Nov 05, 2023

The 34 best things to do in the D.C. area this weekend and next week

Capital Pride's official opening party takes place June 9, inaugurating a weekend that includes the popular parade and street festival. But Pride-related events and celebrations get underway this weekend, with festivals, dance parties and the release of a special beer. Other highlights include the seasonal debut of four outdoor movie series, with choices ranging from "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" to Tim Burton; a weekend of museum open houses around Dupont Circle; the debut of a go-go concert series on a library rooftop; and Big Boi — yes, one-half of Outkast — performing in a beer garden.

Big Boi at the Bullpen

Here's a pairing we weren't expecting: Big Boi — half of Outkast, best-selling solo artist, Sir Lucious Left Foot himself — is performing at the Bullpen, a beer garden best known for hosting cover bands and pregaming Nationals fans. Big Boi's summer calendar includes festivals and a stint opening for LL Cool J and the Roots, making this a chance to hear your favorite Outkast hits in an intimate — if still outdoor — setting. 5 p.m. $39.97.

Can I Kick It? outdoor film series in Franklin Park

DJ 2-Tone Jones uses his turntables to provide a live soundtrack of hip-hop and funk that complements the action being shown on a large inflatable screen in Franklin Park. Over the years, this series has hopscotched among various locations, including Freedom Plaza and the National Building Museum's lawn, but it now seems to have found a home downtown, where this year's films begin with "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever." The 2022 edition included free snacks and seltzers provided by sponsors, as well as games and family activities before the film began. Through July 13. 7:30 p.m. Free.

How to turn outdoor summer movies into the perfect date night

Sunset Cinema at the Wharf

Held on the Wharf's Transit Pier — the site of the seasonal ice rink — this popular outdoor movie series shows a mix of recent blockbusters and nostalgic films on a large screen directly over the water, beginning with "Mamma Mia!" A few rows of Adirondack chairs are available for early arrivals, but bringing low chairs or a blanket is recommended. While food from any Wharf restaurant can be carried in, alcohol must be purchased at Cantina Bambina's dock bar, which specializes in margaritas and cold beer. Through Aug. 31. 7:30 p.m. Free.

Pride Pils launch at Red Bear Brewing

Since 2017, DC Brau's annual Pride Pils release has raised almost $50,000 for the Blade Foundation and SMYAL, a nonprofit working with LGBTQ youth. This year's release, with the theme of "All Hail the Queens," gets its official unveiling at Red Bear Brewing, D.C.'s only LGBTQ-owned brewery. 6 to 8 p.m. Free.

Rosslyn Cinema at Gateway Park

Rosslyn has been hosting outdoor movies in Gateway Park since the late 2000s, and the series still draws large crowds. It's smart to arrive early to stake out a space — and, conveniently, the park opens at 5 p.m. with food trucks, a beer and wine garden, and pre-movie activities, such as live music or face painting. Films were selected in a March Madness-style bracket — one musical, one comedy, one animated film and one adventure film — though "Jurassic Park," the winner in the last category, had to be replaced by "Jumanji," which is screening this week, for rights reasons. Through June 23. Activities begin at 5 p.m. and films start after sunset, around 9 p.m.

Cinematery at Congressional Cemetery

Congressional Cemetery's calendar is anything but dead over the summer, with outdoor yoga, 5K races and movies in addition to its usual weekend tours. The theme of this year's monthly series is "Tim Burton's Summer of Surreal," with a quartet of the director's most-loved films. Screenings are outdoors, surrounded by tombstones — one of the most unusual settings in the area. Bring picnic blankets or low stools, as taller chairs are banned. Attendees are welcome to BYOB, though alcohol is for sale, and complimentary popcorn is included. Advance tickets are required. Gates open at 7:30 p.m. $10 suggested donation.

Absence of Proof launch party

Binge, D.C.'s first alcohol-free bar, opened earlier this year after construction delays. Now it's partnering with zero-proof retailer and events organizer Absence of Proof as the latter makes its debut in the District. Start the party with complimentary nonalcoholic bubbles from Starla Wines, and choose from a menu of nonalcoholic beverages from Spiritless while enjoying music and games. Food is available for purchase. 7 p.m. $40.

Pride on the Porch at Creative Suitland

This outdoor Pride block party, held at the Creative Suitland arts center, features performances by comedian Anthony Oakes, poet Kenneth Something, R&B singer Rebekah Laur’en and DJ Kidd Fresh, plus a vendor marketplace, a children's activity area and LGBTQ resources. 6 to 9 p.m. Free.

454 at Comet Ping Pong

There's always a lot going on during a 454 song. The Florida-born rapper is unusually good at harnessing a kind of musical chaos that still feels harmonious. 454, whose real name is Willie Wilson, loves glitchy production and Auto-Tuned vocals and often pairs them with an R&B sample. The opener "Late Night," off Wilson's first mixtape "4 Real," uses a Brent Faiyaz song to create a hyper-pop-sounding rap song, and it works. The slower R&B sounds somehow fit with Wilson's rapid-fire delivery, quickly guiding listeners through a late night filled with both dark thoughts and breezy observations. "Peace and blessings to my family up in heaven, lost a couple few / I lost my pops in 2009," he raps, right after referencing Kid ’n Play's comedic House Party movie series. On Wilson's 2022 project, "Fast Trax 3," the rapper continues smashing new hip-hop aesthetics with classic R&B sounds and takes songs to even higher levels. 10 p.m. $18-$22.

Annapolis Pride

The Annapolis Pride Parade and Festival fill historic West Street on Saturday, with a parade that sets off from Amos Garrett Boulevard at noon, heading toward Church Circle. The focus then shifts to a block-party-style festival with two stages of entertainment, vendors and booths run by community groups. Highlights include singer Whatever Mike, dance performances and even weddings. A family-friendly after-party is held at the Graduate Hotel beginning at 5 p.m. Noon to 5 p.m. Free.

‘Dolly’ at the Lincoln Theatre

The last of the Gay Men's Chorus of Washington's tributes to famous entertainers celebrates Dolly Parton, with the chorus and its ensembles, including 17th Street Dance, performing songs including "Jolene," "Coat of Many Colors," "Backwoods Barbie" and "9 to 5." Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 3 p.m. $20-$65.

Pride Family Day at the Smithsonian American Art Museum

Music, crafts and a scavenger hunt are on the agenda at the Smithsonian American Art Museum's Pride Family Day, with performances by D.C.'s Different Drummers, the Afro-Brazilian drum ensemble Batala and a cappella singers Snowday. Younger visitors can participate in hands-on art activities, get their faces painted and explore LGBTQ artists during a scavenger hunt in the galleries. 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Free.

Pride at the Plaza at Freedom Plaza

Beloved U Street skateboard shop Crushed brings an inclusive skate party to Freedom Plaza that's open to all ages and skill levels, with first-timers "highly encouraged." Look for music, giveaways and plenty of support during Pride at the Plaza. Noon to 4 p.m. Free.

Washington Spirit Pride Night at Audi Field

The Washington Spirit celebrates Pride Night during its match against Racing Louisville, and the team promises "the largest halftime drag performance in NWSL history." Look for Pride photo stations, a Pride flag giveaway and booths representing LGBTQ community groups. 8 p.m. $15-$210.

Alexandria Pride Month Kick Off at Market Square

Alexandria kicks off its Pride Month celebrations at Old Town's Market Square with an outdoor drag story hour, face painting and spoken word. 2 to 5 p.m. Free.

Museum Walk Weekend around Dupont Circle

Haven't made it to Dupont Circle's cultural landmarks, such as the historic Dumbarton House or Dupont Underground, the art gallery housed in an abandoned streetcar station? The neighborhood's annual Museum Walk Weekend is a great time to visit, especially because admission fees are waived at six museums and galleries. Create your own itinerary, starting at institutions like the National Museum of American Jewish Military History, Anderson House or the President Wilson House, which are all within walking distance of one another. Don't miss seeing the permanent exhibits at the Phillips Collection, America's first museum of modern art, which will offer free admission from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., plus family-friendly tours, art activities in the courtyard, and story time and games in the Music Room. Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free; registration requested.

Festival Argentino at Kenmore Middle School

From tango to asado, the culture of Argentina is on full display at the 36th Festival Argentino in Arlington. The main event is Saturday's festival at Kenmore Middle School, with performances by the acclaimed folk group Los 4 de Córdoba and veteran rock singer Valerio Rinaldi, among other musicians and dancers. A marketplace offers Argentine products and crafts and food from local restaurants. Friday night's preview in Fairfax, which requires a separate ticket, includes asado demonstrations, DJs, dancing, food and wine. 3:30 to 10:30 p.m. $15-$35.

Ballston Quarterfest Crawl

Ballston's biggest party brings music, food and drink deals, and family events to indoor and outdoor locations throughout the neighborhood. Stop in for Capitals-related activities at Ballston Quarter, games, live bands and DJs at bars and restaurants, and businesses offering all-day happy hours, free samples and other specials. Noon to 7 p.m. Free; food and drink prices vary.

Beer in the Burbs at Fairfax Old Town Square

Breweries from across the Old Dominion, including Afton's Blue Mountain Brewery, Harrisonburg's Brothers Craft Brewing and Norfolk's Smartmouth, join Caboose, Lost Rhino and other locals at a festival in Fairfax's Old Town Square. This year's theme is Disney, which means costumed princesses meeting and greeting children (2:30 to 4:30 p.m.) and the Little Mermen band playing familiar songs for everyone to sing along with (3:30 to 6 p.m.). All beers are available in a taster size as well as a full pour. 2 to 6 p.m. Free admission; beers $3-$8.

Takoma Trukgarten in Takoma Park

Takoma Park's annual beer festival returns with tastings from at least 10 local breweries, including Landmade, Lone Oak and Denizens, and Anxo cider; food from Cheros Grill taqueria, Soko Butcher and other neighborhood vendors; and live music. Organizers welcome dogs but note they’re in "a hot parking lot" next to the Takoma Park Co-op. Tickets include either six or 12 tasting tickets; more can be purchased at the event. Noon to 5 p.m. $30-$50. Free for nondrinkers and those under 21.

Washington Folk Festival at Glen Echo Park

Don't let the name fool you: There will be a dizzying number of musical genres to hear at Glen Echo Park's annual Washington Folk Festival, a weekend event that draws local musicians specializing in styles from swing to bluegrass to gospel. There are seven stages throughout the park; one is dedicated to storytelling (including a joke swap), while others find dancers performing the waltz, tango and many other forms of movement. Go shopping at a craft marketplace and look out for artists-in-residence stationed around Glen Echo, including dance performances occurring spontaneously along the park's walkways. Saturday and Sunday from noon to 7 p.m. Free.

Chinatown Community Festival

The Mayor's Office on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs brings a cultural festival to Chinatown Park, featuring performances from K-pop dance groups, traditional Thai and Indian dancers, taekwondo and tai chi demonstrations, yo-yo performances, a Japanese tea ceremony, and a pottery exhibition. There are also activities for kids, with a focus on crafts: face painting, sand art, clay doll crafting, henna designs and Japanese bonsai demonstrations. 11 a.m. Free.

Chacho Second Anniversary

Chacho, a distillery whose spicy, jalapeño-infused aguardiente spirit has become a regular sight at bars throughout the area, celebrates two years of its Northwest Washington distillery and tasting room with a party featuring DJs, cocktails, food trucks and prize-stuffed piñatas, as well as buy-one, get-one-half-off bottle specials. Tickets include your first drink. 2 p.m. to midnight. $10.

Open Streets Brookland

The first of D.C.'s Open Streets events this year — and the only one until fall — shuts down Brookland's 12th Street NE between Michigan Avenue and Franklin Street for a full mile of events. Look for bands, DJs, bike demonstrations, dance and fitness classes, and a bubble parade filling the pavement, then head to Right Proper Brewing for a block party with new beers, a maker market and family activities. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Right Proper activities from noon to 6 p.m.) Free.

Go-Go on the Rooftop at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library

The D.C. Public Library is known for hosting punk shows on the rooftops of different branches, but this summer, it's widening the sonic spectrum to include go-go bands, too. Sirius Company, known for its soul-soaked beats and the vocals of Kimberly "Ms. Kim" Michelle, performs on the rooftop terrace of the flagship Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, joined by DJ Big John. Outside food is permitted. (And if you’re wondering about the monthly punk shows, they begin Wednesday, on the same rooftop, with a show headlined by Teen Mortgage.) 2 to 4 p.m. Free.

19th annual Wonderland Sundress Fest at Wonderland Ballroom

Can you believe Wonderland's Sundress Fest is almost two decades old? The annual fundraiser, which supports DC Central Kitchen, invites everyone to wear a comfortable, "stylish" sundress — it's good for an all-day happy hour — while a team of DJs provides a party playlist. If you don't have a sundress handy, or need a new lewk, the Columbia Heights bar provides racks of expertly thrifted sundresses for sale, with proceeds also going to DC Central Kitchen. New at this year's party: tallboys of Sundress Lager, brewed by DC Brau. 11 a.m. Free admission.

Rumpus Room Prom at Hi-Lawn

The kid-centric dance party created by DJs (and dads) Steven Faith and Marc Meistro returns to Hi-Lawn, the beer garden above Union Market, with a seasonal "Prom" theme. That means sparkly dresses, bow ties or whatever your child thinks is "formal." No adults are allowed without children, and everyone who can walk needs a ticket. Beyond danceable tunes, the day features bubble machines, games and a full food menu. 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. $10; children too young to walk admitted free.

Prince George's County Pride Walk at National Harbor

The inaugural Prince George's County Pride Walk takes place at National Harbor, starting at the Waterfront Plaza and following a trail along the waterfront. Entertainment, vendors and other activities await at the finish line. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Free.

Ladies Tea Dance Party at Johnny Pistolas

The Adams Morgan bar's first Pride event celebrates a part of early 1900s LGBTQ history, when "tea party" was code for events hosted by lesbians or gay men to gather and relax in a safe space. Johnny Pistolas's version includes go-go dancers and drink specials. Be sure to bring cash to tip the dancers. Tickets are only available online and in advance. 4 to 9 p.m. $20.

Radiator Hospital at Comet Ping Pong

Indie band Radiator Hospital's lo-fi pop songs are hard to resist. The band, which was formed in Grand Rapids, Mich., by Sam Cook-Parrott, makes songs that sometimes feel like a cozy hug. It has never abandoned the DIY approach that has become an integral part of its identity. When "My Fire," the opening song of the band's 2019 album "Sings ‘Music for Daydreaming,’" begins, there's just a piano as Cook-Parrott sings about a breakup, his voice sounding sadly detached. "Living in your head / The movie's over," he sings. The piano playing becomes grander, and more of Cook-Parrott's vocals are layered on top of one another, before a rousing yet somber chorus begins. Cook-Parrott sings, "You don't light my fire," over and over, a simple answer to a complicated question. That's what Radiator Hospital is really good at: making the complicated simple. 9 p.m. $15.

Fenne Lily at the Black Cat

There's nothing casual about listening to Fenne Lily. The English folk singer's soft production choices and calming, sometimes whispering voice are soothing. But Lily's dainty and haunting melodies are anchored by sharp lyrics ready to slice. The song "2+2" from her 2023 album "Big Picture" is a perfect example. The intimate and slow-paced drums are the deserved cushion for Lily's creamy voice. "Would you defend me like a point of view? / Even when both are changing?" she asks matter-of-factly. "Do you believe me like the gospel truth? / Or is the feeling fading?" she adds to a heartbreaking line of questions; this time her voice quivers with the weight of it all. 7:30 p.m. $22-$25.

Outdoor Army Band concerts

The Army Band marks the 79th anniversary of D-Day on Tuesday with an outdoor concert at the memorial for General Dwight D. Eisenhower, who oversaw the invasion. (6 to 7 p.m. Free.) The group performs again on Wednesday in an hour-long live-action history of the military branch, featuring ceremonial units at Fort Myer's Summerall Field. Registration is required. (7 to 8 p.m. Free.)

Talk: Queer Comics at Busboys and Poets

The latest installment of this monthly series at Busboys and Poets’ 14th Street location centers LGBTQ comics, from how they function as a form of activism to why they’re important in queer culture. At the end of the talk, you can create your own comic. Led by Helis Sikk, an assistant professor of gender studies at Brown University, the discussion is open to all, but there are a few recommended reading materials — including "Gender Queer: A Memoir" by Maia Kobabe, which is one of the most banned books in the country. 6:30 p.m. Free.

‘Kumanana! An Afro-Peruvian Musical Revue’ at GALA Hispanic Theatre

GALA Hispanic Theatre co-founder Hugo Medrano conceived and directed a new show devoted to the music of Victoria and Nicomedes Santa Cruz, a brother-sister duo who sparked a revival of Afro-Peruvian music, dance and poetry during the 1960s and ’70s. "Kumanana! An Afro-Peruvian Musical Revue" features original music and writings from these prolific siblings who became cultural icons in Peru. Through June 25. $25-$55.