WASHINGTON, March 23, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Washington, DC is synonymous with spring and Destination DC, the official tourism and marketing office for the nation's capital, is prepped to help locals and visitors enjoy the season. Destination DC's social channels are packed with trip-planning inspiration. Its website, washington.org, has information, calendars and itineraries, and relaunches in May with expanded neighborhood features and more user-generated content. The season of renewal also welcomes new hotels and restaurants.
"A spring trip to Washington, DC is at the top of many travelers' bucket lists. Whether it's walking around the Tidal Basin beneath the cherry blossoms or catching a Washington Nationals doubleheader –maybe a fly ball too – DC has it all. We help visitors plan unforgettable itineraries," said Elliott Ferguson, president and CEO of Destination DC.
Washington, DC's spring highlights include:
National Cherry Blossom Festival (March 20-April 17)
The nation's largest springtime celebration is a four-week extravaganza that includes the Blossom Kite Festival (April 2); the Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival (April 9) and nationally televised parade (April 16) followed by the Sakura Matsuri Japanese Street Festival at the Capitol Riverfront.
FilmFest DC (April 14-24)
The 30th festival continues its tradition of screening new international cinema.
Passport DC (May)
The month-long celebration of international culture includes: Around the World Embassy Tour (May 7); Shortcut to Europe: EU Embassies' Open House (May 14); Fiesta Asia (May 21) and Embassy Chef Challenge (May 25).
Ireland 100 (May 17-June 5)
A three-week cavalcade showcasing theater, dance, poetry, music and more, curated by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts' artist-in-residence, actress Fiona Shaw marks a century of Irish independence.
Capital Pride (June 1-12)
The 2016 theme, "Make Magic Happen" honors the passion that drives the LGBT community to spark change across communities. The celebration includes galas, concerts, a 5K, pool party, parade and street fair.
DC Jazz Festival (June 10-19)
The fastest growing jazz festival in the United States features more than 125 performances by luminaries including Cécile McLorin Salvant and Eddie Palmieri at 40 venues across the city.
National Park Service
Many of DC's 23 national parks celebrate the system's 100th birthday with the #findyourpark initiative.
National Gallery of Art
One of the world's finest art collections honors its 75th anniversary with events including "Sketching is Seeing" workshops (March 25-April 24); "75 Years/75 Stories" lectures (April 1-3) and an exhibition, "In Celebration of Paul Mellon," (May 8-Sept. 18).
DC's dollar-a-ride bus network's National Mall loop departs every 10 minutes from Union Station to the National Gallery of Art, Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, around the Tidal Basin to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, National Air and Space Museum and U.S. Capitol before returning to Union Station.
Launched in February 2016, the first segment runs from Union Station down H Street NE to Benning Road. Currently rides are free.
The Watergate Hotel reemerges as a luxurious Potomac River-side perch with 338 guest rooms following a $125 million renovation by Euro Capital Properties this spring. The property will house two ballrooms, Kingbird restaurant, a 2,500-bottle Next Whiskey Bar and Argentta Spa.
Kimpton Mason & Rook Hotel opens April 28 near 14th Street NW with 174 guest rooms and Radiator, a restau-bar with a large outdoor patio with fire pits and shuffleboard courts. Later this season, Kimpton Glover Park Hotel opens near Georgetown with 154 guest rooms, meeting spaces, a roof deck and restaurant.
Food and Drink
Among the most anticipated spring openings:
All Purpose in Shaw: Building on the success of The Red Hen in Bloomingdale, Michael Friedman and his partners are opening an Italian-American spot, one of a dozen restaurants opening in Shaw.
Alta Strada in NOMA: Boston-based chef Michael Schlow (Tico, The Riggsby) opens an Italian trattoria.
Duke's Counter in Cleveland Park: A neighborhood hangout from "Next Food Network Star" chef-testant Alex McCoy offers a children's menu, burgers and draft beer across the street from the National Zoo.
Pineapple and Pearls in Capitol Hill: In 2014 Bon Appétit Magazine named Rose's Luxury, an eclectic, no-reservations spot "the best new restaurant in America." Aaron Silverman's forthcoming venture will be a coffee shop by day; refined prix-fixe-only restaurant by night.
Smoked & Stacked at Walter E. Washington Convention Center: Break-out "Top Chef" star, Marjorie Meek-Bradley (Ripple, Roofers Union) opens her pastrami sandwich shop.
"Washington, DC is full of unique places and experiences," said Ferguson. "We've updated our free app Emoji DC with 47 shareable animated gifs and stickers, like the presidential motorcade, adding to the only-in-DC springtime fun." Emoji DC is available on Google Play and the App Store.
About Destination DC: Destination DC, the lead destination marketing organization for the nation's capital, is a private, non-profit membership organization of more than 850 businesses committed to marketing the area as a premier global convention, tourism and special events destination with a special emphasis on the arts, cultural and historic communities. Destinationdc.com.
SOURCE Destination DC