National Mall Events: A Calendar of Annual Events

A Guide to Major Annual Events in Washington DC

National Mall Fireworks
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Although approximately 3,000 events are held on the National Mall in Washington, DC each year, surprisingly few, less than a dozen major festivals are held annually. Most of the events on the National Mall are small gatherings, such as sporting events, protests and rallies, and other group activities. A wide range of non-profit organizations host charity walks along the Mall throughout the year to raise money and encourage health and wellness.  

Note: A permit is required to host a public event on the National Mall to assure that activities will not conflict with each other. For details, contact the Office of Park Programs at (202) 619-7225.

Major Annual Events on the National Mall:

01 of 08

National Cherry Blossom Festival

Cherry blossoms in Washington D.C.

Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Late March-Early April. Washington, DC welcomes the arrival of spring with the annual two-week, city-wide event featuring more than 200 international cultural performances and over 90 other special events. The annual kite festival, stage performances, and many other events take place on the National Mall.

02 of 08

Earth Day

Earth Day in Washington, D.C.
Rachel Cooper

April. Washington, DC hosts one of the largest Earth Day gatherings in the U.S., a major day-long event on the National Mall to rally to demand Congress enacts climate and clean energy legislation. The event includes speeches by public officials and musical performances by national talent.

03 of 08

Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo Celebration in Washington, DC

Gary Jean Photoworks and Iris Bennett

May. The annual celebration features live music and dance, children’s arts and crafts workshops, food, games, and activities for the entire family. Although originally Mexican in origin, the Cinco de Mayo Festival has become a larger “Latin American Family Reunion” on the National Mall.

04 of 08

Memorial Day

World War II Memorial, Washington, DC
Hisham Ibrahim/Getty Images

May. This is a great time to honor our veterans and famous Americans by visiting the monuments and memorials in Washington, DC. Special programs, wreath-laying ceremonies, and other events are held at the memorials in remembrance of fallen heroes.

Continue to 5 of 8 below.
05 of 08

Rolling Thunder

Rolling Thunder motorcycle rally in Washington, DC

Rachel Cooper

May. The annual motorcycle rally that is held in Washington, DC during the Memorial Day weekend is a call for the government's recognition and protection of Prisoners of War (POWs) and those Missing in Action (MIAs). About 400,000 veterans will roar across the National Mall on their motorcycles as a tribute to American war heroes.

06 of 08

Smithsonian Folklife Festival

Smithsonian Folk Festival
Ser Amantio di Nicolao/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 3.0

June – July. The annual event sponsored by the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage celebrates cultural traditions around the world with daily and evening music and dance performances, crafts and cooking demonstrations, storytelling, and discussions of cultural issues. Each year there are three themes.

07 of 08

4th of July Fireworks

Fireworks in Washington, DC
Capitol Concerts

July. Washington DC is a spectacular place to celebrate July 4th! The National Mall, with Washington DC’s monuments and the U. S. Capitol in the background, forms a beautiful and patriotic backdrop to America's Independence Day celebrations. This is an all-day event in the nation's capital, beginning with a parade along Constitution Avenue and ending with a spectacular display of fireworks over the Washington Monument.

08 of 08

Veterans Day

American flags displayed on The National Mall, Washington, DC

Jeff Spielman/Getty Images

November. Many of the memorials on the National Mall host special events in honor of America's armed forces. Veterans Day is a great time to visit Washington DC and pay a tribute to those who have defended our country.

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