Presidents’ Day, Chinese New Year and Mardi Gras in DC

By Woody Wilson| February 10, 2015

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What To Get Up To In DC

The next week is a busy one in D.C. folks and, with a little help from yours truly, you guys can be right in the thick of the action.

Now you guys know I like to have a good time, and while I’d prefer to focus on the more “social” events coming up over the next week, Martha says I have to cover all corners.

All corners means telling you what you can get up for Presidents’ Day (you’re in the DC after all), Chinese New Year and Mardi Gras.

It’s going to be a jam packed week, so take notes…


Presidents’ Day

First up are the Presidents’ Day festivities. Presidents’ Day was originally a celebration of George Washington’s birthday day on February 22nd (being the first Prez of the United States has to have some perks). After Abraham Lincoln was assassinated, the good people of America began celebrating Lincoln’s birthday on February 12th, and until 1971, we had two federal public holidays in February. Sadly for us, Richard Nixon got his hands on these two holidays and combined them into one big celebration to honor all past of past presidents. It is great that we honor all of the leaders of the free world, but I sure wouldn’t mind that second public holiday…

History lesson over… here’s what you can get up to in DC for Presidents’ Day.

presidents' day dc

  1. Abraham Lincoln Birthday Observance – February 12th

A Presidential wreath laying ceremony and reading of the Gettysburg address (that really famous speech we still hear today – you know the one, four score and seven years ago). It’s held at 12 noon at the Lincoln memorial (on 23rd & Constitution Ave.) NW Washington, DC.

  1. George Washington Birthday Parade – February 16th

Okay so this one is technically outside of DC but it’s close enough to count. You can see the largest Presidents’ Day Parade in the country in Old Town Alexandria (on the streets George Washington himself once walked). The parade kicks off at 1pm and finishes at 3pm.

  1. Gadsby’s Tavern Museum – February 14th-17th

Another one slightly out of DC, but worth a visit, Gadsby’s Tavern Museum will have events running all weekend. It all kicks off on the 14th with the Birthnight and Banquet Ball and wraps up on the 17th with a Homeschool Day celebrating Washington’s birthday.

Chinese New Year

Next up is Chinese New Year and boy do the Chinese know how to ring in New Year! 15 whole days of celebrations. FYI… this year is the year of the goat (or the ram), so expect to see lots of red, browns and purple (the colors of the goat).


  1. Chinese New Year Parade and Festival – February 22nd

Every year a parade is held in Chinatown (east of downtown DC for the newbies out there) to celebrate Chinese New Year. The parade takes place between 2pm and 4:30 p.m. on H Street, NW, between 6th and 8th Streets. You can expect to see the traditional Chinese Dragon Dance, Kung Fu demonstrations and live music.

  1. Chinese New Year Specials

Hands up who likes a good Chinese? I know I sure do! To celebrate the Chinese New Year, many Chinese restaurants offer specials for the month of February (I’ll definitely be taking advantage of this – I’m living on an interns budget after all!). Some good spots are The Source, The Fainting Goat and Ping Pong Dim Sum. Dumplings anyone?

Mardi Gras

Last, but definitely not least… Mardi Gras. Now I know we’re thousands of miles from The Big Easy but we can’t let those guys in New Orleans have all the fun now can we? DC certainly isn’t short of Mardi Gras festivities, so here’s a few I’ll be sure to check out.

  1. The 14th Annual Bourbon Street Bash – February 17th

Starting at 4pm and running through until midnight, you can celebrate Fat Tuesday at DC’s longest running and most authentic Mardi Gras celebration – the Bourbon Street Bash. Located on 19th and M St NW, there’ll be lots of beads, masks and food and drink specials, such as the authentic New Orleans favorites jambalaya, red beans and rice, and gumbo. Get there early for a discounted cover charge or you can your tickets online right now.

mardi gras dc


  1. Clarendon Mardi Gras Parade – February 17th

If you’re looking for a more family-friendly event, then the Clarendon Mardi Gras parade is for you. It’s the largest Mardi Gras celebration in town and takes over the streets of Clarendon with floats, music, beads and just all round fun! Kick off is a 8pm.

  1. Mardi Gras Concert at Strathmore – February 18th

Kicking off at 8pm, Grammy Award winner Irvin Mayfield and his New Orleans Jazz Orchestra are going to bring the heart and soul of jazz from the deep south to DC. There’ll be complimentary beads for everyone and New Orleans-inspired food and drink that will have you thinking your strolling along Bourbon Street in The Big Easy, well almost!

We certainly have a jam packed few days ahead of us here in DC, filled with a great mix of history, culture and party! I’m up the challenge, are you guys?


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