Explore D.C.

Located in the heart of the city, GW gives students the opportunity to explore all of what Washington, D.C. has to offer. From monthly festivals, world-class museums to its lively nightlife you can find almost everything you hoped for right here in D.C. Start exploring today!

Festivals and Seasonal Activities


District Oktoberfest

The District Oktoberfest is D.C.’s Official Kickoff to the best month of the year! Participants enjoy one premium 12-ounce Oktoberfest beer at each venue they visit included in their ticket in this awesome weekend of fun, excitement, entertainment and of course, excellent beer. You also get specials on food pairings, liquor pairings and additional beers. A portion of ALL proceeds will go to local charities.

Taste of D.C.

Taste of D.C. serves up the area’s best eateries, specialty wine, and craft beers along with live musical acts, cooking demonstrations. Taste of D.C. is held on historic Pennsylvania Avenue in downtown D.C. at the foot of the Capitol.


Ice Skating on the National Mall

Every winter the National Gallery of Art opens its outdoor ice skating rink to the public. The ice rink is typically open from mid-November to early March.

National Christmas Tree Lighting

Each year the National Park Service hosts the lighting of a National Christmas Tree at the White House to kick off the holiday season. The decorations are unique each year and visitors from around the world come to check out the displays and live performances throughout the holiday season. Free tickets are offered to the public through a lottery system.

Restaurant Week

More than 250 of Washington, D.C.’s finest restaurants offer 3-course lunches and 3-course dinners for a fixed price. Cuisines include Contemporary American, Mexican, French, Mediterranean, Italian, Southern, Seafood, Spanish, California, Pan-Asian and more!


Join the thousands of visitors who make ZooLights a part of their annual holiday tradition. A free 34-day event, ZooLights includes live music performances, tasty winter treats, and plenty of opportunities for holiday shopping. More than 500,000 environmentally-friendly LED lights transform the Zoo into a winter wonderland.


Cherry Blossom Festival

Each year, the National Cherry Blossom Festival commemorates the 1912 gift of 3,000 cherry trees from Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo to the city of Washington, D.C. The gift and annual celebration honor the lasting friendship between the United States and Japan and the continued close relationship between the two countries.

Eastern Market

Located in the heart of the historic Capitol Hill neighborhood, Eastern Market is D.C.’s destination for fresh food, community events, and on weekends, local farm-fresh produce and handmade arts and crafts. For more than 136 years, Eastern Market has served as a community hub, connecting neighbors, families and visitors.

Funk Parade

The Funk Parade is a one-of-a-kind day fair, parade and music festival, celebrating Washington, D.C.’s vibrant music and arts, the U Street neighborhood, and the spirit of funk that brings us all together.

Passport D.C.

Passport D.C. is a month-long journey around the world highlighting D.C.’s thriving international diplomatic community and its lively and varied culture. Celebrated annually in May, which is International Cultural Awareness Month in Washington, Passport D.C. is 31 days of programming by 70 embassies and more than 40 of D.C.’s very best cultural institutions.

Shamrock Fest

ShamrockFest is America’s largest St. Paddy’s Day festival, where thousands come to rock their shamrocks off to widely-hailed bands of Celtic and Alternative rock.


Capital Pride Festival

The Capital Pride parade travels 1.5 miles through Dupont Circle and 17th Street and ends in the Logan Circle neighborhood. The parade includes more than 180 contingents — floats, vehicles, walkers, entertainment–consisting of local businesses, Capital Pride Heroes and Engendered Spirit awardees, politicians, community groups, drag queens, dogs, and much more.

Independence Day Celebration

There’s no better place to be on Independence Day than the National Mall, the nation’s most important civic space and home to some of the most iconic monuments and memorials in our country. Come join us for a day with music and activities. Stay for one of the best fireworks shows in the world.

Jazz Festival

The festival presents a selection of the jazz genre’s most acclaimed artists as well as emerging artists, and provides enhanced exposure for the rich treasure trove of musicians from the Washington, D.C. area.

Jazz in the Garden

The free concert series features jazz artists performing a wide variety of styles — salsa, blues fusion, xylophone, Afrofunk, and more — every Friday evening from 5:00 to 8:30 in the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden.

Smithsonian Folklife Festival

The Festival takes place for two weeks every summer overlapping the Fourth of July holiday. It is an educational presentation that features community-based cultural exemplars. Free to the public, like other Smithsonian museums, each Festival typically draws hundreds of thousands of visitors.

Taste on Wheels

Taste on Wheels is a Taste of D.C. produced food truck series that features D.C.’s largest outdoor brunch! Each event will have more than 20 trucks and will feature a signature “taste” item, just like at Taste of D.C. You can purchase a general admission ticket that includes a free drink or you can snag a bottomless package for those who know how DC does brunch!


Truckeroo is a monthly showcase of Washington, D.C.’s local food trucks, bringing everyone’s flavor-ites together one Friday each month from April to September. A diverse sampling of foods and flavors are presented at this festival, and there’s live music and games throughout the day.


International Spy Museum

It is the only public museum in the United States solely dedicated to espionage and the only one in the world to provide a global perspective on an all-but-invisible profession that has shaped history and continues to have a significant impact on world events.

Smithsonian Institution

Explore and learn about everything from the origins of man and the future of flight to the history of art across multiple continents with nearly 140 million objects, works of art and specimens to discover. The Smithsonian’s collection of knowledge centers serve as a treasure chest for visitors and a guide to the most fascinating aspects of our world. And the best part: You won’t have to pay a penny to experience it as admission is free at every location.

National Parks and Monuments

Washington, D.C. is a city of monuments and memorials. We honor the generals, politicians, poets and statesmen who helped shape our great nation. For a listing of the national parks and monuments found in the D.C. area, please visit the National Park Service.

Sports and Entertainment

The D.C. area is home to some of the greatest entertainment venues in the nation including music, theatre and performing arts, and film. In addition, Washington, D.C. is home to a number of college and professional sports teams including the baseball – Nationalsbasketball – Wizards and Mysticsfootball – Commandersice hockey – Capitalssoccer – United and Spirit, and tennis – Kastles.

Concert Venues

Movie Theaters

The Washington, D.C. area is home to a multitude of movie theaters that show both new releases and independent films. In addition to those listed in the link provided the following are small independent theaters that show various short films, independent movies, and documentaries.

Theatre and Performing Arts

Additional Resources

  • Old Town Trolley Tours
  • Upcoming Events: Concerts, sports, arts, theater, Broadway shows, and family events