Picked the President’s hometown to holiday in this summer? Good choice. There are so many summer activities and events in Washington DC from iconic sights and exhibitions to film screenings and free outdoor concerts.
Here’s our top picks of things to do in Washington DC this summer…
Enjoy a sunset screening
Summer just isn’t summer without an outdoor film screening or open-air performance, and there are plenty for you to choose from in the USA’s capital. Head to Georgetown for the annual Sunset Cinema screenings where you can sing or dance along to showings of Grease, Dirty Dancing and other music-themed films.
Or, cruise over to the drive-in theatre at Union Market for a classic American movie experience. It costs just $10 per car for a showing here, or it’s free for walk-ups. The selection of films includes classics like Indiana Jones, 90s cult films like Clueless and world cinema movies including Like Water for Chocolate.
Yellow Loop Route, Stop: Georgetown Harbor
Red Loop Route, Stop: Union Station
Sightsee from the river
It’s summer, so rather than walking from one landmark to the next in the sweltering heat, why not take a guided bus tour or a scenic river cruise. There’s no better place to be than on the water when it’s hot, and a sightseeing cruise will take you past all the iconic landmarks for a riverside view. You’ll see the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, the Kennedy Center, Roosevelt Island and many more on the 45-minute trip. The historical onboard narration will provide you with all the facts and information you need, and there’s even a bar where you can purchase beer, wine, soft drinks and snacks.
If you’re a tennis fan, head to Rock Creek Park Tennis Centre at the end of July and beginning of August for the district’s signature professional tennis tournament. 2018 is the 50th anniversary of the tournament and will feature some of the best tennis talent from all over the world.
And for the ultimate all-American experience, don’t miss a baseball game. Watch DC’s major league baseball team, the Washington Nationals, at Nationals Park baseball stadium this summer.
See the Washington monuments at night
Ticked off the famous Washington monuments and iconic landmarks already? One of the best times to see them is at night, so head back for a post-sunset tour to see them all beautifully illuminated against the starry sky. If you’re in the city on July 4 for Independence Day, you’ll also get to see a huge fireworks display and red, white and blue illuminations against the white buildings for a truly spectacular experience.
Red Loop Route, Stop: Washington Monument West
Party at folklife festival
The Smithsonian Folklife Festival is held on the National Mall in Washington DC at the end of June and beginning of July, and it’s completely free to enter. This heritage-focused festival is all about Armenian and Catalonian culture this year (2018), and events in the line-up include dance workshops, art and crafts classes, and food and wine tastings for you to get immersed in.
Red Loop Route, Stop: Air and Space Museum
Wander among waterlillies and wildlife
Over summer, the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens turn into a full-blown Monet painting with lime green lilies and wild flowers decorating the landscape. When you need a break from museums and monuments, this is the place to be for a little peace and tranquility. Spot blue herons, turtles, coyotes and deer as you stroll around the nature reserve. And, if you’re keen to learn more about the aquatic gardens, join the free ranger walk at 2pm and get an insight into the unique tidal marsh from its keepers.
We’ve only just scratched the surface of all the things to do this summer in Washington DC. Simply stroll around the city and you’ll discover plenty more. And, if you need more inspiration for your trip, browse our Washington DC bus tours.