Washington, DC Environmental Film Festival
For two weeks each year, the Environmental Film Festival takes over DC’s movie theaters, embassies, libraries and museums. The mission of the film fest: “To advance public understanding of the environment through the power of film.” Started more than 20 years ago, the festival not only screens films about the environment, but also films shot with environmentally responsible methods. New this year are two inaugural awards, the Documentary Award for Environmental Advocacy and Eric Moe Sustainability Film Award.
Rock ‘n’ Roll USA Marathon
Long known as a walking city, DC becomes a running one each year during the Rock ‘n’ Roll USA Marathon. Participants from all over the world partake in this one-of-a-kind race, featuring a route that passes by numerous historical landmarks. The only marathon conducted completely within the District of Columbia, the event fills up fast, so if you can’t participate in the race, you can certainly use your voice to support the steady stream of runners. As runners near the finish line they’re in for a treat – The Head and the Heart has been tapped as the headliner for the Rock ‘n’ Roll USA Finish Line Festival Concert.
St. Patrick’s Day Parade
When’s the best time for a parade? March, obviously, and the St. Patrick’s Day Parade is one big-time celebration. More than 100 marching bands, military units, dance schools, floats and community-area groups are among the marchers. The parade runs on a 10-block stretch along Constitution Avenue NW, between 7th and 17th Street. Purchase grandstand tickets today for only $15 a piece or line the street for free.
National Cherry Blossom Festival
March 20-April 12
Spanning three weeks (and four weekends), the National Cherry Blossom Festival celebrates the 1912 gift of 3,000 cherry blossom trees from Tokyo to the nation’s capital. The National Park Service predicted peak bloom would be April 8-12. The citywide celebration includes events like the Blossom Kite Festival (March 29) on the National Mall and fun cultural experiences like the Grand Sake Tasting (April 3). Restaurants get into the blossom spirit with Cherry Picks, cherry blossom and spring-themed food and drink items. The fun all culminates into the vivid and wonderful National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade (April 12).
March (exact date tbd)
Held at the RFK Stadium grounds, ShamrockFest features lengthy beer-truck bars, dozens of food vendors, an activities-packed “Irish Village” and above all else: music. The tunes come by way of DJs and rock groups performing across seven different stages. Catch everything from traditional Irish music to fiddle and booming rock to Dublin-esque punk. The event lends itself to some serious Celtic clout and attracts tens of thousands of green-clad folk who are quick to ask, “What’s the craic?”
Starting April (exact 2015 date tdb)
Enjoy America’s pastime and catch MLB’s exciting Washington Nationals in the nation’s capital, one of the hottest tickets in town. The big bats of Bryce Harper, Jayson Werth, Ryan Zimmerman and the rest of the gang are sure to be cracking as the team does its best to ensure they are playing come October, playoff time. And in the middle of the fourth inning, get your camera ready for the Presidents Race, featuring larger than life George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson and newest member, President William Taft.
April (exact date tbd)
Sweeping cinephiles off their feet with its array of short and feature-length films, Filmfest DC has shone the spotlight on more than 55 different countries in its 28-year history. The international film festival is well attended by local Washingtonians, world travelers and international transplants alike. Go intercontinental in foreign confines and catch films at the French Embassy or the German Goethe-Institut; otherwise, you can also catch screenings at the Landmark E Street Cinema, Avalon Theater, and subterranean Naval Heritage Center at the U.S. Navy Memorial.
White House Easter Egg Roll
Have you ever thought your child could become the next president? Well, this could be the time to shine on the White House South Lawn at the annual Easter Egg Roll. Just like President Rutherford B. Hayes did for the first time in 1878, the First Family will welcome more than 30,000 people for the event, which includes games, sports, stories, arts and crafts and the traditional egg roll. In order to include kids from all 50 states, a lottery is conducted each year. Look on the White House website for a lottery application in early March and hop to it!
Throughout the month of May, Cultural Tourism DC presents this annual salute to international cultures. Globally inclined visitors get their kicks from the Around the World Embassy Tour, which includes an open house at more than 40 embassies. Fans of European nations can also tour embassies thanks to the Shortcut to Europe open houses. Go beyond embassy hopping with a range of other events, like the National Asian Heritage Festival, which offers dance performances, martial arts demonstrations and open market street vendors. Round out your global journey by experiencing Shakespeare, Brazilian jazz and even Chinese-style dragon boat races.
National Memorial Day Parade
May (exact date tbd)
Catch the nation’s largest annual Memorial Day Parade right here in our nation’s capital. Young patriots wave their American flags to marching active duty and retired military units, well-decorated parade floats and hundreds of veterans, including some that served the military as far back as World War II. Last year, the parade, which is organized by American Veterans Center, drew more than 250,000 people. The entire parade takes place along Constitution Avenue.
DC Jazz Festival
June (exact dates tbd)
In a city with such a rich history of jazz (think: the birthplace of Duke Ellington, U Street’s legendary clubs and the site of Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie recordings), it’s only fitting that once a year DC recollects that history with a music festival. This year, it’s going to be bigger than ever. More than a 125 performances, ranging from big band to popular acts to experimental ones, sweep through dozens of venues across the District, attracting everyone from die-hard aficionados to first-time listeners. In addition to providing six days’ worth of grooves, DC Jazz Festival offers education programs for DC public and charter school students, ensuring this American art form continues to flourish in the nation’s capital.