Things to Do

Where & When: What to Do This Weekend

Fall’s here, and lovely autumnal activities abound. Try some film fests, great live music, a day of free jazz, a wine tour at Mount Vernon, and more.

You might also be interested in . . . Where to Watch the VP Debate | Best Activities for October | Happy Hour Finder | Events Calendar

Thursday | Friday | Saturday | Sunday

Thursday, October 2: Film buffs might want to check out the opening night of National Geographic’s All Roads Film Festival this evening. Highlighting stories of indigenous cultures and running until October 5, the festival opens tonight with a screening of The Linguists, about two linguists who race against time to document endangered languages before the last fluent speaker dies. The film will be in National Geographic’s Grosvenor Auditorium at 7.

The real fun of the Duke Ellington Jazz Festival starts this weekend with its free jazz celebrations on the Mall, but there’s also plenty of great music throughout the week. Tonight at the Kennedy Center, try the Bar J Wranglers from Jackson Hole, Wyoming, who deliver country-tinged, jazzy harmonies.

The debate tonight is arguably the most anticipated one this fall, and it’s not even between the two presidential candidates! Vice-presidential hopefuls Joe Biden and Sarah Palin square off at 9, and we’ve found parties and bars where you can watch it all go down.

Friday, October 3: Grab your jean jacket and head to the House of Sweden for the After Dark in Denim—an after-party for the Nudie Jeans Co. runway show. Rock out to Swedish band Division of Laura or the DJs spinning tunes on the rooftop lounge. Tickets are $25 and denim attire is required; 9:30 to midnight.

The National Portrait Gallery’s film series “Reel Portraits” is screening Good Night, and Good Luck at 7 in the McEvoy Auditorium. Directed by George Clooney, the film depicts Edward R. Murrow’s famous television report on Senator Joseph McCarthy and the Red Scare, which helped lead to the senator’s downfall. American University professor of history Robert Griffith will introduce the film.

Check out the Hillwood Estate Museum and Gardens for Soiree Carte Blanche, a happy hour where you can enjoy French videos and an electro-dance party as well as explore the 18th-century French art collection and the gardens. Bring your iPod and share your favorite songs—if the crowd likes your music best, you’ll take home gifts from the museum shop and a free session of classes at the Alliance Française. Très bon! Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door, and reservations are recommended; 6 to 9:30.

Saturday, October 4: It’s a tough night tonight for Washington music lovers. Not because there’s nothing going on but because you’ll be forced to choose between two shows by our favorite local acts. Jukebox the Ghost (named a rising star in the October issue of The Washingtonian) brings its playful harmonies and piano-based pop rock to the Black Cat at 9; tickets are $12. Over in Northeast DC at the Rock and Roll Hotel, These United States are having a CD-release party for their new album, Crimes. Their folky, bluesy rock and charming, easygoing stage presence should be a solid draw. Personally, we’re hoping teleportation will be invented by Saturday so we don’t have to choose between the two.

Taste of Bethesda takes place today, featuring more than 50 area restaurants, live music, children’s activities, and lots more. Admission is free; taste tickets come in packs of four for $5 (food samples cost one to three tickets). Click here for more information and directions. 11 to 4.

Alexandria’s Del Ray neighborhood celebrates art and culture with its annual Art on the Avenue festival featuring arts, crafts, and music. Last year, 300 artists participated, and highlights included a pie-baking contest, samples of international food, live music, and kids’ activities such as face painting, spin art, pumpkin painting, and more. The festival runs along Mount Vernon Avenue between Bellefonte and Hume streets from 10 to 6.

Sunday, October 5: Head out to the Mall this with a picnic and open ears, because there are several hours of free jazz today as part of the Duke Ellington Jazz Festival. From noon to 7, performers such as Dee Dee Bridgewater and Taj Mahal play at the Sylvan Theater on the Washington Monument grounds. Free.

It’s your last chance to take a peak inside “Jim Henson’s Fantastic World” at the Smithsonian. Experience Henson’s visual thinking through original drawings, storyboards, and props from movies and television shows. You also can see some of the Muppets—including Rowlf, Kermit the Frog, and Bert and Ernie—up close and personal. The Smithsonian International Gallery is open from 10 to 5:30.

Tickets are still available for the Sunday portion of the Wine Festival and Sunset Tour at Mount Vernon. Sample wines from 16 Virginia wineries and take an evening tour of George Washington’s home. Colonial-garbed tour guides will share tidbits of history and take visitors into the mansion’s cellar, where the first president stored his wine in brick vaults. There will also be live music on the east lawn. Food such as fruit-and-cheese boxes, sandwiches, and desserts will be available for purchase. $30; buy tickets here.

What’s on Tap For Film in October
October’s Theater Offerings
Football Fever: Where to Watch Your Team

More>> After Hours Blog | Arts & Events | Happy Hour Finder | Calendar of Events