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Jump into DC’s rich culture by experiencing the festival scene! Now that spring is around the corner, so are some of the area’s favorite outdoor festivals, from vintage cars to blooming cherry blossoms.The best part? Most of this fun is free! Read on for the best spring festivals in DC.
photo:Trust “Tru” Katsande via Unsplash
National Cherry Blossom Festival
The most popular way to welcome spring, the National Cherry Blossom Festival centers around the blooming of DC’s breathtaking Cherry Blossom trees, and the gift of enduring friendship their spectacular beauty represents. Signature events include the Blossom Kite Festival on March 28th, the Festival Parade on April 4th featuring lavish floats, giant helium balloons, marching bands and more and live music and fireworks at Petalpalooza on April 11th. Most events are free and open to the public.
When: Mar. 20-April 12
Where: Various locations
Sakura Matsuri Japanese Street Festival
As the largest one-day celebration of Japanese culture in the country, this festival brings music, food, dance, art, and language-learning to the Cherry Blossom Festival. Listen to Japanese rock music (performed in traditional kimono and hakama); feast on hibachi, sushi, miso soup, and soba noodles; learn about aikido and classical Japanese martial arts; and enjoy contemporary compositions that use taiko, fue (bamboo flute), and other narimono (percussion instruments). You had us at soba noodles.
When: April 4, 10:30 a.m.-6 p.m.
Where: Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Between 3rd & 7th St., NW
Anacostia River Festival
This fun festival marks the end of the National Cherry Blossom Festival and celebrates the Anacostia River with canoe rides, a bike parade, lawn games and art displays. Put on your rubber boots, grab an oar, and come enjoy a day full of river fun.
When: April 5, 1-5 p.m.
Where: Corner of Good Hope Rd. SE and Anacostia Dr. SE, Anacostia
Arlington Arts Festival
Clarendon, Virginia’s hotspot of fun, blossoms with true visual inspiration as over 100 artists showcase their works, including glass, mixed media, paintings, jewelry, and pottery. The kids can take care of their Mother’s Day gifts while you casually point out your favorite pieces. Make a day of it by saving room for lunch and romping at a local playground. Free admission.
When: April 25-26, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Where:3003 Washington Blvd. in Arlington, VA
Cherry Hill Ice Cream Social
Cherry Hill celebrates the start of its open house season with some family fun! Enjoy yard games, tours and ice cream. Try your hand at churning old fashioned ice cream with a machine that dates back to the 1860’s.
When: April 4, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Where: Cherry Hill Farmhouse 312 Park Ave, Falls Church, VA
Bluebells at The Bend
Celebrate the Virginia Bluebells that carpet the early spring forest at Riverbend Park. Witness the mass bloom of thousands of bluebells and spring wildflowers across the Potomac River, and enjoy fun-filled activities for the whole family, including Wildflower Walks, live music, face painting, live animals and much more! Pre-sale tickets are $7 online until April 10. Regular tickets are $9 at the gate.
When: April 11, 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
Where: Riverbend Park in Great Falls, VA
Reston Founder’s Day Festival
Celebrate Reston and its founder Robert E. Simon Jr. during this special day full of fun family friendly activities and entertainment.
When: April 18, Noon-4:00 p.m.
Where: Lake Anne Plaza, 1609 Washington Plaza W, Reston, VA
Georgetown French Market
For little Francophiles dreaming of a trip to Paris, satisfy their wanderlust at the Georgetown French Market where a “je ne sais quio” – or perhaps the scent of chocolat croissants – will capture their attention. Open air shopping, flowers, bicyclettes, pastries for days, and more await mini Parisans, while strolling musicians, mimes and other performers keep little ones dazzled between bites of those aforementioned pain au chocolat.
When: April 24-26, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Where: Wisconsin Avenue, From O St. to Reservoir Rd., Georgetown
National Cathedral Spring Flower Mart
Nothing says spring like a rainbow of flower blossoms, and the National Cathedral’s flower mart will help your kids appreciate the colorful array of flora our area has to offer. The mart has close to 80 exhibitors showing floral designs, gardening products, jewelry and more. But flowers aren’t the only thing your kids will love about this festival. It also features All Hallows Guild’s antique carousel, one of two surviving carousels dating from 1890.
When: May 1-2
Where: National Cathedral, 3101 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Cathedral Heights
Bethesda Fine Arts Festival
This year’s Bethesda Fine Arts festival features 130 artists in various genres including live rock, jazz and reggae music. Walk through the festival and peruse unique jewelry, clothing and furniture on display. Then stop by local restaurants to enjoy pizza, barbecue, sandwiches and ice cream.
When: May 9, 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.; May 10, 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
Where: Woodmont Triangle; along Norfolk, Auburn and Del Ray Ave.., Bethesda, MD
Enjoy a festival showcasing the diversity of Arlington’s food scene as Taste of Arlington becomes Quarterfest. This festival transforms Wilson Blvd. into a vibrant dining, shopping and family-fun festival for all ages. Experience a restaurant crawl showcasing eateries of the neighborhood and an extended two-day outdoor concert and pop-up street pub.
When: May 16, Noon-8:00 p.m.
Where: Wilson Blvd., between N. Taylor and N. Quincy Sts., Arlington, VA
The Rotary Club of Vienna sponsors the ViVa! Vienna! event, which celebrates the unity and strength of the Vienna community and honors Memorial Day. This event, a time of family fun and pleasure, serves as a major fund raising opportunity for the Rotary Club so that it may, in turn, provide support for charitable, educational, and community groups the following year. Rides, food and lots of family fun!
When: May 23-May 25, 10:00 a.m.-10:00 p.m.
Where: 245 Maple Ave. W., Vienna, VA
City of Falls Church 39th Annual Memorial Day Festival & Parade
Join over 10,000 visitors to City Hall grounds to enjoy the Don Beyer Fun Run; Veterans’ Ceremony; children’s activities; food, civic, and retail vendors; and of course – the parade!
When: May 25, 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
Where: City of Falls Church City Hall, 300 Park Ave, Falls Church, VA
The Herndon Festival takes place in historic downtown Herndon and attracts an average of 80,000 people each year. This outdoor festival provides a fun-filled experience by combining the joy of an outdoor concert with the thrill of a summertime carnival. There’s something for everyone.
When: May 28-May 31
Where: Northwest Federal Credit Union, 200 Spring St., Herndon, VA
Charles Village Festival
The Charles Village Festival brings together the entire Greater Charles Village community for a two-day festival that includes a block party with live music, a garden walk tour, and a 5k and 1k kids fun run. All proceeds raised from the event benefit local non-profit organizations.
When: May 30 11:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m.; May 31, 11:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.
Where: Wyman Park Dell; 29th and Charles St., Baltimore, MD
photo: John Cayetano via Unsplash
Washington Folk Festival
The Washington Folk Festival showcases the diversity of traditional music in the Washington area. All musicians, storytellers, dancers, and crafts people live in the greater Washington metropolitan area and volunteer their talents to put on the festival.
When: May 30-May 31, Noon- 7:00 p.m.
Where: Glen Echo Park; 7300 Macarthur Blvd., Glen Echo, MD
Old Town Festival of Speed and Style
The lower three blocks of King Street will be blocked off and vintage cars from the 50s, 60s, 70s and select luxury race cars will be on view. Join special fashion events and pop-ups around Old Town that make the event great for everyone. All proceeds will benefit charity partner ACT for Alexandria, a community foundation focused on increasing charitable investment and community engagement.
When: June 7
Where: 100 – 300 Blocks of King Street, Old Town Alexandria, VA
This annual festival features concerts on various stages, a comedy hypnotist and fireworks! Other fun experiences includes a petting zoo, carnival rides, a 5K race, karaoke competition and even a donut eating contest!
When: June 5-June 7
Where: 12000 Government Center Pkwy., Fairfax, VA
Celebrate children, art, and all things fun at Imagination Bethesda. Activity tents line the streets, face painters bring butterflies and pirates to life, a stage of live entertainment will have the whole street dancing and more!