March Festivals and Events in the Washington, DC, Area

The Cherry Blossom Festival

Richard T. Nowitz / Getty Images

The Washington, D.C., area, which encompasses the nation's capital along with Maryland and Virginia, hosts many entertaining annual festivals and special events in the spring, including the National Cherry Blossom Festival, Saint Patrick's Day parades, film festivals, marathons, and beyond. All dates, prices, and activities mentioned for March of 2020 are subject to change, so please check the official event websites or call to confirm information.

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Francophonie Cultural Festival

DC Francophonie Festival

DC Francophonie Festival

Washington, D.C., hosts the largest Francophone festival in the world. Since 2001, this event has taken place at various locations across the city, including embassies and museums. Throughout March 2020, you can learn about French culture through a variety of concerts, theatrical performances, films, culinary tastings, literary salons, children’s workshops, and more. From March 5–19, 2020, guests can attend the New African Film Festival that features films from all over the African continent.

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Women's History Month

Hillwood Museum & Gardens

Jlm06 / Public Domain

With March being Women's History Month, it's a great time to visit the museums and historical sites in Washington dedicated to honoring the contributions of women.

Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens, the 25-acre estate of Marjorie Merriweather Post, displays an impressive collection of 18th and 19th century Russian and French decorative arts and lovely gardens. Check out the impressive orchid collection at Gardener's Focus: An Orchid-Filled Greenhouse through March 11, 2020.

Or visit the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the world's only museum dedicated solely to celebrating women's artistic achievements. Visitors can enjoy Graciela Iturbide’s Mexico photographic exhibition through May 25, 2020—the artist’s most extensive show in more than two decades in the U.S.

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Alexandria St. Patrick's Day Parade

Alexandria Saint Patrick's Day Parade

The Ballyshaners, Inc. 

On Saturday, March 7, 2020, celebrate the Irish holiday in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, with events like a fun dog show with costumed canines and a St. Patrick’s Day Parade. The family-friendly parade includes Irish dance schools, pipe bands, the Notre Dame Alumni Band, dog rescue groups, and other local celebrities participating along with area scouts, marines, and high school bands.

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Frederick Restaurant Week

Burger at Family Meal

Family Meal

The seven-day promotion features fixed-price lunch and dinner options in the charming city of Frederick, Maryland, and the surrounding area. Visitors can get a deal on a multi-course meal and try somewhere new at the same time. There are numerous eateries involved in the event, with everything from Peruvian to all-American food and pubs. In 2020, Frederick Restaurant Week is happening from March 2–8. Reservations are highly encouraged.

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Rock 'n' Roll Marathon

Rock 'n' Roll Marathon

Rock n' Roll Run

On March 28, 2020, the United Airlines Rock 'n' Roll marathon and half-marathon runners will embark on a route that takes them through some of the famous landmarks of D.C. The Rock 'n' Roll marathon is a 26.2 mile (42.2 kilometers), 13.1-mile (21.1 kilometers), or 5K (3.2 miles) race to raise money for charitable organizations. Cover band White Ford Bronco will headline the event's concert.

A free two-day Health & Fitness Expo will be held on March 26-27, 2020, at the DC Armory.

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Saint Patrick's Day Parades

St. Patrick's Day Parade


Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day at a parade in Alexandria, Virginia—or in Annapolis or Gaithersburg in Maryland. The whole family can enjoy a day of floats, dancing, performances by Irish dancers and musicians, and additional fun. The dates vary by location but typically run the first few weeks of March in 2020.

This is also a good time to visit your favorite Irish restaurants and pubs, which can be found all over the D.C. area.

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Environmental Film Festival in the Nation's Capital

More than 150 films all focusing on stewardship of the planet will screen during the 28th annual Environmental Film Festival. The 2020 event will run from March 12–22, with varying showtimes and some free screenings to enjoy. Films playing at over 25 venues around Washington, D.C., include feature, animated, archival, experimental, and children's movies alongside documentaries from around the world.

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National Cherry Blossom Festival

the national cherry blossom festival

zrfphoto / Getty Images 

See the beauty of thousands of cherry trees blossoming on the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C., and celebrate during the annual National Cherry Blossom Festival, held from March 20–April 12, 2020. The capital welcomes spring with this annual tradition that started by the gift of 600 trees to the U.S. from Japan in 1912. Don't miss the parade, kite festival, concerts, fireworks, and cultural events.

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Annapolis Film Festival

The Annapolis Film Festival features an impressive line up of independent feature, shorts, and documentary films in downtown Annapolis. 2020's four-day festival will run from March 26–29 and will screen more than 70 films. Moviegoers can stroll from venue to venue in beautiful Annapolis or catch two free Annapolis Circulators that will travel between the five screening locations from 9 a.m. to midnight on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. 

It is a good idea to buy tickets in advance online; opening night tickets are especially popular.

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Shamrock Fest


Green-clad revelers will gather for ShamrockFest, one of the largest Saint Patrick's Day parties in the U.S. The ticketed event typically features around 50 live rock bands, Irish village vendors, carnival rides, food, Irish dancers, games, beer, and more.

Check the event website for the March 2020 date and location to be announced; the festival goes from noon to 8 p.m.

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Marine Corps Marathon

Marine Corps Marathon

Marine Corps Marathon

One of the largest marathons in the world, the Marine Corps Marathon offers a unique 17.75K distance (11.03 miles) and the support of more than 2,000 Marines and Sailors. The event held just outside Marine Corps Base Quantico takes runners on a course through some known landmarks and along the wooded paths and scenic roads of Prince William Forest Park. 2020's race is happening on March 28 in Prince William County, Virginia.

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Spring Theater in Washington, D.C.

Ford's Theatre

SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images 

In the spring, Washington, D.C., offers a variety of live theatrical performances ranging from Broadway-style musicals to dramatic productions to child-friendly shows and more. Get inspired seeing one of the dozens of 2020 shows around the capital region, such as "ExPats Theatre: Einstein's Wife" from March 5–22 about the spouse of the famous scientist or musical comedy "Guys and Dolls" from March 13 through May 20.

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Cherry Blossom Kite Festival

Smithsonian Kite Festival

ep_jhu / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

As part of the festivities at the National Cherry Blossom Festival, each year kite enthusiasts compete and show off their kite flying skills on the grounds of the Washington Monument. The 2020 event is happening on March 28 from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The event is entertaining for the whole family, with competitions and demonstrations, activity tents where kids can make tents, kites for sale, and more.

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