DC WishBook
CHECK IN DATE:
NUMBER OF NIGHTS:
For Phone Reservations Call 800-422-8644

Guide to

Annual Events & Festivals

  • PRINT
January

Restaurant Week Metro DC: For one week in January - and one in August - more than 200 of DC’s best restaurants offer prix fixe meals. Don’t miss this chance to dine at some of the city’s most buzzed-about restaurants. Reservations are strongly encouraged.

Washington Winter Show – An Antiques Show in Washington, DC: Hunt for that perfect find among dozens of high-end antiques dealers at this four-day show.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service: In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, volunteers across the country take part in a national Day of Service. In Washington, DC, volunteers have a special opportunity to volunteer at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial and interact with visitors who have come to learn about the civil rights leader.

Restaurant Week Metro DC: For one week in January - and one in August - more than 200 of DC’s best restaurants offer prix fixe meals. Don’t miss this chance to dine at some of the city’s most buzzed-about restaurants. Reservations are strongly...
READ MORE
READ LESS
February

Date Nights DC: It’s a little-known fact that the nation’s capital is also the capital of courtship. Every February, Date Nights DC helps you reignite the romance with 28 great date ideas, special deals and discounts at local attractions, restaurants, hotels and more—you can even email our Date Concierge!

Presidents Day: DC is the perfect place to celebrate Presidents Day. Look for fun, educational and interesting events at venues such as Mount Vernon Estate & Gardens, The Presidents Gallery by Madame Tussauds, the Library of Congress and the National Museum of American History.

Washington Auto Show: Rev your engine at Walter E. Washington Convention Center with more than 700 vehicles from over 42 domestic and import manufacturers.

Smithsonian Black History Month Family Day Celebration: The Smithsonian Institution kicks off a month of special programming with a celebration at the National Portrait Gallery and American Art Museum. The day features music and drama performances, arts and crafts, and other family-friendly activities.

Washington DC International Film Festival: This film festival brings outstanding world cinema right to the District with more than 100 features, documentaries and short films.

Date Nights DC: It’s a little-known fact that the nation’s capital is also the capital of courtship. Every February, Date Nights DC helps you reignite the romance with 28 great date ideas, special deals and discounts at local attractions,...
READ MORE
READ LESS
March

National Cherry Blossom Festival (March/April): The three-week, citywide festival celebrates the 1912 gift of 3,000 cherry trees to Washington, DC by the mayor of Tokyo. Cultural performances, food and music come together to make this annual festival one of the city’s largest and most celebrated events.

St. Patrick’s Day Parade: DC’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade brings all things Irish to the nation’s capital. Bagpipe bands, police and fire departments, and Irish step dancers bring Irish music, culture and fun to the crowd.

DC Environmental Film Fest: The festival features films made not only about sustainability and “being green,” but also those that incorporate environmentally friendly practices into filming. More than 140 films are hosted at 50 venues throughout the city.

Rock ‘N’ Roll USA Marathon: Lace up your running shoes as an estimated 15,000 athletes head to DC for this scenic marathon. Beginning at RFK Stadium, a 26.2-mile journey takes runners along the National Mall and past DC’s historic monuments.

National Cherry Blossom Festival (March/April): The three-week, citywide festival celebrates the 1912 gift of 3,000 cherry trees to Washington, DC by the mayor of Tokyo. Cultural performances, food and music come together to make this annual...
READ MORE
READ LESS
April

White House Easter Egg Roll: Children frolic on the South Lawn with the First Family, searching for wooden eggs and joining in an Easter celebration at the Ellipse. The event is free, but tickets are required.

White House Spring Garden Tours: Visit the grounds and beautiful gardens at the most famous address in the nation. Highlights include the Jacqueline Kennedy Garden, Rose Garden and the South Lawn of the White House.

Washington Nationals Home Opener: Play ball! The Washington Nationals kick off the baseball season in April for an exciting summer of great games, sweeping cityscape views and the Running of the Presidents.

Shakespeare’s Birthday Celebration: The Folger Shakespeare Library puts on a party to commemorate the Bard’s birthday, complete with birthday cake, costumed historic characters, face painting and family activities.

White House Easter Egg Roll: Children frolic on the South Lawn with the First Family, searching for wooden eggs and joining in an Easter celebration at the Ellipse. The event is free, but tickets are required.White House Spring Garden Tours: Visit...
READ MORE
READ LESS
May

Passport DC: Throughout the month of May, DC celebrates international culture. With more than 50 embassy open houses, visitors can travel around the world without ever leaving the Beltway. Participants have the opportunity to tour select embassies and learn about the culture and customs of countries from all over the globe. Additional highlights include the Meridian International Children’s Festival and the Dragon Boat Festival.

Memorial Day Weekend Concert and Parade: Celebrate America’s war heroes and those presently serving by gathering along Constitution Avenue for the annual Memorial Day parade featuring marching bands, patriotic floats and veteran units from all 50 states.  A free concert on the West Lawn of the Capitol by the National Symphony Orchestra and other famous performers also honors the men and women in uniform.

Rolling Thunder: Watch more than 250,000 motorcyclists ride the streets of Capitol Hill in support of veterans’ rights.  The event is a demonstration for the POW/MIA issue, patriotism, and respect for soldiers and veterans from all wars.

Flower Mart: This popular festival features plants, herbs, foods, boutiques and entertainment. Plus, the Washington National Cathedral opens up its century-old carousel for mart-goers young and old to enjoy.

Capital Pride (May/June): This nine-day celebration features diversity, cultural achievement, civil rights issues and entertainment by and for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals, families and friends.

Passport DC: Throughout the month of May, DC celebrates international culture. With more than 50 embassy open houses, visitors can travel around the world without ever leaving the Beltway. Participants have the opportunity to tour select embassies...
READ MORE
READ LESS
June

Smithsonian Folklife Festival (June/July): A global showcase on the National Mall, this popular festival features several different countries and topics of focus each year. Held over several weekends, it typically overlaps with Fourth of July for some family fun while waiting for the evening fireworks.

DC Jazz Festival: Jazz lovers gather in the nation’s capital to enjoy more than 100 performances at more than 40 venues over 10 days. Jazz can be heard throughout DC’s neighborhoods and on the National Mall. Events also include Family Fun days.

AFI Docs: Dubbed the “pre-eminent documentary festival in the U.S.” by Screen International, the AFI Docs Film Festival showcases DC’s role as “Docu-wood” during this weeklong festival. Held at AFI International in Silver Spring, Md., AFI Docs includes screenings, discussions and parties.

National Capital BBQ Battle: The contest along Pennsylvania Avenue features a cook-off between top barbecue purveyors, great barbecue restaurants from the DC region and around the country, cooking demonstrations, free food samples, interactive cooking displays and children's activities.

Source Festival: The Source Festival combines rising talents with established artists from across the nation to present 25 new works over three weeks. The works presented here are aimed at laying the path for the next generation of performing artists.

Seersucker Social: Transport yourself back in time at Hillwood Estate’s fun and fancy-free Seersucker Social. Guests are encouraged to dress up in their best Jazz Age-inspired clothes and celebrate summer with a garden party worthy of Hillwood’s former owner and heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post.

Smithsonian Folklife Festival (June/July): A global showcase on the National Mall, this popular festival features several different countries and topics of focus each year. Held over several weekends, it typically overlaps with Fourth of July for...
READ MORE
READ LESS
July
Independence Day Festivities: More than 100 marching band units step out at noon along Constitution Avenue for the Fourth of July parade. Musical groups entertain from mid-afternoon until evening. The National Symphony Orchestra and all-star...

Independence Day Festivities: More than 100 marching band units step out at noon along Constitution Avenue for the Fourth of July parade. Musical groups entertain from mid-afternoon until evening. The National Symphony Orchestra and all-star guests perform at 8 p.m. before a spectacular fireworks show at 9:20 p.m.

Capital Fringe Festival: Throughout the two-and-a-half-week festival, audiences can choose from more than 500 audacious and inventive performances of theater, dance, music, poetry and puppetry performed by more than 120 local, national and international artists at more than 30 of the city’s unique venues.

Washington Kastles Tennis Tournament: Tennis champs Martina Hingis and Venus Williams lead the team as they represent DC in this local summer tennis tournament.

Citi Open (July/August): One of the top 20 men’s tennis tournaments in the world, the WTA International Level is played simultaneously with the ATP World Tour 500. Andy Roddick, James Blake and Andre Agassi have all competed in this Washington, DC tour stop from late July through early August.

READ MORE
READ LESS
August
Restaurant Week Metro DC: For one week in August—and one in January—more than 200 of DC’s best restaurants offer prix fixe meals. Don’t miss this chance to dine at some of the city’s most buzzed-about restaurants. Reservations are strongly...

Restaurant Week Metro DC: For one week in August—and one in January—more than 200 of DC’s best restaurants offer prix fixe meals. Don’t miss this chance to dine at some of the city’s most buzzed-about restaurants. Reservations are strongly encouraged.

READ MORE
READ LESS
September
National Symphony Orchestra Labor Day Concert: The National Symphony Orchestra performs a free concert in a DC Labor Day weekend tradition, beginning at 8 p.m. For an in-depth guide on all there is to do Labor Day weekend in DC, click here.AT&...

National Symphony Orchestra Labor Day Concert: The National Symphony Orchestra performs a free concert in a DC Labor Day weekend tradition, beginning at 8 p.m. For an in-depth guide on all there is to do Labor Day weekend in DC, click here.

AT&T Nation’s Football Classic: DC’s newest college football tradition renews the longstanding rivalry between Howard University and Morehouse College. The football game is the anchor of a weekend of festivities.

DC Blues Festival: The nation’s capital celebrates the blues with the annual DC Blues Festival. The one-day event features a who’s who in the jazz world. Plus, kids will love the family-friendly workshops and instrument “petting zoo.”

National Book Festival: The Library of Congress hosts a celebration of books and reading at this popular weekend festival on the National Mall. The event features award-winning authors, illustrators, poets, readings, signings and family-friendly activities.

DC Shorts Film Festival: The DC Shorts Festival spotlights independent short films with screenings, plus discussions with the established and emerging filmmakers who created them.

Black Family Reunion: This annual celebration of the African American family features music, food, wellness and kid-friendly activities, staged on the grounds of the Washington Monument.

The Nation’s Triathlon: The Nation’s Tri invites athletes to run, bike and swim their way past DC’s famous monuments and memorials in support of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

H Street Festival: Discover what H Street, an area known for its performing arts venues and quirky nightclubs, and its surrounding neighborhood has to offer at this annual fun festival.

Fiesta Musical: Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month at the Zoo’s Latin American-themed party. Enjoy animal demonstrations, traditional music, costumed dancers, crafts and Latin American foods.

Walkingtown DC & Bikingtown DC: It’s OK to be car-free in the nation’s capital, and Cultural Tourism DC showcases that annually with Walkingtown and Bikingtown DC. The 10-day event features walking and bike tours that introduce participants to the District’s unique neighborhoods.

READ MORE
READ LESS
October
Kids Euro Festival: Arts organizations and embassies host this family-friendly festival of more than 150 performances and 75 workshops featuring theatrical performances, music, storytelling, art, puppetry and more. Nearly 30 European Union...

Kids Euro Festival: Arts organizations and embassies host this family-friendly festival of more than 150 performances and 75 workshops featuring theatrical performances, music, storytelling, art, puppetry and more. Nearly 30 European Union embassies open their doors for this annual event.

Boo at the Zoo: It’s the wildest trick-or-treat in town! Kids 2 to 12 and their families are invited to enjoy candy from 40 different treat stations, plus animal encounters and special keeper talks at the National Zoo.

Army Ten-Miler: The annual race honoring past and present soldiers kicks off at the Pentagon and winds its way through DC’s most patriotic monuments, memorials and attractions.

Washington International Horse Show: Downtown DC welcomes Olympic-class horses and riders for jumping competitions, special exhibitions of musical freestyle dressage, bull riding, terrier races and more.

Marine Corps Marathon: “The People’s Marathon” welcomes military and civilian runners alike to this 26.2-mile race taking runners past DC’s most iconic landmarks.

READ MORE
READ LESS
November
Reel Affirmations: Washington, DC’s International LGBT Film Festival: The largest GLBT event in DC, this film festival showcases edgy and evocative works by LGBT filmmakers on touchy and timely topics.Fotoweek DC: This annual celebration of...

Reel Affirmations: Washington, DC’s International LGBT Film Festival: The largest GLBT event in DC, this film festival showcases edgy and evocative works by LGBT filmmakers on touchy and timely topics.

Fotoweek DC: This annual celebration of photography features a photo contest and juried exhibition, gallery openings, lectures, workshops, book signings and more.

Veterans Day: Honor veterans at wreath-laying ceremonies throughout the city, including DC’s war memorials, Arlington National Cemetery and the U.S. Air Force Memorial.

Holiday Ice Skating: Have some winter fun as you glide across the ice and skate next to acclaimed sculptures in the National Gallery of Art’s sculpture garden. Or head over to Canal Park at the Capitol Riverfront for a riverside skating experience. Weather permitting, the rinks open in mid-November and closes in mid-March.

International Wine & Food Festival: Sample international cuisine and premium wines from more than 100 international wineries at this culinary festival. Highlights include events at local restaurants, cooking demonstrations and a grand tasting at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center.

READ MORE
READ LESS
December
National Christmas Tree Lighting: The National Christmas Tree Lighting takes place in early December on the Ellipse and is hosted by the president and First Family. Free performances continue through January on the park just south of the White...

National Christmas Tree Lighting: The National Christmas Tree Lighting takes place in early December on the Ellipse and is hosted by the president and First Family. Free performances continue through January on the park just south of the White House. The tree is lit nightly from dusk until 11 p.m. Free tickets for the Presidential tree lighting are distributed via an online lottery.

Chanukah on the Ellipse: The National Menorah, located at the park south of the White House, is lit in a special ceremony to mark the start of the holiday. The ceremony, featuring live entertainment and hot latkes and donuts, is repeated each night of Chanukah.

Downtown Holiday Market: More than 175 regional artisans, crafters and boutique businesses sell their wares at this festive holiday shopping “village.”

Holiday Happenings in Georgetown: More than 50 stores offer festive shopping events and promotions in Georgetown’s quaint shopping district.

ZooLights: Come celebrate the holidays with the zoo’s biggest and brightest event of the year, featuring thousands of environmentally friendly lights, animated exhibits, special keeper talks and live entertainment.

The Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman: Close out the year with this late-December bowl game. Watch as two college teams take each other on at RFK Stadium.

READ MORE
READ LESS