Whether you're planning a family vacation for the Fourth of July or just want to get away in July for a festival or event, Washington, D.C. and the surrounding communities in Maryland and Virginia offer plenty of opportunities for fun this summer.
From firework festivals to free summer concerts as well as art, music, movies, sports, and the outdoors, the Capital Region is chock-full of family-friendly and adult-only events this July. Many of these events are free, some do require advanced tickets for entry.
Book your accommodations and travel itinerary well in advance as hotels and tickets are likely to sell out during the busy tourist season.
There are plenty of opportunities to catch free screenings throughout D.C., Virginia, and Maryland. The Capitol Riverfront Outdoor Movie series in D.C., the Rosslyn Outdoor Film Festival in Virginia, and the National Harbor Movies on the Potomac events in Maryland are the most popular annual celebrations of cinema. The Comcast Outdoor Film Festival in Alexandria and the Bethesda Outdoor Movies events in Maryland are also worth checking out.
All summer long, the Capital Region hosts free concert series in national and state parks in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. Military band concerts at the U.S. Capitol, Navy Memorial, and Capitol Waterfront in D.C. are especially popular during the month of July while the National Harbor in Maryland and the Potomac Overlook Regional Park in Northern Virginia both host an annual concert series that attract some of the biggest names in pop music.
With dozens of performances around the region, there are plenty of opportunities to experience the best theatrical performances in D.C. this July. See shows like "The Band's Visit" and "Hello Dolly" at the Kennedy Center in July. Additionally, you can catch the annual Capital Fringe Festival, which features nearly 100 unique performances at multiple venues in D.C. from July 9 to 28 this year.
Through July 28, 2019, you can experience the Universoul Circus at the National Harbor at the Plateau in Oxon Hill, Maryland. This entire family will enjoy the big top showcase bursting with action-packed performances, colorful lights, pulsating music, and international talent.
On Tuesdays through Saturdays from June to September of 2018, family-friendly performances in music, dance, storytelling, puppetry, and theater for children age 5 to 12 come to this unique venue at Wolf Trap National Park in Virginia. In 2018, featured performances at the Children's Theatre-in-the-Woods (tickets required) include Page Turner Adventures, Sugar Free Allstars (a "family funk super duo"), the Pop Ups, Soul in Motion, Story Pirates, and the FLY Dance Company as well as the Maryland Youth Ballet's performance of "Rumpelstiltskin" on July 27 and 28, 2018.
From June 27 to July 1 and July 4 through 8, 2018, you can celebrate cultural traditions from around the world at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, which takes place on the National Mall each year. The Festival includes daily and evening music and dance performances, crafts and cooking demonstrations, storytelling, and discussions of cultural issues. This is one of Washington, DC’s most popular summer events, so be sure to show up early (or on the much later side) if you want to avoid the biggest crowds of the day.
Of course, the Capital Region celebrates the birthday of America with the proper pomp and circumstance of parades, fireworks displays, and food festivals across Maryland, Virginia, and D.C. Since Independence Day falls on a Wednesday in 2018, some events may take place on either the weekend before or the after the holiday this year, though many will still take place on the Fourth of July. Highlights in the region include Independence Day at Mount Vernon, the Alexandria Independence Day Fireworks, and the annual parties and bar crawls taking place in Maryland, D.C., and Virginia throughout the week.
The city of Alexandria, Virginia, served a key role in the foundation and birth of the United States of America, but the town itself wasn't established until July 14, 1749, and wasn't incorporated as Alexandria until 1779. Either way, the residents of Alexandria celebrate its birthday each year around the 13th or 14th of July. In 2018, the official celebration of Alexandria's 269th Birthday kicks off on Saturday, July 7 from 6 to 10 p.m.
Although a French holiday, the Capital Region celebrates Bastille Day and the culture of France with a variety of events taking place on and around July 14, 2018. This French national holiday commemorates the storming of the Bastille Prison in 1789, which started the French Revolution. To celebrate, French restaurants in the Captial Region and the Alliance Française de Washington host a variety of special events honoring cultural traditions, foods, and wines from France.
You can catch a number of your favorite sports teams representing the nation's capital in D.C. area sporting events this July. From the Major League Baseball's National League East home games of the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park to the Washington Redskins Training Camp in Richmond, Virginia in late July, there's a game for every sports' enthusiast this month. Also be sure to catch the Washington Kastles Tennis Tournaments and the Citi Open Tennis Classic.
On Saturday and Sunday, July 14 and 15, 2018, the annual One Caribbean Carnival will return to Baltimore, Maryland for a showcase of Caribbean, Latin American, and Diasporian cultures. Featuring groups of performers representing each of these groups in colorful costumes, the event takes place all weekend long at Clifton Park. If you're looking for an island escape in the Capital Region, you can relax to the sounds of Calypso, Soca, Reggae, African, Haitian, Latin, and Steelband music while you browse the open-air marketplace or watch the annual parade.
The Loudoun County Fair takes place on July 23 to 28, 2018, at the Loudon County Fairgrounds in Leesburg, Virginia. Family fun at the fair includes a carnival, rodeo bull riding, a dairy and goat show, horseback demonstrations, magic acts, pet performances, floral exhibits, obstacle courses, tug-of-war tournaments, and live music entertainment. This is a true taste of Americana!
If you're looking for an opportunity to enjoy some of the best farm-to-table dining experiences the Capital Region has to offer but don't want to break the bank, check out Howard County Restaurant Weeks event from July 23 to August 6, 2018. During the two-week event, dozens of participating restaurants in Maryland will offer discount prices on full meals and drinks from local farmers and brewers.
Each year, the Friends of the National Zoo (FONZ) organizes a celebration of some of the nation's best microbrews as a benefit fundraiser for the Smithsonian's National Zoo in Washington, D.C. After-hours on July 19, 2018, you can join the FONZ to enjoy unlimited beer tastings from more than 70 national breweries as well as live music and entertainment, local food trucks, and, of course, the zoo's exotic animals.
On the last weekend in July (July 28 and 29, 2018), you can explore the local farms of Montgomery County, Maryland to escape the hectic and crowded city for a day or weekend getaway. The Montgomery County Farm Tour and Harvest Sale allow visitors to stop in at multiple farms to purchase fresh fruits, vegetables, plants, flowers, and other local goods. Additionally, several of the farms also have hayrides, pony rides, live music, farming demonstrations, and other interesting and educational activities for all ages.