With about one month left until school starts, explore D.C.’s offerings of wildlife, museum exhibits and public markets to make the most of your summer.
Celebrate the birthday of a giant panda to start off the weekend at the National Zoo Friday, tour an exhibit all about D.C. maps at the Textile Museum Saturday and shop for your favorite souvenirs at the Georgetown Flea Market Sunday.
Giant Panda Birthday Celebration
The 24th birthday of a giant panda makes for the perfect reason to explore the National Zoo. The zoo houses more than 2,000 animals, with no shortage of sights to see on the 163-acre complex. Visitors to the zoo can watch the special birthday celebration for Mei Xiang the giant panda at 9 a.m., where she will receive a special birthday treat – a cake made of ice and fruit. These birthday celebrations are only done for the zoo’s giant pandas, making it a rare and worthwhile trip even under the baking sun.
Smithsonian National Zoological Institute. 3001 Connecticut Avenue NW. Open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Reserve free entry passes here.
Maps of Washington Open House
Explore the world of maps at this guided open house tour of a museum housed on the second floor of GW’s Textile Museum. The exhibit called the Language of Maps boasts a collection of maps that date from 1690 to the present. The display features a series of maps of the District and the surrounding DMV area. Each demonstrates its own visual language, ranging from an 1854 blueprint of proposed expansions at the U.S. Capitol to a battleground map taken from the War of 1812. The tour lasts for one hour and is a part of the Albert H. Small Center for National Capital Studies, devoted to the District’s history.
The George Washington University Textile Museum. 701 21st St NW. Tuesdays through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Register here.
Georgetown Flea Market
An early morning stop by the Georgetown Flea Market is an easy way to fit an outdoor activity into a blisteringly hot weekend. The market features a series of vendors selling antiques, vintage collectibles and other hand-crafted trinkets. With move-in just about a month away, a visit to the flea market is a unique way to pick up art and antiques like paintings or lamps for your new apartment or dorm. The flea market is also located right on bustling Wisconsin Avenue, meaning you can walk to any number of restaurants or cafes for lunch after. Walk an extra few blocks to get ice cream from the renowned Thomas Sweet ice cream shop to cool down after a productive day of shopping.
Georgetown Flea Market. 1819 35th St NW. 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. More information here.