Things to Do

June in Washington

Plan a visit during this jam-packed month, and take advantage of some of Washington’s most-loved events including the National Capital Barbecue Battle and the Smithsonian Folklife Festival.

June 5 through 7: Celebrate Fairfax! Festival
Check out more than 400 vendors, artisans, and family activities at this annual community festival at the Fairfax County Government Center. Concerts will be held on five stages throughout the grounds, with performances by Blues Traveler, the Fixx, and more. If you have kids in tow, head over to the Children’s Avenue tent, where they can visit a petting zoo, climbing wall, musical stage, and model-train exhibit. Tickets are on sale here starting May 5 at early-bird prices. The event runs Friday 6 PM to midnight, Saturday 10 AM to midnight, Sunday 10 to 6.

June 5 through 14: Capital Pride
This festival celebrates Washington’s gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender individuals and communities and their cultural and civil-rights achievements. Now in its 34th year, the event includes educational opportunities and civic and social events, including an interfaith service (June 9), a comedy showcase (June 10), and a bachelor and bachelorette auction (June 11). The event culminates with a parade through DC’s Dupont and Logan circles on Saturday starting at 6:30 PM and a street festival on Sunday along Pennsylvania Avenue, Northwest. Closest Metro stop for the parade: Dupont Circle (Red Line); closest for the festival: Archives/Navy Memorial/Penn Quarter (Yellow and Green).

June 5 through 15: Duke Ellington Jazz Festival
This tribute to one of Washington’s music legends is now in its fifth year. Local and international jazz artists converge to play concerts at venues around the city. This year’s festival, which is themed Celebrating New Orleans, will culminate on June 15 with the presentation of a lifetime-achievement award to New Orleans jazz hero Ellis Marsalis. A concert featuring Branford, Wynton, Delfeayo, and Jason Marsalis, Harry Connick Jr., and Dr. Billy Taylor will accompany the award ceremony. While tickets are required for some events, many are free, including three performances—two of which are all-day extravaganzas—on the National Mall.

June 6: Imagination Bethesda

Geared toward kids under 13, this street festival includes face painters, dance troupes, and hands-on art activities. Woodmont Avenue between Bethesda Avenue and Elm Street. Free. 11 to 4. Closest Metro: Bethesda (Red Line).

June 6 and 7: Dupont-Kalorama Museum Walk
Each year in June, museums near DC’s Dupont Circle team up to offer free admission to their exhibits and family-friendly activities. This year, the group is partnering with the Washington Area Bicyclist Association to organize bike tours between the museums and facilitate bike parking. Participating museums are Anderson House, Fondo del Sol Visual Arts Center, Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National Historic Site, the National Museum of American Jewish Military History, the Phillips Collection, the Textile Museum, Dumbarton House, the General Federation of Women’s Clubs, and the Woodrow Wilson House. Hours for each museum vary, so check the Web sites before heading out. Closest Metro: Dupont Circle (Red Line).

June 6 and 7: Dance Africa

DC’s Dance Place celebrates African dance and music with this annual festival. In addition to visual arts, food, clothing, and crafts, dance performances will be held at 3 and 8 PM on Saturday and Sunday. Matinee tickets are $25 ($20 in advance), evening tickets $30 ($25 in advance), $10 for those under 18 at all performances. Closest Metro: Brookland-CUA (Red Line).

June 6 and 7: Food & Wine Festival at National Harbor

Now in its second year, National Harbor’s nosh-and-sip fest includes kids’ cooking demonstrations and activities, seminars and demonstrations with guest chefs, a Belgian-beer cafe, and samples of boutique wines and artisanal fare, such as cheese, bread, chocolate, coffee, teas, and ice cream. Special events, such as a pirate cruise and clambake, will also be on tap. Tickets, which give you unlimited tastings, are available here at early-bird prices ranging from $15 to $65; children under six are free. The event runs Saturday from noon to 8 and Sunday from noon to 6.

June 7: Alexandria Symphony Orchestra Children’s Festival

Grab your kids and head over to the Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall and Arts Center for the ASO’s Children’s Festival, featuring musical selections from The Chronicles of Narnia, Lord of the Rings, and more. Kids can also participate in art activities and an “instrument petting zoo.” Ticket are $5, and the event runs from 2 to 4 PM. Closest Metro: Pentagon (Blue and Yellow lines), then take the 7A Metrobus toward Landmark and get off at North Beauregard Street and Fillmore Avenue.

June 12 and 13: Reston Town Center Taste of the Town

One of Northern Virginia’s largest outdoor food festivals, Reston’s Taste of the Town, at Reston Town Center, offers tastings from area eateries, live music, a beer-and-wine garden, and kid-friendly activities and games. Admission and parking are free, but tastings require tickets. Friday 3 to 11, Saturday noon to 11.

June 15 through 22: SilverDocs Film Festival
More than 100 films will be screened during this eight-day documentary film festival, which is expected to see more than 25,000 attendees. Screenings will be held at AFI Silver Theatre, Discovery Communications World Headquarters, and the Round House Theatre. In addition to film showings, there will also be roundtable discussions and an idea-pitching forum for filmmakers and interested participants. Festival passes are on sale starting at $125; tickets for individual screenings ($10) go on sale May 28 and can be purchased through the SilverDocs Web site.

June 24 through 28 and July 1 through 5: Smithsonian Folklife Festival
Learn about cultures around the world at the annual Folklife Festival on the National Mall (between Seventh and 14th streets). The Smithsonian packs the two-week event with music, food, dancing, crafts, cooking demonstrations, and outdoor exhibits from a diverse sampling of world cultures. This year, Latino culture in the Americas, African-American culture and traditions, and the nation of Wales will be highlighted. Open daily 11 to 5:30; evening events start at 6. Call 202-633-7484 during the festival to find out about daily events. Free. Closest Metro: Smithsonian (Orange and Blue lines).

June 27 and 28: National Capital Barbecue Battle
You’ll probably be able to skip lunch—and maybe dinner—if you check out the National Capital Barbecue Battle, held along Pennsylvania Avenue, Northwest, between Ninth and 14th streets. Sample ribs, pulled pork, beef brisket, and more as barbecue teams duke it out for $40,000 in cash and prizes. There will also be cooking demonstrations, children’s activities, live music on three stages, and celebrity appearances. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for kids ages 6 to 12, under age 6 free. Closest Metro: Archives-Navy Memorial-Penn Quarter (Green and Yellow lines).

June 27 and 28: DC Caribbean Carnival
This annual festival features performances by local bands and artists who hail from Caribbean countries as well as food, crafts, and entertainment. The don’t-miss event is the parade (Saturday starting at 11), which travels down Georgia Avenue from Missouri Avenue to Barry Place. The parade ends at the carnival grounds at Banneker Recreation Park. Admission to the carnival is $10. Open Saturday noon to 9, Sunday noon to 7. Closest Metro: Shaw-Howard University (Green and Yellow lines).

May 22 through September 11: Jazz in the Garden
Friday nights from 5 to 8:30, enjoy free jazz concerts in the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden. Bring a blanket and picnic dinner or enjoy a sushi platter and a cheese-and-fruit plate from the Pavilion Café.

May 29 through July 5: Artomatic

This free multimedia arts event features the work of local visual artists, musicians, and performers. Held at Half Street, a mixed-use development in the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood, the event includes dance and theater performances, art installations and exhibits, poetry readings, open-mike opportunities, and more. Exhibits are open on Wednesday and Thursday noon to 10, Friday and Saturday noon to 1 AM, Sunday from noon to 10; closed Monday and Tuesday. Closest Metro: Navy Yard (Green Line).

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.