• Enjoy a Native American lunch.
Spend time perusing the exhibits at the National Museum of the American Indian, then duck into Mitsitam Café for a taste of traditional Native American cuisine. This museum cafeteria, which features five food stations, is a favorite of our foodie staff. Though the menus change daily—one of the perks—we like the South American station best. On our visit, we sampled smoky chicken tamales, dessert-worthy plantain empanadas, and a spicy yuca stew.
• Learn to write “love” in Chinese.
The Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery are hosting an event called “In Any Language Love” from noon to 4 on February 14 as part of the ImaginAsia program. It’ll include a slide show of images of love in Asian art as well as a hands-on opportunity to print a Valentine using collagraph blocks with “love” written in different Asian languages. The program is free, but seating and participation are first come, first served. If you go, be prepared to spend the afternoon with kids—though open to all ages, the program is designed for ages 8 to 14.
• Hear music all weekend long.
On Friday, February 13, at 8, the Atrium Quartet will perform works by Mendelssohn, Shostakovich, and Borodin at the Library of Congress. The award-winning string quartet is performing as part of the library’s Mendelssohn Anniversary series.
At Bohemian Caverns, Bilal Sayeed Oliver—known to fans just as Bilal—will perform two Valentine’s-themed jazz shows at 7:30 and 10. In 2006, the performer released an album in Europe called Love for Sale, which is the inspiration for the Valentine’s Day show. Tickets are $20 in advance or $25 at the door.
Sunday, February 15, at the Phillips Collection, enjoy a 4 PM concert by the Silver-Garburg Piano Duo, a pair of internationally acclaimed Israeli pianists. Museum admission is included in the price—$12 for adults, $10 for students as well as seniors over age 61, free for members and visitors age 18 and under—so be sure to peruse the works of Degas, Cézanne, Gauguin, van Gogh, and more while you’re there.
• Negotiate a good poker hand.
The Luck of the Draw will bring photography, sculpture, graffiti artists, live music, and more to the Capitol Riverfront from February 13 through 15. Bars, lounges, courtyards, and parking lots will display the work of local artists. Draw a playing card from each location and barter, trade, and negotiate the best five-card poker hand to enter a raffle and win prizes. Artomatic, the Pink Line Project, and the Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District are sponsoring the event.
→ Budget Gift Guide: Under $20
→ Gift Guide for Her
→ Gift Guide for Him
→ Gifts to Warm Your Home
→ Valentine’s Day: Beyond Red Roses
→ Tables for Two: Valentine’s Day Menus in Washington
→ Looking for Valentine’s Chocolate? How About a Mojito Truffle
→ Beyond Chocolates and Roses: Ten Quirky Things to Do on Valentine’s Day
→ Heart-to-Heart Getaways: Valentine’s Day Hotel Packages
→ Valentine's Romance at Home