1. Say so long to summer with DC’s free Labor Day Capitol Concert at the U.S. Capitol. The annual concert featuring the National Symphony Orchestra takes place on the Sunday before Labor Day. Music lovers can pack a picnic and enjoy a serene Sunday evening on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol. Gates open at 3 p.m., with a dress rehearsal at 3:30 p.m. leading up to the main concert at 8 p.m.
2. Learn how modern architects address and prepare for natural disasters in their building designs and strategies by visiting Designing for Disaster at the National Building Museum. This exhibition will highlight disaster-resistant structures, including residences, schools, hospitals, airports and more. Hear testimonials from leading engineers, scientists and emergency planners on how disaster mitigation has evolved.
3. Groove to the music at the annual DC Blues Festival. Staged at the Carter Barron Amphitheatre, the festival is more than two decades old and features well-known artists, workshops and even an instrument "petting zoo." All performances and activities are free of charge.
5. Kayak, canoe or sail along the Potomac during the long weekend. Both Thompson Boat Center and Key Bridge Boathouse offer rentals, while Washington Sailing Marina will let you take a sailboat out for the day – or even give you a sailing lesson. Kayak, canoe or sail along the Potomac during the long weekend.
6. Sway to the lilting sounds of the National Gallery of Art’s Jazz in the Sculpture Garden series. Every summer Friday from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., the gallery hosts this popular outdoor concert. Take advantage of the final Friday by packing a picnic or sipping and snacking at the outdoor café.
7. Hike, bike and horseback ride in Rock Creek Park. While DC’s 2,000-acre public park is accessible year ‘round, summer is a great time to take advantage of an array of warm-weather activities. Want to beat the heat? Take a break in the park’s planetarium.
8. Hit a home run by taking the family to a Washington Nationals baseball game. Enjoy the great amenities at the state-of-the-art Nationals Park.
9. Eat your way through the weekend with brunch, the unofficial meal of summertime. Longer days mean more time for lingering over your pancakes (and mimosas). Many local restaurants offer special Monday brunches in honor of the final long weekend of the summer.
10. Get a sneak peek at the upcoming theater season with the Kennedy Center’s annual Page-to-Stage Festival. The three-day event features free readings and open rehearsals of plays and musicals that are in development for theaters all across the DC region.