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Enjoy late-night museum hours and live music at the Smithsonian's Solstice Saturday

The Smithsonian is hosting its 2024 Solstice Saturday, its most popular summer event.

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The first Saturday of summer is June 22, and the Smithsonian is celebrating the solstice with late-night museum hours, an astronomy festival, family-friendly activities and after-hours dance parties. Eight popular museums will be open until 10 p.m. or later.

This Solstice Saturday will be the Smithsonian's sixth annual celebration of summer, with programs going from early morning to night. Museums on the National Mall will have extended late-night hours with live music, educational discussions, food, dancing and more.

Here are extended museum hours for Smithsonian Solstice Saturday:

Open until 8 p.m.

  • National Museum of the American Indian

Open until 10 p.m.

  • National Museum of African American History and Culture
  • National Museum of American History
  • National Museum of Natural History

Open until 11 p.m.

  • Arts and Industries Building
  • Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
  • National Air and Space Museum

Open until midnight

  • National Museum of African Art
  • National Museum of Asian Art

“With a mixture of daytime and evening programming, there will be an activity for everyone,” Sophia Ancira, Smithsonian’s Public Affairs assistant said.

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Families looking for morning events can check out the National Museum of American History and the National Museum of African American History and Culture, where they’ll explore musical history with hands-on activities.

Evening events will take advantage of extra daylight by hosting outdoor live music performances at the Haupt Garden, Hirshhorn Museum and more.

Solstice Saturday will happen alongside Hofstra University’s Department of Physics and Astronomy, which will host its Astronomy Festival on the National Mall in front of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. Local amateur astronomers will help set up telescope observations. Other hands-on activities and demonstrations will be presented from 6 to 11 p.m.

The late-night hours are an opportunity for visitors to see the grand finale of the "Afrofuturism" exhibit at the National Museum of African American History and Culture. If you're feeling competitive, then the Arts and Industries Building will have arcade games until 11 p.m.

Whether you want to dance or engage in conversation, the Smithsonian has many free events for people to join. To find a curated list of events for you and your family to attend, check here for more details

Best events for Smithsonian Solstice Saturday 2024

Sound Scene 2024: Solstice
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
Free registration

This multi-sensory arts festival is free for all ages and features artists from Washington D.C. and around the world. The Sound Scene has been around since 2007 and is produced by the DC Listening Lounge. 

Over 50 live artists performances, interactive audio art installations, small group workshops and American Sign Language interpreters will be on site. 

They will also have a collaboration with State of Arts x Sounce Scene, where artists across the European Union will come together with Sound Scene Audio Arts Festival featuring evening performances and conversation. 

Solstice Saturday: Making Black Freedom
African American History and Culture Museum
Free registration 

This event celebrates its exhibit “Afrofuturism: A History of Black Futures,” before it closes in August. The event will be from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and have a mixture of educational lessons, activities, music and entertainment throughout the day. 

Fenomeno Latino: Latin Music’s Global Rise Family and Evening festivals
American History Museum
Family Festival registration and Evening Festival registration

The American History Museum will offer different dance lessons, drum circles and story times focusing on the rise of Latin music in the United States from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. This event is for children and families. It's ASL interpretation and wheelchair accessible.

The afternoon event features live DJs and a panel discussion focusing on the rise of reggaetón and free salsa dance lessons. Food and drinks, including adult beverages, will be available for purchase at the Mall Terrace. 

Asia After Dark
Asian Art Museum
Free Registration

The National Museum of Asian Art is highlighting Adele Kenworthy’s CUT FRUIT, a stand where she’ll share the meaning behind Asian/Asian American culture's relationship with fruit. 

The Museum will also have other family arts and crafts throughout the day and galleries will be open until midnight.

Cosmic Arcade Party
Arts and Industries Building 

The Smithsonian Arts and Industries Building is throwing a glow-in-the-dark arcade party. There will be many arcade and table games, including skee ball, air hockey, life-size Light-Brite and Connect 4, mini golf and more. 

To enter the party you need one to four players and the first 1,000 guests will receive a free glow bracelet. Entry is on a first come first served basis. Registration is encouraged.

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