Spotlight: Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, Vienna, Virginia
Listen, watch, or sing-along as performers take to the stage each summer at the only national park dedicated to the performing arts
What You’ll Find
Tucked into a suburban neighborhood in northern Virginia near Washington, D.C. is a unique park in the National Park system. From late May through mid-September Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts draws visitors to watch and listen as performers entertain thousands at the Filene Center, an open-air amphitheater with 3, 868 seats in-house and 3,160 on the lawn. Wolf Trap attracts top performers from all genres including pop music stars, folk singer legends, musicals, opera, ballet and modern dance companies, country, bluegrass and jazz bands and much more. Visitors sing along to shows, dance on the plaza to popular bands, dine in the outdoor restaurant, or have a picnic on the lawn under the stars while watching performances.
Spend some time this summer at one of many shows throughout the park or bring the kids to see a performance at the open-air Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods.
The park is approximately 16 miles (25.75 km) from downtown Washington, D.C. near the town of Vienna at 1551 Trap Road. Visit the park’s website for directions, transportation and parking information. Wolf Trap is a Climate Friendly Park and encourages you to carpool, bike or leave your car at home and take public transportation for Filene Center shows.
There is no camping or overnight parking at Wolf Trap. Use the Virginia Tourism website to find lodging options in the nearby town of Vienna or use the Destination DC travel website to plan your visit to the area.
Make Sure You
Attend a show! There is such a variety of summer performances that you won’t have a hard time finding something from your favorite style. Here is the current schedule for the Filene Center this season.
Grab a basket and head out to the park for a picnic or family get-together.
Hike the new TRACK Trail! Use one of the four self-guided brochures (or scorecards) for a fun adventure.
Bring your family or children’s group to a performance at the Children's Theatre-in-the-Woods during the summer.
Attend a pre-performance discussion on the Old Farmhouse Lawn for some insight before select evening’s performances.
Join a guided tour of the Filene Center backstage during the summer or anytime during the year to learn about the theater and the park’s history.
Break out the sleds and glide down the popular hill in the meadow adjacent to the Filene Center when northern Virginia gets snow.
Watch one of Wolf Trap’s original series, “Face of America™” which uses performing arts to celebrate national parks nationwide.
Much of the park and stages are outdoors. Wear comfortable clothing and shoes and a hat especially if you are attending a daytime show during the summer. Summer weather can be hot and humid so drink plenty of water while you wait in line for the lawn rush opening or when spending the day in the park.
If you don’t like sitting on the ground for a show, there are covered theatre seats inside the Filene Center and lawn chairs are permitted at the back of the lawn seating in designated areas. Be aware that there is a new inspection process and cooler restrictions for the 2014 season.
“The show must go on…” as the saying goes for Filene Center performances. Be sure to pack an umbrella and be prepared for thunderstorms. Review all cancellation and refund policy information before you purchase your tickets.
Parking is free at Wolf Trap but most performances require a ticket and prices vary by show.
For additional planning information, history and more, visit the Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts website.
Did You Know
In 1966, Catherine Filene Shouse, originally from Boston, Massachusetts, gave 100 acres of her Wolf Trap Farm to the U.S. Government for a national park for the performing arts and donated the amphitheater, Filene Center. The park opened in July 1971. Mrs. Shouse was the first woman to receive a Master’s Degree in Education from Harvard University and was a dynamic leader in education, politics, women’s and international affairs and dedicated her life to public service.