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Library of Congress

National Book Festival

Things to Do August 2024 in Washington, DC

There’s no shortage of exciting events to help you stay cool in DC this summer, including Summer Restaurant Week, DC Bachata Congress, the National Book Festival and DC JazzFest.

Whether you’re in town for a concert, game or festival, DC boasts an abundance of special discounts and packages all summer long, from luxurious experiences to budget-friendly options. 

All year long, you can take your pick of unforgettable experiences in the nation's capital. After you’ve read through this list, make sure to check out our things to do for the week and weekend as well as our accessibility guides to monuments and museums on the National Mall.

An outdoor concert taking place at the Ronald Reagan Building with a crowd of people seated and standing, enjoying live music under a sunny sky.

Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center

LIVE! Concert Series on the Plaza – Through Sept. 27
From salsa to strings, and blues to swing, Live! Concert Series on the Plaza features hot entertainment for the downtown DC community. Head to Wilson Plaza between 12 and 1 p.m. and take in free lunchtime performances showcasing the area's most talented entertainers. This year’s lineup features a special focus on the official music of DC, Go-Go. The roster includes The Chuck Brown Band, DC Vybe, Heat Stroke, Junkyard Band and E.U. Featuring Sugar Bear.
12-1 p.m. | Free Admission | More Information
Wilson Plaza, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20004


Otakon – Aug. 2-4
Held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center each year, Otakon might just be the dedicated event space’s liveliest function (emphasis on FUN) all year long. The family-friendly convention is run by and dedicated to fans of Asian media, entertainment and pop culture, including anime, manga, music, movies and video games. The festivities range from cosplay contests, skits and live music to panel discussions with comic book (super)heroes, for-sale artworks and much more.
Walter E. Washington Convention Center, 801 Allen Y. Lew Place NW, Washington, DC 20001


New Worlds: Women to Watch 2024 – Through Aug. 11
Explore the newly renovated spaces of the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) while checking out the seventh and largest installment in the museum’s Women to Watch series. New Worlds is a curated collection of 28 artists assembled by the NMWA and its domestic and international outreach committees.
National Museum of Women in the Arts, 1250 New York Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20005


Back to the Future: The Musical – July 23 – Aug. 11 
Broadway at the Kennedy Center keeps its summer momentum going with the fun-filled sci-fi musical comedy, Back to the Future: The Musical. Based on the fan-favorite 1985 movie of the same name, audiences can keep up with Marty McFly and Doc Brown as they traverse past, present and future. This time, the duo will sing and dance their way through original songs and familiar tunes that fans will recognize from the film.
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 2700 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20566


Iron & Wine – Aug. 9 
After struggling to tap into his creative process during the pandemic, Iron & Wine’s Sam Beam found his way back to joy with his seventh album Light Verse. The album’s description notes: “Fashioned as an album that should be taken as a whole, it sounds lovingly handmade and self-assured as a secret handshake.” Sure to be a night of indie-folk whimsy, catch this one-time, intimate performance at The Anthem.
8 p.m. | Tickets
The Anthem, 901 Wharf Street SW, Washington, DC 20024


The Concert: A Tribute to ABBA – Aug. 11
Formed in 1996 and billed as the top ABBA tribute band in the world, The Concert: A Tribute to ABBA has traveled the world helping fans relive the Swedish europop group’s golden years with an evening of irresistible hits. Tunes like “Dancing Queen” and “Mamma Mia” are sure to get your feet moving at Wolf Trap.
8 p.m. | Tickets
Wolf Trap, 1551 Trap Road, Vienna, VA 22182


Summer Restaurant Week – Aug. 12-18
Stay tuned for confirmed dates and more details from the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington. The celebration annually features deals from more than 150 restaurants throughout the DMV.


MAMMA MIA! – Aug. 13 – Sep. 1
Even though it’s become widely known as a successful film franchise, the stage rendition of MAMMA MIA! remains an absolute musical powerhouse. The essential hits of chart-topping Swedish group ABBA serve as the soundtrack to a daughter’s journey to find the father she’s never known, which prompts the arrival of three men from her mother’s past. Set on a sun-strewn Greek island, the joyous production will be a summer highlight at the Kennedy Center.
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 2700 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20566


The Sound of Music Sing-Along – Aug. 16
The hills will be alive with Rodgers & Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music at Wolf Trap during this special sing-along event. While participants are not expected to come vocally warmed up – there will be a chance for that before the film begins! – they are invited to come in costume.
7 p.m. | Tickets
Wolf Trap, 1551 Trap Road, Vienna, VA 22182


Boyz II Men – Aug. 17-18
Legendary and Grammy-award-winning R&B group Boyz II Men are sure to entertain audiences with smash hits like “Motownphilly”,  “I’ll Make Love to You” and “On Bended Knee.” Hip-hop and R&B sensation Bell Biv DeVoe will also take the stage across these consecutive nights of performances at Wolf Trap.
8 p.m. | Tickets
Wolf Trap, 1551 Trap Road, Vienna, VA 22182


DC Bachata Congress – Aug. 22-26
Ranked as the best Latin dance festival in the U.S. five times, DCBX takes over the nation’s capital for five days each summer. Veterans and newbies of dancing bachata, the sexier-than-salsa dancing style from the Dominican Republic, will have plenty of chances to strut their stuff, from concerts to contests to workshops.
The Westin Washington DC Downtown, 999 9th Street NW, Washington, DC 20001


National Book Festival – Aug. 24
The Walter E. Washington Convention Center hosts a beloved annual celebration of books of all kinds, from children’s stories to epic novels, curated by the Library of Congress. Authors will speak and answer questions about their work throughout the day. The festival is always free to attend.
More info | Free Admission
Walter E. Washington Convention Center, 801 Allen Y. Lew Place NW, Washington, DC 20001


Indigo Girls & Melissa Etheridge – Aug. 24-25
Heartland rock and folk-fusion superstars Indigo Girls and Melissa Etheridge return to the Barns at Wolf Trap. Concert-goers can expect a mix of new and old, with newer ballads and timeless hits like “Closer to Fine”, “I’m the Only One” and “Come to My Window.” Another pillar of both the Indigo Girls and Etheridge’s international presence is their involvement in grassroots activism and advocacy, so don’t miss this chance to see these legendary artists take the stage.
8 p.m. | Tickets
Wolf Trap, 1635 Trap Road Vienna, VA 22182

DC JazzFest – Aug. 28 – Sept. 1
One of DC’s ultimate summer traditions brings national and local musicians to a range of venues all over the city, including The Wharf. Some concerts are free; most are ticketed. A lineup stacked with talent and free performances are just some of the many reasons why you should check out the 2024 edition of DC JazzFest, which marks the 20th anniversary of the festival. Confirmed artists for the upcoming celebration include Samara Joy, Stanley Clarke, Kenny Barron, Dianne Reeves, Galactic, Bill Frisell, Bobby Sanabria, Cimafunk, Emmet Cohen, Nasar Abadey and the Michael Thomas Quintet.
More info


DC Festival of Magic – Aug. 30 – Sept. 1
Back at the Capital Hilton for a fourth year, the DC Festival of Magic brings together the best magicians in the Mid-Atlantic region for three nights of Labor Day weekend entertainment that will make your head spin.
More info
Capital Hilton, 1001 16th Street NW, Washington, DC 20036


Places to Stay

Need some inspiration for a place to stay in between events? Washington, DC is filled with a multitude of hotels to fit your needs. Whether you are looking for that specialty boutique hotel or booking at your favorite hotel brand, Washington, DC's booking engine has it all. Find your stay today!

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