The Weekend Round-Up: May 24-27

Statues honoring every branch of the military at National Harbor


Happy Long Weekend!

Find ideas for ongoing local fun in these go-to posts:
* The Great Indoors
* Off-the-Beaten-Path Museums
* Best Outdoors in the DC Area
* Local Hikes with Kids
* Baltimore with Kids
* Bike Rides
* Paddling Options
* Stunning Spaces
* Peaceful Places

Unofficial Summer
Where: Throughout the DC area
When: All weekend long
Admission: Varies by activity

The season may not be official on the calendar, but summer fun has begun, and much more starts this weekend!  Jump in at an outdoor pool, enjoy music in the fresh air, play in the sprays, see a movie under the stars, paddle local waterways, see a special exhibit, and pursue even more seasonal joys. The 2024 KFDC Guide to Summer Around the DC Area has the scoop on where and when to experience it all.

Jump In, DC!
Where: Anacostia Pool | Anacostia, DC
When: Friday, 3pm
Admission: Free

As outdoor pool season is about to begin, join Mayor Bowser and DCDPR for their annual pool party and celebration. Enjoy free food, giveaways, and the first splash of the summer! The rest of DC’s public pools will open on Saturday.

The Spirit of Women’s Soccer
Where: Audi Field | Southwest DC
When: Friday, 7:30pm
Admission: Tickets start at $15
Washington Spirit, our local women’s pro soccer team, are playing at Audi Field on Friday evening against Seattle Reign. Enjoy some amazing soccer play while supporting our home team and women in sports. Plan for a pre- match  meal nearby — see my recs for family-friendly spots in the area.

Big Bounce America
Where: Rosecroft Raceway | Fort Washington, MD
When: Starting Saturday – June 9
Admission: Starts at $22

Boing! Big Bounce America, the world’s largest bounce house, is returning to the DC area starting this weekend. The biggest touring inflatable event includes four massive inflatable attractions: the newly expanded 24,000-square foot World’s Largest Bounce House; Sport Slam featuring a customized sports arena; the brand-new deep sea foam party inflatable OctoBlast; the 900-foot-long obstacle course named The Giant; and a unique, space-themed wonderland called airSPACE.  Three-hour sessions for varying age groups — 3 & under, 7 & under, 15 & under, and 16 & older — are $22 for the youngest group, $38 for older kids, and $48 for 16+. Reserve tickets here.

Pixar Putt
Where: The Wharf | Southwest DC
When: Starting Saturday (through August 3)
Admission: $32/child, $34/adult, $108/family 4-pack

Play some putt-putt at The Wharf! Pixar Putt, a mini golf course inspired by the stories, characters, and icons from some of Pixar’s most beloved films, is popping up at the southwest waterfront from March 25 to August 3. Note that tee times are age 18+ after 7pm on Fridays and Saturdays.

Tour Memorials on the Mall
Where: National Mall, DC
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free

On Memorial Day Weekend, pay tribute to those who have served and sacrificed for our country by visiting the memorials on the National Mall that honor them.  A loop of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial including the nearby Vietnam Women’s MemorialKorean War Veterans Memorial, and WWII Memorial makes for a good walk.  On Monday, there will be a Memorial Day observance at the Wall at 1pm and at the Korean Memorial at 4:45pm.

Nats vs Mariners
Where: Nationals Park | Capitol Riverfront, DC
When: Friday, Saturday, & Sunday
Admission: Tickets start at $16 

The Nats are home for a weekend series hosting the Mariners. Catch a game on Friday at 6:45pm, Saturday at 4:05pm, or Sunday at 1:35pm. There will be a Lane “Train” bobblehead giveaway on Saturday, plus there are all kinds of ongoing cool offerings for kids — see them all here!

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

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

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

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

Vamos United!
Where: Audi Field | Southwest DC
When: Saturday, 7:30pm
Admission: Tickets prices vary (look for a deal)
DC United is home this weekend, and there’s a match against Chicago on Saturday evening. As always, I recommend taking public transportation as parking can be difficult, especially when the Nats are also playing. Take Metro to the Navy Yard and plan to walk from there (and maybe grab dinner before the match) — see my recs for family-friendly spots in the area.

Day Trippin’
Where: Around the DC area (and a bit beyond)
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by adventure

The long weekend is a great time to head a little further out and enjoy a day trip. Some ideas for where to go:
* Zip up to Baltimore, where there are so many great attractions for families
* See the spectacular underground world of Luray Caverns.
* Enjoy hiking and history at Harpers Ferry.
* Go to Calvert County for art adventures at Annmarie Sculpture Garden, a beach day at Calvert Cliffs State Park, maritime explorations at the Calvert Marine Museum, or even a pontoon boat excursion from Solomons Island.

Sing Down the Moon: Appalachian Wonder Tales
Where: Adventure Theatre | Glen Echo, MD
When: Saturday & Sunday,, 11am & 2pm 
Tickets: $25 (look for discount)
It’s the last weekend to see this production…   Journey into the Appalachian Mountains in this award-winning musical that deftly weaves four traditional tales and original music into a keepsake quilt of mountain lore and wisdom for the whole family. Jack who lands himself a job despite his foolishness. “Catskins” is a spunky Appalachian Cinderella. “The Enchanted Tree” is a beauty-and-the-beast love story between a lost girl and a frightening crow. And in a zany, sung-through “Sow and Her Three Pigs” plucky Nancy the pig outsmarts the hungry fox. This play with music incorporates singing, mountain dances, music, and puppets to create a highly theatrical storytelling style.

Cirque du Soleil – Corteo
Where: Eagle Bank Arena | Fairfax, VA
When: Friday & Saturday
Admission: $49-169 (look for discount)

The clown Mauro envisions that his own burial will take place amid a carnival atmosphere and be attended by tender angels. The show contrasts the grand with the intimate, the silly with the tragic, and the beauty of perfection with the appeal of imperfection. It also emphasizes the strength and vulnerability of the clown as well as his knowledge and generosity to represent the aspect of humanity that exists in each of us. Corteo is guided through a timeless ceremony in which fantasy teases reality with music, which is both poetic and mischievous.

The Matchbox Magic Flute
Where: Klein Theatre | Penn Quarter, DC
When: Through June 16
Admission: $35-119

A brand new theatrical adaptation of Mozart’s beloved opera. Playful and imaginative, it’s big music in a small space. This “matchbox” presentation of The Matchbox Magic Flute features a cast of 10 and an orchestra of five following the fantastic adventures of Prince Tamino and Princess Pamina. With dragons, a man who is a bird, trials by fire and water, and underground corridors, Day and Night do battle.

Strawberry Jubilee
Where: Great Country Farms | Bluemont, VA
When: Saturday & Sunday, 10am – 5pm
Admission: $12/child, $14/adult, free/2 & under

It’s weekend #2 of the longest running strawberry festival in Loudoun County takes place this weekend and next, rain or shine. Get ready for lots of fun activities for all ages, including  live music, farm contests, wagon rides, great food, and fun games for the whole fam. As if that’s not enough to keep the everyone entertained for the day, there’s also the five-acre play area, complete with the jumping pillow, slides, rope swings, mazes, a tractor tire mountain, and animal encounters. Get tickets in advance!

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

There’s even more strawberries activity to enjoy as the fruits are are ripe and ready for harvest, and many area farms welcome guests to come pick their own. Check out this post for some of the best places to go. It’s always a good idea to check websites or call ahead to confirm availability the day you plan to go. Sunscreen and hat also recommended.

Flowers of Remembrance Day
Where: Arlington National Cemetery | Arlington, VA
When: Sunday, 9am – 5pm
Admission: Free

In honor of Memorial Day and those who have sacrificed for our country, members of the public are invited to place a flower at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Flowers will be provided (do not bring your own), and visitors will also have an opportunity to place a flower on headstones throughout the cemetery.

Salute to Service
Where: Theater at MGM | National Harbor, MD
When: Sunday, 7:30-9pm
Admission: Free
The United States Air Force Band is playing a special Memorial Day concert on Sunday. They will perform alongside famed duo The War and Treaty, a husband-and-wife team who blend soul, country, and gospel influences in their music.  All ages are welcome to enjoy this free concert!

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

Why watch on TV when you can be there in person? Yes, the public is once again welcome to the National Memorial Day Concert! Taking place on the west lawn of the Capitol on Sunday from 8 – 9:30pm, the concert will be hosted by  Joe Mantegna and Gary Sinese, and an all-star line-up of artists will join the National Symphony Orchestra and several military music ensembles in honoring those who have served and sacrificed. If you’re planning to go, the FAQ page on the concert website is worth a read. KFDC Tip: If you can’t make Sunday’s show or don’t want to deal with the crowds, Saturday’s dress rehearsal is also always open to the public — gates open at 5pm, and the show begins at 8pm.

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

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

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

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

Notes of Remembrance
Where: National Mall, DC
When: Monday, 5pm
Admission: Free

ON Memorial Day, buglers stationed at 11 sites across the National Mall and surrounding areas will play a coordinated “Taps” performance. The a bugle song is one of remembrance for servicemembers traditionally played by the U.S. Armed Forces. The public is invited to share in the event — see the locations where it will take place here.

Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by place

Enjoy a family hike — then extend (and elevate) the day with some some snacks (or a whole meal) and sips after.  A few awesome combos for that: Sky Meadows State Park and Barrel Oak Winery. Sugarloaf Mountain and The Comus Inn or Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard.  Great Falls (MD side) and The Old Angler’s Inn.  Patapsco Valley State Park and the Guinness BreweryPatuxent River State Park and Waredaca Brewery.  See a whole post with info for all of them here.

Disc Golfin’
Where: Courses around the DC area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free

Hit the links, the chain links, that is! Disc golf is a great way to enjoy a nice spring day outdoors with the family. Not only is it fun and challenging, the courses, many of them set up in scenic places, are lovely this time of year. This post has info about our fave in College Park, and there are also great courses at Seneca Creek State Park in Gaithersburg, Patapsco Valley State Park near Baltimore, and Burke Lake Park in Burke, VA.

Feeling Crabby?
Where: Eastern Shore, MD
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Depends on how much you order!

Kick off summer is with one of the area’s best offerings: Blue crabs!  Enjoying the seasonal treat at a waterfront crab house is a bonus. Cantler’s in Annapolis is an institution, and Mike’s Crab House in Riva is popular with delicious crabs, gorgeous scenery, and a great outdoor waiting area if tables aren’t immediately available. Kentmorr on Kent Island has a great beach scene. And you can find even more recommendations for getting crabby in the Summer Guide.

* The current forecast indicates a lot of rain this weekend, so a few posts to keep in your back pocket: The Great Indoors list, ideas for fun and games inside, the round-up of off-the-beaten-path museums in DC, and one of museums in MD & VA.
* The Folger Shakespeare Theatre is reopening on June 21 after being closed for several years’ renovation — and timed-entry tickets to visit can be reserved now!
* Where to eat and drink in DC this Memorial Day weekend.
* The most anticipated movies of the summer, according to Washington Post.
* Some great sales going on: 30% off at adidas (cool kids’ slides), up to 60% off at West Elm (pretty pillows), 20% off shorts & swim at H&M (the cutest kids wear), 40% off sale at Anthro (perfect summer dress), 30% off at Backcountry (great blankets), and up to 40% off at Container Store.
* Perfect for the beach (and beyond) — and on major sale. Throw some of these in, too. And find many more awesome steals in Amazon’s Memorial Day Sale.
* A really great listen this week.
* Shared some news 🥰


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Filed under DC, Summer, Virginia, Weekend

Five Things: May 20, 2024


1. Are you aware of all of these awesome offerings for kids at Nats games?
* At every home game for the rest of the season, kids ages 12 and under can get a free meal that includes one Hebrew National hot dog, a bottled water, a bag of chips, and Topps baseball cards (while supplies last).
* On Signature Sundays, fans can get autographs from two Nats plays, coaches, or broadcaster before the game starts — vouchers are given out in Section 103 on a first-come, first-served basis 80 minutes ahead of the first pitch.
* Kids ages 4-12 can run the bases after Sunday afternoon games.
* There are several giveaways coming especially for kids.
* There are Story Time sessions before games on select dates (four more Sundays coming up), with a Nats players reading to attendees.
* The Kids Zone has a super fun play structure for little ones.
* The Jr. Nationals Club gives members all kinds of great benefits to enjoy throughout the season. Read more about it here.


2. Jazz in the Garden, the popular summer concert series that takes place in the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden, begins on May 31.  Nathan and the Zydeco Cha Chas will  perform the first show– and the lottery for tickets is now open!  Tickets are issued by lottery to give everyone interested an equal chance to attend.  Concerts will take place every Friday, 6-8:30pm, and lotteries take place the week before, opening on Monday at 10am and closing Friday at 12pm.


3. Recipes for your Memorial Day menu.


4. Speaking of Memorial Day, sales have already begun, and there are some good ones!  Check out Dick’s Sporting Goods for lots of great summer gear, GAP for up to 50% off clothes for the whole fam, Wayfair for home and garden,  and Amazon for, well, everything.


5. It’s prom season in DC, and it’s pretty amazing as kids from all over the area descend on the Lincoln Memorial for pictures… 🤩



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Filed under 2024, DC, Five Things, Spring, Summer

The Weekend Round-Up: May 17-19

See Chihuahuas run at the Wharf on Sunday


Happy Weekend!

Backpocket KFDC posts full of ideas for fun:
* The Great Indoors
* Off-the-Beaten-Path Museums
* Best Outdoors in the DC Area
* Local Hikes with Kids
* Baltimore with Kids
* Bike Rides
* Paddling Options
* Stunning Spaces
* Peaceful Places

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

It may not be official on the calendar, but “summer” is underway! Spray play, outdoor concerts, movies under the stars, and more ongoing seasonal treats have begun around DC. Start the weekend with free music at Bethesda’s summer concert series. Play at a splash park. Go paddling, see a special exhibit, or just plan ahead for seasonal fun. The 2024 KFDC Guide to Summer Around the DC Area has the scoop on where and when you can get summer started early — and plan for even more!

It’s All Greek to You
Where: Saint Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral
When: Friday, Saturday, & Sunday
Admission: Free

Saint Sophia’s annual festival brings the best of Greek food, drink and culture to DC. Festival goers can sample dishes from the Greek Cuzina made fresh and daily across the weekend. A variety of children’s games and activities will delight young guests. A marketplace will showcase wares like jewelry, pottery and home goods ,and more. And every evening under the stars (and 2pm on Sunday), enjoy live Greek music played by local musicians — all are welcome to join in and dance… Opa!  It’s a super fun fest — we’ve been several times! Saint Sophia is located at 2815 36th St & Mass. Ave. NW.

Dragon Boat Festival
Where: Thompson Boat House | Georgetown, DC
When: Saturday, 9am – 5pm [Rain Date: June 15]
Admission: Free

The annual DC Dragon Boat Festival is back  for its 21st year — its’s an experience for athletes and spectators alike! The family-friendly event features the best premier and local dragon boat teams from along the east coast racing in multiple distances over the course of the day. The public is welcome to watch this unique event for free, and there are usually cultural activities to enjoy, too.

Gaithersburg Book Festival
Where: Bohrer Park | Gaithersburg, MD
When: Saturday, 10am – 6pm
Admission: Free

The City of Gaithersburg welcomes you to their annual literary event! Festivities will include the chance to see and meet some of the world’s best writers, from best-sellers to acclaimed up-and-comers; join in literary workshops; and a full day of fun at the Children’s Village. Bohrer Park is located at 506 S. Frederick Avenue.

Fiesta Asia Street Fair
Where: Entrance at 400 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, DC
When: Saturday, 11am – 7pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate Asian heritage at the annual street fair presented by the Asia Heritage Foundation and Passport DC. This showcase of Asian art and culture will include music and dance performances, martial arts demos, a parade, yummy food, a marketplace, hands-on activities, and more.  While admission is free, be prepared to spend on food and in the marketplace. Reserve free tickets here.

Korean Bell Garden Annual Celebration
Where: Meadowlark Botanical Garden | Vienna, VA
When: Saturday: 11am – 12:30pm
Admission: Free from 10am – 12pm
Head to the beautiful Meadowlark Botanical Gardens to celebrate Korean culture in the lovely Korean Bell Garden. This free festive celebration will feature traditional Korean dance performances, music, a Tae Kwon Do demonstration, beautiful traditional Korean clothing, Korean games, delicious complimentary Korean food, and the ringing of the 6,000 pound Korean bell.

Truck Day
Where: MCDOT Truck Depot and Salt Barn | Rockville, MD
When: Saturday, 11am – 3pm
Admission: Free
The Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) is kicking off “Public Works Week” with Truck Day. The free, family-friendly event welcomes the community for a hands-on exploration of the many first-response, construction, and transportation vehicles that make the county run. Climb aboard a bucket truck, tractor, semi-truck, and bus. The event also will feature first responder vehicles and a fire engine, plus a chance to meet the essential workers who operate them. The Truck Depot and Salt Barn is located at 17000 Crabbs Branch Way in Gaithersburg.

Walk the Museum Walk
Where: Dupont-Kalorama Neighborhoods, DC
When: Saturday & Sunday, 11am – 4pm
Admission: Free

Get off the Mall and explore the many museums in the Dupont-Kalorama neighborhood during the annual Museum Walk Weekend.  See the exhibits and enjoy special programs for free at several diverse museums, including The Phillips Collection, Dumbarton House, the National Museum of American Jewish Military History, American Revolution Institute, O Street Museum in the Mansion, Dupont Underground, and the President Woodrow Wilson House.

Spring Fling: A Villgae Block Party
Where: The Village at Shirlington | Shirlington, VA
When: Saturday, 11am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Enjoy the lively atmosphere of Shirlington’s 3rd annual event.Stroll through streets and browse the pop-up Makers Market,join in on sports and games, enjoy live performances, and indulge in a variety of eats and treats. There will be activities especially for kids, too.

Bourbon & Bluegrass
Where: President Lincoln’s Cottage | Petworth, DC
When: Saturday & Sunday, 1-5pm
Admission: $50-70/adult, $35/age 7-17, free/6 & under

The rollicking annual fundraiser is back for its 9th year!  Featuring an extraordinary line up of music, bourbon and beer tastings, and fun activities for the whole family, this is an event you don’t want to miss. Lounge on Lincoln’s lawn, sip bourbon, and enjoy lots of live bluegrass music.  Two-day passes are also available.

Loudoun Spring Farm Tour
Where: Farms around Loudoun County, VA
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: Free

Enjoy over 40 local farm stops full of delicious produce, cute animals, farm demonstrations, and fun & educational programs.  Visit the website for a map of the locations and more info on each one.

KidStory Theatre Festival
Where: Highland Elementary School | Wheaton, MD
When: Saturday, 11am & Sunday, 2pm
Admission: Free

All year long, InterAct Story Theatre artists create stories with kids and invite them to share their epic tales. This May, they’ve chosen some of their favorites from over the years and present a series of short plays and stories performed by InterActors. Best for ages 5 and up.

Old Town Festival of Speed & Style
Where: King Street | Old Town Alexandria, VA
When: Sunday, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free

View dozens of rare and exotic cars up close, made famous by their speed, performance and elegance. This will be enhanced by a presentation of style, fashion and live music provided by over 40 local merchants. The Old Town Festival of Speed & Style highlights the unique offerings of the Old Town community –​ history, architecture, great food, fabulous people, art, style, energy. All proceeds benefit ALIVE! and Community Lodgings.

Mister G Concert at the JxJ Festival
Where: Edlavitch DCJCC | Downtown DC
When: Sunday, 10:30am
Admission: $18/age 13+, $16/students, free/12 & under

MISTER G, the GRAMMY Award winning artist, author and educator will be performing songs from his PJ Library-commissioned albums, The Mitzvah Bus and Seeds of Shalom. Following the concert, MISTER G will be signing copies of his books, including his PJ Library book, Lilah Tov Good Night. Meet him before the show at 10am for crafts and snacks and to connect with other families! Ben Gundersheimer is hailed as “a bilingual rock star” by The Washington Post and is acclaimed as one of the most widely distributed Jewish artists for children across North America. His dynamic, interactive bilingual performances aim to dissolve borders and foster cross-cultural connections.

Strawberry Jubilee
Where: Great Country Farms | Bluemont, VA
When: Sunday, 10am – 5pm
Admission: $12/child, $14/adult, free/2 & under

The longest running strawberry festival in Loudoun County takes place this weekend and next, rain or shine. Get ready for lots of fun activities for all ages, including  live music, farm contests, wagon rides, great food, and fun games for the whole fam. As if that’s not enough to keep the everyone entertained for the day, there’s also the five-acre play area, complete with the jumping pillow, slides, rope swings, mazes, a tractor tire mountain, and animal encounters. Get tickets in advance!

Tee Up for Sunday at Swingers
Where: Swingers | Dupont Circle, DC
When: Sunday, 11am – 6pm
Admission: Mini golf starts at $21
The crazy golf club in Dupont Circle has just started welcoming kids and families for mini golf fun on Sundays before 6pm! Enjoy a great day out putting on their indoors courses, savoring bites and treats, and enjoying more entertainment. Cocktails for parents are also available. Learn more about the new family option here!

Running of the Chihuahuas
Where: The Wharf | Southwest DC
When: Sunday, 2-5pm
Admission: Free

Rescheduled from a couple of weeks ago..  The Wharf’s 12th Annual Running of the Chihuahuas will include live music, family fun, cold Pacifico beer, and of course, the highlight of the afternoon, chihuahuas racing for fame and fun!  It’s family and pet-friendly event — all dogs are welcome, though only chihuahuas can race. If you don’t have a dog yet, keep an eye out for your forever furry friend during the Adoptable Dog Parade that takes place between the Chihuahua races. Read more about The Wharf in this KFDC post.

Hill Family Biking: Kingman Island Ride
Where: Capitol Hill to Kingman Island, DC
When: Sunday, 4pm
Admission: Free
Join Hill Family Biking on Sunday for a family friendly ride to Kingman Island for picnics (BYOP), free play in a safe car-free area, and kid-friendly live music from The Grandsons Jr. The ride will start at 4pm from Stanton Park, and an informal return ride to Lincoln Park will roll back around 6pm.

Alice in Wonderland…on Strings
Where: The Puppet Co. | Glen Echo, MD
When: Saturday & Sunday, 11:30am & 1pm
Tickets: $15

This brand new adaptation based on the beloved children’s novel by Lewis Carroll will take the audience on a delightful journey into wonderland using rod puppets. This one-of-a-kind performance blends music and humor to create a new version of a familiar story. Recommended for ages 4+.

Sing Down the Moon: Appalachian Wonder Tales
Where: Adventure Theatre | Glen Echo, MD
When: Saturday, 11am & 2pm | Sunday, 11am
Tickets: $25 (look for discount)
Journey into the Appalachian Mountains in this award-winning musical that deftly weaves four traditional tales and original music into a keepsake quilt of mountain lore and wisdom for the whole family. Jack who lands himself a job despite his foolishness. “Catskins” is a spunky Appalachian Cinderella. “The Enchanted Tree” is a beauty-and-the-beast love story between a lost girl and a frightening crow. And in a zany, sung-through “Sow and Her Three Pigs” plucky Nancy the pig outsmarts the hungry fox. This play with music incorporates singing, mountain dances, music, and puppets to create a highly theatrical storytelling style.

Jesus Christ Superstar
Where: National Theatre | Downtown DC
When: Friday, Saturday, & Sunday
Admission: $44-139 (look for a deal)

Celebrating its 50th Anniversary, a new mesmerizing production of the iconic musical phenomenon returns to the stage. Jesus Christ Superstar is set against the backdrop of an extraordinary series of events during the final weeks in the life of Jesus Christ as seen through the eyes of Judas. Appealing to both theater audiences and concert music fans, this production pays tribute to the historic 1971 Billboard Album of the Year while creating a modern, theatrical world that is uniquely fresh and inspiring. Recommended for ages 10+.

Cirque du Soleil – Corteo
Where: Eagle Bank Arena | Fairfax, VA
When: Through May 25
Admission: $49-169 (look for a deal)

The clown Mauro envisions that his own burial will take place amid a carnival atmosphere and be attended by tender angels. The show contrasts the grand with the intimate, the silly with the tragic, and the beauty of perfection with the appeal of imperfection. It also emphasizes the strength and vulnerability of the clown as well as his knowledge and generosity to represent the aspect of humanity that exists in each of us. Corteo is guided through a timeless ceremony in which fantasy teases reality with music, which is both poetic and mischievous.

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

Strawberries and a few veggies are ripe and ready for harvest, and several area farms are now welcoming guests to pick their own. This post has a round-up of where to go.  It’s always a good idea to check websites or call ahead to confirm availability the day you plan to go. Sunscreen and hat also recommended.

Hikes You’ll Like
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

Getting out for a walk in the woods is a great way to enjoy some family time on the weekend. Given the hot weather on the way, you’ll probably want to opt for spots that offer good shade. Some places to find it: Scott’s Run Nature PreserveDumbarton Oaks ParkPrince William Forest ParkRock Creek Park.  Find even more places to hike here.

* Looking for family getaway ideas for the summer? Here are some good ones!
Along with the brand new guide to summer in DC , this round-up of swim spots in the region is a good one to bookmark now.
* Excited to check out some of Eater DC’s recs for worth the-drive crab houses in Maryland! (There are a bunch in the KFDC Summer Guide, too.)
* As you’re prepping for summer travel, I highly recommended these. We keep them in all of our checked bags (and one on our dog’s collar).
* Love the sleek design of this rolling ice chest (ie, fancy cooler).
* For those of you who also have seniors:  The 27 best high school graduation gifts.  (I’m also going to send mine off to college with one of these 😊)
* Amazon’s big Memorial Day Sale starts Friday.
* According to this, I’m a complainy Cross Fit freak who’s a minor feminist icon. You? 😂


Filed under 2024, DC, Maryland, Spring, Summer, Virginia, Weekend

The 2024 KFDC Guide to Summer Around the DC Area


The season may still be a few weeks from official on the calendar, but summer fun has begun around the DC area! Spray parks are open, outdoor movies are being screened, carousels are spinning, local sports are in full swing, exhibits are opening, crab feasts are being served, and more seasonal experiences are underway.  Even better, there’s still much more to come.  This annual guide, that I’ve been putting together in this version for over 10 years, has all the info and inspiration you need to make the most of the season… starting now!

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Play in the Sprays

Outdoor Pool Season



Big Screen Under the Stars

Summer Concerts

Festivals & Special Events

Seasonal Exhibits

Special Entertainment & Programs

Mini Trains, Carousels, Mini Golf, & a Ferris Wheel

Summer Sports

Crab Feasts

Seasonal Experiences

Gear Up


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Scenic spray fun at Georgetown Waterfront Park

Kids can run through fountains and splash around at many of them around the area. Several are within the DC, MD, & VA Departments 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. Dates are TBD at some, but look for updates soon!


Canal Park in the Navy Yard is great for kids of varying ages with both a gentle, shallow fountain that is ideal 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. Read more about Canal Park in this KFDC post.


The Wharf in Southwest DC has a nice in-ground fountain that opens before other nearby fountains and stay open longer.  Kids can run through water shooting up from jets, 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. Read more about The Wharf in this KFDC post.


DC DPR Spray Parks will open will be open for the season daily 10am – 6pm starting Memorial Day Weekend, Saturday, May 25, through Labor Day, September 2. Be sure to view the list, as open days vary by location.  See all of the locations throughout the city on this map on the DPR website.


Yards Park in the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood is a favorite for water play in the city, with two levels featuring Dancing Fountains up top and the Canal Basin and Waterfall below, plus a great scenic location on the Anacostia River in the Navy Yard.  Grassy areas for hanging out and lots of nearby eateries make it a perfect place to spend a summer day. The water features turn on for the season on May 24! Note that they will be closed up to 48 hours these dates: June 10, June 24, July 8, July 22, August 5, August 19, and September 22. Read more about the water features at The Yards here.


Georgetown Waterfront Park, right next to 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 the park’s pretty green space along the Potomac is a nice, relaxing place to hang out, too. Read more about Georgetown Waterfront Park in this KFDC post.


Lyon Village Park, Hayes Park, Virginia Highlands Park, Drew Park, and Mosaic Park, some of the area’s most popular spray parks, can be found in Arlington along with Penrose Square, which has an in-ground interactive fountain. Open Memorial Day Weekend to Labor Day Weekend. Hours vary by park, so be sure to view the websites.


Our Special Harbor at Lee District Recreation Area in Alexandria gets raves for its Chesapeake-Bay themed sprayground complete with a spraying osprey nest, Chessie the sea serpent, misting sunflowers, and a lighthouse.  Open weekends May 25 – June 14, then daily June 15 – August 18, then only weekends again through September 2.


Potomac Yard Park, among the many city of Alexandria parks, has an interactive in-ground fountain that kids can play in — along with a couple of playgrounds and many other recreational features.  Even better, you can plan to do some shopping at the nearby Target and other big stores while you’re out that way. Open daily 10am – 9pm daily from Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day, then 10am – 8pm through mid-October.


There’s an in-ground fountain on Capitol Hill at the C Street Plaza right across from Eastern Market. On most weekday afternoons during summer, there’s a small crowd of little ones playing in the gentle sprays.



Rosedale pool in NE DC opens Memorial Day

Nothing says summer like swimming under the sun.  There are plenty of public pools in the area where you can jump in for free or a small admission fee, plus a few other options for a nice pool day.


DC outdoor public pools will open on Memorial Day Weekend, Saturday, May 27. They’ll operate on a weekend-only schedule (Saturday & Sunday) through  June 25. Starting Monday, June 26, all outdoor pools will operate on individual summer schedules, six days a week.  Days and hours vary from pool to pool so be sure to check schedules before you go.


For outdoor swimming outside of the city, Montgomery County outdoor public pools will open weekends May 25 – June 14, then daily June 15 – August 11, then weekends again August 12 – September 2. See the MoCo Department of Recreation website for locations and hours.


In Northern Virginia, there are several waterparks (see below) in Arlington with outdoor pools and much more for guests to enjoy, and the city of Alexandria has three outdoor public pools:  Memorial Pool at Charles Houston Rec Center opens May 25 – August 9, and Old Town Pool and Warwick Pool are open May 25 – September 2.  Hours vary by day, so be sure to view details for all of them.


Swimply, a service that started a few years ago, lets you search for private pools to rent. You can find pools at residences all over and pay to use them by the hour.


Hotel Pass: Some DC hotels offer days passes for  adults and kids to their outdoor pools. At Hyatt House at The Wharf they start at $50/adult, $30/child.  The Omni Shoreham Hotel in Woodley Park starts at $50/adult, $15/child. Hotel Zena in Downtown DC starts at $50/adult, $25/child.



Beach day at Calvert Cliffs State Park

Summer and beach trips go hand-in-hand, so why not hit one with the kids? There are a bunch of places where you can get a good dose of sand and surf that are within day trip distance from DC.


Calvert Cliffs State Park in Calvert County is known as a fossil hunting locale — as its cliffs erode, prehistoric remains of marine life are revealed — but it’s even better 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 a dose of quintessential summer fun. Open daily sunrise – sunset, and admission is $5/vehicle in-state residents, $7/vehicle out-of-state. Read more about Calvert Cliffs in this KFDC post.


Flag Ponds Nature Park, also in Calvert County, has a large sandy beach 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 (days/hours are reduced the rest of the year). Admission is $5/vehicle in-county residents, $15/vehicle non residents. Be sure to read more about Flag Ponds for tips and get a glimpse here and here


Sandy Point State Park in Annapolis offers striking views of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge along with loads of beach fun.  At nearly 800 acres, it’s a big 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 7am – sunset. From May 1 through September, admission is $5/person weekends, $4/person weekdays.


The Purse Area within the Nanjemoy Wildlife Management Area in Charles County, MD, 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. The beach is narrow, and you’re on a river, but you still get to enjoy sand and water.  Wear swimsuits, bring a picnic, and be sure to check the tide table (read this post for details) so you can make the most of your time there. Open sunrise to sunset, and admission is free.


Mayo Beach Park in Anne Arundel County, MD, is open for swimming in summer to enjoy some sand and surf. Passes to access the beach park on weekends must be reserved in advance.  Be aware of other beach rules like no grills or dogs allowed. Open Memorial Day – Labor Day on Friday 4-7pm, Saturday and Sunday 9am – 7pm.


Greenbrier State Park, just over an hour’s drive from DC in Boonsboro, MD, has a beach area on a man-made freshwater lake, where visitors can swim, paddle, boat, and fish. Swimming is only allowed from May through September in designated areas when swim ropes are in place, with lifeguards there Memorial Day to Labor Day, 11am – 6pm. Admission is $3/person weekdays, $5/person weekends.


Lake Anna State Park in Spotsylvania, MD, is popular for weekend-long trips, but also good as a day trip destination, being less than two hours’ drive from DC. It’s especially great with little ones from Memorial Day Weekend to Labor Day, since it’s very organized with a designated beach/swim area, lifeguards, a bathhouse for changing and restrooms, and a snack bar.


Cape Henlopen State Park is a little over two hours from DC in Lewes, DE, but definitely doable as a day trip if you leave early, especially on a weekday when there is less traffic. We’ve done this and have had a fantastic day at the beach — packed up the car with a cooler and beach gear, got on the road early, and we were on the beach by 10:30am. Enjoyed dinner outdoors and ice cream in town before heading back, arrived home at 9:15pm. Totally worth the time in the car. Open daily, 8am – sunset, and admission is $10/vehicle out of state. Get a glimpse here.


They may not all be beaches, but this round-up of swim spots has a bunch more recommendations for places to take a dip around DC within day trip distance.




Make splash at Soak City in Kings Dominion

Giant water slides, wave pools, waterfalls, sprays and splash pads…this is the stuff kids’ summer dreams are made of. There are some great 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 Waterpark at Upton Hill in Arlington, VA

* Great Waves at Cameron Run in Alexandria, VA

* Six Flags America in Bowie, MD

* The Water Park at Bohrer Park in Gaithersburg, MD

* The Water Mine in Reston, VA

* Atlantis Water Park at Bull Run in Centreville, VA

* Pirate’s Cove Waterpark in Lorton, VA

* Volcano Island Waterpark in Sterling, VA

* Splash Down Water Park in Manassas, VA

* Chesapeake Beach Water Park in Chesapeake Beach, MD

* Soak City Water Park at Kings Dominion in Doswell, VA

* Water Country USA at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, VA




Sit back, relax, and enjoy the drive-in movie

Outdoor movies have become a DC summer tradition over the years with films al fresco in several neighborhoods. Even better, many 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 through October 4, with mostly family-friendly films. Get there as early as 6pm and have a bite to eat in the Market or bring food back to your car. Film start times vary, so be sure to check on that. Admission is $20/car, free for walk-ins. Advance purchase is recommended.


National Harbor’s Movies on the Potomac series is back through the September 29. Every Sunday (family night) at 6pm and Thursday (date night) at 7pm, guests can see a free film on the big outdoor Plaza Screen right on the waterfront. .Pack your chairs, grab food to go from one of the many eateries, and meet at the Plaza’s big screen for a FREE evening of fun and entertainment.


CiNOMAtic, the NoMa BID’s outdoor movie series at Alethia Tanner Park is screening “Epic Expedition” themed films Wednesdays at sunset through June 5.


Adams Morgan Movie Nights  is back with free movies on Tuesday evenings from May 21 – June 25 with all sports-themed films to get hyped for the summer Olympics. The program runs 8-11pm at Marie Reed Recreation Center’s soccer field (18th & California St, NW). Restaurants in the neighborhood will be offering special takeout meals that attendees can bring to the field.


New this year are Summer Film Nights at the Zoo, a free outdoor summer event series set to dazzle and entertain.  Movies will be shown on Lion-Tiger Hill, the grassy lawn located near the Harvard Street entrance to the Zoo, on May 16, June 20, July 18.  Reserve passes in advance.


Sunset Cinema at The Wharf presents free movies on Transit Pier on Thursday evenings starting at 7pm. There is a mix of action movies, rom-coms, blockbusters, and classics, so be sure to check the shedule to see what’s playing.


At the Navy Memorial Plaza (7th & Pennsylvania Ave NW) catch Movies on the Memorial on Thursday evenings.  The series of Navy-themed films pays tribute to our rich maritime heritage.  Look for the line-up soon.


Audi Field will once again transform into an outdoor cinema as Movies on the Pitch shows films on the stadium’s jumbotron screen —  May 30, June 6, June 20, June 27, and July 18 — all of them family-friendly.


Join the Rosslyn BID this summer for the Rosslyn Cinema Series to enjoy your favorite movies on the lawn in Gateway Park on Fridays in June.


Cinematery, themed “Summer of Spirits” this year, will screen four iconic haunted films.  It takes place monthly at Congressional Cemetery on Capitol Hill, on May 31, July 5, August 2, and September 6.


Enjoy Films in the Park in the Mosaic District will show movies in Strawberry Park every Thursday, 7-9pm, from June 20 to August 15.


Films at the Stone will host monthly screenings of family-friendly movies on Fridays, June 21, July 19, & August 16 at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial.


The Columbia Pike Movie Nights series is returning. Enjoy free movies on Fridays nights at Arlington Mill Community Center and Saturday nights at Penrose Square stating July 5 through August 24.  The selection of 16 family-friendly films include animation, adventure, comedy, musicals, and more.


Georgetown Sunset Cinema presets movies on Tuesdays in the lovely Georgetown Waterfront Park, with the panoramic backdrop of the sunset, Potomac River, Kennedy Center, and Key Bridge.  Free and open to all. 2024 dates TBA.



Friday night concerts at the Yards are a great start to summer weekends

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


The Bethesda Friday Summer Concerts will run Fridays, 6-8pm, from May 17 – September 20. Enjoy music, food, and fun at the corner of Norfolk & St. Elmo Avenues.


Jazz in the Garden, the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden’s free concert series, is back. Experience live music amid art at every Friday from 6–8:30pm starting May 31, and there will be weekly shows through August 9. 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. Registration is required for all ages 2+.


The U.S. Air Force Band’s Summer Concert Series brings outdoor concerts to National Harbor on Saturdays at 7pm and occasionally at other sites around the area starting June 1.


Rock the Dock at The Wharf on Transit Pier every Wednesday evening at 7pm from May 29 – August 28. R&B, Americana, Motown, Jazz, Reggae, Go-go, Country, and your favorite pop covers will be among the sounds you can hear, all for free.  There’s much more to enjoy on the Southwest Waterfront — read about it here.


Starting June 1 through August 31, enjoy music in Northern Virginia parks! The Fairfax County Park Authority presents their Summer Entertainment Series, a summer-long calendar of family-friendly shows, and concerts in local parks. Bring a picnic dinner, blankets, and lawn chairs to enjoy the best local and regional entertainers. There are many shows throughout the summer, so view the schedule here.


The U.S. Navy Band is bringing back Concerts at the Capitol, performances on the west steps of the U.S. Capitol Building, and other iconic spots around DC June 3 – August 26 at 8pm.  All performances are free and open to the public.


Glen Echo Park’s 2024 Summer Concerts Series presents free live music in the historic Bumper Car Pavilion on Thursdays at 7:30pm from June 13 through August 29 featuring a variety of local bands and musical genres, from country to reggae, swing to Latin jazz, African to Cajun and blues.


Friday Night Concerts at Yards Park will be back  for the 13th season from June 28 – August 23. The series will feature performances by popular local artists with cold beverages and  food available for purchase, lots of grassy space for hanging out, and the water features for kids to play in nearby to make it a bigger family evening out.


Rockville Town Square is bringing back its Summer on the Square concert series. Enjoy live music on Fridays 6:30-8pm, from June 7 – September 20.


Tysons Corner Center presents a Summer Concert Series as part of their Summer on the Plaza activities. Bring your dancing shoes and enjoy live music from 7-9pm on  May 18, June 5, and July 20.


Enjoy music Live from the Lawn at Strathmore on Wednesday evenings from July 10 – August 21.  (They also have Cool Concerts for Kids on select Thursdays!)


The Kennedy’s Center’s Millennium Stage  continues to present free live performances on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 6pm, occasionally outside on The REACH plaza.





Giant puppets at a past Folklife Festival

Several stand-out events are anticipated around the area this time of year, celebrating everything from music to art & culture to neighborhoods to food.  There are also a few smaller happenings to plan for in advance.


From May 25-27,ViVa! Vienna!, a family and community oriented celebration of Memorial Day and the greater Vienna Community spirit,   will have amusement rides, food, crafts, vendors, and live entertainment.


The Mac Daddy of Truck Touch events around the area, the DC Department of Public Works’ Annual Truck Touch will take place on June 1, 8am – 1pm at RFK Stadium, Lot 8.  Tickets are free, but reserve a spot!


Celebrate Capital Pride during the month of June, especially June 8-9 at the annual parade and festival that culminates a week of gay pride events around the city. The Saturday parade 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 LGBTAQ community and join the celebration.


The National Zoo will be hosting Science Solstice Saturday on June 22.  The free, fun-filled immersive scientific experience will offer opportunities to engage with scientists, researchers, and animal experts to learn how science is shaping the future of wildlife conservation.


Sound Scene, an interactive sound and multi-sensory arts festival, will be back at the Hirshhorn June 22-23. The free, all-ages celebration of sonic and sensory arts will feature artists from DC and around the world. With a “Solstice” theme, visitors can explore various concepts and issues through interactive art installations, live performances, and small group workshops.


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.


On June 15, get a close look at some of the most exciting aircraft at the Innovations in Flight Outdoor Aviation Day. The event takes place at the Steven C. Udvar-Hazy Center, the Chantilly arm of the National Air & Space Museum. View over 50 unique aircraft that  fly in for the day and be on display outside the museum. You can even go into some of the cockpits and cabins and talk with pilots. Admission is free, but tickets are required.


The Smithsonian Folklife Festival will take place this year June 26 – July 1.  Every summer, the National Mall becomes stomping grounds of folks from around the globe to celebrate living cultural heritage and community traditions at the annual event. Celebrating Indigenous Voices of the Americas this year, get ready for all kinds exhibits, demonstrations, live performances, talks, food, markets, and much more!


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 significant. It starts with the National Independence Day Parade down Constitution Avenue, then the A Capitol Fourth concert at the U.S. Capitol, and fireworks launched from both sides of the Lincoln Memorial.


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 offers more ways to appreciate the flowers and park. This year the festival will take place over a couple of weekends, from July 19-21. View scenes from a previous bloom here.


July 27-28, the Downtown DC BID presents Kids World 2024, a celebration of youth and learning in Franklin Park . Free and open to all, the event will feature a variety of creative pop-ups, hands-on activities, performances by talented local youth,  playful installations, and more to entertain and educate young visitors and their families.


County fair season in the region starts in early August and goes through late September.  It starts with the Howard County Fair August 3-10,  then the Montgomery County Fair August 9-17, the Prince William County Fair August 11-19, the Arlington County Fair August 14-18, the Prince George’s County Fair (dates TBA), and the Anne Arundel County Fair (dates TBA).


The National Book Festival, one of the most anticipated annual events in DC, takes place on August 24, 9am – 8pm! Book enthusiasts, young and old, come from all over for the day of reading-related activities. Works by more than 70 authors, poets, and illustrators will be showcased, and the creators themselves will be at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center for special appearances. See the website for more details. Admission is free. 


It might run into fall, but it starts August 24, so the Maryland Renaissance Festival counts among the summer fun. Plus, if you’ve been reading KFDC while then you know it’s one of my very, very favorite annual events. (More confirmation on  that herehere, herehereherehere, here, here, and here.) I take a lot of pride in the number of people I have turned into Ren Fest believers.  So, go! I promise, it is the absolute best. (PS: I shared these tips a couple of years ago, and they’ll be very helpful again.)



A fairy house find at Annmarie Sculpture Garden

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


The National Children’s Museum will welcome theMindbender Mansion exhibit to its Visiting Exhibit Hall. It will be an eclectic place full of brainteasers and interactive challenges guaranteed to test the brain power and problem-solving skills of even the most experienced puzzlers. Visit it May 25 – September 2.


It’s not actually an exhibit, but the Folger Shakespeare Library will have several fascinating exhibits plus performances at its theatre plus a brand new space when it reopens to the public after a thre- year renovation on June 21! Hours will be 11am – 6pm Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and 11am – 9pm Thursday – Saturday.  Admission is free (suggested donation of $15).  Get an idea of what’s at the Folger in this KFDC post from pre-renovation.


National Building Museum’s Summer Block Party started with indoor mini-golf, after that it was a giant maze, then came the super awesome Beach, followed by Icebergs, then Hive buzzed in, a couple of years ago we played in the Fun House, in 2019 we hung out on the LAWN, in 2022 The Playhouse celebrated Shakespeare, and last year it was LOOK HERE.  This year’s summer exhibition is still TBD, but it is sure to be exciting! It usually begins around July 1 and runs through Labor Day.


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 are just fantastic to view and find throughout the grounds. Created by all ages, individuals and groups, each one has a different theme, but together they are a brilliant showcase of imagination and craftiness. Read more about it and view scenes from a past exhibit here and here.


ARTECHOUSE, the destination in southwest known for fusing art and technology will have a new exhibit for the summer.  Details will be shared soon! Admission is $20-25/adult, $17/age 4-15, $72/family 4-pack, free/under 4.


During the warm months, little ones can flex their green thumbs in the outdoor Children’s Garden at the U.S. Botanic Garden. Renovated a few years 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 is great to explore, too!




You can’t beat the lovely outdoor setting of Wolf Trap’s Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods

From super cheap movies in local theaters to stay cool on hot days to live theatre at fun places, there are some great ways to keep kiddos entertained all season long.


The Regal Summer Movie Express presents flicks for kids on many Tuesdays & Wednesdays at 10am from late May 21 through August 27. Admission is just $2! Be sure to check the website for the film schedule and theater locations, as it doesn’t run at all theaters every week — this year’s program details should be available soon!


The National Portrait Gallery is hosting Portrait Gallery Kids  on select Mondays, 11:30am – 12:30pm, from June 3 through August 26.  Children and families are invited to join museum educators to will look at art, do hands-on activities, listen to music, and participate in story time. Each session will explore a new topic and use different materials. Admission is free.


National Harbor hosts a free Kids Day on the Plaza every Tuesday at 10:30am at the waterfront plaza stage. The fun Tuesday mornings will run June 4 – August 27. Enjoy summer sunshine and cool river breezes along with a rotation of family-friendly activities.


The beloved Adventure Theatre in Glen Echo Park will present the show Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale from June 20 – August 18.


And the popular Imagination Stage is performing Miss Nelson is Missing from June 20 – August 10.


Millennium Stage Extraordinary Cinema is presenting several family movies — Jurassic Park on May 31, Elemental on June 21, Ratatouille on June 28, and The Lorax on August 2 — all of them are FREE and will be screened around 8:30pm outside on the wall of The REACH.


Throughout summer on select dates from June 10 – August 10, Montgomery Parks is hosting Parks Playhouse Junior, an entrainment series for kids featuring live puppet shows, sing-alongs, and music lessons by performers that will keep kids moving and grooving, engaged, and informed.


From June 20 through August 3, 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 (it’s an old one, but still relevant!)


Starting mid-June, Arts in the Parks, Fairfax County Park Authority will present a free children’s entertainment series on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 10am.  Locations vary — catch shows at Burke Lake Park, Frying Pan Farm Park, EC Lawrence Amphitheater, Mason District, and Waterfield Park.


The Cinemark Summer Movie Clubhouse is back and offering fun $1 films for kids every Wednesday from June 10 – August 15. Check the schedule to see what’s playing at a theater near you!


Experience a real-life night at the museum at a Smithsonian Sleepover at the National Museum of Natural History.  Kids and parents can explore exhibits after dark, participate in games and challenges, and enjoy an overnight in a favorite DC place.  Follow the link for pricing and more details.


Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, with locations in NoMa, Loudoun, and Woodbridge, welcomes families to Kids Camp, a movie series that is inexpensive ($5) and benefits local charities, to boot.


Olney Outdoors is back  with over 25 summer programs to be held on the Root Family Stage at Omi’s Pavilion, this summer from July 5 – August 31.


Strathmore is hosting Cool Concerts for Kids on Thursdays July 11, July 18, July 25, and August 1 at 7pm.


See a Shakespeare play in the park! The Chesapeake Shakespeare Company presents its annual Shakespeare in the Ruins at the picturesque Patapsco Female Institute Historic Park in Ellicott City, MD. The Merry Wives of Windsor will run June 14 – July 21.  Tickets are $65/adult, $33/age 19-25, and one kid is free with every adult.  Bring along a picnic to enjoy as you watch the play — there are no food vendors, but you can BYO fare, beer, and wine.


See what regularly occurring museum programs for kids are happening this summer!




Ride through the woods on the Watkins miniature train

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 opened its Antique Carousel and Mini Golf (the Miniature Train is not open as it’s undergoing a restoration) 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 (closes at 4pm) & September 2 (Labor Day).  This along with all of the other fun features — Nature Center, Old Maryland Farm, and Wizard of Oz Playground!


Cabin John Regional Park opened its Miniature Train on weekends only in early May, and will run on weekends through September 10am – 6pm. Rides are $3.50. Plan to spend time at the wonderful Cabin John playground, too — read more about it 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 through the summer. After Memorial Day, it’s open Thursday – Sunday, but hours vary, so be sure to check the website..  Rides are $3.50.  Plan to stay and play at the super fun Wheaton playground — read more about it here.


At Glen Echo Park, the beautiful historic Dentzel Carousel is celebrating its 103rd season! Plan to go for a spin before or after a show at Adventure Theatre or The Puppet Co. From May through August 31, it’s open Wednesday – Friday 10am – 2pm, and Saturday and Sunday 11am – 5pm. Tickets are $2/ride, $5/all-day pass.


Get ready to kick some putt at The Wharf!  Pixar Putt, a mini golf course inspired by the stories, characters, and icons from some of Pixar’s most beloved films, is popping up at the southwest waterfront from March 25 to August 3.  Hours are Monday – Thursday, 12-8pm and Friday-Sunday, 10am – 8pm.  Note that tee times are age 18+ after 7pm on Fridays and Saturdays. Admission is $32/child, $34/adult, $108/family 4-pack.


The Clemyjontri carousel in McLean, VA, will be offering rides daily starting May 27 on weekdays 9:30am – 1pm and weekends 9:30am – 6:30pm. (Until then only on weekends) Cost is $4/weekdays, $5/weekends & holidays. Read more about Clemyjontri here.


National Harbor offers a couple of ways to go for a spin. 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 are $17.50/age 13+, $13.50/12 & under. For an on-ground whirl,  The Carousel features a herd of whimsical creatures and the sparkling Potomac as a backdrop. It’s $7/ 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, Carousel, and Mini Golf are open daily from Memorial Day – Labor Day.  The train 11am – 5:45pm, the carousel 11am -5:30pm, and mini golf 11am – 8pm (last play 7pm). 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 $4-5, train rides are $5-6, mini golf is $7-9. See more about the park here.


Play Mini Golf in the District at East Potomac Park.  (Fun fact: It’s on the National Register of Historic Places listed as the oldest continually operating miniature golf course in the country!) Open Saturday and Sunday, 10am – 8pm. Admission is $6/kids and seniors, $7/adults. Read more about hanging out at East Potomac Park’s Hains Point. (FYI: You can also play Foot Golf there!)


Tee up at several NoVa Parks that have mini golf courses. Cameron RunUpton HillPohick Bay, and Algonkian Regional Parks all welcome guests to putt around.  Cost is $5/age 12 & under, $7/13+. Check websites for hours at each park.


Lee District Family Rec Area in Alexandria offers ides on its Chesapeake Bay-themed carousel.  Open daily June 15 – August 18 (and weekends until June 14) — hours are 11am – 6pm Monday/Tuesday/Thursday, 11am – 5pm Wednesday, and 9am – 6pm Saturday/Sunday.  Cost is $4 per ride on Fridays, $5 per ride weekends & holidays.




Kick it at a DC United match!

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. Our family always enjoys catching a Nats game on 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 all kinds of offers and discounts.


Whether or not you’ve got a little soccer fan in your fam, DC United matches are fun experiences for all ages, and Audi Field is a great venue for watching them. Plus, since games only last 90 minutes, they’re not too long if young spectators get antsy.


Women’s pro soccer team, Washington Spirit, are playing their matches at Audi Field this season — and they are always very exciting to watch!


Can’t stand the heat? Head to the Entertainment & Sports Arena in southeast DC to see the Washington Mystics (w)hoop it up on the basketball court. Tickets start at $14.


Every summer, the Mubala Citi DC 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.


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 to see the Bowie Baysox, Potomac Nationals, or Aberdeen Ironbirds play. Summer collegiate team Bethesda Big Train is also very popular for non-majors baseball action.


The Breeze, DC’s Ultimate Frisbee pro team,  plays at Catholic University’s Carlini Field.  It’s fast-paced, fun to watch, and there’s a welcoming family vibe — plus, kids 8 and under get in free!



Blackberry picking at Homestead Farm

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, and 11th Street Bridge 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.


Summer in the Parks will offer weekly events every Thursday evening 6-8pm at Carter Barron in June and at Fort Slocum in August in partnership with Rock Creek Park/National Park Service. The FREE, family-friendly events will have music from DJ Lance Reynolds and fun-for-all-ages games and activities.


Join Anacostia Riverkeeper and Earth Conservation Corps on Friday evenings 5-8pm  from June 21 – September 5 for Friday Night Fishing, their catch and release fishing program at the dock at Diamond Teague Park (located next to Yards Park). Rods, reels, bait, and instruction are free. No sign up is required.


Enjoy some fun in the trees navigating the best ropes courses in an aerial forest around! The Adventure Park at Sandy Spring is open in spring and fall, too, but summer is a great time to go when the kids are off school and weekdays are options too.  Read about  some of our experiences there here and here.


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. Or go for a jaunt with Urban Pirates in Baltimore.


Some of the most spectacular flower blooms occur during the summer. 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, will officially welcome skaters daily from 9am – 5pm starting Memorial Day through Labor Day. Even better, both admission and skate rentals are FREE! (You can still BYO skates and roll around the rest of the year.) And along with skating, Anacostia Park offers all kinds of recreation, including large fields for sports and running around, tennis, fishing, basketball, biking, running, and three playgrounds. Read more about the park in this KFDC post.




One of the best treats of the season

Crab feasting is 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 for many.

* Mike’s Crab House in Riva has a great tiki area if there’s a table wait.

* The Point in Arnold, MD, has become one of our favorite crabby spots.

* Enjoy great crabs and an awesome beach area at Kentmorr.

* The Jetty on Kent Narrows has crabs, scenic views, and a fun beachy vibe.

* Skipper’s Pier in Deale is the most recent place we tried — and we all liked it.

* 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.



Lawn games like Kadima elevate summer hangs

There are some items that help enhance your summer experiences, whether you’re going to the pool, headed to the beach, or just enjoying a day outdoors in the sunshine. These KFDC posts have great recommendations for gearing up for summer fun.

* Amazon Picks for Spring & Summer Adventures with Kids

* 10 Outdoor “Lawn” Games for Extra Summer Fun

* Must-Haves for Keeping Kids Cool at the Pool

* Top Picks for the Best Beach Day

* This past post and this one with Prime Day picks also include lots of summer recommendations.



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


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Filed under 2024, DC, Maryland, Summer, Virginia

Sundays are Family Fun Days at Swingers in Dupont Circle!


Families, tee up for Sunday fun!

Swingers, the crazy golf club in Dupont Circle, has been a destination for adults seeking fun, competitive indoor experiences since 2021.  A vibrant atmosphere, welcoming hospitality, and opportunities for play have made Swingers a go-to spot for the over-21 crowd looking for something more elevated than their usual day or night out.

And now, kids can get in on the fun! Every Sunday before 6pm, Swingers is welcoming the under-21 crowd, too!

Sundays at Swingers is a perfect option for families looking to spend some quality time together. Kids and parents can enjoy an awesome day out, filled with exciting competition, delicious street food and drinks, lively entertainment, and lots of laughter.  After working up an appetite on the crazy golf course, guests old and young can dig into bites and treats from Kneadza Pizza, tuTaco, and Lil’ Succotash accompanied by frozen slushies. While the kids stay engaged with a specially designed menu and activity sheets, parents can relax with a well-deserved cocktail from the bar.

Even more, if you’re looking to plan the ultimate kid’s birthday party, Swingers now offers The Birthday SetThey take care of just about everything; all you have to do is reserve the date and bring a cake!  For $48 per guest, parties include:

  • A round of crazy golf
  • Unlimited soft drinks
  • Party food platters
  • Ice cream
  • Reserved party area for 1.5 hours
  • Goodie bags to take home

Sundays are about to get a whole lot more exciting, so round up your crew and get ready to swing into action by booking your tickets today!

Tickets start from $21 per person and can be booked online.

Family Fun at Swingers
Where: 1330 19th St NW | Dupont Circle, DC
When: Sundays, 11am – 6pm
Admission: $21

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This post is sponsored by Swingers, however, I only promote places, programs, and events that I genuinely believe in and think would appeal to KFDC readers.

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Filed under DC, Indoor Play