As summer heats up, Washington, D.C. is buzzing with a wide range of events and festivals to keep you entertained. Whether you’re a music lover, a foodie, or looking to celebrate Independence Day, there’s something for everyone in the nation’s capital.
In this blog post, we’ll highlight some of the exciting events in DC this July. Let’s dive in!
Celebrate Independence Day
Immerse Yourself at the National Independence Day Parade | July 4, 11:45 AM
Join the festivities on Constitution Avenue as the National Independence Day Parade showcases marching bands, floats, military units, and more. Marvel at the colorful displays and wave your flag with pride. This family-friendly event is a great way to kick off your July Fourth celebrations.
Enjoy A Capitol Fourth Concert | July 4, 8:00 PM
After enjoying the parade, head over to the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol for a spectacular concert featuring performances by top artists. The “A Capitol Fourth Concert” is a beloved tradition, culminating in a breathtaking fireworks display lighting up the D.C. skyline. Spread your blanket on the grass, pack a picnic, and immerse yourself in the patriotic atmosphere.
Consider these additional locations to take in the fireworks display.
Enjoy Yourself at a Festival
Explore the Smithsonian Folklife Festival | June 29–July 4 & July 6–9
Celebrate the rich cultural traditions of the United States and the world at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival on the National Mall. This annual festival brings together communities, artists, and cultural practitioners to share their heritage through interactive exhibits, live performances, craft demonstrations, storytelling, and more.
Experience the DC Hip-Hop Theater Festival | July 11–23
The DC Hip-Hop Theater Festival showcases the artistry and creativity of hip-hop culture through theater performances, dance showcases, music concerts, spoken word poetry, and visual art exhibitions. It provides a platform for emerging and established artists to express themselves and explore social issues through the lens of hip-hop.
Attend the Capital Fringe Festival | July 12–23
Immerse yourself in the vibrant world of performing arts at the Capital Fringe Festival. With a diverse lineup of theater, dance, music, and visual arts performances, this festival offers something unique for every artistic taste. From avant-garde theater to experimental dance and thought-provoking installations, the Fringe Festival pushes boundaries and celebrates creativity.
Catch a Show or Live Performance
Catch a Show at the Kennedy Center
Experience the best of Washington, D.C.’s performing arts scene at the renowned Kennedy Center. From Broadway musicals to ballet performances, the center hosts world-class shows that showcase talented actors, musicians, and dancers. Don’t miss the opportunity to immerse yourself in artistic excellence in the beautiful surroundings of the Kennedy Center.
Take in a Performance at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts
Just outside of D.C, Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts offers a stunning outdoor amphitheater where you can experience live music and performances. Enjoy classical orchestral performances, opera, popular bands, contemporary artists, and even Broadway shows.
Relax at Jazz in the Garden | Every Friday, 6–8:30 PM
The National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden hosts the Jazz in the Garden series every Friday evening during the summer. Immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere and groove to the tunes of local jazz musicians. Surrounded by beautiful sculptures and lush greenery, it’s the perfect setting for a relaxing and entertaining evening.
Attend The Yards Park Concert Series
The Yards Park, located along the Capitol Riverfront, hosts a series of outdoor concerts during the summer months. With the river as a backdrop, you can enjoy live music spanning various genres, including pop, rock, indie, and more. Take a stroll along the waterfront boardwalk, find a spot on the grass, and let the music transport you.
Discover Live Music at The Wharf
The Wharf, a vibrant waterfront destination, offers several outdoor venues that regularly host live music events. From intimate performances on the District Pier to larger concerts at Transit Pier, you can find a wide range of musical genres and talented artists. Enjoy the scenic views of the Potomac River while taking in the beats.
Enjoy an Outdoor Movie Night
Several parks and public spaces in DC screen movies under the stars during the summer. Grab a blanket or a chair and head to Canal Park and Union Market for their movie screening events. Whether it’s a classic film or a recent blockbuster, enjoy a cinematic experience in the open air.
Escape the Heat at a Renowned Museum
Immerse Yourself at National Gallery of Art
Immerse yourself in the world of art at the National Gallery of Art. Explore the impressive collection of masterpieces from renowned artists spanning centuries, including works by Rembrandt, Monet, and Vermeer. The museum’s serene courtyards and sculpture garden offer a perfect place to relax and reflect.
Discover the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum
Beat the heat by diving into the fascinating world of aviation and space exploration at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Marvel at historic aircrafts, including the Wright brothers’ Flyer and Amelia Earhart’s plane. Discover the captivating stories behind human achievements in space as you explore exhibits featuring spacecraft like the Apollo 11 command module.
Engage Yourself at the National Museum of African American History and Culture
Engage with the rich history and culture of African Americans at this important museum. Interactive exhibits and thought-provoking displays shed light on the contributions, struggles, and achievements of African Americans throughout history. Reflect on the past, examine the present, and consider the future in the pursuit of equality and justice.
Tour the National Museum of Natural History
Dive into the world of natural history at this captivating museum. Explore the awe-inspiring dinosaur fossils, marvel at the sparkling gemstones in the Hall of Gems and Minerals, and immerse yourself in the butterfly pavilion. Learn about the Earth’s geological history and the wonders of the natural world through interactive exhibits and informative displays.
Traverse the Renwick Gallery
Discover contemporary art at the Renwick Gallery, a branch of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. This museum showcases innovative and immersive art installations by contemporary artists. Be captivated by thought-provoking works that push boundaries and challenge perceptions.
Explore the International Spy Museum
Embark on a thrilling undercover mission at the International Spy Museum. Explore the world of espionage and learn about the history and techniques of intelligence gathering. Engage in interactive exhibits and test your spy skills as you unravel secrets and mysteries.
Engage Your Curiosity at the National Museum of American History
Delve into the story of America at the National Museum of American History. From the Star-Spangled Banner to the First Ladies’ inaugural gowns, the museum houses iconic artifacts that symbolize the nation’s history and culture. Explore exhibitions on innovation, entertainment, and the diverse experiences that shape the American identity.
Embrace History at National Portrait Gallery
Encounter the faces that have shaped American history and culture at the National Portrait Gallery. View captivating portraits of influential figures, from presidents and civil rights leaders to artists and athletes. The gallery provides a visual journey through the individuals who have left an indelible mark on the nation.
Indulge in Culinary Experiences
Explore Farmers’ Markets | Every Weekend in July
Embark on a culinary adventure and support local farmers and artisans at the city’s vibrant farmers’ markets. From the historic Eastern Market to the bustling Dupont Circle Farmers Market, these lively marketplaces offer a wide selection of fresh produce, artisanal products, baked goods, and more. Engage with the vendors, discover unique ingredients, and gather inspiration for your own delicious creations.
Pro Tip: Arrive early for the best selection of products and to beat the crowds. Don’t forget to bring reusable shopping bags and cash as some vendors may not accept credit cards.
Take a Guided Food Tour
Take a guided food tour to explore the city’s culinary highlights. Join knowledgeable guides as they lead you through diverse neighborhoods, sharing insights about the local food scene and introducing you to mouthwatering dishes along the way. For example, DC Metro Food Tours offers guided tours that take you to iconic eateries like Ben’s Chili Bowl and District Doughnuts.
Enjoy an Outdoor Dining Experience
With the arrival of summer, indulge in al fresco dining experiences. Many restaurants in D.C. offer charming outdoor patios, rooftop terraces, or sidewalk seating where you can savor your meal while enjoying the vibrant city ambiance. Popular spots like The Salt Line and Barcelona Wine Bar provide delightful outdoor dining options with delicious food and refreshing drinks.
Attend a Sporting Event
Catch a Washington Nationals Baseball Game
Catch a Major League Baseball game at Nationals Park and cheer on the Washington Nationals. Immerse yourself in the electric atmosphere of America’s favorite pastime, indulge in ballpark snacks, and soak up the summer sun. Check the team’s schedule for home games during July and secure your tickets in advance.
Attend the Mubadala Citi DC Open | July 29–August 6
For sports enthusiasts, the Citi DC Open is a premier tennis tournament held in July at Rock Creek Park Tennis Center. This event attracts top-ranked professional tennis players from around the world who compete in singles and doubles matches. Tennis fans can witness thrilling matches and enjoy a festive atmosphere.
Engage in Outdoor Activities
Zen Out at Outdoor Yoga in the Park
Take your yoga practice outdoors and find tranquility within the city’s green spaces. Various parks and organizations in Washington, D.C. offer free or donation-based yoga classes in beautiful settings. Start your day with a rejuvenating yoga session at Meridian Hill Park or join a sunset yoga class at Georgetown Waterfront Park.
Kayak or Paddleboard on the Potomac River
Escape the summer heat by renting a kayak or paddleboard and exploring the scenic Potomac River. Head over to Boating in DC for your rentals. Then, paddle past iconic landmarks like the Kennedy Center and the Washington Monument while enjoying a unique perspective of the city.
Hike at Rock Creek Park
Immerse yourself in nature and discover the hidden gems of Rock Creek Park through its extensive trail system. With over 32 miles of trails, the park offers a variety of hiking options suitable for all skill levels. Take a leisurely stroll along the Valley Trail or challenge yourself with a more rigorous hike on the Western Ridge Trail. Along the way, you’ll encounter lush forests, babbling streams, and even historical landmarks, such as the Pierce Mill.
Experience Family-Friendly Fun
Visit Smithsonian’s National Zoo
Embark on a wild adventure at Smithsonian’s National Zoo, home to a diverse array of animals from around the world. Marvel at the giant pandas, say hello to the lions, and observe fascinating creatures in their natural habitats. The zoo offers educational programs, exhibits, and special events suitable for visitors of all ages. Don’t miss the daily animal feedings and presentations to enhance your zoo experience.
Explore Other Smithsonian Institutions
Immerse yourself in the rich offerings of the Smithsonian museums in Washington, D.C. Visit the National Air and Space Museum, National Museum of Natural History, National Museum of American History, and more. Discover captivating exhibits and engaging programs for all ages.
Take a Day Trip
Tour Old Town Alexandria
Just a short distance from D.C., Old Town Alexandria offers a charming escape with its cobblestone streets, historic architecture, and waterfront views. Stroll along King Street, visit the Torpedo Factory Art Center, and indulge in the culinary delights of local restaurants and cafes.
Visit Mount Vernon
Journey to Mount Vernon, the historic estate of George Washington. Tour the beautifully preserved mansion, stroll through the expansive gardens, and learn about the life and legacy of the first U.S. President.
Discover the Great Falls of the Potomac
Experience the natural beauty of the Great Falls of the Potomac, located just a short drive from D.C. Hike along the trails of Great Falls Park, marvel at the impressive waterfalls and rapids, and enjoy picturesque views of the Potomac River.
Explore the Waterfront District at National Harbor
Head to the Waterfront District at National Harbor, situated along the Potomac River in Maryland. This vibrant waterfront destination offers a variety of attractions, including the Capital Wheel, a towering Ferris wheel with panoramic views, waterfront dining options, shopping, and entertainment.
Journey to Annapolis
Take a trip to Annapolis, the capital of Maryland and a city rich in history. Explore the charming streets lined with colonial-era buildings, visit the U.S. Naval Academy, and enjoy a scenic boat tour or a relaxing stroll along the waterfront.
Visit Baltimore’s Inner Harbor
Venture to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, a bustling waterfront area filled with attractions and entertainment. Explore the National Aquarium, visit the historic ships at the USS Constellation Museum, and indulge in the delicious seafood offerings the city is known for.
Experience the Chesapeake Bay
Immerse yourself in the beauty of the Chesapeake Bay region. Enjoy outdoor activities such as fishing, boating, or kayaking, and savor fresh seafood at local waterfront restaurants. Explore charming coastal towns like St. Michaels or Annapolis and soak up the coastal ambiance.
July in Washington, DC is filled with diverse activities and events for all interests. Explore landmarks, savor culinary delights, embark on outdoor adventures, and immerse yourself in the arts scene. Attend festivals, catch shows at the Kennedy Center, and embrace the city’s outdoor spaces. Experience the vibrant charm of D.C. and create memorable moments at any of these events in DC this July.