Enjoy an Evening at Vienna’s Capital of Arts and Culture
Now that the COVID-19 pandemic is coming to a close and outdoor activities can once again resume, it’s time to head outside and soak in the local culture, arts, and festivities that the town of Vienna, Virginia has to offer. To get a glimpse of more in arts and culture, such as popular music, plays, and other forms of entertainment, you don’t have to drive into the nation’s capital or find a live stream on television or the internet. Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts offers many opportunities to catch a live show with a popular artist, or a puppet show for the kids. Symphony orchestras come to play at Wolf Trap.
When you plan for a grand night on the town, you have to factor Wolf Trap into your evening. There is always a show for all ages. Paired with a perfect meal from one of Vienna’s many delicious local restaurants, the Wolf Trap experience can and should be a highlight of your local experience.
Wolf Trap Farm Park was founded in 1966 by Catherine Filene Shouse, a public servant who had worked with many different presidents in her lifetime. She acquired some 168 acres outside of Washington D.C. for her own personal use to grow crops and breed horses. Towards the end of her life, Shouse donated 100 acres to the U.S. government, along with the funds to build an amphitheater. Congress accepted the gift and designated the land as the Wolf Trap Farm Park for the Performing Arts. In 2002, it was renamed to be the Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts.
The Park has several different programs, including Wolf Trap Opera, a residency for young opera singers, and Early Learning Through the Arts, a program from the Department of Health and Human Services. Before Shouse had acquired the parcel of land, it had been exchanged among wealthy families in northern Virginia, most notably Lord Bryan Fairfax, a friend of George Washington.
The Park has long been a center of the arts for Northern Virginia, for more than fifty years. Hundreds of popular artists, orchestras, bands, and dance troupes like Riverdance have put on shows at the Park.
You don’t have to only visit Wolf Trap to see a popular show. The Park offers many other opportunities to enjoy beauty, including many hiking trails with natural areas, picnic areas, or ranger programs for educational purposes. The Children’s Theatre in the Woods offers many shows and activities throughout the summer for young ones to watch and participate in while school is out. They don’t have to stay up late for these shows either–many of them take place during the day.
Short hikes and longer hikes can be planned around Wolf Trap as well. One trail has been developed for children and families, at a grand total of one and a half miles long, while another goes through woods and wetlands in the area for more than two miles. On the first Sunday of every month, the Friends of Wolf Trap go for First Sunday Hikes, which are complemented by free educational events for all ages.
Upcoming Wolf Trap Shows
In the summer of 2022, now that the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic is over, many good shows will be offered at Wolf Trap. From the National Symphony Orchestra with Yo-Yo Ma, a concert with pop star Sheryl Crow, “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical,” and a Juneteenth Celebration with Thee Phantom and the Illharmonic Orchestra, there will be a little something for everyone.
The park has also undergone some major updates in the past few years. “In keeping with the preservation mandate of the National Park Service, we want to preserve the natural beauty and the character of this very special space…This is exactly where you come in as members of the public,” said Acting Superintendent of the Park Ken Bigley in 2021. Upgrades address transportation, parking, and maintenance.
If you’re planning a night on the town, consider some local restaurants in the area, especially ones like Clarity, Ristorante Bonaroti, or Blend 111. These places offer a high-end experience with local cuisine.
Blend 111 is worth checking out even if you aren’t going to Wolf Trap. The restaurant was founded with the concept of keeping things sustainable. “From the market, we seek organic, biodynamic, and sustainable ingredients,” says the restaurant online.