Summer fun in the city

Those lazy, hazy days of summer are upon us. For most GW students, that means packing up the minivan, hugging the roommate goodbye and hightailing it out of Foggy Bottom.

Yet many students remain in the District through June, July and August for internships, jobs and classes. While all this work may sound like it could be an unhappy summer, D.C. offers a wide variety of ways to put the fun back in the sunny season.

Graduating senior Sarah Traynor spent all of her summers as a GW student in D.C. Traynor said most of the popular nightlife spots during the school year are still happening during the summer.

Sophomore Pat O’Connor, who spent a lot of time skateboarding in front of the White House last summer, agreed with Traynor.

“You can do the same stuff, but it is more fun in the summer because you don’t have any classes,” O’Connor said.

Traynor said the waterfront at Washington Harbor becomes more popular in the summertime. Many people eat outside at Tony and Joe’s and Sequoia and enjoy the warm summer air and the Potomac view, Traynor said.

Sophomore Melissa Hebert said kayaking on the Potomac River is a great way to kick back after classes.

“It is a fun way to relax,” Hebert said. “I just sat out in the middle of the Potomac all day.”

Kayaks, canoes and other boats are available for rent at Thompson’s Boat Center, located between the Kennedy Center and Washington Harbor. Thompson’s also rents bikes for cycling through Rock Creek Park or just around the city.

Paddle boating around the tidal basin is another fun way to enjoy the warm weather and take advantage of living in the District, Hebert said. Paddle Basin, located in front of the Jefferson Memorial, rents paddle boats for a different perspective of the Jefferson Memorial.

The National Zoo is another way to reconnect with youth. A ride up Red Line, the zoo is the home of the pandas and a new baby giraffe. The zoo is open every day and it is free, so there is no excuse not to go.

For students with cars, Junior SungHwan Byun, who spent last summer in D.C., recommended taking a trip to Six Flags America in Upper Marlboro, Md., a 40-minute drive from the Foggy Bottom area.

Admission to the amusement park is $35, with another $8 for parking. This includes admission to Paradise Island Water Park, perfect for cooling off during one of the District’s infamous hot and humid days. Paradise Island features a wave pool, water slides, tube flumes, a lazy river and other wet adventures.

King’s Dominion is another option for summer thrill-seekers. Less than two hours from D.C. and located in Doswell, Va., King’s Dominion claims to have the eleven best roller coasters on the East Coast, according to its Web site. Admission to King’s Dominion, $39 plus $10 for parking, also grants access to a water park.

Sophomore Josh Bhatti, concerts chair for the Program Board who is staying in D.C. this summer, said he looks forward to doing a lot of relaxing and going to concerts. He will be singing along to the Dave Matthew’s Band at its concert June 9 at RFK Stadium.

Reel Big Fish will perform July 12 at the 9:30 Club. And for those saddened by the cancellation of Our Lady Peace’s GW concert last month, the band will also be performing there on June 24.

Madonna will perform at the MCI Center Aug. 10-11, and Janet Jackson will follow Aug. 17-18. Tickets for these shows range from $243 for the best Madonna seats to $37 for the cheapest Janet seats.

The theater world is also alive this summer. The Shakespeare Theatre has its annual “Free for All” June 1-17. This year’s free performance is “King Lear” at Carter Baron Amphitheater in Rock Creek Park. Free tickets may be picked up the day of the performance at the Shakespeare Theatre on 7th Street, NW or at the Washington Post Building on 15th Street, NW.

The Wolf Trap in Vienna, Va. is showing “Fiddler on the Roof” June 5-10. Ticket prices range from $18 for lawn seats to $45 for box seats. Bring a blanket and have a summer evening picnic before the musical begins.

For soccer fans, D.C. United’s season extends throughout the summer with seven home games between June 1 and Sept. 1. The soccer team plays at RFK Stadium located at the Stadium Armory Metro stop on the Blue and Orange lines. Ticket range from $15 to $36.

But students said the biggest attraction in D.C. is the Fourth of July fireworks on the National Mall.

Graduating senior Jason Karasik said he was busy with classes when he stayed at GW last summer and did take time out from his studies to take part in D.C.’s Independence Day celebration. Karasik said he watched the fireworks from a rooftop last summer.

“The fireworks on the Mall, they are pretty spectacular,” Karasik said. “They don’t do it any better then they do it here.”

No matter how much work must be done this summer, or how many classes must be taken, there are many opportunities for summer fun offered in the District.

The number of summer vacations left is dwindling. Seize the summer.

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