5 Outdoor Venues For Your Summer Concert Bucket List



Warm weather, cold drinks, and live music – nothing says spring and summer like an outdoor concert.

Whether you’re new to the area and need some direction, or you’re a DMV veteran in need of a refresher, here’s a list of our favorite local music venues where it’s as awesome to sit on the lawn as it is on the floor.

Some are obvious, others not so much, but all are amazing in their own right and belong on your summer concert bucket list, regardless of the type of music you like.

1. Merriweather Post Pavilion

10475 Little Patuxent Pkwy, Columbia, MD 21044

Photo credit: Brandon Wu Photography

Merriweather is one of the best-known and largest venues in the area. Located inside Columbia, Maryland’s Symphony Woods Park, the 40-acre outdoor pavilion is just a short drive up I-95 from the district. There’s plenty of seating on the grassy hill that surrounds the pavilion, and huge screens project the day’s show to concert-goers who opt to sit there.

Some of this spring and summer’s biggest shows include Jason Aldean, the Capital Jazz Fest, Paramore, and the possibly last ever Vans Warped Tour.

2. Jiffy Lube Live

7800 Cellar Door Dr, Bristow, VA 20136

Also known as the Bristow Amphitheater (or even Nissan Pavilion if you’ve lived here long enough), Jiffy Lube Live is probably the biggest outdoor venue in the area. Think of the Verizon Center, but outside, and in Virginia, and that’s kind of what Jiffy Lube Live is like. And with that size, comes the biggest names in showbiz and the summer schedule already includes headliners like Kendrick Lamar, SZA, Luke Bryan, Macklemore, G-Eazy, Weezer, and more.

3. Fort Reno Summer Concert Series

Fort Reno Park, 4000 Chesapeake St NW, Washington, DC 20016

Monday and Thursday evenings, 7:15 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.

Fort Reno celebrates its 50th anniversary this summer. Photo credit: DC Music Download

For 50 years, a rad group of volunteers has put on free, weekly shows in the park for all to enjoy. The music is mixed, with a lot of new experimental and independent bands taking the stage each night.

The organizers are notorious, though, for announcing their lineups late, so check the website regularly for updates. In past years, the series usually starts in late June.

#FrayLife Tip: Dogs (and kids) are welcome, glass is not so pack your cooler full of cans.

4. Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts

1551 Trap Rd, Vienna, VA 22182

Like trap music? You might want to keep scrolling. Open to other genres of awesome music? Keep reading. Wolf Trap, a performing arts center located on 117 acres of national park land in Fairfax County, Virginia, is the perfect setting for a family friendly summer night show or date night.

#FrayLife Tip: In addition to hosting over 100 shows every summer, Wolf Trap also offers dining, hiking trails, and picnic areas, making it a perfect place for your next outdoor gathering.

5. Jazz In The Garden

The Sculpture Garden, 7th Street & Constitution Avenue, Washington, DC 20565

Friday evenings, May 19th – August 25th, 5:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

One of the best known yet sometimes overlooked outdoor concerts is Jazz In The Garden, the free concert series put on by the National Gallery of art. The series offers an eclectic mix of concerts, with genres including salsa, blues fusion, xylophone, Afrofunk, and more.

There’s also beer and wine for sale during the concerts.

#FrayLife Tip: Try the sangria. You’re welcome.

Did we miss any awesome outdoor music venues that you know about? Next time you’re out at a show, don’t forget to tag us using #FrayLife on social and you might see your photo featured on our feed.

Need more ideas for awesome things to do this spring? Here are some upcoming events and festivals you don’t want to miss.



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