Comments by Mary Gallagher–
As a metro DC area resident for over 20 years, (I lived near the Pentagon) Washington, DC is the ideal destination for a summer vacation and in my opinion the best vacation spot anywhere anytime.
Destination DC, the official destination marketing organization for the nation’s capital, helps visitors and residents make the most of it. Their re-designed washington.org is packed with expanded neighborhood coverage as well as practical information, calendars and itineraries to ease trip-planning. Even after 20 years I hadn’t seen it all!
“Destination DC helps visitors find their DC Cool vibe this summer, whether that means watching Fourth of July fireworks on the National Mall, joining a food tour of Capitol Hill, kayaking on the Potomac – or all three,” said Elliott Ferguson, president and CEO of Destination DC.
Bear in mind a lot of tourists come to DC and many by the busload. Patience is important and the more you have your top choices picked out the happier you will be. When I lived there people would say we’re going to see the Smithsonian, well at that time there were 17 different buildings and now there are more. You’re talking a lifetime of standing on marble floors! More exhibits than you can imagine. Be selective and go in the mornings.
Independence Day: Watch the National Independence Day Parade; catch “A Capitol Fourth” concert on the West Lawn and fireworks. A gazillion people come for the fireworks and some of them drink too much and there are not enough bathrooms but it’s a once in a lifetime experience. It’s a good idea to bring a blanket or chairs and something to eat.
Labor Day: Walk or bike through one of DC’s National Parks then relax at the National Symphony Orchestra’s free concert that kicks off the Kennedy Center’s season. Plan Labor Day weekend with a round-up of special events.
JULY 4th WEEKEND ITINERARY
July 1: National Air and Space Museum marks its 40th birthday with “All Night at the Museum.” Following an evening ceremony, the museum will remain open for tours, a film fest and party for guests ages 21-and-over. This is always the most crowded of the Mall Museums and the most children. Once you get away from the main hall it settles down slightly.
July 2: Tudor Place celebrates its bicentennial with a party. “Happy Birthday Tudor Place! Happy Birthday America!” offers lawn games, tours of the decorative arts collections and cake. I don’t consider this a strong family destination but have enjoyed it myself and their many exhibits over the years
July 3: Even if you don’t go to a special event don’t miss the National Gallery of Art. The National Gallery of Art marks its 75th anniversary with “In Celebration of Paul Mellon” (May 8-Sept. 18), an exhibition of 80 works the collector gifted the nation. Either way your visit isn’t long enough to see everything it has so many exhibits. You can wander through the two buildings or have specific shows to see.
Honor the National Park Service’s centennial: #findyourpark on one of DC’s green spaces or catch the IMAX movie “National Parks Adventure” at the National Museum of Natural History.
July 4: The National Archives marks the 225th anniversary of the Bill of Rights and the 240th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence with activities, patriotic crafts and costumed characters. Watch the parade from the Archives’ steps...
right but be realistic about the number of other people that have the same idea! The archives are very interesting but not “flashy”. This is where ken Burns and all the documentary film makers get their material.
Hyatt Place Washington, DC/National Mall: The new 12-story, 214-room hotel sports a pool and rooftop boasting sweeping views including Nationals Park, museums and monuments. Excellent location.
Kimpton’s Mason & Rook Hotel: Discover 178 guest rooms and Radiator, a bar with fire pits and shuffleboard. The hotel’s rooftop has a grill, a pool and views of the Washington Monument. You’ll need to metro or Uber to the Mall.
The Rosewood Washington, DC: This property (formerly Capella Washington, DC) sits canal-side in Georgetown and has a rooftop offering views of the historic neighborhood as well as the Potomac River. Georgetown a longtime ago voted not to have a metro stop and that was a bad bad decision but if you stay here there are shuttle and bus services to the mall plus Georgetown is a great place to explore on it’s own.
The Watergate Hotel: Following a $125 million renovation by Euro Capital Properties, this property houses two ballrooms, Kingbird restaurant, the 2,500-bottle Next Whisky Bar and Argenta Spa. Right by the Potomac with excellent running and walking trails along the river and fairly close to the wonderful Textile Museum on the George Washington campus.
SUMMER FESTIVALS, EXHIBITS & SPORTS
Capital Pride (June 1-12)
The theme of the 41st festival is “Make Magic Happen.” Catch the parade, parties and concerts.
The Greeks: Agamemnon to Alexander the Great (June 1-Oct. 10)
More than 550 artifacts map the secrets of an ancient civilization at the National Geographic Museum.
DC Jazz Fest (June 10-19)
Offering 125 performances at 40+venues, this is one of the largest and fastest growing jazz events in the country. The 2016 line-up includes Maceo Parker, Talib Kweli and Ravi Coltrane.
AFI Docs (June 22-26)
The preeminent festival showcases non-fiction films in landmark venues honors Werner Herzog.
Smithsonian Folklife Festival (June 29-July 4, July 7-10)
The 2016 edition of the pop-up museum of living culture explores “Basque: Innovation by Culture” and “Sounds of California.” An outstanding experience and opportunity to know a foreign culture and most years the heat and humidity is excruciating.
ICEBERGS (July 2-Sept.6)
Step inside Insta-worthy icebergs suspended in the National Building Museum’s Great Hall. A great building to visit a bit off the Mall. There are wonderful tours of the interior. Highly rated gift shop.
Citi Open (July 16-24)
Stars from the men’s and women’s professional circuit battle at the intimate Rock Creek Park Tennis Center.
Opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture (Sept. 24)
President Obama dedicates the museum about the African American experience in US history. A three-day celebration follows.
Reopening of the National Gallery of Art’s East Building (Sept. 30)
See the $30M renovation adding +12,000-feet of exhibition space and rooftop sculpture garden.
Now this has been just a light sample of what you can do in DC in the summer plus I loved the tourmobile no longer around but the http://www.dccirculator.com/ is a partial alternative. If it’s over 80 or 90 degrees I highly recommend taking cabs or other transportation as the buildings on the mall may look close but trust me they aren’t.
Stay dehydrated and drink drink water.
Watchout DC I’m moving back!