beverages from 6-9pm.
  • Rock at the Row returns to Pentagon Row Thursdays June 13 – August 1. 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 13 – September 26
  • 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.
  • 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 10 – August 28.


  • The Smithsonian Folklife Festival brings lively culture to the National Mall every summer

    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.

  • On May 25 and 26, Beast Coast Parkour will bring the world’s largest Parkour festival to Rosslyn’s Gateway Park where to practice, train, and demonstrate their high-octane sport and art. Beginners and experienced Parkour’ers alike are encouraged to attend — along with demos there will be seminars and speakers tailored for all levels of expertise.
  • Imagination Bethesda, an annual festival occurring in the heart of its namesake city, is all about children. On June 1 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.
  • Get folksy at Glen Echo Park June 1-2, 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.
  • 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 1-2 with free shows for all ages at The Phillips Collection.
  • It sounds like a grown-ups-only event, but the Vintage Virginia Wine & Food Festival offers plenty of family fun, too. Taking place June 1-2 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.
  • Celebrate Capital Pride June 8-9 at the annual parade and festival that culminates a week of gay pride events around the city. The Saturday procession is always 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, features several stages of live entertainment, hundreds of exhibitors, and activities for all ages. It’s all a fun and fabulous opportunity to show support for the LGBTA community and join the celebration.
  • The annual Celebrate Fairfax! festival brings a whole weekend of fun June 7-9 with 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 Better Than Ezra and Smash Mouth headlining, you get a little time trip back to the 90’s, too!

  • Attend one of the biggest summer barbeques around June 22-23 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. However, this year’s event will only run two days, June 29-30, celebrating the Social Power of Music.
  • Independence Day in DC is a pretty big deal, the city being the nation’s capital and all, so the annual July 4th celebrations are pretty big. It starts with the National Independence Day Parade down Constitution Avenue. Then, this year more festivities will take place at the Salute to America event by the Lincoln Memorial, the A Capitol Fourth concert at the U.S. Capitol, and fireworks at West Potomac Park.

  • 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 July 21-22 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 a previous bloom 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 24 and will continue every weekend through October 20. (Go! I promise, it’s the best.)


  • Happy kids during a day at the Flag Ponds beach

    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 on weekdays and 9am – 8pm weekends from Memorial to Labor Day. Admission is $8/car. Read more about Flag Ponds and see pics here and here.
  • 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.
  • Calvert Cliffs State Park is well known as a fossil hunting locale — as its cliffs erode, prehistoric remains of marine life are revealed — but it’s also nice for beach fun, swimming, and hiking. To access the beach, you have to hike a couple of miles through woods (and there are even more trails if you’re up for it), but the walk is worth it for some quintessential summer fun. Open daily sunrise – sunset, and admission is $5-7/vehicle.
  • 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.
  • At the Navy Memorial Plaza on Pennsylvania Ave, catch Movies on the Memorial, a series of Navy-themed films that pay tribute to our rich maritime heritage. It will run Thursday evenings May 30 – August 29.
  • This year’s Who’s Got Game?-themed NoMa Summer Screen features a fun lineup of sports-related films. The 12-week outdoor film series starts on June 5 and runs weekly on Wednesdays through August 21 with lots of great family flicks mixed in. The movies begin at sunset, but you can get there early to picnic — BYO or grab a bite from a food truck
  • 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 7 – August 2, and there are many family-friendly films among the line-up.

  • Every Friday starting June 7, Rosslyn Cinema presents a night of fun and films in Gateway Park. Bring a blanket or low chairs and a group of friends and enjoy a night under the stars with your favorite movies. Movies start at dusk, but the fun starts at 5 p.m. with games and their Pub in the Park. Kids and pups welcome!
  • Every Tuesday in June at 8:30pm, catch Downtown DC Summer Flicks at Freedom Plaza (13th & Pennsylvania Ave) as its transformed into an outdoor movie theater with a “Can I Kick It?” theme – a multimedia movie screening engagement brought to you by the DowntownDC BID. Each event features a classic (or cult contemporary classic) martial arts film that is scored with an original music soundtrack of hip hop, soul, and more mixed live by DJ 2-Tone Jones.
  • 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 13 through August 22.
  • Friday and Saturday evenings are Movie Nights in Arlington this summer. Heroes and Sheroes: Movies with a Mission is the theme of the Columbia Pike Revitalization Project’s free outdoor movie series. From June 14 – August 25, catch a flick at Arlington Mill on Fridays and Penrose Square on Saturdays.

  • Georgetown Sunset Cinema presents films on Tuesdays throughout July. The “Out of Office” theme will feature films about vacations and trips. Grab a blanket, bring a picnic, and head to the beautiful Georgetown Waterfront Park to view films with the panoramic backdrop of the sunset, Potomac River, and Key Bridge. Films start at sunset–around 8:30/8:45 p.m. Arrive early to picnic and to get the best seating!
  • The Library of Congress will host the third annual “LOC Summer Movies on the Lawn” outdoor film festival this summer. The six-film series, which showcases iconic family-friendly films from the Library’s National Film Registry, will be presented on Thursday evenings at sundown from July 11 – August 15 on the north lawn of the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building, across the street from the U.S. Capitol.
  • Bethesda Outdoor Movies will bring five days of flicks al fresco to downtown at the corner of Norfolk and Auburn Avenues from July 24-27. Be sure to check the titles to see what’s appropriate for your kid.


  • The fairy houses always delight 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.

  • Dinosaurs are returning to DC! The prehistoric beasts that were a highlight of the National Museum of Natural History went on a five-year hiatus during renovations. On June 8, the David H. Koch Hall of Fossils-Deep Time will reopen and the skeletal specimens along with their stories will be back. While this isn’t a seasonal exhibit — even better, it’s permanent! — it opens just in time for summer adventures, and is one to put on your must-do list.
  • The National Zoo is also presenting programs that highlight prehistoric beats with Dino Summer. Travel back in time with “DinoRoars”—a self-guided safari around the Smithsonian’s National Zoo — and meet massive animatronic dinosaurs that move and roar. From June 1 throurgh August 31, you can look up and listen as the roar of a 39-foot-long T. rex joins the symphony of Zoo animal chirps, squawks and chuffs. On exhibit will be Compsognathus, Dilophosaurus, Parasaurolophus and babies, Stegosaurus and baby, Quetzalcoatlus and babies and T. rex. Each dinosaur is fitted with electronic brains to activate and control movements and produce the sounds. Families can also catch “Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo Live,” a ticketed theatrical show featuring incredible larger-than-life dinosaur puppets in an interactive show all about dinos. Tickets are $8/child, $10/adult. Admission to the Zoo and “DinoRoars” is free.
  • First there was indoor mini-golf, after that it was a giant maze, then came the super awesome Beach, followed by Icebergs, then Hive buzzed in, and last year we played in the Fun House. summer, the National Building Museum is welcoming visitors to LAWN, an immersive installation features a vast, sloping green space taking up the entire Great Hall with activities, events, relaxation areas, and architectural elements for guests to enjoy. Admission $13/youth, $16/adult, free for members. Open July 4 through September 2.
  • The National Museum of African American History and Culture is launching a series of gallery programs for children ages 0 to 8 years old this summer: Cultural Cuddles (0 to 12 months) will run Tuesdays in June, Toddling Treasures (13 to 35 months) will run Thursdays in June, Cultural Kids (3 to 5 years) and Friends for Freedom (6 to 8 years) will take place the first Saturdays of the month. Each program is designed to fulfill the museum’s mission to support the understanding and development of each child’s healthy racial identity, their joy in human diversity and inclusion, their sense of justice, and their capacity to act for their own and others’ fair treatment. Programs are free, but sign up in advance online.
  • ARTECHOUSE, the destination in Southwest DC known for fusing art and technology, will dazzle us once again with Infinite Space. Experience it June 13 – Sept 2. Admission is $16-20/adult, $8-10/12 & 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 a past 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 22. Through June 30, it’s open Wednesday – Sunday 10am – 5pm. July 1 – August 30 hours are 10am – 1pm Monday-Friday and 10am -5pm Saturday & Sunday. September 1-22 it’s open 10am – 5pm daily.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 even more pics here
  • Every year, the Newseum offers the Summer Fun Deal. From July 1 – September 2, 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.
  • Yoko Ono’s Wish Tree for Washington, DC, is returning to the Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden for its fourth year. From July 2 through September 2, 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.
  • During the warm months, little ones can flex their green thumbs in the outdoor Children’s Garden at the U.S. Botanic Garden. Renovated not to long ago, 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 hosts 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!


    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 story times 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 July 2. 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 Thursdays from 4-5pm beginning June 6, the new Bear Square Kids Club in Riverdale, MD, will keep kids entertained and learning with a curated set of educational and fun activities. The fun includes interactive arts & crafts making, including DIY Terrarium and Marble Painting classes, to live singing and a magic show.
  • Kids in Canal is coming back with its weekly series of kid-friendly entertainment every Wednesday 10:30-11:30am beginning June 12. 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!
  • On Wednesdays from June 6 to September 25, Kids Corner on The Plaza at CityCenter welcomes little ones for outdoor story time, singing, and fun with DC Public Library.
  • 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 12 to August 2. 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 Tuesday at 1pm from June 18 – August 27. The movie line-up is all kid-friendly and admission to all of them is FREE!
  • Every Saturday this summer at Capitol Hill Arts Workshop, one of CHAW’s amazing teaching artists will lead families in a guided art project from 10am – 12pm. It’s FREE and open to all (ages 4 and up with a caregiver), but donations encouraged to CHAW’s Paint Bucket for Tuition Assistance. First come, first served — space is limited. No registration required.
  • Go bowling for free! Select bowling centers and schools around the country are participating in the first ever Kids Bowl Free program — a couple of bowling centers in Maryland are participating.
    Children whose age does not exceed a limit by a participating bowling center are eligible to register for two free games each day of the KBF program, all summer long, courtesy of the participating bowling centers along with the schools and organizations.


    Go for a spin on the beautiful Dentzel Carousel at Glen Echo Park

    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 27 (Memorial Day), July 4 (July Fourth Holiday; closes at 4pm) & September 2 (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 – 5pm through September 2. 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 18 through September 2 (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 99th 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 25 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.
  • Burke Lake Park’s Mini Train and Carousel are open 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.
  • Rosslyn Putt-Putt, a pop-up mini golf experience is coming to the heart of Rosslyn this summer! From Friday, June 21, through the end of August/beginning of September, the Rosslyn BID will bring to life a favorite summer pastime for all ages. For $3, adults and children can enjoy an outdoor nine-hole mini-golf course decorated with recreations of Rosslyn landmarks including Dark Star Park, Key Bridge, Potomac Tower and others. An indoor cafe will include classic full-size video and carnival games, as well as a vintage-inspired Candy BAR with penny candy, novelty ice creams and more. Alcoholic beverages including craft beer, wine and sangria will be available for purchase. Open Fridays 5-9pm and Saturdays 10am – 6pm.

  • 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 past summer.
  • Saturday Morning at the National, the free theatre program from National Theatre, runs on select Saturdays June 15 – August 17 with performances at 9:30am and 11:30am. Musicals, plays, storytelling, and comedy shows are all part of the live entertainment line-up. Reserve tickets in advance or get them day-of on a first come, first served basis.
  • 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 11-25. 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. Love’s Labour’s Lost, a Shakespearean comedy, runs June 28 – July 28. Every Sunday is Family Fun Day with pre-show activities for kids. And 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 Hamlet from July 10-21 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.

  • Even more great live entertainment especially for children will be at theatres around the DC area this summer. See what’s coming to local stages in the early weeks for now, and the new seasonal entertainment guide will be posted soon!


  • Vamos United! Get your summer kicks at a soccer match

    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!
  • Whether or not you’ve got a little soccer fan in your fam, DC United matches are fun experiences for all ages. And the new Audi Field is a great venue for watching them. Plus, 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.
  • Tennis, anyone? The Washington Kastles, the DC franchise of World TeamTennis, will bring some on-court thrills to the city July 15-31. Even better, the new location of Kastles Stadium will be on the rooftop of Union Market! 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 27 – August 4.
  • 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 $16.
  • 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 Fish Market at The Wharf. Buy them already steamed or get them while they’re still alive to cook at home.


  • Don’t miss the spectacular sunflower bloom at McKee-Beshers

    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 at a few local parks. Bladensburg Waterfront Park, Anacostia Park, Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, Kingman Island, and Diamond Teague Park 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.
  • Join Anacostia Riverkeeper and Earth Conservation Corps on Friday evenings for Friday Night Fishing, their catch and release fishing program at the dock at Diamond Teague Park (located next to Yards Park), from June 29 through August 23. 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 flowers 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 a national park, opens May 25 and 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!


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