19 Extremely DC Things We Can’t Wait To Do in 2022

Here's hoping for a better year to come

January 4, 2022 12:13 pm
Washington Monument how to take better photos in DC
A photographer considers the Washington Monument at sunset
Ji Pak / Unsplash

The last 20 months have been a mess — for many people, a cataclysm of grief, anxiety and upheaval. 

When we first started talking about how we’d like to end the year, editorially speaking, we decided we wanted to look forward — to happier, easier days (and later, livelier nights). Most of all, to spending our days out and about in the city we love, seeing what the world has to offer, without worry. 

We will [try to] maintain that optimism, whatever is trending on Twitter. There’s no going back to February 2020 — but some day soon, things are going to break, for the better. Here’s what we’ll be doing. 

President’s Day

There’s really no better place to celebrate President’s Day than here, where 46 presidents steered the nation. Each year, the National Portrait Gallery hosts a special celebration over President’s Day Weekend — it’s the nation’s only complete collection of presidential portraits outside of the White House. View the portraits of all the U.S. presidents in “America’s Presidents,” a permanent exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery. Also, consider a visit to President Lincoln’s Cottage in Petworth, George Washington’s home, Mount Vernon, or tour the city by drinking what the presidents drank and where they drank it. Feb. 21

Basketball in Baltimore — CIAA

The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournament returns to Baltimore next year. The nation’s oldest historically Black athletic conference, moves to Charm City for the 77th anniversary of the Championship Basketball Tournament. Held virtually in 2021 due to the pandemic. Ticket required. Feb. 21-26

Harriet Tubman Bicentennial

2022 marks 200 years since Harriet Tubman’s birth, and celebrations will take place all over the DC area — including at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, National Portrait Gallery, the International Spy Museum (don’t forget: she was a spy during the Civil War!), the Harriet Tubman Museum and the Underground Railroad Trail.

DC Embassy Chef’s Challenge

An “event of culinary diplomacy” that can only take place in the nation’s capital (home to 190 national embassies!), the Embassy Chef Challenge is a month-long celebration of the District’s diplomatic community. Chefs from around the world prepare authentic sips and bites from their homelands for attendees to taste; date and ticket information TBD.

DC on the Half Shell Gala 

Hosted by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation the biannual, DC on the Half Shell Gala showcases the Chesapeake Bay waterman and oyster producers,  highlighting how important the Chesapeake Bay is to our ecosystem. Look for tickets go on sale online in mid-January. Mar. 14

National Cherry Blossom Festival

Set to be held in person in 2022, the District celebrates the blooming of our cherry trees with a month-long festival commemorating the gift from the mayor of Tokyo to Washington, DC. in 1912. The festival includes formal events all around DC, including the Blossom Kite Festival, Petalpalooza, the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade, the Pink Tie Party and more. And, of course, lots of cherry tree peeping not only around the Tidal Basin but throughout the entire District. Peak bloom won’t be predicted until mid-February. The festival runs Mar. 20 – Apr. 17

cherry blossoms dc
We can’t promise this photo. But you’ll get something similar.
Dennis Govoni

Concerts in the Sculpture Garden 

Concerts in the Sculpture Garden (formerly: Jazz in the Garden) at the National Gallery of Art’s Sculpture Garden is a summer tradition, with nearly 2000 attendees each week. 

Reopening of the oldest public market in America

2022 will bring the highly anticipated reopening of Baltimore’s iconic Lexington Market, the oldest public market in America. Founded in 1782, the market, which is in the midst of an extensive rehabbing project, will reopen as a new, fully modernized communal gathering space in May. Opening events TBD.

The Seersucker Ride

Along with its faithful fall cousin, the Tweed Ride, the Seersucker Ride is hosted by Dandies and Quaintrelles, a DC social group. Launched in 2010, the ride — free and open to the public — takes participants in a flat, five-ish mile ride around the city with several, heavy-on-the-seersucker photo-op stops around the District. Details and dates TBA.

Great Chesapeake Bay Swim 

America’s premier open water swim challenges and is known for its “Cuisinart start.” While the lottery for this annual swim under the Chesapeake Bay Bridge opens in January, the swim is in June; those wanting to participate in the 4.4 mile swim need to qualify. 

Chincoteague’s Annual Pony Swim

The 97th Chincoteague Pony Swim, made famous by Marguerite Henry’s Misty of Chincoteague, draws tens of thousands of spectators from around the world. Gather on Chincoteague Island, Virginia, to watch the wild ponies swim back to Assateague, an island shared by both Virginia and Maryland. It’s believed that the wild ponies are descendants of the survivors of a Spanish galleon which wrecked off the coast of Assateague. The event kicks off during a “slack tide” when Chincoteague’s “Saltwater Cowboys” herd the wild ponies across the Assateague Channel to Chincoteague Island. After the swim, the ponies “parade” to the carnival grounds where the foals are auctioned. Two days later, the adult ponies swim back to their home in the wild on Assateague Island. July 27

Art All Night

The two-night festival launched more than a decade ago (and canceled for the last two years) will hopefully return this year, with art installations and performances throughout the city, including silent disco parties and drive-through art galleries. The last IRL event drew more than 30-thousand people to Shaw, alone. Sep. 24 & 25

Broccoli City Festival

The “largest festival in the country for young people of color,” the Broccoli City Festival is usually slated for the first Saturday in October. The home-grown, one-day festival is expected to return to RFK Stadium in 2022. Drawing around 35,000 people, past artists have included Childish Gambino, Kendrick Lamar, Cardi B, Lil Wayne, Erykah Badu and Anderson Paak. Dates and lineup TBD.

U.S. Oyster Festival

The Chesapeake Bay’s annual US Oyster Festival includes the 56th annual U.S. National Oyster Shucking Contest, the 434d Annual National Oyster Cooking Contest as well as live music and other events. Held the third weekend in October in St. Mary’s County, Maryland. Oct. 22 & 23

High Heel Race 

Always held on the Tuesday before Halloween, the race draws hundreds of costumed drag queens in extravagant outfits running down 17th Street, NW. Oct. 25

Marine Corp Marathon 

This iconic DC race draws Inside the Beltway red carpet types as well as the Hollywood set. Oct. 30


Snallygaster is the “District’s beastliest beer festival,” bar none. A “rollicking salute to craft beer,” this year’s event will be the 10th annual. Ticketed customers can get unlimited beer, wine, and cocktail tastings all along Pennsylvania Ave NW from more than 200 breweries across the world. Dates TBD.

The popular festival shuts down four blocks of Pennsylvania Ave. each year
Kimberly Kong

The 45th Annual Kennedy Center Honors

Each year, the Kennedy Center selects five Honorees to receive the center’s lifetime artistic achievement award for their “profound artistic impact”; the annual “Honors Gala” is a highlight of the Washington cultural calendar. Dates TBD.

Christmas tree lightings galore

Each December, the White House fir tree that sits year round on the Ellipse is decorated for Christmas and lit up during an event rich with pomp and circumstance. Also called the “National Christmas Tree” the tradition began more than 90 years ago. Once lit, the walkway surrounding the tree, called the “Pathway of Peace,” features 58 trees decorated by students from all 50 states, DC and the territories. The trees are open to the public from early December through New Year’s Day. Meanwhile, consider the People’s Tree: Every year, with the help of the National Forest Service, the Architect of the Capitol selects a tree to serve as the “People’s Tree” in front of the US Capitol Building. The tree travels from its home state on a whistle stop tour to DC before it’s planted, decorated and lit during a ceremony hosted by the Speaker of the House. The ceremony as well as the tree is free and open to the public. 

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