9 things to do in the D.C. area on Memorial Day weekend

May 22

The weekend’s best in nightlife, music and art. For even more, check out Nightlife Agenda.


The scene at Jazz in the Garden. (Photo by Astrid Riecken for The Washington Post)

Friday: The National Gallery of Art's revered Jazz in the Garden series return for al fresco music and wine in the Sculpture Garden every Friday (except July 4) through Aug. 29. Despite the jazzy moniker, you'll hear tunes ranging from blues to salsa: Afrofunk band Elikeh kicks off the series from 5 to 8:30 p.m. Of course, it's as much of a social scene in the summer as it is a music-head's dream, so bring a blanket, a picnic and cash for sangria by the pitcher.

Friday: The giant multimillion-dollar Capital Wheel is officially spinning at National Harbor; but it's not the only daytime diversion that's new to the weird little world that's risen on the shores in Prince George's County. Boating in D.C., the company that operates Key Bridge Boathouse (the old Jack’s, if you’ll recall) took  advantage of that prime waterfront this month, opening up its third shop renting out its array of bright canoes and kayaks, pedal-boats and stand-up paddleboards. To celebrate the opening, on Friday, Boating in D.C.   is offering free, one-hour kayak, paddleboard, canoe or pedal-boat rentals between 11 a.m.-7 p.m.

Friday: Mobb Deep exploded out of Queens in 1995, telling stark tales of street life. Prodigy's no-holds-barred rhymes on "Shook Ones Pt. II" and "Survival of the Fittest" were perfectly scored by Havoc's dark, crackling beats. "The Infamous" was hailed as a classic of the hardcore hip-hop genre, and 19 years later, the duo has revisited it with "The Infamous Mobb Deep," which combines new music with unreleased tracks from the original 1994 and 1995 recording sessions. Doors open at 7 p.m. at the Howard Theatre. Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 day of show.

Saturday: Memorial Day weekend means one thing for apartment dwellers and kids looking for ways to cool off this summer: It's the beginning of pool season. Saturday marks opening day for many of the region's public pools and water parks, from the family-favorite Water Mine Family Swimmin' Hole in Fairfax to the tucked-away D.C. pool at East Potomac Park. Find some of our favorite pools here.

Saturday-Sunday: It's no coincidence that strawberry festivals fill the latter part of May. That's precisely when you'll finally find the sweet, seedy berries on the vine at local farms, if only for a brief, brilliant month. At Sky Meadows State Park, the strawberry season kicks off with the Delaplane Strawberry Festival, featuring live music, hayrides, a petting zoo and games and, of course, plenty of pints of fruit. The festival, set for 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, is $20 per car in advance and $25 at the gate.

Saturday-Sunday: The weekend-long Rockville Hometown Holidays celebration is a Memorial Day weekend institution, with two days of live music on five stages, entertainment for children and the annual "Taste of Rockville," all at Rockville Town Center. This year, the city has worked to diversify its musical acts, so look out for such crooners as D.C.'s Sweater Set.  If you want to mark Memorial Day itself, head back on Monday for the city's 70th Annual Memorial Day Ceremony and Parade, which steps off at 10:30 a.m.

Saturday:  As one of the founding fathers of the Lindy Hop, Frankie Manning did much to create swing dancing as we know it.  Manning, who passed away in 2009, would have turned 100 on May 26, and dance events are being held in his honor all over the world this weekend. Washington's contribution is a battle of the big bands at Glen Echo Park's Spanish Ballroom, featuring the stellar Tom Cunningham Orchestra and the Craig Gildner Big Band performing a mix of 1930s and '40s hits and originals from 9 p.m. to midnight. Dance performances and presentations take place between sets. Admission is $20 at the door, and includes a free swing dance lesson at 8 p.m.

Saturday: Urban tasting rooms keep springing up. This weekend, it's Italian limoncello/liqueur producer Don Ciccio & Figli, which opens for its first visitors Saturday.  From 1 to 4 p.m. drop in to the Don Ciccio facility at 6031 Kansas Ave. NW to try such spirits as the hibiscus-scented Ibisco and coffee-and-herb-laden Concerto.

Sunday: Celebrate Memorial Day on the U.S. Capitol lawn with the National Symphony Orchestra's annual tribute concert, the National Memorial Day Concert, hosted, as ever, by Joe Mantegna and Gary Sinise. Scheduled performers include Sugarland vocalist Jennifer Nettles, Academy Award- and Emmy-winning actress Dianne Wiest, former "The Voice" contestant Danielle Bradbery and singer Megan Hilty. Gates open at 5 p.m. for the 8 p.m. concert, which is held each year on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol.

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