7 Best Annual Cultural Events in Washington DC January to May

Washington, DC is famous for its annual celebrations of international arts and customs. Indeed, the nation’s capital offers some of the best cultural events in the country. Since the city is home to 175 foreign embassies, residences, diplomatic missions, and chanceries, it attracts a diverse cultural population to live and work in the region. Here are some of the largest and most popular cultural events in the Washington, DC area, running from January through May. These festivals provide a family-friendly and fun way to experience the food, arts, music, and food traditions of other countries.

  1. Chinese New Year

Several Chinese New Year events are held around the Washington, DC area, including the most popular one—the annual parade held in DC’s Chinatown in February or March. This traditional cultural event features live dance and music performances, kung fu and tai chi demonstrations, lion dancing, and children’s crafts.

  1. Francophonie Cultural Festival

March-April. The annual event held from March to April is an experience of exploration, discovery, and cultural sharing. It celebrates the diversity of the French-speaking world. It features artists from all cultural walks of life with theatrical performances, concerts, films, culinary tastings, children’s workshops, literary salons, and more.

  1. St. Patrick’s Day Events

Irish-themed parades are held each March to honor St. Patrick’s Day in Washington DC, Gaithersburg, Manassas, and Alexandria. The local Irish pubs offer special menus, and some participate in pub crawls. One of the biggest is ShamrockFest, a one-day music festival that is one of the biggest parties of the year.

  1. National Cherry Blossom Festival

The most popular spring cultural event in Washington, DC, the Cherry Blossom Festival entertains visitors from around the world who come to experience the city’s spectacular cherry blossoms as spring arrives. The 3,000-plus cherry trees honor the bond between American and Japanese cultures that began when Tokyo Mayor Yukio Ozaki gifted the trees back in 1912. 

The three-week event, held March through April, highlights Japanese traditions with a multitude of performances and special events.

  1. Cinco de Mayo Festival

This annual May celebration in Washington DC features live food, music and dance, games, children’s arts and crafts workshops, and activities for people of all ages. According to Personal Injury Law Firm In Washington DC, The festival, held on DC’s National Mall, has become an annual “Latin American Family Reunion.” 

  1. Passport DC

Each May, a city-wide event offers open houses and special programming at Washington, DC’s embassies and cultural organizations. Passport DC showcases the international side of the nation’s capital with a wide range of performances, exhibits, and talks. Washington, DC’s month-long festival pays tribute to the thriving international culture in the nation’s capital. As part of the festival, open houses at the District’s many embassies are held the first two Saturdays in May. You can tour a foreign embassy with the EU Open House and the Around the World Embassy Tour.

  1. Fiesta Asia

The Asian street fair, held in May, is Washington, DC’s is a month-long celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage. The event showcases Asian art with live performances by musicians, performance artists, and vocalists. It celebrates Asian culture with Pan-Asian cuisine, a multicultural marketplace, lion dance and martial arts demonstrations, cultural displays, and interactive activities.