The Jazz In The Sulpture Garden Handbook

by Kyle O'Donnell · June 21, 2012

It's been a summer staple in DC for years. Each Friday, interns, students, workers, and DC residents flock to the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden for Jazz in the Garden. Word of mouth has made this casual concert into a must-go for anybody spending the summer in the District.

Before you head to the Garden this Friday, check out our tips on how to maximize your time and enjoyment.

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Do your research. Each Friday the program offers something different each week, ranging from Afro-Cuban jazz to Cajun and Louisiana funk. This may not be everybody's cup of tea, so check out which program will be featured. The Jazz in the Garden's website will outline each week's program so you can pick and choose. Also, keep your eye on the weather to avoid fashion faux-pas.

Seek Alternate Transportation. For those of you who work in the area around the Mall, you're in luck. You are simply in walking distance of sipping on booze and listening to the blues. People who aren't so lucky should look into the Metro, Capital Bikeshare, or taking your own bike to the garden. Whatever you choose, avoid the roads! Taxis and buses should be avoided at all costs. When was the last time you tried to get around the District at 5pm on a Friday? Only a masochist would brave the gridlock.

Get there early! Everybody and the rest of their office will be heading to the Garden to unwind after a hard day in the office. Once it's time to clock out at 5, it will be nearly impossible to find a spot to unpack. In order to get a prime location for you and your friends, have some one get there early and stake out your territory with blankets. The concert's start at 5, so the earlier you get there, the better!

The more, the merrier! Invite as many people you know to join you this Friday. No one can resist a little bit of sun, music, and sangria. It's a great way to get to know your co-workers outside of the cubicles or catch up with some old college friends. Just make sure you have plenty of room for everyone!

Pack a picnic basket (or hit up Dean and Deluca). While the Sculpture Garden does offer some food, save your money for the sangria. Instead, find your favorite Barefoot Contessa recipe, pack up that picnic basket your crazy aunt gave you, and enjoy a homemade feast. Or for the domestically challenged, hit up Whole Foods, Dean and Deluca, or many of the many eateries in the area. Here's a bonus hint: Potbelly has some killer cookies. But be aware! Security guards have been posted at the door checking baskets and bags and confiscating booze. Unless you want to feel like a senior in high school again, leave the wine at home or find a sneaky way to bring it in.

Bring sunscreen or you will regret it! While the Sculpture Garden does have a delightful canopy of trees, it can be hard to avoid the blistering sun. For people with fair skin (like yours truly), a sunburn is not this summer's must-have accessory. Lather up the highest SPF CVS offers and enjoy the day.

Dress the part. Jazz in the Garden is the place to see and be seen on a Friday evening. However, you must remember that you will be sitting on the grass for several hours. It may not be the best time to wear your new white jeans from J. Crew. Instead, opt for something cute that can get a little dirty.

Have fun! This is a time to unwind after dealing with your annoying boss and over-eager interns. Get up and dance, enjoy a glass (or two or three) of sangria and let your cares get carried away with the music. Catch up with old friends or make some new ones!