Spring is springing early, and it’s a beautiful time to be in Washington, DC! It’s also the most popular tourism time because of the many many MANY school trips that happen between March and June each year. So if you find yourself planning a trip to DC this spring (or tagging along with your kid!), here are my top 10 spring time activities to make your trip the best!
10. Check out the Zoo (FREE)
The Smithsonian Zoo is free and is accessible from the Red Line. It’s a little farther off the beaten path from the things large groups typically do in DC, so it’s not constantly crowded like events and attractions close to the National Mall. And they have pandas!
9. Enjoy the Blooms (FREE)
For DC in winter, I recommend the Botanic Gardens. But in springtime, I encourage you to watch DC come into it’s best colors! The cherry blossoms will be blooming, but only for a short time. Not to fear, though, because all the flowers come out to play all throughout the spring!
8. Parades (FREE)
Spring season is parade season! Nearby Alexandria has firm roots in Irish tradition, so the weekend before St. Patrick’s Day brings a tremendous parade through its Old Town area. The Cherry Blossom Festival Parade takes place rain or shine to celebrate the gift of the trees from Japan in 1912. And DC’s Memorial Day Parade is one you won’t forget!
7. Take in a Baseball Game ($12-$370)
It’s America’s Pastime, and it’s a sure sign of spring! Summer games can be too hot, fall games can get too chilly, but springtime games are just right! Washington Nationals games are so much fun, so be sure to get there early. You can meet the “presidents” and watch them race (ALWAYS root for Teddy), try out Ben’s Chili Bowl, and don’t forget your “Curly W” pretzel!
6. Buskers (FREE; tips appreciated!)
Head over to Old Town Alexandria for an afternoon or evening and head to the waterfront. You’ll find magicians, caricaturists, and dancers. You’ll hear a harpist, singers of every sort, and my favorite: the glass harpist!
5. Walk the Mall (FREE)
There is never a bad time to walk the National Mall, but spring is certainly one of the most pleasant times of year for it.
4. Around the World Embassy Tour (FREE)
DC may be the US capital city, but it’s also home to foreign embassies of the world! They are peppered throughout DC and the surrounding area, but a large portion of them are in DC’s Georgetown neighborhood. The Around the World Embassy Tour happens the first Saturday in May, and you can walk around to many of the different embassies to try authentic foods, crafts, and activities! Just make sure to bring your government-issued ID (like a driver’s license). These are official government buildings of the world, after all!
3. Running Events (Cost Varies)
Spring is the perfect time of year to get out and enjoy the outdoors. As long as you don’t let any allergens get the better of you, you can enjoy some incredible running in DC! Whether you want distance, fun runs, historic trails, or charity events, you can find a scenic and enjoyable run around one of the most active cities in America!
2. The Kennedy Center (FREE)
Aside from the opera, ballet, plays, etc., the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts also offers an amazing FREE tour from 10-5 every day and FREE shows every night at 6:00 pm on the Millennium Stage! If you want to do something wonderful in DC without the hefty spring crowds, take the Metro to Foggy Bottom and walk or take the free shuttle (running every 30 minutes) to the Kennedy Center.
1. The Cherry Blossom Festival (FREE; 2017 Peak Bloom March 19-22 but subject to change)
The cherry blossoms and the Cherry Blossom Festival are DC’s official kick off to spring! Japan gifted 100 cherry blossom trees to the United States in 1912, and now there are thousands of trees all around DC and the DC Metro area! They only bloom about 2 weeks in late March to early April, and peak blooms are only out two or three days, so you have to be watchful and hope for the best when you’re in town!
Need a little help figuring out how to get around? Here is your Guide to DC’s Metro!