May Family-Friendly Events Guide


The DC area offers so many fun things to do with your family in May. From theater productions to nature activities, from cultural appreciation to Memorial Day events, there is a lot going on around town during every weekend this month. Your family is bound to make some wonderful memories together as summer draws near. If there is a fun, family-friendly event that you would like to share, please leave it in the comments section. 

Now Through May 22
Into The Woods
Times Vary
Ford’s Theater
Washington, DC

In Stephen Sondheim’s imaginative, darkly comical remix of beloved fairy tales, a baker and his wife set out to reverse a witch’s curse in hopes of having a child of their own. The couple’s quest takes them into the woods, where they encounter Little Red Ridinghood, Jack and his beanstalk, a cautious Cinderella, a sequestered Rapunzel and a couple of lovelorn princes. Sondheim’s lush Tony-winning score and James Lapine’s Tony-winning book conjure a world where “giants can be good and witches can be right.” Recommended for children age 12 and over.

Now Through September 22
Wings of Fancy Live Butterfly & Caterpillar Exhibit
10am – 5pm (Hours Change Beginning July 1)
Brookside Gardens
Wheaton, MD

This delightful exhibit allows visitors to get up close and personal with hundreds of brilliant live butterflies from North America, Costa Rica, Africa, and Asia. The butterflies soar among colorful flowers and go about their business of drinking nectar and looking for others of their kind. Visitors learn about their amazing metamorphosis, the important role butterflies play in healthy ecosystems, and how to ensure these beautiful insects thrive in our own gardens. Kids 2 and under are FREE. Make sure you check out the event website for important information regarding peak visiting times, parking, and more.

May 3 – May 4
Flower Mart
10am – 6pm (Fri) and 10am – 5pm (Sat)
National Cathedral
Washington, DC

This family-friendly event has been held since 1939 to benefit the Cathedral’s gardens and grounds. Attendees can purchase spring plants for their garden, find treasures in the White Elephant Tent, and shop for a wide array of merchandise at over 70 boutique booths. Many food vendors will be there offering a wide range of options and free entertainment will be performed throughout the day. There are activities to delight children including an antique carousel, a puppet show, and a Children’s Area with various games and carnival rides. Tickets for the rides, games, and puppet show can be purchased at the ticket booth in the Children’s Area. Tickets are also available for guided Tower Climbs that will be offered on Saturday, May 4th. The tour begins at the Cathedral’s crypt level and participants climb over 300 steps. Climbers must be a minimum of 48 inches tall in order to participate. These tickets can be purchased online, though a limited number will be available day-of (for a higher price).

May 4
Around The World Embassy Tour
10am – 4pm
Northwest DC
Washington, DC

Embassies will once again open their doors to DC visitors and residents. During this very popular event, participants can travel the world as they experience the food, art, dance, fashion, and music of different countries. In the past, visitors have been treated to karate demonstrations, dance performances, sari wrapping lessons, and henna demonstrations. Admission is free and no reservation is required. Parking is very difficult, so public transportation is suggested. Also, be prepared for long wait times as the lines for some embassies can be very long. Check out the website for the list and map of participating embassies.

May 4
DC Chocolate Festival
10am – 5pm
La Maison Française at the Embassy of France
Washington, DC

If you like chocolate, this is the event for you. It is a celebration of artisan and fine chocolate from the Mid-Atlantic and beyond. Attendees will meet chocolate makers and chocolatiers, learn about chocolate and cacao,  and eat and buy the deliciousness. There will also be classes, workshops, and movie screenings taking place throughout the day. Other food and beverages will be available for sale at the event. There is no minimum age requirement, this is a family-friendly event. Kids 12 and over will need to have a separate ticket. This event takes place at the embassy, so there is a 100% ID check for all attendees. Also, large bags are not allowed.

May 4
Kingman Island Bluegrass & Folk Festival
12pm – 8pm
Kingman and Heritage Islands Park
Washington, DC

This festival was born from an effort to raise awareness of Kingman Island and its availability to people as a public park. Since its first year in 2010, this homegrown festival has grown exponentially, now attracting an average of 8,000 guests annually with dozens of bands spread across multiple stages for eight hours of performances. There is also delicious food, drinks, and, activities for adults and children of all ages. Thousands of guests have been introduced to the beauty that lies within our Nation’s capital through this event which supports and celebrates the continued restoration and maintenance of the Anacostia River and Kingman Island. Check out their website for the list of artists, performance schedule, to purchase tickets, and other FAQs. Please note, children 10 and under are FREE!

May 4 and May 18
Family Mural Art Workshop
11:30am – 1:30pm
Anacostia Community Museum
Washington, DC

Join celebrated DC artist Luis Peralta del Valle as he guides workshop participants in creating a communal mural that honors the rich tapestry of DC history and culture. The workshop is being offered in conjunction with the exhibition, A Right to the City and uses the themes of communal engagement and cultural activism as foundations in creating a group inspired artwork. All workshop materials will be provided. This workshop is suitable for ages 6 and above, and adults. This is a two-part workshop. Space is limit to 40 participants per workshop, so make sure you register on the website.

May 9 – June 23
Times Vary
The Puppet Co.
Glen Echo, MD

The elegance of 17th-century France, combining elaborate costumes of the Comédie-Française and Offenbach’s “Gaiety Parisian” to adorn the tale of the cinder girl who captures the heart of the handsome prince. The production was acclaimed at the 1997 National Puppet Festival, and performed by invitation at the Center for Puppetry Arts, in Atlanta. Recommended for ages 5+.

May 11
Tot Rock Festival
9am – 1pm
Mount Vernon Recreation Center
Alexandria, VA

The Rainbow Rock Collection, in partnership with Mind the Mat, Mindful Junkie, CrossFit OldTown, and National Community Church, is hosting a fun-filled day of music and movement. Four exceptional children’s performers will keep your family moving and smiling. They include The Uncle Devin Show, Marsha and the Positrons, 123 Andrés, and The Rainbow Rock Band. The festival is geared for infants to 7-year-olds. Food will be available for purchase and admission is FREE!

May 11
Train Day Celebration
10am – 3pm
National Postal Museum
Washington, DC

Join the National Postal Museum as it celebrates the 150th anniversary of the Transcontinental Railroad and USPS’ new “Golden Spike” stamp. The Transcontinental Railroad’s train tracks connected East and West, allowing the Post Office to quickly move mail by trains across the entire country, and trains have played important role in getting the mail delivered and keeping our country connected. On Train Day, experience the Railway Post Office by checking out the inside of the train car and find out how train conductors use whistle signals to communicate. Learn from interactive carts about the hidden voices and stories of Chinese American Railroad workers and their contributions in the building of our nation. This program is free and open to the public of all ages.

May 11
Spring Farm Day
10am – 3pm
Frying Pan Farm Park
Herndon, VA

Enjoy a fun-filled day outdoors at Frying Pan Farm Park during this annual event. Watch sheep shearing and antique farm equipment demonstrations. Participate in hands-on farm activities such as cow and goat milking. Enjoy crafts and games, and get an up-close introduction to the baby farm animals. Tickets are available online for $7 or at the gate for $8.

May 11
European Union Open House
10am – 4pm
Northwest DC
Washington, DC

The Delegation of the European Union to the United States and the Embassies of 28 EU Member States to the United States will open their doors to the public during the EU Embassies’ Open House Day. Each embassy will open its doors to the public to provide a unique opportunity to experience the country’s cultural heritage and national traditions. For example, the Embassy of Czech Republic will offer Czech cuisine, rock music by Vladivojna La Chia, and song and dance performed by young children dressed in national costume. Check out the event website for information about what you will be able to experience at each embassy.

May 11
6th Annual Funk Parade
5pm – 6pm
U Street NW, from the Howard Theater to the Lincoln Theater
Washington, DC

The DC Funk Parade is a really exciting celebration of DC’s unique and vibrant music and arts scenes. It also brings attention to the U Street neighborhood and “the Spirit of Funk that brings us all together.” It is free and anyone can join the parade. Attendees are encouraged to bring trumpets, trombones, drums, and noise-makers and to join the parade’s marching bands and dance troupes. In addition to the parade, the event includes a festival, Night Music Fest, and a Featured Showcase. The festival, from 1pm to 7pm, is free and will feature 5 stages and performance areas throughout the U Street neighborhood. Unlike the parade and the festival, the Night Music Fest and Featured Showcase require attendees to purchase a wristband. Check out the website for a list and schedule of performances.

May 17
Teen Takeover: Night at the Museum
6pm – 9pm
Freer Gallery of Art
Washington, DC

Teens are taking over at this free after-hours event to discover the Smithsonian’s first museum of Asian art. Enjoy a night with a fun lineup of activities made by and for teens including a pop-up gallery featuring teen artists, musical performances, gallery tours, art making, free food, and giveaways. This event is exclusively for kids aged thirteen to eighteen. Bring a valid student ID.

May 18
DC Bike Ride
6am – 12:30pm
Washington, DC

DC Bike Ride is a closed-road, car-free bike ride that traverses 20 miles of DC streets past our city’s gorgeous scenery, monuments, and memorials. It is not a race, rather it is a scenic ride with entertainment along the route (as well as a scavenger hunt you can sign up for before the day of the ride). It culminates with a Finish Festival in front of the U.S. Capitol. There will also be a shorter course available (about 6 miles). Children must be 3 years or older to participate. Children between 3 and 7 are FREE and must ride on a child bike seat, tagalong bike, tandem bike, in a bike trailer, or in a bike cargo. Youth riders between 8 and 17 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. The Finish Festival, opening at 9:30am, includes free activities, giveaways, music, and food trucks. The festival will also feature a free bike valet, a dedicated Kids Zone, and cool-down yoga sessions.

May 18
Fiesta Asia Street Fair
11am – 7pm
Pennsylvania Ave NW between 3rd and 6th St NW
Washington, DC

For 13 years, the Fiesta Asia Street Fair has commemorated Asian Heritage Month with a full day of festivities. This free event gives attendees the opportunity to explore and enjoy outdoor craft exhibits, live performances, food and open market vendors, interactive displays, martial arts demonstration, talent show, cooking demo, and more. Over a thousand performers, artisans, and participants are expected to take part in the festivities throughout the day.

May 18 – 19
Dragon Boat Festival
8:30am – 4pm
Thompson’s Boat Center
Washington, DC

Celebrating its 18th year, this two-day festival continues the tradition and sport of dragon boat racing in an effort to promote Taiwanese culture. In addition to dragon boat racing, the festival will offer cultural exhibitions and craft demonstrations including eye dotting ceremonies and lion dances.

May 18 – May 19
Hawaiian Cultural Festival
10am – 5:30pm
American Indian Museum
Washington, DC

During this two-day event, visitors will learn about King Kamehameha, the respected Native Hawaiian warrior, leader, and diplomat who united the Hawaiian Islands into a royal kingdom in 1810. They will learn about the King’s legacy by exploring the lua, traditional training for warriors, as well as the unique royal Hawaiian regalia, including distinctive feather capes. Other activities include scholarly presentations, music, storytelling and family activities.

May 26
National Memorial Day Concert
8pm – 9:30pm
U.S. Capitol West Lawn
Washington, DC

The National Memorial Day Concert is an annual tradition that honors the men and women who serve and have served in the military, as well as their families. The concert will feature musical performances, documentary footage, and dramatic readings. It is free and open to the public. Gates open at 5pm. Expect to have all bags checked by U.S. Capitol Police. For more information on what is and is not allowed, please refer to this USCP press release. You may find smaller crowds at the full concert dress rehearsal, which will be at 8pm on Saturday, May 26th, with gates opening at 5pm.

May 27
National Memorial Day Parade
2pm – 4pm
Constitution Ave from 7th Street NW to 17th Street NW
Washington, DC

The parade, which is the nation’s largest Memorial Day event, pays tribute to those who have served, are serving, or made the ultimate sacrifice serving our country. It portrays a timeline of American military history, honoring those who have served and sacrificed from the American Revolution to the present day. The event is free and attendees can watch the parade from anywhere along the route, but no seating is available. Attendees must bring their own chairs.

May 24-27
Rolling Thunder Military Tribute
12pm – 1:30pm
National Mall
Washington, DC

For 32 years, the Rolling Thunder Demonstration Run has drawn motorcycle riders to DC to protest and bring awareness to and accountability for POWs and MIAs. It has evolved into a means of showing support for all who serve in the military. Last year, 500,000 riders participated in the rally that begins at the Pentagon, circles the National Mall, and ends at West Potomac Park, where riders pay their respect to the fallen. Here is a map of their route and the schedule for other Rolling Thunder activities throughout Memorial Day weekend. All are welcome to watch the run, but please note that this event is loud! Make sure you take the necessary steps to protect your and your family’s ears. Also, there have been reports that this will be the last year of the Rolling Thunder Demonstration Run in DC.

Previous articleHappy World Maternal Mental Health Day
Next articleAdventures in Wonderland at Lake Fairfax Park
Julie is a proud born and bred Texan, but has called DC home since 2001. She studied at the University of Texas and then moved to DC to get her MPA at the George Washington University. Julie worked for ten years for a Member of Congress, where she loved working to impact public policy. In 2013, her world turned inside out when she gave birth to twins and decided to become a stay-at-home mom. Currently Julie lives in the H Street Corridor with her husband, two kids, and their increasingly grouchy senior dog, Presley. Yes, please: movie dates with her husband, trying new restaurants, exploring DC with her kids, last minute road trips, being outdoors, festivals (of any kind), girls’ night out, and a rainy day with “Pride and Prejudice.” No, thank you: hot and humid summers, mistreating animals, Legos (ouch!), public speaking, laundry, raw fish