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As any native will tell you, D.C. comes alive each spring with an array of festivals, events and culture. Even better? You can attend some of the finest free of charge.
Which means that just because the National Cherry Blossom Festival wrapped up last Sunday doesn't mean there still isn't reason to celebrate.
So kickstart your spring by checking out a few of our favorite free events below. Whether you're hanging with friends, going on a romantic date or enjoying a day with the family, there's something for everyone.
National Gallery of Art
Free classical music concerts continue at the National Gallery of Art during the month of April. Now in its 71st season, the series is a highlight for any classical music aficionado and a great way to introduce new fans to the art. Enjoy the music of 19th century French musicians (presented by the Embassy of France) and the music of iconic composers like Beethoven and Bach played by the National Gallery of Art and Phillis Collection resident musicians. Admission is on a first-come, first-seated basis, so expect to arrive 30 minutes early. The Garden Café remains open so that you can nosh on snacks while you wait. For more information, click here.
Ever wonder what it's like inside the stately mansions along Embassy Row? Well, in May you don't need to be a diplomat to roam those hallowed halls. In celebration of May being International Cultural Awareness Month, 70 embassies will open their doors to the general public. On Saturday, May 4 partake in the Around the World Embassy Tour, where you can virtually visit six continents without ever leaving D.C. thanks to free admission at over 40 embassies, each serving native food and hosting art, dance and music performances in their exclusive compounds. Festivities continue later in the month with Shortcut to Europe, a shuttle-service tour of E.U. embassies and Fiesta Asia, a lively street fair showcasing asian art and culture. For a full list of events, many of which are free, click here.
The 74th Flower Mart takes place on the sprawling grounds of the National Cathedral. This year's theme is "America the Beautiful," and, as always, expect dazzling perennials and creative flower arrangements, landscape exhibits and floral tours, plus plenty of live music, food (opt for the lobster rolls) and fun. Thinking of bringing the whole family? No problem -- kids will stay entertained thanks to a puppet show plus features like a rock wall, a bounce house, a whirly bird and even a mini-Ferris wheel. Click here for more details.
DC Jazz Festival
Jazz is America's music. How fitting, then, that DC Jazz Festival is the city's larger music festival and one of our nation's most anticipated cultural events. In 2013, hundreds of acclaimed musicians will perform throughout DC, spread across six stages (including the Kennedy Center and The Phillips Collection), 40 clubs, museums, restaurants, community centers and hotels. And while most of these concerts require tickets, there are many showcases like Jazz in the 'Hoods and Jazz 'n Families Fun Days that feature free performances from today's most talented musicians. Click here for a full lineup.
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