For people who have ever lived through even one summer in Washington,. D. C. it can seem something short of a miracle that large numbers of Americans chose to forget about the high heat and humidity and make the nation’s capital their summer vacation destination. Of course, despite the heat, there is lots to see and do in Washington and indoor attractions for the most part are air conditioned. In Washington , you can even chill out a bit to lots of “cool” music that is offered free of charge at these and other city locations.
The Capitol. Since the American Civil War, in 1863, it has gradually become a tradition, that American military bands drawn from all of the armed services have performed on the grounds of our nation’s Capitol. In summer of 2007, the United States Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force Bands will perform in concert on an alternating schedule. Concerts are given on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday evenings only and begin each night at 8 p.m.
By early evening, even on the warmest days of summer, the air in the city has cooled enough to allow residents and vacationers to gather at the Capitol and enjoy a very professional concert provided by young service men and women. These concerts are given as a service to the America people and as such the performances are always offered free of charge. The Capitol Building is pretty easy to spot in Washington but should you need it the street address is Constitution and Independence Ave. , on the opposite end of the National Mall looking towards the Washington Monument.
The U. S. Navy Memorial – Washington, D. C. is truly a city of museums and monuments. There are stone remembrances to many aspects of our national life. One such monument is the U. S. Navy Memorial. The memorial itself is really an outdoor public plaza that is beautifully laid out and tastefully decorated with appropriate flags, fountains and pools. One might say it’s the perfect spot for an outdoor concert. Apparently someone in the Navy agreed. From Memorial Day until labor Day the United States Navy band performs on the Plaza on Tuesday evenings beginning at 8 p.m. If you are in even the general vicinity you might want to step back from what you are doing and give a listen. After all it’s free.
Fort Dupont Park Except for real Civil War history buffs there are few Americans who realize that during the American Civil War precautions were taken to defend the nation’s capital by surrounding it with a circle of earthworks thrown up as defensive forts. The remnants of this ring of forts remains in some parts of the city today. You can rediscover those days at Fort Dupont Park, a part of the National Parks Service located in the Southeast section of D. C. at Minnesota Ave and Randall Circle.
Why not follow up one discovery with another and plan to enjoy not just the history that the park encompasses but also the great summer concert series that it offers free of charge to residents and visitors alike. Concerts are offered this summer on Saturday nights beginning at 8 p.m. from July 14-August 18. Bring your blanket or lawn chairs and be ready for the weather, concerts are held rain or shine. The kick off concert on July 14 will feature “Lakeside” with Grammy Award winner, Gordon Chambers.
Fort Dupont Park advertises itself as a park for all seasons. After all it seasonally offers things as diverse as skating and gardening. During the summer one of its best offers may be free Saturday night concerts.
The National Zoo Washington’s National Zoo is part of the Smithsonian system of museums and as such is offered free to the public. The zoo has a marvelous collection that will enchant you, make you wonder and make you smile and all for only the price of parking if you arrive by car. During the summer the zoo grounds are open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. This means you can enjoy some quality time at the zoo and then finish off your zoo adventure with a musical one.
During the summer the National Zoo presents free concerts on Thursdays from 6:30-8:00 p.m. Officially known as the Sunset Serenades the music offerings cover the spectrum of America’s best loved music – blues, rock-n-roll, patriotic , reggae. It’s all waiting for you at 3001 Connecticut Ave., NW at your own National Zoo and its free!
Woodrow Wilson Plaza Beginning with our first president, Americans have always honored our national leaders. Throughout Washington, D. C. ( obviously named for our first president ) there are a great variety of buildings, parks, highways and other edifices that are named for presidents . The Woodrow Wilson Plaza is a good example of this tradition. Interestingly enough this monument to our World War I president is located at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, named for another president.
While you recall these two twentieth century leaders you can also enjoy some wonderful summertime music. Free concerts are presented at the Wilson Plaza daily from noon – 1:30 p.m. You are welcomed to grab a lunch from one of the adjacent food vendors and then settle back to pass your lunch break with some talented musicians. The concerts are presented on every week day and the variety of musical offerings is considerable. During the summer there will be jazz piano, blues, Celtic, Salsa, African, Honky Tonk and many other ethnic musical groups. It’s all happening at the Wilson Plaza at 1300 Pennsylvania Ave. and its all free.
Summer can be brutal in Washington. But the music, well that’s just delightfully free.