NATIONAL CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL & SAKURA MATSURI JAPANESE STREET FESTIVAL
As DC’s signature springtime event, the The National Cherry Blossom Festival celebrates the 1912 gift of the cherry trees from the people of Japan to the people of the U.S. Typically held in late March and early April, this world-famous annual festival celebrates the gift of the cherry trees with special cultural performances on the Tidal Basin, culinary events, themed tours and more.
INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVALS
Throughout the year, you’ll find film festivals that celebrate cinematic achievements from countries throughout the world. Each spring, Filmfest DC, an international film festival, captures the best, most exciting new productions from around the world and presents them to DC audiences with lectures, discussions and receptions.
SHAKESPEARE'S BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION
Each April, the Folger Shakespeare Library puts on a party to commemorate the Bard’s birthday, complete with birthday cake, costumed historic characters, face painting, family activities and more.
NATIONAL CATHEDRAL FLOWER MART
Held the first full weekend in May, the Washington National Cathedral celebrates the horticultural traditions of a different country each year with a popular springtime flower fest.
PASSPORT DC & EMBASSY OPEN HOUSES
More than 50 of DC’s embassies open their doors to the public in May for a month of cultural events and activities. Visit our International Embassies page to learn more about this vibrant opportunity.
DRAGON BOAT FESTIVAL
Vividly colored dragon boats race on the Potomac River in this May tradition. The boats launch from Thompson Boat Center; spectators will find the best vantage points from the Georgetown Waterfront.
SMITHSONIAN FOLKLIFE FESTIVAL
During the weekends before and after the Fourth of July, the Smithsonian shines the spotlight on several cultural traditions from around the world. Artisans, musicians and other cultural figures delight thousands of locals and visitors with crafts, performances, cuisine and more. Past festivals have explored the Silk Road, the Mekong Delta and Northern Ireland.
DC was designed by Frenchman Pierre L’Enfant and the city lives up to its French traditions on Bastille Day. Hillwood Estate Museum & Gardens, the historic home of Marjorie Merriweather Post, brings the customs and amusements of eighteenth-century France to DC through dance, drama, art activities and garden strolls at its annual French Festival, held each year in mid-July. For more fun, stop by Brasserie Les Halles to watch waiters race on Pennsylvania Avenue with trays in hand.
WATER LILY FESTIVAL & FOUNDERS DAY
DC’s Asian influences are on display when the exotic plants at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens reach full bloom in July. The festival draws gardening enthusiasts from around the world and includes photography contests, tours and more.
Each September, Greek Orthodox churches, including St. Sophia’s and St. Constantine’s, celebrate Greek cooking, culture and traditions in an annual festival. Feast on gyros, baklava and more as you enjoy lively music, arts and crafts.
ADAMS MORGAN DAY
This eclectic, multicultural neighborhood is the site of an annual street festival and cultural celebration held the second Saturday in September.
DC’s Latin American traditions are on display in this international festival, held in September in the Columbia Heights neighborhood.
Join the Italian Cultural Society, the Abruzzo and Molise Heritage Society, and the Holy Rosary Church in October for a day of celebrating La Dolce Vita as downtown Washington comes alive for the city's lively Italian street festival. Admission is free.
RUSSIAN WINTER FESTIVAL
Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens pays tribute to its Russian traditions each December with its Russian Winter Festival. Children can meet Grandfather Frost and his granddaughter, the Snow Maiden, as they enjoy traditional folk tales, arts and crafts, tours, lectures and more.