Fun Ways to Spend Summer Days in the DMV

There are so many fun, local & family-friendly ways to spend the warm summer days in our area! Take a look at the list below for festivals, museums, theater performances, summer concerts and more in Maryland, Virginia & Washington, D.C.! Visit the websites for more details on each event, festival, or location.


Artscape Festival

July 15 – 17 – Baltimore, MD – see website for exact locations

Artscape is America’s largest free arts festival, attracting 350,000+ attendees over three days. Artscape features 150+ fine artists, fashion designers and craftspeople; visual art exhibits on and off-site, including exhibitions, outdoor sculpture, art cars, photography and the Janet & Walter Sondheim Prize; incredible live concerts on outdoor stages; a full schedule of performing arts including dance, opera, theater, film, experimental music and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra; family events such as hands-on projects, demonstrations, competitions, children’s entertainers and street theater; and a delicious, international menu of food and beverages that is available throughout the festival site.

Downtown Bethesda Summer Concerts

Until July 28 – Check website for band names and exact schedule

During May, June and July, free weekly outdoor concerts are held in downtown Bethesda, Maryland on Thursday evenings. The concert series, produced by the Bethesda Urban Partnership, will offer a diverse range of music including rock, funk, blues, pop, reggae and swing. The concerts are held from 6 – 8 p.m. in Veterans Park, located at the corner of Woodmont and Norfolk Avenues.

Downtown Silver Spring Events

See website for exact dates, times, and event information.

Events include Downtown Live Concerts, Nando’s Spicy Saturday Night Concerts, Summer Movie Express, Zumba, Yoga, Lunchtime Lounge, and more!

Fairgrounds Country Fest

September 24 – Hagerstown Fairgrounds

Experience music, vendors, food and more! Lineup includes Whitey Morgan and the 78’s, Cody Jinks, Sunny Sweeny, Josh Morningstar, Kendra Hope, and The Wallace Brothers Band.

Frederick Summer Concert Series

Sundays in June, July & August – 7 p.m., Baker Park Bandshell , 121 N. Bentz St., Frederick, MD

Enjoy free, high-quality musical entertainment on Sunday nights in June, July and August at the Baker Park Band Shell. From tribute artists and oldies to afrofunk and bluegrass, Summer Concert Series showcases professional musicians from a wide range of musical backgrounds.

Gaithersburg Summer Kids Entertainment Series & Concert Series

City Hall Pavilion, 31 S. Summit Ave., Gaithersburg, MD

Concerts are held on Thursdays, through July 28 at 10:30 a.m. at the City Hall Concert Pavilion. From magic to theater to science, parents and children alike will enjoy the variety of free performances.

Glen Echo Park Aquarium

7300 MacArthur Blvd., Glen Echo, MD – 301-955-6256

The Glen Echo Park Aquarium is a Chesapeake Bay Discovery Center in historic Glen Echo Park. Our mission is to promote awareness of the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed through education, in order to encourage stewardship and conservation. The Aquarium features live animal exhibits, static and interactive displays, activities, a live touch tank, a giant sand pit, a submarine, and a pirate ship in a tree, all designed to help our visitors learn about our nation’s largest estuary!

Imagination Stage

4908 Auburn Ave., Bethesda, MD – 301-961-6060

Catch The Little Mermaid at Imagination Stage now until August 14th! In this faithful retelling of the Hans Christian Andersen original, Imagination Stage and The Washington Ballet have collaborated to create an epic style of performance!

National Harbor Summer Events

National Harbor, MD – Visit their website for more information!

Events range and include Summer Fridays, movie nights, free screenings and concerts and so much more!

Olney Theatre

2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Rd. – 301-924-3400

Catch a show at Olney Theatre this summer, including the Tony Award-Winning musical, Evita and the Shakespeare classic, Hamlet. Check out their website for specific dates and times.

Rose Hill Manor Park & Children’s Museum

1611 N. Market St., Frederick, MD – 301-600-1646

The Mission of Rose Hill Manor Park and Museums is to preserve and present the living heritage of the property known as Rose Hill from 1746-1950. In a child-friendly, hands-on environment the museums present the daily life of Thomas Johnson, Maryland’s first Governor, and the individuals who lived on the property as well as the history of agriculture and transportation in Frederick County. The property features a manor house, icehouse, log cabin, blacksmith shop, carriage collection, and two barns.

Shenandoah Caverns

261 Caverns Road, Shenandoah Caverns, VA – 540-477-3115

Shenandoah Caverns has been thrilling visitors for over 90 years. It’s the only Virginia cavern with elevator service, making it one of the easiest caverns to tour. Explore an underground world of breathtaking natural wonders, incredible geology and extraordinary crystalline formations on a one hour guided tour.


The Music Center at Strathmore

5301 Tuckerman Ln., North Bethesda, MD

There are a ton of free concerts, children’s programs and more this summer at Strathmore including their “Backyard Theater” Thursday mornings. Check out their calendar for tons of family-friendly events and concerts!

Summer Spirit Festival at Merriweather Post Pavilion

August 6 – 7, Merriweather Post Pavilion, Columbia, MD

Show begins at 2 p.m. both days. Lineup includes Erykah Badu, Janelle Monae, Gregory Porter, Leela James, Avery*Sunshine, Daley, Be’la Dona w/ DJ Kool & Sugar Bear


Alexandria Archaeology Museum

Third Floor of the Torpedo Factory Art Center, 105 N. Union Street, #327, Alexandria, VA

The main exhibit, Archaeologists at Work: The Lee Street Site, highlights one city block to provide a fascinating glimpse of Alexandria’s history and the way in which archaeologists study the past. Small “table top” exhibits feature other Alexandria sites and finds. Hands-on activities engage visitors of all ages. 

Free Concerts in the Park

Thursdays at 7 p.m., 223 Little Falls St., Falls Church, VA

The Village Preservation and Improvement Society and the Recreation and Parks Department are hosting the 24th annual Summer Concerts in the Park series held in Cherry Hill Park beginning in June and continuing through August. The series features local musicians of various genres every Thursday evening.

  • July 14: Irish Breakfast Band – Irish Celtic Music
  • July 21: Ocho de Bastos (Eight of Clubs) – Latin Pop
  • July 28: Mama Tried with Randy Barrett and Dede Wyland – Bluegrass
  • August 4: Tom Principato – Blues Rock

Floyd Fest 16

July 27 – 31, 894 Rock Castle Gorge Rd., Floyd, VA

The festival includes an amazing lineup of music, outdoor activities, classes and vendors to meet and mingle with. Lineup includes: Greg Allman, Warren Haynes Ashes & Dust, Bruce Hornsby & The Noisemakers, Leftover Salmon, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Moonshine District, Monster Atlantic, Forlorn Strangers, and so much more! See their website for full lineup and schedule and information about the other activities at the festival!

Greater Reston Arts Center

12001 Market St. Suite 103, Reston, VA, 703-471-9242

The Greater Reston Arts Center (GRACE) enriches community life by promoting involvement and excellence in contemporary visual arts. In pursuit of this mission, GRACE provides a year-round program of contemporary visual art exhibitions, education programs for all ages, and special events.

Leesburg Animal Park

19270 James Monroe Highway, Leesburg, VA

The Leesburg Animal Park is an exciting way to have fun with the whole family! The park has many activities to choose from including pony rides, wagon rides, live animal shows, playgrounds, trampolines, giant slides, and home to animals including llamas, donkeys, cows, bunnies, ducks, goats, sheep, lambs, pigs, zebras, camels, and more!

Lockin’ Music Festival

August 25 – 28, Oak Ridge Farm, Arrington, VA

Spend the weekend seeing bands like Moon Taxi, My Morning Jacket, Moogatu, The Wailers, Brandi Carlile, Gary Clark Jr., Twiddle and more! Visit their website for more information on the lineup, schedule and accommodations of the festival.

Mosaic District Fun Events

Mosaic District, 2905 District Ave., Fairfax, VA – Events all summer long

The Mosaic District offers more than just fantastic dining & shopping. Check out their events happening all summer long like Films in the Park, Cartoons & Coffee, Yoga in the Park, the Mosaic Farmer’s Market, Stories in the Park and more!

Occoquan – Historic Downtown

Commerce, Ellicott, Mill, Poplar, Union and Washington Streets in Occoquan, VA

Explore the beautiful & quaint downtown Occoquan for cute shops, restaurants, and the famous Mom’s Apple Pie. They also host events like the Annual Duck Splash Race, the Lemonade Stroll, Haunted Tour Ghost Walks, the Occoquan Arts & Crafts Show and more!

Old Town Alexandria

Old Town Alexandria, VA – addresses vary, 221 King St. for the visitor center

Explore & discover the treasures of Old Town Alexandria. Visit the waterfront, take a tour of the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum or the Carlyle House, watch over a hundred artists work in their studios at the Torpedo Factory, shop the unique boutiques of King Street, try all the local coffee & treat shops and more!

Wolf Trap

Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods 1551 Trap Rd., Vienna, VA

Enjoy music, performances, and storytelling at Wolf Trap’s many concerts and programs all summer long! Wolf Trap’s Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods has amazing bands and performers in its lineup for the summer. See the full schedule online!

Washington, D.C.

Capitol Riverfront Free Outdoor Concerts & Movies

See website for dates & times – Capitol Riverfront, Yards Park, 355 Water St., Washington, DC.

Capitol Riverfront will host free outdoor concerts at Yards Park throughout the summer. The vibrant mixed-use community and riverfront destination, located near the Washington Navy Yard and Nationals Park, is a great place to unwind and listen to a variety of music, ranging from reggae to 80s to R&B.

Capital Fringe Festival

July 7 – 31, 1358 Florida Ave. NE, Washington, D.C.

See website for details on shows, exhibitions, comedy routines, drama, theatre, dance, and musical performances and so much more!

Capitol Steps

Friday and Saturdays – Amphitheater at Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center – 1300 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington D.C.

This comedic group began over 30 years ago and has been poking fun at bureaucrats ever since. Known for their wit, satire and political banter, Capitol Steps is the premier source of laughs in our nation’s capital. With weekly performances on Friday and Saturday evenings, DC natives and tourists alike can enjoy a night of bi-partisan humor at Congress’s expense.

National Gallery of Art – Jazz in the Garden

See website for specific times and dates – 6th and Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, D.C.

The Jazz in the Garden Series begins its 16th season in May. The free concert series features jazz artists performing a wide variety of styles—salsa, blues fusion, xylophone, Afrofunk, and more—every Friday evening from 5:00 to 8:30 in the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden.

The Kennedy Center

2700 F St., NW, Washington, D.C.

See a fantastic show this summer including The Phantom of the Opera, House of Cards in Concert and The Bridges of Madison County! Visit their website for specific dates, times and performances!

Summer Concerts on the Georgetown Waterfront at Washington Harbour

Visit their website for specific times and dates. K Street, Washington Harbour, Washington D.C.

From June to September, local musicians perform free, live music on the plaza at Washington Harbour along the waterfront in Georgetown. Performances include a wide variety of bands. Washington Harbour is home to several outdoor restaurants providing a great ambiance on the Potomac River.

Union Market Drive-In

Films start at 8 p.m. – 1309 5th St., NE, Washington, D.C.

August 5 – Ratatouille

September 2 – Grease

October 7 – Ghostbusters

Places to find and see free concerts – Summer concert series, festivals and more!:

  • Potomac Overlook Regional Park:
  • Old Town Alexandria:
  • Tysons Corner Center:
  • Reston Town Center:
  • Lubber Run Amphitheater:
  • Herndon Town Green:
  • Historic Downtown Leesburg:
  • Harris Pavilion – Manassas:
  • Military bands:
  • The U.S. Capitol:
  • The National Mall:
  • National Gallery of Art:
  • U.S. Navy Band:
  • Georgetown Waterfront:
  • Carter Barron Amphitheatre:
  • Capitol River Front:
  • Eastern Market:
  • Fort Dupont Park:
  • Woodrow Wilson Plaza:!-on-Woodrow-Wilson-Plaza
  • National Museum of the American Indian:
  • St. Elizabeth’s Gateway Pavilion in DC:
  • National Harbor:
  • Bethesda:
  • Glen Echo Park:
  • Olde Towne Gaithersburg:
  • RIO Washingtonian Center:
  • BlackRock Center for the Arts:
  • Strathmore:
  • Glenview Mansion:
  • Rockville Town Square:
  • Frederick:
  • Downtown Silver Spring:
  • St. Charles Maryland:

More Ways to Spend the Summer Days

Cool Treats: Local shops to try all summer long!

Local Farmer’s Markets: A fresh way to spend the day!

Consignment Shops: Shopping in a “new” way

Mini-Golf Locations: Mini golf, top golf, and driving ranges

Hiking & Camping Locations: Explore & discover

Water Parks & Play: Try a new water park outside of the neighborhood pool!

Click here for more activities happening all summer long!

About WF Staff

Washington FAMILY Staff

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