Everyone is Irish at the National ShamrockFest, the country's biggest St. Patrick’s Day Festival. Held on a Saturday close to St. Patrick’s Day outside of Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium in Washington, D.C., this long-running event invites you to put on your greenest attire and rock out to music including popular bands, DJs, and emerging artists.
This outdoor event promises multiple stages of entertainment plus carnival rides, Irish goods, food vendors, beer, contests, Irish dancers, and plenty of camaraderie. If you’ve ever wanted to go big for St. Patrick’s Day, ShamrockFest is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that’s as big as it gets.
The festival typically draws crowds in the thousands and offers affordable general admission and VIP options as well. For RV campers, springtime in Washington, D.C. promises brisk, sunny days, urban camping adventures, and endless opportunities to immerse yourself in local history and attractions or venture into Maryland and Virginia.
While in the area, take a tour of the U. S. Capitol Building, visit several of the Smithsonian Institute Museums, and take in the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument. Pack up your campervan and head to the D.C. area for ShamrockFest and camp nearby.
Expect National ShamrockFest tickets to go on sale in early spring before the event. Options include general admission tickets that offer access to all performances or VIP tickets, which include all performances plus special VIP shows, a heated DJ tent, VIP bathrooms, and drink perks. VIP festival packages for groups that include select viewing areas and beverage service may also be available. Tickets can also be purchased at the gate but at a higher price. Prices range from $20 to 40 for general admission tickets or $60 to 290 for individual VIP tickets and special packages.
Navigating Washington, D.C. in an RV can be tricky due to traffic, narrow roads, and low bridges. Give yourself ample travel time if you plan on driving your RV to ShamrockFest. As this is not an RV-friendly festival, be aware that routes around the event and parking may not be designed to accommodate RVs. Your best bet is to leave your RV at your D.C. area campground and take the train or other public transportation for the last portion of the way there.
Minimal parking is available at the event for a separate fee (approximately $20 for cars and smaller vehicles). Bring cash if you plan to park as lot attendants may not be equipped to accept credit cards. This outdoor festival takes place in the parking area outside of Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium, and as such, limits the typical parking availability that the venue usually offers.
Leaving your RV at your campground of choice and taking public transportation to ShamrockFest is your best bet for a stress-free festival experience. In Washington, D.C., you will find a number of public transportation options, including buses, rail, and bikeshare programs. Routes often begin at the edges of the District, making connections simple when needed. You can also take a taxi or use a rideshare app.
There is no RV camping at ShamrockFest. As this is a one-day festival, there is also no overnight parking. However, Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium is centrally located in Washington D.C. near Kingman Lake and the Anacostia River. It is easily accessible from whichever campground you choose to park your RV in the Washington D.C. area.
Look for RV campgrounds in the Washington D.C. vicinity (Maryland and Virginia), instead of focusing on D.C. proper. Washington D.C./Capitol KOA in Millersville, Maryland is one excellent option. You’ll also find RV campgrounds in College Park, Maryland and Dumfries, Virginia. If you’re a national park buff, you’ll love that RV camping near Washington D.C. allows you an opportunity to experience more urban, historic national parks, including the White House itself.
An important distinction to note when planning for ShamrockFest is that the festival is held in a parking area outside of Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium, not inside of the stadium itself. In other words, rules of accessing and getting around the stadium need not apply. The venue is a mostly-flat, mostly-paved location. Getting around on foot is easiest, as the event will be crowded.
ShamrockFest is held rain or shine and is an all-day outdoor event that usually lasts from noon until late evening. Springtime weather in Washington, D.C., while beautiful, can be chilly. Past festival attendees have also mentioned experiencing high winds at ShamrockFest. Dress warmly and pack a windbreaker and wool cap. Bring comfortable shoes as you will be walking, standing, and dancing all day. And most importantly, don’t forget your green!
Pack camping essentials for your RV campground, including cookware, and ingredients for a hearty breakfast the morning of the festival. You are welcome to bring a small bag to ShamrockFest, but backpacks are not permitted. Chairs are also not allowed, so leave those at the campground. Bring your ID, cash, cell phone, and any other essentials that can fit into a clutch or fanny pack.
The most important thing you can do for your safety at this festival is to dress warmly and have a layer that will protect you from wind and rain. A foldable rain poncho may be a lifesaver on a cloudy day. Bring prescriptions and any first-aid necessities such as aspirin with you, but be prepared to explain these items during a security screening.
Most RV campgrounds will allow outdoor cooking, though be aware that some may require you to purchase firewood on-site rather than bringing in your own. There are several big-name and regional grocery stores in the area for all of your meal ingredient needs. Some campgrounds will also have small general stores available with S’mores ingredients and snacks.
From fast-food chains to historic saloons and farm-to-table fare, dining options in Washington, D.C. are plentiful. Soul food, burgers, fine dining, and more are all a short distance away from ShamrockFest. You may want to take public transportation or rideshare to other neighborhoods in Washington, D.C. for greater variety.
There will be a wide variety of food vendors at ShamrockFest. In the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day, it’s safe to assume that if you’re craving Irish food, you will be pleased. Beer and whiskey are also a major focus of this festival, including both Irish favorites and domestic brands. Many vendors accept credit cards, but remember to have cash just in case.
All bags will be searched upon entering the National ShamrockFest. Backpacks and chairs are not allowed. Have a valid ID with you at all times, and be prepared to present it with your ticket. Expect a separate security screening for VIP areas. This is an all-ages event, but some areas may be restricted to guests 21 and over.
Weather around St. Patrick’s Day in Washington, D.C. is usually free from the humidity that plagues the area in the summer and the snow that falls during the winter. However, it can still be chilly. Daytime temperatures will likely be in the 50s. Nighttime temperatures can dip into the 30s. Sun, cloudy skies, rain, and wind are all possible, so pack and plan for mercurial weather.
The closest hospital to Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium is about four miles away, which could take up to half an hour in traffic. There are a number of additional hospitals and urgent care centers in Washington, D.C. and Arlington. You will also find pharmacies nearby for prescriptions and medical essentials.