Things to Do

March in Washington

In March, Washingtonians get the first glimpse of spring, and we celebrate with festivals, events, and activities galore. Check out Saint Patrick’s Day parades, film festivals, a cake competition, the National Cherry Blossom Festival, and much more.

March 4 through 15: Washington DC Independent Film Festival and Music Festival
Check out feature films, shorts, animation, and documentaries by filmmakers from Washington and around the world. At night, musicians take the stage for the annual independent-music festival. Local jazz, blues, rock, soul, and other acts will perform at venues throughout the area. Passes, starting at $50, to events in both festivals are on sale here; individual tickets will be on sale soon.

March 6 through 8: Antiques in Alexandria
Check out the wares of 60 dealers offering furniture, silver, porcelain, folk art, clocks, jewelry, and more. The event is held at Flippin Field House at Episcopal High School in Alexandria. Doors open at 11 AM every day and close at 8 on Friday, 6 on Saturday, and 5 on Sunday. For serious antiques buffs, there will be a preview party on Thursday, March 5, from 7 to 10 PM. Tickets are $15, and proceeds benefit three Alexandria charities.

March 7: Alexandria’s Saint Patrick’s Day Parade
This event features car and dog shows along with the parade. Local scouts will march with high-school bands, elected officials, the Irish ambassador, and others. The rain date is Sunday, March 14. The car show starts at 10, the dog show at 10:30, and the parade at 12:30. The parade travels the length of King Street in Old Town.

March 7 and 8: Dance Bethesda
Watch performances by six regional dance companies or get in on the action yourself by taking advantage of salsa, cha-cha, and hip-hop lessons at Bethesda dance studios. Some classes are free, and some require a fee. The professional dance recitals are ticketed events.

March 11 through 22: DC Environmental Film Festival
More than 24,000 people are expected to turn out for this year’s festival. More than 115 films will be screened 45-plus venues throughout Washington. Tickets and schedule information for this year’s event have not yet been announced, but you can sign up for the mailing list here to receive the latest information in your in-box.

March 13 though 15: National Capital Boat Show
The Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly, Virginia, will host this boat-lover’s-fantasy event. On hand will be fishing boats, ski boats, runabouts, motor yachts, and personal watercraft alongside displays of maritime products and services. Tickets are $8 for adults, $2 for ages 6 to 16, free for age 5 and under. A bonus: Parking is also free.

March 14: Gaithersburg’s Saint Patrick’s Day Parade
The parade takes place at Washingtonian Center in Gaithersburg—it begins at the Corner Bakery and ends at Kohls—and includes Irish dancers, pipe bands, fire trucks, police, and more. Festivities get under way at 11 AM.

March 14: National Shamrock Fest
This massive Saint Patrick’s Day party starts at noon at RFK Stadium. The ten-hour street festival features food, drinks, activities and games, carnival rides, and 50 bands and DJs performing on 11 stages. Tickets start at $19.99 but go up in price—as high as $39—as the event approaches. Purchase tickets online here.

March 15: Washington’s Saint Patrick’s Day Parade
Floats, marching bands, military, police, fire trucks, and more will make their way down Constitution Avenue from Seventh to 17th streets, Northwest. The parade starts at noon.

March 18 through 22: Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey present Over the Top
The circus is coming to town! Over the Top centers around ringmaster Chuck Wagner and a clown, who fight over a magical top hat that controls the circus. Of course, the usual circus acts—elephants, trapeze, acrobats, and more—will be on hand. The show is held at the Verizon Center several times each day. Advance ticket sales are January 4 through February 2; regular sales start February 8. Tickets ($14 to $95) are required for everyone ages age two and up. Tickets are available through

March 19 through 22: Washington Home and Garden Show
This annual event features flower and garden displays, landscapers who offer tips, and a garden marketplace with everything from fountains to exotic bulbs. For inside the home, there’s booths for kitchens, baths, flooring, professional-grade appliances, and much more. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for ages 6 to 12, and free under age 6. The show starts at 11 AM on Thursday, Friday, and Sunday, at 10 on Saturday.

March 21: SunTrust National Marathon
Runners will begin at RFK Stadium and race 26.2 miles through Washington neighborhoods and the National Mall. The race, which benefits local youth organizations, is a qualifier for the Boston Marathon. Online registration ($95) closes March 15; latecomers can register for $110 at the National Marathon Health & Fitness Expo at the DC Armory on March 20. The race starts at 7 AM.

March 21 and 22: National Capital Area Cake Show
Sweet-tooths rejoice! The National Capital Area Cake Show will take place at Lake Braddock Secondary School in Burke, Virginia. The event includes competitions for wedding cakes, everyday cakes, cookies, gingerbread, sugar, and chocolate. There will also be classes, demonstrations, cake vendors, and Live Cake Challenges with Food Network stars Zane Beg, Michelle Bommarito, Warren Brown, Norm Davis, Jason Ellis, Colette Peters, Buddy Valastro, and more.

March 28 through April 12: National Cherry Blossom Festival
This annual celebration of spring brings thousands of visitors to Washington each year. The festival celebrates Tokyo’s gift of 3,000 cherry trees to the people of Washington in 1912. Though crowds tend to congregate at the Tidal Basin—where many of the trees are planted—the festival hosts events throughout the city. One of the highlights is the Smithsonian Kite Festival (March 28), held on the grounds of the Washington Monument. The theme this year is ecofriendliness and green living, so each kite will be made from renewable resources. Another highlight is the fireworks show on April 11. It gets under way rain or shine at 8:30 PM.

This article is part of’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.