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Things to doWashington DC

These Summer Festivals Make Washington D.C. Even Better!

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Throughout the summer in Washington D.C. there are many festivals that celebrate the American culture. The hot and dry summer days and nights, make the streets and parks of Washington D.C. are an ideal venue. Plan your trip to D.C. around your favourite festivals from this list, and get the best experiences this city has to offer in the summertime.

Independence Day

First things first, what better place is there to spend the 4th July, than in the country’s capital city?  Every year the city holds the largest parade in the USA, as a tourist it is a once in a lifetime experience. The National Independence Day Parade starts at 11:45 a.m. If you want the best view of the floats you need to get to your chosen spot before the other spectators wake up. Alternatively, to avoid the huge crowds head to the final part of the route, on Constitution Avenue NW and 17th Street NW.

For an evening of culture and fun, visit the National Mall for a classical musical concert. The performance starts at 8pm and is hosted by John Stamos. The concert is called “A Capital Fourth “. Musicians will include various bands, including the National Symphony Orchestra and The United States Army Band. Year on year this is a popular event and as a result public transport is slow and busy leading up to the 8p.m. start. So, if you want a good seat arrive a minimum of 2 hours before it all kicks off.

If your celebratory party mood continues into the night, admire the Independence Day Fireworks, from the National Mall. If you love firework displays and want to avoid the music concert you can watch the rockets zoom into the sky from Lady Bird Johnson Memorial Park. The views will be spectacular and there will be far fewer people there than in other parts of the city.

Independance Day Fireorks Washington DC

Citi Open

Do you love tennis? At the end of July, Rock Creek Park Tennis Center holds a 9-day tournament for accomplished players from the tennis World. Announced players include:

  • Caroline Wozniacki – former World No. 1 and 2018 Australian Open Champion
  • Andy Murray – former World No. 1 and three-time Grand Slam Champion
  • Sloane Stephens – 2017 U.S. Open Champion and 2015 Citi Open Champion
  • John Isner – World No. 10 and three-time Citi Open finalist
  • Kevin Anderson – World No. 7, 2017 Citi Open and U.S. Open finalist

It can be difficult to get tickets to the top grand slam tournaments, so if you are a tennis fan this is your chance to see talented and successful players in action. Sit back and relax in the sun, with a refreshing beverage and watch the professionals play.

Capitol Riverfront Outdoor Movie Series

Every Thursday, during June, July and August you can add a unique night time experience to your visit to Washington D.C. As the day comes to an end a cinema screen is inflated in Canal Park. The listings include American classics and modern Hollywood blockbuster. For example, “A League of Their Own” (July 12) and “Black Panther” (Aug. 2).

This isn’t the only park in the city to screen films, you can check out all that is available on Washington.org. Many venues have themes. Maybe you will prefer a Jane Austen Film Festival or films set in Asia. Most movies start around 7pm, take your chair or blanket prior to the start time to get a good view.

Washington DC

Capital Pride

Support the LGBTQ community at the “Elements of Us,” Capital Pride event 7-10 June. The whole family can attend this colourful celebration, highlights include:

  • 200-entry parade through the Dupont and Logan Circle neighbourhoods,
  • festival on Pennsylvania Avenue with a smorgasbord of local food vendors,
  • 30-foot inflatable waterslide, on Pennsylvania and 4th Street.

17th Street Festival

Experience the delicious restaurants and lively atmosphere on the 17th Street Corridor, on the afternoon of August 25th. As well as filling your stomach with local favourites, you can explore the shops and handicraft stalls.

The “free to enter” street will be surrounded by music and entertainment. It is guaranteed to be a fun day for people of all ages.  If you expect to spend some dollar bills, you can invest in the $10 wristband, which will get you many discounts in the stores and restaurants on 17th Street.

Washington Convention Centre

Library of Congress National Book Festival

The final festival, worth mentioning, takes place toward the end of the summer (September 1st), bookworms unite at the Washington Convention Center for the annual Washington D.C. book fest, hosted by the World’s largest library. The festival includes multiple ‘meet and greets’ with popular authors and characters, author panel discussions and book readings. The authors that have already been announced are:

  • Hamilton’s famed biographer Ron Chernow,
  • bestselling author Amy Tan,
  • U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith,
  • former Poet Laureate Robert Hass.

So, many great festivals throughout the summer, which one gets you most excited for a trip to Washington D.C.?  If you know of other great festivals in the capital city of the USA, why not share them below in the comments sections.

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View Helen_Critchley's Profile
I live abroad living my dream of being a Freelance Writer.  With 10 years travel experience I specialise in blogging and creating unique travel itineraries. My favourite countries are the USA and New Zealand because they have so many beautiful and diverse landscapes to explore and exciting attractions to visit.  My travel dream is to complete a road trip across the USA, from the east coast to the west. 

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