14 Places to Catch Free Kids Shows All Summer Long

Whether your kid likes to ham it up on a stage or spectate and critique front row, there’s plenty of kids shows to fill up their summer. Check out the season-long schedule at a location nearest you, and get set for music and theatrical interludes, magic and puppetry, all with the potential to lull or excite. Either way, making for a fun morning, or evening out with the kids, and sure to put them to bed smiling.

Photo: The Great Zucchini

Arlington, Va
Head to Lubber Run ampitheater weekend evenings, where the season takes off with DMV family favorite, The Grandson’s. In August catch morning shows with Reptiles Alive and Mystic Drumz, bringing interactive percussion experiences to young people.

Online: arts.arlingtonva.us

Ashburn, Va
Kids and high-end retail just kind of go together, right? Oh, no? Well, think again every Monday at One Loudon’s series, when you and kiddo can shop, grab lunch, and listen to free music from 11 a.m.-noon beginning June 18.

Online: oneloudoun.com

Baltimore, Md
Don’t miss the chance to see some of the great all-ages music on tap under the Pagoda at Baltimore’s Patterson Park select Tuesday and weekend nights. See Caleb Stine June 10, and Fractal Cat July 15.

Online: pattersonpark.com

Columbia, Md
Stake out your spot at Centennial Park Wednesday nights, for free music and fun, plus a select schedule of other free performances throughout the summer, including two kids shows Saturday mornings July 7 and August 11 at The Chrysalis.

Online: howardcountymd.gov

Capitol Hill
There’s nothing like a visit the seat of power to get the kids in line. Add in a little military pomp and circumstance, and they’ll be mesmerized by rotating performances of U.S. Navy, Air Force, Marine and Army Bands at the U.S. Capitol Building.

Online: aoc.gov

Farifax County, Va
Hosting children’s artists throughout the summer at four different outdoor park venues, the County’s Arts in the Parks series rotating and robust line-up just for kids is not to be missed. Performances take place Wednesdays and Saturdays at 10 a.m.

Online: fairfaxcounty.gov

Gaithersburg, Md
Visit Old Town’s City Hall Pavilion Thursday mornings for a long-standing tradition with the kids. Performances this year range from Afropop to Fizzical Fairytales, a mish-mash of theater and circus.

Online: gaithersburgmd.gov

Glen Echo, Md
Thursday evenings this one-time amusement park turns outdoor concert venue with folk, jazz and blues artists from around the region. Dentzel Carousel is open for riders from 7 – 9 p.m., and you can grab a bite on site at Praline Café.

Online: glenechopark.org

Kensington, Md
Swing by the farmer’s market on Antique Row, and swing to the music across the street with this series featuring a host of bands sure to get everyone dancing. If not, a nearby playground (with swings), lunch spots, and more are added attractions.

Online: kensingtonhistory.org

McClean, Va
McClean Community Center’s outdoor park and gazebo is backdrop to a Sunday evening line-up heavy on the family-friendly, from Tim Kubart and the Space Cadets, to Black Masala, and an intriguing duo of Christylez Bacon and Indian violinist, Nistha Raj.

Online: mcleancenter.org

National Mall
The National Gallery of Art’s sculpture garden is host to a Friday Jazz series perfect for kids and families. Music, people to play with, stuff to look at, and yes, cheese pizza at the Pavillion Café, or bring your own supper. Sangria is extra!

Online: pavilioncafe.com

Olney, Md
Enjoy the spray of the fountain at Fair Hill Shopping Center every Tuesday morning, May through July where young rockers are in like flynn with area favorites, Mr. Knick Knack, John Henry, the Guitar Man, and more.

Online: fairhillshops.com

Rockville, Md and Silver Spring, Md
Meet up at the town square in Rockville or Silver Spring for dinner, a splash on the splash pad, free live music and plenty of space to dance. See also, the family-friendly Thursday evening series at Veteran’s Plaza in Silver Spring.

Online: rockvilletownsquare.com and downtownsilverspring.com

—Carolyn Ross


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