Weeknight meanderings in DC
June 18, 2017 9:54 AM   Subscribe

I live in Washington DC, and I like taking long outdoor walks on summer evenings after work. This is especially fun with some kind of entertainment, like a museum/gallery, park, shopping options, or an outdoor concert/street festival. What's available Monday-Thursday between 5-10 PM?

I know the American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery are open until 7 unlike the other Smithsonian museums. Are there other museums or galleries that are open late on weeknights? (I can pay.) Are any of the outdoor parks open that late? What about shopping areas where stuff doesn't close early? Outdoor events, especially in public spaces where I can just wander in? Really good (music/poetry) open mic nights? Is there a listing of this stuff?

I'm not really interested in ticketed events that come with any sort of commitment - so not a movie, ticketed concert, stage show, comedy hour, etc. Also not interested in social events, sports, or anything like that; I want to just walk around by myself and maybe take some photos. I don't have a car. I already have lots of great food options, so not looking for recommendations there.
posted by capricorn to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (7 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
I was just there (briefly, my first time). I had a good time walking up the river from the Watergate and along M St. and Wisconsin in Georgetown. I'd imagine a lot of the Georgetown shops and stuff stay open for a while, but probably not 10pm. Foggy Bottom/GWU metro station is close enough to walk there. Speaking of that, I street around GWU is nice too.
posted by ctmf at 12:10 PM on June 18, 2017

I loved the Mall in general. There was a nice folk life festival when I was last there in summer, ~3-4 years ago, but I don't know if that's an annual thing. I can definitely recommend all the Smithsonian museums, they are wonderful and stuffed with so much to see. I might be slightly biased, as I interned there for a summer :)
posted by Alensin at 12:29 PM on June 18, 2017

The Enid Haupt garden next to the Smithsonian Castle stays open after the museums close. I've always found that to be a tranquil, pretty place in the city to relax. There's also the free Jazz in the Garden summer music series in the sculpture garden next to the National Gallery of Art. And yes, the Smithsonian Folklife festival happens every year and they do have free evening events.
posted by jazzbaby at 12:40 PM on June 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

This is not exactly what you want, and not having a car does make this challenging, but there are Thursday evening concerts at the National Arboretum.

There are various events at Yards Park and Canal Park in the evenings. Walking along the Anacostia is great.

These are movies, but generally un-ticketed, so you could just drop in...

Assuming the annual funding issues are resolved, there's always the Fort Reno concerts.
posted by jindc at 1:06 PM on June 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

The Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center! 6 pm, free, no tickets. Different every day and a beautiful walk during the late afternoon.

The City Paper has a decent roundup of events, and it includes museum talks, exhibition openings, and events (although the timing will vary.)
posted by jetlagaddict at 4:47 PM on June 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

The Smithsonians may have standard closing hours at 5 or 5:30, but many of them often run extended hours at various times, so the first thing I'd do is check the calendars on their websites, not just the hours on the splash page. For instance, Natural History is running extended summer hours until 7:30 this whole week. American History will open for extended hours on Thursday, Jun 29.

Also seconding Millennium Stage. The shows aren't all winners, but there are lots of gems, and it's a real variety - I've been to comedy shows, concerts ranging from Afropop to classical, and dance performances there.
posted by solotoro at 11:18 AM on June 19, 2017

Someone already mentioned Jazz in the Garden, which is def. on my list.

There's not entertainment but I like walking around Roosevelt Island. The Arlington Cemetery is open until 7.

The mall area in downtown Silver Spring almost always has something going on this time of year.

Also keep an eye out for what's happening in Mt. Rainier; there are studio open houses and "First Friday" events coming up.

It's not till September but Celebrate Petworth is fun, and a lot of other neighborhoods will be having big festivals in August/Sept. - some of those will go late.

I usually enjoy wandering through Union Market.

Also, keep an eye out for events at the embassies; many of them have open houses and that sort of thing this time of year.

The Foggy Bottom, Penn Quarter, and Capital Hill farmers markets are all open at least until 7 for the summer; they usually have music and other such things.
posted by aspersioncast at 2:07 PM on June 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

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