Apr 26, 2023

50+ Fun Things to Do in DC This May

As the weather warms, many of us find ourselves looking for fun things to do around DC to enjoy the warmth with family and friends. To help you find the perfect event(s), we’ve put together a list of 50+ fun things to do in DC this May. For ease of navigation, we’ve categorized events by event type and then by date. 

With so many fun activities to explore, let’s dive in!

Community Events

Flower Mart

When: May 5 (10AM–PM) and May 6 (10AM–5PM)

Where: Washington National Cathedral | 3101 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20016

Admission: free admission

Take in the annual Flower Mart, an official Passport DC event, this Spring with its breathtaking display of perennials and other extraordinary floral arrangements. You’ll also enjoy free entertainment, food vendors, and no shortage of activities for the kids, including riding an antique carousel! 

Running of the Chihuahuas

When: May 6 (2–5PM)

Where: The Wharf | 600 Water Street SW, Washington, DC 20024

Admission: free admission

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo at the 11th Annual Running of the Chihuahuas, presented by Pacifico Beer and hosted by local favorite Tommy McFly! At this event, over 100 chihuahuas will race (in groups of 8) down a 60ft track; it’s truly a sight to see. Beyond the races, there’s also an all-breed dog costume contest plus a Pacifico Beer Garden, a DJ, pet photo booth, and a giant inflatable Chihuahua for photo opportunities! All race proceeds benefit Rural Dog Rescue, a non-profit organization dedicated to pulling dogs from high-kill rural shelters.

Be sure to check out the Wharf’s calendar for more events this May.

Mother’s Day Events

When: May 13–14 

Where: DC, Maryland, Virginia

Admission: varied

Check out these Mother’s Day events throughout the DMV!

Stargazing at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum

When: May 24 (8:30–10:30PM)

Where: National Air and Space Museum | 600 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20560

Admission: free admission

Join the National Air and Space Museum at this free event where viewers can gaze at the night sky through telescopes while staffers point out specific planets and stars, the Moon, and other aerial wonders.

Memorial Day Events

The National Memorial Day Choral Festival

When: May 28 (3–5:30PM)

Where: John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts| 2700 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20566

Admission: free admission

This powerful concert features a 200-voice choir accompanied by the U.S. Air Force Orchestra, performing patriotic classics in honor of those who have fallen while defending the U.S.

National Memorial Day Concert

When: May 28 (8–9:30PM)

Where: West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol | East Capitol Street NE & First Street SE, Washington, DC 20004

Admission: free admission

PBS’s National Memorial Day Concert brings proud Americans together every year to salute the sacrifice made by the men and women in uniform to protect our freedoms. This year, the concert will be presented by actors Actors Gary Sinise and Joe Mantegna and feature numerous other celebrity appearances and performances.

National Memorial Day Parade

When: May 29 (starting at 2PM)

Where: Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC

Admission: free admission

The National Memorial Day Parade is DC’s most popular Memorial Day event, featuring marching bands, youth groups, floats, performers and veterans parading down Constitution Avenue in a proud and moving display in honor of our fallen service members and their families.

Concerts & Music Festivals

Cirque de la Symphonie

When: May 4 (7PM), May 5 (8PM), and May 6 (8PM)

Where: The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts | 2700 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20566

Admission: from $29–$99 | tickets available online 

The National Symphony Orchestra presents Cirque de la Symphonie – back by popular demand! In this spectacular performance, jugglers, aerialists, contortionists, strongmen, and more bring life to the music of the NSO.

Mary Lou Williams Jazz Festival

When: May 12–13 (7:30PM)

Where: The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts | 2700 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20566

Admission: from $40–$55 | tickets available online 

The Kennedy Center is honoring the life and work of Mary Lou Williams, known as the “first lady of jazz.” Hosted by NEA Jazz Master Dee Dee Bridgewater, this year’s two-day festival features powerful performances by some of today’s finest women in jazz: Doreen Ketchens, Somi, Camille Thurman, and the Dee Dee Bridgewater Big Band.

Jazz in the Garden

When: May 19–Aug 4

Where: National Gallery of Art | 6th and Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20565

Admission: free admission | tickets available online via lottery 

Jazz in the Garden is back! Come out and enjoy a variety of musical performances, including jazz, Latin fusion, bluegrass, and more with family and friends every Friday this Summer, beginning May 19th.

Adams Morgan PorchFest

When: May 20 (2–6PM)

Where: various locations across DC

Admission: free admission 

Come out and enjoy the first-ever Spring PorchFest with over 70+ bands across 17 different porches, patios, and stoops throughout DC! This festival will showcase some of DC’s best musical talent, featuring nearly every musical genre, including classic rock, funk, go-go, rap, reggae, blue grass, classical, and pop! 

More Concerts!

Here are some additional concerts taking place in DC this May!

Other Festivals & Celebrations

Centennial Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Festival 

When: May 1–15

Where: National Museum of Asian Art | 1050 Independence Ave SW, Washington, DC 20560

Admission: free admission to all events 

A part of Passport DC, the Centennial Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Festival is a two-week festival, celebrating the National Museum of Art’s centennial and Asian art and cultures of the past, present, and future. The festival will feature keynote speakers, headline performers, interactive experiences, culinary adventures, and community projects. Check out the full list of festival events!

Spring Wine Festival & Sunset Tour

When: May 19–21 (6–9PM)

Where: George Washington’s Mount Vernon | 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway, Mount Vernon, VA 22121

Admission: $49–$59 | tickets available online  

Taste unlimited samples of various Virginia-made wines and enjoy live music from Bruce Ewan and the Solid Senders –  all while taking in the breathtaking views of the Potomac River. 

Fiesta Asia Street Fair

When: May 20 (11AM–7PM)

Where: Pennsylvania Avenue NW between 3rd and 6th Streets NW, Washington, DC 20001

Admission: free admission  

Celebrate Asian Heritage Month with Fiesta Asia Street Fair, another amazing Passport DC event! In its 18th year, Fiesta Asia Street Fair is the largest, longest running, free Pan-Asian Festival in the DC Metropolitan area! The festival will feature over 1000 performers, artisans, entrepreneurs, food vendors, and other organizations, representing more than 20 distinct cultures. This all-day festival is one you definitely won’t wanna miss!

Financial Times Weekend Festival

When: May 20 (10AM–6PM)

Where: The REACH at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts | 2700 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20566

Admission: $95–$130  

Listen to debates, interviews, and talks by your favorite FT journalists and other speakers, and enjoy artist performances and various tastings!

Theatre & Other Performances

ExPats Theatre: The Body of a Woman as a Battlefield

When: Now–May 21

Where: Atlas Performing Arts Center | 1333 H Street NE, Washington, DC 20002

Admission: $40 general admission; $35 senior; $20 student | tickets available online

Intended for adult audiences only, this 90-minute play “is a bold exploration of gender-based violence as a weapon of war, exposing the hatred and xenophobic tribalism at the heart of ethnic violence.” This powerful play is one you won’t wanna miss.

Passing Strange

When: Now–June 18

Where: Signature Theatre | 4200 Campbell Avenue, Arlington, VA 22206

Admission: prices vary depending on demand and seat location | tickets available online

Passing Strange follows the story of a young man who discovers his musical calling and sets off for Europe, leaving behind his mother and comfortable suburban life. This powerful, Tony Award-winning play explores topics of identity, acceptance, and love through the power of music. 

The Sleeping Beauty

When: May 4–7

Where: The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts | 2700 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20566

Admission: Tickets available online | $25–$150, depending on seat location & demand

The Washington Ballet is taking over the Kennedy Center this May to present a beloved classic. This 140-minute performance will take you back to an “illustrious kingdom from long ago” and dazzle you with “iconic fairy tale characters, opulent and imaginative sets and costumes,” and of course world-class ballet.

Broadway Center Stage: Monty Python’s Spamalot

When: May 12–21

Where: John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 2700 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20566

Admission: $69–$325 | tickets available online 

Affectionately ripped-off from the motion picture Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Monty Python’s Spamalot tells the legendary tale of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table and the quest for the Holy Grail. 

Beetlejuice

When: May 16–28 

Where: The National Theatre | 1321 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20004

Admission: $60–$105 | tickets available online 

Based on the widely-loved Tim Burton film, this hilarious performance explores topics of family, love, life, and death! This show is recommended for audiences 13+ as it contains strong language and mature references.

Sweeney Todd

When: May 16–July 9

Where: Signature Theatre | 4200 Campbell Avenue, Arlington, VA 22206

Admission: prices vary depending on demand and seat location | tickets available online 

This classic follows the life of barber Sweeny Todd and his murderous spree after his wrongful banishment. 

Doug Loves Movies

When: May 17

Where: DC Improv | 1140 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036

Admission: $30 | tickets available online 

Comedian Doug Benson, best known for his documentary film Super High Me and Comedy Central’s The High Court, hosts a podcast where he talks to surprise guests about his first love – movies!

Scottish Ballet: The Crucible

When: May 24–28

Where: John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts | 2700 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20566

Admission: $49–$129 | tickets available online

The Scottish Ballet returns with The Crucible, bringing Arthur Miller’s classic play about the Salem witch trials to the ballet stage.

More Performances

Museum Exhibitions

Afrofuturism: A History of Black Futures

When: Ongoing

Where: National Museum of African American History and Culture | 1400 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20560

Admission: free admission via timed passes available online 

This powerful exhibit “immerses visitors in a conversation that reimagines, reinterprets, and reclaims the past and present for a more empowering future for African Americans.”

One with Eternity: Yayoi Kusama in the Hirshhorn Collection

When: Now–July 16

Where: Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden | Independence Avenue & 7th Street NW, Washington, DC 20560

Admission: free admission via timed passes available online

One with Eternity honors the life, art, and distinctive vision of artist Yayoi Kusama by showcasing some of her most famous works, “including two of the artist’s transcendent Infinity Mirror Rooms, sculptures, an early painting, and photographs of the artist.”

Philip Guston Now

When: Now–August 27

Where: National Gallery of Art | 6th Street & Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC

Admission: free admission 

Philip Guston Now honors “the 50-year career of one of America’s most influential modern artists.” This exhibit features more than 150 paintings and drawings, showcasing the change in Guston’s artistic styles, from muralism to abstract expressionism to figuration, political and social involvement, and of levels of personal confession in his work.

Ay-Ō’s Happy Rainbow Hell

When: Now–September 10

Where: National Museum of Asian Art | 1050 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20560

Admission: free admission

Part of the 2023 programming marking the 100th anniversary of the National Museum of Asian Art’s founding, Ay-Ō’s Happy Rainbow Hell is the first exhibit in the United States dedicated to the artist and showcases more than 80 of his works. This exhibit not only explores Ay-Ō’s legacy and the complexity of his rainbow obsession, but it also fully immerses viewers in Ay-Ō’s world of sensory experience, exploration, and fun.

Robert Houle: Red is Beautiful

When: May 25–June 2

Where: National Museum of the American Indian | 4th Street & Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20560

Admission: free admission

Red Is Beautiful celebrates the more than 50-year career of Indigenous artist Robert Houle (Saulteaux Anishinaabe, Sandy Bay First Nation, b. 1947), highlighting his use of color to convey powerful messages as well as his masterful blending of Western and Indigenous artistic traditions. 

More Exhibitions

Sporting Events

Washington Nationals Home Games

When: various dates throughout May

Where: Nationals Park | 1500 South Capitol Street SE, Washington, DC 20003

Admission: prices vary depending on demand and seat location | tickets available online

There’s no shortage of Washington Nationals’ home games this May with 13 regular season games at Nationals Park this May. Check out the full schedule for more info!

D.C. United Home Games 

When: May 13, 20 & 31

Where: Audi Field | 100 Potomac Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20024

Admission: prices vary depending on demand and seat location | tickets available online

Watch D.C. United take on Nashville SC May 13th, L.A. Galaxy May 20th, and CF Montréal May 31st, led by head coach Wayne Rooney.

Baltimore Orioles Home Games

When: various dates throughout May

Where: Oriole Park at Camden Yards | 333 W Camden St, Baltimore, MD 21201

Admission: prices vary depending on demand and seat location | tickets available online

Spending any time in Maryland? Take your family out to one of the numerous Baltimore Orioles home games this May! Check out the full schedule for more info!

Sightseeing Tours

Georgetown Heritage Canal Boat Tour

When: starting May 5 

Where: 1057 Thomas Jefferson St NW

Admission: adults $25; educator, military, and senior (65+) $20; children (ages 12-18) $12

Explore the history and beauty of the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal, known as the C&O Canal, on a historic Georgetown Heritage Boat Toar!

Around the World Embassy Tour

When: May 6 (10AM–4:30PM)

Where: various embassies throughout DC

Admission: free admission

Travel the world by visiting various embassies throughout DC, including Cameroon, Colombia, Egypt, Georgia, Guatemala, Ethiopia, Thailand, Ukraine, Uganda, Costa Rica, Morocco, and many more! Visitors will get to experience the food, art, dance, fashion and music of different countries around the world. Plus, karate demonstrations, sari wrapping lessons, dance performances, and more!

Happy May!

We hope after reading this article for 50+ fin things to do in DC this May, you’ve been able to find the perfect event(s) for your family and friends! Have any questions? Don’t hesitate to reach out!

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