Juneteenth 2024: Your guide to celebrations in DC, Maryland and Virginia

On Wednesday, June 19, the United States will observe Juneteenth.

A little history: 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, following a string of protests against police violence in the wake of George Floyd’s death, President Joe Biden signed into law the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act.

WTOP has curated a list of D.C.-area events organized in celebration of Juneteenth 2024.


National Museum of African American History & Culture — Juneteenth Community Day
1400 Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20560
On Saturday, June 15, the NMAAHC will celebrate the holiday early with “educational, cultural and dynamic programs that enrich understanding and honor the legacy of freedom, movement and migration.”

Some of the programs include designing your own Juneteenth flag, a mocktail workshop and live jazz performances by Alphonso Horne and the Gotham Kings. All events are free, but online registration is required.

National Archives — See the original Emancipation Proclamation
700 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, D.C. 20408
The proclamation President Abraham Lincoln issued on Jan. 1, 1863, declaring all enslaved people in states engaged in rebellion against the Union “shall be free” will be on display from June 18 to June 20 in the East Rotunda Gallery.

Also on display will be the General Order No. 3 decree, which informed the state of Texas that all enslaved people were now free, in the West Rotunda Gallery. Special extended exhibition hours are from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Anacostia Community Museum — Juneteenth Freedom Celebration
1901 Fort Place SE, Washington, D.C. 20020
On June 19 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., the museum will have a daylong, family-friendly celebration featuring live music from area musicians, its new “A Bold and Beautiful Vision” exhibition highlighting D.C.’s role in Black arts education and Double Dutch lessons and contests.

Communications director Katelynd Anderson told WTOP the Sankofa Mobile Museum — which features hands-on exhibits exploring centuries of Maryland history — will also be on-site. Guests are encouraged to bring blankets, chairs, coolers and food. Concessions will be available for purchase on-site as well. It is free to attend, but registration is recommended.

Bread for the City — Juneteenth for the City 2024
1700 Marion Barry Ave. SE, Washington, D.C. 20020
On Wednesday from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., Bread for the City’s Southeast center will turn into a block party, featuring a local Black-owned business marketplace, food, live performances and educational sessions on Black culture and history. Admission is free, but you must RSVP to attend.

Juneteenth in the District at Bryant Street
680 Rhode Island Ave. NE, Washington, D.C. 20002
The Edgewater neighborhood is coming together on Juneteenth for a “meaningful and special street festival” focused on health. Starting at 10 a.m., the event will host a yoga and meditation session, followed by a fitness boot camp (you must register to participate).

Then, from noon to 4 p.m., the street festival begins, featuring performances by the Batalá Washington drum line and the Side-By-Side Go-go Band. Pop-up vendors will also be on-hand. Reserve your spot for free online.


Watkins Regional Park — Juneteenth by the Prince George’s Parks 
301 Watkins Park Drive, Upper Marlboro, Maryland 20774
Prince George’s County’s parks department is hosting its free Juneteenth celebration on Saturday, June 15, from noon to 5 p.m., with a festival of food, art and more, celebrating “African American history, culture, and achievement.”

It also will include live performances from Go-go bands, including the Chuck Brown Band and Big Tony and Trouble Funk, among others.

Scotland Juneteenth Heritage Festival
Multiple locations, Montgomery County, Maryland 
Labeled as the region’s “most prolific cultural event,” the 5-day event starts with its opening night celebration at The Bethesda Theater on Saturday, June 15, featuring performances by former America’s Got Talent contestant Kelvin Dukes and R&B and blues musician Daryl Davis. Tickets start at $60.

On Father’s Day Sunday, the Marriott Bethesda Hotel will host Scotland Interfaith Breakfast, where various religious leaders plan to perform a special service with a goal of “fostering dialogue around shared values and hospitality.” Tickets start at $60, but virtual attendance is free.

For the first time in Montgomery County history, the festival will be capped off with fireworks on Juneteenth at Shirley Povich Field in Rockville at 9:45 p.m., after the Children’s Caribbean Carnival at nearby Cabin John Park. See a full list of events on the festival’s website.

National Harbor’s Annual Juneteenth Celebration
Multiple Locations, National Harbor, Maryland
To celebrate Juneteenth, National Harbor is hosting multiple events, including a Freedom Day Black-Owned Marketplace in the Capital Canopy, a cultural showcase featuring various musical and spoken word performances, and Sip and Paint inside Arts’tination, Prince George’s County’s new art space. 


Alexandria celebrates Juneteenth 2024
Multiple locations, Alexandria, Virginia
The City of Alexandria plans to hold multiple event to commemorate the holiday, including its annual remembrance event at the Douglass Cemetery to honor those buried at the historic African American cemetery on Saturday, June 15, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Seating is limited and those attending are asked to wear appropriate walking shows.

On Juneteenth, Alexandria’s Market Square will host a lively concert by the Washington Revels Jubilee Voices, featuring traditional music, dance and spoken word. Lastly, on Saturday, June 22, there will be activities, including music, performances and a moon bounce at the Charles Houston Recreation Center parking lot from noon to 6 p.m.

WalkArlington Presents: Juneteenth Black Heritage Walk
801 S. Scott St., Arlington, Virginia, 22204
Discover Black heritage in Arlington on a two-hour guided walking tour led by board member Craig Syphax. It will take place near Columbia Pike with stops at St. John’s Baptist Church and Freedman’s Village Bridge, ending at the Black Heritage Museum of Arlington. It is free, but those interested must sign up online.

Metropolitan Park — Arlington Community Juneteenth Celebration & Cookout
1330 S Fair Street, Arlington, Virginia, 22202
Under the theme “What freedom means to me,” t
he family-friendly celebration and reflection will feature live music, cultural performances, delicious food, and activities for all ages. The event is free and open to the public. It will take place rain or shine. 

Mount Vernon — “Freedom Before Emancipation: Family Day for Juneteenth”
3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway, Mount Vernon, Virginia 22121
The historic home of George Washington plans to host multiple events discussing the history of the enslaved people who lived there. From June 19 to June 22, the estate will host multiple specialty performances and demonstrations.

There will also be an Enslaved People of Mount Vernon Specialty Tour and a Slave Burial Ground Commemoration Ceremony to “honor the lives of the enslaved. One must purchase a ticket to attend any of the event, which range from $15-28

WTOP’s José Umaña, Michelle Goldchain and Jenna Romaine contributed to this report.

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