Categories: Events & Happenings

Army Twilight Tattoo

The DC area sees a lot of military ceremonies and performances. Whether it’s a somber, private funeral at Arlington Cemetery, the inspiring show of respect at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, one of the several parades and performance downtown featuring military bands, or the precision of the US Marine Corps Silent Drill Team at the Sunset Parades, military ceremonies and performances are a staple of DC.

The Army Twilight Tattoo just might be the most exuberant. It runs on Wednesday and (some) Thursday evenings in the summer on a military base near Arlington Cemetery and the Iwo Jima Memorial in Arlington, Virginia.

The Army bills it as a “live-action military pageant,” which is as good a description of it as any. It is part history lesson, part recruiting pitch, and part broadway musical. Throw in firing cannons and other pyrotechnics, galloping horses, singing, historical military uniforms, and the US Army Blues band rocking out live, and you have quite a show. Overall, it’s far more theatrical than the Marine Corps Sunset Parade, which is held nearby on Tuesday evenings.

And in a nice touch, the soldiers stay on the field after the show to pose for photos and answer questions.

The grand finale features a battery of live-firing cannons. So if you’re taking kids or others who don’t like loud noises, you might want to prepare them for that.

2020 Army Twilight Tattoo Schedule

Efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 are fluid, and the timetable below might well change. You can check the official Army Twilight Tattoo schedule here.

The main show begins at 7pm, with pre-ceremony entertainment starting at 6:30pm. The primary location is a Summerall Field, Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall. In the event of inclement weather, it moves indoors to Conmy Hall.

The Tattoo’s through early June 2020 have been cancelled as part of COVID-19 containment efforts. At this time, these are currently still scheduled, but it’s possible that this schedule might change as we get closer to that time. You can confirm the current schedule here.

  • June 10 – 7pm CANCELLED
  • June 11 – 7pm CANCELLED
  • June 17 – 7pm CANCELLED
  • June 24 – 7pm CANCELLED
  • July 15 – 7pm
  • July 22 – 7pm
  • July 29 – 7pm

Photos of the Army Twilight Tattoo

To give a sense of what to expect, here are some photos of the Army Twilight Tattoo at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall.

Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps. Photo by David Coleman. How to license & download this image.

Photo by David Coleman. How to license & download this image.

Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps. Photo by David Coleman. How to license & download this image.

A soldier in World War I uniform and gear. Photo by David Coleman. How to license & download this image.

U.S. Army Drill Team. Photo by David Coleman. How to license & download this image.

Photo by David Coleman. How to license & download this image.

Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps. Photo by David Coleman. How to license & download this image.

Photo by David Coleman. How to license & download this image.

Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps. Photo by David Coleman. How to license & download this image.

The ride of Paul Revere. Photo by David Coleman. How to license & download this image.

U.S. Army Drill Team. Photo by David Coleman. How to license & download this image.

3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard). Photo by David Coleman. How to license & download this image.

The Civil War part of the performance. Photo by David Coleman. How to license & download this image.

U.S. Army Drill Team. Photo by David Coleman. How to license & download this image.

Photo by David Coleman. How to license & download this image.

The ride of Paul Revere. Photo by David Coleman. How to license & download this image.

Photo by David Coleman. How to license & download this image.

U.S. Army Drill Team. Photo by David Coleman. How to license & download this image.

The Civil War portion. Photo by David Coleman. How to license & download this image.

U.S. Army Drill Team. Photo by David Coleman. How to license & download this image.

Photo by David Coleman. How to license & download this image.

U.S. Army Drill Team. Photo by David Coleman. How to license & download this image.

Photo by David Coleman. How to license & download this image.

Photo by David Coleman. How to license & download this image.

How to Get Here

The Twilight Tattoo is on the grounds of Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall (it used to be known as Fort Myer), an active military base. Pedestrians will need photo ID to get onto the base, and there are bag searches and a security checkpoint to get to the event. There’s no on-site parking, but you can usually find street parking in the nearby Arlington neighborhood with a short walk. Alternatively, there are several public transportation options–you can find more details here.

The event is free, and there are no tickets. There’s some stadium seating that’s first-come-first-served. There’s also plenty of grass to sit on. But it can still fill up.

In general, no reservations are required for individuals and small groups. And while the area can handle quite a large crowd, there are occasions when large groups can fill the place to capacity, so it’s worth confirming specific performances here for any “at capacity” notes.

Large groups hoping to attend should contact the organizers directly in advance.

In the event of inclement weather, the event moves indoors to Conmy Hall.

Center map
Traffic
Bicycling
Transit

For Photographers

The Army Twilight Tattoo is unusually photographer-friendly. As the event’s official information puts it:

Twilight Tattoo offers ample opportunities for still photographers and videographers. Patrons are welcome to photograph our Soldiers before, during and after performances.

Be aware that your bags will be searched, so allow time for that.

Nearby & Related:

Share