The 30 best things to do in D.C. this weekend and next week


Smithsonian Solstice Saturday

This weekend brings the longest Saturday of the year, both in terms of the amount of daylight (14 hours, 53 minutes, 47 seconds) and the hours the Smithsonian is open. The annual Solstice Saturday is a chance to explore the museums after hours with free activities for visitors of all ages. Sally’s Night at the Air and Space Museum honors Sally Ride with planetarium shows, trivia challenges and hands-on science experiments until 11 p.m. (Tickets are required.) The Arts and Industries Building turns into a glow-in-the-dark arcade with classic games and immersive music until 11 p.m. Artists from across the European Union join forces for sound performances and interactive music at the Hirshhorn, where indoor exhibitions are open until 10 p.m. Little ones who can’t make it until midnight can visit American History during the day for a festival celebrating Latin music with story time and dance lessons. And at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, where no passes are required after 4 p.m., you can explore the “Afrofuturism” exhibit, which is scheduled to close Aug. 18. Closing times vary by museum. Free; some events require advance tickets.

Folger Shakespeare Library reopening weekend

The multiyear renovation of Folger Shakespeare Library’s historic building is finally complete: The Folger officially opens its doors to the public Friday at 1 p.m., and while timed entry passes for the first day have all been claimed, tickets remain available for this weekend and through the end of September. Extra gallery guides will be on hand during the opening weekend in the exhibition halls, Reading Room, theater and gardens to help visitors as they explore the revitalized museum and library. Other opening weekend festivities include games for kids, live music, and a live painting session with artist and scenic designer Matthew J. Keenan. Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. $15 suggested donation per person.

32nd annual Giant Barbecue Battle

More than 150 free food samples await at the 32nd annual Barbecue Battle, a festival and Washington tradition that turns Pennsylvania Avenue into a massive block party. All sorts of brands from Oscar Mayer to Takis set up shop, doling out food and product samples from multiple pavilions, while crowds can watch pitmasters from across the country compete in various barbecue competitions. (In a nod to local cuisine, there’s even a contest crowning the best mumbo sauce.) Other entertainment throughout the weekend includes a Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog eating contest; BMX and skateboarding freestyle exhibitions; and live performances from musicians including DuPont Brass Band, the Chuck Brown Band, Jimmie’s Chicken Shack and White Ford Bronco. Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. $20-$225.

Out and About Festival at Wolf Trap

Ever go to a music festival just to hear one song? I did once. It was the Trillectro festival in 2018 to hear Sheck Wes do “Mo Bamba.” Fun experiment, for sure. How will three minutes of music stand against a whole day of it? If this sounds like your idea of a good time, get yourself a ticket to the Out and About Festival, where Sonic Youth co-founder Kim Gordon will almost certainly perform “Bye Bye,” a noisy new rap-like anthem so artful, so intense, so important-feeling, she played it twice during her set at the Black Cat in March. And there are plenty of other good reasons to attend Out and About. Billed as “a celebration of LGBTQ+ talent and allies,” the festival will also host performances from Brittany Howard, Jenny Lewis, Lawrence, Tiny Habits, Quinn Christopherson, Okan and Be Steadwell. 3 p.m. $49-$89.

Annapolis Juneteenth Parade

The fourth Juneteenth Festival in Annapolis starts with a parade from St. John’s College down West Street to Maryland Hall, with floats, marching bands, and groups passing performances at multiple locations, including the People’s Park and Westgate Circle. The festival begins at 1 p.m. at the Bates Athletic Complex, with plenty of live music — gospel, smooth jazz, R&B, go-go — on multiple stages, games, food vendors, and a fireworks show. Noon to 9 p.m. Free.

Songbyrd Summer So(u)lstice Celebration

The NoMa venue marks the longest Saturday of the year with a six-hour free show that stretches from day to night. Catch local performers like headliners the Crystal Casino Band and Makeup Girl, and stick around for the ticketed after-party — Nordista Freeze is DJing a set of ’90s alternative from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. Tickets to the after-party are $13. 5 to 11 p.m. Free.

Caribbean Culture Concert at Freedom Plaza

In honor of Caribbean American Heritage Month, this seven-hour celebration on Freedom Plaza includes calypso by the Image Band, reggae from Baltimore’s Strykers Posse, the Pan Masters Steelband Organization, dance performances, poetry and storytelling. 2 to 9 p.m. Free.

Pride Family Day at Glen Echo Park

Glen Echo’s fourth Family Pride Day features free carousel rides (while supplies last), live music for all ages by Rachel Eddy and Em Hammond, hands-on arts and crafts activities, temporary tattoos, and a backdrop for family portraits. Discounted tickets for the park’s aquarium and theaters are also available. 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Free; $10 suggested donation.

Alexandria Pride Bar Crawl

Seven Old Town Alexandria bars offer discounted drinks and food Saturday evening to raise money for Safe Space NOVA, a nonprofit supporting LGBTQ+ youth in Northern Virginia. Check in at Alexandria Bier Garden between 4 and 6 p.m., then get crawling to bars including Hen Quarter ($8 cocktails and frozen margaritas, $12 sliders, wings and other snacks), the Light Horse ($5 woo-woo shots and beers), and Augie’s Mussel House ($11 cocktails, $2 off beers). The after-party at Chadwicks begins at 10 p.m. with $5 green tea shooters and cans of Three Notch’d hazy IPA. Twenty percent of ticket sales benefit charity. 4 p.m. to midnight. $20-$25.

Splash Into Pride Pool Party at Generator Hotel

The Pride parade and festival are over, but celebrations continue in Dupont Circle. The Generator hotel-slash-hostel hosts an afternoon-long party with a DJ on its private pool deck. Tickets include two drinks. Noon to 8 p.m. $25.

The Mayor’s Office on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs organized this lunchtime festival in Chinatown Park, promising live music and dance performances, martial arts demonstrations, face painting, hands-on arts and crafts, a clothing swap, and other activities to celebrate Immigrant Heritage Month. 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Free.

Guided tour: African Americans at Congressional Cemetery

Graves at the historic Congressional Cemetery tell the story of African Americans in Washington, from weathered markers remembering men and women born into slavery to the final resting place of “Mayor for Life” Marion Barry Jr. Join a cemetery docent for a guided walking tour of the graves of Black Washingtonians from all walks of life, dating back before the Civil War. 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. $5.

Happy Daze Clothing Swap at Dock 5

Union Market’s warehouse space is the venue for a massive clothing swap, where you can find secondhand vintage clothing and accessories while sustainably clearing your own closet. Bring up to 20 items (note: no event T-shirts) to display while you shop. Leftover clothing will be donated to So What Else, a Maryland nonprofit. Noon to 3 p.m. Free.

Shaed is its own community in microcosm, a family band that pairs twins Max and Spencer Ernst with vocalist Chelsea Lee (who is married to Spencer). The D.C.-born band whistled its way from a MacBook commercial to streaming and chart success with the moody electro-pop hit “Trampoline,” but after a pandemic and the birth of Chelsea and Spencer’s daughter, it’s refocused on the forthcoming “Spinning Out.” From the early singles, the trio’s sophomore album promises breezy ballads and bops and plenty of sun-kissed, streamlined pop. 6:30 p.m. $30.



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