Things to Do

5 After-Hours Museum Events to Make the Most of Summer Nights

Sip sangria in the Sculpture Garden or bring kids to a sleepover in the Museum of Natural History.

Visitors viewing Renoir's "Luncheon of the Boating Party" at the Phillips Collection, which hosts evening events on the first Thursday of each month. Photograph by AK Blythe.
Summer 2024

About Summer 2024

All the best things to do in the DC-area this summer.

From artsy parties to outdoor concerts, check out these five after-hours events at local institutions this summer. 


Smithsonian Sleepovers at the National Museum of Natural History

Constitution Ave. NW & 10th St., NW 

Each summer the Museum of Natural History lets children ages eight to 14 have a slumber party with the dinosaurs. (There must be at least one accompanying parent for every five kids or a maximum of two parents per child.) Held on six weekends in June, July, and August, the overnight includes games and crafts before kids tuck into sleeping bags at 11:30 PM.

If you want to experience Smithsonian museums after closing time without a child, mark June 22—Solstice Saturday—on your calendar. In past years, museums have stayed open until midnight for the program.

When: Multiple weekends; 6:30 PM to 9 AM

Cost: $150 per person.


Summer Evenings at Glenstone

12100 Glen Rd., Potomac

Take a guided golden-hour stroll around outdoor sculptures during the new Summer Evenings at Potomac art complex Glenstone. The contemporary art museum is staying open until 8 PM each Friday and Saturday this summer, serving wine and local beer on the pretty patio. With a timed-entry ticket, visitors can step indoors to check out the exhibit “Iconoclasts: Selections from Glenstone’s Collection. The after-hours event also includes live music on the second Saturday of each month.

When: Fridays and Saturdays through September 28; 5 to 8 PM

Cost: Free with a timed-entry pass.


Jazz in the Garden

Constitution Ave. NW & 7th St., NW

Photograph courtesy of the National Gallery of Art.

A quintessential summer experience in Washington, Jazz in the Garden returns to the Sculpture Garden for another season of outdoor concerts. Attending the National Gallery of Art series requires some luck: You must enter a lottery the week prior to get tickets. Bring a blanket to picnic among works by Louise Bourgeois, Roxy Paine, and other artists while sipping pitchers of sangria. In addition to jazz, this year’s lineup includes genres such as Afro-Latin fusion, funk and soul, and indigenous fusion.

When: Every Friday from May 31 through August 9 (except July 5); 6 PM to 8:30 PM. Gates open at 5 PM.

Cost: Free with a ticket.


Live! at the Library

101 Independence Ave., SE

Marvel at the Library of Congress’s ornate Main Reading Room or sip on happy hour drinks in the Great Hall during this weekly event every Thursday. Upcoming programs include trivia and a performance from the Somapa Thai Dance Company on May 23; a community sing-along with spiritual folk music on May 30; and a Juneteenth celebration concert on June 20.

When: Every Thursday; 5 PM to 8 PM

Cost: Free with a timed-entry pass.


Phillips After 5

1600 21st St., NW

Most days, the Phillips Collection in Dupont Circle closes at 5 PM. But on the first Thursday of each month, the modern art museum stays open until 8 PM for Phillips After 5. The after-hours event typically includes gallery talks, music, food and drink, and art-themed activities. Each fête centers around a theme: The upcoming event on June 6 will celebrate Pride Month with a drag performance, live band, and summer fare such as mini lobster rolls and Orange Crush cocktails. 

When: First Thursday of each month; 5 to 8:30 PM

Cost: $20.

Jessica Ruf
Assistant Editor