Things To Do In DC This Weekend: Festivals, Exhibits, Tours


Down in the Reeds Fall Festival 2021. Photograph by Albert Ting.

Have a nice weekend everyone!

Monday is Indigenous Peoples Day, so many people will have an extra day this weekend to get out on the town and explore. You can take a free White House Garden Tour or stop by DC’s Zena Hotel for some father-daughter fun.

Best things to do this weekend

  1. Visit of the White House garden. The President and First Lady are continuing the annual tradition of opening the White House Gardens and Southern Grounds to the public for Fall Garden Tours. Adults and children are welcome, but will need to obtain timed tickets outside the Visitor Center (Sat-Sun, free, White House).
  2. The women’s march. More than 8,000 people registered for March this Saturday, a month before mid-term. The rally will feature comedian Lea DeLaria as master of ceremonies, as well as performances by artists Milck, BIIANCO and Autumn. Protesters are encouraged to wave in the shape of waves, part of a nationwide ‘feminist tsunami’ as marches take place across the country. (Saturday, free, Capitol Hill.)
  3. Snallygaster. The sprawling Oktoberfest turns 10 this year. You can sample hundreds of beers, ciders, wines and cocktails. (Saturday, $65, Downtown DC).
  4. Reopening of the National Air and Space Museum. The West End Galleries reopen this weekend at New Renovated Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. Experience them 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 funk era of the 70s under a dome of psychedelic graphics and galaxies. The immersive show will feature songs from artists like James Brown and Stevie Wonder. Arrive early for cocktail hour and to visit the space exhibits (Friday, $35, Baltimore).

Want more things to do?

Economic. Take an online course on practicing mindfulness (Sun, free, virtual). Laugh out loud with local comics (Thursday Pay What You Can, Adams Morgan). Bring the whole family to the Down in the Reeds Fall Festival (Sam, Free, Shepherd Park). Celebrate National Father-Daughter Day with braiding classes and a photography exhibit at Hotel Zena (Sun, Free, Downtown DC). End the weekend with a workout and kickbox with local fitness group 9Round (Sun, free, Navy Yard).

Arts and culture. Discover a symposium and panel discussion on self-taught American art (Fridays, 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 (Thursday, $20, Alexandria). Have you ever designed a doormat? Here’s your chance to stencil and paint one at a workshop in Maryland (Thursday, $50, District Heights). See “Notre-Dame de Paris: the expanded exhibition” before it closes this weekend (Thursday-Sunday, $7+, National Building Museum). Go to a huge outdoor art gallery (Sat-Sun, free, Bethesda).

Theater and shows. Clap your hands and sing Roll! A Gospel Musical (Sundays, $25+, Anacostia). It’s your last chance to see a free or discounted show during this season’s Theater Week (Thursday through Sunday, prices and participating locations vary). Watch a musical performance by the Washington Improv Theater play by ear series (Fri-Sat, $15+, Logan Circle).

History and heritage. Recognize LGBTQ+ History Month by taking a guided walking tour that will explore the queer history of U Street (Sat, $25, Shaw). A Cryptology Museum Makes Its Debut This Weekend (Sat, free, Annapolis). Have a conversation with poet Elena Medel and author Linda Chavez followed by a reception and book signing (Thursday, free, Columbia Heights). Discover DC’s Jewish food scene at the Capital Jewish Food Festival (Sun, $15+, Downtown DC).

Music and concerts. In honor of Indigenous Peoples Day, Emmy-nominated singer and songwriter Jennifer Kreisberg is hosting a free concert (Saturday, free, Kennedy Center). Warm up with a cup of tea and relax with acoustic performances by female musicians at The Tea: Like Water (Fri, free, virtual).

Bites and drinks. Spend the afternoon eating oysters from local farms during this weekend’s Oyster Wars (Sun, $60+, Ivy City). Sip a variety of pours at DC Wine Fest (Saturday, $35+, Union Market). Embark on an adult cruise on the Potomac River. Cruise includes happy hour before and after at Pinstripes (Thursday, $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 a bit of 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 a mall storytime (Thurs-Sun, free, Bethesda).

To be involved. Wear a spooky costume and head to a They Might Be Giants concert and haunted party. It will benefit the work of the Arc de Loudoun to support people with disabilities (Sat, $40+, Leesburg). Volunteer and make posters for the Saturday 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 specializing in researching DC’s history and culture. She is the author of the Black History Book, Black Broadway in Washington, D.C.a story that first appeared in the Washingtonian in 2016.


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