37 Things to Do in the DC Area This Week

Happy Monday, everyone!

This week marks the beginning of National Hispanic Heritage Month, and an early start to Oktoberfest celebrations. You can commemorate the occasion at the opening of a new bilingual stage play, or attend the Wharf’s adorable Wiener dog race.

Best Things to Do This Week

September 11-September 17

  1. H Street Festival. The neighborhood-wide H Street Festival returns this weekend with live music, fashion, food, family-friendly activities, contests, and more fun. The popular event spans across 11 blocks and features 14 different staging areas with a range of acts—including poetry, dance, and children’s programs (Sat, free, H Street Corridor).
  2. Oktoberfest at the Wharf. Put on your favorite dirndl or lederhosen because Oktoberfest season is afoot. The Wharf is kicking off the traditional festivities this weekend with polka dancing, a stein-hoisting competition, German fare from 11 restaurants, and a super cute Wiener 500 Dachshund Dash (Fri-Sun, free, Wharf).
  3. DC Comedy Festival. More than 100 local and international comedians are bringing joy and laughter to Dupont Underground this week as the venue hosts the 5th annual DC Comedy Festival. The live show will present a lineup of various standup acts from veteran as well as emerging comedians; the first night brings hilarious actor and comedian Sherrod Small to the stage (Mon-Sat, $25+, Dupont Circle).
  4. Lotus Festival of Food and Culture. Prepare to be enchanted by lights and cultural performances at the five-day Lotus Festival of Food and Culture. Centered around Chinatown Park, the event will include a Bollywood dance class, yoga, a movie night with free popcorn, and an Asian street-food festival (Tues-Sun, free, Downtown).
  5. Summer Sneaker Ball. Style, music, and sneakers are the focus at Summer Sneaker Ball. The event is a space for shoe-lovers to gather and show off their best footwear. In addition to the display of trendsetting fashions, guests can enjoy dancing, cocktails, and passed hors d’oeuvres (Sat, $25+, Nationals Park).

Want More Things to Do?

Oktoberfest at the Wharf. Photograph courtesy of the Wharf.

Arts and culture: Browse crafts, furniture, literature, and more along the Capitol Hill Art Walk (Thurs, free, Capitol Hill). Meet Little Amal—a 12-foot puppet shining a light on the cross-cultural experiences of refugees—while listening to musical performances curated by Washington Performing Arts (Sun, free, Downtown). View contemporary and historic art from 17 Black Maryland artists at Banneker-Douglass Museum (through September 30, free, Annapolis). Netflix design host Bobby Berk chats about his debut book, Right at Home, at Tysons Galleria (Wed, free, Tysons). Dress up as your favorite literary character, and attend the Library of Congress Literary Costume Ball (Thurs, free, but limited walk-ins available, Capitol Hill). Artechouse’s latest exhibit “Beyond the Light” is a galactic exploration (opens Fri, $17+, Southwest DC).

Community gatherings and talks: Celebrate Parking Day at 5th and I NW. The curbside event includes a La Colombe coffee social, and a board game tournament (Fri, free, Downtown). Attend a lecture about Congressman Charles C. Diggs’s fight for racial equality in aviation (Wed, free, but timed in-person passes required, virtual, National Air and Space Museum). Singles who are ready to catch The Feels are invited to Yours Truly DC for a unique dating event (Thurs, $59+, Dupont Circle).

Theater and shows: It’s the last chance to see The Bridges of Madison County musical romance before it closes (Tues- Sun, $40+, Arlington), and Sweat at Keegan Theatre (closes Sat, $50, Dupont Circle). My Mama and the Full-Scale Invasion narrates the story of a mother on the frontlines of the Ukraine-Russia war at Woolly Mammoth Theatre (Mon through October 8, $5+, Northwest DC). Catch the comedic opening of Signature Theatre’s King of the Yees (Tues through October 22, $40+, Arlington). Comedian Eddie Izzard makes a tour stop at Warner Theatre (Mon, $54+, Downtown).

Music and concerts: Blondie and Leann Rimes headline Annapolis Songwriters Festival (Thurs-Sun, free+, Annapolis). DC indie pop trio SHAED will perform at Crossroads Music Festival (Fri-Sat, $20, Leesburg). The United States Air Force Band and members of the Singing Sergeants are teaming up with Ukrainian musicians for a classical concert (Sat, free, Alexandria). Rockers Greta Van Fleet bring their Starcatcher show to Capital One Arena (Mon, $49+, Capital One Arena).

Hispanic Heritage Month: Get tickets to Brazilian samba star Diogo Nogueira’s carnival-style show at Karma DC (Fri, $45+, Northeast DC). The new Studio Theatre bilingual play Espejos: Clean presents the lives of two women stuck in isolation (opens Wed, $35+, Logan Circle). The new drama Baño de luna is showing at GALA Hispanic Theatre (Thurs through October 1, $27+, Columbia Heights).

Bites and beverages: Learn how to grill barbecue like a pro with the District Pit owner Roger Sherman at the Corner of Whitman-Walker (Sun, $25, 14th Street). Enjoy German music, food, and beer at the Atlas Oktoberfest Party (Thurs, $35, Navy Yard). The Maryland Wine Festival returns with a ton of locally-curated tastings, dancing, and artisan vendors (Sat, $30+, Westminster). Create a flower bouquet at Beer in the Garden (Sat, free for children, $10 for adults, Reston). The US Botanic Garden is throwing a Harvest Party where guests can sip wines and mocktails while enjoying fall foliage (Fri, $75, Southwest DC).

Things to do with kids: It’s fair week in Anne Arundel County. Youngsters can spin on amusement rides, munch on fair food, and explore artwork (Wed-Sun, free for ages 9 and under, $10 for ages 10 and older, Crownsville). Kids will learn about the James Webb Space Telescope at NASA’s space workshop (Sat, free, Greenbelt). A petting zoo and pony rides are highlights of Family Day at President Lincoln’s Cottage (Sat, free, Northwest DC). Don’t miss the opening of a new bilingual Spanish and English exhibit “AlegreMENTE/Happy Brain” for young learners at National Children’s Museum (Fri through January 1, 2024, $15+ for adults, free for ages under 1, Northwest DC).

Plan ahead: Take an active intro to kayaking class with REI expert guides (September 24, $140, National Harbor). Tickets for Mount Vernon’s popular Fall Wine Festival & Sunset Tour are on sale (Fri-Sun, $49+, Mount Vernon).

If you enjoyed these events, please 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 D.C. history and culture. She is the author of the Black history book, Black Broadway in Washington, D.C., a story that was first published in Washingtonian in 2016.

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