Washington DC with Kids 2017

Posted by & filed under Washington DC.

Washington DC with kids 2017D.C. is a popular destination for people of all ages. The capital city’s abundance of museums, national landmarks, and historic sites make it a fun and educational haven. Families are often especially drawn to DC for its range of entertaining yet informative activities — many of which are free! Here’s our list of our favorite things to do and places to visit with kids.

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A Note on Safety: Is is safe to visit Washington DC with kids?

As with any large city, safety is of serious concern. Fortunately all of DC’s frequented tourist attractions such as the National Mall, Capitol Building, and Smithsonians are highly secure. In fact, expect to go through more security lines than you’d likely care to! The downtown area is also very safe, as are nearby neighborhoods like Georgetown and Eastern Market. In general, common sense such as being mindful of your belongings and aware of your surroundings is enough to avert any safety issues in the city.

Best Tours in Washington DC with Kids 2017

Best DC Museums in Washington DC with Kids 2017

Outdoor Activities in Washington DC with Kids 2017

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Self Guided East Georgetown Walking Tour

Posted by & filed under Washington DC.

This post is a 2-hour self-guided tour of things to see in the eastern half of Georgetown in Washington, DC.  While you haven’t officially left Washington, D.C., it sure feels like you have. Founded in 1751 as the Town of George, this was a small tobacco inspection port in the colony of Maryland.  We hope you’re enjoying this self-guided tour in addition to our Historic Georgetown Walking tour, which explores the waterfront and western/central parts of Georgetown. The neighborhood has so much history it is hard to cover in one tour! If you’re interested in more about the beginnings of this once independent city turned neighborhood and the architecture of the buildings you see, join us for one of our 2 hour guided walking tours. This East Georgetown self-guided tour will explore both the historically black-American part of Georgetown and also the exorbitantly wealthy part where you’ll see some of the largest residences. The tour ends near the C&O Canal and not far from where we start our Historic Georgetown tour.

 

 

From this small park, head north up the hill on 28th St NW and then take your first right onto Olive St NW.


2706 Olive St NW

This house at 2706 Olive St NW is the color of butter, which is fitting for its most well-known owner. This was the home of Julia Child and her husband, Paul. Though they purchased the house in 1948, it wasn’t until the moved back in after time overseas that they really lived there. While in France, Julia had taken cooking classes and it was at this house that she began to put those skills to use. Hosting cooking classes for neighborhood ladies, including the likes of Katherine Graham. Husbands were allowed to sample the dishes on two conditions. They could make no complaints and had to clear their plates! In 1959, the couple moved to Cambridge, Mass. and the famous stove she had installed in the kitchen was moved with them – but now it can be seen downtown at the American History Museum.

Aside for its famous resident, the house has its own unique story. It was built in 1870 by a black-American carpenter, Edgar Murphy. This being shortly after the American Civil War, it was unusual that he would have the funds to build this four bedroom house. This eastern half of Georgetown was colloquially known as Herring Hill, due to the number of Herring in nearby Rock Creek. A prominent black-American neighborhood, many of the homes were built around this time and the neighborhood grew into a thriving black-American community.

Continue around the corner up 27th St NW and take your second left onto Dumbarton Street NW. The next stop will be halfway on your left.


2720 Dumbarton Ave NW

This was built as a modern home in 1949 leaving the nearby residents of Georgetown aghast. Bucking tradition of copying more historic styles with flat fronts, triangle pediments or Americana motifs, Joseph Alsop, famed columnist, decided to try his hand at architecture. It is a lot larger than it looks with at least 6 bedrooms, five baths, a swimming pool and a luxurious garden that is often included on home and garden tours.

The Alsops were Georgetown royalty and hosted lavish parties and salons at this home. It was here that JFK retired after his 1961 inaugural balls for a nightcap – whether that was a bowl of soup, a glass of champagne or a secret liaison with Angie Dickenson depends on who you ask. Alsop was a writer and columnist, best known for his thrice-weekly piece, “Matter of Fact.”

Backtrack to 27th Street to the church on the corner of 27th and Dumbarton Street NW.


First Baptist Church of Georgetown

When Reverend Sandy Alexander, a former slave, arrived in Georgetown in 1856 he found there were only 2 Baptists. Eventually, the congregation grew and in 1882 the cornerstone of this building was laid. The foundations were dug by church members themselves throughout the night. When the receipt was written after making the first loan payment, it was addressed to the First African Baptist Church. The trustees refused to accept this for they were indeed the First Baptist Church in Georgetown, race aside.

As Georgetown has grown and developed over the years, many of the older families have been forced out with higher land values and rents. As can be seen with many churches in the neighborhood, many of the congregation no longer live nearby but commute in on Sunday mornings.

The church is bordered by the grassy park, make your way to a shady spot in the park for our next stop.


Rose Park Recreation Center & Tennis Courts

Designated as a recreation area on donated land, Rose Park was created in 1918. It was used by members of the community, regardless of the race until 1945. A sign was posted that read “For Colored Use Only.” That sign lasted about a day. Residents, white and black, protested this designation and ignored it. The city would eventually acknowledge and claim that DC had one of the first integrated parks, but it was never the city’s doing.

The tennis courts have seen its fair share of integrated games as well. In the 1940s, you may have seen a game between a handsome white serviceman who was stationed nearby against two local black sisters who lived nearby. Gene Kelly, actor and dancer from films such as An American in Paris (1951), Anchors Aweigh (1945), and Singin’ in the Rain (1952) often practiced with the Peters sister. Margaret and Roumania Peters might not have the name recognition of Gene Kelly to today’s audience, but these two women were the original Williams sisters.

Cross 27th Street and head down O Street NW, a few houses in on your left you’ll see 2710.


2710 O St NW

Nicknamed Pete and Repeat, the Peters sisters were tennis greats in a time when women and black-Americans were not always welcomed in the sport. The tennis courts you saw at the last stop in the 1930s were sand, rock, dirt and had to be cleared by hand and relined before you could start a game. The sisters competed in the American Tennis Association, which was created to give black-Americans a chance to play and compete in an era when they were not allowed to compete against white-American players. As amateurs, the sisters had to provide their own equipment and transportation. In the 1930s through 50s, the sisters set records with the doubles performance and would earn degrees in Physical Education from Tuskegee University and later Masters Degree and would both teach.

You may have heard the name Althea Gibson, who won straight titles from 1947-1956 and was the first black-American to compete in integrated tennis. She lost in 1946 to Matilda Roumaina Peters, who was the only black-American woman to ever beat Gibson!

Continue up 27th St NW. This block has some of the best photographic angles for the multi colored row houses. Turn left onto Q St NW.


Dumbarton House

If you’re standing on the sidewalk looking at the house, you’re actually standing in the original location of this home. When the bridge over Rock Creek was built they needed to extend Q St to meet it. This house was placed upon logs and moved up the hill by about 50′ to allow for the road.

Dumbarton House as its called today was completed around 1800. The original land grant for what is today Georgetown was given to a Scotsman named Ninian Beall who called is the Rock of Dumbarton after a location in Scotland. That is why you have so many things named Dumbarton around here.

In 1814, during the War of 1812, when the British were setting downtown Washington DC ablaze, it was to this house that First Lady Dolley Madison escaped, with the famous Gilbert Stuart portrait o George Washington and the White House drapes. Today it is a historic house museum and one of the best in the city. We highly recommend stopping for a visit and tour inside if hours allow.

Keep walking down Q St NW and turn right on 28th St NW.


Evermay

This beautiful house is set back from the road and may be hard to see – but don’t walk up the drive way. This is a private house and that tradition dates back to the very beginning. Built around the turn of the 19th century by Samuel Davidson, Evermay was not a welcoming abode. When the house was near completion, Mr. Davidson put an ad in the local papers to introduce himself to the neighborhood. In this letter he encouraged his neighbors to “avoid Evermay as you would a den of evils or rattlesnakes.” and warned them that his “man, Edward, has orders to protect the home with aid of … hatchet, shotguns, blunderbuss, steel traps and grass snakes.” Let’s just say he was the original “Not In My Back Yard” kind of neighbor.

As you walk up 28th Street you’ll begin to see Oak Hill Cemetery on your left. Stop as the road turns and look for the obelisk behind the fence, that is the grave of Edwin Stanton, Secretary of War under Abraham Lincoln. Keep walking along until you get to the main gate.


Oak Hill Cemetery

W.W. Corcoran established Oak Hill Cemetery in 1848 and is a beautiful example of a garden cemetery. You’ll find locals reading newspapers on benches and taking strolls through the 22 acre grounds. The small chapel you see is the Renwick Chapel, named after the famed architect James Renwick. His work can be see downtown at the Renwick Art Gallery or up in NYC at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. It is the only example of Gothic architecture in Georgetown.

You can wander the cemetery if it is open and the gatehouse has self guided tours. Within the walls, you’ll find the final resting place of the Grahams, Edwin Stanton, Ben Bradlee, and this was the temporary resting place for Willie Lincoln, who died during Lincoln’s presidency.

Head just across the street. You’ll see a gravel driveway leading to a house set back from the road.


2920 R St NW

As of 2017, no one is actually living in this house due to disputes between neighbors on renovations and expansions. This is the Beall-Washington House, a name fitting for one of the grand 19th century estates here in upper Georgetown. Washington, for a descendant of George Washington who married into the Beall family, descended from the original landowner of Georgetown, Ninian Beall.

It was previously owned by the Grahams, Katherine and Peter, who were editors of the Washington Post. Living here for decades, some of the most elaborate parties that included “the Georgetown set” of well known and well to do were held at this house.

Before the Grahams, it was home to Wild Bill Donovan. He was head of the O.S.S. – Office of Strategic Services, the precursor to the CIA. It was while working with the OSS that Julia met Paul Child. She would likely have attended some of Wild Bill’s parties. The OSS was often mocked in the press and called Oh! So Social.

If you’d like to take a side trip, we highly recommend continuing down R St NW to Dumbarton Oaks. It has a great museum and even better gardens that you can visit. Otherwise, head down 30th St NW and turn right onto Q St NW


Cooke’s Row

The beautiful homes you see on the right as standalone mini-mansions were all built by Henry Cooke and are known as Cooke’s Row. Legend states that he built them all for his 12 children to keep them living nearby. There are four double villas with alternative architectural styles. Cooke was a banker, railway entrepreneur and was appointed in 1871 by President Grant to be the first territorial governor of District of Columbia. They were completed in 1868 and a local newspaper reported that “each contain… two parlors, connected with sliding doors, a library, a dining room, butler’s closet, servant’s hall, and stairs, with all modern improvements and appurtenances (besides the spacious hall and stairs opening on tasty porches) in the principal stories which are twelve feet high in the clear. The kitchens which are located in the basement, are ample, and communicate directly with the butler’s closet, adjoining the fine dining room, by means of a dumb-waiter. The kitchen and butler’s closets have every convenience and are supplied with hot and cold water as also are the bathrooms in the second stories.

The second story of each house, 11 feet high, contains four fine chambers, closets, water closets, bathroom, dressing room, servants’ hall stairs, etc. while the attics have each 4-5 good chambers. There is a cellar under each house its entire size.”

Walk a little further down the street to 3027 Q St NW


3027 Q St NW

This is the home of Bob Woodward. Keep in mind it is a private resident and respect his privacy.

Bob Woodward was a reporter for the Washington Post during the Watergate Scandal that led to the resignation of President Nixon. Growing up, Woodward’s parents didn’t want him to become a journalist, thinking it wouldn’t be a successful career. Across the river in a parking garage in Rosslyn, Virginia is where Woodward and fellow reporter Carl Bernstein met with an information known as Deep Throat, who has now been revealed as FBI agent Mark Felt. At the time Woodward was living in Dupont Circle and would communicate with Felt on the time to meet with secret codes, like moving a plant on the balcony to a different corner or circling a certain page on the morning newspaper. Woodward would write about his historic time in his book, All the President’s Men.

Backtrack down Q St NW to the corner of M and 30th St NW. There is a beautiful Southwestern looking building on the far corner.


1527 30th St NW

Today, this is a multi unit residents but it was initially built by Francis Dodge. No relation to Dodge Motor Company. The elder Francis Dodge was a wealthy shipping merchant, you can still see some of the Dodge Warehouses down by the Potomac River. Francis Dodge, Sr had 11 children and two of his sons would have homes built on Q Street. This particular house was for Francis, Jr. Both homes were built by the design team, Andrew Jackson Downing and Calvert Vaux. Eventually, this home would be purchased by Henry Cooke, so you can see how closer it is to the homes he supposedly built for his children.

Continue down Q Street NW and turn left on 29th. Just past the corner on the right is a large brick building.


1617 29th St NW

This brick house was built in 1911 for Hermann Hollerith. Though his punch card machine is obsolete today you likely can picture what I’m talking about. His tabulating company would eventually merge with three other companies and be renamed International Business Machines (IBM). He had an office down by the C&O Canal, the site of which is marked by a historic marker dedicated by modern day IBM.

Return to Q St NW and turn left.


2815 Q St NW

As of writing and for the last few years the house had a yellow front door. This was the home of Marvin Hamlisch. He as an American composer, and one of few people to earn an – Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony, commonly called EGOT. But in addition, he also earned a Pulitzer Price. He wrote the scores for The Sting (surely you’ve heard the Entertainer), The Way We Were, “Nobody Does It Better” for the Spy Who Loved Me, A Chorus Line, and the original opening credits for Good Morning America.

While living in Georgetown he was conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra Pops. The story is he decided to give up this Georgetown residence so he could live in a hotel, where he could get ice cold Coca Cola delivered to his room at 2am.

Continue to the corner of Q and 28th St NW. There is a large columned home on your right.


This is the second Dodge house on Q St NW, belonging to Robert Dodge. He was a engineer on the C&O Canal, founding member of the Georgetown Gas Light Company, owner of the Columbia Flour Mill, and paymaster in the Union Army. Despite his families loss in the shipping business, he had his hands in so many ventures he remained financially stable throughout his life.

Turn right down 28th St NW. Stop at the white picket fence on your right.


1524 28th St NW

This quaint cottage like home is one of few remaining wooden structures. Standalone wooden homes in this area were all built before 1871. After the Great Chicago Fire, it was decided not to build wooden homes in dense urban areas. This particular house was built by 1846. The process to date such an old house is interesting. By 1846 this particular lot in Georgetown had a dwelling. And it cannot be older than 1843 because a Mr. Bennett Clements had a right to remove crops on that lot, so we can only surmise the house was built between 1843 and 1846.

The modest home was built by Benjamin Miller who was the master-carpenter and superintendent of the Potomac Aqueduct nearby.

Continue down 28th Street and stop at the iron fence on the corner of P St NW.


This fence on the corner seems rather typical for this area. With iron foundries just a few blocks down by the river, there are many wrought iron additions to homes. This fence however is supposedly different.

The owner of the home in the early 1800s was a man named Reuben Daws. He had lent the government money during the War of 1812 and when they couldn’t repay, they offered him (and others) free reign of the Navy Yard to take what we wanted in the way of castings. He found a pile of old British muskets, said to be surrendered during the Revolutionary War, and turned them into a fence. If you look closely, you’ll notice the points are inserts and some of the barrels still have their old iron sights.

If you look across the street at 2808 P St NW, you’ll see the house the John F. Kennedy lived in in 1957. For more about the Kennedy’s in Georgetown, take our Historic Georgetown walking tour.

Cross 29th street and go a few houses down but don’t go to fast or you’ll miss the next stop


At 2726 P St NW, you’ll see the smallest house in Georgetown. At 8 feet wide, this is called a Spite House. These are very popular up and down the East Coast and often joked that they were built to block the sun or fresh air of a neighbor. This house wasn’t actually built out of spite, though. In the 1870s, it was an extension of the house to the right. You can see the cornices at the top overlap.

Head back to 29t and turn left for one block. You’ll see a large church across the street.

 

 

 

 


Mount Zion United Methodist Church

The Mount Zion United Methodist Church is Washington’s oldest black-American congregation. In 1816, the black members of Dumbarton Street Methodist Episcopal Church left to start Mount Zion United Methodist Church. These 125 black parishioners were both enslaved and free.

The church’s nearby cemetery, further up 29th Street by Dumbarton House, is said to have been part of the Underground Railroad. An old vault was unlocked so runaway enslaved persons could hide while passage further north was arranged.

Across the street from the church at 1339, you’ll see what looks to be a large home with a central door. This is an example of the changes in Georgetown. These were original three separate row houses built in 1700s and combined in 1937 to make one family home.

Continue down 29th Street and cross M St NW then right right. At the corner of 30th and M is our next stop.


Site of Union Hotel

Though the building is no longer standing and this southwest corner of 30th and M Street NW is currently under construction, this was the site of the Union Hotel. Originally called the Crawford Hotel, it was used as a hospital and boarding house during the Civil War and obtained a new name. It was here that a young nurse named Louise May Alcott would volunteer. She would not be able to serve long before she got ill herself and would return home to New England to write Little Women.

Built in 1796 it was one of the grandest hotels in the area, but it was razed in 1932 in order to build a gas station.

Continue down 30th Street to the C&O Canal


Duvall Foundry

The large brick building on the southwest corner of 30th and the canal is part of a modern facility called The Foundry. This building on the corner was built as Duvall Foundry. The government in the early 19th century decided that a national foundry in the area would be beneficial. With the Potomac River, the C&O Canal and the B&O Railroad it would be easy to ship goods, especially iron, in and out. The Duvall Foundry began in 1856 and made muskets for the Union Army during the American Civil War.

The building still stands as a testament to Georgetown’s days as an industrial powerhouse. Along the canal and river, were foundries, kilns, and mills. As the Potomac River and then canal silted up and ships grew larger and could not come this far inland, the industry started to leave Georgetown. Today all that is left is the name of the area condos on the waterfront that remind us what this buildings used to be.


We end the tour here on the C&O Canal, not far from M St NW. You can easily make your way back to the main street for some shopping lunch or head to the Metro Station at Foggy Bottom. But we hope you’ll stick around and join us for our Historic Georgetown walking tour, which starts just a few blocks from here at the Waterfront Park at 31st and K St NW.

Things to do in Baltimore | Baltimore Tours

Posted by & filed under Washington DC.

If you’re looking for things to do in Baltimore or Baltimore Tours, we’re here to help you plan your trip. While Free Tours by Foot doesn’t offer tours in Baltimore, it’s a quick t  rip from our DC by Foot tours. Baltimore is also just a short drive from the capital of Maryland, Annapolis.

Check out our posts on how to get to Baltimore and how to get around once you’re there.

Baltimore Tours
Camden Yards
Fort McHenry
Things to do in Baltimore

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How is the Weather in DC in August?

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This post takes a look at the August weather in Washington, D.C, with tips on what you should wear as well as ideas for things to do. The summer heat and humidity makes for a warm visit in August (but don’t worry, July is the hottest month!) but we have advice for the best way to explore the city while minimizing the sweating.

 

 

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Top Things to do in August in DC

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized, Washington DC.

We have the top things to do in DC and some of the highlights of DC events in August. As summer comes to a close, August is the last chance for festivals and events before the school year starts. Year round you can find some great free things to do in DC, but some of our favorite events in the nation’s capital only happen in August.

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Top 10 Things to do in DC in September 2017

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We have the top 10 things to do in DC in September. With summer just over, September is one of the better weather months to visit Washington DC. Year round you can find some great free things to do in DC, but some of our favorite events in the nation’s capital only happen in September.

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White House Visitor Center

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This post is about the White House Visitor Center and what you can find inside. It is a good option if you are unable to obtain tickets to visit inside the White House.

After an extensive revamping, the White House Visitor Center is open again to the public.  The restoration work took over 2 years and cost $12.5 million, much of which came from private donations through the White House Historical Association. There are over 90 new artifacts on display, many of which have never before been on display.

 

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Getting to DC from DCA Reagan National Airport

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This post compares the different ways of reaching Washington, DC from DCA- Reagan National Airport.  We have ordered the options from cheapest to most expensive with some analysis of each option to help you choose which one is best for you.  DCA is the closest airport to Washington DC. In fact, you can take the Metro there! And since you are coming to the nation’s capital, then why not let us show you around with one of our pay-what-you-like tours.

Before you look into transportation options, where are you staying? Due to the central location, many area hotels offer hotel shuttles to/from the airport! Make sure you don’t have a free ride waiting for you first!


Shuttle Service

Rental Cars


DC METRO RAIL TO AND FROM DCA (Reagan National Airport)

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Visiting the Air Force Memorial

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This post is guide to visiting the Air Force Memorial, including directions on how to get there and a self guided tour. You can see the Air Force Memorial from most of the DC area as its spires reach higher than anything surrounding it. The memorial is in Virginia, just next to the Pentagon and Arlington National Cemetery,

Check out our DC Tourism Guide, with budget advice, travel guides, and information about local Washington DC attractions


How to get to the Air Force Memorial

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Things to Do in DC at Night

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This post is a look into things to do in Washington, D.C. at Night. Washington has evolved into a happening place to be after the sun sets. From great restaurants, bars, music, performances to art, culture and shimmering historical memorials on the night horizon, Washington DC has something for all its visitors at night.  And if you are visiting during the summer, you have special nighttime events that are unique to this city.


Tour the Memorials

Museums Open Late

Arts, Culture, Theatre


 

 

NIGHT TOURS OF THE MEMORIALS

Let’s face it, DC is known for its iconic monumental architecture, from the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial to great buildings like the White House and the U.S Capitol Building.  And if you wondering which ones are best to visit at night, our answer is – ALL OF THEM.  With the exception of the Washington Monument, memorials in D.C. are open 24-hours a day and can be enjoyed just as well at night as during the day.  We suggest twilight, as you will have the opportunity to see the memorials come to life, though be prepared for gift shops to close around 9 pm and restrooms to be locked around midnight. You will still be able to venture into any of the memorials, no matter the hour – and don’t expect to be alone as some memorials are more popular at night.

 

 

You could walk to the memorials on your own, but there is no shortage of guided tours that you could take to see the memorials and monuments lit up at night.  Of course, your first choice is us, Free Tours by Foot.  We offer about a dozen different pay-what-you-like night tours, including our National Mall Night Tour, our Lincoln Assassination Tour and our ghost and scandals themed tours.  We even offer audio and self-guided tours.  Additionally, there are numerous dinner cruises as well as bus, bike and segway tours that offer evening and night time tours, and we review and compare them all on our DC night tours page.  

 


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NIGHT AT THE MUSEUMS

Our capital region’s museums offer much to do for its guests after regular hours. More and more DC museums showcase thematic events, musical performances, tours and parties after 5 pm.

Here is a run through of museums and activities in the evening in DC.

Smithsonian:

Many of the more popular Smithsonian Museums stay open late on select days in the summer. While everything else closes at 530pm, you may find the Air and Space, Natural History, or American History open until 730pm. The Portrait Gallery is one of the few museums that says open later every night.

For the daily schedule of extended hours, visit the Smithsonian website.

National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden features Jazz in the Garden:

This event is immensely popular all summer long among DC residents as well as visitors. While there is soothing live jazz filling up the air all around, visitors relax and enjoy each other’s company in the lawns, picnic style. Many bring blankets and snacks (drinks can be purchased at the café on site). You can also walk around and engage with some awe-inspiring works by sculptors such as Claes Olderburg or Joan Miro.

Jazz in the Garden happens every Friday evening starting at 5PM (May 19 through August 25, 2017). For a complete schedule of artists…

The Phillips Collection’s Phillips After 5

The Phillips Collection is housed in the Dupont Circle neighborhood and is a prominent stop on our Embassy Row Tours. It is the first modern art gallery of the United States and showcases an impressive collection. The Phillips Collection is a happening place to be seen in Washington on the first Thursday night of every month, when the museum is open late and has a live band, drinks, snacks and thematic displays. This event is extremely popular among the younger crowds and often ticket sell out in advance so plan ahead if you want to experience this truly wonderful evening of art and culture in a relaxed live concert setting.

Tickets cost $12 for Adults and $19 for Students (Senior Citizens and Under 18 can enter for free). Details and calendar of events along with ticket purchase options are available online.

DC at NightNational Building Museum’s Summer Block Party

Each Summer, the National Building Museum has a special installation built in the Great Hall with select dates open late. In addition to being able to visit this architectural gem and its unique annual exhibits, the Summer Block Parties often feature live music outside on the lawn and catered food from local restaurant.

This summer enjoy Hill Country’s renowned Backyard BBQ in the West Lawn starting July 6, every Thursday and Friday from 4PM-9PM and every Saturday and Sunday from 11AM to 9PM. National Building Museum’s Hive Exhibit this summer can be experience late on Wednesdays along with musical performances and food and beverage.

The National Zoo hosts Brew at the Zoo

Drink beer and save wildlife! How can you go wrong. The festival features beer tastings, interaction with exotic animals, live music and entertainment. Food is provided by a variety of food trucks in this unique after hours experience. Proceeds benefit the National Zoo so every one wins at this event.DC at Night

DC’s best beer festival Brew at the Zoo will be held on July 20 this year.

National Gallery of Art Concert Series

Sunday night free concerts at the National Gallery of Art started during WWII and have continued on a first-come-first-served basis to the general public. Many musicians who have performed at the National Gallery of Art have gone on to worldwide fame. More than 3000 such free concerts have taken place here at The Gallery since this program began.

The 76th season of concerts for 2017 – 2018 will begin in the Fall.

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NIGHTLIFE IN DC

The hottest neighborhoods for nightlife, as in any city, are constantly shifting as new areas emerge. Here in Washington DC, new hubs for upbeat nightlife are emerging every year. So let us just talk a bit about a few of the neighborhoods that have always been fun to explore at night. 

If you want to add a bit of history, we have a self guided tour of Adams Morgan as well.

  • DuPont Circle is a lovely place to explore during the day with its shopping and historic buildings. At night, it can be quiet, DC at Nightbut the longtime landmark Kramerbooks & Afterwords Café and bookshop is open until 1am on weekdays and 3 am on weekends.

Looking to get your geek on? DuPont Circle’s Board Room bar has over 30 different type of board games to rent and plenty of table space to play. Battleship anyone?

If you’re looking for something more to your evening than cocktails, the nearby Keegan Theatre offers award winning productions of hit musicals and plays.

  •  U Street corridor, historically known as ‘Black Broadway’, is well know for its history, soul food and live jazz venues. 
    • The iconic Ben’s Chili Bowl is where you will end your night for a not so healthy meal and a milkshake.
    • Check out Twins Jazz which has hosted high profile jazz musicians since 1987 and continues to be a local landmark in the jazz community.
    • Walk over to the nearby Lincoln Theater to get a flavor for the neighborhood which has seen an economic resurgence in the past ten years.

Check out our U Street Walking Tours – self guided and offered as a private option.

  • Georgetown: DC at NightThe classic Georgetown place for live music is called Blues Alley and is located near the corner of Wisconsin and M streets. Blues Alley is a listening bar so expect incredible jazz musicians, but don’t go to chat.
    • Then take a walk to the waterfront park for desert and enjoy the lovely views of the city along the river.

We have a extensive guide to visiting Georgetown to help you get there, park, and explore – as well as take some tours.

  • H Street NE is the newest comer to the DC nightlife list. This one and a half mile stretch just northeast of Union Station now offers both good restaurants and nightlife options.
    • We like Toki Underground for its hearty bowls of ramen noodles
    • Le Grenier for its French food and sophisticated interiors.
    • The Atlas Theater is a local arts collaborative featuring music, dance, theatre and more
    • Bars like the Rock & Roll Hotel all are good reasons to travel to H Street for a night out.

DC at Night

  • Gallery Place Chinatown has lots of neon lights and people strolling around gives this area an energetic vibe.  The Chinese restaurants are great, though this isn’t the historic Chinatown so don’t expect anything authentic – for that, drive out to Annandale, Virginia!
    • Want to see the coolest club in town? Go to Ultabar for its upbeat music with table service and dance floors.

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DC RESTAURANS & ROOFTOP BARS

  • Kinship & Metier: Kinship has it all with Michelin Stars, a world-renowned chef, terrific reviews from foodies and a menu that will surprise you and wow you. Some creative food specialties include the lobster French toast, the foie gras, and the Dover Sole. Dress to impress because you may run into some DC celebrities here! Metier is housed in the same historic building and offers a seven-course tasting menu, is cozier and dressier, and just as fabulous as its neighbor Kinship.
  • Maketto: Maketto is a hip food and fashion marketplace style restaurant located on the happening H Street. Maketto is a real melting pot of experiences with its courtyard, roof deck, café, retail store, restaurant and overall super cool vibe. It is relaxed and reasonably priced, and offers a diverse menu that accommodates vegans, vegetarians, and those who eat gluten-free. Its also right by the Atlas Performing Arts Center in case you are looking to catch a show while you’re out on town anyways.


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  • Old Ebbit Grill: Are you thinking about taking our famous Lincoln Assassination Tour or Secrets & Scandals Tour? Then your night just got even more fun if you pair our tours with a meal at this charming DC institution located right off the White House complex. Old Ebbit opened in 1856, and past Presidents Grant, Cleveland, Harding and Roosevelt were regulars here. The food is great and reasonably priced.

Rooftop Bars in DC

Masa 14: Located on the happening 14th Street neighborhood off of Logan Circle, Masa 14 is known for its Latin-Asian fusion small plates, good vibes and cool rooftop. Happy hour discounts between 5PM and 7PM.

DC at NightH Street Country Club: How about a hip, Mexican – inspired, country club experience on the lively H-Street? This immense open-air rooftop bar brings together mojitos, margaritas, and chips such that you have a chilled out evening during your DC adventures.

The Rooftop at the Embassy Row Hotel: Enjoy a cocktail, buy a pool-pass or have a curated snack here as you watch the sun set in the Nation’s Capital.

Roofers Union: Look out on to Adams Morgan on 18th Street from the third floor of this popular rooftop bar as you dig into their popular punch bowl.

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ARTS, CULTURE, & THEATRE

Many great musical events are held in the summers only. Check out Things to Do in DC on Summer Nights for more information.

  • Kennedy Center Shows: The Kennedy Center is the official home to the National Symphony Orchestra and the Washington National Opera. But, the center is also always presenting some of the best in theater, opera, ballet, comedy and music. If you’re thinking about attending a performance during your visit it’s best to check the calendar ahead of time and buy tickets in advance.
    • The Kennedy Center Rooftop: You can walk out on the sprawling rooftop and balcony arena of the Kennedy Center and soak in one of the best views of our country. The rooftop of the Center is free and open to all and hands-down the best Washington experience one can have.

For more about the Kennedy Center, read our post on parking and a self guided tour.

    • The Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center: Every night of the year at 6PM, you’re invited for a free performance. The schedule runs the gamut from jazz and soul to opera and play productions. You’re best to check the schedule ahead of time and plan you visit around something that appeals to your taste.

 

  • Ford’s Theatre: This historic site is a feature stop on our Lincoln Assassination Walking Tour, but Ford’s is also a working theatre. The chance to see world-class theatrical performances in a historical settings is one of the perks of visiting Washington, D.C.!  Don’t miss Ford’s performance schedule and consider attending a show – and if you visit during the Christmas holidays, you must see A Christmas Carol!
    • During the spring and summer, Ford’s Theatre presents a special one-act play called One Destiny, which talks about the events of the assassination at the theatre from the perspective of those who witnessed it from the stage.  The play is great for families with children ages 8 and up – it really brings history to life.

Ford's Theater Seat MapTip: If you want a good view of the President’s Box, select seats in the Left Orchestra    (but not too far back) or in the Left Balcony. Don’t worry, you will have a chance  to get out of your seat and get a good photo of the President’s Box before and after the play and during intermission.

You can use visit the Museum while attending a play at Ford’s Theatre! The Ford’s Theatre Museum is open one hour before performance time and during intermission. Your performance ticket can also be used to visit the Petersen House before 5 p.m.

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SUMMER NIGHT EVENTS

  • Georgetown Sunset Cinema: At the Georgetown Waterfront Park, right beside the Potomac River, enjoy a relaxed movie under the night sky every Tuesday evening.

For a complete schedule of films and directions, visit their website.

  • Films at the Stone: As we encourage you to check out our nation’s wonderful memorials at night, you might also want to combine your visit to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial with its summer movie screenings.

For a complete schedule and more information, check out their site.

  • Twilight Tattoo: An evening military show just across the river at Fort Myers in Virginia. This free and open to the public event showcases Drum & Bugle Corps, Drill Teams, and live music. 

For more about the Twilight Tattoo, visit our post.

  • Sunset Parade (at Iwo Jima): With the backdrop of the US Marine Corps Memorial (Iwo Jima), you can watch musical performances by “The Commandant’s Own,” the Marine Drum and Bugle Corps, as well as precision drill by the Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon.

 

 
Read more about the Sunset Parade here.

Military Evening Concerts: On many nights of the week, you can find a military band performing throughout the city. From pop tunes to patriotic songs, these performances take place in some of the most beautiful venues – outside at the memorials.

  • US Navy Band has one at the Capitol west steps (the side facing the Mall) on Mondays and one at Navy Memorial on Tuesdays. Open to the public and no tickets needed. See their schedule here.

    • US Air Force Band performs on Fridays at the Air Force Memorial and on Tuesdays on the west steps of the US Capitol. Open to the public and no tickets needed. See their schedule here.
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SPORTS

DC is slowly becoming a sports city with highly ranked professional teams that are often favorites, even if we haven’t made it to the ‘ship yet in many cases!

Nationals

One of the most popular evening sport options, the Washington Nationals baseball team is one of the best in the National League and the relatively new Nats Park stadium is rather luxurious. You can easily spend $100s for the good seats, but the $10 standing room tickets are a big hit and you can watch the game from the bar in outfield.

Nats Park is an easy walk from Navy Yard station on the Green line – just follow all the fans in red ballcaps!

Capitals and Wizards

DC residents are big Capitals fans and rightfully so, as our hockey team is a good one to cheer for! Both the Capitals and the Wizards basketball team play at Verizon Center.

The games are played downtown at the famed Verizon Center in Chinatown, easily accessible on foot, bus or on the Red, Yellow, Green lines.

DC United

DC United soccer team will eventually get a new stadium, but for now they’re kicking around at RFK Stadium, accessible on the Blue, Orange, Silver lines at Stadium-Armory stop. RFK Stadium shows its age (which is why the team is moving) but its a nostalgic experience for anyone who prefers old-school seats and hotdog stands.

Redskins

Technically, the football team plays in Maryland, at FedEx Field. Even though its not in the city, it’s still accessible by public transportation.

Take the Blue line to Morgan Boulevard Metro Station. Turn left onto Garrett Morgan Boulevard and follow the sidewalk for less than a mile to FedEx Field.

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