Discovering inexpensive after-hours entertainment in Washington, D.C. can prove challenging. You can spend weeks, or even months, knocking off the museums, yes, but do you want to spend all your hours inside? Sure, you can walk to all the outdoor memorials, but at some point your feet need a break – and your tired brain craves a different sort of stimulation — like some music or a sculpture garden.
So don’t miss this: Annual free jazz concerts in the stupendous Sculpture Garden on the National Mall that is part of the National Museum of Art. Let me repeat, free. Entering its 17th season in 2017, the series includes many genres of jazz to suit all tastes. And, yes, they are – I’ll say it again – free.
Every Friday, from about May through August – so mark you calendar now for next year — the 6.1-acre garden opens its gates to music from 5-8:30 p.m. while its café also offers a grab-and-go concert menu (with adult beverages). You can also bring your own picnic, but not alcohol. Rest assured, you can buy beer, wine and perhaps sangria on site.
Be forewarned, these are popular events for all ages, as well as groups, couples and families. The lawns and benches are spread with blankets early, taking up nearly every square inch of space, especially under all the canopies of trees if it is a warm day. You will find folks dipping their bare feet in the fountain (sitting around it – no swimming allowed!), while others dance in the walkways.
It’s a Friday evening party that is at its best on a warm summer evening.
Map of Washington D.C.
In the map below, pins mark the exact location of all the sites mentioned in our articles on Washington D.C.. Zoom in or out on the map using the controls. Switch easily from map to satellite view. Click on each pin to pull up a tooltip with the name and any additional information.
George Mason Memorial
Air Force Memorial
Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial
National Gallery of Art
United States Botanic Garden
Boathouse and Fletcher's Cove
Capital Crescent Trail
Start of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Towpath
To learn more about The Newseum, go to our article, Newseum: Must-See D.C. Museum for News, Politics & History Buffs.
Sculpture Garden on the National Mall
A magnificent Sculpture Garden in the summer, and an ice skating rink in the winter. Learn more about the free concerts offered in the summer by referring to our article, Jazzin' It Up In D.C.'s Sculpture Garden.