Things to Do

Best Things to Do in the DC Area 6/21-6/26: Summer Solstice, Folklife Festival, and Pollinator Week

It's a busy week ahead, with the Smithsonian festival and a lot of other free events.

Smithsonian Folklife Festival 2019. Photograph by Jennifer Berry/Smithsonian.

Our Top Things to Do This Week

1. Celebrate the Summer Solstice. Tuesday is the longest day of the year. Celebrate with tons of outdoor activities including a hike (Tues, $10, Anacostia), a fun run (Tues, free, Columbia), the opening of a new fairy trail (Sat, $15, Accokeek), a forest-bathing ceremony (Tues, pay what you can, National Arboretum), and solstice picnics in Arlington (Tues, $75, Arlington) and Bethesda (Tues, $75, Bethesda). You can also learn to make bouquets (Tues, $65, NOMA), participate in a service project (Fri, free, Arlington), party with Aperol and Summer House (Tues, free, Bethesda), or head to the ALIVE Summer Solstice Immersion (Tues, $65, Adams Morgan).

2. Kick Off the Folklife Festival. The Smithsonian’s Folklife Festival starts this week (Thurs-Mon, free, the National Mall), with activities all weekend including the opening ceremony at the Freer Gallery of Art (Thurs, free), a concert with Dubai-based band NOON and DC’s Experience Unlimited (Thurs, free), a screening of the film My Garden of A Thousand Bees (Fri, free), another concert featuring bluegrass icon Alice Gerrard (Fri, free), a performance in remembrance of Puerto Rican percussionist Tito Matos (Sat, free), an Ode to the Ozarks (Sun, free), and tons of other events, workshops, and performances.

3. It’s Pollinator Week. Give thanks to bees and butterflies with celebrations all week including a concert with Latin artist MISTER G (Thurs, free but registration required, the National Mall), festivities with Bat Conservation International and the USDA Farmer’s Market (Fri, free, the National Mall), a theater performance and other events at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden (Mon-Sun, free, Richmond), the Pollinator Festival (Sat, free, Anacostia), and a neighborhood pollinator walk (Tues, free, Eastern Market).

4. More festivals, parties and celebrations. Bring your family to watch fireworks at Mount Vernon’s Independence Celebration (Fri-Sat, $22+), sample some food from America’s top grill masters at the 30th Annual Giant National Capital BBQ Battle (Sat-Sun, $15+), celebrate Heavy Metal Parking Lot’s 35th Anniversary with the film creators (Fri, $21+), or attend a paint party at Hook Hall (Wed, $35).

5. Break a sweat. Attend a free outdoor HIIT, barre, or yoga class at National Landing (Sun-Wed, free, Arlington), or Merriweather District (Tues, free, Columbia). Run in a Summer 5k (Sat, $55) or attend a yoga class (Sun, $25) at the National Arboretum.

6. Learn something new. The Smithsonian is hosting a Juneteenth discussion with the National Cathedral and the African American museum (Tues, free) and an Earth Optimism webinar (Tues, free). Learn more about the English language at The Dictionary as Data seminar with Peter Sokolowski (Tues, free) or hop into the pilot’s seat with an airplane flying lesson over Annapolis (Sun, $164).

7. Keep the Pride train moving. Head to a Pride celebration at The Garden (Sun, free), join the Queer Book Club at Busboys and Poets (Sun, free), or attend a screening of the film They/Them (Thurs, free).

8. For nature lovers. Learn the best techniques to care for your indoor plants during Plant Care Basics at National Landing (Thurs, free) or attend a Plant Swap and Sale (Sun, free). You can also participate at the Scavenger Hunt of the National Zoo and maybe even win a few prizes (Sun, $20).

9. See a movie. Be one of the first to watch the new movie Elvis at the Alamo Drafthouse (Tues, free). You can also see Best in Show (Thurs, free), Soul (Thurs, free), Encanto (Tues, free), Passenger 57 (Tues, free), and National Treasure (Fri, free).

Sophia Young
Editorial Fellow
Maggie Hicks
Editorial Fellow