Washington, D.C. Annual Events 2018

US Capitol Building, National Mall and Northwest Washington at sunrise from Library of Congress, Washington DC, USA

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While Washington D.C. has dozens of wonderful events throughout the year, there are a few that draw the largest crowds and stand out as unique and special. Mark your calendar for the major annual events in 2018 in the nation's capital.

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Washington, D.C. Restaurant Week (January & August)

stuffed egglplant at Zaytinya

Photo courtesy of Zaytinya 

Metropolitan Washington Restaurant Week, presented by Destination D.C. and the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington, is a weeklong event during which more than 250 of the capital region's finest restaurants offer 3-course lunches, brunches, and dinners at affordable prices. There is a summer week and a winter restaurant week.

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The National Cherry Blossom Festival (March–April)

Cherry blossoms and the Washington Monument seen during the Cherry Blossom Festival

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See the blossoming of thousands of cherry trees on the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C. The capital welcomes spring with this annual tradition begun by the gift of 3000 trees to the United States from Japan in 1912. Mark your calendar for the upcoming spring dates and plan to participate in the parade, kite festival, concerts, fireworks and cultural events.

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White House Easter Egg Roll (April)

he Easter Bunny attends the 2016 White House Easter Egg Roll


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On Easter Monday, kids of all ages hunt for and race Easter Eggs on the White House Lawn. Enjoy a morning of storytelling and a visit with the Easter Bunny. Free tickets are usually distributed on the Saturday before and early on Monday morning.

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Filmfest DC (April)

Filmfest DC is an annual event that showcases a wide range of extraordinary new films from around the world. The program includes a global range of cultures, music, and politics, representing cinema from over 45 countries. There are opening and closing night events, discussions with directors, movie premieres and free programs for children and senior citizens.

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Passport DC (May)

PassportDC flags

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Passport DC, an annual celebration of international culture presented by Cultural Tourism DC showcases Washington D.C.’s embassies and cultural organizations with tours of more than 70 embassies and hundreds of events including street festivals, performances, and exhibitions. The month-long celebration features a variety of special programming to appeal to all ages. This is a great opportunity to explore the city and engage with people of different nationalities.

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National Cathedral Flower Mart (May)

National Gallery Flower Mart

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Held the first Friday and Saturday of May on the grounds of the Washington National Cathedral, the National Cathedral Flower Mart is Washington, D.C.'s spring festival for garden enthusiasts and families. It features annuals, perennials, landscape exhibits, Olmsted Woods and Garden tours, musical entertainment, gourmet food, a book sale, and so much more. 

The Flower Mart is also a part of Passport D.C., an annual celebration of international culture with tours of more than 70 embassies and hundreds of events including street festivals, performances, and exhibitions.

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Memorial Day (May)

wreath at The National World War II Memorial in Washington, DC.


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Special events for Memorial Day include wreath laying ceremonies at several monuments and memorials in Washington, D.C., a free National Symphony Orchestra concert on the West Lawn of the Capitol and a Memorial Day parade along Independence Avenue.

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The Smithsonian Folklife Festival (June–July)

folklife-2.JPG Smithsonian Folklife Festival

Jeff Tinsley of the Smithsonian Institution

Every summer the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage sponsors this annual festival on the National Mall which celebrates cultural traditions around the world. The Festival includes daily and evening music and dance performances, crafts and cooking demonstrations, storytelling and discussions of cultural issues.

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Fourth of July

independence day Celebration at the Capitol building, Washington, DC

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Washington D.C. is a spectacular place to celebrate July 4th! Independence Day celebrations in the nation’s capital start with a morning parade, concerts on the National Mall and the West Lawn of the Capitol and a huge fireworks display on the grounds of the Washington Monument.

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National Book Festival (September)

Celebrate the joy of books and reading at this an annual event held each September in Washington, D.C. The National Book Festival is sponsored by the Library of Congress. Visit with more than 80 award-winning authors, illustrators and poets.

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Oktoberfest (September–October)

beer stein at snallygaster festival

Photo courtesy of Snallygaster 

From late September through October, Washington, D.C. celebrates the German fall festival of Oktoberfest. Celebrate the cooler weather with German beer, food, music and dancing at family friendly festivals throughout the Washington, D.C. area.

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Taste of DC (October)

woman putting salsa on a taco at Taste of DC

Photo courtesy of Taste of DC 

Taste of DC is a premier food festival in Washington, D.C. featuring tastings from more than 65 of D.C.’s best restaurants, food trucks, caterers and purveyors, an Oktoberfest celebration with German beers and authentic fare and a Wine Walk with more than 50 wines.

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The National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony (November)


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Each holiday season the White House Ellipse is surrounded by a path of decorated trees representing all 50 states, five territories, and the District of Columbia. The President traditionally lights the tree at a holiday program and musical groups perform each night until New Year's Day.

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