Washington, D.C.'s Top 10 : Festivals and Cultural Events - Top 10 One-Day Events

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  1. Smithsonian Folklife Festival

    Fascinating and entertaining cooking, storytelling, craft-making, dancing, music, and art fill the National Mall for two weeks around Independence Day (July 4). One of the largest and best cultural events in the world.

  2. National Cherry Blossom Festival

    The Tidal Basin is surrounded by beautiful Japanese cherry trees, which originated with 3,000 specimens given to the city in 1912 by the mayor of Tokyo. The festival celebrating their spring bloom includes a parade, performances, and such offbeat events as a sushi-making contest.

    • Late Mar–mid-April

  3. Shakespeare Free for All

    The first two weeks of June bring free performances of works of Shakespeare in the outdoor theater in Rock Creek Park. Presented by the Shakespeare Theater, the productions are of excellent quality. Free tickets available at several sites.

  4. Washington Flower and Garden Show

    At the end of winter, locals and visitors alike are revitalized by the early jolt of spring provided by the riot of colorful flowers and inviting landscapes recreated indoors. The air itself is restorative, scented by blossoms.

    Washington Convention Center

    • 401 Mount Vernon Place, NW (between 7th and 9th sts)

    • Early Mar

  5. Taste of D.C.

    This three-day event in October fills a seven-block section of Pennsylvania Avenue (between 7th and 14th Sts) with vendors preparing and selling most of the myriad types of cuisine available in this international city. Hundreds of other activities pulse at dozens of venues – music, dance, poetry, children’s games, comedy acts, and crafts demonstrations and sales. Over a million people attend this exciting food festival.

  6. Washington National Cathedral Christmas Services

    In early December, the cathedral inaugurates the Christmas season with an open house featuring bagpipes, group singing, pageantry, and stunning seasonal decorations. Then, throughout the season, music and concerts are presented, culminating with the elaborate celebrations of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

  7. Filmfest D.C.

    This top-quality and lively film festival has brought the best of world cinema to the city for over 15 years. The most exciting new films are shown during two weeks in April at various venues, and discussions and film-oriented events are held at theaters, auditoriums, and cafés.

  8. Wolf Trap Jazz and Blues Festival

    This three-day festival presents top performers of both traditional and contemporary jazz and blues. The all-day Saturday show is a blast.

    Wolf Trap Filene Center

    • 1551 Trap Rd, Vienna, VA

    • 703 255 1868 (information); 1 877 965 3872(tickets)

    • Jun

  9. Washington Nationals

    Big league baseball has returned to Washington after a 30-year absence. The Washington Nationals, a national team, fill the stands of the Nationals Park from March to October.

  10. Chinese New Year

    Ten days of parades, fireworks, special menus at the restaurants, and unique events in Chinatown. Simply pass through the ornate arch at 7th and H streets, NW.

    • Late Jan–early Feb

Top 10 One-Day Events

  1. Smithsonian Kite Festival

    Competitions include home-built kites, fighting kites, and others.

    National Mall

    • Late Mar–early Apr

  2. Independence Day

    The celebration culminates with a fireworks display synchronized with patriotic music.

    National Mall

    • Jul 4

  3. White House Easter Egg Roll

    White House staff dye eggs for children to seek out on the lawn.

    • Easter Mon

  4. National Christmas Tree Lighting

    The decorations are joyous.

    The Ellipse

    • Early Dec

  5. National Frisbee Festival

    The Frisbee dogs always steal the show.

    Washington Monument

    • Late Aug

  6. Mary McLeod Bethune Annual Celebration

    Gospel choirs celebrate the African-American educator.

    Lincoln Park

    • Early Jul

  7. National Symphony Labor Day Concert

    The official end of summer.

    US Capitol

    • Labor Day

  8. International Gold Cup Steeplechase Races

    Take place at the peak of fall’s colored foliage.

    Great Meadows Events Centers

    • The Plains, VA

    • Mid-Oct

  9. St Patrick’s Day

    A parade on Constitution Ave, SE.

    • Sun before Mar 17

  10. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

    Church services held. Check local papers for details.

    • 3rd Mon in Jan

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