One of my favorite parts about summer in Washington, DC are the (mostly) free, outdoor concerts you can find. A few summers ago we took a sporadic drive to the Mall, walked around, played some ball by the reflecting pool with our then three year old and walked towards the Capitol where the U.S. Air Force Band was performing a free concert. A huge crowd was gathered on the steps and in chairs taking in the gorgeous evening and patriotic tunes. I had no idea they performed for free and for the public on random evenings. This post will help you take advantage of some great music that will help you relax after a long day and see a bit of our city while doing so. Also, included are family focused shows at some favorite venues. Get out and enjoy the lighter evenings, let your kids stay up a little longer and enjoy the music our city offers.
The Yards Park Friday Night Concert Series
The free Capitol Riverfront Friday Night Concert Series is back for its 8th Season. Every Friday night this summer, come to Yards Park to relax and enjoy the river view, fantastic bands, food and beverage, and a large variety of great restaurants within a few minutes walk from the park. Family-friendly lyrics and grassy open space make this an enjoyable event for adults and kids alike. Also check out Kids in Canal: Making its second appearance in Capitol Riverfront, Kids in Canal is a 12-week series of kid-friendly entertainment every Wednesday 10:30 am – 11:30 am beginning June 6th! Bring your little ones to the middle block of Canal Park to enjoy magic shows, kids tunes, science demonstrations, and puppet shows. Top off your day with a refreshing splash in the Canal Park dancing water fountains.
Strathmore’s Backyard Theatre for Children
Enrich your little ones’ summer mornings with sunshine, music, and laughter at Strathmore’s Backyard Theater for Kids. This eclectic program is the perfect summer escape for busy families. Pack a picnic and enjoy live performances by highly esteemed and innovative family-friendly entertainers. From folk and jazz to the amazing sounds of the steelpan, Backyard Theater makes it easy to engage kids at every stage. We promise to keep both kids and parents entertained, so bring your family for a morning of inspiration and celebration!
Also for kids!
ARTS ON THE HORIZON: TO THE CLOUDS Sat, July 28
Friday Night Live Concert Series
Kick off your weekend with live entertainment, great company, and fantastic food, wine and beer from the restaurants at Rockville Town Square from 6:00pm-9:00pm on The Square in Rockville Town Square. Music ranges from 80’s and 90’s cover bands, funk and soul, roots rock blues and southern rock.
Friday Kids Concerts at Market Common Clarendon on the Loop (Photo below with dates) 10:30am-11:15am
Jazz in the Sculpture Garden
The Jazz in the Garden Series begins its 18th season in May. The free concert series features jazz artists performing a wide variety of styles—Traditional New Orleans jazz, blues, swing, Ska, Funk, Pan-Caribbean salsa, boogaloo, Go-go, and more—every Friday evening from 5:00pm to 8:30pm in the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden. You can purchase food and adult beverages or bring your own picnic (but no adult bevs are allowed in).
National Memorial Day Concert at the US Capitol
Sunday, May 27, 2018, 8 p.m. Gates open at 5:00pm. PBS sponsors a free concert on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol. The concert features actors Joe Mantegna and Gary Sinise, and other guest artists along with the National Symphony Orchestra.
Wolf Trap Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods
Performances range from music and dance to puppetry and storytelling—interactive, educational, and fun. All shows are about an hour long and are perfect for children ages 4 and up.
Carter Barron AmpitheatreClosed for repairs.
Poetry, music and movies will be featured all summer long. All shows are free and based by first come first served.
Wolf Trap National Park
Sunday, May 27, 2018, 8:00 pm Summer Blast Off! “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band will launch Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts’ summer season with a program of concert band favorites. A fireworks display will follow the concert. The Filene Center gates open at 6:30 pm. Arrive early because the park closes once capacity is reached.
Rock at the Row
This summer get ready to get down at the Pentagon Row concert series. With new bands and a new plaza it’s going to be better than ever. Thursday Nights, from 7:00pm-9:00pm, July 12 – Aug 23.
A Capitol Fourth at the U.S. Capitol
This July 4th, America’s national Independence Day celebration kicks off our country’s 242nd birthday, as A Capitol Fourth welcomes back Emmy Award-nominated actor and producer John Stamos to host the festivities! Broadcast live on PBS from the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol, this time-honored tradition puts viewers front and center for America’s biggest birthday party and the greatest display of fireworks anywhere in the nation.
U.S. Navy Band: Concerts at the Capital – Monday evenings on the West Front of the U. S. Capitol Building
U.S. Navy Band: Concerts on the Avenue– The Concerts on the Avenue series, featuring the United States Navy Band and Navy Ceremonial Guard, is presented on select Tuesday evenings at 7:30pm during the summer at the U.S. Navy Memorial in Washington. The concert series began in 1997 and combines a wide variety of music in addition to precision drill by the Ceremonial Guard.
U.S. Marine Band – Wednesdays & Thursdays, 8:00pm on the West Terrace of the U. S. Capitol Building
U.S. Marine Band – Friday evening Parade, 8:30pm at the Marine Barracks Washington. The ceremony starts at 8:45 p.m., beginning with a concert by the United States Marine Band. The Evening Parade, held every Friday evening during the summer, has become a universal symbol of the professionalism, discipline, and Esprit de Corps of the United States Marines. Reservations needed.
U.S. Army Band – Fridays, 8pm on the West Front of the U. S. Capitol Building