Summer Things to Do in Alexandria and DC

May 31, 2024 | Inside Alexandria | By: The Goodhart Group

Washington Nationals Baseball

Nationals Park-Washington, DC

We love catching Nationals games over at Nationals Park. Washington Nationals at home this season at Nationals Park. While the Nats don’t have quite the star power they had in previous years, catching a Nats game with friends and family is always a good time, especially if the weather is good. Take the water shuttle from Old Town!

To plan your perfect outing to the Nats game, read our blog here. 

DC United Soccer

Audi Field – Washington, DC

DC United plays their home games in DC’s southwest quadrant along the waterfront at Audi Field. This cozy stadium which only opened a few years ago still feels like new and offers amazing views of the soccer action. The club has four MLS titles with the last coming in 2004. DC United has plenty of family-friendly ticket options for families or youth soccer groups to attend games. 

Check out DC United’s schedule and ticket information here. 

DC Defenders Football 

Audi Field in Washington, DC 

The DC Defenders are Washington’s professional American football team. The Defenders compete in the United Football League (UFL). The team was founded by Vince McMahon’s Alpha Entertainment and is owned and operated by Dwayne Johnson’s Alpha Acquico and Fox Corporation. The Defenders play their home games at Audi Field. The Defenders have the second-highest win percentage among UFL teams as of its 2024 season. They were also the top team in the 2023 XFL.

Check out the Washington Spirit’s schedule and ticket information here. 

Pick Your Own Strawberries 

Where to Pick Strawberries in the DC Area

Are you looking for some freshly grown strawberries? There are several local farms that you can visit in both Virginia and Maryland where you can pick your very own strawberries to take home with you. Some of these farms are a bit of a drive, but they’re definitely worth it on a nice day! 

Explore the full list from Northern Virginia Magazine here.

Catch An Outdoor Movie

Outdoor movies made their big return during the pandemic and are here to stay. There’s not much better than catching a classic film on a warm summer evening with some popcorn and candy. There are more than a dozen different locations showing outdoor films throughout the summer from kid-friendly films like Shrek and Encanto to timeless classics like E.T. and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Washingtonian has compiled a list of the many outdoor movies this summer taking place in DC, Virginia, and Maryland. 

The 32nd Annual Giant National Capital Barbecue Battle

June 22 and 23

Pennsylvania Avenue between 3rd and 7th Streets, Washington, DC

Come downtown to enjoy some tasty BBQ. This year’s line-Up includes free food samples, microbrew & wine tastings, cooking demonstrations, interactive exhibits, kids rides & games, National Championship BBQ contests, and much more. There will also be 30 Bands including National Recording Artists on 3 Stages performing Rock, Reggae, Jazz, Blues, R&B, and DC’s own GoGo. You won’t want to miss the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest featuring World Champion Eaters like Joey Chestnut, the Oscar Mayer Wiener Mobile, and Planters NutMobile. The Taste of Giant Sampling Pavilion offers a line-up of delicious and tempting FREE BBQ & Grilled food samples, while Cookbook Authors and Celebrity Chefs like Myron Mixon, Moe Cason, and Tuffy Stone, will be on hand to entertain and educate with cooking demonstrations on the popular demonstration stage. For just $15, sample all of the BBQ you want while supplies last. 

See more on the event page here for ticket options.

Potomac Paddle Club Booze Cruizes

Select Thursday and Fridays through Oct. 7

Old Town Waterfront – 107 N. Union Street

The Potomac Paddle Club is DC’s only passenger pedal boat. Guests have the option of cruising south under the Wilson bridge or north toward DC’s Wharf or Navy Yard for a two-hour trip. The 20-passenger boat is powered by ten cycle stations surrounding a bar. Guests are welcome to bring their own food and drinks aboard the boat. The cruises leave from Old Town’s waterfront on Union street and are $75 per person. 

Snag your tickets here.

First Thursdays in Del Ray

Along Mount Vernon Avenue in Del Ray Top 10 Reasons to Live in Del Ray

Held the first Thursday from April to September along Mount Vernon Avenue in Del Ray, First Thursdays are a series of free outdoor street festivals that bring the community together around a fun theme while also benefiting a local nonprofit. Don’t miss “First Thursday Red, White & Blue,” on July 7th!

Jazz in the Garden

May 31 through August 9 (except July 5)

Sculpture Garden, 7th Street, and Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC

DC’s favorite summer concert series is officially back this year! After a hiatus during the pandemic, Jazz in the Garden returns to the National Gallery of Art in the Sculpture Garden on Fridays this summer. What better way to welcome in the weekend with some jazz in the outdoors. This summer, enjoy live musical performances ranging from jazz to Afro-Cuban and bluegrass. The concerts are free but require registration at noon one week in advance of the show. 

Head to the National Gallery Website Here for Ticket Information

George Washington’s Mount Vernon Summerfest

June 9 & 10, 6pm – 9pm 

Mount Vernon

Mount Vernon’s Summerfest is the perfect time to experience Mount Vernon after-hours while sampling craft beer from throughout the region. For $48 ($40 for members), patrons receive eight tasting tickets and a commemorative tasting cup. You won’t want to miss the gorgeous sunsets while looking out over the Potomac River. 

Find more event info and grab your tickets here. 

Portside in Old Town Summer Festival

June 21 6-9 pm & June 22, 1-8 pm

Waterfront Park – 1A Prince Street

The Portside in Old Town Summer Festival returns this year to Alexandria’s Waterfront Park. This free festival includes live music and local beer from Port City Brewing Company. New this year is the merging of the event with the 44th Annual Alexandria Jazz Fest on Friday night to showcase jazz performances and readings by local Alexandria poets. Saturday the festival continues with an eclectic musical lineup, local food, hands-on art, history activities, and more. 

Fourth of July Celebrations

July 4

There are countless ways to celebrate America’s birthday in the Nation’s capital. For fireworks, there’s, of course, the big celebration on the National Mall. If you want to avoid the crowds, you have the option of checking out some of the smaller firework displays throughout the region put on by country clubs and local towns. Or, if you’re feeling historical, you can spend the day at the Smithsonian Museum of American History Museum or George Washington’s Mount Vernon. Also, what better way to spend the Fourth of July than taking in America’s pastime at Nationals Park? The Nationals play their annual Fourth of July home game at 11 am against the Miami Marlins. 

Celebrate Alexandria’s Birthday 

July 13, 6 pm – 9:45 pm

Oronoco Bay Park, Old Town Alexandria

Celebrate Alexandria’s 275th birthday and the United State’s 248th birthday with a performance by the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra and a grand fireworks display at 9:30 pm. The big birthday experience returns this year with cupcakes, vendors, and extended performance. Admission is free to the birthday celebration event. 

Smithsonian Folklore Festival

June 26 & 27 

Since the 1960s, the Smithsonian has been putting on a summer Folklife Festival, bringing together global musicians, artisans, chefs, and more for an annual festival on the National Mall. This year’s Folklife Festival takes place from the end of June through early July with an emphasis on the social power of music. Besides a shopping marketplace and delicious food, a unique highlight to check out is the interactive Earth Optimism programming focused on learning about inspiring conservation efforts happening around the world.

Visit the Smithsonian website here for more information.

Summer Concerts in the Region  

For a list of other concerts this summer, check out the calendar here.

Visit the National Mall 

Visiting the National Mall in the springtime can be a lot of fun especially since it’s not too hot yet. Things like Lincoln Memorial and Jefferson Memorial are always free. You can also go up to the top of the newly reopened Washington Monument. Tickets are $1 through the National Park Service and can be secured the day before your desired trip. Keep in mind in the spring that the mall can often get crowded with tourists, so if you want to avoid crowds, consider going later in the evening or in the afternoons during the week. 

Visit Local Markets

There are several local markets that are a lot of fun to visit, especially during the warmer spring months. While these are mostly open year-round, they aren’t too much fun when temperatures are frigid. Union Market in Northeast DC is fun to explore with over 40 local vendors and a variety of events throughout the year. There’s also Eastern Market near Capitol Hill, which has been operating for 136 years. Eastern Market offers dozens of local vendors selling produce and meats as well as freshly prepared made-to-order food.

Explore the National Arboretum

3501 New York Ave NE, Washington, DC

The United States National Arboretum is an arboretum in Northeast Washington, D.C., operated by the United States Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service. It covers over 600 total acres. The Arboretum presents a stunning collection of plants, with each given its own display. 

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