Summer did not enter the room subtly this year. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, most July events are outdoors. Some fun, family-friendly outdoor options this month include movies, music, river tours, checking out awe-inspiring aquatic blooms, and more including Fourth of July Festivities!
Your crew can beat the heat indoors at the circus or at a theater production. However you choose to spend your time on these long summer days, we hope that you have tons of fun making sunny memories with your family. You can find more ways to enjoy the summer with our Ultimate Guide to Summer Fun. As always, make sure that you familiarize yourself with all current COVID policies of any event you attend. If you are looking for more ways to escape the heat, check out our Indoor Play Guide!
Now – August 10
Marine Corps War Memorial
Every summer, the Marine Corps hosts a weekly sunset parade at the Marine Corps War Memorial (known to many as the Iwo Jima Memorial). This performance will be held on Tuesdays until August 10th. It features the music of “The Commandant’s Own,” The United States Marine Drum and Bugle Corps, and precision drill by the Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon. This one-hour performance is free and reservations are not required.
Now – September 6
ARTECHOUSE has opened with a limited capacity and has taken additional safety measures in light of the current pandemic. “Renewal 2121” seeks to inspire hope amid a global pandemic and concerns of climate change. Transporting visitors 100 years into the future, it immerses them in an industrial city where nature fights to survive amid an overdeveloped metropolis. There is a hopeful message to be discovered as blossoms are seen peeking through the plastic, concrete, and neon lights, ready to renew the season with the help of those willing to take action.
Summer Block Party: Inside Out
Now – September 6
National Building Museum
This year, the National Building Museum’s annual summer interactive exhibition features a handful of smaller projects and public programs both within the Museum and on the West Lawn. These are better suited than previous indoor interactive exhibitions to the early post-pandemic era of smaller gatherings and social distancing. Visitors will enjoy a wooden maze filled with books, a hand-built cathedral truss, public programs, interactive lawn art, and outdoor movies.
Summer at the Kennedy Center
July 1 – July 31
This summer, Millennium Stage presents free outdoor experiences ranging from live music and film screenings to dance lessons, yoga sessions, arts markets, and more on the wide-open, riverside REACH campus. On Thursdays through Saturdays this month, one can enjoy: various elements of stress-free gallivanting, and creativity with Relax | Relate | Release; Native American Dance Circle performances and interactive activities with Wingapo!; reggateon performances, dance classes, and a market for all ages with ¡Viva Cultura!; and the DMV’s authentic Afro-Latinx experience with live performances from some top local artists and DJs with Adobo Gigante. Register online.
July 1 – August 8
National Harbor, MD
For 28 years, the UniverSoul Circus has been delighting audiences of all ages with its wide variety of energetic and awe-inspiring acts. You can purchase tickets online. Please note that there is a separate fee for parking. Guest are required to wear masks.
Independence Day Celebrations
July 3 & 4
Baseball! Parades! Fireworks! Check out our Guide to July 4th in Washington, DC for information about ways to celebrate Independence Day in and around DC.
Summer Movies on the Lawn
July 8 – August 5
Library of Congress
This outdoor film festival showcases iconic films from the Library’s National Film Registry. It will play on Thursday evenings at sundown (though seating on the lawn starts at 6:30pm). No tickets are required, but capacity will be limited. Each group of attendees will be assigned a seating location that is at least 6 feet apart from other attendee groups. Films to be shown are The Princess Bride, Shrek, Toy Story, The Sound of Music (sing along), and Jurassic Park.
Lotus and Water Lily Festival
July 8 – July 31
Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens
Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens is such a local treasure. Early summer mornings in late June through July offer breathtaking, Seuss-like lotus flowers and water lilies in full bloom. The annual Lotus and Water Lily Festival celebrates the peak bloom in July, but this year the celebration looks a bit different than in past years. It will include a variety of online events, as well as a few small programs and activities featured in the park. See website for calendar of events. Whether or not you participate in any festival programming, a visit to the park is stunning experience this time of year.
Friday Night Summer Concert Series
July 9 – August 13
Every Friday night this summer, head to Yards Park for this free concert series. Your family will enjoy the river view, fantastic bands, food and beverages, and a 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
Alexandria/USA Birthday Celebration
Oronoco Bay Park
Celebrate Alexandria’s 272nd and America’s 245th birthday birthday along the Potomac waterfront at Oronoco Bay Park. Festivities will begin with a performance by the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra and end with a Grand Finale fireworks display at 9:30pm. To limit crowds and prevent the spread of COVID-19, this year’s fireworks display has been repositioned to be visible from multiple vantage points along the Potomac River waterfront from Canal Center Plaza to Jones Point Park. See website for a more detailed list of vantage points for this free event.
Huntley Meadows Park
Learn to use drawing and meditation to improve attention, observation and connection to nature. Focus on breathing, mindful awareness and basic drawing skills in a peaceful outdoor setting (weather permitting). Learn how drawing in nature can calm your spirit. Bring your sketchbook and supplies; paper and pencils will also be available for use. The cost is $15 per person and participants must be at least 13 years old. Register online.
Fairy Tales in the Sun
July 10 – September 6
Glen Echo, MD
This is the first in-person production that the Adventure Theater has performed since the beginning of the pandemic. Join them to celebrate the summer season with two one-act plays: The Flood in the Future by Lyra Yang and From Cinders to Ella by Michelle Lynch. Check out the website to purchase tickets, read about the plays, and to see a sneak peak.
Anacostia Watershed Society Boat Tour
Bladensburg Waterfront Park
Boat and canoe tours are offered through the Society’s Anacostia River Explorers program throughout the summer. Explore the river while riding in an open-air motorized boat. Staff will take participants on a one or two hour tour of the river while discussing natural and cultural history along with restoration efforts. Registration is required and limited for these events. Seats are still available for the July 15th boat tours, but all other tours in July are full. Registration for August canoe and boat tours opens on July 19th.
Bloom Community Events by Strathmore
July 17 and 31
Good Hope Neighborhood Recreation Center
Silver Spring, MD
This summer, enjoy the return of free, fun, family-friendly concerts at Good Hope Neighborhood Recreation Center in Silver Spring. Bloom aims to help the arts thrive by making sure everyone can experience them. RSVP online.
Children’s Performances at the Filene Center
July 20th through July 31st
Filene Center at Wolf Trap Center for the Arts
Children’s Performances are back, but operating at reduced capacity through July. Patrons will purchase 2-8 seats for shows in socially distanced groupings six feet apart referred to as “pods”. There must be at least one adult per pod. This month, check out a variety of performances including the Maryland Youth Ballet’s “Snow White.” The full calendar and tickets are available online.