Things to Do in DC This Weekend: Festivals, Exhibits, Tours

Down in the Reeds fall festival 2021. Photograph by Albert Ting.

Happy weekend everyone!

Monday is Indigenous People’s Day, so many folks will get an extra day this weekend to go out on the town and explore. You could check out a free garden tour at the White House, or stop by DC’s Hotel Zena for some father-daughter fun.

Best things to do this weekend

  1. White House garden tour. The President and First Lady are continuing the annual tradition of opening the White House gardens and South Grounds to the public Fall Garden Tours. Adults and children are welcome to attend, but will need to obtain timed tickets outside the visitor center (Sat-Sun, free, White House).
  2. The Women’s March. Over 8,000 people have signed up march this Saturday, a month before the midterms. The rally will feature comedian Lea DeLaria as emcee, along with performances by artists Milck, BIIANCO, and Autumn. Demonstrators are encouraged to make signs in the shapes of waves, as part of a national “feminist tsunami” as marches take place across the country. (Sat, free, Capitol Hill.)
  3. Snallygaster. The sprawling beer festival celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. You can taste your way through hundreds of brews, ciders, wines, and cocktails. (Sat, $65, Downtown DC).
  4. National Air and Space Museum reopening. The west end galleries are reopening this weekend at the new renovated Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Check them out at an evening reception that includes hors d’oeuvres, a dessert buffet, an open bar with cocktails, and a DJ (Fri, $150, National Air and Space Museum).
  5. Music Under the Dome. Visit the Maryland Science Center and transport yourself to the ’70s funk era under a dome of psychedelic graphics and galaxies. The immersive show will feature songs from artists like James Brown and Stevie Wonder. Get there early for cocktail hour and to visit the space exhibits (Fri, $35, Baltimore).

Want More Things to Do?

Budget-friendly. Take an online course on practicing mindfulness (Sun, free, virtual). Laugh out loud with local comics (Thurs, pay-what-you-can, Adams Morgan). Bring the whole family to the Down in the Reeds fall festival (Sat, free, Shepherd Park). Celebrate National Father-Daughter Day with hair-braiding lessons and a photography exhibit at the Hotel Zena (Sun, free, Downtown DC). End the weekend with a workout and kickboxing with local fitness group 9Round (Sun, free, Navy Yard).

Arts and culture. Check out a symposium and panel discussion about self-taught American art (Fri, free, virtual and Smithsonian American Art Museum). Book lovers and aspiring authors are invited to an Authors and Appetizers event for discussions, food, and networking. (Thurs, $20, Alexandria). Have you ever designed a doormat? Here’s your chance to stencil and paint one at a workshop in Maryland (Thurs, $50, District Heights). See “Notre-Dame de Paris: The Augmented Exhibition” before it closes this weekend (Thurs-Sun, $7+, National Building Museum). Go to a massive outdoor art gallery (Sat-Sun, free, Bethesda).

Theater and shows. Clap your hands and sing-along at Roll On! A Gospel Musical (Sun., $25+, Anacostia). It’s your last chance to see a free or discounted show during this season’s Theater Week (Thurs-Sun, prices and participating locations vary). Watch a musical performance from Washington Improv Theater’s Playing It By Ear series (Fri-Sat, $15+, Logan Circle).

History and heritage. Recognize LGBTQ+ History Month by taking a guided walking tour that’ll explore U Street’s queer history (Sat, $25, Shaw). A cryptology museum debuts this weekend (Sat, free, Annapolis). Have a conversation with poet Elena Medel and author Linda Chavez followed by a reception and book signing (Thursdays, free, Columbia Heights). Learn about DC’s Jewish culinary scene at the Capital Jewish Food Festival (Sun, $15+, Downtown DC).

Music and concerts. In honor of Indigenous People’s Day, Emmy-nominated singer and composer Jennifer Kreisberg is putting on a free concert. (Sat, free, Kennedy Center). Warm up with a cup of tea and relax to acoustic performances by female musicians at The Tea: Like Water (Fri, free, virtual).

Bites and beverages. Spend the afternoon eating oysters from local farms at this weekend’s Oyster Wars (Sun, $60+, Ivy City). Sip on a variety of pours at the DC Wine Fest (Sat, $35+, Union Market). Set sail on an adult party cruise on the Potomac River. The cruise includes happy hour before and after at Pinstripes (Thurs, $15+, Georgetown). Continue the celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month at Sip & Salsa! (Sat, free, Arlington).

Fun and games. A fall festival wouldn’t be complete without some plant fun! All ages are welcome to celebrate agriculture at the US Botanic Garden with a day of cooking demonstrations, music, science, and crafts. (Sat, free, Southwest). Breakdance, color, and explore a pop-up library with story time at the mall (Thurs-Sun, free, Bethesda).

Get involved. Wear a spooky costume and head to a They Might Be Giants concert and haunt party. It will benefit the Arc of Loudoun’s work to support people with disabilities (Sat, $40+, Leesburg). Volunteer and make posters for Saturday’s Women’s March (Fri, free, 14th Street).

If you enjoyed these events, don’t forget to share this post with a friend on social media, and sign-up for our newsletter for more things to do.

Briana A. Thomas is a local journalist, historian, and tour guide who specializes in the research of DC history and culture. She is the author of the Black history book, Black Broadway in Washington, DCa story that was first published in Washingtonian in 2016.

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