In and around Washington, D.C., there are a number of wonderful concert venues. From the major acts that grace the stages at Merriweather Post Pavillion and Jiffy Lube Live, to the passionate crowds that pack the 930 Club and numerous other venues that dot the land, there’s no shortage of spots for shows.
But only one place, out of the entire lot, is the perfect way to spend a summer evening. With a wide variety of acts, beautifully manicured lawn, old wooden stage and reasonably priced tickets, the Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, is somewhere you should consider visiting in the next couple of months.
The Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, commonly referred to as Wolf Trap, is a 130-acre national park that sits just outside the Capital Beltway in Vienna, Virginia. The land itself was a gift to the federal government in 1966 and five years later the Filene Center, the main stage for shows, was built.
While the original red cedar building was destroyed by a fire in 1982, the new, Douglas Fir and Southern Yellow Pine version is still stunning. It is one of the most breathtaking sites in this whole area. Rising from the bottom of a hill surrounded by trees, the beautifully aged wood has given the Filene Center an amazing charm and warmth that can only be located in Vienna.
The venue seats over 7,000 people, with half the crowd in covered seats close to the stage. The other half can sit anywhere on the big, rolling lawn, which really is the best place to take in a concert. At Wolf Trap, there is no policy against bringing in food and drinks of any kind. Visitors can load up coolers with whatever they’d like—wine, cheese, entire dinners—and can spread out, relax, and enjoy a wonderful meal and show under the open skies.
The shows at Wolf Trap range anywhere from an eclectic mix of plays, popular artists and classical treats.
This upcoming Saturday, Wolf Trap will present one of its most popular shows, when the National Symphony Orchestra performs the music of one of America’s most famous and well known composer, John Williams. Williams is best known for his work in many of the biggest movie blockbusters such as Star Wars and Indian Jones. The NSO will play themes from Harry Potter, Jaws, Jurassic Park, along with many other of Williams’ most popular hits.
Fresh off their performance at the National Mall for the Fourth of July, the NSO, who perform at Wolf Trap every year, will be certain to draw a crowd. But tickets are still available and are just $20 for lawn seats.
Of course, if you can’t make it this Saturday, Wolf Trap still has a full slate of performances in the coming months that appeal to almost every taste. Next week, Friday, July 14th, the Wizard of Oz will be shown on the stage’s screens. Instead of the musical accompaniment played through the speakers, the NSO will play the score live, for everyone to enjoy in full grandeur.
But it isn’t just the NSO that takes the stage at Wolf Trap. The following Thursday, one of the most popular bands of the late 80s and early 90s will perform, the B-52s, singing popular hits like “Love Shack.”
Then, in the second week of August, the Steve Miller Band will perform ready to relive the grooving 1970s. And for the true nostalgic, Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons will bring their crooning, 1950s serenading tone to town.
So grab a picnic blanket, fill a cooler of some of your favorite foods, and head over to the lawn at Wolf Trap for one of the most memorable nights you can have this summer.