Summer in the City
Where: Throughout the DMV
When: All weekend
Admission: Varies by activity
Enjoy activities that make this time of year so much fun. Start the weekend off on Friday with an outdoor movie, then continue the fun on Saturday and Sunday with water play at a pool, spray park, or go big at a waterpark. Cool off indoors at special museum program like the Summer Block Party at the Building Museum. Feast on crabs or hit the beach to fulfill a seasonal must-do. Get details about all of these summer diversions and even more in the 2021 summer guide.
Where: Nationals Park | Capitol Riverfront, DC
When: Friday, Saturday, Sunday
Admission: Ticket prices vary
A day at the ballpark is about as all-American as it gets when it comes to sports, and you can experience it and celebrate the holiday at Nationals Park as they host the Dodgers this weekend. Kick off Independence Day with a Saturday evening game (7:15pm) and enjoy a postgame fireworks show. The July 4th game on Sunday (11:15am) is part of the Patriotic Series. There’s also a game Friday evening. Before you go, check out this post for tips to save on a Nats game.
Millennium Stage: Relax, Relate, Release
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: Friday, 5:30pm & Saturday, 10am
This weekend’s Millenium Stage is a mini-fest of joy and play curated by three black women through film, art, literature, movement, and music. Enjoy it all on The Kennedy Center’s The Reach Plaza. Register for it in advance.
Fun, Food, & Fireworks at Victura Park
Where: The REACH | Kennedy Center, DC
When: Throughout the weekend
Also at the Kennedy Center, the family-friendly outdoor pop-up and wine garden at The REACH will be a great place to hang out this weekend. Food and drinks are available to enjoy in an area set up with picnic tables, and it’s always a fun, lively vibe. Be sure to explore the beautiful grounds, stop in The REACH Buildings, stroll the Kennedy Center terrace, and take in sweeping views of the Potomac. Even better, it’ll be open late on Sunday for a July 4th celebration and a great spot to view the fireworks on the National Mall. Hours are Friday 4-9pm, Saturday 12-9pm, and Sunday 12-10pm.
Sketching is Seeing
Where: National Gallery of Art | National Mall, DC
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free with timed-entry tickets
Sketching Is Seeing, the National Gallery of Art’s program that encourages visitors to sketch the art they view at the museum, returns this weekend! The program will be as contactless as possible and with a focus on works by American artists in honor of the July 4th holiday. Throughout the month of July, 15,000 sketchbooks will be distributed for families to use to sketch around the campus (or at home!).
First Look at the Lotus and Lilies
Where: Kenilworth Aquatic Garden | Northeast DC
When: Daily, 8am – 4pm
The annual lotus flower and water lily bloom has begun at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, and while it has a ways to go until the peak, it’s still so pretty to see (though Kenilworth is wonderful anytime). Go get a glimpse of it at this early stage, and before the crowds get there. And, FYI, the annual festival to celebrate the bloom will be virtual this year. See scenes from a past bloom here and learn about a great way to combine a visit with another activity here. And this post has more general info and background on Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens.
Where: National Harbor | Oxon Hill, MD
When: Throughout the weekend
The world-class, live entertainment attraction that has captured the hearts and imaginations of a new generation of families is celebrating its 23rd 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!
Weekend Walk-In: Earth Collage
Where: American Visionary Art Museum | Baltimore, MD
When: Saturday, 10am – 12pm
Join the museum for their first in-person, drop-in, art workshop in over a year! In the spacious Tall Sculpture Love Barn, create a collage inspired by artist William Hall, whose work is currently on view in our “Earth” exhibit. All supplies included, and all ages welcome. Read more about wonderful, wacky AVAM here. And find more ways to enjoy Baltimore, including food recs and ares to explore, here.
Where: Baltimore Museum of Industry | Baltimore, MD
When: Saturday, 9am – 3pm
Admission: $12/adult, $7/age 7-17, free/6 & under
Join the museum all about Baltimore’s early business days for a socially distanced welcome back — starting this weekend, it will be open Saturdays and Sundays. Shop the Farmer’s Market outside, tour the galleries, watch a live demo in the print shop, meet a photographer whose images are on display, and more. Make a day of it Charm City with the help of the KFDC Guide to Exploring Baltimore with Kids.
Dinosaur Park Open House
Where: Dinosaur Park | Laurel, MD
When: Saturday, 10am – 2pm
Discover an ancient world right in Prince George’s County! On the first and third Saturdays of every month, Dinosaur Park in Laurel welcomes the public to their interpretive programs.. Paleontologists and educators will display fossils, casts, and models of Astrodon johnstoni, Maryland’s state dinosaur, along with other 112 million-year-old creatures found there.
Where: Homestead Farm | Poolesville, MD
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale
It’s peach picking time at many local farms; the summer fruits are ripe and ready for harvest. If you want to get them at their peak, check out this list of area farms that offer pick-your-own (note that not all of them have peaches, so be sure to read descriptions… one that definitely does and we love to go to is Homestead Farms). And it’s always a good idea to check websites or call for updates to confirm availability when you plan to go.
Where: Audi Field | Southwest DC
When: Saturday, 5:30pm
Admission: Tickets start at $28
DC United is home this weekend with a match against Toronto on Saturday. I recommend taking public transportation since parking can be difficult. Idea: Take Metro to the Navy Yard and have a pre-game bite to eat then it’s an easy walk to the stadium. El Bebe, The Salt Line, and All Purpose are very convenient and my top recs for family-friendly spots to eat there.
Independence Day Weekend Fireworks
Where: Lake Fairfax |
When: Saturday, 9pm
Admission: $10/car in advance, $15/car day of
Lake Fairfax is bringing back its community celebration with fireworks on July 3, launched at dark shortly after 9pm. Attendees should arrive by 8pm for time to park and find a spot to watch the show. You can even make a day out of it at the park — it opens at sunrise and will have various food trucks on site throughout the day, plus the Water Mine Family Swimmin’ Hole will be open from 11am – 6pm (purchase tickets in advance as the water park routinely sells out by noon).
July 4th Neighborhood Parades
Where: Capitol Hill & Palisades, DC + Takoma Park, MD
While many parades are canceled this year, a couple of neighborhood processions are still happening. The annual Capitol Hill Community Parade will take place along Barracks Row at 10am. The Palisades annual parade and picnic is on, the fun starting at the corner of Whitehaven Pkwy and MacArthur at 12pm and ending at the rec center. And Takoma Park is doing a Parade of Houses throughout the holiday weekend.
An American Celebration
Where: Mount Vernon | Mount Vernon, VA
When: Sunday, 9am – 5pm
Admission: $18-20/adult, $11-12/age 6-11, free/5 & under
The home of George Washington salutes the first commander-in-chief with a dazzling display of made-for-daytime fireworks during its annual Independence Day event. Visitors will be treated to spectacular smoke fireworks in patriotic colors fired over the Potomac River. The event also includes an inspirational naturalization ceremony for 100 new citizens, military reenactments, a special wreathlaying ceremony, and a visit from the “first” first couple, “General and Mrs. Washington.” See the full schedule of events here.
Fourth of July at the National Archives
Where: National Archives | National Mall, DC
When: July 4, 8am – 4pm
Join the National Archives for a one-of-a-kind July 4th celebration! This year, celebrate virtually or in person at the Archives! There will be a variety of educational and family-friendly interactive programs with historical figures and Archives educators, and a lively, patriotic reading ceremony emceed by journalist Soledad O’Brien. This year, they’ll also lift the words of the Declaration of Independence off of its well-worn parchment and bring them to homes across the country online.
Star-Spangled Concert & Fireworks
Where: Prince George’s Stadium | Bowie, MD
When: Sunday, 7pm
Admission: $15/age 13+, $10/age 3-12
The Bowie Baysox are hosting the Star-Spangled 4th Of July Concert & Fireworks Spectacular! DC Fusion, one of the DMV’s most in-demand dance bands, will play musical hits from the 60’s through today from many different styles and genres of music — something for everyone during the two-hour set. After the concert, the sky over Prince George’s Stadium will explode with a Fireworks Spectacular that will bring you to your feet!
4th of July Fireworks
Where: Lincoln Memorial | National Mall, DC
When: Sunday, shortly after 9pm
The fireworks shows will be back on the National Mall, and the public can watch them right from there. This article has details on where you can enter the area starting as early as 1pm, along with alternative spots to see the fireworks show. There is also info for getting downtown, public transportation strongly recommended over driving.
***MORE GOOD STUFF***
* DC’s Youth Meals Program is underway for the summer, with free meals available for all kids ages 5-18 on weekdays 10am – 2pm. (Follow the link for locations.)
* If like me, you’re a mosquito’s favorite meal, read this.
* I’m giving this a try, too.
* Also from the Washington Post, good tips for road trips with your new pup.
* And speaking of dogs, how great is this Beck video (and song).
* 10 Happy Things for July from my awesome friend and photographer Darcy Troutman.