Things to Do

11 Ways to Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month Around DC

Celebrate Hispanic culture through movie screenings, history exhibitions, and more.

Fiesta DC 2015. Photo courtesy of Tim Brown (GPA Photo Archive).

Wednesday marks the first day of Hispanic Heritage Month, a nationwide celebration of the legacy and culture of people from the Spanish-speaking world. The celebration starts in the middle of the month because September 15 marks the independence anniversary of five Central and South American countries.

Here are some ways you can celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month around Washington.

All Month

Play ball: An exhibition currently on display at the National Museum of American History looks at the relationship between baseball and Latinx players for more than 100 years. Titled “¡Pleibol! In the Barrios and the Big Leagues,” the exhibit features 63 artifacts—e.g., throwback baseball cards and a handmade ball from Cuba—to help tell the story of how Latinx players changed the game. Free.

Latinx rhythms: NPR’s Alt.Latino will take over the Tiny Desk concerts for Hispanic Heritage Month to bring you “El Tiny.” The curated line-up includes J Balvin, Camila Cabello, Prince Royce, Such, Maye, and more. You can find the at-home concerts posted on NPR’s Music YouTube channel throughout the month.

Wednesday, September 15

Sing-along: Kids can jam out to the musical stylings of guitarist Mr. Lilo during a Facebook Live hosted by the DC Public Library. The singer-songwriter belts in both English and Spanish for a concert you can stream in your living room. Wednesday 9/15 at 4 PM; Free, watch on Facebook live here.

History where it happened: Head to Mount Pleasant’s Lamont Park for an outdoor screening of La Manplensa, a film about the neighborhood’s protests in reaction to the 1991 police shooting of Salvadoran resident Daniel Gomez. The documentary features interviews with activists, artists, and longtime residents who experienced the uprising firsthand and its impact on the local Salvadoran community. Sponsored by Mount Pleasant Library and Friends, the event will also include live musical performances and food from vegan Salvadoran pop-up No Pierdas Las Cultura. Wednesday 9/15; 6 PM to 9 PM; free. 

Thursday, September 16

Climate champions: Young people are at the forefront of climate activism around the world—including in South America, where Native youth are vocal advocates fighting for environmental justice. Hear from three indigenous activists working to protect their communities’ natural resources during a virtual conversation organized by the American Indian Museum. The discussion will occur in Spanish with closed captioning provided in both English and Spanish. Thursday 9/16 from 4 PM to 5 PM; free; register here.

Saturday, September 18

Festival fun: NOVA BOSSA, a Brazilian-owned fashion and design retail store, is teaming up with the Embassy of Guatemala and Latin marketplace La Cosecha to host a one-day cultural festival that will celebrate the 200th anniversary of Guatemala’s independence. Get a taste of Guatemala through a cooking demonstration and pop-up shops that will offer a selection of Guatemalan dishes and drinks. NOVA BOSSA will also be selling Guatemalan jewelry during the festival. Saturday 9/18 from 10 AM to 8 PM; Free, learn more here.

Tuesday, September 21

Story time: The Beatley Central Library in Alexandria will be hosting bilingual storytimes for kids throughout the month. Sit out in the Reading Garden next Tuesday or join in on a virtual session on September 23 and October 6. Tuesday 9/21, Thursday 9/23, and Wednesday 10/6 from 11:30 AM to 12 PM; Free, find out more.

Wednesday, September 22

Movie night: DCPL’s Parkland-Turner Library in Congress Heights hosts a monthly movie night for teenagers, and September’s screening will honor Hispanic Heritage Month. Watch Disney/Pixar’s Coco, an animated film that takes place in Mexico on Día de los Muertos. The movie explores the holiday’s customs and the country’s musical traditions through the story of Miguel, a self-taught guitarist who must find a way to return to the Land of the Living with the help of his ancestors. Wednesday 9/22 at 4 PM; Free.

Friday, September 24

New perspectives: The Smithsonian Latino Center, American Indian Museum, and African American History Museum are bringing together a slate of scholars and curators for a virtual conference that highlights the stories of enslaved indigenous people in South America and Asia. Programming includes panel discussions, dance performances, and a conversation about passing Genízaro traditions across generations. Friday 9/24 to Monday 9/27 from 12:01 AM to 11:59 PM; Free, stream here.

Tuesday, September 28

Borders: Listen to George Mason University professor Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera talk about the current state of Mexico-US relationship in regards to immigration, security, energy, and the border. Tuesday 9/28 at 7:00 PM; Free, register here.

Sunday, October 3

Baking fun: Learn how to make tres leches cake at a virtual baking class hosted by Alexandria Library. From Politics to Pastry chef Amy Duvall will demonstrate in real time how to make the creamy dessert. Sunday 10/3 from 2 PM to 4 PM; Free, register here.

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.

Daniella Byck
Lifestyle Editor

Daniella Byck joined Washingtonian in 2022. She was previously with Outside Magazine and lives in Northeast DC.