For Your Weekend: What to Do on Summer Solstice Weekend

Here are some things to do on the weekend of the summer solstice

What to Know

  • On Sunday, there's a chance of a stray shower but most of us stay dry. Highs reach to mid- to upper 80s
  • Get outside while you can: A summer heat wave is expected this week

This Friday marks the cosmic beginning of summer with the summer solstice, and there are plenty of ways to celebrate the extra-long daylight hours this weekend. But first:

All Weekend

27th Annual Giant National Capital Barbecue Battle

27th Annual Giant National Capital Barbecue Battle
June 22, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. and June 23, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
555 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW (Third to Seventh streets)

Come hungry to a Pennsylvania Avenue barbeque extravaganza. There will be live music, barbecue competitions, prizes and samples galore. Tickets range from $12 to $155.

The National Capital BBQ Battle is happening this weekend, and Molette Green is excited to preview Famous Dave's, one of the competitors.

AFI Docs Film Festival
June 19-23
District Architecture Center, 421 7th St. NW

The AFI Docs Film Festival is returning again this year, and has a number of locations around D.C. in addition to the AFI Silver Theatre in Silver Spring, Maryland.

The festival aims to showcase the best in documentary filmmaking from the US and around the world, and features forums, special screenings and galas in addition to the documentaries. The festival hub is at the District Architecture Theatre, but there will also be events at the theatres in the National Archives Museum, the National Museum of American History, the Navy Memorial and National Geographic. Tickets range in price from $12 to $50, depending on when you want to see which movie, and are available here.

AIRBORNE, Merriweather District Artist in Residence Exhibition
June 21-23
Two Merriweather 5th Floor, 10960 Grantchester Way, Columbia MD

This weekend, three acclaimed artists have turned 20,000 square feet of office space into immersive art in Columbia, Maryland. The weekend-long exhibition, AIRBORNE, includes a series of artist talks, immersive art experiences, kids free play, augmented reality and laser installation. The exhibit is free, and more information can be found here.


"Something Wonderful: Rogers and Hammerstein's Broadway Revolution" Book Signing
June 22, 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
S. Dillon Ripley Center, 1100 Jefferson Drive SW

Fans of Rogers and Hammerstein musicals, or works by Atlantic culture and politics writer Todd S. Purdum, will enjoy this all-day program and book signing event. The book will be available for sale and signing, and there will be a break at 12:15 p.m. for lunch, which participants must provide for themselves. Tickets are $90 for members, $140 for non-members and are available at the link above.

Smithsonian Solstice Saturday
June 22, 10 a.m. to June 23, 12 a.m.
Various locations

To celebrate the longest day of the year this Saturday, the Smithsonian museums are hosting a series of events at different museums, and the National Zoo, throughout the day.

Most museums will even extend hours until midnight, including: The Arts and Industries Building, the Freer Gallery of Art, the Hirshhorn, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the African Art Museum, the American History Museum, the National Museum of the American Indian, the Natural History Museum, the Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Castle and the American Art Museum.

The National Zoo will stay open until 10 p.m. and the Air and Space Museum stays open until 9:30 p.m.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • Solstice Saturday at the Hirshhorn - Visitors to the Hirshhorn this weekend can get a first look at the new exhibit "Manifesto: Art x Agency," which shows how artist manifestos have influenced art history from the 20th century onwards. The event is free, and the museum will be open until midnight.
  • Solstice Saturday at the National Zoo - The National Zoo will have several special events to celebrate the beginning of summer, including a dance party from 6 p.m. to its closing at 10 p.m., and special screenings of "PANDAS" and "Jurassic Park." Admission is free, but the movies cost money.
  • By the People festival, Arts + Industries Building - The Arts + Industries building will host the By the People festival this Saturday, which includes artist talks, performance art, dance performances and a dance party for guests that goes until 11 p.m. The event is free, and goes from 10 a.m. to midnight.
  • Astronomy Festival on the National Mall - From 6 to 11 p.m., visitors will be given a free guided tour of the sky on the National Mall, organized by Dr. Donald Lubowich, Coordinator of Astronomy Outreach at Hofstra University. There will be solar, optical, and radio telescope observations, hands on activities, hand-outs, posters, banners, videos and a planitarium show under a 25-foot blow-up dome. Admission to the event is free, and the rain location is inside the Smithsonian Castle.

Find other Smithsonian Solstice Saturday events here.

June 22, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Woodstock Equestrian Special Park, 20207 Darnestown Rd, Dickerson, Maryland

Roll around in mud while listening to music and enjoying food. The bridge on Maryland Route 28 will be closed on Saturday for the event. Fee is $15 per car, cash only at the gate. Pre-register here and present your printed receipt at the gate. Everyone attending must complete a waiver of liability

D.C. Filipino Food Festival
June 22, 2-6 p.m.
District Pier at The Wharf, 101 District Square SW
This food and culture festival at the Wharf will feature performances, martial arts demonstrations, music, giveaways, activities for kids and more. An abundance of chefs is set to whip up delicious foods in bite-sized portions, so the event’s organizers invite visitors to buy a pack of tickets and enjoy sampling multiple dishes around the District Pier. Pre-sale ticket packages are cheaper than day-of prices, ranging from $22 to $44, but the discounted sales end at midnight on June 21. Head here to purchase tickets ahead of time.

Rorschach Theatre's Klecksography
June 22, 5, 7 or 9 p.m.
Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE
Check out this unconventional art show: a 30-artist challenge based on the inkblot test the theater is named after. Teams of artists were shown a single piece of art, then had eight days to create a unique performance based on that work of art. Tickets are $10 — purchase here.

Old Town Summer Festival
Saturday, June 22, 2-8 p.m.
Alexandria Waterfront Park (1 King St, Alexandria, VA)
Show your Pride at the Alexandria waterfront and enjoy live music, family activities and food and drinks.
NOVA Pride and Safe Space NOVA presents a hands-on jewelry making activity. Visitors can snap the perfect Pride Month profile picture at Mirror Mirror, a new rainbow-hued temporary public art installation. The artwork is on display through November 2019.
The event is free and open to the public. Food and drink prices vary.

DC Summer Camp Party for the Earth Conservation Corps
June 21, 8 p.m. to June 22, 12 a.m. 
Earth Conservation Corps, 1520 First St. SE
The Earth Conservation Corps wants you to throwback to your awkward summer camp experiences to help the Earth. Visitors are invited to party from sunset until midnight in an antique building on the Navy Yard waterfront, dressed up in their most summer-camp-esque outfit. There will be an open bar with spiked bug juice, games with adult merit badges and a beautiful sunset view. Tickets are $20, and all profits go to the Earth Conservation Corps. Learn more here.


Free Pick
LGBTQ Family Day at Glen Echo Park
Sunday, June 23, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Glen Echo Park (7300 MacArthur Blvd, Glen Echo, Maryland)
Montgomery County Councilmember Evan Glass welcomes LGBTQ families to a day full of activities including carousel rides, children’s entertainment, ice cream and arts and crafts. A full list of events can be found here.

Free pick
The Life of Animals in Japanese Art
June 23, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
National Gallery of Art East Building, Fourth St. NW
Explore Japanese culture with a animal-themed twist. Learn origami, experience taiko drumming and enjoy Japanese fashion during Community Weekend at the National Gallery of Art.

World Heritage Festival
June 23, 2 to 8 p.m.
Veterans Plaza, 1 Veterans Place, Silver Spring, Maryland
Taste delicious food from Morocco, Greece, Lebanon, Thailand and more while watching folk dances from Bolivia, Brazil, Egypt and Turkey at the World Heritage Festival in Silver Spring. The festival will also feature vendors selling art from more than 60 artists, and a kids zone with activities and games throughout the day. Admission is free, and the event is family friendly.

For Your Weekend is edited by Sophia Barnes

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