May is here, and it’s brought beautiful weather and a bevy of fun activities along with it! In a city as expansive and diverse as D.C. the possibilities are endless, so we sorted through some of the best events the District has to offer to bring you this May roundup. Whether you’re looking for an outdoor adventure, an artistic experience, or a low-key night, there’s something here for everyone!
This whimsical Dr. Seuss immersive experience has been taking the DMV by storm! Get ready to watch your favorite childhood stories come to life as wander through towering Truffula Trees, take a spin on the Circus McGurkus carousel ride, make your way through Sneetches Mirror Maze and much more. You won’t want to miss this family-friendly experience, open for your exploration throughout the month of May!
2. Catch a concert at your favorite local venue
- Capital One Arena: TOMORROW X TOGETHER World Tour – Act: Sweet Mirage (May 16), Anuel (May 20), Blink-182 (May 23)
- The Anthem: Yeah Yeah Yeahs (May 3), Goth Babe (May 6), Kali Uchis (May 9), Seal (May 10), MUNA (May 12), Sabrina Carpenter (May 14), Caroline Polachek (May 19), The Wood Brothers (May 20), Crowded House (May 21), The National with Soccer Mommy (May 23-24), The Flaming Lips (May 25), Hippo Campus (May 26), The Backseat Lovers (May 30)
- 9:30 Club: Placebo (May 3), Bumpin Uglies (May 4), Meg Myers (May 7), Citizen Cope (May 10), Feist (May 12), Cobra Man (May 14), Pouya (May 18), The New Pornographers (May 19-20), PUP (May 21), The Walkmen (May 23-26), Bloc Party (May 27), Indigo De Souza (May 29), Matt Maeson (May 31)
- Echostage: Yves Tumor (May 4), Seven Lions (May 5-6), Quinn XCII (May 9), Black Coffee (May 11), Fisher (May 12), Circus Records Showcase (May 13), BLESSD (May 14), Hippie Sabotage (May 18), Liquid Stranger (May 19), Charlotte de Witte (May 20), The Martinez Brothers & Seth Troxler (May 26), Boiler Room: DC (May 28)
The National Gallery of Art’s seasonal favorite National Gallery Nights is back! May’s theme for the Thursday, May 11 event is “Homegrown.” In celebration of the people and culture of D.C., attendees can enjoy go-go music, learn about D.C.’s magnificent murals, meeting with up-and-coming D.C. artists, see art crafted by D.C. Public Schools students, create their own art inspired by the Washington Color School. Learn more here.
4. Head to the theatre for one of these plays, musicals, or ballets
- The Kennedy Center
- “Shear Madness” (through Oct. 1)
- “Opéra-ballet” (May 2-3)
- “SAHRA” (May 3)
- “Cirque de la Symphonie” (May 4-6)
- “The Sleeping Beauty” (May 4-7)
- “Monty Python’s Spamalot” (May 12-21)
- National Theatre
- “Beetlejuice” (May 16-28)
- Ford’s Theatre
- “SHOUT SISTER SHOUT!” (March 15-May 13)
- Woolly Mammoth Theatre
- “Incendiary” (May 23-June 25)
What could be more awe-inspiring than immersing yourself in your favorite art? Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience allows you to do just that! The exhibits use floor-to-ceiling projections to showcase Vincent Van Gogh’s famous works, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in his art.
6. Bust a gut at one of these comedy shows
- D.C. Improv: Mo Welch (May 4), Jordan Rock (May 5-7), Andy Haynes (May 5-7), Emma Willmann (May 11-13), Tony Woods & Friends (May 14), Jeff Ross (May 18-20), Robyn Schall (May 21), Chris Franjola (May 24), Michael Blackson (May 25-27),
- Warner Theatre: Kountry Wayne (May 12), Girls Gotta Eat (May 13)
What’s better than a free outdoor movie?! Just outside of D.C. at National Harbor, May 4 kicks off the beginning of its Movies on the Potomac series. Fun for all ages, every 6 p.m. on Sunday features a family-friendly film, while couples and adults can come for Thursday’s 7 p.m. date night showings. Find a full calendar listing of films here.
In need of a vacation? Looking to celebrate Cinco de Mayo? We’ve got the perfect way for you to cool down and feel like you’re South of the border: local Latin American cocktails and happy hour from authentic Mexican restaurants and bars here in D.C.! Learn more here.
9. Peruse the Flower Mart at Washington National Cathedral
The Washington National Cathedral’s Flower Mart is held as an annual benefit, with proceeds going toward the upkeep of the gorgeous grounds! Even better? From May 5-6 it offers you the chance to peruse the breathtaking botanicals to beautify your own home! Learn more here.
D.C. dating has its own hashtag for a reason: it’s hilarious! Now, you can gather around to listen to some hilarious true dating stories that might just make you feel better about your own love life (or even share your own dating horror story!) at True Dating Stories.
11. Check out the U.S. National Arboretum
The U.S. National Arboretum is always a fun and beautiful place to spend your free time, but this May it’s better than ever! The Arboretum has a number of events this month celebrating the Bonsai tree and more! Check out some key dates below, or learn more here.
- Bonsai Festival, Potomac Bonsai Association (May 5-7)
- Potomac Bonsai Association Juried Exhibit (May 5-14)
- World Bonsai Day (May 13)
- Music in the Meadow (May 13)
12. Root on the Running of the Chihuahuas
Watching chihuahuas race for charity? Woot woot (or should we say, woof woof)! The Wharf is putting on its 11th Annual Running of the Chihuahuas on Saturday, May 6. More than 100 Chihuahuas will race, and you can treat yourself to more games, food, and special cocktails named after adoptable dogs! Did we mention all proceeds go to Rural Dog Rescue? Learn more here.
On Saturday, May 6, a number of embassies will open their doors to the public as part of Passport D.C.’s Around the World Embassy Tour. Participating embassies—including Belize, Costa Rica, Iraq, Mongolia, and Thailand, among others—will offer a number of cultural activities, such as karate and dance demonstrations, and showcase each country’s art, cuisine, music, and traditions. A full list of participating embassies can be found here.
14. Turn over a new leaf celebrating D.C. Plant Week
The second annual D.C. Plant Week is running from Monday, May 8 through Sunday, May 14! “A collaborative celebration among local plant shops to encourage residents to shop small and green up their spaces,” hosted by Little Leaf in partnership with more than 15 local plant shops — and even local cocktail bars! — D.C. Plant week is hosting a number of pop-ups, workshops, and deals! See the full map of partners and events here.
15. Check out CiNoMatic NoMa
Every Wednesday from May 10 through June 7, head to Alethia Tanner Park for NoMa BID’s outdoor film series CiNoMatic NoMa! This spring’s series is dedicated to “Villains We Love”! See the full movie schedule here.
Georgetown’s Garden Club will be hosting its 93rd Georgetown Garden Tour. Held Saturday, May 13, the tour is at your own pace, offering refreshments as you take in the natural beauty of some of Georgetown’s most pristine gardens. Children 12 and under can attend for free, and funding from ticket sales go toward beautification efforts in the neighborhood! Learn more here.
Have you ever wished you could interact with dinosaurs? Well, now is your chance! This exhibit features 80 prehistoric specimens and even a virtual aquarium so you can interact with these magnificent creatures from millions of years ago.
18. Experience the EU at the European Union Open House
It’s back again! This year’s EU Open House is returning Saturday, May 13, offering visitors to explore the embassy grounds and participate in a number of cultural activities. Participating embassies across D.C., including Belgium, Cyprus, Greece, and Ukraine, among others will be open to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Learn more here.
As the month ends and summer nears, D.C.’s favorite concert series Jazz in the Garden will return! Every Friday night from May 19 through August 4, the National Gallery of Art hosts an outdoor concert in its Sculpture Garden. Featuring a range of jazz, bluegrass, and Afro-Cuban music, attendees can enjoy the weather, tunes, and gorgeous views. You can register to attend at noon exactly one week prior to each concert. Learn more here.
Celebrating Asian Heritage Month, Fiesta Asia is being hosted by the Asia Heritage Foundation on May 20, featuring an array of fun and educational cultural experiences, including a street fair, movie showings, fashion exhibits, tastings, and more! Learn more here.
21. Indulge in a little Bourbon and Bluegrass
From May 20-21, President Lincoln’s cottage will be hosting its Bourbon and Bluegrass fundraiser! Take in some tunes, sip some drinks, go on a preservation tour, and enjoy delicious food and lawn games? What could be better?!
22. Commemorate Memorial Day
Memorial Day weekend (May 26-29) is a busy weekend in D.C., so we broke down some of the events to keep an eye out for!
- National Memorial Day Concert. (May 28)
- Rolling to Remember Veterans Motorcycle Rally. (May 28)
- National Memorial Day Parade (May 29)
- Visit Arlington Cemetery and see Flags In.
- Visit monuments like the Iwo Jima Memorial, National World War II Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the Vietnam Women’s Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial, and the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial.
Enjoy the weather from a Potomac Tiki Club cruise in Georgetown! Groups of 8-18 can set sail on the Potomac for a 90-minute cruise, taking in the sights and having a drink. The tiki cruise offers an assortment of alcoholic beverages for purchase on board, and you can bring your own bottle of wine or champagne for an $8 uncorking fee. Light snacks are also available for purchase, but the cruise is BYOF (bring your own food). You can schedule a slot for an upcoming weekend, here!
The Fever Originals Candlelight series is the perfect way to unwind. You can lose yourself in classical renditions of your favorite tunes amid soft candlelight. With multiple genres and musical themes to choose from, there’s bound to be a concert that’s perfect for you!
- Candlelight: The Best Anime Soundtracks from Joe Hisaishi
- Candlelight: The Best of Hans Zimmer at Miracle Theater
- Candlelight: A Tribute to Queen & More at National City Christian Church
25. Visit the Smithsonian National Zoo
There’s so much going on at the National Zoo they can bear-ly contain it! Two Andean bear cubs have made their debut, an endangered female western lowland gorilla is pregnant, and the Bird House has reopened after a six-year closure! Learn more here.
26. Check out one of these must-see exhibits
Every history and art lover’s dream, Washington D.C. is home to over 70 museums, including 19 free Smithsonian museums and galleries. With each museum boasting a rotation of numerous exciting exhibits, we rounded up some of April’s must-sees you don’t want to miss!
- National Museum of American History
- “Entertainment Nation”
- Hirshhorn Museum
- “One with Eternity: Yayoi Kusama in the Hirshhorn Collection”
- “A Window Suddenly Opens: Contemporary Photography in China”
- National Museum of African American History & Culture
- “Afrofuturism: A History of Black Futures”
- National Gallery of Art
- “Philip Guston Now”
- “Called to Create: Black Artists of the American South”
- “This Is Britain: Photographs from the 1970s and 1980s”
- The Rubell Museum
- “What’s Going On”
- National Museum of Asian Art
- “Ay-Ō’s Happy Rainbow Hell”
- “The Art of Knowing in South Asia, Southeast Asia and the Himalayas”
- Zenith Gallery
- “Black Like Me”
Looking for an exciting surprise? What’s more exciting than a blindfolded dinner? Dining in the Dark allows you to pick a surprise three-course meal based on your dietary preferences (green for vegan, blue for seafood, or red for meat) that will stimulate your senses! Learn more about these two different offerings here and here.