Enjoy the best of fall with happenings like the DC Jazz Fest and the re-opening of the National Museum of Women in the Arts.
DC JazzFest | Sept. 1-4
The DC JazzFest is a can't-miss event on the District's cultural calendar, inviting visitors of all ages to celebrate all things jazz each summer. As the city's premier jazz festival, the event serves up a diverse selection of national and international masterclass jazz artists, performing in a wide array of venues reaching every quadrant and corner of the city. Many concerts during the festival are free.
Adams Morgan Day | Mid-September
The longest-running neighborhood festival in the District celebrates 45 years. The lively 18th Street will be buzzing with music, food vendors, for-sale artwork and family-friendly activities. Celebrate one of DC’s liveliest, most diverse neighborhoods with a day-long volunteer-led extravaganza that showcases the businesses, artists and organizations of Adams Morgan.
Theatre Week | TBD
Theatre Week kicks off the launch of the theater season in the Washington, DC region. With dozens of participating theaters and productions, the celebration provides an opportunity to sample diverse and vibrant work on a variety of stages across the region.
World Culture Festival | Sept. 29 – Oct. 1
A unique three-day experience on the National Mall features incredible talent from around the world. The historic event will bring together people from Argentina to Zimbabwe, Canada to Australia, and from every state of America. Festival attendees will experience global music, dance, art, food and more.
Walkingtown DC | Late September
Enjoy the incredible walkability of the nation’s capital during a free, week-long public tour program. In total, dozens of guided walking tours are held throughout the District, including neighborhood showcases, themed excursions, historical journeys and many more. Historians, licensed tour guides, community leaders and business owners, among others, host these adventures that will take you to both well-known and hidden gems across DC.
National Museum of Women in the Arts Re-opening | Oct. 21, 2023
The building’s first full renovation since 1987, the project honors the structure’s history while improving its interior spaces, mechanical systems and exterior envelope. Key improvements include enlarged gallery space, a new destination for researchers and education programs, enhanced amenities and accessibility for visitors as well as infrastructure and storage upgrades to improve the long-term conservation and security of the museum’s collection of more than 5,500 works.
Fighters for Freedom: William H. Johnson and the Struggle for Social Justice at the Smithsonian American Art Museum | March through Sept. 2024
The exhibition is drawn entirely from the collection of more than 1,000 works by William H. Johnson given to the museum by the Harmon Foundation in 1967. It reminds us that individual achievement and commitment to social justice are at the heart of the American story.
Mark Rothko: Paintings on Paper at the National Gallery of Art | Nov. 19 – March 31, 2024
Known for his abstract paintings on canvas (some of which can be seen at the Phillips Collection in DC), Mark Rothko also crafted more than 1,000 paintings on paper over the course of his illustrious, decades-long career. The National Gallery of Art will showcase more than 100 of these tableaus, many on view to the public for the first time, providing a unique opportunity to see new work from one of the most important artists of the 20th century.
Ballet West: The Nutcracker at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts | Nov. 22-26
Be swept away in a flurry of holiday magic as Ballet West presents America's longest-running Nutcracker! The preeminent company returns with one of the most visually striking productions of this seasonal family favorite.
Downtown Holiday Market | Late November – Mid-December, TBD
DC’s free-to-frequent downtown bazaar is centrally located in front of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery. The beloved market stretches across two blocks of F Street between 7th and 9th streets. Scope out eclectic wares from dozens of pop-up tents with seasonally flavored music performed live in the background. Locally roasted coffee and crafted-before-your-eyes mini-doughnuts inspire a cold-weather appetite, creating a holiday atmosphere you won’t find anywhere else in the city.
The District's Holiday Boat Parade at the Wharf | Dec. 2
Celebrate the holiday season with this iconic DC event that features over 60 beautifully decorated boats parading along the Washington Channel. Get into the spirit of the season with festive activities ranging from roasting s'mores, sampling winter drinks and skating at the Wharf Ice Rink.
National Menorah Lighting | Dec. 7
Chanukah kicks off with this lighting ceremony of the world’s largest menorah on the White House Ellipse, which greets all with latkes, doughnuts, menorah kits and dreidels. Music from the United States Navy Band will add a soundtrack to the scene. As is the custom, a new candle is illuminated on each of the eight days of Chanukah.
National Christmas Tree Lighting | Early December, TBD
The National Christmas Tree is one of DC’s claim to fame during the holidays for good reason. The gorgeous conifer lives in President’s Park on the White House Ellipse, where it's surrounded by trees decorated with handmade ornaments from 56 U.S. states and territories and is accompanied by nightly musical performances throughout the holiday season. The display is free to visit.
National World War I Memorial A Soldier's Journey sculpture wall | 2024
The U.S. World War One Centennial Commission finished construction on a dedicated U.S. WWI Memorial. The memorial commemorates the 100th anniversary of the war’s end and honors its 4.7 million servicemen and women. Located across The Willard InterContinental Hotel, the memorial’s 58.5-foot (about 17.8 meters) bronze sculpture will be the highest free-standing bronze sculpture in the Western hemisphere.
Folger Shakespeare Library Renovation | 2023
The historic 1927 E. Capitol Street building is undergoing a $72 million major renovation to expand public space with a new Shakespeare exhibition hall, an elegant wood-paneled Great Hall, library and outdoor gardens and seating. The building renovation project will add a 12,000-square-foot public pavilion under the Folger’s front lawn with large, welcoming, and fully accessible entry plazas for all visitors on both the east- and west-facing sides of the building.
11th Street Bridge Park | 2024
The city’s first elevated public park over the Anacostia River, visitors can expect an amphitheater, picnic gardens, interactive art, and waterfalls among other attractions and events.
Change Your Game at the National Museum of American History | Spring 2024 – Indefinitely
Game Changers demonstrates how inventors, athletes and technology have changed how we play sports throughout history, while engaging visitors to transform into “game changing” inventors who will appreciate their inherent capacity to invent and overcome challenges in their daily lives.
Raytheon Technologies Living in the Space Age Hall at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum | 2025
The Living in the Space Age Hall provides insights into space technology and infrastructure that are largely invisible to the public but have profound impact on our daily lives.
WorldPride DC 2025 | May 23-June 8, 2025
2025 marks 50 years of Pride in Washington, DC, and we're celebrating with the world. WorldPride DC 2025 will feature a vibrant and innovative slate of events and cultural programs that will highlight the best that Washington, DC has to offer. From music to film, from the National Mall to Embassy Row, visitors will experience the world through Washington’s multi-faceted and multi-cultural community. In addition to the traditional events typically enjoyed at Pride, visitors will find an array of unforgettable experiences throughout the week that promote the city’s principles of inclusion, affordability and celebration.
Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden Revitalization | Ongoing
The campus is currently undergoing transformative improvements: repairs are being made to the Museum building’s envelope and the revitalization of the Sculpture Garden will formally begin in spring 2023. These projects will enable the Hirshhorn campus to support the museum’s mission and its expanded programming and collections, as well as enhance visitor experience and address critical infrastructure needs. Japanese architect/poet/photographer, Hiroshi Sugimoto, is leading the design group.
National Museum of the US Navy | Ongoing
The exhibits of this new museum, slated for a location near the Navy Yard, will create a living memorial to the U.S. Navy’s heritage of victory and valor, bringing to life the human experiences of serving at sea, giving all visitors a greater appreciation and understanding of the economic and diplomatic importance of what a strong and robust Navy means to national and economic security
Museum of Ice Cream | Ongoing
The museum is currently looking for property in DC to establish its fifth location.
New Smithsonian Museums | Ongoing
The Smithsonian Institution recently identified optimal sites for two new museums – the National Museum of American Latino and the American Women's History Museum. The two optimal sites are:
• South Monument site—undeveloped land across the National Mall from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, on Jefferson Drive S.W., under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service.
• Tidal Basin site—undeveloped land bordered by Raoul Wallenberg Place S.W., Maine Avenue S.W. and Independence Avenue S.W., under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service.