Welcome to the Meadow Commons

Welcome to the Meadow Commons
May 22, 2024

Stepping into summer at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts is magical. Families and friends dine on delicious picnics amongst the verdant landscape, and audiences share in laughter, song, and dance under the stars. Every summer at Wolf Trap is remarkable, but this one might just be the best yet.

As you arrive this year, you’ll see a brand-new, striking structure standing proudly next to the Filene Center. Wolf Trap’s latest enhancement, the Meadow Commons, is a new multi-purpose building designed to enhance the experience for generations to come.

A Transformative Era

Under construction since last fall, this three-story building redefines the way patrons experience the Park. The Meadow Commons enhances Wolf Trap by connecting the Park from the lower orchestra to the top Plaza, all while offering expanded food services, upgraded and enlarged restrooms, gathering spaces, and so much more.

“Thousands of contributors to the Campaign for Wolf Trap were inspired by our plans to make long-lasting and transformative improvements to the Park so everyone who visits Wolf Trap has the best experience possible. The Meadow Commons is the most ambitious of the capital projects made possible by the generosity of our community,” explains Sara Jaffe, Wolf Trap Foundation Vice President of Development. Launched in 2021 to support the patron, artist, and audience experience, the Campaign for Wolf Trap: Our Next Chapter raised $75 million for Park improvements and Wolf Trap Foundation’s endowment.

Wolf Trap worked in collaboration with esteemed architectural partner Gensler to develop a thoughtful layout for the Meadow Commons that factors in the changing needs of audiences. Wolf Trap Foundation Vice President of Facilities Fraser Kadera shares, “The whole point of the building is to enhance an already amazing experience. You’re going to come and see what you’ve always loved about Wolf Trap, but you’re going to experience it in a better way.”

Top Campaign for Wolf Trap donors attended a “Topping Out” Ceremony in March to celebrate the framing of the Meadow Commons.

A Dining Destination

The Meadow Commons features an impressive 15 windows for Concessions sales. Forgot something for your pre-show picnic? Not to worry, three Meadow facing windows will open before the Filene Center gates with a mix of grab and go items — everything from cheese, crackers, and light fare to
wine, beer, and ice cream — to round out your pre-show dining experience.

The new building boasts a commercial kitchen, allowing for more efficient operations and highquality meals. After years of working in the original Concessions space, Wolf Trap’s Director of Food & Beverage
TJ Pluck explains the expansion makes for quicker, fresher, and more delicious foods. “Just imagine what we can do with a fully realized facility… one that was built with kitchen designers who know the space. It enables us to really have fun with the menu and grow our offerings.”

The redesigned Concessions windows at the Meadow Commons

With beloved favorites and new arrivals, Wolf Trap’s culinary repertoire promises to excite and satisfy any hungry concertgoer this summer. Traditional items like the Chicken Tenders and Wolf Burger remain, but now with a twist — like a higher-end beef blend of brisket, short rib, and chuck or the addition of Capital City Mambo Sauce. Tantalizing menu additions fit all dietary preferences, including a vegan Mediterranean Bowl and Mango Lime Quinoa Salad, as well as a Doritos Walking Taco, Fish & Chips, and a Turkey & Bacon Ciabatta Sandwich.

Wolf Burger, Mediterranean Bowl, and COMING SOON! Doritos Walking Taco

The Meadow Commons Drink Stop on the lower level makes it easier and quicker to refill your cup. Patrons can choose from a variety of beverages including sodas, craft beers, wines, and refreshing summer cocktails like the new Espresso Martini and Zero-Proof Margarita.

The Drink Stop offers easy access to quickly refill beverages

Accessible to All

One of the Meadow Commons’ most important features is the addition of two elevators that connect the lower levels of the venue to the top area of the Park. These elevators directly link to the cross-aisle in the Filene Center. Kadera explains, “For the first time, those with mobility challenges can get from the accessible parking lot near the lower orchestra level to the top of the Meadow’s ridge, with amenities like Ovations and the Meadow Overlook, and never encounter a stair.”

The Meadow Commons offers additional and upgraded restrooms, including several that are accessible, and five others that are single-occupant and gender neutral. Additional restrooms on both sides of the Filene Center also have been refurbished.

The Meadow Commons elevators

Unparalleled Views and Amenities

The rear of the building features a large, pergola-covered patio for picnicking and taking in panoramic views of the Park. The new Meadow Lounge offers a gathering space for members and partners, and a third picnic terrace completes the Meadow Ridge area with thoughtfully designed spaces that are accessible to everyone.

Preserving the Park

Wolf Trap took great care to maintain the natural environment throughout the planning and construction process. Kadera notes the project proudly preserves a White Oak and Red Oak at the top of the Meadow Ridge that pre-date the purchase of Wolf Trap’s property. “They are between 80 and 100 years old, and through some design discussions, we were able to save those two trees and help them become healthier in the process,” says Kadera. Other sustainable efforts include bioretention structures, low-flow and energy-efficient fixtures, locally sourced timber, and a commitment to plant four new native trees on property for every one removed.

The Wolf Trap You Know & Love

The Park may not look quite the same today as it did in 1971. But whether it’s your first or 20th visit, you’ll find the heart of Wolf Trap remains unchanged. Wolf Trap National Park Superintendent, Kenneth Bigley, remarks, “The Meadow Commons perfectly complements the Park’s natural beauty. We’re thrilled all visitors will be able to enjoy its excellent amenities and gorgeous views for generations to come.”

As Kadera explains, “Whether it’s making it easier for people with mobility challenges, having improved Concessions, providing patrons with additional restroom options, or being able to picnic with spectacular Meadow views, everything is intended to enhance what is already a fantastic concert-going experience.”

Welcome to the Meadow Commons and the next chapter of Wolf Trap.

Watch the timelapse video below to see the Meadow Commons come to life!