May is a great month to visit Washington. We have everything from wine festivals and outdoor movies to Memorial Day parades and embassy tours. The weather can be a mix of hot, humid temperatures, as well as colder, rainy days. So bring a good variety of clothes, a light jacket and an umbrella. Here are some of the fun things happening in DC in May:
1. Garden Fest
The Smithsonian is throwing its annual Garden Fest in Washington. This year’s theme is “Celebrating the American Garden Experience” and the two-day event will feature live music and activities for children and adults. The free festival will be May 6, 2011 from 11 AM to 1 PM and May 7, 2011 from 11 AM to 3 PM at the Enid A. Haupt Garden. This 4.2-acre garden is between the Smithsonian Castle and Independence Avenue. Some of the activities include hands-on garden demonstrations, as well as the chance to make birdbaths, pot heirloom vegetables and garden murals. Experts will also be on hand to talk about the Smithsonian gardens, as well as good bugs and bad bugs and how to improve a garden by adding the good bugs.
2. Free Outdoor Movies
You can catch a free outdoor movie screening overlooking the Potomac River at the National Harbor in Maryland. The movies are every Sunday between May 1, 2011 and September 25, 2011 and start at sunset.
3. Wine Festival
Got wine? Well, there will be plenty of it at the Toast of the Town 2011 on May 20, 2011. This WineEnthusiast magazine event features 30 top Washington restaurants and 500 wines at the National Building Museum. Tickets are $99 and can be ordered online or by calling 1-800-847-5949.
4. Historic Wine Festival
Speaking of wine, Mount Vernon in Alexandria, Va., is holding its annual wine festival and sunset tour May 13 through May 15, 2011 from 6 PM to 9 PM. The event, which celebrates the history of wine in Virginia with candlelit tours of the mansion, live music and tastings from 16 wineries, is selling out quickly. Tickets are $35 and can be purchased online or at the Ford Orientation Center on the Mount Vernon grounds.
5. Passport DC
Many embassies in Washington are in beautiful historic buildings. Passport DC 2011 gives visitors a chance to see inside the embassies and learn about the countries they represent. The month-long event features street festivals, open houses and special performances. The main event is May 14, 2011 when embassies open their doors and allow visitors to see their art, culture and cuisine. More details on this event, as well as others taking place in May can be found online.
6. Memorial Day at Mount Vernon
Mount Vernon is also holding its first Sunset Celebration over Memorial Day weekend, which is May 27 to May 29. The event is 6 PM to 9 PM and offers evening tours of the mansion, wine and desserts to purchase, as well as 18th century music, dancing, games and wagon rides. Tickets are $18 for adults, $12 for children ages 6-11 and free for children under age 5. Tickets go on sale May 2.
7. National Memorial Day Parade
Washington will host the annual National Memorial Day Parade, which honors people in the military, on May 30, 2011 at 2 PM. The parade starts at the corner of Constitution Ave., NW and 7th Street, NW, and will go down Constitution, past the White House, and end at 17th Street, NW. The closest Metro stop is Archives/Navy on the Yellow and Green lines and Smithsonian and Federal Triangle on the Blue and Orange lines.