Things to Do

Jazz Festivals, a Giant Bounce House, and Tons of New Art: Things to Do in DC, September 2-6

Plus: Labor Day weekend brunch specials

Illustration by Melissa Santoyo.

Hey y’all!

We’ve got two jazz festivals and lots of artsy fun.

We got some jazzy vibes this weekend! I’ve actually never been to a jazz festival or performance, but I like to imagine that it’s like this gif.

Here’s what you should check out this weekend:

Jazz it up: The 17th annual DC JazzFest features more than 20 concerts, interviews, and special events with national and international jazz musicians. Not in DC this weekend? The festival, located at the Wharf, is a hybrid of in-person and livestream performances. Thursday 9/2 through Sunday 9/5; Prices vary, find out more.

Underground art: The Pancake & Booze Art Show is bringing more than 100 local artists and more than 750 pieces of their work to Park View bar Hook Hall this Thursday. There will be live music from local DJs and producers, live body painting and art, and all-you-can-eat pancakes. Did we mention the pancakes are included in the ticket price? Thursday 9/2 at 7 PM. $20, buy tickets here.

More underground art: Dupont Underground, an abandoned-streetcar-station-turned-artspace, is reopening this week with a Central American-inspired art showcase. “FINGIR: Somewhere Between” aims to spark an intergenerational conversation about self-exploration through photographs, poetry, and audio recordings. Friday 9/3 at 5 PM; $5-8, buy tickets here.

More art, but make it spicy: Artist-owned Northeast DC gallery Bad Candy is hosting an opening reception with drinks and music for its new exhibition, “Flamin’ Hot.” The jury-selected collection features local art that fits the themes of hot, summery, spicy, and sexy. The exhibition will run through the end of September. Saturday 9/4 at 5 PM. $10, buy tickets here.

Bouncin’ around: What’s billed as the world’s largest bounce house is coming to Fort Washington’s Rosecroft Raceway. It offers both family and adult-only sessions, and guests can jump around on the 13,000 square-foot bounce house—plus a bouncy sports arena, a 900-foot obstacle course, and a space-themed wonderland— for three hours. Friday 9/3 through Monday 9/6, times vary ; $19-39, buy tickets here.

Weaving something special: Union Market’s Latin American marketplace La Cosecha kicked off its “Heirs of Llalliñ” woven-textiles exhibit earlier this week. If you would like to try your hand at weaving a Mapuche textile, there are workshops all weekend. Friday 9/3 through Sunday 9/5, times vary; Free, find out more here.

Bringing a book to life: Join author (and former Washingtonian fellow) Briana Thomas as she brings her book Black Broadway in Washington, D.C. to life with a U Street walking tour. Attendees will see the District’s theaters and jazz clubs through a historical lens and explore the unique culture that Black Washingtonians created around U Street.. Saturday 9/4 at 3 PM; $35-50, buy tickets here.

A live concert: The National Symphony Orchestra’s annual Labor Day weekend concert returns, but in a new location: the Kennedy Center’s: REACH Plaza. The show, conducted by Larry Loh with special guests Ben Folds and Charlie Young, features music from Duke Ellington, Carlos Simon, Jessie Montgomery, and Michael Abels. Sunday 9/5 at 8 PM; Free, find out more here.

Need for speed: The second annual Old Town Festival of Speed & Style—which was postponed three times due to the pandemic—returns this weekend. The event, spanning across King Street and Market Square, features more than 100 rare supercars and vintage motorcycles from around the world. Sunday 9/5 at 10 AM; Free, find out more here.

Mimosa time: dLeña, the Mt. Vernon Triangle Mexican kitchen, is hosting a bottomless brunch to celebrate the long weekend. Guests can choose from several options—including birra tacos, tuna ceviche, and Mexican scrambled eggs—plus several boozy drinks. Monday 9/6, starting at 10 AM; $30-49, find out more here. You can find more Labor Day brunches and takeout specials here.

That’s all for this week! I’ll see you next Tuesday with more cool things to do around DC. Don’t hesitate to drop me a line at and let me know what you’re up to.

How I’m feeling about this upcoming three-day weekend.

Damare Baker
Research Editor

Before becoming Research Editor, Damare Baker was an Editorial Fellow and Assistant Editor for Washingtonian. She has previously written for Voice of America and The Hill. She is a graduate of Georgetown University, where she studied international relations, Korean, and journalism.

Editorial Fellow

Anne Tate, originally from Annapolis, MD, joined Washingtonian in July 2021. She is a graduate of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she studied journalism and psychology.