Staycation? Here’s what you can do in D.C. this summer


Photo courtesy of Carol Highsmith

Fourth of July fireworks illuminate the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial.

Everyone has felt that familiar FOMO scrolling through Instagram and Snapchat stories each summer. It’s no fun seeing your friends halfway across the world in Tokyo or tanning on a beach in Hawaii while you’ve been vegetating on the couch for the past two weeks. But just because you’re at home, it doesn’t mean you can’t have some fun of your own.

WJ is right around the corner from our nation’s capital but students rarely take advantage of the fun activities that come with such a vibrant city. This summer, there are so many opportunities to have a good time that include films, food and fireworks. This is the only guide you’ll need to have a fantastic staycation in D.C.

Outdoor Movies

There are several outdoor movie locations in D.C. with a wide variety of locations and screenings so you’ll definitely find what you’re looking for. While there are a few where you’ll need to buy tickets, there are also many free options.

CAN I KICK IT? offers screenings of iconic movies like “The Hunger Games” and new movies like “Everything Everywhere All At Once” each Thursday at sunset with live hip-hop, soul and rock music. Attendees can expect giveaway items and food specials as well.

You can also see Movies On The Pitch at Audi field, the home of professional soccer team D.C. United, which will be screening movies each Thursday at 7:30 p.m. for no cost. You can catch movies like “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” and “Minions: The Rise of Gru” on the jumbotron throughout the summer.

If you’re looking for an old-school drive-in movie, Union Market has you covered. The annual event can fit up to 170 cars with a variety of foods offered at the Market. Admission is $20, but theatergoers can watch the movie free of charge on foot at Neal Place. You can catch movies like “Clueless” and “Top Gun: Maverick” each Friday.

4th of July Festivities

The nation’s capital is the best place to celebrate the Fourth of July. D.C. offers a plethora of Independence Day activities.

The National Independence Day Parade takes place each year on July 4 at 11:45 a.m. on Constitution Avenue. The parade will feature bands, drum corps, floats, military and speciality units, equestrians, drill teams and celebrities. It would be a perfect way to start off the Fourth of July in D.C.

At 8 p.m. on the West Lawn of the Capitol, you can check out the Capitol Fourth Concert, an annual Fourth of July concert that is broadcasted by PBS nationwide. The full lineup of performers is yet to be revealed but previous performers have included the likes of Dolly Parton and Aretha Franklin. I went to the concert a couple of years ago and it was definitely a lot of fun, especially since everything was completely free.

From the concert, you will have a premium viewing of the National Mall fireworks which are displayed on both sides of the Lincoln Memorial pool. The fireworks begin around 9 p.m. and light up the sky in a way you will never forget.

National Capital BBQ Battle

Back for the 31st year in a row, the National Capital BBQ Battle will feature the best BBQ teams and restaurants across the country facing off head to head. Get ready for some of the tastiest BBQ you’ve ever had, from brisket to chicken to ribs. There will be no shortage of amazing food.

You can also catch some great music with Grammy-award winner DJ Jazzy Jeff headlining the music lineup alongside other 90’s music icons. There will be fun for everyone with interactive exhibits, cooking demonstrations, several free samples, a sports zone, face painting and of course, the crowning of the best BBQ in the country.

The BBQ Battle is a must for all fans of food. Catch the fun all day July 24 and 25 on Constitution and Pennsylvania Avenue.

D.C. Summer Restaurant Week

Mark your calendars the week of Aug. 28 – Sept. 3 because D.C.’s very own Restaurant Week is back for another year. Over 200 restaurants in the D.C. area are participating to offer in-person and to-go options.

Multi-course lunch and brunch menus will be available for the set price of $25 per person and dinner menus will be offered for $40 or $55. You can save even more by ordering family-priced meals for two or four people.

Restaurant week is the perfect time to enjoy the last few days of summer by going out with your friends for some fancy dining at D.C.’s hot spots.

With all these exciting events, there’s nothing you can’t do in D.C. Have fun exploring the city this summer, Wildcats!