If you’re lucky enough to live in Washington, D.C. or within driving distance, this may be your best summer yet. There are endless things to do in our nation’s Capital, ranging from wild concerts and funky festivals to unique museums and outdoor adventures. Here is a comprehensive summer bucket list of things to do.
1. Watch a movie on the National Mall.
Grab your friends and family, pack a blanket and dinner and check out this list for outdoor movies all summer long in D.C., Virginia, and Maryland.
2. Be the ultimate D.C. foodie and check out Union Market.
If you like food and posting delicious looking Insta’s, this food market is for you. For just a few bucks, you can try locally made delectable like Korean tacos or Chesapeake Bay oysters. You can even catch a drive-in movie here.
3. Paddleboard or kayak your afternoon away in Georgetown.
If you want to spend a few hours soaking up some rays while burning crazy calories, the Georgetown waterfront is the place for you.
4. Tour yourself around some Smithsonian museums.
There’s nothing better than learning about airplanes, art, history or even hanging out at the zoo – all for free.
5. Explore Roosevelt Island.
Take a guided tour, go for a run or view wildlife. You can kill hours exploring this hidden island.
6. Walk around Arlington.
Just a few metro stops from the heart of D.C., Arlington has an endless supply of entertainment. Head to Clarendon for a mix of shopping and unique foods, and if you stay for the evening, don’t forget to check out the nightlife.
7. Visit National Harbor.
Another great destination for shopping, summer entertainment, and unique restaurants is National Harbor in Maryland. Some highlights for things to do at National Harbor include weekly guided workouts (think: Zumba, HIT), outdoor movies and Summer Fridays (cornhole, giant Jenga, and DJs). Plus, the sunset on the water is like no other.
8. Rock out at 9:30 Club.
All summer long you can catch amazing artists performing at the 9:30 Club. Here’s the lineup.
9. Cherry Blossoms at the Tidal Basin.
The beautiful cherry blossoms that surround several of our favorite monuments give D.C a unique beauty. Be sure to catch these while they’re in full-bloom.
10. Catch a Nationals Game.
Yell “take me out to the ball game,” eat your bodyweight in peanuts and enjoy watching some of the best in baseball do their thing.
11. Rent a boat on the Potomac River.
The best way to spend a summer day has got to be on a boat. Even if you don’t rent a boat, there are dozens of boat tours or even dinner cruises to choose from.
12. Go on a bike ride around D.C.
Just grab a bike from one of the Capital Bikeshare racks and decide on the best route. This is a great way to exercise and really see the city.
13. Hit some golf balls at East Potomac Golf Course.
You can work on your golf game or just hang out by the pool. Either way, spending some time outside with your friends is always fun.
14. Listen to music at Jazz in the Garden.
Pack a picnic and groove to the music with a big cup of sangria all summer long. Jazz in the Garden happens every Friday starting May 19 at the National Gallery of Art’s Sculpture Garden – what can get artsy-er?
15. Truckeroo, May 5, June 16, July 21, Aug. 18, Sept. 22.
Truckeroo brings local food trucks to the Fairgrounds at Yards Park (by Nationals Stadium) one Friday each month from May through October. Come for the food, cold drinks, games, live music or just the great company!
16. ZooFari, May 18.
The National Zoo transforms into a culinary wonderland for ZooFari. This event features more than 100 D.C. restaurants, craft cocktails, local beers and wines, live entertainment and fun animal encounters. You can get your tickets here.
17. Go see The Weeknd, May 18.
There’s nothing like a summer concert in D.C. at the Verizon Center – especially when it’s an artist as popular as The Weeknd.
18. Memorial Day Weekend Festivities.
D.C. knows how to kick off summer by having an event-packed Memorial Day weekend. From a giant parade, the Rolling Thunder motorcycle rally, tons of concerts and much more, there are endless things to do on this weekend. Here’s the full list.
19. SAVOR: An American Beer and Food Experience, June 2-3.
Have you ever had a dream about dozens of craft breweries showing off their best flavors? Well, SAVOR has 86 breweries in attendance to the annual event at the National Building Museum. Get your ticket here as soon as possible – the event (unsurprisingly) fills up extremely fast.
20. Capital Pride, June 8-11.
Every year, the D.C. community comes together for the citywide celebration of LGBTQ rights. This year’s events include a rooftop pool party, a block party, the Pride Parade, and the Pride Festival and Concert. Get your tickets here for the four-day party.
21. Giant National Capital Barbecue Battle, June 24-25.
Pit masters from all 50 states, local restaurants, and live music shut down a few streets in D.C. for cooking demos and free tastings.
22. Smithsonian Folklife Festival, June 29-July 4, July 6-9.
Every summer, the Smithsonian treats D.C. to a huge, free event on the National Mall. The highlights of this festival include crafters, cooks, musicians and artists.
23. Fourth of July on the National Mall, July 4.
Fireworks and monuments – need I say more? Here are the best spots for the ultimate experience and view.
24. Comcast Xfinity Outdoor Film Festival, Aug. 24-26.
This three-day outdoor film festival lets you check a major thing off most people’s summer bucket lists – watching movies under the stars. Here’s more information.
25. 17th Street Festival, Aug. 27.
This annual festival showcases a diverse group of restaurants and retailers in Dupont Circle. There will be over 100 vendors showing off their jewelry, crafts, fine art and more. Plus, there will be live music.
There are so many things to do in D.C. this summer, but this list will help you find a few unique and fun events to fill your days.