Sign In
The White House | ©  John Haslam / Flickr
The White House | © John Haslam / Flickr
Save to wishlist

15 Important Events Taking Place in Washington, D.C. in 2017

Picture of Summer Whitford
Updated: 28 January 2017
Washingtonians take their sports and politics seriously, but Washington, D.C. also boasts a diverse restaurant scene, world-class museums and performance centers, a growing tech industry, and outstanding cultural programs. History is made here every day, and judging from the media frenzy surrounding the President-elect so far, it looks like the lineup of events for 2017 is already shaping up to be, well, historical.


HISTORY | Yes, the Inauguration will be totally spectacular, as will be the food

📅 Thursday, January, 19th – Saturday, January 21st

If it’s pomp and circumstance you want, the Presidential Inauguration Ceremonies have it. The minute they announce the schedule of events, the scramble for tickets to the President’s swearing-in, the inaugural address and inaugural balls begins. Not everyone can score a golden ticket, but you can still watch the main event on Jumbotrons on the National Mall, wave to the President and his family as they walk from the Capitol to the White House, or get in the mood with inauguration-themed food and drinks.

Tickets: Varied

📍 U.S. Capitol Building, East Capitol St. NE and First St. SE, Washington, D.C., USA

HISTORY | Join The Gathering for Justice and March in Washington

📅 Saturday, January 21st

Forget about red and blue states, and be a part of the bi-partisan crowd of close to 200,000 people at the Women’s March on Washington. The Gathering for Justice is marching for women’s rights, and it’s sure to be a national news event. Just make sure you register so that organizers have a head count.

Tickets: Free

📍 Independence Ave. and 3rd St. SW, Washington, D.C., USA

FOOD | Be cool for Black History Month, eat lunch at Famous Sweet Home Café

📅 Monday, February 20th

Feed your appetite and your soul and go to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture to celebrate Black History Month. And while you’re there, grab a bite at Famous Sweet Home Café. It’s D.C.’s number one museum restaurant, and the staff can teach you about the enormous contributions Black cooks have made to America’s culinary traditions and regional cuisines.

Tickets: $13.50 museum entry fee plus the cost of lunch

📍 Famous Sweet Home Café, 1400 Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, D.C., USA

DANCE | Slip into the dreamy world of ballerinas and princes with Giselle

📅 Wednesday, March 1st – Sunday, March 5th

Few ballets are as exquisitely romantic as Giselle, first staged in Paris in 1841. Thanks to a melodic score and ethereal choreography by Jean Coralli, Jules Perrot, and Marius Petipa, it’s still one of the most famous ballets in the classic repertoire. Don’t miss The Washington Ballet‘s performance as it will melt your heart.

Tickets: $33–130

📍 Eisenhower Theater, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 2700 F St. NW, Washington, D.C., USA, +1 202 467 4600


FESTIVAL | Hug a Japanese cherry tree and fly a kite during the Cherry Blossom Festival

📅 Monday, March 20th – Sunday, April 16th

When March and April arrive, it’s time to think pink in D.C. because it’s time for the Cherry Blossom Festival. What began as a gift of 3,000 pink flowering cherry trees from the Mayor of Tokyo to Washington, D.C. in 1912 is now a huge annual event that includes a colorful parade, a kite festival, fireworks, live music and dance, and a celebration of Japanese food and culture.

Tickets: Varied

📍 The Tidal Basin and other addresses in Washington, D.C., USA

SPORTS | President Lincoln loves the Nats Opening Day, really

📅 Monday, April 3rd – Thursday, April 6th

Opening Day at Nationals Park means it’s time for Washington Nationals fans to grab a beer and brat, sharpen their scorekeeping pencils, and watch the Nats play the first of three games against the Florida Marlins. And don’t miss the Racing Presidents’ fourth inning sprint; it’s hilarious.

Tickets: Varied

📍 Nationals Park, 1500 S Capitol St. SE, Washington, D.C., USA, +1 202 675 6287

CULTURE | Leave your suitcase behind and see the world one embassy at a time

📅 Monday, May 1st – Wednesday, May 31st

Passport DC is THE international event for more than 200,000 culture vultures and travel bugs, and this year, 70 embassies will open their doors to the public. Guests can leave their suitcases at home and still feel like they’ve visited each country by attending food and wine tastings, dance and music performances, art exhibits, and cultural programs.

Tickets: Free with varied costs

📍 Multiple Locations in Washington, D.C., USA

MUSIC | Be cool and lay on the grass while Diana Krall sings

📅 Saturday, June 24th

D.C.’s jazz heritage is legit; it’s inherited from native son Duke Ellington, so fans expect the best. No problem. Jazz singer and pianist Diana Krall never misses a beat and has five Grammys to prove it. Plus, she’s the only jazz singer to have eight albums debut at the top of the “Billboard Jazz Albums.” You can catch her smoky voice and smooth piano performance at Wolf Trap this summer.

Tickets: Varied

📍 Wolf Trap Farm Park, 1551 Trap Road, Vienna, VA, USA, +1 703 255 1800


ART | Marlene Dietrich gave good face

📅 Tuesday, June 16, 2017 – Sunday, April 15, 2018

You may not know this, but Marlene Dietrich was more than a Hollywood star and was ahead of her time. Long before Madonna did her thing, Marlene was a trailblazer who rejected accepted norms of female beauty and made androgyny sexy and appealing. Her unique fashion sense was shocking back then, but it has inspired generations in the LGBTQ community. Marlene Dietrich: Dressed for the Image is a photographic tribute honoring her life and style.

Tickets: Free

📍 National Portrait Gallery, 8th St. and F St. NW, Washington, D.C., USA, +1 202 633 8300

FESTIVAL | What happens when you join the circus? Find out at the Folklife Festival

📅 Thursday, June 29th – Tuesday, July 4th & Thursday, July 6th – Sunday, July 9th

For 50 years, thousands of visitors have headed to the National Mall to participate in the Smithsonian’s Folklife Festival. They come to experience the foodways, heritage, crafts, and history of cultures from around the globe. This year, the focus is on circus arts and folk traditions expressed by NEA grant recipients. Get a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to be an acrobat, fly on the high trapeze, juggle, or be a clown.

Tickets: free and varied

📍 The National Mall between Seventh St. and 12th St., NW, Washington, D.C., USA

CULTURE | Celebrate America’s star-spangled birthday

📅 Tuesday, July 4th

Celebrating American Independence Day where George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams served as president is the ultimate patriotic party. Thousands come for the star-studded A Capitol Fourth Concert on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol, but you get a better view of the country’s best fireworks at the Tidal Basin and Washington Monument. Just look up, and you’ll see a display that rivals the stars.

Tickets: free

📍 U.S. Capitol Building, East Capitol St. NE, and First St. SE, Washington, D.C., USA

FOOD | You can thank the Turks for your next great meal

📅 Friday, September 9th – Sunday, September 18th

Savor the incredibly varied cuisine of the eastern Mediterranean during Turkish Restaurant Week. It’s organized by the American-Turkish Association of Washington D.C. as part of D.C.’s Turkish Heritage Month, and if you play your cards right, you can enjoy many more Turkish delights at the Turkish Festival the following week. It’s a chance for D.C. food lovers to eat like a sultan on a paltry sum.

Tickets: three-course prix-fixe lunch $25, four-course prix-fixe dinner $35

Note: price is per person and excludes tax and gratuity


MUSIC | Get funky now with Bruno Mars

📅 Friday, September 29th – Saturday, September 30th

Bruno Mars’ music defies easy labels, and since he gave up being an Elvis impersonator, it has become fun and funky. Now, he has a unique sound that’s a little soul with pop, hip-hop, rock, reggae, and R&B. In the fall, he’s performing at Verizon Center, but you shouldn’t wait to buy tickets; they will sell out quickly.

Tickets: Varied

📍 Verizon Center, 601 F St. NW, Washington, D.C., USA, +1 202 628 3200

HOLIDAYS | Do the right thing on Veterans Day

📅 Saturday, November 11th

No national holiday is as solemn as Veterans Day, and Washington has dozens of military monuments, ceremonies, and sites, from every war, that honor the sacrifices of veterans and active duty troops. The most visually compelling and emotionally moving observance is the National Veterans Day Ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, which includes a wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknown and flags for every soldier that made the sacrifice for his or her country.

Tickets: Free

📍 Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA, USA, +1 877 907 8585

HOLIDAYS | Add lottery tickets to your Christmas to-do list

📅 First of December – January 1st, 2018 TBA

For 95 years, the National Christmas Tree and its ceremonial lighting by the President have defined Christmas in Washington. Displayed on the White House Ellipse, the tree shares the space with 56 individually decorated smaller trees that represent the states and territories. Each night, they all have front row seats to live Christmas music and entertainment.

Tickets: Free, by lottery only

📍 White House Ellipse, 1450 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, D.C., USA, +1 202 208 1631