DC Travel Guide  |  Things to Do

April in Washington

In April, look for cherry blossoms, Easter eggs, music, films, and more. Read on for what to do throughout the month.

March 27 through April 11: National Cherry Blossom Festival
One of Washington’s most popular annual events, the National Cherry Blossom Festival celebrates Tokyo’s gift of 3,020 cherry trees to the city of Washington in 1912. It includes fireworks (April 3), a parade (April 10), a Japanese street festival (April 10), and a ten-mile run (April 11). This year’s peak-bloom date—the day that the cherry blossoms are predicted to be at their biggest and brightest—is April 4. For more information on the festival, including a schedule of events, go here.

April 5: 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 10 through May 9: DC Design House
Twenty designers converge on a house each year as part of the DC Design House project. They pool their talents to showcase the latest in home renovation and interior design as part of a fundraiser for the Children’s Hospital Foundation of Children’s National Medical Center. This year’s subject house is a Beaux Arts-style home in Chevy Chase that was the site of President Harry Truman’s inauguration party. The home will be open to the public in mid-April. Tour tickets are usually around $20 a person. For more information, go here.

April 15 through 25: Filmfest DC
Washington’s annual international film festival celebrates its 24th year 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, plus panel discussions with filmmakers. Details will be available on Filmfest DC’s Web site.

April 16 through 18: Bethesda Literary Festival
Celebrate reading at the Bethesda Literary Festival, and meet well-known novelists, poets, journalists, and more. Events are free and held throughout Bethesda. This year’s festival includes writing contests for youth and adults. Details will be available at Bethesda.org.

April 16 through 25: Big Band Jam
This jazz festival features ensembles from high schools, colleges, and the military, plus professional and amateur groups. There are also jazz workshops, roundtable discussions, and children’s activities. Events take place throughout Washington at venues including Blues Alley, Strathmore, the Kennedy Center, and Sylvan Amphitheater.

April 17 through 25: Virginia Garden Week
More than 250 gardens from the Allegheny Mountains to the Atlantic Ocean are part of this annual open-house event. Local tours include Old Town Alexandria (April 17) and Fairfax (April 20). Tickets, available here, range from $10 to $35 per event; guidebooks are $6.

April 22 through 25: Smithsonian Craft Show
Now in its 28th year, the Smithsonian Craft Show displays the work of 120 artists from across the country. Participants are chosen from more than 1,300 applicants, and their media include basketry, ceramics, furniture, glass, jewelry, leather, and more. All items will be for sale at the National Building Museum. Tickets are $15 ($12 for seniors); under age 13 free. Thursday and Friday 10 to 8, Saturday 10 to 6, Sunday 11 to 5.

April 25: Shakespeare’s Birthday Open House
William Shakespeare turns 446 this year—what better way to celebrate than with a party at the Folger Shakespeare Library? From noon to 4, jugglers and jesters will be on hand for music and entertainment while you tour the library’s private reading rooms. Kids can 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. Free. 

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.