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Posted at 1:37 PM ET, 08/27/2007

Free and Easy

By Fritz Hahn

Every Monday, the Going Out Gurus post about the best ways to spend time in Washington without spending any money. Have an idea for us? Send it to

Summer's winding down, and this week brings the end of a number of our favorite free outdoor events, including the weekly jazz concerts in the National Gallery of Art's Sculpture Garden.

Navy Band Concert at the U.S. Capitol
The Navy Band wraps up its season with a final concert of classical works, pop songs and patriotic tunes on the West Lawn of the Capitol. (That's the side facing the Mall.)

Wine tasting at Bistrot Lepic
Try a complimentary glass of two different sparkling Cremant de Loire wines in Lepic's cozy upstairs wine bar.

Harry Benson at the National Portrait Gallery
"Harry Benson: Being There" closes on September 3, so if you haven't seen the prize-winning photos, whose subjects range from the Beatles to Bill Clinton, detour to Gallery Place for a visit. The Portrait Gallery is open until 7, so you may even have time for happy hour in the neighborhood. (See's Harry Benson photo gallery here.

Open mike poetry at Mocha Hut
The U Street coffeeshop opens the floor to poets and spoken word artists from 8 to 11, and unlike some other open-mike events on the strip, this one is free.

Jazz in the Garden at the National Gallery of Art
Pianist Johnny O'Neal headlines the final performance of the National Gallery's outdoor concert series. Bring a picnic and a blanket to the Sculpture Garden, and get there early to claim the best spots. [NOTE: Jazz in the Garden has been extended through the end of September. Find the full schedule here.]

Saturday Through Monday
Page to Stage Festival at the Kennedy Center
More than 40 local theater groups stage readings of their upcoming plays and musicals, including the Shakespeare Theatre Company and the African Continuum Theatre Company.

Planet Arlington World Music Festival at the Netherlands Carillion
In a fantastic weekend for free events, this concert may be one of the best of the year. It includes legendary South African jazz and funk trumpet player Hugh Masekela; Latin Grammy-winning singer Lila Downs; and the Jamaican godfathers of ska, the Skatalites. Activities for children and families round out the rest of the day.

(Despite the awesomeness of that lineup, we didn't want to slight the annual D.C. Blues Festival at Carter Barron or a chance talk Redskins history with Dexter Manley at Politics and Prose.)

National Symphony Orchestra's Labor Day Concert at the Capitol
Conductor Emil de Cou leads the orchestra's annual concert, which features works by American composers George Gershwin, Aaron Copeland, Leonard Bernstein and Leroy Anderson alongside classics by Dvorak, Tchaikovsky and Stravinsky.

Glen Echo Labor Day Art Show
Artists from throughout the Mid-Atlantic region show and sell ceramics, paintings, sculpture, jewelry and other works in the Spanish Ballroom, while Irish musicians and dancers perform in the park's Bumper Car Pavilion.

-- Fritz

By Fritz Hahn  | August 27, 2007; 1:37 PM ET
Categories:  Misc.  
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