April in Washington

It’s spring! Celebrate the season with cherry blossoms, jazz, Shakespeare, and more.

By: Emily Leaman

March 28 through April 12: National Cherry Blossom Festival
For two weeks every spring, the 3,000 cherry trees on the National Mall come to life. What better way to celebrate the blooms than with the National Cherry Blossom Festival? This citywide celebration features hundreds of special events and performances that commemorate the gift of the trees from Japan and celebrate the country’s culture and traditions. This year’s can’t-miss events include the Kite Festival on the Mall (March 28), a parade along Constitution Avenue (April 4), fireworks over the Southwest DC waterfront (April 11), and daily stage performances at the Tidal Basin. Check the festival’s calendar for a full list of events.

April 13: White House Easter-Egg Roll

Kids are invited to the White House lawn for the annual Easter-Egg Roll. The free event includes storytelling, a visit with the Easter Bunny, egg coloring, music, face painting, and more. Tickets for this event—distributed by the National Park Service on a to-be-disclosed date—go fast, so get there early on the day they become available. More information will be available here closer to the event date.

April 16 through 26: Filmfest DC
Washington annual international film festival celebrates its 23rd birthday with movies from dozens of countries at multiple theaters. Showtimes are usually throughout the day and evening. In the past, the festival has included an opening-night gala and events for kids. Details about this year’s festival will be available on Filmfest DC’s Web site.

April 17 through 19: Bethesda Literary Festival
Celebrate reading at the Bethesda Literary Festival, and meet novelists, poets, journalists, and more. Events are free and held throughout Bethesda. Past events have included a poetry slam, children’s story time, and a standup-comedy show. Details for this year’s event will be available at Bethesda.org.

April 17 through 29: Big Band Jam
This jazz festival features ensembles from Washington high schools and the military, jazz workshops, roundtable discussions, and children’s activities. Events take place throughout Washington.

April 18 through 25: Virginia Garden Week
More than 250 gardens from the Allegheny Mountains to the Atlantic Ocean take part in this annual open-house event. There are lots of tours locally, including ones in Old Town Alexandria (April 18), Leesburg (April 19 and 20), and McLean (April 21). Tickets, available online starting February 1, range from $10 to $35 per event.

April 23 through 26: Smithsonian Craft Show
Now in its 27th year, the Smithsonian Craft Show displays the work of 120 artists from across the country. This year’s participants were chosen from more than 1,300 applicants, and their crafts include basketry, ceramics, furniture, glass, jewelry, leather, and more. All items will be for sale at the National Building Museum. Tickets are $15 and $12; under age 13 free. Thursday and Friday 10 to 8, Saturday 10 to 6, Sunday 11 to 5.

April 26: Shakespeare’s Birthday Open House
William Shakespeare turns 445 this year—and what better way to celebrate than with a party at the Folger Shakespeare Library. Jugglers and jesters will be on hand for music and entertainment while you tour the library’s private reading rooms. Kids will enjoy a host of activities and crafts, including quill-pen writing, brooch- and potpourri-making, and more. Queen Elizabeth I will bring the cake and cut it, too. Noon to 4 pm; free.

April 30 through May 9: Passport DC
For more than a week, many of DC’s embassies will open their doors to the public in a massive open house that will feature street fairs, dance and music performances, food tastings, and art exhibitions. Don’t miss the International Children’s Festival (May 9), a kids-oriented fair promoting cultural exchange.

This article is part of Washingtonian.com’s Visitors’ Guide. For more articles like it, click here. If you’re visiting in a different month, check out our City Schedule for events happening throughout the year.