What To Do in April in Washington DC (2019)

This post covers things to do in Washington DC in April, including a top 10 list, nighttime activities, free and family-friendly things to do and is updated for 2019. Read our master post on things to do in DC any time of year.

 

 


TOP TEN EVENTS AND THINGS TO DO IN APRIL

This section covers our top ten list for April. When possible, we’ve noted activities that are free or kid-friendly. 

For more ideas on popular things to do in DC, check out our posts on bus tours and walking tours of the city.

Some of the items listed in this post are included for free with the purchase of a tourist discount pass

 

 


1. Cherry Blossom Festival

March 20- April 13, 2019

The annual Cherry Blossom Festival is Washington DC’s top draw in Springtime and lasts from late March until mid-April.

The festival is planned far in advance so the dates of peak bloom of the Cherry Blossoms themselves can fall anytime from mid-March to mid-April depending on the weather.

For 2019, the current Peak Bloom Prediction is April 01-April 05, 2019 but this can change with March weather as we get closer. Our Blossoms on the Basin Cherry Blossom tour runs March 30-April 07, 2019

This video is from the 2018 festival.

 

 

You will find fireworks, street festivals, parades, special exhibits and tours on offer throughout DC.

Some of the big events for April are:

  • April 6, 2019 – Petalpalooza on the Wharf
  • April 13, 2019 – Cherry Blossom Parade

For more information on the Cherry Blossom Festival…


2. Springtime Walking Tours

As winter is finally over and the blossoms start to bloom, we start to offer more free walking tours throughout the week.

Some tours return from hibernation: Embassy Row tour, Old Town Alexandria, Eastern Market Desserts.

 

 

And we offer more evening tours to take advantage of the later sunsets.

Our Arlington National Cemetery tour goes back to its regular hours, and for the first part of April only, we offer a Cherry Blossoms on the Basin tour.

See when they are offered on our schedule of tours.


3. White House Garden Tours

The White House Garden Tour dates have not yet been announced for 2019 but this event happens over a weekend in April. Only twice a year are the White House Gardens open to the public.

 

Things to do in Washington DC in April 2017

 

You can stroll through the Jacqueline Kennedy Garden, the Rose Garden, the White House Kitchen Garden and South Lawn of the White House.

Read our post on White House Garden Tours!


4. FilmFest DC

April 25 – May 5, 2019

FilmFestDC is the oldest film festival in DC and serves to promote work from the international film community. With locations all over the DC metro area there are many chances to catch a show.

 

 

Most tickets will be $11 per person. Some events are free of charge and are on a first come, first serve basis.

The 2019 Event Schedule and trailers have not yet been released, but for other things to do at night, check out our At Night section below.

For more information, visit  www.filmfestdc.org


5. Celebrate Easter

April 21, 2019

There are a number of ways to celebrate Easter in Washington, DC from brunch specials and kid friendly egg hunts to traditional Sunday morning church services.

The Washington National Cathedral has services throughout the day. Passes are required to attend the morning service but there is also an afternoon Organ Recital and an evening Evensong.

Review the Lent and Easter Schedule here.

For more about visiting the Washington National Cathedral and our self-guided tour, visit our post here.

 

Easter at Washington National Cathedral

 

An alternative is the Basilica of the National Shrine has Easter Mass in the morning, afternoon and evening. There are also guided tours in the afternoon. For more information, visit their page.

The Smithsonian National Zoo also has a big Easter egg hunt and special events on Easter Monday where kids have the chance to meet the Easter Panda.

A signature Easter event in DC is the White House Easter Egg Roll, find out more about that in our Things To Do with Kids section.


6. Last Chance to Check out an Exhibit

The Hirshhorn Museum closes its renown exhibit, PULSE on April 29, 2019.

The immersive display offers three installations that require visitor participation to be fully activated, which makes this a great activity for the family regardless of age.

 

 

Also closing in April is the Orchids: Amazing Adaptations exhibit at the Smithsonian Gardens.

The Kogod Courtyard next to the Smithsonian Castle has been replanted to feature orchids but only until April 28, 2019.

You can also check out a new exhibit opening…

Opening on April 16, 2019, at the Hirshhorn Museum is a curated exhibition of artist Enrico David called Gradations of Slow Release. His work includes sculpture, paintings, and installations.

For other free things to do in April, check out Free section below.


7. Cheer on a Local Sports Team

Come out to the stadium to cheer on the Washington Nationals. April is the perfect month for baseball and there are a number of home games this month.

  • April 2-3 vs Philadelphia Phillies
  • April 12-14 vs Pittsburgh Pirates
  • April 16-18 vs San Francisco Giants
  • April 26-28 vs San Diego Padres
  • April 29-May 01 vs St. Louis Cardinals

 

Washington Nationals Baseball Game

 

Nat’s Park is located in a lively part of Washington DC called Navy Yard and not too far from our newest waterfront development, the Wharf.

You’ll find a number of great restaurants and bars for before or after the game, but Nat’s Park is an experience in itself.

In addition to baseball, the Washington Capitals hockey team has a few home games at Capitol One Arena in Chinatown in April.

  • April 4 vs Montreal Canadiens
  • April 6 vs New York Islanders

The professional MLS team, DC United plays two home games this month at Audi Field in SW DC

  • April 6 vs LAFC
  • April 9 vs Montreal Impact
  • April 21 vs NYCFC

8. Georgetown French Market

April 26-28, 2019 10am-5pm

For a true feel of the high-class living of Georgetown, this weekend event includes boutique crafts, arts, and the best French foods.

Stalls will line the streets on Book Hill in Georgetown to offer a chance to purchase gifts, fine art, and home furnishings.

 

 

For other things to do in Georgetown and directions on how to get there, check out our guide to Georgetown.


9. DC Emancipation Day

April 16, 2019

Before President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, he freed the 3,100 slaves in the District of Columbia on April 16, 1862. To honor this event, you can participate in a few events around the city.

Emancipation Day itself (April 16, 2019) is a citywide holiday so schools and some businesses will be closed.

The Emancipation Day Parade will take place at 11 am along Pennsylvania Ave NW on Saturday, April 13, 2019. There will be a music concert and fireworks as well.

For more information: https://emancipation.dc.gov/


10. Look into a Tourist Discount Pass 

Did you know that you could join our highly rated ticketed Ghosts and Scandals tours for free with the DC Explorer Pass?

With warmer weather, our late evening Adults Only tours are a perfect night out activity in a city that closes at 5 pm!

 

 

Get free admission to our tours and many top DC attractions with a Tourist Discount Pass.

 


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THINGS TO DO AT NIGHT IN APRIL IN DC

There are a number of things to do in DC at night. For additional ideas on how to spend your evening, make sure to check out our master things to do at night in DC post. Some of our other sections offer nighttime options.

 

 
 

DC Beer Festival

April 20, 2018 12pm-8pm

Come to Nationals Park baseball stadium to celebrate DC Beer Festival.

Local craft breweries and spring seasonal beers will be on tap for you to try, as well as a dozen food trucks throughout. 

You’ll get a chance to sample beer on the Concourse and enjoy lawn games, DJs, and more!

Get more information and tickets…


Ford’s Theatre Into the Woods

March 8 – May 22, 2019

Ford’s Theatre Historic Site is more than just a museum, it is a working theatre.

Beginning in March, they will be producing Into the Woods, a darkly comedic twist on classic fairy tales. You’ll meet Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Jack and his beanstalk and more!

 

 

Recommended for 12 and older.

Ford’s Theatre offers a number of discounts for tickets, including discounted preview performances, group discounts, under 35, active military, D.C. teachers, and more at https://www.fords.org/performances/discounts/.

They also partner with TodayTix to offer discounted tickets.

Take our Lincoln Assassination Walking Tour to learn more about this historic building and what led to the tragic events that night.


Take a Night Sightseeing Tour

Now that the warmer temperatures are back, we offer more evening tours throughout the week. From Memorials & Moonlight to Adults Only Wicked Georgetown.

Our Lincoln Assassination Tour returns to the after dinner hours.

 

 

Reserve your spots now!


Smithsonian Jazz Appreciation Events

This month long event features talks, live concerts, and masterclasses. There will be performances all over the city from local jazz orchestras and bands.

The 2019 theme and line up have not been announced yet but For more information, visit http://smithsonianjazz.org.

 

 

For more nighttime activities, visit our Things to do at Night in DC post.

 


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THINGS TO DO IN APRIL WITH KIDS

DC offers a lot of family-friendly activities and attractions any day of the year. Here are a few more family-friendly ideas for February.

For more read about visiting Washington DC with kids.

 


 


White House Easter Egg Roll

April 22, 2019

If you are planning a visit or live in the area, the White House Easter Egg Roll will be on April 22, 2019, and it is is the hottest ticket in town.  

If you have children age 12 and under, get your tickets and join the first family on the South Lawn of the White House grounds from 8 am to 5 pm for a day full of activities.

Visit with the Easter Bunny, enjoy storytelling, sports, live musical performances, cooking classes, and the traditional White House Easter Egg Roll.

For details on how to enter the lottery and get your tickets, read our post about the White House Easter Egg Roll.


International Pillow Fight Day 

April 6, 2019 2pm

This annual event takes place on the grounds of the Washington Monument on the National Mall. Just remember to play nice: no hitting above the shoulders.

And no down pillows – feathers are hard to clean up! Expect a few hundred people to show up and many families so keep an eye out for children and cameras.


Community Day at the National Building Museum

April 7, 2019

As part of the Cherry Blossom Festival, celebrate Spring at the National Building Museum!

Participate in hands-on activities and explore how landscape design can inspire outdoor play.

The National Building Museum is a family favorite, with lots of kids activities where they get to build (and tear down!)


Earth Day Events 

April 22, 2019

Things to do in Washington DC in April 2017

Earth Day is April 22 though the event dates may vary.

Earth Day on the National Mall is the main attraction with a full day free concert on the grounds of the Washington Monument.

Big names often perform at the event but the 2019 headliners have not been announced.

We’ll update this post when we hear more about this year’s events but plan on an early day – the event is open to all so it is likely to be crowded.

 


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FREE THINGS TO DO

With a little planning, there are a lot of free activities available to do in DC. Some of the events we’ve mentioned in this post like our walking tours are free of charge!

Here are a few more ideas for free activities in April but for our comprehensive list, visiting our free things to do in DC post.

And in the video below, the vast majority of the top 50 things to do in DC are free of charge.

 

 


View the Cherry Blossoms & Avoid the Crowds

Those pink and white flowers you see on every post card are DC’s famed Cherry Blossoms.

These trees bloom once a year in the Spring and  there is a month long celebration of music, food, dancing and of course, Cherry Blossom Tours.

Use our guide to the Cherry Blossom Festival to make sure you know the best places to view the Cherry Blossoms to avoid the crowds!


Get Outside

April often has some of the nicest weather before the sweltering summer and its a great time to explore the number of free parks that the DC area has to offer.

In April 2019, you have the chance to learn the art of Japanese flower arranging at the Ikebana International Exhibit on Apr. 13, 14, 20, and 21, 1:00 pm at the United States Arboretum 

Families who are really looking to explore the outdoors will enjoy the U.S. Arboretum. It’s basically a huge park!

Highlights include the beautiful Bonsai collection, various aquatic plants, the National Grove of State Trees, and the huge collection of Cherry Blossom trees. 

 

View of the Capitol columns at the National Arboretum DC

 


National Park Week  

April 20-28, 2019

During this week, all National Parks have free admission.

This doesn’t affect your visit to Washington DC where most sites are already free.

However, some of the great day trips from DC are Civil War battlefields which usually require admission – use this week to visit Gettysburg, Antietam, Manassas.


Thomas Jefferson Birthday

April 13, 2019Things to do in Washington DC in April 2017

If you find yourself at Thomas Jefferson Memorial on April 13, you’ll be able to join the National Park Service in honoring what would have been his 274th birthday!

There will be a wreath laying ceremony with color guard and playing of Taps at 11 am.  

Be sure to take our All-in-One Tour of the Memorials, which includes the Jefferson Memorial.


Take a Walking Tour

Our tours are name your own price, so you get to choose how much they are worth at the end. A tour for every budget! Find out more about our DC Tour schedule on our Tour Calendar page.

Since Easter falls in late April this year, you’ll also find some of our holiday weekend only tours, like Eastern Market Desserts Tour and Old Town Alexandria.

If we don’t offer a guided tour that fits your interest and schedule, check out our many self guided tours.

For our comprehensive list, visiting our Free Things to Do in DC post.
 


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