CityCenterDC is the spot to soak up every second of this joyful time of year.
We’ve reached peak summer here in DC, and along with it, easy-breezy closet staples set to maximize your everyday; a bounty of fresh, ingredient-forward dishes to relish in; and all the memory-making moments that come with being in good company.
Turns out, summer at CityCenterDC is equally optimistic. Everything you need to bask in the sunny season is here: experiential events for big and small (like free pop-meets-classical concerts and daily bubble clouds in the Plaza); equally bubbly style picks that’ll feel cool and right on trend, and a wealth of epicurean delights for every appetite (hand-crafted gelato or a bright salad—take your pick!) At CityCenterDC, we do summer right. Read on for your guide to things to do this summer exclusively at CityCenterDC.
We’ve partnered with American Pops Orchestra—an award-winning DC-based company that takes pop classics and transforms them into orchestral masterpieces—for a series of free concerts in the month of July.
The performance is a unique opportunity to immerse the whole family in a dynamic soundscape that plays into classic nostalgia.
Performances & Schedule:
• July 13th: Groove City, featuring Alan H Green, Mya Hunter, & Rayshun LaMarr
• July 20th: Diva Rewind, featuring Katie Mariko Murray, Nova Payton, & Bayla Whitten
• July 27th: Mirrorball Magic, featuring Billy Gilman, Sydney James Harcourt, & Hilary Morrow
Events begin at 7:30 pm and are open to the public; tickets not required. All concerts are free to the public and appropriate for audiences of all ages! Seating is first come first serve. Concerts will last approximately 60 minutes.
Read on for an interview with conductor Luke Frazier to find out what you can expect.
Q: How do you go about deciding which pop songs are included in the performances?
A: “I like to think about the songs that I love, songs that I know I can completely lose myself in. If I love the music then surely the players and singers will and that love and excitement is infectious with an audience. I usually make a large list of pieces that I really love and run that by the singers and we work together to get it just right for each and every show we perform.”
Q: Who are some artists whose work we might recognize in the performances?
A: “In putting together the three programs—Motown, Divas and Disco—I wanted to pick three types of music full of a full range of emotion. You’re going to hear the majesty and power of artists like Aretha Franklin and Stevie Wonder, the unbelievable strength of Whitney Houston and Celine Dion, and the live-each-day-like-it’s-the-last type of artists like Earth, Wind & Fire and the Bee Gees. These concerts are going to be full of music by artists that have touched all of our lives—music that gets us through tough times and helps us remember to celebrate the great times!”
Q: Do you have a favorite rendition of a song that’s being performed?
A: “It’s difficult picking a favorite rendition of the songs we’re going to be featuring this month. To be honest, my favorite part of each song is the unique artistry each of our guest singers will bring to the pieces. Let’s just say you’re going to hear familiar versions of songs and some real surprises that were B-sides on records from many eras.”
Q: What is the most challenging part about taking this classical application and applying it to contemporary songs?
A: “I’m fortunate that the players of APO are some of the most versatile and passionate I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. Getting to the crux of other styles with other orchestras can be difficult oftentimes, but with APO, it’s in our DNA. Every piece is treated with respect and care. We put the same concern and attention in the music of Edward Elgar as we do Earth, Wind & Fire.”
Q: Does playing in the open-air Plaza impact acoustics versus indoors? What are some behind-the-scenes elements you need to do to adapt to a new setting?
A: “One thing I learned early on with APO is to work with top-notch sound technicians and sound crews that understand the unique balance I’m trying to achieve in each concert. So often in rehearsal I’m working on different colors and shades of sound and the only way that can be conveyed outdoors is through a masterful audio technician. I’m very careful to make sure the orchestra and singers can hear well and the audience is getting a product that’s pleasurable.”
Summer is such a spirited season, complete with booked-up calendars and busy weeks. Let the Grove at CityCenterDC be your reminder to slow down and savor every moment. Whether you have a couple minutes for a specialty coffee or 30 minutes to do a solo lunch, make this sun-dappled space your reflective destination post-shop. Here, three delectable epicurean options to elevate your “me” time.
15 minutes: coffee run!
Dolcezza’s Coffee run & pastry
The perfect pick-me-up can be found at Dolcezza. Get your daily hit of caffeine with their coffee of the day, espresso drinks or tea paired perfectly with a pastry for a mid-afternoon treat (or pre-meeting re-fuel).
30 minutes: lunch break, al fresco
Fruitive’s Hail to the Kale
Dig into one of Fruitive’s 100% plant-based and organic salads, like this nutrient-dense option topped with a little bit of everything: quinoa, avocado, edamame, apples and orange-ginger dressing.
45 minutes: Grab a book & indulge
Tatte’s Heirloom Tomato Tartine
Satiate your summer cravings with Tatte’s market-fresh tartine. Bite into juicy heirloom tomatoes over a pillowy goat cheese mousse drizzled with pesto—perfection!
No Limit? Do it all and top it off with gelato from Dolcezza
Indulge in one of Dolcezza beloved gelatos. Make it Mint Chip, infused with locally grown chocolate mint or Mango Sorbetto, an acid-spiked creamy take on the tropical fruit.
Our annual BubbleworksDC experience in the Plaza is officially on, now until July 31st, with a bevy of bubble machines blowing daily at the top of the hour every hour from 1-7pm. And The Plaza isn’t the only place with bubbles. Around CityCenter, we’re noticing bubble-esque fashion and baubles in so many of our shops and retailers. Trend or coincidence? Scroll through to discover the latest summer fashion items that have us seeing, ahem, bubble.*
*Note: some items may not be available in-store. Please check with an associate.
The house’s iconic collaborations with artist Yayoi Kusama yield graphic, must-have pieces that are forever in style.
With a halo of pavé diamonds dotting its circumference, David Yurman’s Elements ring elegantly nods to the symbol of unity.
A hand-blown glass bubble encapsulates a stunning lily of the valley stem that Monsieur Dior wore for good luck at his own shows.
Swap your classic summer sneakers for Kate Spade’s dotted version which features a cushioned platform and statement black pattern.
Gucci’s unmistakable Interlocking G logo gets the vintage treatment with glass pearls that adorn this heritage-hailing hair clip.
A billowy, cloud-like shape defines this pair of lightweight slides from Moncler. Wear them as a sculptural, poolside alternative.
CityCenterDC’s own Piccolina is the perfect stop for some bubbles. Whether it’s a celebratory toast or a casual get-together, grab a glass at its Frizzante Happy Hour.
With a fresh season comes a new, eye-catching installation in Palmer Alley, and this season, we’re leaning into the kaleidoscopic hues of summer. Flying high over the boutiques are hundreds of technicolor umbrellas, offering a must-see spectacle (and some much-needed shade!) for guests to enjoy. Another plus? It’s guaranteed to be one of the best spots in DC for a selfie this summer—tag us using #CityCenterDC on Instagram for your chance to be featured.
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