10 reasons to spend the summer in Washington D.C.
Translation from Celeste Rodas de Juárez
1. Free culture
Every corner of Washington D.C. is full of history, natural beauty or culture. The best of all is that almost always it can be enjoyed for free. That’s the first big reason why it’s worth getting here, especially to its famous Downtown, where the sumptuous collection of museums is located. For example, the National Gallery of Art – home of the only painting by Leonardo Da Vinci in all of America, among others treasures -, has free admission.
2. Outdoor concerts
With the summer warmth, the city turns into music. The musical offer is wide and varied. For example, in front of the Capitol Building, almost every night Air Force, Marine Corps, Navy, or the U.S.Army music bands perform concerts. Also, at the gardens of the National Gallery of Art the legendary concerts “Jazz in the Garden” are hosted on Fridays at 5:00 p.m.
3. A spectacular Fourth of July
The capital hosts the best U.S. Independence Day celebrations. Aside from the traditional parade there are several concerts held outdoors. The most popular is “A Capitol Fourth”, which brings together world famous artists at the Capitol’s garden. This year Barry Manilow and the National Symphonic Orchestra will be performing. The event concludes with the most amazing fireworks show in the country.
4. Popular festivals
In summer, the United States capital shines with its outdoor festivals, like the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, from the 3rd through the 7th of July, which explores cultural traditions of diverse towns of the world.
5. Natural Parks
Approximately 20% of the Washington D.C. land is composed by natural parks. This season, taking advantage of the late sunsets; many of them have special schedules and programs to enjoy nature at its fullest: horseback riding, volleyball games, fishing, frisbee throws or simply watching the natural heritage, such as the Japanese cherry trees at the East Potomac and West Potomac parks.
6. Different Experiences
There are amazing outdoor adventures near the city, such as “Go Ape Treetop Adventure”, where the participants do a journey “as monkeys” among the treetops. There are also spots to climb rocks and make tarabita (cable car) crossings, or find the new fun: the geocatching, seek of the hidden treasure. To enjoy the most of every minute of the summer!
7. Movies under the stars
Several parks and cultural organizations offer outdoor movie viewings in places at the city’s central perimeter or suburbs. All types of genres: such as cartoons, adventure, and classics. There’s a dedicated website that shows the schedules in each locality: dcoutdoorfilm.com
8. All-terrain city
Washington D.C. can be toured on diverse transportation vehicles. As the temperatures get higher in the summer, there’s always someone that doesn’t want to make too much effort, so there are tours with personal transporter (Segway) available. Also there are trains, small cruises, double decker buses and small boats pulled by mules. The night journeys through the main historic monuments, on trolley cars, are a must.
9. Meals with perspective
Many cafes and restaurants in Washington D.C. have big windows that allow admiring the city monuments. What beautiful views! The Art and Soul’s terrace offers the best perspective of the Capitol building, and at The Lafayette, a panoramic view of the White House. Also, during the summer the city hosts Restaurant Week: for seven days, 200 of the best restaurants in town offer a three course lunch for about USD 20, and three course supper for USD 35.
10. Vibrant history
Millions of tourists come to this city to have a closer view of its memorial monuments, which add up to more than 150! The starting line is the National Mall, located at the center of the city. One of the most visited is the Abraham Lincoln Monument, a 19 feet and 175 ton statue. In front of it, passing through the Reflecting Pool, is the world’s biggest obelisk, the Washington Monument, an amazing architectural creation of 555 feet and 5.5 inches.
The National Zoo has more than 400 species of animals; Meanwhile The National Natural History Museum at the Smithsonian Institute boasts more than 125 million animal species and cultural artifacts. If it looks familiar to you, perhaps you saw it at the movies. The film Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian took its inspiration from the galleries and collections there.
Baseball lovers shouldn’t leave without seeing a Washington Nationals game at Nationals Park, in the southeastern part of the city.
According to official calculations, there are 197 activities that can be enjoyed in Washington, 1,021 restaurants to eat in, and 145 places to stay.
Approximately 14,000 displays firework light up cities across the United States on July 4 each year, according to The American Pyrotechnics Association.
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