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60+ Things to Do This May in Washington, DC

Discover a packed calendar of can’t-miss events in May, including free embassy tours during Passport DC, the return of Jazz in the Garden, Memorial Day weekend festivities and so much more.

We’ve picked out the best events, festivals, museum exhibits, theater performances, concerts and more happening this month in Washington, DC. Check out the best things to do in the nation's capital and plan your visit today.

 Things to Do This Month in Washington, DC - Events Things to Do This Month in Washington, DC - Museum Exhibits

 Things to Do This Month in Washington, DC - Theater Things to Do This Month in Washington, DC - Music

Events

Cultural dancing demonstration during Passport DC - International experiences in Washington, DC

Passport DC – May 1-31
Have you ever wanted to step foot inside an embassy? During this month-long journey through DC’s international pathways, you get two incredible chances to do just that with the Around the World Embassy Tour on May 4 and the European Union Embassies' Open House on May 11. Don't miss these fascinating events that grant you unprecedented access.
Citywide

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All Hallows Guild of the Washington National Cathedral - Flower Mart in Washington, DC

Flower Mart – May 3-4
Calling all garden enthusiasts! Enjoy one of spring’s most impressive showcases of colorful perennials, cutting-edge landscape exhibits and extraordinary floral arrangements produced by international floral designers at the Washington National Cathedral, as well as embassies throughout the District. The Flower Mart, an official Passport DC event, lets you take part in family-friendly activities including garden tours and an antique carousel.
Friday: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., Saturday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.| Free admission
Washington National Cathedral, 3101 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20016

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Capital Harvest on the Plaza - Fresh Produce Farmers' Market in Washington, DC Federal Triangle

Capital Harvest on the Plaza – May 3 – Nov. 22
Located in the Woodrow Wilson Plaza at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, Capital Harvest on the Plaza is open from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Fridays from May through November. During your visit, you’ll find plenty of farm-fresh deliciousness and artisanal crafts, as well as recipes and tips for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Check out the full list of vendors to start planning your haul.
11 a.m. – 3 p.m. |  Free admission
Woodrow Wilson Plaza, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20004

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Passport DC - Tour Embassies in Washington, DC - Things to Do This Spring

Around the World Embassy Tour – May 4
You can visit any of more than 40 embassies during this annual event that is free to all. Embassies that span five continents will open their doors from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with programming and activities for visitors on-site. Check out the list of participating embassies and plan your multicultural excursion through the streets of DC!
10 a.m. – 4 p.m. |  Free admission

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Running of the Chihuahuas at the District Wharf - Cinco de Mayo in Washington, DC

Running of the Chihuahuas – May 4
The Wharf celebrates Cinco de Mayo with this too-cute-to-be-true chihuahua race, now in its eighth year. Watch the little pups run their way to glory at DC’s hottest new development. You’ll also be able to enjoy a beer garden and music throughout the afternoon. Check out The Wharf’s calendar for other upcoming events.
1-5 p.m. |  Free admission
The Wharf, 600 Water Street SW, Washington, DC 20024

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@insta_kenya - Dock at National Harbor in Maryland - Things to Do Near Washington, DC

11th Annual National Wine & Food Festival – May 4-5
The scenic National Harbor hosts this two-day festival that foodies will not want to miss. Hang out on the waterfront and indulge in cuisine from world-renowned chefs and culinary creatives, in addition to delicious wines, beers and cocktails. A rosé garden, a margarita bar, a Stella Artois Craft Beer Experience and Smooth Ambler Whiskey Wagon are all on the docket.
12-6 p.m. | Tickets
National Harbor, 165 Waterfront Street, National Harbor, MD 20745

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JxJ Washington Jewish Film Festival and the Washington Jewish Music Festival - Events this May in Washington, DC

JxJ – May 8-26
For the first time, the Washington Jewish Film Festival and the Washington Jewish Music Festival have been combined, creating a stunning multidisciplinary arts project throughout the city for three weeks. The film festival, now 29 years old, offers a diverse lineup of international film premieres, panel discussions, Q&A’s and sneak previews. The music festival celebrates its 20th year with international performances that will span classical, rock, jazz and much more.
Calendar
Citywide

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Cooking Up History food demonstration at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History with Carla Hall - Free Smithsonian events in Washington, DC

Cooking Up History: Regional Chinese Cooking Along the Transcontinental Railroad – May 10
In celebration of the 150th anniversary of the transcontinental railroad and the National Museum of American History’s American Enterprise exhibition, the museum’s free Cooking Up History series will turn its attention to the culinary influence of Chinese immigrants who lived and worked in the U.S. at the turn of the 20th century while building said railroad. Chef Martin Yan will prepare dishes that the workers consumed during his demonstration while also addressing regional food traditions from the Guangdong Province and how Cantonese food culture altered American dining.
1 p.m. |  Free admission
National Museum of American History, 1300 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20560

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Queens of Egypt exhibit at the National Geographic Museum - Museum exhibits in Washington, DC

BYT & Nat Geo Present – ‘Queens of Egypt’: The Mother of All Parties – May 10
Girl power reigns for this Friday night event at the National Geographic Museum, hosted in partnership with Brightest Young Things. Explore the museum’s fascinating Queens of Egypt exhibit, jam to an energetic DJ set from Madame Gandhi, hear lightning talks from prominent woman explorers and scientists and enjoy an open bar. The event is for ages 21 and over.
8:30 p.m. |  Tickets
National Geographic Museum, 1600 M Street NW, Washington, DC 20036

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2019 Contemporaries Bash: Maravillas de México (Wonders of Mexico) - May events in Washington, DC

2019 Contemporaries Bash: Maravillas de México (Wonders of Mexico) – May 10
Held at Dock 5 at Union Market, this event welcomes you to enjoy the art and culture of Mexico through music, dancing, food and creative cocktails. The Phillips Collection and the Embassy of Mexico have joined together to bring you this evening that offers ice cream tacos, a balloon lounge, mezcal, agua frescas and a soaring tribute to Mexican women and their artistic contributions.
8:30 p.m. – 1 a.m. |  Tickets
Dock 5 at Union Market, 1309 5th Street NE, Washington, DC 20002

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Shortcut to Europe Open House - Children Dancing - Things to Do in Washington, DC

European Union Open House – May 11
Europhiles can have a field day during this annual free event, with lets you take your own shortcut to Europe without any jet lag. All 28 European Union member states, including Italy, Spain, Ireland and many more, participate in this citywide open house experience. Take advantage of this chance to observe cultural heritage and traditions from the Old Continent at no cost.
10 a.m. – 4 p.m. |  Free admission

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Funk Parade on U Street - Events and Festivals in Washington, DC

6th Annual Funk Parade – May 11
In honor of U Street’s diverse cultural history, people from all over the District come together to celebrate the spirit of funk at this free, one-of-a-kind parade, street fair and music festival. Watch the street (and side streets) come to life with live musical performances and entertainment from a variety of vibrant dancers, marching bands and visual artists. Get an education on go-go music, made famous by DC’s own Chuck Brown, and then groove to Latin hip-hop, funk brass and frenetic DJ sets, among many activations. The parade also has a new wristband system this year, so make sure to purchase one in order to attend the Night Music Festival, the Featured Showcase and the Funk Parade Conference and receive special discounts throughout the day.
Festivities begin at 1 p.m.
U Street, Washington, DC 20009

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ZooFari at the Smithsonian National Zoo in Woodley Park - Events in Washington, DC

ZooFari: Bite Night – May 16
Home to some 1,800 animals, the National Zoo transforms into a wild, culinary wonderland for this annual fundraiser featuring dozens of DC restaurants. ZooFari caters to all in the food-loving kingdom with complimentary bites from eateries like Pinstripes, Radiator and Rocklands Barbeque and Grilling Company, among others. Local beer and regional wines add to the revelry, which also includes live entertainment, a silent auction, a VIP lounge and exciting animal encounters with small mammals and great apes.
6:30-9:30 p.m. |  Tickets
Smithsonian National Zoo, 3001 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008

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SAVOR: An American Craft Beer & Food Experience - Summer Food Festival in Washington, DC

SAVOR: An American Craft Beer & Food Experience – May 17
Lovers of brews will not want to miss SAVOR, which features 90 craft breweries from all over the U.S. showing off two of their most acclaimed flavors at the National Building Museum. That adds up to more than 180 beers available for sampling, and there will be small plates that pair perfectly with each brew. Grab tickets as soon as you can, because this event sells out every year.
7:30-11 p.m. |  Tickets
National Building Museum, 401 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20001

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Wine festival at George Washington's Mount Vernon - Events and festivals in Northern Virginia near DC

Spring Wine Festival & Sunset Tour – May 17-19
This three-day celebration is sold out for Saturday, but you can still grab tickets for Friday and Sunday. Mount Vernon’s annual spring soiree includes tours of the property’s mansion and cellar, appearances by “George and Martha Washington” and live jazz on a beautiful lawn overlooking the Potomac River. You can also sample more than 20 Virginia wines, and a fruit and cheese box is available for purchase to pair with your sips.
6-9 p.m. |  Tickets
George Washington’s Mount Vernon, 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway, Mount Vernon, VA 22121

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Friends at Jazz in the Garden at the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden - Free Outdoor Summer Concert in Washington, DC

Jazz in the Garden – May 17 – Aug. 23
Kick back and groove to the music with sangria in hand at Jazz in the Garden on Fridays throughout the summer, held in the National Gallery of Art's Sculpture Garden starting May 17. An eclectic mix of DC area jazz musicians lend a soundtrack to one of the city’s most idyllic scenes set around the sculpture garden’s central fountain. This is a free seasonal tradition that you do not want to miss. Check out the lineup and the food and drink offerings.
5-8:30 p.m. |  Free admission
National Gallery of Art, 6th and Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20565

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DC Bike Ride - Spring family-friendly event in Washington, DC

DC Bike Ride – May 18
DC’s only car-free, recreational bike ride is fun for all ages and biking abilities. The family-friendly race has you cruise past the nation’s iconic landmarks on the National Mall, a memorable view and bike-riding experience if we’ve ever heard of either. Waiting for you as you end your 20-mile journey is the Finish Festival, with live music, fun activities and food and drink.
8 a.m. |  Register
West Potomac Park, 100 West Basin Drive SW, Washington, DC 20418

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Capital Trans Pride - LGBTQ Events and Festivals in Washington, DC

Capital Trans Pride – May 18-19
Capital Trans Pride, which takes place roughly two weeks before Capital Pride, welcomes members of the transgender and gender non-conforming community as well as family, friends, allies and colleagues. The weekend will feature workshops, networking, panel discussions, live entertainment, a happy hour and a resource fair, all meant to celebrate the trans community and acknowledge and address the issues that the group faces.
Citywide

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@canowine - Rolling Thunder Memorial Day Weekend Parade on the National Mall - Memorial Day Events in Washington, DC

Rolling Thunder XXXII – May 26
The Rolling Thunder Motorcycle Rally brings together motorcycle riders from all over the U.S. to honor POWs and MIAs who served their country during the Vietnam War. This “ride for freedom” draws more than 900,000 riders, featuring a route that starts at the Pentagon and winds through West Potomac Park. Thunder Alley opens at 9 a.m., with the run beginning at 12 p.m. This year marks the final ride for Rolling Thunder in DC. Discover even more ways to honor Memorial Day in Washington, DC.
9 a.m. |  Free admission
22nd Street and Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20037

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Performance at the National Memorial Day Concert - The best activities and things to do this Memorial Day in Washington, DC

National Memorial Day Concert – May 26
PBS’s National Memorial Day Concert salutes the sacrifice made by the men and women in uniform, as well as their families. The free annual concert is held on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol the day before Memorial Day from 8 – 9:30 p.m. Actors Gary Sinise and Joe Mantegna will host the proceedings, which will feature numerous other celebrity performers.
8-9:30 p.m. |  Free admission
West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol, East Capitol Street NE & First Street SE, Washington, DC 20004

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National Memorial Day Choral Festival Concert at the Kennedy Center - Memorial Day Weekend Events in Washington, DC

National Memorial Day Choral Festival – May 26
Held at the Kennedy Center, the free National Memorial Day Choral Festival is a powerful concert experience that features a 300-voice choir accompanied by the U.S. Air Force Orchestra. The musicians and singers come together in perfect harmony, performing patriotic classics in honor of those who have fallen while defending the U.S. Tickets available upon request.
3 p.m. |  Tickets
John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 2700 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20566

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National Memorial Day Parade in Washington, DC - Things to Do This Summer in DC

National Memorial Day Parade – May 27
The National Memorial Day Parade ushers marching bands, youth groups, floats, performers and, of course, veterans, down Constitution Avenue. This televised parade is the largest of its kind in the U.S. and honors those who have served or presently serve in the U.S. military. Arrive well before the 2 p.m. start time for the best viewing options.
2 p.m. |  Free admission
Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC

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People celebrating during the Capital Pride Parade near Dupont Circle - Capital Pride events you don't want to miss this summer in Washington, DC

Capital Pride – May 31 – June 9
Local, national and international attendees join together for DC’s annual Capital Pride festival, celebrating the LGBTQ community and the fight for equal rights. If there’s one thing to catch, make sure it’s the Pride Festival and Concert, which often attracts A-list stars. A range of signature events – a rooftop pool party, a block party, the Pride Parade – round out the festivities.
Citywide

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Museum Exhibits

In the Library: Frederick Douglass Family Materials from the Walter O. Evans Collection -  Free exhibit at the National Gallery of Art  in Washington, DC

‘In the Library: Frederick Douglass Family Materials from the Walter O. Evans Collection’ – Through June 14
The National Gallery of Art displays incredible artifacts from the life of Frederick Douglass in this new exhibit. Douglass was a 19th century slave who went on to be one of the most outspoken and influential abolitionists, and collector Walter O. Evans has shared the statesman’s printed speeches, letters, manuscripts, scrapbooks and photos with the Gallery, many of which are personal in nature. The exhibit will also showcase rare 19th century African American newspapers that highlighted Douglass, illuminating the historical figure in new ways.
10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday – Saturday |  Free admission
National Gallery of Art, 4th Street & Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20565

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John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Hall of States - Free arts and culture attraction in Washington, DC

National Geographic Photo Camp – Through June 20
The National Geographic Photo Camp provides immersive learning experiences for underprivileged and at-risk youth around the world. The Kennedy Center exhibits the tremendous benefits and life-altering experiences that come with these camps through June 20 in its Hall of Nations and Hall of States. Visitors can see photographs, videos and text that will unveil the narrative of the displaced youth during their time with National Geographic photographers, telling their stories of triumph and resilience in vivid detail.
Opens at 10 a.m. daily |  Free admission
John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 2700 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20566

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@fight4olddc - National Building Museum in Washington, DC - Museum Off the National Mall

‘Animals, Collected’ – Through Spring 2020
Roughly 320,000 objects relating to the built environment reside inside the National Building Museum. In Animals, Collected, the museum showcases the treasures that connect to the animal kingdom specifically. Architectural pieces that showcase both real and mythological animals are on display. These objects – found ornamenting municipal buildings, churches, warehouses – will have you pondering why animal objects were chosen for said locations and what they mean to the structure and inhabitants of the space.
Hours & Admission
National Building Museum, 401 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20001

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@jackie.bird - Women viewing art at the National Museum of Women in the Arts - Women-focused attractions in Washington, DC

‘More is More: Multiples’ – May 3 – Sept. 22
Art and commerce are married in this new exhibit at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. More is More will show how important and empowering messages can be delivered through art even when it’s mass-produced. The objects showcased, which include totes, toys, dinner plates, sunglasses and more, were designed by artists such as Barbara Kruger, Jiha Moon and Cindy Sherman, often in partnership with a design firm, charity or foundation. Visitors will see how these “multiples” can still be viable works of art filled with insight, commentary and humor.
Hours & Admission
National Museum of Women in the Arts, 1250 New York Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20005

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@evansevilla - ‘Champions’ exhibit at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery - Free museum in Washington, DC

‘In Mid-Sentence’ – May 3 – March 8, 2020
Photographs that depict moments of communication make up this new display from the National Portrait Gallery. Pivotal moments in history are showcased throughout, from JFK’s speech at the 1960 Democratic National Convention to Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech to Walter Cronkite’s meeting with Daniel Ellsberg as the “Pentagon Papers” were published.
11:30 a.m. – 7 p.m. |  Free admission
National Portrait Gallery, 8th and F Streets NW, Washington, DC 20001

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Ursula von Rydingsvard: The Contour of Feeling exhibit at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC

Free Community Day at National Museum of Women in the Arts – May 5
One of DC’s premier art museums opens its doors for free every first Sunday of the month. Visitors are granted access to NMWA’s extensive collection of seminal work by female artists, which includes pieces by Frida Kahlo, Amy Sherman, Judy Chicago and many more. Current exhibitions that can be explored without spending a dime include Ursula von Rydingsvard: The Contour of Feeling and More is More: Multiples.
12-5 p.m. |  Free admission
National Museum of Women in the Arts, 1250 New York Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20005

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@washingtondcua - Tour guide with group in Smithsonian National Museum of American History - Free museum in Washington, DC

‘Forgotten Workers: Chinese Migrants and the Building of the Transcontinental Railroad’ – May 10 – Spring 2020
In honor of the 150th anniversary of the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad, the National Museum of American History displays this exhibit that addresses the forgotten Chinese workers who heroically built the western leg of the railroad through the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The result of their work is also showcased in detail, including a graphic that maps the railroad and descriptions of both the positive and negative impacts of the route.
10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. |  Free admission
National Museum of American History, 1300 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20560

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Rightfully Hers: American Women and the Vote - Free women's suffrage exhibit at the National Archives in Washington, DC

‘Rightfully Hers: American Women and the Vote’ – May 10 – Jan. 3, 2021
This 3,000-square-foot exhibit at the National Archives will use more than 90 items, including records, artifacts and photographs, to tell the complex story of diverse suffragists in securing women’s voting rights. The exhibit will also go well beyond 1920 to show the relentless struggle that occurred throughout U.S. history to win voting rights for all women.
10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. |  Free admission
National Archives, 701 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20408

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The Way of the Kami exhibit at the Smithsonian's Freer and Sackler galleries - Free museum exhibit on the National Mall in Washington, DC

‘The Way of the Kami’ – May 11 – Nov. 11
According to the Japanese Kojiki (“Records of Ancient Matters”), the Japanese islands were created when gods reached down from the heavens and stirred the Earth with a jeweled spear. This text was written in 712 and laid the mythical foundation for the religious practice of Shinto, or “the Way of the Deities”. Freer|Sackler’s new exhibit will focus on the artistic culture of Shinto, which sees gods in the landscape, in natural phenomena, in dead ancestors. You’ll learn about this captivating belief system and see rare and amusing artifacts while doing so.
10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. |  Free admission
Freer|Sackler Galleries, 1050 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20560

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Visitors in the Decision Room at the new International Spy Museum - Museums and attractions in Washington, DC

New International Spy Museum Opening – May 12
Formerly a fixture in DC’s Downtown neighborhood, the International Spy Museum has moved to a new, purpose-built facility in L’Enfant Plaza, located in the Southwest Waterfront. The state-of-the-art museum offers enough spy-related intrigue and interactive fun to fill an entire day. Read our piece for all the reasons why you have to check out the new spot, which hosts its grand opening this Sunday, May 12.
10 a.m. – 7 p.m. |  Tickets
International Spy Museum, 700 L’Enfant Plaza SW, Washington, DC 20024

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Rirkrit Tiravanija Who’s Afraid of Red, Yellow, and Green - Free Smithsonian exhibit at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, DC

Rirkrit Tiravanija: ‘Who’s Afraid of Red, Yellow, and Green’ – May 17 – July 24
For the first time, the Hirshhorn Museum will present the works of contemporary Thai artist Rirkrit Tiravanija. The exhibit will turn the Hirshhorn’s galleries into a communal dining space where visitors can enjoy curry and share a meal. A large-scale mural that will reference protests against Thai government policies will be drawn on the walls over the course of the exhibition. Documentary shorts from Thailand’s leading independent filmmaker curated exclusively for the Hirshhorn will also be shown throughout.
10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. |  Free admission
Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden, Independence Avenue & 7th Street SW, Washington, DC 20560

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Whistler in Watercolor exhibit at the Smithsonian's Freer and Sackler galleries - Free museum exhibit on the National Mall in Washington, DC

‘Whistler in Watercolor’ – May 18 – Oct. 6
James McNeill Whistler, creator of the famous Peacock Room at the Freer|Sackler Galleries, was also a renowned painter of watercolors. The museum will display more than 50 of these pieces, including figures, landscapes, interiors and nocturnes, in this new exhibit. Visitors will have a chance to encounter the true breadth of Whistler’s artistic work when viewing these rarely seen paintings.
10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. |  Free admission
Freer|Sackler Galleries, 1050 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20560

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@leozh - James Whistler's Peacock Room at the Smithsonian Freer | Sackler Galleries - Free Museum in Washington, DC

The Peacock Room in Blue and White – Opens May 18
Experience the Peacock Room at the Freer|Sackler Galleries in an entirely new light this May. Blue and white Chinese porcelains and ceramics will be arranged throughout the room, replicating its appearance when it served as the dining room of shipping magnate Frederick Leyland in London in 1876. James McNeill Whistler’s blue, green and gold patterns will combine with the blue and white colors to create the aesthetic harmony that the artist originally envisioned.
10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. |  Free admission
Freer|Sackler Galleries, 1050 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20560

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@hazelnutmea - Women viewing art at the National Museum of Women in the Arts - Women-focused attractions in Washington, DC

Free Art Museum Day – May 18
The National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) will open its doors for free in honor of the Association of Art Museum Directors’ Free Art Museum Day. Take advantage of this rare opportunity to visit NMWA without paying admission and enjoy stunning works by Frida Kahlo, Barbara Kruger and many others, as well as the new More is More: Multiples exhibit. In addition, the museum’s gift shop will offer a 10% discount on all items.
10 a.m. – 5 p.m. |  Free admission
National Museum of Women in the Arts, 1250 New York Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20005

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IDENTIFY: Performance Art as Portraiture  at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC

‘IDENTIFY: Performance Art as Portraiture’ – May 22
Jeffrey Gibson, a half-Cherokee member of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, will present his largest performance to date at the National Portrait Gallery’s Kogod Courtyard. To Name an Other will feature Gibson choreographing performers who identify as LGBTQ, Native American, Indigenous or as people of color. The performance will explore injustice, marginalization and identity, and will also feature new garments sporting text that addresses significant events of recent years.
5 p.m. |  Free admission
National Portrait Gallery, 8th and F Streets NW, Washington, DC 20001

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Theater

Jubilee production at Arena Stage - Spring theater performances in Washington, DC

‘Jubilee’ – Through June 2
Arena Stage presents the world premiere of Tazewell Thompson’s acapella musical about the legacy of the Fisk Jubilee Singers, an African American ensemble that shattered racial barriers abroad and at home. Powerful spirituals will be performed throughout, as the production features more than three dozen songs in total.
Tickets
Arena Stage, 1101 6th Street SW, Washington, DC 20024

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The Oresteia at Shakespeare Theatre Company - Theater in Washington, DC

‘The Oresteia’ – Through June 2
Veteran director Michael Kahn closes the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s season and his time as Artistic Director with Ellen McLoughlin’s adaptation of Aeschylus’ trilogy regarding the doomed house of Atreus. Queen Clytemnestra awaits the return of her husband, Agamemnon, while waiting to avenge the death of one child. In turn, she only dooms the others in this epic interpretation of an essential and timeless story.
Tickets
Sidney Harman Hall, 610 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20004

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Love's Labor's Lost at Folger Theatre - Shakespeare performance in Washington, DC

‘Love’s Labor’s Lost’ – Through June 9
Folger Theatre offers up this Shakespeare comedy with direction by Vivienne Benesch. A young king and his three pals decide to renounce women and take up scholarly pursuits full-time. However, the Princess of France and her companions soon arrive, making the pact much more difficult to keep. Expect lovers, clowns and plenty of tomfoolery in this play that shows how hard it can be to resist the charms of the opposite sex.
Tickets
Folger Theatre, 201 East Capitol Street SE, Washington, DC 20003

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The Children at Studio Theatre in Logan Circle - Theater and performing arts this spring in Washington, DC

‘The Children’ – May 1 – June 9
The Children concerns an older British couple of retired nuclear physicists who have taken to a quiet life on the British coast after surviving a natural disaster. The duo’s peaceful routines of gardening and yoga are unsettled by the arrival of their former colleague, Rose, whom they have not seen for 38 years. Decisions made decades before now upend Hazel and Robin’s life as Rose provides a stunning proposal. Don’t miss this captivating thriller at Studio Theatre.
Tickets
Studio Theatre, 1501 14th Street NW, Washington, DC 20005

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Pride and Joy Marvin Gaye musical at National Theatre - Spring theater in Washington, DC

‘Pride & Joy’ – May 1-12
National Theatre hosts this romantic musical that tells the beautiful Motown love story of Anna Gordy Gaye and Marvin Gaye. The production will feature 28 songs from the Motown catalogue, including Marvin Gaye’s most popular tracks. A production suitable for all ages, Pride & Joy will capture a journey filled with love, drama and plenty of rhythm.
Tickets
The National Theatre, 1321 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20004

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Lucky Plush performance of Rooming House at the Kennedy Center this spring in Washington, DC

Lucky Plush: ‘Rooming House’ – May 2-4
Lucky Plush Productions is the only dance organization to receive the MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions, and now the Chicago-based company will bring its stunning choreography, cutting humor and of-the-moment storytelling to the Kennedy Center. Rooming House will combine the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice with conversations among friends, presenting dynamic choreography, powerful speeches and moments of comedic bliss.
Tickets
John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 2700 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20566

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God of Carnage performance at Keegan Theatre - Must-see spring theater in Washington, DC

‘God of Carnage’ – May 4-25
Winner of a 2019 Tony Award, God of Carnage pits two sets of Brooklyn parents against each other in a conflict that slowly dissolves into all-out war. When two 11-year-old boys have a playground altercation, their parents decide to meet to resolve the matter. Initially, the couples remain cordial, but once alcohol is consumed, tempers flare and principles are shattered. Expect spellbinding dialogue and riveting performances at the Keegan Theatre.
Tickets
Keegan Theatre, 1742 Church Street NW, Washington, DC 20036

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Fame The Musical in Spanish at GALA Hispanic Theatre - Theater and performing arts in Washington, DC

‘Fame: The Musical’ – May 9 – June 9
GALA Hispanic Theatre offers the U.S. premiere of this production directed and choreographed by Luis Salgado, winner of a 2018 Helen Hayes Award for the Spanish-language staging of In the Heights. Fame, based on the book by Cuban author José Fernández, follows a diverse collection of ambitious and creative students at a prestigious high school for the performing arts. The students’ hopes, dreams and struggles drive the narrative, with stirring songs sprinkled throughout.
Tickets
GALA Hispanic Theatre, 3333 14th Street NW, Washington, DC 20010

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Washington National Opera: Tosca at the Kennedy Center - Performing arts in Washington, DC

Washington National Opera: ‘Tosca’ – May 11-25
The Washington National Opera brings Puccini’s love triangle set in 18th century Rome to life in the Opera House at the Kennedy Center. Featuring elegant sets, political intrigue and unforgettable music, Tosca tells the sale of a passionate love affair disrupted by an escaped prisoner and the corrupt chief of police chasing him. The production will be one of the highlights of the spring theater season.
Tickets
John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 2700 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20566

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Mosaic Theater Company Presents: Sooner/Later at the Atlas Performing Arts Center on H Street NE in Washington, DC

Mosaic Theater Company Presents: ‘Sooner/Later’ – May 15 – June 16
Taking on romance, parenting, marriage and the metaphysical in one fell swoop, Sooner/Later is Mosaic Theater Company’s latest production at the Atlas Performing Arts Center. Nora is a single mother re-entering the dating scene with the help of her daughter, Lexie. After a series of bad dates, the dude at the local coffee shop emerges as a possible match – but of course, complications arise, including a foray into the spiritual realm.
Tickets
Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H Street NE, Washington, DC 20002

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Colors at the Kennedy Center's Family Theater - Family-friendly theater in Washington, DC

‘Colors’ – May 18-19
Compagnia TPO and Teatro Metastasio bring this electric performance piece to the Kennedy Center’s Family Theater. A set featuring vibrant colors, fabrics, projections and sensors will support the movements on-stage. Performers will also interact with the audience, so kids may have a chance to get up onstage and interact with all of the colors themselves.
Tickets
John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 2700 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20566

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Describe the Night at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company - Spring theater in Washington, DC

‘Describe the Night’ – May 27 – June 23
Penned by Pulitzer Prize-finalist Rajiv Joseph, Describe the Night begins in 1920 as Russian Jewish writer Isaac Babel begins a diary while traversing the countryside with the Red Cavalry. The story then flashes forward 90 years to the crash of an aircraft carrying the Polish president, which leads to the discovery of the diary in the wreckage. What’s inside Babel’s diary, and its importance to a KGB agent who may or may not be Vladimir Putin, drives the fascinating plot forward.
Tickets
Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, 641 D Street NW, Washington, DC 20004

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Music

Graham Parker at City Winery - Spring concert in Washington, DC

Graham Parker – May 2
You may know him from Judd Apatow’s 2012 film, This Is 40, but also know that Graham Parker has been churning out power-pop gems for more than 40 years. Exploding onto Britain’s new wave scene with Graham Parker & The Rumour in the late 1970s, Parker was a contemporary of other dynamic songwriters like Elvis Costello and Joe Jackson. He’ll bring his impressive catalogue to the City Winery stage for one night only.
8 p.m. |  Tickets
City Winery, 1350 Okie Street NE, Washington, DC 20002

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Band playing at Kingman Island Bluegrass and Folk Festival - Summer festival in Washington, DC

Kingman Island Bluegrass & Folk Festival – May 4
This annual salute to bluegrass music, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, features local vendors and good vibes on the gorgeous Kingman Island in northeast DC. Leading contemporary artists within the bluegrass and folk genres will perform, including Dustbowl Revival, The Ballroom Thieves, Hackensaw Boys and Che Apalache. The festival is all about community and sustainability (proceeds go towards the Living Classrooms Foundation), so grab a drink and some food, enjoy the weather and scenery and celebrate with friends.
12-8 p.m. |  Tickets
Kingman Island, 575 Oklahoma Avenue NE, Washington, DC 20002

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Stephen Malkmus at Union Stage - Concerts this May in Washington, DC

Stephen Malkmus – May 5
In addition to being the lead singer and songwriter of one of the greatest alternative rock bands of all-time, Stephen Malkmus has had a fascinating solo career filled with twists and turns. Since spearheading the incredible output of Pavement in the 1990s, Malkmus has also recorded head-turning albums with the Jicks, allowing him to experiment with new styles and sounds. He’ll headline this May 5 show at Union Stage, with the equally innovative Eleanor Friedberger opening the night.
8 p.m. |  Tickets
Union Stage, 740 Water Street SW, Washington, DC 20024

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Santigold at The Fillmore - The best concerts this May in Washington, DC

Santigold – May 6
Santigold (originally known as Santogold) has kept audiences guessing throughout her career. From the subversive pop of her self-titled debut to the international dance stylings of Master of My Make-Believe to the dancehall/reggae of last year’s I Don’t Want: The Gold Fire Sessions, the artist has not shied away from any genre or sound. She’ll celebrate the 10-year anniversary of her debut during what promises to be a vibrant set at The Fillmore Silver Spring.
8 p.m. |  Tickets
The Fillmore Silver Spring, 8656 Colesville Road, Silver Spring, MD 20910

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Ginuwine at City Winery - Washington, DC's best spring concerts

Ginuwine – May 8
Although you should know him through name recognition alone, we’ll tell you a little about Ginuwine: he’s one of R&B’s all-time greats, with a long list of hits that have infiltrated the ears of multiple generations of listeners: “Pony,” “Differences,” “In Those Jeans,” “So Anxious”. His star will shine bright at City Winery for this mid-week show.
8 p.m. |  Tickets
City Winery, 1350 Okie Street NE, Washington, DC 20002

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@endave - John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Foggy Bottom - Theater in Washington, DC

Mary Lou Williams Jazz Festival – May 10-11
In honor of Mary Lou Williams, an influential pianist, educator, composer and humanitarian who collaborated with jazz greats like Duke Ellington and Miles Davis before passing away in 1981, the Kennedy Center hosts this festival for the 24th year. Friday night features Feed the Fire, a soaring tribute to pianist and composer Geri Allen, while Saturday will offer the NEA Jazz Master Joanne Bracken Quartet, among other performers.
7 p.m. |  Tickets
John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 2700 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20566

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Ex Hex – May 10
Rip-roaring, loud guitars are no stranger to the District of Columbia (see: Bad Brains, Minor Threat, Fugazi). Ex Hex continues that lineage in power trio form, except this time, ladies are running the show. Mary Timony (guitar, vocals), Betsy Wright (bass, vocals) and Laura Harris (drums) are responsible for 2014’s highly acclaimed Rips as well as this year’s It’s Real, which combine punk and ‘70s radio-rock riffs to bad-ass effect. Now, the band returns to its DC roots to play a roaring show at 9:30 Club.
8 p.m. |  Tickets
9:30 Club, 815 V Street NW, Washington, DC 20001

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The Drums – May 11
Mixing British new wave with sunny Florida vibes, The Drums play indie pop at its finest. The Brooklyn-based group, led by singer/songwriter Jonathan Pierce, have been releasing magnetic tunes since their Summertime! EP dropped in 2009. Now shifting into the next phase of their career with 2019’s Brutalism, the group still has plenty to prove. The Black Cat will host them on the second Saturday in May.
8 p.m. |  Tickets
The Black Cat, 1811 14th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009

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Common at the Kennedy Center - Events this May in Washington, DC

Common Presents: ‘Let Love…An expression of Arts, Words & Song’ – May 13
Winner of an Oscar, a Golden Globe, an Emmy and a Grammy, Common is one of the most talented artists in the world, a trend-setting cultural icon who hasn’t met a challenge he can’t overcome. He’ll hold court at the Kennedy Center for one night this May, an intimate evening that will feature songs, conversations and insights into the Chicago native’s new memoir, Let Love Have the Last Word.
8 p.m. |  Tickets
John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 2700 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20566

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Jim James – May 17-18
Jim James has led one of the world’s greatest rock bands, My Morning Jacket, since its inception in the late 1990s. The brilliant singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist has also embarked on a sparkling solo career that is now three LPs deep, with last year’s Uniform Distortion receiving critical acclaim. Two-night passes are still available for his stint at 9:30 Club but are going fast. Expect to hear healthy chunks of James’ oeuvre during the performances.
8 p.m. |  Tickets
9:30 Club, 815 V Street NW, Washington, DC 20001

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Chromeo – May 19
Get ready to get your electrofunk on inside the Lincoln Theatre. Chromeo consists of Montreal natives Dave 1 and P-Thugg, but they’ll bring an entire band with them to one of the most historic venues in the nation’s capital. Now five albums deep into their career, the group has elevated from the blogosphere to the stratosphere with their unique stew of pop, electronic, funk, dance and hip-hop music. Put your dancing shoes on for this one.
8 p.m. |  Tickets
The Lincoln Theatre, 1215 U Street NW, Washington, DC 20009

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Chromatics – May 22
With a string of single releases over the last two years, Chromatics is slowly working their way back into listeners’ heads after the immense success of 2012’s Kill for Love. The music of Chromatics, who are led by producer and multi-instrumentalist Johnny Jewel, has always carried an air of mystery, their ‘80s-indebted synths, reverb-drenched guitar riffs and singer Ruth Radelet’s vocals forming the perfect background for a late-night voyage (in fact, they have an album entitled Night Drive). While you anxiously await their next release, Dear Tommy, don’t miss this show at 9:30 Club.
7 p.m. |  Tickets
9:30 Club, 815 V Street NW, Washington, DC 20001

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Echostage - Live Music Venues in Washington, DC

Disclosure – May 23
This English electronic music duo featuring brothers Howard and Guy Lawrence soared to superstardom with 2013’s Settle, which offered the smash-hit single, “Latch,” a song that has packed dance floors since the day it was released. Their follow-up, 2015’s Caracal, also garnered praise, as it was nominated for Best Dance/Electronica Album at the 2016 Grammy Awards. Now, the bros are touring ahead of the release of their next album. Echostage serves as the perfect venue for Disclosure’s raucous live sets.
9 p.m. |  Tickets
Echostage, 2135 Queens Chapel Road NE, Washington, DC 20018

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Passion Pit at The Anthem - Spring concerts in Washington, DC

Passion Pit – May 25
Masterminded by vocalist/keyboardist Michael Angelakos, Passion Pit are now a decade deep into a career filled with electropop mastery. For this show at The Anthem, the group will celebrate their debut, Manners, still a pillar of 2000s indie with its dramatic choruses, danceable beats and Angelakos’ unmistakable falsetto. Packed with earworms like “Make Light,” “Little Secrets” and “Sleepyhead,” the album was an international sensation and its 10 years on Earth are well worth honoring. Be prepared to sing along at the top of your lungs, as most in the crowd will do so.
8 p.m. |  Tickets
The Anthem, 901 Wharf Street SW, Washington, DC 20024

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The Best Events and Festivals Happening in Washington, DC