So, have no plans for Memorial Day weekend and you don't know what to do with yourself. No worries, we've got you covered with a list of 10 last-minute ideas. From national parks to waterfronts and outdoor concerts, here's where to have a great weekend!
1. Relax at the Anacostia River or the Georgetown Waterfront
You don't have to plan a trip if your summer plans call for enjoying time on the water. Reserve a canoe, kayak or paddleboard and enjoy seeing a different side of DC on the Anacostia or Potomac Rivers; for a totally unique experience, try a Twilight Tour on the water! For you landlubbers, stroll along the Capital and Georgetown Waterfront area and take in the myriad of shopping and dining options or bring a picnic and enjoy the views and people watching.
2. Hike, run and more in Rock Creek Park
Did you know that Rock Creek Park is bigger than New York's Central Park? It's 1,800 acres offer a wealth of opportunities to get back to nature without leaving the city. Hike the trails, have a picnic (even BBQ) at one of the many picnic sites, go for a horse ride, walk with a Park Ranger, try indoor stargazing ... This urban oasis is an outdoor lover's recreational playground!
3. Salute veterans at the National Memorial Day Concert
It’s an American tradition dating back to 1989 that brings big time talent to the stage on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol to honor the nation’s fallen soldiers. This year’s performers include Patti LaBelle, Gavin DeGraw, Justin Moore and Alison Kraus, to name a few. Tickets are not needed to watch the concert live on the lawn on Memorial Day. The gates to enter — located on the southwest corner of the Capitol grounds — open at 5 p.m. and the public will not be admitted to the West Lawn before then. The concert begins at 8 p.m.
Or you can skip the crowds (and it will be!) and attend the full concert dress rehearsal will take place on at 8 p.m. Saturday. Gates for the dress rehearsal will also open to the public at 5 p.m.
4. Honor the United States Colored Troops at the African American Civil War Memorial
The African American Civil War Memorial Museum consists of a memorial and a museum that commemorate the service of 209,145 African-American soldiers and about 7,000 white and 2,145 Hispanic soldiers, amounting to nearly 220,000, plus the approximate 20,000 unsegregated Navy sailors who fought for the Union in the American Civil War, mostly among the 175 regiments of United States Colored Troops (USCT). The memorial includes a 9-foot statue and a walking area with curved panel short walls inscribed with the names of the men who served in the war.
5. Get in the groove at Jazz in the Garden
The return of the ever-popular Jazz in the Garden series, held in the stunning National Gallery of Art sculpture garden, is the true start of the summer season. The free concert series features artists (many of them local) performing a wide variety of styles—Brazilian Folk Jazz, Alternative Modern, Blues, Reggae, World Steam Punk, Afro Funk, African Fusion Jazz, Cuban Charanga, Django Guitar, New Orleans Jazz, and more—every Friday evening from 5:00 to 8:30pm. Be sure to arrive early to stake out prime seating on the lawn. Food and beverages (the sangria is delicious!) are available on-site for purchase.
6. Share a toast to summer at a local winery or brewery
Cheers to summer! Raise a glass and enjoy fantastic river views at District Winery – DC’s first urban winery or sample a cool flight of cider on the outdoor patio at ANXO, the city's cidery pioneer. For more variety, head to Ivy City for a self-guided walking tour of the area's distilleries: Sample gin at New Columbia Distillers; sip local suds at Atlas Brew Works; and whether you’re in want of whiskey, long for gin or hanker for vodka, One Eight Distilling has all tastes covered.
7. Enjoy a cocktail with a rooftop view
It's officially rooftop season! Happy hour or any time, celebrate the return of warm days and nights at a rooftop bar paired with a cool cocktails and stunning views. A few fave hotspots to chill out at include: El Techo, the "adult treehouse," in Shaw; hip and sleek La Vie at the Wharf; Perry's the neighborhood staple in Adams Morgan; sit poolside with a house-made cocktail under a cabana at the Rooftop at The Embassy Row Hotel; and nosh on ballpark-themed bites and brews while watching a baseball game at Top of the Yard, which overlooks Nationals Park.
8. Get out of the Uber and on a bike
Take your own personal tour of DC from the seat of a bike and see the city in a whole new light. Cycle the Metropolitan Branch Trail, which extends through many of D.C.’s residential neighborhoods, including NoMa, Brookland, Brightwood, and Takoma Park. There are also plenty of murals along the way thanks to POW! WOW! DC worth checking out. Or test your stamina with a circuit on the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail, one of the top five family-friendly bike rides in the D.C. area. The trail is approximately 20 miles long, circling around the Anacostia River and offering scenic views of the city and the nearby fauna. No bike? No problem. Capital Bikeshare makes it easy for everyone to ride.
9. Play a round of put-put miniature golf at East Potomac's Miniature Golf Course
Foooore! Hit the greens for 19 holes of miniature golf at the historic Hains Point mini-golf course. It's the oldest continuously operating miniature golf course in the country and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It's also the only outdoor mini-golf course in DC.
10. Dive in! Pools open in DC
Come on in, the water's fine! Department of Parks and Recreation's outdoor pools open throughout the city on May 25 for the weekends. Pools and aquatic centers are open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. through Memorial Day Monday, May 27. After June 17, pools open daily throughout the summer. All are free for DC residents.
Curious for more awesome, outside-the-norm ideas for a long weekend, weekday break or even just a normal two-day weekend in DC? Contact us!
Look up, down, and all around. Adventures can be found everywhere -- if you're curious enough to look. k for it