Things to Do

July in Washington

Beat the heat—or at least make the best of it—with these midsummer activities. From fireworks and free movies on the Mall to theater and hip-hop performances throughout Washington, our roundup of July events has your calendar covered.

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 Mall (between Seventh and 14th streets, Northwest). 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 music, 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.

June 29 through July 5: AT&T National Golf Tournament
Golf lovers should head to Congressional Country Club in Bethesda for this star-studded PGA tournament, now in its third year. It’ll bring out more than 100 professional golfers, including Tiger Woods, who’ll be hosting and participating in the event. Woods will take on defending champion Anthony Kim for the title and a winner’s prize of more than a million dollars. Tickets to watch the event range from $25 for a one-day pass to $425 for a Capital Club pass, which includes a full lunch, afternoon hors d’oeuvres, parking, access to the Grey Goose Lounge, and more. Youth tickets—for kids ages 13 to 17—start at $10. Kids under 13 are free with a paid adult (limited to two children per adult). Click here for tickets.

July 4: Independence Day Celebration
What better place to celebrate the nation’s birthday than in the nation’s capital? Festivities start at 11:45 AM with a parade down Constitution Avenue from Seventh to 17th Street, Northwest. More than 100 military and specialty units will participate along with marching bands, floats, and Washington VIPs. In the afternoon, there’s live entertainment on the Mall, and at the White House Visitor Center there are games, crafts, and other activities for kids. From 8 to 9:30 PM, the National Symphony Orchestra takes the stage on the west lawn of the Capitol; the orchestra is typically joined by celebrities and soloists. The fireworks show, which is the main event, follows at around 9:15. The lawn usually opens for the concert at 3, but expect long lines for security. Plan on arriving early to get a good spot.

July 4: Independence Day at Mount Vernon
Mount Vernon, the site of George Washington’s home, hosts a daylong Fourth of July celebration, complete with 18th-century music, a reading of the Declaration of Independence, a performance of the National Concert Band of America, and free slices of birthday cake. Admission is $15 for ages 12 and up, $7 for ages 6 through 11, free under age 6.

July 7 through 12: Hip-Hop Theater Festival
Every summer, this music festival hits DC at venues throughout the city, including the Kennedy Center, Studio Theatre, Woodrow Wilson Plaza, and more. Catch free performances by national and international artists. Check the Web site for more details.

July 9, 16, and 23: Sunset Serenades at the National Zoo
Head to the National Zoo on Thursday nights from 6:30 to 8 for free family-friendly concerts. Musical acts from nearly every genre perform on a stage on the zoo’s Lion/Tiger Hill. You can bring a picnic or purchase snacks at the Mane Restaurant.

July 9 through 26: Capital Fringe Festival
The Capital Fringe Festival celebrates experimental art and theater. For 18 days at venues throughout DC, it packs in hundreds of performances of contemporary theater, dance, music, poetry, and puppetry, performed by local, national, and international artists. There are also panel and roundtable discussions with performers on Mondays and Tuesdays during the festival. Most events require tickets ($15 plus a one-time purchase of a festival button for $5), and packages to see multiple performances are available. Tickets go on sale June 22 on the festival’s Web site and by phone at 866-811-4111. Starting July 7, tickets can also be purchased at the box office at 607 New York Avenue, Northwest.

July 26 through August 1: Loudoun County Fair
This old-fashioned, country-style fair runs for a week at the Loudoun County Fairgrounds in Leesburg. It includes carnival rides, animal exhibits, crafts, and performances. Some of the don’t-miss events are the motorcycle-stunt shows (July 28 at 6:30 and 8 PM), a build-your-own outhouse race (July 29 at 8), and professional bull-riding and barrel-racing shows (July 30 at 8 and August 1 at 7:30). Daily-passes are $10 for adults and $5 for kids ages 6 to 12; weekly passes are $25 for adults and $10 for kids (advance-sale discounts are available). Kids under age 6, seniors over age 61, and military personnel are free.

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 55 M Street, Southeast, a mixed-use development in DC’s 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 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.