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Want to leave work early and jet to Europe or California? We bet. This week, you can! For free!

Well, sort of…

The 2016 Smithsonian Folklife Festival is here, and the six-day outdoor celebration on the National Mall will give DC a taste of Basque culture and a glimpse into the “Sounds of California.”

Entrance is completely free, and more than 450,000 people are expected to flock to the District to get in on the action.


The Basque Country is an autonomous community in Northern Spain rich with cultural history. At the festival, you can listen to performances of Basque music, learn a little Euskara (their language), watch stone-carving demonstrations, and even participate in a salt tasting. If you’re an art lover, the Smithsonian Folklife Marketplace, which is located in the Arts and Industries Building, is chock full of it.

The festival’s “Sounds of California” show will feature multiple concerts, performances, and themed activities that explore the melting pot of the state’s culture. California is one of the most diverse states in the country, and the festival aims to capture this mix of traditions and heritage through music.

Smithsonian Folklife Twitter

Interested? The festival goes from today to July 4, and then starts back up again between July 7 and 10. Activities are open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and planned events like concerts will begin at 6:30 p.m. A full schedule of festival activities can be found here.

Safe travels!