I work at a university in Washington, DC, and the students I interact with come from all over the US (and the world) for the graduate program I work in. DC is a major attraction in and of itself, and many students stay for the summer, either working at internships or taking classes. I can’t tell you how many times I have made recommendations of fun summer things to do in DC.


Douglass HouseHere are my top 5 recommendations- some are quintessential DC, and some are off the beaten path.

  1. Jazz in the Sculpture Garden: Fridays at 5pm on the National Mall. Go early to get a good spot, bring a picnic, and buy some sangria. Enjoy the music, the sun, the conversations.
  2. Frederick Douglass House: Seriously, I think everyone should go. This historic house is in Anacostia, but if you don’t have a car, the Smithsonian runs a free shuttle from the Mall to the Douglass House and the Anacostia Community Museum. The house museum is at least 70% original- books, instruments, furniture, wallpaper pattern. It’s only open for timed tours, and it’s worth it to reserve tour spots online through the National Park Service ahead of time.
  3. Eating outside: I’m a fan of summer picnics. Throw together some cold dishes, like salads, cold roast chicken, cheese, fruit, and take it outside. Or, onto your balcony or porch if you have one. There’s something about eating outside when the sun is up but the heat has broken for the day that’s special.
  4. Capitol Fourth dress rehearsal on the Capitol lawn: On July 3rd, there’s a dress rehearsal for the televised broadcast of “A Capitol Fourth” with the same musicians and acts. You can see and hear the rehearsal with far fewer crowds. You won’t see the fireworks, but an evening picnic in the shadow of the Capitol is a lot of fun.
  5. Free entertainment: Ok, I know this is vague, but otherwise my list would have been longer than 5. DC is known for all the available free fun. Concerts at the Kennedy Center’s Millenium Stage, the Smithsonian museums, the zoo, outdoor movie nights (almost every neighborhood has these), outdoor yoga, running groups,

Jazz in the Sculpture Garden


My friend Courtney at Eat Pray Run DC links up with two other bloggers on Fridays for a themed link up. Today I’m linking up for the Friday Five with Courtney, Mar, and Cynthia. Make sure you check out their awesome blogs as well as those who join the link up!

5 Thoughts on “Friday Five: 5 DC Summer Musts

  1. Free entertainment is always fun in the summer
    You can’t beat free. We have a lot of that in Virginia Beach too.

  2. oooh – jazz in the Sculpture Garden sounds fun! I’ll have to remember that one.

  3. We loved DC in the spring and summer when we used to live there (despite the tourists). We never went to the Frederick Douglas house though. Sounds interesting!

  4. Yay – love your list. See you tomorrow for our run??

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