View from the C&O Canal tow path Credit: Darrow Montgomery

Labor Day weekend is here, and with it, what some consider the last hurrah of a hot D.C. summer. When exactly summer ends for adults—at what point it feels like it’s over—is debatable, but the feel of summer is pretty universal. So is the regret of not having made the most of it, especially when there are things to try in nearly every inch of the District and its surrounding towns. 

Here are 12 D.C.-area things to do before the end of summer, whenever that is for you:

Explore summer music concerts …

Outdoor music concerts evoke the feeling of summer like nothing else. Glen Echo, which has been educating and entertaining local residents for 130 years, runs two more summer concerts featuring The Lovejoy Group and Russian-Ukrainian community-based orchestra Washington Balalaika Society​​. Thursday, Sept. 9 and 16 at 7:30 p.m. 7300 MacArthur Blvd., Glen Echo. Free. 

DC Brau brews another concert in its “Dock Days of Summer” series held at the popular brewery. Sunday, Sept. 5 at 2 p.m. 3178-B Bladensburg Road NE. Free. 

International artist, percussionist, and composer Tatsuya Nakatani has an avant-garde style that can get your guard down. He plays with the CMW Players at Rhizome Sunday, Sept. 5 at 6 p.m. 6950 Maple St. NW. $10-$20. 

Including those where you can sip a rum punch

Experience a bit of Caribbean and West African culture with the sweet sounds of soca, reggae, and Afrobeat at CultureFest while celebrating community bridge-building. Saturday, Sept. 11 at 1 p.m. 165 Waterfront St., National Harbor. Ticket prices vary. 

Speaking of bridge-building

The city’s celebrating the Spring 2022 opening of the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge with a 5K run, food, and live music on Labor Day. Monday, Sept. 6 at 9 a.m. 100 Potomac Ave. SW. Free. 

Check out another kind of outdoor fest …

Who says concerts get all the fun? There’s nothing like a good book browse at the Capital Book Fest, an outdoor pop-up bookstore, to get you in the mood for summer reading under a good tree. Thursday, Sept. 16 at 10 a.m. Woodrow Wilson Plaza, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Free. 

Which reminds us to …

Chill in the green …

Enjoy some meditative moments in District-area quiet green spaces. Escape from the city soundscape in Rock Creek Park, ditch D.C. in D.C. with the “Grand Old Ditch” of the C&O Canal, or venture out to Bear’s Den, one of the most accessible parts of the Appalachian Trail for Washingtonians, for a summer sunset view. Just check the parks’ websites beforehand for any weather-related closures.

Or get physical outside for a good cause (other than your health) …

It’s been a tough summer for our international communities as well as D.C. folks. Join the Nineteenth Street Baptist Church and VillageMed in their efforts to build a pediatric clinic in Layaye, Haiti, after a devastating earthquake hit the island. The 5th annual Haiti Walk 5K happens at a green space you might have heard about: the C&O Canal. Saturday, Sept. 25 at 8 a.m. C&O Canal towpath. Free, donations welcome. 

Get your much-needed laugh therapy …

The DC Comedy Festival was pushed back to September due to COVID, so check out local talent, reconnect with your belly laugh, and get to know different venues in the District as the festival moves from one performance space to another. Monday, Sept. 13 through Saturday, Sept. 18. Venues include Dupont Underground, various Busboys and Poets locations, and Wonderland Ballroom. $20-$50. 

Get some summer jazz therapy … 

The D.C. Jazz Festival ends this weekend with a drum roll and plenty of sax at its signature event, D.C. JazzFest at the Wharf. The musician lineup includes Regina Carter, Spanish Harlem Orchestra, Lakecia Benjamin and Pursuance, and many others. Friday, Sept. 3 through Sunday, Sept. 5. General admission is free, but seated day passes and VIP options are also available. 

Before working up an appetite for summery snacks …

From cassava-sweetened, allspice-mayoed Bahamian conch fritters at Bammy’s to rice shell-coated kubbat halab at The Green Zone and citrus-sauced fried calamari at Stellina, these spots have your fried food cravings covered. For vegetarian delights, get your fix with a tomato-centric kibbeh naya at Albi in Navy Yard, a BBQ tempeh burger at Ellē in Mount Pleasant, and smoked mushroom fajitas with tofu and summer veggies at Truxton Circle Tex-Mex restaurant Republic Cantina. 

Check out an outdoor market (outside your same ol’ farmers market) …

Nothing like MarketSW to bring the summeriest things together in one outdoor night market: a waterfront breeze, cold beer, local artisan shopping, live music, and maybe your favorite four-legged pal in this pet-friendly event to support DMV vendors. Sept. 17 at 4 p.m., continuing every other Friday through October. The Lot SW, 4th and M streets SW. Free.   

Speaking of summer night vibes … 

Celebrate 9:30 Club’s re-opening week with “Bent: Out of Shape,” a queer dance party and performance tomorrow. Enjoy the electric vibes with host Pussy Noir, special guest Rye Rye, DJs such as Natty Boom, Lemz, and more, plus performances by Blaq Milk, Rigatoni, and Bumper. Saturday, Sept. 4, 9 p.m. 815 V St. NW. $20.

And since it’s already a hot D.C. summer …
Flamin’ Hot,” Bad Candy’s second ever arts exhibit, opens tomorrow. Celebrate its latest Sweet Saturday exhibitions with drinks and music. The art, entered through an open call process and selected by a jury, embraces the trifecta of summer sizzle: hot, spicy, and sexy. Sept. 4 at 5 p.m. 3508 12th St. NE. $10.

Ambar Castillo (tips? acastillo@washingtoncitypaper.com)

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Credit: Darrow Montgomery

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