D.C. in Summer

Updated July 10, 2020.

Summer is just around the corner, and here in D.C., we’re so ready for it! D.C. really comes to life in the summer time. Between Independence Day, daylight until 9:00pm and beyond, and baseball games, summertime really makes the District come to life. Check out my top 10 list of things to do in D.C. in the sweet summertime!

10. More Daylight (FREE)

Summer days in D.C. can start before 5:00am and last beyond 9:00pm! This means you have plenty of time to see all there is to see, whether you’re an early riser or a night owl. Whether it’s a morning run or a sunset walk around the monuments, you can do it with the long days of a D.C. summer.

Another gorgeous, 16-hours of daylight summer day in D.C.!

9. The Fish Market (FREE; food for purchase)

Insider tip: there is a fresh fish market in D.C.! And it’s the oldest open-air fish market in the United States. If you have access to a grill or oven during your visit, you can definitely pick up something for supper. If not, you can choose from one of the many restaurants at the Wharf. Find out more here!

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Fish!
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Enjoying some fresh crab!

8. Kayaking and Canoeing the Potomac (Prices Vary)

This is not a river you want to be swimming in, but it is a beautiful and patriotic spot to kayak, canoe, stand-up paddle board, and more! This is a classic summer activity made better because it’s such a unique, historic place.

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The Potomac River
Head out to Great Falls for some rapids!

7. Mount Vernon by Water ($47.95, plus potential add-ons)

This one is a little outside D.C. Head down to the waterfront in Alexandria (take the metro if you don’t have a car to use) and hop on one of the ferries to Mount Vernon. Your ferry ticket includes your admission to Mount Vernon as well. Mount Vernon is beautiful all year long, but summer just has a certain special energy here. Purchase your tickets here!

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The View from the water
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Mount Vernon

6. The Zoo (FREE)

OK, so I also included this in my Spring in D.C. post, but it’s worth going back! It’s free, it’s fun, and what says summer more than a hot pink flamingo?

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Shake your tail feather
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The Zoo!
More here: Your Ultimate Guide to D.C.’s Smithsonian Museums

5. Find the More Obscure Monuments (FREE)

D.C. is home to many a memorial and monument, some lesser-known than others. Rent a bike or just start walking, and you’re sure to stumble up on one or several!

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Constitution Gardens

4. Water Features (FREE)

And speaking of monuments, summer is the time of year when you know the water features will be on! In winter, much of spring, and sometimes in fall, the water features have to be turned off if the temperatures get below a certain number. But there’s no fear of that in summer. Please be respectful and don’t wade in the water, even if other are doing so.

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FDR Memorial
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WWII Memorial at dusk

3. Arlington National Cemetery (FREE)

Summer is a great time to go to Arlington National Cemetery. Bring water and be prepared to walk around, but make sure to catch the changing of the guard, Arlington House, and the many monuments erected to people who died defending our country since the 1860s.

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Lafayette Gravesite
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Changing of the Guard
More here: Ultimate Guide to Arlington National Cemetery

2. Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon, Iwo Jima Memorial (FREE)

This is one of the most impressive displays I’ve ever seen. This drill team, with absolutely no audible cues, spins their rifles with fixed bayonets with absolute precision. They throw their weapons back and forth to each other knowing that any wrong move or hesitation could mean disaster. But for onlookers every Tuesday evening in the summer, these men in uniform make no wrong moves.

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US Marine Corps Silent Drill Team
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Those are guns with bayonets
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This man’s hat fell off, but he did not stop his performance. The man behind him discretely fixed it on a break

1. The Fourth of July (FREE)

D.C. is the #1 place to be for Independence Day in my book! There’s always a parade, and the fireworks are truly impressive. My favorite spot to watch the fireworks is actually from the Iwo Jima Memorial. You can stake out your spot early in the day, bring in a picnic, and get a view of the fireworks amid the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, Smithsonian Castle, Capitol Dome, and Library of Congress. It’s stunning!

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Parade
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Uncle Sam

BONUS! Outdoor Entertainment

Summer is extra special to me, so I wanted to give you an extra fun activity! D.C. has some amazing outdoor entertainment. From military concerts at the Capitol to jazz in the Sculpture Garden to outdoor movies, there is no lack of entertainment any night of the week!

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Waiting for an outdoor movie to start!

Are you heading to D.C. this summer? Let me know below! And don’t forget to check out my Washington, D.C., Page for all your planning needs!

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Published by quickwhittravel

Hey there! I am an avid traveller and adventurer, and you're always welcome to join me! The things I love most are God, my husband Steve, and seeing new places! My favorite places include Sydney, Australia; Ise City, Japan; and Bergen, Norway--but there's always room for more favorite places!

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