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DC Skyline at Dusk

Memorable Things to Do this Summer in Washington, DC

From outdoor events to rooftop views, we’ve put together a dreamy DC bucket list for your next adventure.

We’ve gathered up some of the most exciting reasons to visit the nation’s capital this summer, culminating in a lively Labor Day send-off. If you’re interested in catching a baseball game, savoring a great meal at an award-winning restaurant or exploring colorful street murals throughout the city, it’s all possible. Right now is the perfect time to plan your next visit to DC with these memory-making, only-in-DC trip ideas.


Catch the national pastime in America’s capital city

Washington Nationals

The Washington Nationals are back in action for the 2024 season. Cheer on young phenoms like Keibert Ruiz and C.J. Abrams from the best seats in the house at Nationals Park, which also offers amazing food and drink options.


Visit Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo

Many of DC's most beloved museums are free to enjoy and make for great summertime attractions: the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the National Gallery of Art, the National Museum of the American Indian, the National Museum of American History and Smithsonian's National Zoo should all be on your to-do list.


Check out The Phillips Collection, America's first museum of modern art

The Phillips Collection is considered America’s first museum of modern art. The ticketed attraction offers new perspectives on the works of modern artists, from Renoir to Rothko, as well as rotating exhibits that highlight masters from all over the world.


Get a new perspective from a rooftop bar

It's always the right time to head out on the town, find the nearest rooftop bar and order up your favorite cocktail or draft beer. During happy hour or any hour, feel the breeze and ease back at District locales that have set up shop up top for your warm-weather pleasure.


Experience Black Lives Matter Plaza

Located along a two-block area of 16th Street NW in Downtown DC, the famous mural features the words “Black Lives Matter” in 50-foot-tall letters, in yellow and all caps, as well as the flag of the District. The area is open to visitors at any time of the day, allowing for reflection on the words emblazoned on the street. Many visitors take photographs of the large yellow letters that stretch down one of the nation's most iconic streets.


Support Black and women-owned businesses in DC

DC’s vibrant Black history and culture has led to a thriving business community filled with creative entrepreneurs. Additionally, the city features a treasure trove of women-owned restaurants chock full of innovative flavors and empowering stories.


Eat at an award-winning or high-value restaurant

For roving gastronomes and travelers seeking out experiences centered on food, it’s time to reserve a table in the nation’s capital. The city is synonymous with dining excellence, as evidenced by its list of award-winning restaurants. There's also a robust list of high-value spots, many of which offer two courses and wine or dessert for around $40. That’s just some food for thought.


Kick back at a beer garden

DC’s booming food and drink scene has propelled forth a buzzworthy beer community. Expect an ambiance that rivals the selection of craft brews at the many beer gardens in and around Washington, DC. Each one puts its own spin on the Bavarian beer-drinking tradition, offering up a variety of suds, snacks, games and convivial settings for downing a cold one alfresco.


Witness top-flight tennis action at Citi Open, July 27 – Aug. 4

One of DC’s longest-standing sports traditions, the Mubadala Citi DC Open will take place at the Rock Creek Park Tennis Center from July 27 to Aug. 4. You can enjoy world-class talent compete for valuable tour points and a prestigious trophy from seats that are all close to the action. Grab tickets ASAP!


Take in scenery at the city’s gorgeous parks and gardens

Pierre L’Enfant, DC’s first urban planner, designed “The Federal City” to be beautified by public parks and gardens, and so it is today. You’ll find scenic landscaping around the National Mall, a bonsai museum at the U.S. National Arboretum, hiking trails in Rock Creek Park and meticulously manicured gardens open to the public throughout DC.


Savor delicious deals during Summer Restaurant Week

Summer in the District would not be complete without Metropolitan Washington Restaurant Week (official dates to be announced). Throughout the promotion, dozens of restaurants across the DC area offer three-course, prix-fixe meals for brunch, lunch and dinner, making it one of the best ways to get out into the neighborhoods of DC.


Get out on DC’s waterways

The nation’s capital offers two rivers, the Potomac and Anacostia, which double as recreational playgrounds – perfect for kids and adults. Whether you’re looking to get on the water on a boat, kayak or paddleboard or find the perfect riverside vibe for food and drinks, there’s so much to experience along DC’s waterfronts.


Spend Labor Day weekend in DC

It’s been a year. If you want to go big, we get it. Make the most of summer’s last big weekend with free events, outdoor activities and cultural experiences in the nation's capital. Get your share of on-the-water revelry in Georgetown or at The Wharf, check out cool museums, experience all two miles of the National Mall and dine outdoors before it’s too late.


Discover monumental murals all over the District

DC’s color palette is not confined to museums or its bounty of natural beauty. The city’s neighborhood walls are covered with vibrant and unique murals, celebrating everything from hometown heroes to Founding Fathers and even fruit! Aniekan Udofia, one of the most prominent mural artists in the city, explains how he perceives the artform and how it serves as “the pulse of the city.


Groove to DCJazzFest, Aug. 28-Sept. 1

The largest music festival in the nation’s capital, the DCJazzFest honors one of America’s greatest artforms with an annual summer showcase. The 2024 edition marks the 20th anniversary of the celebration. Its signature event, DC JazzFest at The Wharf, attracts headliners and up-and-coming talents. Across the city, you can groove to 20-plus other shows, many of which are free to attend, making this an ideal way to jazz up your summer.


Enjoy a movie outdoors

Summertime and movies go hand-in-hand. Yes, the biggest blockbusters are in theaters, but step your movie-going experience out to make your next movie more memorable. DC’s outdoor movie screenings are filled with beautiful scenes, local vibes and are often free to attend.