What to Do in July in Washington DC

This post covers the top things to do in July in Washington, DC (updated for 2019), 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


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Our pay-what-you-wish tours cover several different neighborhoods. There is no cost to take our tours, and you have the option to pay what you like, or can afford, only after the tour is over.

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

2. Go to a Concert

July brings plenty of performances to Washington, DC in venues all around the city. 

Below is a list of some performances being put on in DC, from big-name acts to local bands:



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 home game dates are July 2-7 and July 22-31. Purchase tickets here.

Before each game, you get to see the traditional entertaining “Presidents Race”. It is best described by watching the video! 

4. See a Musical or Theatrical Performance

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

Mamma Mia will be playing at The Anthem in Washington DC from July 1st – 5th and tickets are limited, so you might want to get them before they sell out!




Alternatively, you may also want to see the musical version of A Monster Calls at the Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater from July 21st – 31st.

The National Theatre will also be hosting Summer: The Donna Summer Musical from July 22nd – 31st.

Check this list of musicals and theatrical performances in Washington DC to see everything happening this month.

5. Fourth of July

Probably the most popular time this month to visit DC is Independence Day. In 2019, July 4 is a Thursday so why not take a long weekend and see much more than the fireworks!


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. Stay Late at a Museum

Celebrate the long summer days by staying late at the Smithsonian Museums.

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



In the summer, the museums of Air and Space, Natural History, and American History have extended hours and stay open until 7:30 pm (21:30), instead of the regular time of 5:30 pm *17:30).  

For the daily schedule of extended hours, visit the Smithsonian website.

Read our in-depth post on museums in DC as well as our section here on things to do at night.

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. Attend Truckeroo

This award-winning food truck festival is held every month and is a foodie’s fantasy.

You can try foods from some of the best food trucks in Washington DC, as well as hear live music and play games.



In July it takes place on the 19th at “The Bullpen”, the area around The Nationals baseball park. Find out more from the Truckeroo website.

If you like your food served with a side order of history, join us for our Eastern Market/Barracks Row History and Pastries Tour!

9. Military Parades

The US Marine Corp’s Fife and Bugle Teams perform their Sunset Parade at the Lincoln Memorial on Tuesday evenings.

The Marines also offer their Evening Parade from the Marines Barracks on Friday evenings. We detail both these parades below in our things to do at night section.



Also, the US Army performs its Twilight Tattoo, a military pageant that will definitely rock you to your feet.

This is particularly popular with families and we detail it in our family-friendly section.

10. 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.

Sunset Parade at Lincoln Memorial

Tuesday nights in July, you can watch musical performances by “The Commandant’s Own,” the Marine Drum and Bugle Corps, as well as a precision drill by the Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon.

The 2019 parade will be at the Lincoln Memorial with the exception of the first two Tuesdays in July, though locations for these events have not yet been announced.

The parades actually begin in June and run through August, so if you are here in DC in those months, you can enjoy this event as well!

We have special National Mall tours that end at the Lincoln Memorial just in time to watch the parade.

Read more and watch a video about the Sunset Parade here

Military Evening Free Concerts

On many nights of the week, you can find a military band performing for free throughout the city.

From pop tunes to patriotic songs, these performances take place in some of the most beautiful venues and outside at the memorials.

The US Navy Band performs at the Capitol’s west steps (the side facing the Mall) on Mondays and at Navy Memorial on Tuesdays. See their schedule here.

US Air Force Band performs on Fridays at the Air Force Memorial and on Tuesdays on the west steps of the US Capitol. See their schedule here.

Kennedy Center Millennium Stage 

Nightly at 6 pm, the Millennium Stage lights up at the Kennedy Center featuring an act that is sure to please.

The concerts are free to attend (and can be busy!), do not require tickets, and usually last an hour.

While you’re at the Kennedy Center, don’t forget to walk through the Halls of Nations and States and make your way up to the roof for one of the best views of Washington, DC.

Entrance to the Kennedy Center is free and you can take our free self guided tour of Kennedy Center along with you.

Capital Fringe Festival

This annual event occurs in 2019 from July 9 to July 28.

This acclaimed Fringe Festival showcases independent theatre, music, art, dance, performance and visual art. Tickets are quite affordable at $20.

There are so many performances to choose from, they have 13 stages, all near each other in Southwest DC.

Find out more here.

City of Alexandria Birthday Celebration

On Saturday, July 13th, 2019 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.

Alexandria is easily reached by the Metro.  See our post on How to Use the Washington DC Metro for helpful tips to make your ride a smooth one.

Though for 2019, the King Street station is closed. We have advice on other ways to get to town here.

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.

During the King Street Metro Closure, 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.

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! A lot of the items we’ve listed in other sections like the Kennedy Center and National Zoo are 100% free to enter!

Here are a few more free activities for July.

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

Tour the US Capitol Building

If you are in DC on a particularly hot July day, then cool off inside with a tour of the US Capitol Building!

Tours are offered throughout the day and take you to see the Crypt, Rotunda, and National Statuary Hall.

If you want to know all about the surrounding Capitol Hill, join us for one of our free walking tours.

You’ll get to learn about the history of Capitol Hill, see the Supreme Court, and go inside the beautiful Library of Congress.

The tour also includes tickets to the inside of the Capitol tour, so you’ll get to experience all of it in one go. 

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

Jazz in The Gardens

There’s a free jazz performance every Friday from 5 pm- 8:30 pm in the National Gallery of Art‘s Sculpture Garden.

Bring your picnic blankets and lawn chairs and lounge while seeing some top performers including The US Army Blues Swamp Romp, The Slackers, and more.

For a full list of performers this summer, click 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.

Visit the History of Baseball

A great way to cool off is to take a tour of the exhibits of the Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress.

One of our favorite exhibits, Baseball Americana, is still around and guides you through the history of American baseball. You can even pose for your own baseball card!

Since you’re in the area, we also offer tours of Capitol Hill and make sure you check out the tours of the Library of Congress.

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

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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.

Twilight Tattoo

This free and open to the public event showcases Drum & Bugle Corps, Drill Teams, and live music.

Kids will love the gun and cannon fire and the military charges, while the narrator tells you about American history from the Revolutionary War through today.

There is also singing and dancing and you can even meet some of the participants after the show. 

Read our post for more information on the Twilight Tattoo.

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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