Juneteenth 2023: Your guide to celebrations in DC, Maryland and Virginia

Women jump rope at a street party in Washington on Friday, June 19, 2020, to mark Juneteenth, the holiday celebrating the day in 1865 that enslaved Black people in Galveston, Texas, learned they had been freed from bondage, more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)(AP/Maya Alleruzzo)

On June 19, the United States will observe Juneteenth. And although the holiday isn’t until Monday, celebrations are already underway nationwide.

In 1865, a Union general arrived in Galveston, Texas, to inform enslaved African Americans that they were free and that the Civil War had ended. This news came two years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, declaring all enslaved people were free.

Since then, this significant moment in our country’s history has been celebrated in the Black community. It only became recognized as a federal holiday in 2021, when President Joe Biden signed into law the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act.

WTOP has curated a list of area events organized in celebration of Juneteenth 2023, and area road closures.


National Museum of African American History & Culture — Juneteenth Community Day
1400 Constitution Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20560
On Saturday, June 17, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., the NMAAHC will host a community day when visitors can “explore the gifts of gardening and the culinary arts, hear stories, listen to music, and discover their inner artist with crafts for all ages.” The public is also invited to visit the Museum’s galleries, grounds, and Sweet Home Café.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Bread for the City (@breadforthecity)

Bread for the City — Juneteenth for the City 2023
The Michelle Obama Southeast Center | 1700 Good Hope Rd SE, Washington, D.C. 20020
On Saturday, June 17, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., Bread for the City will team up with Mema’s Popups for their annual Juneteenth celebration featuring music, performances and presentations, featuring dining and shopping options from various Black-owned businesses. Chocolate City Soul will perform from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The R&B Juneteenth Bar Crawl 2023 (21+)
U Street Corridor | 2100 14th Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20009
On Saturday, June 17, from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m., an R&B bar crawl will take place “with at least 7 popular U Street Bars and Clubs to hop to, All Day drink specials, 7 DJs spinning.” RegMoPromo, which is hosting the event, says on its events page, “This one is for the lovers and the friends!”

Black History Celebration Committee Juneteenth
1900 Vermont Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. 20001
On Monday, June 19, from noon to 6 p.m., this Juneteenth Festival is free and open to the public. The event will include giveaways, a children’s corner, music and more.

The Black Georgetown Foundation — Juneteenth Walking Tour 
2501 Mill Road NW, Washington, D.C. 20007
On Monday, June 19, at 11 a.m., the Black Georgetown Foundation will host a walking tour where you can learn about the D.C. Emancipation Compensation Act, which freed 3,100 enslaved people in D.C. Participants will visit the Mount Zion and Female Union Band Society cemeteries. The sacred space served as a refuge on the Underground Railroad.


Prince George’s County, Department of Parks and Recreation — Juneteenth Festival
Watkins Regional Park | 301 Watkins Park Dr., Upper Marlboro, MD 20774
On Saturday, June 17, from noon to 5 p.m., this annual countywide festival will feature live entertainment, food, vendors, arts and history activities for all ages. You’re encouraged to bring your blankets and lawn chairs to this “joyous day of celebration of African American history and culture.”

The City of Rockville — Juneteenth Festival
BlackRock Center for the Arts | 12901 Town Commons Dr., Germantown, MD 20874
On Saturday, June 17, from noon to 10 p.m., Rockville and Montgomery County will host a Juneteenth festival featuring live music, food, art, films and awards.

Howard County Center of African American Culture — Finding Our Roots
Howard County Community College — Smith Theatre | Campus Dr., Columbia, MD 21044
On Sunday, June 18, at 7 p.m., the HCCAAC will host a program of spirituals, art, song and opera by Black composers.

St. John Baptist Church | 9055 Tamar Drive, Columbia, MD 21045
On Monday, June 19, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., the HCCAAC will host “Black History 365: A Truthcentric View of History.”


Fairfax County Juneteenth Celebration
Frying Pan Farm Park | 2709 West Ox Rd, Herndon, VA 20171
On Saturday, June 17, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., celebrate African American stories, food, music and contributions to American spiritual life. Activities will include storytelling, live music, crafts, history and food trucks.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by NOVA Parks (@novaparks)

NOVA Parks and Fairfax County NAACP’s Annual Juneteenth Celebration
Bull Run Regional Park | 7700 Bull Run Dr., Centreville, VA 20121
On Saturday, June 17, from 10:30 a.m. to noon, join NOVA Parks and Fairfax County NAACP for the Bull Run Church and Harris Cemetery Juneteenth Celebration. It will include a poetry reading, musical performances and an inspirational message by guest speaker Bishop Brett Fuller, Washington Commanders Chaplain and founder of Grace Covenant Church. There will also be a Black Expo and a children’s activity.

Prince William County During Reconstruction Bus Tour
Brentsville Courthouse Historic Centre | 12229 Bristow Rd, Bristow, VA 20136
On Saturday, June 17, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., “in honor of Juneteenth,” learn the stories of people and events that reshaped the area following the Civil War. Some walking will be involved. Lunch and transportation will be provided. The price is $80.

Juneteenth Road Closures

Saturday, June 17, 2023 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
17th Street from Good Hope Road to T Street, SE
The street will be posted as Emergency No Parking and closed to vehicle traffic
Monday, June 19, 2023 from 12 to 6 p.m.
Vermont Avenue NW, between U and T Streets
Vermont will be closed to vehicle traffic

Erron Franklin

Erron Franklin is a Social Media & Video Editor with WTOP News. Prior to joining WTOP, he worked in public affairs programming at C-SPAN.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up