Planning ahead? See what’s in store for DC throughout summer 2021 and beyond. From all things virtual to specialty exhibitions to long awaited expansions and milestone anniversaries, summer in DC shines.
Artechouse/Current – Sept. 6, 2021
Inspired by the annual cherry blossom season and utilizing the power of creative technology, Renewal 2121 seeks to inspire hope amid a global pandemic and concerns of climate change. Harnessing immersive art spaces and extended reality (XR), this exhibition transports visitors 100 years into the future and immerses guests in an industrial city where nature fights to survive amid an overdeveloped metropolis.
One of the premier film festivals for showcasing documentaries, AFI DOCS connects audiences with inspiring documentarians, film subjects, national opinion leaders, public policy experts and changemakers. In addition to insightful screenings, find industry panels and creative workshops and the call to inspire social change. The festival could shift to a hybrid model depending on COVID-19 restrictions.
Mount Vernon/June 25-26
Enjoy an evening of family fun and fireworks along with patriotic music to celebrate the nation's founding. The ticketed event and tickets are available with and without Mansion tours. Access to the Mansion is by guided tour only. COVID-19 safeguards will be in place.
National Independence Day
What better place to celebrate than the nation’s capital? While details are still emerging, A Capitol Fourth hopes to return to the U.S. Capitol, after being held virtually in 2020, with unforgettable performances by the National Symphony Orchestra. The concert is followed by an incredible fireworks display over the National Mall.
National Museum of Women in the Arts / July 5 – Oct. 1
Dig into the meaning behind food references. Women artists have long incorporated images of food into their work as a celebration of identity and healing and this exhibition presents a wide spectrum of food imagery.
FALL AND WINTER 2021
Hybrid Event / Sept. 1-5, 2021
The 17th Annual DC JazzFest will feature a robust lineup of artists and concerts citywide with a mix of in-person and live stream performances, up-close and personal “Meet the Artist” conversations, and the DCJazzPrix international jazz band competition finals from Union Stage. A specific iteration, DC JazzFest at The Wharf will take place with a hybrid of in-person and virtual performances September 4-5 as well.
America by Air Reimagined
Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum/2021
“America by Air” will emerge from the museum’s multi-year transformation, refreshed with a new layout, improved graphics, interactive elements and new artifacts suspended from the ceiling. The ground floor exhibition will continue to trace the history of air transportation, explore how the federal government shaped the industry and how improvements in technology have revolutionized air travel. The museum’s full seven-year renovation will be complete in 2024.
Hall of American Culture
Smithsonian National Museum of American History/2021
The third and final reimaging of the museum’s West Wing presents America as a unique country where culture makers and their giant audiences engage one another, be it in a megachurch, Barnum’s circus tent or a cineplex.
Citywide/October 2021 (tentative)
Put on by Capital Pride Alliance, the citywide LGBTQ festival will work with the city to identify the safest ways to celebrate and create new traditions in October. The new celebration will include special exhibiting opportunities, programming and a twist on the traditional parade.
ANNIVERSARIES AND MILESTONES IN 2021
America’s first museum of modern art reaches a triple-digit age (100 years) in 2021 and is planning a year-long centennial celebration. Pay homage to its founder, Duncan Phillips, whose personal collection featured artists including Jacob Lawrence, Georgia O’Keeffe and Pierre-Auguste Renoir or take in its Centennial show, "Seeing Differently: The Phillips Collects for a New Century."
A living, breathing memorial dedicated to the 35th president, the city’s most revered performance space turns 50 years old in 2021. Celebrate with free daily concerts on Millennium Stage, house acts National Symphony Orchestra and Washington National Opera, or a popular passing performance. Don’t miss The REACH campus, the on-site, inclusive “open stage.”
The Smithsonian Institution will mark its 175th anniversary by tapping into the spirit of a world’s fair. Its original site, the Arts & Industries Building, will reopen to the public in late fall with FUTURES, an exhibit showcasing prototypes, robots, speculative fiction and new worlds, among other things. The family of museums will also incorporate the anniversary.
The DC Public Library Institution celebrates 125 years in 2021. The organization is planning a year-long commemoration, anchored by the newly renovated Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in downtown DC.
Amtrak turns 50 in 2021. The railroad service officially incorporated in Washington, DC to get its start in 1971 after the signing of the Rail Passenger Service Act.
2022 AND BEYOND
Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge
Anacostia River/ 2022
The District is investing $480 million to replace the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge, its largest infrastructure project to date. Projected to open in 2022, the bridge will provide more connectivity across the Anacostia River and will include public space as well as bike and pedestrian lanes.
Dulles Metro Expansion
Metro Silver Line/2022
Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority reports a 2022 opening for the eagerly awaited expansion of the Metrorail. Six new stations will come online and connect riders to Dulles airport and into Loudoun County.
Southwest Waterfront/ 2022
Scheduled to open in 2022, Phase 2 will deliver an additional 1.15 million square feet of mixed-use spaces, including a marina, office, residential, retail, hotels, as well as parks and public spaces to the District’s Southwest Waterfront.
Citywide/April 16, 2022
Washington, DC rings in the milestone anniversary of 160 years since Abraham Lincoln signed the Compensated Emancipation Act. Emancipation Day, a beloved holiday in Washington, DC rings in the milestone anniversary of 160 years since it became law in April of 1862.
Harriet Tubman Bicentennial
While her exact birthdate is unknown, celebrations around the anniversary marking at least 200 years since Harriet Tubman’s birth will take place in DC. View tributes to Tubman in places such as the Smithsonian American Art Museum, National Portrait Gallery, International Spy Museum, various murals and works of street art and more.