Spring in Washington, DC – Fun Things to Do on a Budget

What is it like visiting DC in the spring? Well, if you come during cherry blossom season – crowded. And while the weather can be a bit unpredictable, spring can be a great time to visit DC. DC is one of those cities that is perfect to visit any time of year just because there is always so much to see and to do. Here are some of my favorite things about spring in Washington, DC.

I love DC in the spring (cherry blossoms included) because there are so many fantastic places to visit and see that really open up and bring the city to life! Living here means I get the chance to do the touristy things (yes some of them are on this list) and the non-touristy things all the locals love too. I’ve done everything on my list here and even asked a few friends if I forgot anything so I would have a super list.

around the world dc
drinking at around the world dc

Around the World with Passport DC — free

May is Around the World by Passport DC. Embassies host free events throughout the month of May, and they are so much fun. Each weekend, there’s a different theme, and they are FREE.

If you are a local here in DC, you know embassies regularly hold events, but they are hardly ever free to the public so this time of year is particularly special. You can experience a variety of cultural activities, such as petting alpacas, playing with robots, and learning indigenous dances. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to explore different countries and their traditions!

sunset walk with dog on the national mall
 

Walk the monuments, National Arboretum, or other gardens in the evening — free

With the cooler temperatures and beautiful sunsets, this is the perfect thing to do. One of my favorite gardens is right behind the transportation museum (currently closed). There are gorgeous fountains, interesting trees and lots of flowers.

Pro-tip: Parking on the mall (I do mean ON the mall) is free and after 5:30 when all the museums close, it gets a lot easier to find parking. So the sunsets aren’t the only perk to going out in the evening!

adams morgan porchfest
adams morgan crowds at porchfest

Adams Morgan is located in the 18th Street corridor of DC. It’s known for it’s diverse and eclectic scene with plenty of independent shops and restaurants. Every spring, they hold a free event called Adams Morgan Porchfest. Approximately 80 bands play throughout different porches and street corners all over the neighborhood. Happening on May 4th this year.

rooftop drinks in dc during summer
 

Check out a new rooftop — cheap (one drink for $8 – $15)

DC has tons of rooftop spots to check out, and there are always a bunch of new ones being added. With the weather being nice and the sun going down later, you can check out a really awesome spot! Cambria (where this photo was taken) has a great rooftop with a cool view as well as the W Hotel downtown.

cherry blossoms on the national mall
 

Check out the cherry blossoms events

Need I say more? Spring in Washington, DC is full of flowers and the Cherry Blossom festival. Every year at the end of March to the beginning of April, the trees around the Tidal Basin right next to the National Mall are full of beautiful flowers.

It’s the perfect spot for taking photos! I definitely recommend doing this on a weekday—not a weekend—to avoid the crowds. Also, for the past three years, TravelZoo has done a discount on a cruise along the Potomac to the Tidal Basin to see the cherry blossoms for just $8. A bunch of friends and I are doing that this week so we will see how it goes!

Here’s the main events for Cherry Blossom Season in DC:

  • Opening Ceremony: Saturday, March 23, 2024
  • Kite Festival: Saturday, March 30, 2024
  • PetalPalooza: Saturday, April 6, 2024
  • Parade: Saturday, April 13, 2024 (Tickets)

Pro-Tip: There’s a park in Alexandria that is also awesome for viewing cherry blossoms called Haines Point. Easily bring a picnic, chill with friends, and walk along admiring the trees. Definitely check it out!

 

yoga at nationals park dc
 

Go to an outdoor yoga event — free – $30

These are constantly happening around the city through the spring and summer. Lower temps during the spring in Washington, DC make it a better time for outdoor fitness. 

Meridian Hill Park also has tons of events and is a good spot for a workout. My friend and I went to yoga in National’s Stadium and had a blast! It does cost about $30, but they only do it twice a year—it’s lots of fun because you get to go to a game, includes a mat and, of course, a yoga class. This leads me to my next recommendation…

 

nationals game in washington dc
 

Head to a Nationals Game and the Yards — Tickets from $15 – $75

The Yards is a perfect spot to tailgate then head to a game. I have tons of fun each time I go to one of the games, and it’s always chill. The Yards is an area where a lot of people tailgate before a game. It’s free to get in, but you do pay for drinks. They usually have a live band, corn hole, and food for sale as well, which makes it a fun spot to hang out before a game starts.

DC United game in DC
 

Check out DC United — Tickets from $10 – $40

My friend Sobia and I recently joined the Screaming Eagles (a club that supports DC United); for just $30 we get to go to tailgates all season and sit in the most fun section at the games. One of their tailgates is only $10. I can’t wait to go to more games this season because they are also tons of fun, and it’s so easy to get into the games.

wine festival near dc
 

Food and wine festivals — $30 – $75

There are so many food festivals that happen in DC—especially in the spring! One of the best I’ve been to was in National Harbor where we got unlimited drinks and food for three hours. We were stuffed but left so happy. This is the only thing on my list above $15, but it’s also something that gets you a lot for your money. Unlimited food or drinks for $30 is not a bad deal!

brewery in dc
 

Check out a brewery, winery, or distillery — $8 – $15 a drink

A lot of beer and wine is being made in and around DC. Breweries often have events going on and interesting new things on tap this time of year. Recently, I went to an event at DC Brau that showcased craft beers, local vendors, and food trucks. The event was crowded but included some awesome DC vendors and delicious food/drinks. I also love Blue Jacket in Navy Yard—cool atmosphere and good beers!

pennsylvania ave bike lane washington dc
 

Go for a bike ride (maybe even go to Bike Party?) — free – $7

I have my own bike, but you can also rent a bike with Capital Bike share for just $7, as long as you turn it back in every 30 minutes. I love riding through Capitol Hill because it is such a quiet neighborhood with cute homes, yards filled with flowers, and big trees. Mount Vernon Trail is really pretty in the spring, an easy ride, and you can go for miles on a leisurely bike ride I also love Bike Party because they close down whole streets and you ride through really interesting and different parts of the city. Highly recommend it!

Pro-tip: Capital Bike Share has spots all over the city where you can return or get a bike. Their website has a full map and makes it easy to use. Check there if you want to make sure you will have a place to return a bike!

 

silent disco in dupont circle
 

Walk a historic neighborhood like Georgetown, Navy Yard, or Dupont — free

These neighborhoods are tons of fun to walk around because there are so many little shops, gorgeous trees, and parks. One of my favorite things I’ve done in spring was a silent disco in DuPont. There’s always something going on in DuPont, and it’s easy to just join in when you walk by.

Pro-tip: People posts events like this on Facebook all the time—simply search in Facebook for silent disco DC. You’re sure to find one!

Discover the magic of spring in Washington, DC. From cherry blossoms to hidden gems, explore the vibrant city during this beautiful season.
Discover the magic of spring in Washington, DC. From cherry blossoms to hidden gems, explore the vibrant city during this beautiful season.
 

As a local, I have to say, spring in Washington, DC is full of exciting things to do! I just love the way the city seems to open up. Have you been to DC? What do you love to do this time of year?

 

Meghan

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