Category Archives: Live Entertainment

The Occoquan Arts & Crafts Show is Less Than Two Weeks Away, June 3-4!

occoquancraftshow


This post is sponsored by the Town of Occoquan, however, I only promote programs and places that I genuinely believe in and think will appeal to KFDC readers.

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Filed under 2017, All ages, Annual, Art, Eats, Festival, Free, Live Entertainment, Music, Outdoor, Shop, Special Event, Sponsored Post, Spring, Virginia, Weekend

Where to Play on the Weekdays: May 22-26

Even after countless visits, he's still in awe of the Air & Space Museum

Even after countless visits, he’s still in awe of the Air & Space Museum



Monday – View amazing artifacts of aviation and space, discover How Things Fly, take a virtual journey among the stars, catch an IMAX film, see a planetarium show, and much more at the National Air & Space Museum on the National Mall. There’s good reason why it’s one of the most popular of the Smithsonian museums (and in the world)! Hours are 10am – 5:30pm. Admission is free, though there are fees to ride flight simulators ($7-12) and see movies ($9/adult, $7.50 child).

Tuesday – Put some brilliant color into what’s forecast to be a gray, rainy day on a visit to the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore. Housing some of the most wonderful, whimsical art around, the vibrant, quirky collections — including interactive pieces — can be appreciated by art buffs of all ages. Hours are 10am – 6pm Tuesday – Sunday. Admission is $15.95/adults, $13.95/seniors, $9.95/students & ages 7 and up, free for 6 and under.

Wednesday – Take little ones to see a show on strings at The Puppet Co. The series is designed for the youngest theatre patrons (ages 0-4), so performances are shorter, the lights stay on, and the doors stay open. This week’s featured show, Old MacDonald’s Farm, begins at 10am and tickets are $6. If weather cooperates, plan to stay and play at Glen Echo Park afterwards and bring along a picnic lunch or grab food from the Praline Cafe on premises.

Thursday – Go strawberry picking! The time is ripe for gathering the fruits at several area farms — Schlagel, Westmoreland, Wegmeyer, Great Country, and Green Truck — and you can find info on all them in this post about PYO opportunities. And I always recommend calling ahead to confirm the patches are open and good for picking that day.

Friday – Tour El Galeón, a full-size reconstructed Spanish sailing vessel used in early Colonial times, as she stops in Alexandria on its journey up and down the East Coast. The 16th century Spanish galleon replica will be docked at the City Marina May 25-29 and open to visitors 10am – 7pm daily. Admission is $10/adult, $5/child, free for under 5.


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Filed under 2017, All ages, Art, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Farm, Free, Indoor Play, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Movies, Museums, Outdoor, Seasonal, Spring, Theatre, Virginia, Weekdays

The Weekend Round-Up: May 19-21

Catching sprays from the fountain outside of the National Gallery of Art

Catching sprays from the fountain outside of the National Gallery of Art



Music outdoors, story time with the Redskins, a time trip to colonial days, cultural festivities, live entertainment, fun opportunities to support local non-profits, and much more. These are just some of the ways you can spend some QT with the kids over the next few days. Read on for even more. Happy Weekend!

Jazz it Up
Where: National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden | National Mall, DC
When: Friday, 5–8:30pm
Admission: Free

Start the weekend with live entertainment under in the fresh air. The free, outdoor summer music series kicks off this weekend with Brazlian Buegrass band Matuto. Spread out a blanket, pack a picnic dinner or purchase food and drinks there, and enjoy the tunes and the “summer” vibe. Note: BYO alcohol is not permitted, but adult drinks are available from the pavilion.

Go Fish!
Where: Constitution Gardens | National Mall, DC
When: Saturday, 10am – pm
Admission: Free

Get the kids hooked on nature at this fishing event. All ages are invited to an action-packed day of fishing instruction and fun at the Department of Energy and Environment’s 9th Annual Family & Youth Casting Call. Training and gear will be provided for participants to catch a fish. Activities aren’t limited to casting a line — guests can learn to tie knots, do some fish art, enjoy games, and learn about the Potomac watershed and the wildlife that is such an exciting part of it. And PBS Kids’ Nature Cat will be there accompanied by Buddy Bison from the National Park Trust to celebrate Kids to Parks Day. Constitution Garden is located at 17th and Constitution Avenue NW (near the Vietnam Memorial).

Acton Children’s Business Fair
Where: 3400 Connecticut Ave | Cleveland Park
When: Saturday, 10am – 1pm
Admission: Free

Experience the power of young entrepreneurs! Shop the Acton Children’s Business Fair of Washington, DC, an outdoor market where children ages 6-14 become entrepreneurs for a day. Over 100 young entrepreneurs will be selling everything from animal books to poems, tomato plants and wiggly worms, homemade bread, iPhone screen repairs, and more. This event is free and open to the public. Most businesses will accept cash only, so plan accordingly.

Redskins Read Bookfair
Where: Barnes & Noble stores throughout the DMV
When: Saturday,
Admission: Free

Stop by your local Barnes & Noble store for the Redskins Read Bookfair for a day of fun and a chance to meet Redskins celebrity readers, cheerleaders, and guest authors! A percentage of each purchase that day will benefit youth literacy programs in our community. Fans are encouraged to mention the Redskins Read Bookfair at checkout to participate. The voucher code (12118170) can also be used online at www.bn.com on the day of the event.

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

The City of Gaithersburg welcomes you to their 7th 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. The Gaithersburg City Hall is located at 31 South Summit Avenue.

Playdate with a Purpose
Where: Vienna Town Green | Vienna, VA
When: Saturday, 8:30-11:30am
Admission: $24/family

Want to have a morning of fun and support a great local organization? Join DC Diaper Bank at Playdate with a Purpose this Saturday, 8:30-11:30am, at Vienna Town Green! Enjoy performances by the Great Zucchini and Rainbow Rock, do some kid-friendly yoga, participate in the 1st Annual Diaper Bank Olympics, and learn about how DC Diaper Bank fights family poverty and how you can help.

2nd Annual Family Fun Festival
Where: Sibley Memorial Hospital | Palisades, DC
When: Saturday, 9am – 12pm
Admission: Free

Sibley is hosting its 2nd Annual Family Fun Festival with games, health screenings, live music, snacks, Zumba, giveaways, and more! Bring diapers for the diaper drive to support families in need. And anyone who was born at Sibley can join others for a Sibley Baby Reunion! This will all take place in Parking Lot 2, across from Building A.

Spring Colonial Market Fair
Where: Claude Moore Colonial Farm | McLean, VA
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: $8/adult, $4/child, free for under 3

Celebrate spring at the first Colonial Market Fair of the season at this local living history working farm and National Park. The Spring Colonial Market Fair takes place on Saturday, May 20 and Sunday, May 21 from 11 am until 4:30 pm. Play games, listen to music and interact with staff and volunteers in 18th century costume and character. Watch a children’s puppet theater and make your own corn husk doll. See spinning and candle making. Enjoy the heritage breed animals on site including Ossabow pigs, chickens, geese and turkeys. Herbs and flowering plants available for sale as well as soaps, candles, 18th century clothing and jewelry. Affordable, fun and educational event. Great family outing

SerbFest
Where: Saint Luke Serbian Orthodox Church | Potomac, MD
When: Friday, Saturday, & Sunday
Admission: Free

Celebrate Serbian culture and enjoy some family time at this three-day festival. There‘s something for everyone, including traditional Serbian cuisine, dance and music performances, gifts and boutique items, and lots of family-friendly activities.  Saint Luke’s is located at 10660 River Road in Potomac, MD.

Kids Tree Climb
Where: National Arboretum | Northeast DC
When: Saturday, 10am – 4pm
Admission: Free

Kids have a chance to reach new heights and climb a tree like a professional arborist! While they might not rescue an eaglet, they will definitely have a great time. This invites youth ages 4–14 years to experience the thrill of ascending into a mature tree under the direct supervision of a professional, seasoned tree care worker (arborist)! They will be fully secured with a rope, saddle and safety gear.

Birds & Presidents at Rock Creek Park
Where: Rock Creek Nature Center | Rock Creek Park, DC
When: Saturday, 7am -3pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate International Migratory Bird Day at the Nature Center on Saturday. Activities include bird walks, invasive plant removal, hands-on activities for kids of all ages, exhibits, information booths, a talk about Presidents in Rock Creek Park (1pm), and food.

McLean Day
Where: Lewinsville Park | McLean, VA
When: Saturday, 11am – 5pm
Admission: Free

McLean’s annual festival to celebrate the city has something for everyone in the fam. Enjoy carnival rides, food trucks, live entertainment, a petting zoo, exhibitor booths, free field games, a tennis clinic, Bubble Ball, laser tag, balloon animals, and more that will delight all ages.

Show Time
Where: Local Theatres | Throughout the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by show

* Head to Glen Echo Park to see Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp at Adventure Theatre
* Journey to Wonderland and catch a performance of Momentum Dance Theatre’s production of Alice featuring both company dancers and their students
* Delight little ones with Midsummer Magic at the Atlas Performing Arts Center
* Go wild for The Jungle Book at Imagination Stage
* The Kennedy Center presents the NSO Family Concert Peter and the Wolf in Hollywood on Sunday
* Cinderella is on the Main Stage at The Puppet Co.
* And Old MacDonald’s Farm is this week’s featured Tiny Tots show there
* Ragtime is still running at Ford’s Theatre, a historic DC etertainment venue
* Make it a date night at Shakespeare Theatre’s Macbeth (look for a discount)
* Synetic Theatre’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame would also make for a good KidFree night
* See The Secret Garden performed by Fauquier Community Theatre

Saturday Family Jazz Sessions
Where: Strathmore | Bethesda, MD
When: Saturday, 11am
Tickets: $10/advance, $12/at door

Junior jazz aficionados can spend Saturday morning singing, playing, and preparing for a lifetime of music appreciation. This fun, creative, kid-friendly series features music by a different performer each session. Improvisation is the theme this week, and Seth Kibel will lead the group in a class about makin’ it up as you go along.

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

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

Catch the Ultimate Breeze
Where: Gallaudet University | Northeast, DC
When: Saturday, 6:30pm
Admission: $10/advance, $12.50/day of, free for 12 and under

Bring the kids out for fun, fresh air, and Pro Ultimate Frisbee! Not only will you get to see exciting Frisbee action as local team DC Breeze take on the Montreal Royal, kids can join a free youth clinic (for ages 6-17) before the game at 5pm (FYI: they offer this at every home game.) And while your kids are learning Ultimate out on the field, you can enjoy food and drink specials and listen to a live band to get ready for the game.

Date Night: Smart People
Where: Arena Stage | Southwest DC
When: Through May 21
Admission Tickets start at $41

Oh, this is good! The Arena Stage production is clever and captivating as it deals with race and what shapes our belief systems. The topic is explored through four smart, strong characters, their approaches to their professions, and interactions with each other. While it covers serious subject matter, the show is loaded with laugh-out-loud moments, bringing comic relief to tense situations. In the end, though, it leaves you thinking… and also wistful for a time when we thought, perhaps, we’d crossed some of those bridges.

Civil War Day
Where: Cherry Hill Park and Farmhouse | Falls Church, VA
When: Saturday, 10am – 2pm
Admission: Free

Take a time trip at this family-friendly, living-history event depicting the Falls Church home front during the Civil War. Presentations with Civil War soldiers and civilian re-enactments will be among the festivities along with children’s activities, Civil War dancing, displays and relic exhibits, live music, tours, and more.

Zora & Amelia Pop-Up Shop
Where: Colony Club | Columbia Heights, DC
When: Saturday, 10am – 1pm
Admission: Free

Shop a curated selection of items that have empowerment of girls and women in mind. Zora & Amelia is a new online store founded by a local mom after she joined the Women’s March with her daughter. This Saturday, you can browse in person products from established companies and budding entrepreneurs who want to show the world what a feminist looks like. This Pop-Up Shop is in partnership with playwelldc, a new local, women-owned business that provides prenatal, early childhood classes, and workshops for parents and caregivers.

Armed Forces Day
Where: National Cryptologic Museum | Annapolis MD
When: Saturday, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Honor and celebrate the men and women serving in our nation’s Armed Forces at the National Cryptologic Museum on Saturday. The event promises to be a day of fun and education for the whole family. Indoor and outdoor activities will include a chance to talk by ham radio, K-9 Unit demos, knot tying workshops with the U.S. Naval Sea Cadets, special tours and photo ops, kids gamesto earn SNO cones, music, and more. Service members will be serving hot grilled food and drinks, and ice cream will be available for a sweet treat. Rain or shine.

Powell Elementary Spring Community Carnival
Where: Roosevelt High School | Petworth, DC
When: Saturday, 10am – 3pm
Admission:

Support a local elementary school and have fun at Powell Elementary’s 3rd annual Spring Community Carnival. Activities will include a dunk tank, climbing wall, moon bounces, carnival games and prizes for kids, food & treats, live performances, and more. Proceeds help fund field trips, classroom technology, classroom supplies, and other school-support activities. This will all take place on the Roosevelt football field located at 4301 13th St NW.

Celebrate Hawai`i: The Ahupua`a
Where: National Museum of the American Indian | National Mall, DC
When: Saturday & Sunday, 10:30am – 5pm
Admission: Free

Explore Hawai’i’s unique land management system, the ahupua`a. This traditional environmental system managed the lands and the waters and extended into the air and out into the ocean. Learn the mele (songs) that went with each area of the ahupua`a and the stories that have been passed down.

Capitol Hill Classic
Where: Stanton Park | Capitol Hill, DC
When: Sunday,
Admission: $10-40

Get some exercise and support DC public school at this annual race, one of my personal favorites, through the beautiful Capitol Hill neighborhood. It’s fun and family-friendly with a couple of distances — 10k or 3k — including a fun run around Stanton Park for little ones.

Leveling the Playing Field Fundraiser
Where: Pyle Middle School | Bethesda, MD
When: Sunday, 1-5pm
Admission: $25

Join Leveling the Playing Field for a day full of fun activities and competitions with all proceeds going towards providing free sporting equipment to students in need in the DC area. Both kids and adults will be put on teams to compete against one another for some amazing prizes (sports tickets, memorabilia, and more!). Stations will include everything from relay and 3-legged races to water balloon and frisbee toss! All day you will be joined by some of the very kids who have benefited from Leveling the Playing Field’s equipment program and hear from a few of them about what sports mean to them. This event will take place in two shifts – 1-3pm & 3-5pm. Snacks and refreshments will be provided.

Strawberry Festival
Where: Oatlands Historic House and Gardens | Leesburg, VA
When: Sunday, 11am – 4pm
Admission: $10 or $20/family

The Third Annual Oatlands Strawberry Festival promises an exciting day of fun for the entire family. Enjoy u-pick strawberries, hayrides, crafts, games, tours, more! 

Taste of Arlington
Where: Ballston neighborhood of Arlington, VA
When: Sunday, 12-6pm
Admission: Free, but pay for tasting tickets

The 30th annual Taste of Arlington transforms Wilson Boulevard and neighboring streets into a family-friendly street festival with dining, music, and entertainment for all ages. This annual event features the cuisine of more than 50 Arlington restaurants, two concert stages with live music, an expanded Beer and Wine Garden with Deschutes Brewery’s Street Pub, a 5k race benefiting Girls on the Run, BarkPark, and a KidZone with a rock climbing wall and carnival games. This will all take place on Wilson Blvd. from Glebe Rd. to N. Quincy St.

4-H FUNdraiser
Where: Northern Virginia 4-H Conference Center | Front Royal, VA
When: Sunday, 10am – 4pm
Admission: Free

This family-friendly FUNdraising event is a great opportunity to visit the Northern Virginia 4-H Educational and Conference Center and explore this beautiful piece of Front Royal. Free activities include face painting, performances from local artists, and making s’mores in the campfire circle. Pay-to-play fun will add to the thrill of the day — whiz down a ride on a 275-feet-long zip line or take a dip in theJunior Olympic size pool!  A portion of the proceeds will benefit the 4-H Center, to include 10% of all food and beverage sales and select activity fees. Preregistration preferred, but tickets not required for admission on the day of.

Food Festival of the Americas
Where: Organization of American States | Downtown DC
When: Sunday, 10am – 5pm
Admission: Free

Get a taste of Latin American culture at the Organization of the Women of the Americas’ fundraising event to collect funds for nonprofits in Latin America and the US helping women and children from vulnerable communities. The Festival will showcase cuisines, music, dance, and more cultural traditions from the countries of Latin America, the Caribbean, and Observer members of the OAS. There will also be activities for children, including a piñata workshop, pasta jewelry making, and pizza decorating. While admission is free, you need to purchase tickets for food, drinks, and a raffle.

***More Good Stuff to Know***
* If you haven’t yet bookmarked the 2017 KFDC Guide to the Best of Summer in DC, go do it now. It has all you need to make the most of the warm season — which has already unofficially begun!
* Looking for a fun, active summer camp for kids? Check out DC Way Soccer — I can tell you from my kids’ experiences, it’s a fantastic program!
* Get some great dinner ideas from Not-So-SAHM’s 30 Days of Dinners, a list of her family’s evening meals for the past month with links to recipes. She doesn’t cook at home every night (because… who does?!), but the meals she makes always sound deeelish. And the ones I have made always are.
* It’s a great time to PYO strawberries! Find out some of the best places to reap the fruits here.
* If you want to shop for wonderful & whimsical art, mark your calendar for June 17. It’s the only day this summer that artist Jonathan Blum will be selling his paintings in DC at Eastern Market. His portraits are very distinct — and poignant in their own way. You’ve likely seen some of them around town, as they are beloved by Washingtonians. (We have an Ernie — you know, Bert’s friend — hanging in our kitchen!)


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Filed under 2017, All ages, Annual, Art, Competition, Date Night, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Festival, Free, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Music, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Shop, Special Event, Sports, Spring, Theatre, Virginia, Weekend

Playdate with a Purpose to Support DC Diaper Bank

playdatewithapurpose_instagram

Want to have a morning of fun and support a great local organization? Join DC Diaper Bank at Playdate with a Purpose this Saturday, 8:30-11:30am, at Vienna Town Green!

Enjoy performances by the Great Zucchini and Rainbow Rock, do some kid-friendly yoga, participate in the 1st Annual Diaper Bank Olympics, and learn about how DC Diaper Bank fights family poverty, and how you can help.

Tickets/Family Sponsorships are $24/family and can be purchased online in advance here.


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The 2017 KFDC Guide to the Best of Summer in DC

Summer in the city:  Evening play in the sprays at Yards Park

Summer in the city: Evening play in the sprays at Yards Park



summer-camp

It’s time to bring back one of my favorite annual guides! Summer may not officially begin for a few more weeks, but as we head into the warm months, many seasonal favorites around DC are starting up again. And this guide has the scoop on the best of them, so you can jump in on the fun.

Ah, summer. The time of year to shift gears, from closed toed shoes to sandals, jeans to shorts, red wine to margaritas. It’s when play dates extend well into the evening, a dip in the pool counts as a bath, and the folks at the neighborhood water ice shop know the kids by name.

It’s also when we can enjoy some of the area’s best activities. Water-inspired recreation, music and movies in the open air, special fests and feasts, and bonus attractions at everyday places are just some of the joys of the season.

So, unpack the swimsuits and flip flops, get out the blender for cocktails (smoothies for the kids), bookmark this guide, and get ready to have some summer fun!

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


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 27. Days and hours vary from pool to pool so be sure to check the schedule before you go. Last year they began opening earlier on weekdays, at 11am, and that’s continuing! (And some open even earlier than that for lap swim.)
  • For outdoor swimming outside of the city, Montgomery County outdoor public pools will open on May 27 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.


A refreshing run through the sprays at Georgetown Waterfront Park

A refreshing run through the sprays at Georgetown Waterfront Park

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

  • Georgetown Waterfront Park, right next to the Washington Harbour, has a fountain with arcing sprays that makes for a fun, refreshing way to cool off on a hot, summer day. The rest of its pretty green space along the Potomac is a great place to hang out, too.
  • The 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
  • 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 27, DPR Spray Parks will be open for the season, but hours vary by location, so be sure to check the website for hours.
  • 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. And don’t miss a chance to stop in Tivoli’s Astounding Magic Supply Co. at 826DC located right there.
  • 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.
  • One of the newest to the sprayground scene, the fountains in the Mosaic District welcome all to play in the sprays that jet up from concrete. Surrounded by retail stores and restaurants, you can make a day of it there with some shopping and eating, too. Plan to go on a Tuesday with little ones when you can also enjoy Stories from Strawberry Park at 10-11am. (Note: Currently closed for renovations, but check back for reopening date!)


Make  splash at Soak City in Kings Dominion

Make splash at Soak City in Kings Dominion


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


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

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


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

  • The Capitol Riverfront Friday Night Concert Series at Yards Park begins May 26 and will run through September 1, 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 policy implemented last year still holds). I recommend getting there early, so the kids can play in the fountains before the concert starts at 6:30pm. And on a hot summer day, it’s nice to continue the water fun even while the tunes are playing — you can still hear them from across the park!
  • Experience live music amid art at Jazz in the Garden, the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden’s free concert series, every Friday from 5–8:30pm. The first performance of the season is May 19, rain or shine, and there will be weekly shows through August 25. Spread out a blanket, pack a picnic dinner or purchase food and drinks there, and enjoy the sounds of a variety of jazz artists. Note: Adult drinks are available from the pavilion; BYO alcohol is not permitted.
  • The U.S. Air Force Band 2017 Summer Concert Series kicks off May 17 with a performance by Airmen of Note, Air Force Strings, and Max Impact at the Air Force Memorial. After that, you can catch free concerts all summer long at locales around the DC-Metro area, including the Capitol steps, Sylvan Theater on the Washington Monument grounds, and National Harbor Plaza. Show times vary so be sure to check the U.S. Air Force Band website for the complete summer schedule.
  • 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 starting May 12.
  • All summer long, families can enjoy a variety of free fun at Rockville Town Square. Concerts for all ages on Friday evenings run from June 2 through September 30 — enjoy live music, good food, and beverages from 7-9pm.
  • Rock at the Row returns to Pentagon Row Thursdays July 13 – August 17. 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 Thursday 5-7pm. Celebrate American roots with Americana and folk, country, blues, jazz, and even zydeco outside on the Conservatory Terrace. Schedule still TBD, but check back soon!
  • You can kick-start your weekends at Tysons Corner Center’s Fresh Artists Concert Series. Grab a blanket and enjoy performances ranging from ballet to blues, folk to funk, poetry to pop. Schedule still TBD, so check back.
  • Get a nice dose of nature as you listen to live tunes at Potomac Overlook Park in Arlington on Second Saturdays of the month from May 13 – September 9. The free, family-friendly performances take place on a stage in the woods surrounded by trails to explore. (FYI: The Nature Center — with snakes, turtles, owls, hawks — is great, too.
  • Enjoy music in Northern Virginia parks! The Fairfax County Park Authority presents their Summer Entertainment Series, a summer-long calendar of shows, concerts and movies appropriate families held in local parks. Bring a picnic dinner, blankets, and lawn chairs to enjoy the best local and regional entertainers.
  • Strathmore, the North Bethesda performing arts center, hosts Live from the Lawn, free outdoor concerts, every Wednesday from July 12 – August 30.


Tour de Fat is as zany as it is fun!

Tour de Fat is as zany as it is fun — and it stops in DC during summer this year!


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

  • Get folksy at Glen Echo Park June 3-4, when the 37th Annual Washington Folk Festival showcases the diversity of traditional music in Washington. All of the artists hail from the DC area, but cultures from around the nation, as well as the world, will be represented through music, dance, crafts, and stories. The public is invited to enjoy the free festival that is renown in the folk community.
  • It sounds like a grown-ups-only event, but the Vintage Virginia Wine & Food Festival offers plenty of family fun, too. Taking place June 3-4 at Bull Run Park in Centreville, VA, festivities include wine tasting (of course), chef demos, food truck fare, live music, and a whole family-friendly area with activities especially for kids.
  • Imagination Bethesda, an annual festival occurring in the heart of its namesake city, is all about children. On June 3 from 10am – 3pm, Woodmont & Elm downtown will be lined with activity tents offering tons of fun for kids — arts & crafts, face painting, games, etc. There will also be live entertainment, food from local restaurants, and more. Admission is free.
  • The DC Jazz Festival presents a variety of performers at venues all around the city from June 9-18, but the most family-friendly of them actually precedes the main event. Jazz n’ Family Fun Days will take place June 3-4 with free shows for all ages at The Phillips Collection.
  • Attend one of the biggest summer barbeques around June 24-25 as the National Capital Barbeque Battle returns to pit some of the nation’s best barbequers against each other as they compete for big prizes. The reward for attendees: Samples from all the entrants (plus, more food), live music, cooking demos, kids’ fun, and more.
  • Every summer, the National Mall becomes stomping grounds of folks from around the globe to celebrate living cultural heritage and community traditions at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. This year’s event will run from June 29 – July 4 and July 6-9, celebrating circus arts and migrations of people to and within this U.S.
  • 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 will feature traditional Asian and African dancing and drumming, gardening workshops, park tours, arts & crafts, face painting, and other family-friendly pursuits. The exact date is TBD, but it always takes place sometime mid-July.
  • The annual Del Ray Music Festival is always a popular event. On July 23, count on a celebration of the Alexandria community with a day of food, games, and lots of kids’ activities along with a varied line-up of live entertainment.
  • Tour de Fat, easily one of my favorite annual festivals, takes place at Yards Park on July 22. The celebration of all things bicycle is zany in the best way possible. There’s a bicycle parade, bicycle art, reconfigured bicycles to ride, a dance contest to win a bicycle, a car-for-bike swap, a bike-themed kids area, and bikes just… everywhere. There’s also beer (New Belgium is the sponsor), circus performers, vaudeville acts, musicians, magicians, and more. It’s weird and wild and so much fun for the whole family.
  • 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 26 and will continue every weekend through October 22. Go. Just go.


Have some fun in the summer sun at a local beach

Have some fun in the summer sun at a local 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 Memorial to Labor Day. Admission is $6/car.
  • Bayfront Park aka Brownie’s Beach is a nice little spot in Chesapeake Beach, MD. With a small but nice stretch of sand, gentle shallow water, shark teeth to fin, and cliffs edging the shoreline, it’s a great place to spend a day — especially with little ones since they can’t roam too far. The only downside is the admission fee: $16/adult, $9/child for non-residents of the county.
  • Enjoy views of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge from the beach at Sandy Point State Park near Annapolis. At nearly 800 acres, it’s a big beach park with lots of recreational opportunities — swimming, picnicking, fishing, crabbing, hiking, and more. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, there are lifeguards on duty. And snack food and beach and picnic supplies are available. Hours are 6am – sunset. From May 1 through September, admission is $5 for Maryland residents, $7 for non-residents.
  • 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.


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 on select 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 8:15pm. 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 24. Movies are shown on the plaza screen beginning at sunset, usually around 8:30pm.
  • Movie lovers of all ages should head to the Four Mile Run Movie Series in Alexandria on the last Friday of the month from May 26 – August 24, when the park is transformed into an outdoor cinema. This free event will also include two hours of activities and entertainment leading up to show time. Films start at dusk, fun begins at 6:30pm
  • 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 1 through August 10.
  • 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 2 – August 4, and just about all of the films are family-friendly.
  • The NoMa Summer Screen 13-week outdoor film series starts on June 7! The movies begin at dark, so get there to picnic at 7pm.
  • Bethesda Outdoor Movies will bring five days of flicks al fresco to downtown at the corner of Norfolk and Auburn Avenues from July 18-24.


Make a wish at Yoko Ono's Wish Tree in the Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden

Make a wish at Yoko Ono’s Wish Tree in the Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden


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

  • First there was indoor mini-golf, after that it was a giant maze, then came the super awesome BEACH, and last year it was ICEBERGS. This summer, the National Building Museum will be buzzing with excitement over HIVE! The massive installation will be built from more than 2,700 wound paper tubes, taking up much of the space in the Great Hall, with an aim to “explore how a structure can modify and reflect sound, light, scale, and human interaction.” Admission is $5/youth member, $10/adult member and $13/youth non-member, $16/adult non-member. Open July 4 through September 4.
  • What sounds like an amazing virtual experience is coming to DC for the summer. ArTecHouse presents XYZT: Abstract Landscapes, an immersive sensory art exhibition composed of ten interactive digital installations. The interactive, multi-space digital art installation lets you manipulate time and space as you step into imaginary territory, manipulate algorithms, and immerse into a virtual playground of digital landscapes. For ages 6 and up only!
  • 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 sprite-like 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.
  • The National Gallery of Art’s wonderful drop-in program for children returns — with a new name! 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 7-31. Read a KFDC review of the program from a few years back (we’ve been since, and it was just as good!).
  • You can walk amid a garden of butterflies at Brookside Garden’s amazing Wings of Fancy exhibit. It’s back after being closed last summer during renovations. The seasonal display featuring live butterflies and caterpillars from all over the world opened in April and will welcome visitors through September 25, 10am – 4pm. Admission is $8/ages 13 and up, $5/3-12, free ages 0-2 (admission to the rest of Brookside is free). Read about a KFDC experience at the exhibit.
  • The Hirshhorn has a couple of special exhibits happening this summer starting with sunrise, sunset, a large-scale, site-specific wall mural by Swiss artist Nicolas Party. The mural will be painted directly onto the museum wall in the Sculpture Garden over the course of two weeks, and will be on view June 7 – October 1. It’ll be a great backdrop for Yoko Ono’s Wish Tree for Washington, DC, returning for its second year. From July 1 through Labor Day, 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.
  • As you make your way around the area near CityCenter, look out for the Fancy Animal Carnival, an installation of whimsical, larger-than-life sculptures by renowned Taiwanese contemporary artist Hung Yi. Scattered around for all to enjoy, they’ll be here until October 15.
  • Every year, the Newseum offers the Summer Fun Deal. From July 1 – September 5, 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.
  • The National Academy of Sciences has been showcasing Igniting the Imagination since March, and it will be on display through August 7. The exhibition of 28 children’s book illustrations from the Mazza Museum in Findlay, Ohio, all relate to science, engineering, or medicine in some way. The show looks at the power of images and stories to ignite the imagination of young people. Copies of the books are on hand in the gallery for families to read as well as several comfortable couches and chairs.
  • During the warm months, little ones can flex their green thumbs in the outdoor Children’s Garden at the U.S. Botanic Garden — they can dig in dirt, water plants, and explore a cute little Bamboo Forest. (Note: It’s currently closed for renovations, but expected to be open by summer.) The rest of the USBG’s outdoor gardens are great to explore, too!


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

  • The Regal Summer Movie Express presents flicks for kids on many Tuesdays & Wednesdays at 10am. 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.
  • From May 10 – September 27, Kids Corner on The Plaza at CityCenter welcomes little ones for outdoor story time, singing, and fun with DC Public Library.
  • The new Kids in Canal is a 12-week series of kid-friendly entertainment every Wednesday 10:30-11:30am beginning June 7. 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!
  • Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Ashburn welcomes families to Kids Camp, a movie series that is inexpensive ($1-3) and benefits local charities, to boot.


Go for a spin on the carousel at Watkins Regional Park

Go for a spin on the Antique Carousel at Watkins Regional Park

Mini Trains, Carousels, Mini Golf, & 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 30 (Memorial Day), July 4 (July Fourth Holiday; closes at 4pm) & August 30 (Labor Day). Read about the rest of the fun you can enjoy at Watkins!
  • Cabin John Regional Park opened its Miniature Train on weekends only back in April, but as of June 1, it’ll be operating daily 10am – 7pm through August. 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 June 1 through August (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 97th 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 31 on weekdays 9:30am – 1:00pm and weekends 9:30am – 6:30pm. Read more about Clemyjontri here.
  • Kind of like a London Eye of the U.S., The Capital Wheel at National Harbor 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. Read more about it here.
  • The RIO Express Train and Carousel at RIO Washingtonian are open 3pm – dusk on weekdays, 11am – dusk on weekends through June 19. After that, they’ll open daily 11am – 9pm. Rides are $3.
  • Burke Lake Park’s Mini Train and Carousel are open April to October, daily from Memorial Day – Labor Day 11:30am – 5:30pm. The park is free to access for Fairfax county residents. For non-county residents, the park is free on weekdays and has a $10 entrance fee on weekends/holidays for a car or large capacity van. Carousel rides are $2-3, and train rides are $3-4.


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

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


Children’s Theatre
All the world’s an outdoor stage at these venues that present entertainment especially for children throughout the summer.

  • From late June through early August, Wolf Trap presents the fantastic Children’s Theater-in-the-Woods, over 70 family-friendly performances at 10am Tuesdays through Saturdays. Amidst 117 rolling wooded acres and nestled in a shady grove, the stage is set for lively adventures in music, dance, storytelling, puppetry, and theater. All of the productions are recommended for children between Kindergarten and 6th grade, though I think kids even younger can enjoy them, too (mine did!). Read a KFDC review of the series from a few summers ago.
  • Backyard Theater for Children, Strathmore’s summer theater series brings live music and fun to kids – all outdoors under a big tent. Weekly performances take place every Thursday at 9:30am and 11:30 from July 6-27. Admission is $8, free for ages 2 and 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. The Tempest, Shakespeare’s magnificent final play of storm and shipwreck, mystery and magic, and profound redemption, runs from June 16 – July 23. Not only can you picnic as you watch the play, but 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 Othello from August 15-27 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.


Minor League is major fun at a Bowie Baysox game

Minor League is major fun at a Bowie Baysox game


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

  • A day at Nationals Park is all it takes to understand why baseball is America’s favorite pastime. Catching a Nats game is one of our family’s preferred ways to enjoy a nice summer (or spring) day (or evening), anyway. The excitement extends well beyond the diamond with games and activities in the park, a playground for kids, the Racing Presidents, fun in the stands, and more. Before you go, check out these tips on doing a Nats game without breaking the bank. And I highly recommend the Jr. Nationals Kids Club for children 12 and under. Just $20 gets them membership, which includes Nats swag, plus a coupon book with offers for free meals, BOGO tickets, a ballpark tour, and all kinds of discounts. Even a few months into the season, it’s still worth it!
  • Tennis, anyone? The Washington Kastles, the DC franchise of World TeamTennis, will bring some on-court thrills to the Smith Center, where Kastles Stadium is located, July 18-29. 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.
  • Whether or not you’ve got a little soccer fan in your fam, DC United matches are fun experiences for all ages. And since games only last 90 minutes, it’s not too long for antsy young spectators. Be sure to check for any pre- or post-game activities for kids.
  • Can’t stand the heat? Head to the Verizon Center to see the Washington Mystics (w)hoop it up on the basketball court. Tickets start at $19.
  • 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 is also a popular spot.
  • Drive over the Bay Bridge to Kentmorr for great crabs and an awesome beach area for hanging out while you wait
  • The Jetty on Kent Narrows has crabs, scenic views, and a fun beachy vibe
  • In Baltimore, Bo Brooks on the Canton Waterfront often tops crab eaters’ lists.
  • Stay close to the city at Quarterdeck in Arlington.
  • Waterman’s in Rock Hall after a hike at the Eastern Neck Wildlife Refuge makes for a great Eastern Shore day trip.
  • Pick up your own at the Maine Avenue Fish Market. Buy them already steamed or get them while they’re still alive to cook at home.


Enjoy recreation on local waterways during the warm months

Enjoy recreation on local waterways during the warm months


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.

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