Editor's note: Due to current circumstances, all July 2020 events in Washington, D.C., have been postponed, canceled, or will take place virtually. See below for details.
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 events this July. Many of these events are free while 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.
Local movie events in the Washington, D.C., area are canceled in 2020.
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.
Local concerts in the Washington, D.C., area are canceled in 2020.
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.
Summer Theater and the Capital Fringe Festival
The Kennedy Center summer theater season and Capital Fringe Festival are both canceled in 2020.
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 9–28, 2019.
The UniverSoul Circus is canceled in 2020.
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.
The Wolf Trap Children's Theater 2020 summer season is canceled.
Enjoy 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 2019, featured performances at the Children's Theatre-in-the-Woods (tickets required) include The Gottabees' "Squirrel Stole My Underpants," bicultural performances from Moona Luna, Madcap Puppets' "The Great Space Caper," and Hopalong Andrew's "Songs of the Urban Cowpoke."
The major Fourth of July events in and around Washington, D.C., are canceled in 2020.
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. Independence Day falls on a Thursday in 2019, and some events may take place on the weekend, 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 anniversary, and the 271st celebration will be held virtually on July 12, 2020. The typical fireworks and festivities won't take place this year, but you can tune in to the virtual celebrations from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Details have yet to be announced, so check the official event webpage to find out how you can join in on this historic event.
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, the Alliance Française de Washington is hosting a special cheese tasting event in 2020 that you can take part in right from your own home. After registering on the event webpage, a pre-selected platter of gourmet cheeses will be sent to your home. On July 14, 2020, you'll be able to join in on a special video call to learn about the cheeses and French culture. The event itself is free to take part in, you only need to purchase the cheeses. Buying a bottle of a French wine to accompany them isn't required, but highly encouraged.
Capital Region Sports Events
The Major League Baseball season is currently on hold for 2020 until further notice.
You can catch a number of your favorite sports teams representing the nation's capital in sporting events around Washington, D.C., this July. Baseball season is usually in full swing throughout July, but both the Washington Nationals as well as Minor League games are on hold for the 2020 season until further notice. For football fans, the Washington Redskins Training Camp usually allows visitors to visit starting in late July, but 2020 dates are still unavailable as of late June and may be canceled or postponed.
Two of the biggest tennis tournaments around Washington, D.C., are scheduled to take place—Washington Kastles Tennis Tournament from July 12 to August 2, 2020, and the Citi Open Tennis Classic, which usually takes place in July but has been postponed to August 13–21, 2020.
The One Caribbean Carnival is canceled in 2020.
On Saturday and Sunday, July 13 and 14, 2019, the annual One Caribbean Carnival will return to Baltimore, Maryland for a showcase of Caribbean, Latin American, and Diasporan 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 is canceled in 2020.
The Loudoun County Fair takes place on July 23 to 28, 2019, 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!
Howard County Restaurant Weeks
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 13–26, 2020. 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, with prices ranging from about $15 to $45. Some participating restaurants may be closed down, have altered hours, or require special procedures for dining in due to COVID-19, so make sure to confirm information with individual eateries.