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Summer Travel Heats Up in Washington, DC

Enjoy free festivals, new hotels, attractions, performances, dining, sports, exhibitions and more

(Washington, DC) – Destination DC (DDC), the official destination marketing organization for the nation’s capital, offers fun ways to embrace the season and reasons to explore Washington, DC this summer. Visit to plan your travel.


What’s New:
Enjoy the renowned Smithsonian Folklife Festival, monumental Fourth of July Fireworks, free events and more over the next several months. New hotels include the Royal Sonesta Capitol Hill and exhibitions include “Afrofuturism: A History of Black Futures” at the National Museum of African American History and “Philip Guston Now” at the National Gallery of Art, recently ranked the most visited art museum in the United States. Washington, DC also hosts Major League Soccer’s All-Star Week surrounding the All-Star Game on July 19.


Plan a Vacation:
Washington, DC sparkles in the summer. Visitors and locals alike can discover DC’s great outdoors with hikes in Rock Creek Park and water sports and activities at multiple waterfronts. Travelers can stretch budget with hundreds of free attractions or indulge in luxury offerings as well as the city’s eclectic Michelin-rated dining scene, inviting rooftop bars and outdoor beer gardens. Summer also ushers in celebratory moments like Capital Pride, National Dog Month and DC JazzFest.


Hear From the Expert:
“Summer is the best season to explore the city’s vibrant waterfronts, discover its rooftop dining with landmark views, catch a sporting event or an outdoor concert, and experience the world’s best monuments and museums,” said Elliott L. Ferguson, II, president and CEO of Destination DC. “With hundreds of free things to see and do, families will find value as they plan a trip in Washington, DC.”


Go Deeper:

New and Recently Opened Hotels in DC:

•    Royal Sonesta Capitol Hill (Aug. 2023): The second Royal Sonesta in Washington, DC will open near Union Station. Part of a mixed-use complex, the contemporary 274-room hotel offers an additional rooftop conference center with views of iconic landmarks.

•    Washington Marriott Capitol Hill (Jan. 2023): Features of the new 235-room hotel include a glass-enclosed two-story lobby, large ballroom, outdoor terrace, onsite restaurant, rooftop bar and event space, fitness facilities and Marriott’s M club.

•    The Morrow Hotel Washington, DC Curio Collection by Hilton (Nov. 2022): The 203-room upscale brand from Hilton includes outdoor event space, indoor and outdoor F&B and a rooftop with views of the city.

•    Pendry Hotel Washington D.C. – The Wharf (Oct. 2022): The multi-faceted property features 131 waterfront guestrooms and 34 suites. It has three dining and bar concepts, Spa Pendry and 5,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor event and meeting space.

Summer Hotel Deals:

o    Breakfast Included, Hilton Washington DC National Mall, The Wharf valid (through Dec. 2023)

o    Parking Package, Kimpton Banneker Hotel (valid through Sept. 2023)

o    Monumental Breakfast for a Dollar, Hotel Washington (valid through Dec. 2023)

o    Take Me Out to the Ball Game Package, Capitol Hill Hotel (valid through Sept. 2023)

o    Monumental Savings, Fairmont Hotel, Georgetown DC 
o    Pedal and Picnic, The Watergate Hotel (through Sept. 2023)


Notable Events:

Filmfest DC | April 19 – April 30, 2023

o    The largest and longest-running annual international film festival in DC, Filmfest DC returns with a hybrid combination of in-person and virtual screenings.

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Festival

o    National Museum of Asian Art | May 1-14, 2023

o    The museum celebrates its 100th anniversary with a major outdoor festival showcasing a variety of music and dance performances, culinary events, films, tours and lectures.

Passport DC | May 1-31, 2023

o    A month of programming across the city highlights DC’s thriving international culture. The Around the World Embassy Tour and European Union Open House are favorites.

Capital Pride | June 2-11, 2023

o    DC celebrates Pride Month with free street festivals, concerts, a parade and a sunset dance party.

Giant National Capital Barbecue Battle    
o   Pennsylvania Avenue NW | June 24-25, 2023

o   A favorite barbecue-flavored event celebrates 31 years in the District.

Smithsonian Folklife Festival
o    National Mall | June 28-July 4 & July 6-9
o    A summer tradition, the festival will focus on the Ozarks region and American religious communities and traditions.

Capital Fringe Fest | July 13-16 & 20-23
o    Out-there performances from local creatives include improv dramas, punk rock and colorful dance shows.

MLS All-Star Week
o    Audi Field | July 15-19
o    MLS All-Stars take on the English Premier League Arsenal Football Club for the marquee showdown on July 19.

Citi Open
o    Rock Creek Park Tennis Center | July 29-Aug. 6
o    Tennis pros compete for sets during one of the city’s greatest sporting events.
DC JazzFest | Aug. 30-Sept. 3
o    The 19th edition of DC JazzFest is a celebration of all things jazz with five days of concerts and more than 100 performances.


Holiday Weekends:

Memorial Day
The city’s salute to active-duty military and veterans includes the Rolling Thunder motorcycle honor ride (May 28) and the nation’s largest Memorial Day parade (May 29).

Celebrate the emancipation of enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, two years after the Emancipation Proclamation on June 19th. There will be a half marathon and 10K, a Block Party Celebration and more.

Independence Day
America’s birthday celebration kicks off with a classic July 4th parade on followed by “A Capitol Fourth” concert and fireworks on the National Mall. DDC’s affiliate non-profit American Experience Foundation hosts a rooftop July 4th Celebration with proceeds benefiting local high school students studying hospitality.

Labor Day
Savor the last long summer weekend exploring Washington, DC and take part in events including DC JazzFest.

Events, Experiences, Exhibitions, Sports and Performing Arts:
o    U.S. Park Police Horse Stables and Education Center, National Mall | June opening
This new state-of-the-art and sustainable horse facility welcomes the public for the first time to engage and learn about horses and their history on the National Mall.
o    Hadestown, National Theatre | June 6-18
Based on tales of voyaging into the underworld, Hadestown is an energetic musical and the winner of eight Tony awards in 2019.
o    Disney’s The Lion King, Kennedy Center | June 22-July 29

The well-loved musical returns to the Kennedy Center to dazzle audiences ranging from kids to those who are young at heart.
o    Moulin Rouge! The Musical at The Kennedy Center | Aug. 2-Sept. 24
Enter a world of splendor and romance, of eye-popping excess, of glitz, grandeur and glory and a world where Bohemians and aristocrats rub elbows and revel in electrifying enchantment.
o    MLK Jr.’s March on Washington 60th Anniversary | Aug. 28
The Beyond Granite Project will create diverse commemorative exhibits, performances, and installations along the National Mall to coincide with the momentous anniversary.
o    Metropolitan Washington Restaurant Week | August TBD
Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington hosts an annual celebration of DC’s eclectic dining scene, offering pre-fixe menus for lunch/brunch ($25) and dinner ($40 and $55).
o    Smithsonian American Art Museum – Musical Thinking: New Video Art and Sonic Strategies
o   Hirshhorn – One With Eternity: Yayoi Kusama in the Hirshhorn Collection (closes July 16)
o    National Museum of Natural History – Lights Out: Recovering Our Night Sky
o    Metropolitan Beer Trail – NoMa, Eckington and Brookland
The season begins April 14 and links 11 of DC’s most popular brew pubs and bars with a free digital passport guides a journey to each location. All stops are walkable or bikeable from the trail.

o    Nationals Park – Washington Nationals
DC’s 2019 World Series Champions play in Capitol Riverfront through October 2023.

o    Entertainment and Sports Arena – Washington Mystics
The 2019 WNBA Champions open their season at home versus the New York Liberty on
May 19.

o    Audi Field – Washington Spirit
Winning their first NWSL Championship in 2021, DC’s women’s pro soccer team’s season runs through Oct. 15 at Audi Field.


Looking Ahead
o    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.
o    Theatre Week | September TBD
Theatre Week kicks off the launch of the theater season in the region. Dozens of participating theaters and productions provide an opportunity to sample diverse and vibrant work on a variety of stages across the region.
o    World Culture Festival | Sept. 29-Oct. 1
A unique three-day experience on the National Mall features talent from around the world. The historic event brings together people from Argentina to Zimbabwe, Canada to Australia, and from every state of America. Attendees will experience global music, dance, art, food and more.

About Destination DC: Destination DC, the official destination marketing organization for the nation’s capital, is a private, non-profit membership organization of 1,000 businesses committed to marketing the area as a premier global convention, tourism and special events destination with a special emphasis on the arts, cultural and historic communities.

April 20, 2023

Media Contacts

Danielle Davis
Director of Communications
Susan O'Keefe
Media Relations Manager, Trade
Nicole Nussbaum
International Media Relations Manager
Tyriana Evans
Communications Coordinator