Washington Travel Guide


Washington is a world stage, with international media poised for an 'event' any time the President dons his jogging shoes. But besides these spontaneous little excitements, Washington also hosts big-scale, half-crazy, half-democratic events that reel in everyone from Texan brigades to teachers' unions, pro-lifers, priests and peaceniks, cult and world leaders. And some of these events have changed the nation's history...

Regular features on the DC calender include the beloved Cherry Blossom Festival in March-April and the Smithsonian's Folklife Festival in June. Independence Day is a grand event, including a troops parade, the reading of the Declaration of Independence, concerts and fireworks over the Potomac. Other highlights include Martin Luther King Jr Day on the third Monday in January, when orators recite King's 'I have a dream' speech at the Lincoln Memorial; the Smithsonian Kite Festival (late March), when kite designers, flyers and competitors gather on the Mall for this rite of spring; April's White House Easter Egg Roll, which the First Lady hosts for children between three and six; and the Festival of American Folk Life, hosted by the Smithsonian on the last weekend in June.

In September, Adams-Morgan Day is a raging international block party with global music, food and crafts along and around 18th St NW and Columbia Rd. This is also the month for the National Frisbee Festival (watch your head when wandering the Mall) and the DC Blues Festival (free concerts around town). On the second Thursday in December, the President illuminates the national Christmas tree and lights a menorah on the Ellipse. There's outdoor partying on New Year's Eve at the Old Post Office.

Mar/Apr - Easter
25 Dec - Christmas Day
first Monday in Sep - Labor Day
third Monday in Jan - Martin Luther King Jr Day
third Monday in Feb - Presidents' Day
1 Jan - New Year's Day
20 January, every fourth year - Inauguration Day
11 Nov - Veterans' Day
second Monday in October - Columbus Day
fourth Thursday in Nov - Thanksgiving Day
4 Jul - Independence Day
last Monday in May - Memorial Day

Fairs and festivals

Spectacular country fairs and festivals celebrating wine, beer, fruit, music, arts, slugs, and a whole lot more.

Autumn Leaf Festival - Leavenworth
Festival schedule, history, and royalty are included on the web site for this annual fall event.

Bellevue Art Fair
One of the best arts and crafts fairs in the country, with fabulous creations crafted by juried artists.

Bumbershoot, Seattle Center's Labor Day arts festival, features "more than 2,000 artists in every genre" in multiple venues. 2002 lineup includes Jewel, Maceo Parker, Wyclef Jean, Sonic Youth, Lifehouse, Ramsey Lewis, Ani DiFranco and Coco Montoya.

Discovery Walk
International walking festival held each year in Vancouver, Washington, the Discovery Walk festival includes short walks, marathons, cycling, and swimming.

Festival Finder
Music festivals of every kind in the U.S. and Canada, searchable by state, genre, date, and region.

Northwest Folklife Festival
Celebrate regional and international artists of all kinds at the Northwest Folklife Festival, Seattle's Memorial Day weekend bash at Seattle Center.

Northwest Washington Fair
You will find general information, an entertainment overview, vendor applications, and a visitor guide for this Lynden fair.

Puyallup Fair
Everyone in the region looks forward to September so that they can "Do the Puyallup" and attend one of the largest country fairs in the US.

Seattle/Tacoma Fairs & Festivals
Every season brings a variety of traditional events and celebrations to the Puget Sound region. These information resources will help you find out when and where they take place.

Sequim Lavender Festival
Sequim celebrates the beauty and usefulness of this sweet-smelling herb annually during its peak bloom season in July. The Celebrate Lavender Festival includes three days of lavender farm tours and a street fair.

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival
This annual April festival celebrates the fields of tulips and daffodils that bloom in the Skagit Valley, just 60 miles north of Seattle.

Spokane County Interstate Fair
Rodeo, entertainment, and exhibit information for this annual September fair.

Stanwood-Camano Music Festival
Held early in September, this annual festival features a range of music, including rock, bluegrass, polka, funk, and classical.

Washington State International Kite Festival
World-class kite flying on Long Beach during this week-long festival - wind art and kite fighting included.

Washington Summer Microbrew Festival
Annual Father's Day weekend festival, sponsored by the Washington Brewers Guild, held in Saint Edward State Park on the shores of Lake Washington.

Western Washington Fairgrounds - Puyallup
The Western Washington Fairgrounds is Washington to a number of events and fairs year-round, including the fabulous Puyallup Fair in September.

When to Go

The most comfortable times to visit Washington are in spring (March to May) and fall (September to November). The official tourist season runs from April through September. It's a good idea to buy advance tickets to popular attractions during this period because the queues can be monstrous.

Summers are hot and humid, especially in July and August. If you can bear the heat, this can be a good time to visit, as business travel to DC slumps and accommodation rates fall accordingly. Snowman aficionados may get a kick out of winter. If you plan on being in town for the city's biggest events - the Cherry Blossom Festival in March, the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in June and Independence Day in July - book ahead.

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