Friday Question of the Day – What is your Favorite Outdoor Spring/Summer Series?

Photo of Jazz in the Sculpture Garden by PoPville flickr user Lucas Keene

T-1 week to this year’s Jazz in the Sculpture Garden (Jazz in the Garden every Friday evening May 22 – August 28, 2015, 5:00pm – 8:30pm) got me thinking about favorite outdoor series. Off the top of my head besides the Sculpture Garden is the outdoor music and movies in Yards Park and Canal Park in Navy Yard, NoMa Movie series, Adams Morgan Movies, Screen on the Green on the Mall, Union Market Drive in Movies, Cinema in the Circle in Dupont, U Street Movies Series, what other regular movie, music, or other series are there? A particular farmers market? What’s your favorites?

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  • Ft. DuPont Park usually has a summer series. I went once with a co-worker who lives in the area and all her neighbors were there, having just walked to it from the neighborhood. I miss Shakespeare in the Park at Carter Barron too.

  • justinbc

    Well, it’s not exactly a series, but I love the recurring outdoor beer event Snallygaster (and prefer it a lot more at Yards park vs Union Market). SAVOR is still my favorite beer and food event by far, but there’s something extra nice about a crisp September day drinking lots of beers you’ll never see again elsewhere. Favorite regular series would still be Jazz in the Garden, hard to beat that foot soaking fun and the awesome people watching.

    • Gotta hit up Snallygaster this year (if I’m in town). I have a few friends who go every year and they love it.
      IIRC, they are pretty strict about capacity controls? Or is it worth it to get the VIP ticket for the early admission?

      • justinbc

        The VIP tickets are worth it only if there are specific beers that you absolutely must try. It gets very full, probably a bit too much, but there are like 250 options or so, so no shortage of stuff to try. The most highly sought after stuff is usually in smallish quantities though.

      • i’d be interested to know whether the VIP was worth it too. we went this past year during the rainy session and I didn’t love it–long lines and you had to keep purchasing tickets for beers (which were already multiple tickets to begin with). I prefer the beer tasting at Nats park where it’s unlimited for three hours and you have the run of a good portion of the stadium.

        • “I prefer the beer tasting at Nats park where it’s unlimited for three hours and you have the run of a good portion of the stadium.”.
          Which event is this? That sounds awesome.
          I sort of despise Union Market and I can only imagine that Snallygaster is a sh#tshow in such a confined space. The beer options sound really good but I hate packed crowds and lines.

          • justinbc

            It will be back at Yards Park again this year, which has a lot more space. Any of those unlimited drinking events I tend to steer away from, as the quality of the beers offered is not what I’m looking for…or it’s decent beer, but just nothing new for me.

          • it’s the DC Beer Festival ( It’s not as large as snallygaster, but I found it more enjoyable.

      • I volunteered at Snallygaster last year, and if I were to go just to drink beer I would probably get the VIP ticket. You get to try the rare beers, and you get to talk about the beers more. I’m not a fan of huge (drunk) crowds, so going early is worth it imo.

    • I’ve never quite felt like Snallygaster is worth it – from an overall experience perspective. Of course the money is worth it to try the crazy rare beers, but from an overall perspective…eh. It’s just not worth it to me.
      I’m also getting to be tired of the unlimited beer festivals – it’s a lot of the same beers every time and drunk crowds (though I do always only do the daytime sessions of any one I go to).
      I do really love the Mad Fox Bock Festival every spring at Mad Fox in Falls Church. They had a really excellent lineup this year, with a bunch of brand new local breweries I’d never heard of. It’s not unlimited but ends up being cheaper than the unlimited ones (for me and Mr. Eggs at least) because there’s really only so much we can drink and still enjoy/taste it.

      • justinbc

        I’ve always wanted to go to the Mad Fox event, but haven’t yet been able to convince my partner to drive so I can imbibe. For me, the only reason to attend these events is to try new beers, which is why SAVOR and Snallygaster rank at the top, and the unlimited style things offer no real appeal. As you said, it’s almost always the same stuff at all of them, and I can drink “unlimited” at my own house for much cheaper.

      • Agree. Way overpriced IMO, crazy lines, some good beers but also a lot of really nasty ones.

  • ft reno!!!!

  • The Yards Park Friday night concerts. I’m not sure how it will be this year, but typically there’s plenty of space to stretch out and it’s so nice to be able to just stroll on home.

    • Thanks for reminding me of the Yards concerts – I will definitely be checking it out this summer! And while they’re not free (or in DC), outdoor concerts at Wolftrap are always a highlight of my summer. I’m surprised no one has mentioned the Smithsonian Folklife Festival or DC Jazz Festival. (FYI: there will be free Millennium Stage performances at the Kennedy Center in June related to both of these.)

  • Yards park is great. Also Jazz in the Garden the first week (before interns) and the 2nd to last/last weeks (after interns and before college students) is really great too.

    • Jazz in the Garden used to be my favorite summer series, back when going wasn’t a hassle and it wasn’t too popular for its own good. I wonder if the crowds will ever die down a bit or if it’s become entrenched as the cool summer thing to do. I used to have beg people to go with me.

  • I really, really love Hill Country’s backyard barbecue series, but it looks like that’s not coming back this year. Also love Jazz in the Garden, crowded or not.

  • Is Jazz in the park kid-friendly?

    • I haven’t been in years but I would say kinda? it gets pretty crowded so there’s not much space for them to run around. if you’re looking for music in a more family friendly environment, i’d check out the yards park–it starts tonight!

  • SouthwestDC

    My favorite thing about the summer is the free yoga on the Yards Park boardwalk. It’s so incredibly relaxing.
    I’m also excited about the free kayak/canoe nights on Thursdays. I was too sick to do it yesterday but hopefully next week!

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