Summer may be coming to a close, but you haven’t missed out on traditional summer activities yet.
Living in the District can limit some of your options to enjoy backyard barbecues or a stroll on the beach boardwalk, but rooftop parties and picnics along the waterfront serve as welcome substitutes.
This Labor Day weekend, enjoy D.C.’s best summer activities before the summer officially ends.
Adventures on the water
While D.C.’s biggest tourist attractions are on the National Mall, that stretch of grass could cause heatstroke this time of year. Luckily, the District’s waterfront spots mean cooling off is never too far away.
The Tidal Basin, located near West Potomac Park, is not fit for swimming, but you can rent paddle boats per hour for up to four people along the water. From there, you can take in views of the Jefferson Memorial and Washington Monument, plus more secluded landmarks nearby, like the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial.
The Wharf in Southwest D.C. is an opportunity to explore a new neighborhood and touts fountains and parked yachts with the lingering scent of the nearby fish market adding authenticity. Alongside the pier, a boathouse rents stand-up paddleboards ($22), along with single and double kayaks ($16 and $22). You can also purchase a D.C. boating season pass for access to the eight boathouses in D.C., and by using a promo code before Labor Day, the student price of $45 is 50 percent off.
Yards Park, also along the Southwest waterfront in Navy Yard, boasts nearby restaurants and a picnic spot that can hold hundreds, but its outdoor canal and artificial waterfall are what stick out on first glance. Kids of all sizes can wade in the water or play in nearby fountains, but students should feel no shame in getting their feet wet. After a refreshing stay, stroll along the rest of the boardwalk, where typical boardwalk fare is supplemented by D.C. staples, like waterfront iterations of pizza joints Declaration and All-Purpose Pizza, and artisan scoop shop Ice Cream Jubilee.
More summer fun, indoors
Back in the day, you might have filled your summer nights with sports.
Swap out mosquito-infested mini golf games of the past for an indoor iteration of the summer pasttime. At H Street Country Club, a bar and restaurant with an indoor mini golf course, your only pesky frustration will be its nine holes. Call ahead to the bar on 1335 H St. NE to make sure you can play during its Tuesday all-night happy hour with $5 margaritas. You can also play games like shuffleboard and skee-ball, but don’t think childhood nostalgia means actual children are allowed to tag along.
If you’ve always been indoorsy, bowling might scream summer to you. In that case, head to The Eleanor, a game bar with a mini bowling lane. You can reserve online one of the two mini bowling lanes with duckpin-sized balls and pins or walk-in at a less busy time. The Eleanor offers one-hour slots for games with up to 16 people, so gather your friends for a wholesome night at $10 per person, with a single $10 ball rental fee per lane. Between gutter balls you can try your luck at skee-ball or snack on fancy nachos ($11) or peel-and-eat shrimp ($12).
Anything but conventional open-space bars
Labor Day Weekend may be one of your last opportunities to crack open a beer somewhere that won’t cramp you in between four walls.
American Ice Company’s outdoor patio serves up a summer classic with a casual vibe that makes it an ideal pregame destination. The bar on 917 V St. NW serves up barbecue options like chicken, pork or brisket ($1 extra), which can be slapped on a sandwich ($10), platter ($13) or served as a combo with two meats, beans and slaw ($14). Guzzle down selections of beer and wine ($6 to $9) from a mason jar before moving on to other U Street bars nearby.
For a unique experience bound to become a new favorite, neo-soul food restaurant and Belgian bar Marvin makes music integral to the dining experience. Honoring the famed singer Marvin Gaye, the lounge at 2007 14th St. NW features live music almost every day, from jazz quartets to solo songwriters. Its half-enclosed rooftop bar carries on the party, where you can soak up happy hour deals Monday through Friday from 5 to 7 p.m. and order crab cake sliders for a cool $12.