Top 7 Fun, Free Ways to Keep the Learning Alive This Summer

Enjoy these fun, free ways to keep the learning alive this summer.

1. Celebrate history

Alexandria’s 267th Birthday Celebration
Saturday, July 9, 7-9 p.m.
Oronoco Bay Park, 100 Madison St.
Celebrate Alexandria’s 267th birthday along the Potomac waterfront at Oronoco Bay Park. Bring lawn chairs, blankets and a picnic and enjoy live music by the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra plus cannon firing, birthday cake, food trucks and a dazzling fireworks display.

Alexandria Archaeology Museum
Third Floor of the Torpedo Factory Art Center
105 N. Union St. #327
Tuesday-Friday: 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Saturday: 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Sunday: 1-5 p.m.
Step right into the museum’s laboratory where archaeologists reconstruct Alexandria’s history, fragment by fragment. Learn more.

Family Day at Gadsby’s Tavern Museum
134 N. Royal St.
Sundays until September 4, from 2 to 5 p.m. Free for ACPS families.
Special family tours led by junior docents grades 4-7 and ending with hands-on activities in the ballroom. Thanks to stationed guides, families will be able to start a tour as soon as they arrive and move through the museum at their own pace, and children will be able to connect with the museum through their peer tour guides. Activities in the ballroom explore the science behind the historic ice well, including making (and tasting) ice cream!

2. Relax at an outdoor movie

Outdoor film festival at Waterfront Park
Friday, July 15: “Inside Out”
Saturday, July 16: “Star Wars – The Force Awakens”
Waterfront Park, 1A Prince St. Movies begin at 8:30 p.m.
Spend a night under the stars at an outdoor film festival at Waterfront Park. Movies will show on a 40-foot inflatable movie screen, with Alexandria’s beautiful waterfront as the backdrop.

Mount Vernon Recreation Center
Saturday, July 16: “Toy Story”
Saturday, August 20: “Aladdin”
Mount Vernon Recreation Center Field, 2701 Commonwealth Ave.
Bring family, friends, neighbors and a blanket to watch these open-air movies on field at the Mount Vernon Recreation Center.

Four Mile Summer Movie Series
Friday, July 29 and Saturday, August 27
Four Mile Conservatory Building, 4109 Mt. Vernon Ave.
Entry starts at 6 p.m., Movie starts at dusk.
Bring your friends, family and neighbors for games, giveaways, popcorn, picnics and great PG-rated films under the stars. Learn more.

3. Get your art on!

7th Annual Youth Arts Festival
Mount Vernon Recreation Center
2701 Commonwealth Ave.
Saturday, August 6, 1-5 p.m.
Spend the afternoon enjoying both performing and visual art work by the very gifted and talented youth of the City of Alexandria. If you are interested in participating in the Youth Arts Festival, please contact Cheryl Anne Colton at 703-746-5565.

Observe artists at work at the Torpedo Factory
Recurring each Saturday through September 3
11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.
Experience art in person and in progress at the Torpedo Factory Art Center where very Saturday this summer, artists will be demonstrating their skills and talents for visitors in their studios. Founded in 1974 in an old munitions plan, the Torpedo Factory is home to the largest collection of publicly accessible working artist studios in the U.S. With 82 studios and 6 galleries open to the public, you can meet some of the 165 artists and watch them work. Learn about what inspires them, ask about their creative process, and purchase original work for your collection. Visit three floors of studios for ceramics, collage, fiber, glass, enamel, jewelry, mixed-media, painting, photography, printmaking and sculpture.

4. Enjoy free performances and concerts

Take advantage of great free outdoor concerts at parks and plazas throughout the City all summer long. Learn more.

Explore local music at free musical festival on Saturday, July 23, at Mount Vernon Recreation Center, 2701 Commonwealth Ave. Celebrate local talent with musicians including Anthony Pirog, Wanted Man, Jack Kilby & The Front Line and Elroy Jenkins. Musicians will perform on two stages at Pat Miller Square right in the heart of Del Ray. Learn more.

The Millennium Stage at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts offers free concerts and performances every day at 6 p.m. No tickets required. Learn more.

5. Discover great STEM experiences

Robotics Program for Rising 7th and 8th Graders
Each Saturday from July 23 to August 20. 12-4 p.m.
William Ramsay Recreation Center, 5650 Sanger Ave.
Youth will let their imagination run wild while they learn how to design and build their own robots. Enjoy friendly competition in a fun and safe environment.

National Inventors Hall of Fame
Monday-Friday: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Saturday: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The newly renovated National Inventors Hall of Fame is located on the United States Patent and Trademark Office campus in Alexandria. Experience the gallery of icons illustrating each of the 500+ inductees and their great technological achievements that helped stimulate growth for our nation and beyond. The National Inventors Hall of Fame inspires the next generation of innovators by connecting them through the story of invention. Families and groups can interact with and explore our kiosks and archives during their visit. Learn more.

6. Support locally grown food and goods

Alexandria’s farmers markets are a celebration of farmers, artisans and community spirit. Visit one of the five farmers markets in the city, including the historic Old Town Farmers Market in bustling Market Square, thought to be one of the nation’s oldest continually operating farmers markets. Other markets are in Del Ray, West End Market, Four Mile Run and King Street Station Farmers Market. Talk with farmers, artisans and others to learn more about their local goods and how they are produced. Learn more.

7. See Alexandria as you’ve never seen it before!

Ride the King Street Trolley for a different perspective of our city
The Free King Street Trolley stops every two blocks from the waterfront to the King St – Old Town Metrorail station, and provide easy on-off access to the more than 180 shops, restaurants and attractions on King Street. It runs every 10 minutes Sunday through Wednesday, 10:00 a.m. to 10:15 p.m., and Thursday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to midnight. Learn more.

Jerome “Buddie” Ford Nature Center
5750 Sanger Ave.
Open Wednesday – Saturday: 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
The Jerome “Buddie” Ford Nature Center is free to the public year round. The center includes an exhibit on Alexandria’s birds of prey, reference library with children’s section, greenhouse with tropical rainforest plants and live parrot, interpretive exhibits on local geology and live snakes, salamanders, turtles, toads and more!

Charles Houston Live!
Charles Houston Recreation Center, 901 Wythe St.
Every Friday, 6-9 p.m. starting July 8.
Kids of all ages can enjoy warm summer evenings with outdoor food vendors, games, swimming and live entertainment.

ACPS, Events