The Essential Guide To Summer in DC

Washington, DC comes alive in the summer months, as a decidedly more relaxed vibe comes over the city. From enjoying the parks to dining al fresco, with a few key festivals as well, there’s always plenty to do. Here’s our essential guide to summer in DC.

Visit DC’s Best Parks

The National Mall, operated by the National Parks Service, holds one of the finest collection of U.S. museums and government landmarks in the country. In addition to this iconic stretch of grass, there are a ton of other lush parks to explore.

In our post on Exploring The Parks of NW DC, we examine the best parks within an easy commute of The St. Gregory Hotel and Dupont Circle. Rock Creek Park, for example, is a 2,000-acre space with hiking trails, horseback riding, and The National Zoo. We also cover some local favorites, like the small and quirky Turtle Park known for its adorable shelled statues.

Eat Outside

The late, great Anthony Bourdain said on his show Parts Unknown, “Everything tastes better outside.” He was right, and if you want to test the theory for yourself, there’s a number of proven spots to do just that in Washington, where dining outdoors is extremely popular during summer months

You can find a list of outdoor restaurants in DC in this post from the St. Gregory Hotel blog. One of our recommendations is Moxies, a trendy New American cafe downtown where you can chow down on a famous egg sandwich on an outdoor patio. Another favorite, of course, is Tredici Enoteca, the Italian-inspired restaurant located right here at the St. Gregory Hotel. Check out its expansive patio on 21st street.

Drink Outside

The only thing more popular than eating outside in DC is drinking outside. We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention happy hour at Tredici Enoteca. Craft cocktails like the Razor—Tito’s vodka, basil, and lemon—and the Juniper Julep—gin, Campari, mint, and lime—pair perfectly with some summer DC sunshine, and some oysters and crab toast.

The city is home to scores of other bars offering outdoor seating, with plenty of great options in every neighborhood. We also have memorable beer gardens. Be sure to hit Biergarten Haus for Bavarian beers and its famous honey-dipped wings. The steamed mussels and well-known German brews at Dacha are also more than worth seeking out. You can also find a beer garden in The Navy Yard, a summertime gem in DC.

Hang At The Navy Yard

The Navy Yard is a revitalized waterside district of Washington, DC that’s home to the Anacostia riverwalk Trail, a boardwalk for summer concerts, and the Nationals Park—a professional baseball stadium. The neighborhood was made for summer. The National Museum of the US Navy offers fascinating insight into our country’s naval affairs and makes for a great pre-game activity.

For a different sort of pregaming, we love the dog park-brewery hybrid Bardo Beer. It’s an excellent garden space with cornhole and local brews and fills up before a Nationals game. As far as restaurants go, you can’t go wrong with oysters on the waterfront patio of The Salt Line or some southern comfort at Due South.


Our nation’s capital is one of the world’s leading cultural destinations. Discover more of our favorite recommendations, from dining hotspots to insider museum exhibitions, on the St. Gregory’s blog.