The nation's capital of Washington, D.C., as well as the surrounding metro areas of Maryland and Virginia, make a great February vacation destination, chock full of annual events and festivities. Although the weather is still cool in this mid-Atlantic region, air temperatures tend to be much milder than destinations up north. That said, a full lineup of celebrations can be enjoyed both indoors and out. From events honoring Black History Month and restaurant week to Valentine's-inspired runs and Presidents Day ceremonies at national monuments, the D.C. area offers something to entertain all the family members during the month of February.
In 2021, the Chinese New Year is celebrated on Friday, February 12, with D.C. events happening well into the weekend. On February 13, 2021, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Chinese Cultural Institute, and the Embassy of the People's Republic of China, host the annual Lunar New Year Virtual Celebration, offering performances, demonstrations, and kid-centric activities. Ring in the Year of the Ox with the online streaming of events this year, and then check back in 2022 for an update on in-person festivities.
Numerous events in Washington, D.C., highlight the contributions African Americans made to the United States during Black History Month. For 2021, the Smithsonian Institution offers a full lineup of virtual lectures and performances focused on African American history and famous inventors, plus programming specific for teens. The National Museum of African American Culture and History also offers virtual experiences in February of 2021. Lastly, you can stop by D.C.'s famous monuments and memorials, like the African American Civil War Memorial and Museum on the corner of Vermont Avenue, 10th Street, and U Street, and the Martin Luther King Memorial in West Potomac Park, to pay your respects.
The following venues are closed for in-person viewing of performances and events. Check the websites for online offerings and reopening information.
Washington's cultural and sports offerings come alive in February each year, giving you plenty of opportunities to see a show or attend an event. Book tickets early to see a Washington Ballet performance at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts or a hockey or basketball game at the Capital One Arena.
- Kennedy Center: Catch your favorite Broadway performance or attend a National Symphony Orchestra or a Kennedy Center Chamber Players concert at the Kennedy Center in D.C. This cultural hub is also home to the Washington Ballet and the Washington National Opera.
- Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater: This flagship American theater hosts a variety of performances throughout the year by the country's leading and emerging artists. The venue alone is a sight to see with a vast lobby, modern amenities, and an outdoor terrace overlooking the Potomac River.
- Ford's Theatre: Famously known as the site of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, this small theatre hosts productions throughout the winter season. You can also take a tour of this historical site and learn about the infamous events that happened on April 14, 1865.
- Warner Theatre: This downtown theater hosts a variety of theatrical productions, musical concerts, and special events for both adults and kids year-round. Check out their lineup of jazz, blues, and cover-band concerts, as well as a Wild Kratz Live showing for kids.
- Capital One Arena: This 20,000-capacity arena in D.C.'s Chinatown is home to both the Washington Capitals hockey team and the Washington Wizards basketball team. Throughout February, you can catch a match on the rink or game on the court, as the home teams battle national rivals.
The annual Chocolate Lover's Festival is canceled for 2021. Check the event website to view the 2022 lineup of events.
Old Town Fairfax, Virginia, kicks off the month of February each year with a celebration of all things chocolate. The Chocolate Lovers Festival is a three-day event that's full of chocolate-themed activities, including chocolate tastings, music performances, a Kiwanis BBQ Lunch, and a craft show. Don't miss the cakewalks for a chance to win artisan chocolate cakes throughout the day. You can also enjoy historical exhibits, children's activities, and plenty of free samples included with the price of admission.
Cupid's Undie Run is a unique charity event that started in Washington, D.C., in 2010, but now takes place in 40 cities across the country. During this one-day event, runners are encouraged to "put the hilarity in charity" by running a race in Valentine's Day-themed underwear. Participants must pay to enter the race, and all proceeds go toward the Children's Tumor Foundation. In 2021, the run is going virtual on Saturday, February, 13, and you don't even have to run to participate. Participants can also bike a mile, walk backward for a mile, or perform any other mile-long task.
The city of Washington is not quite as romantic as nearby Philadelphia or New York City, but the backdrop of the majestic Potomac River makes it a great place to woo your lover. Embark on a daytime brunch cruise or evening dinner cruise on the Potomac with Odyssey Cruises. The Unlimited Mimosa Brunch consists of a two-hour cruise, complete with breakfast favorites served alongside bottomless mimosas, coffee, and tea. Or, choose from a two-and-a-half-hour or three-hour dinner cruise, which includes a three-course plated dinner and breathtaking views of the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial.
The George Washington's Birthnight Banquet and Ball will be held virtually in 2021. Check the event's website for updated information.
To many, the Presidents Day holiday might just be an extra day off of work, but in Alexandria Virginia, history buffs can celebrate the birthday of the first United States president in style. Head to Gadsby’s Tavern Museum for an 18-century banquet, the George Washington's Birthnight Banquet and Ball, which features English country dancing, a dessert collation, toasts, and character re-enactments. Don't miss the city of Alexandria's dance lessons, available in the weeks leading up to the ball. With a few fancy steps, you'll fit right in, even if you forgot to wear a wig.
Some exhibits and celebrations may be canceled for 2021, like Alexandria's President's Day Parade. Check the events' website for updated information.
Visit Washington, D.C. on Presidents Day (the third Monday in February each year) to pay tribute to America's most famous leaders. Celebrations across the city take place at dedicated memorials and monuments, like the wreath-laying ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial. Check out the nation's largest Presidents Day Parade in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, or visit Mount Vernon, Virginia for a full day of special events. Alternatively, stop by the Smithsonian National Museum of American History on the National Mall for an exhibit on American presidents of the past.