DC on a Dime: Summer Concerts That Won’t Break the Bank



Summer has ARRIVED with a vengeance, and with this hot humid visitor comes a few months full of free or low-cost activities in the DMV area. Summertime can get pricey fast, with all the rooftop fun and beach vacations. But this is DC on a Dime so, for the people in the back: LET’S MAKE THIS A SUMMER OF SAVINGS!


One of our favorite ways to get outside at DC Fray (besides social sports, of course) is to sit back, relax, and listen to some outdoor music. There is a concert around every corner it seems, especially in June! So, we’ve compiled a list of scenes you will definitely want to be at, while still keeping your wallet closed.

Jazz in the Garden

We would be crazy if this wasn’t #1 on our list. Live music, every Friday, free of charge at the national sculpture garden 5:00-8:30. Bring a blanket or chairs but come EARLY if you want a prime spot. Alcoholic beverages are not allowed, but you can purchase sangria or wine by the bottle at the butterfly pavilion inside. Go halfsies or thirdsies on a bottle and you’re already saving the bucks you would have been balling out on at happy hour. The best part? You can pack your own picnic! Avoid DC dinner prices and snack on your homemade charcuterie while relaxing with 1,000 of your closest friends in the heart of our city.

Free Music Festival

DC is home to quite a few music festivals- and two upcoming favorites also happen to be completely free. The DC Jazz Festival spans from June 7th to 16th and includes performances in almost every DC neighborhood- most of which don’t cost a dime. Later this month, the Folklife Festival hits the National Mall starting June 29th with tons of fun, food, and insanely awesome folk performances.

Military Band Performances

Living in the nation’s capital gives us an opportunity most US citizens may only get to experience once or twice. We are surrounded by our country’s armed forces, each of which has their own band. The US Army, Navy, Marines, and Air Force bands perform throughout the summer at the capitol among other locations. There is a performance almost every single night. Check them out and enjoy a summer tradition that has been going strong since 1863. Capitol schedule can be found here, (Military Band Performances)

Wednesdays at the Wharf

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Skip the FOMO and meet us for some must-attend happenings throughout the neighborhood this month: Music 🎵 May 8—Jam out to the tunes of Ruby Boots’ indie-pop flare and INDIANOLA’s rock ’n’ roll music at Pearl Street Warehouse. (Free) Laughs 🤣 May 13—Comedy night is calling! Spend the evening laughing at Union Stage during their Jokes on Tap: Open Mic Comedy event. (Free) Art ✍️ May 13—Test out a new way of writing at Shop Made in DC’s Intro to Hand Lettering class with artist Samantha Testa. ($75) Food 🍴 May 15—Chef Kwame of Kith/Kin is speaking about his memoir, Notes from a Young Black Chef, at Politics and Prose. Talk culture, cooking experiences, recipes and more! (Free) . . . #WharfDC #myDCcool #igdc Visit: @pearlstreetlive @unionstage @shopmadeindc @politicsprose 📸 @blackprints

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Every Wednesday, from now until the end of August, The Wharf is hosting Wednesday Night Jams on the water. Genre’s range from Americana to R&B and everything in between, so be sure to check the Wharf website for their weekly offering. Shows start at 6:30!

Tip: Check out the Wharf calendar for free music beyond Wednesdays! A dance party or festival may be coming soon!

Saturdays at National Harbour

And for our Maryland friends, (or DC friends willing to drive or water taxi over to Nat’l Harbour), we present “Salute the Sunset.” A sunset music-filled party that will heat up your Saturday night every weekend through August! Don’t miss these free shows on plaza stage. Another venue with tons of variety and water views. (Salute the Sunset)


Show us your concert experiences using #FrayLife and #DcFray?

Searching for some other summer activities? Look no further! Get ya brain smarter by joining these book clubs.



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