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What to Do in July in Washington DC

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This post covers the top things to do in July in Washington, DC (updated for 2021), including nighttime activities, free things to do, and family-friendly options.

Be sure to read our master post on things to do in DC for even more ideas.


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TOP 10 

This section covers our top ten list for July.

For more ideas on favorite things to do in DC, check out the following posts:

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

1. Discover Georgetown

July is a month filled with events about to America declaring its independence from Great Britain.

One neighborhood that predates the American Revolution is Georgetown and you can learn more about this historic area on our Historic Georgetown Walking Tour, or on your own with our GPS-led audio tour

If you're concerned about daytime heat, take our eventing Ghosts of Georgetown or True Crimes of Georgetown tours or our evening Street Art & Glow Lights tour.


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You can find out more about all our walking tours here.

2. Enjoy Virtual Theatre

You can also enjoy the DC Theatre scene virtually. Roundhouse Theatre's production of We're Gonna Die is available for streaming until July 11.

Morbid title aside, it has a comforting message. It is a one woman performance with a live band that will have you laughing, crying, and singing along.

Our guides are big theatre lovers, and while we are excited that live theatre is returning, a virtual show means you can watch whenever you want and in your pajamas! This was one of our favorite virtual theatre productions we've watched this year! 

3. Attend a Sporting Event 

Baseball and a cold beer are the perfect way to fend off the summer swelter, and lucky for us the Washington Nationals have home games for almost 2 weeks throughout July.



The Washington Nationals will be playing home games from July 1st-4th, July 16th-21st, and July 30th-31st. Purchase tickets here.


The DC United soccer team will play at the Audi Stadium on July 03 and 25, 2021.

For tickets click here.

Washington Spirit, our women's soccer team, will also play at Audi Stadium for many of their summer games. They play on July 10, 2021. Get discounted tickets on Stubhub.


4. Take Local Neighborhood Tour

Each Saturday morning during the summer, we have a different neighborhood tour of Washington DC to highlight off the beaten paths for tourists and bring locals a chance to visit their home town.

In July we explore Eastern Market, The Wharf, Herring Hill in Georgetown, Adams Morgan and Foggy Bottom!

Find out about each of these tours here


5. Fourth of July

Probably the most popular time this month to visit DC is Independence Day. In 2021, July 4 is a Sunday -- perfect timing for the weekend!

In addition to celebrating with fireworks, you might also want to consider visiting the National Mall and seeing some of the most notable sites and landmarks in the United States.



Mount Vernon is a great place to celebrate the founding of our nation with our founding father, George Washington. They have a special event with fireworks and a chance to meet the General.

If you are just in town for the day and want to know all about the fireworks and concert, read our post on the Fourth of July in DC.

6. Enjoy Theatre Outdoors

You don't need to head to NYC's Broadway to see a Broadway quality show. DC usually has plenty of great theater right here.

But for the summer of 2021, we're still focused on outdoor events.

The premiere place in DC for outdoor theatre is actually outside of DC at Wolf Trap.

Check out their line up for July 2021

7. Visit Arlington National Cemetery

Arlington National Cemetery is one of the best known military cemeteries in our nation and the world.

And we have put together a guide to help you plan your visit here



Take a free walking tour or a trolley tour to learn about specific graves and history, or take a self-guided tour to enjoy at your own place.

8. Visit a Museum

Museums will almost all be open by July with the notable exception of the Air and Space on the National Mall which opens at the end of the month. (Meanwhile, you can check out the annex over by Dulles if you have a car and a ticket!)

The Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery already stay open until 7 pm (19:00) every day.


Read our guide to museums in Washington DC and how to get tickets to the Smithsonians.

9. Look into a Tourist Attraction Discount Pass 

Tourist attraction passes bundle together many popular attractions and tours into one discounted price and can save you over 50%.

They also can save you time with skip-the-ticket-line privileges. 


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We detail how these passes work and help you decide which, if any, is best for you. 


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July is a lovely month weather-wise so spending some time outside after the sun goes down is a treat!

There are other nighttime events throughout this post such as going to a baseball game, seeing a free movie outdoors or going to a concert.

Here are a few more night time activities for the month of July.

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For more nighttime activities, visit our post on things to do at night in DC

Take a Night Tour

We offer a number of tours in the evening. Our pay-what you-wish Memorials and Moonlight Tour brings you to the National Mall after the sun sets.

This is one of the best times to see the monuments lit up in all their majesty.

Other night tours that we offer include:

  • Lincoln Assassination
  • Secrets & Scandals of the White House
  • Georgetown Ghost Tour

Reserve a spot now

You might also be interested in a bike, Segway, or bus night tour.

City of Alexandria Birthday Celebration

On Saturday, July 10th, 2021 you can celebrate the 270th birthday of the City of Alexandria. 

The festivities start at 7 pm and include live entertainment, food, and drinks for purchase, a cannon salute, and a grand fireworks show at 9:30 pm.

Founded in 1749, Alexandria has a history well before Washington, D.C. This quaint colonial port town still has the charm of row houses and cobblestone streets.

We offer our  Old Town Alexandria Guided Walking Tour as a private option. We hope you'll still explore Old Town Alexandria on your own!

You can use the Atlantis Audio tours app for a GPS Enabled self guided walking tour of Alexandria that covers the historic sites and museums. The Old Town Alexandria tour is currently text only with no audio.

NOTE: This event was made virtual in 2020, and they will likely keep it that way for 2021.

For even more nighttime ideas, see our post on things to do at night in DC

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DC is loaded with free things to do! 

Here are a few more free activities for July.

For even more budget-friendly ideas, check out our post on free things to do in DC

Free Outdoor Movies

In July and August, throughout the city, you can find free outdoor movies, including classics, family-friendly movies, and some relatively new releases.

With huge screens, the views are great. Bring a blanket and some snacks and sit back and enjoy the show.

For a complete schedule of films, dates, and locations, visit here.

See Unique Plants and Trees at the National Arboretum

Enjoy the great outdoors -  for free - by visiting the National Arboretum, where you can see a beautiful Bonsai collection, various aquatic plants, and the National Grove of State Trees. 

See their website for more information.

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Washington, DC is super family-friendly! There are also so many activity options available, there is sure to be something to fit everyone's tastes.

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A few activities we've listed above are also kid-friendly, so be sure to read through the other sections for more ideas.

Be sure to read our master post on things to do with kids in DC for even more ideas.

Head to the Zoo! 

The National Zoo offers families a variety of animals and fun when they visit. Better still is that it is FREE! 

Don't miss the zoo's largest draw - the giant pandas that are currently on loan from China.

Other animals highlights include gorillas, elephants, lions, and zebras, or watch the orangutans walk the high wire every morning

The zoo grounds are open from 8 am - 7 pm. More information can be found here.

National Mall Walking Tour for Kids

Our newest walking tour is meant just for our younger visitors. 

It's a shorter highlight tour with less walking and less talking... and more fun!

We have a scavenger hunt for kids to do at each memorial, where they will learn some fun facts about each memorial and history along the way (but shhh, don't tell them).

See more details from our post on our National Mall Tour: Kids Version.

Cool off at the Georgetown Waterfront Park 

Escape the DC humidity along the banks of the Potomac River at the Georgetown Waterfront Park.

Children will enjoy splashing around on the accessible fountain splash pad and lounging on the riverfront steps leading up to the water.

Georgetown is such a great place to visit, we wrote a post on it.

Our Historic Georgetown walking tour starts here and our family-friendly Ghosts of Georgetown Tour begins not too far away.

Be sure to read our master post on things to do with kids in DC for even more ideas.

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About The Author

Canden Arciniega

Canden is a historian and tour guide in Washington DC with 4 published books about the city. She has written for HuffPost Travel and has been featured in the Washington Post, WTOP, and numerous other DC papers. She's also been interviewed by the BBC, NPR, Travel Channel and Discovery Family Channel. Canden is the producer of our podcast, Tour Guide Tell All With a M.A. in History from University College London and a B.A. in History from Elon University, she is an authority on D.C. history, and has led tours in the city for over 10 years. She currently resides in DC, but has also lived in London and South Korea, and has travelled to 28 countries. Her two children (both under the age of 4) have their passports and own frequent flier accounts.
Updated: October 13th, 2021
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