Things to Do

The FUTURES Exhibition, a Live Magazine, and Holiday-Themed Fun: Things to Do in DC, November 18-21

Plus: an Indigenous poetry reading

Illustration by Melissa Santoyo.

Hey, y’all!

We’ve got a super cool futuristic exhibit at the Arts and Industries Building, the Pop-Up Magazine live show at Lincoln Theater, and many ways to celebrate the winter holidays early.

If you’ve ever imagined a future like this, then you should check out the FUTURES exhibit this weekend.

Here’s what you should check out this weekend:

Autumn attire: The DC Fall Fashion Collective is organizing five local fashion retailers at Common Thread in Union Market. Attendees can enhance their wardrobe while supporting women- and LGBTQ-owned small businesses in the community. Donations go toward the Whitman-Walker Foundation, a nonprofit seeking to improve health care in Wards 7 and 8. Thursday 11/18 from 6:30 PM-9:30 PM; Suggested donation is $20, buy tickets here.

Indigenous poetry: This virtual literary gathering is celebrating native nations with readings from When the Light of the World Was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through by poets LeAnne Howe and Tacey M. Atsitty. The anthology—which Howe and Atsitty worked on—includes more than 160 poets from nearly 100 Indigenous nations, and was edited by U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo. Thursday 11/18 at 7:30 PM; $5-$30, buy tickets here.

A new way of looking at news: Pop-Up Magazine will make its long-awaited return to Lincoln Theatre after almost two years. In this live magazine, writers, radio producers, photographers, and filmmakers will present reported stories through a progressive fusion of podcasts, films, art projects, and animation. Thursday 11/18 at 7:30 PM; $29, buy tickets here.

Sights and skates: Ice and Lights: The Winter Village is returning to Alexandria’s Cameron Run Regional Park this November. Visitors can enjoy many light displays, including a 20-foot walk-through tree, giant wreath and reindeer family. Skaters can take to the ice rink and shoppers can check out a holiday area for some seasonal goodies. Friday 11/19 through January 2022 from 5 PM-10 PM; $9.19–$22.03, buy tickets here.

Hip-hop magic: Lyricist Lounge celebrates its 30th anniversary with a one-night only music show at the Kennedy Center, which will feature hip hop icons Rakim, Slick Rick, DJ Jazzy Jeff, and KRS-One. The organization has been a major platform for up-and-coming hip hop artists to hone their skills and showcase their talent. Over the years, the platform has worked with iconic entertainers, such as 50 Cent, Notorious B.I.G., Jay-Z, and Common, and produced several open mic events, concerts, compilation albums, documentaries, and a MTV sketch comedy series. Friday 11/19 at 8 PM; $39-$149, buy tickets here.

The truth of myth: The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden’s newest exhibition, “A Countervailing Theory,” features 40 large-scale monochromatic drawings that tell a myth created by the artist, Toyin Ojih Odutola, herself. The fictional mythology chronicles a tale about power systems, culture, and gender through the lens of a prehistoric civilization that is set in modern-day central Nigeria and ruled by female warriors who are served by a class of male laborers. The pieces will be brought to life with an immersive soundscape created by Ghanian-British conceptual sound artist Peter Adjaye. Friday 11/19 through April 2022; Free, learn more here.

District dazzle: DC Holiday Lights is dolling up 14 of the city’s neighborhoods for the holidays. Decorations and lights will line the streets, as will holiday promotions and opportunities to buy local. See if any attractions are coming near you. Friday 11/19 through January 2022; Free, learn more here.

Back to the future: To celebrate the Smithsonian Institution’s 175th anniversary, the Arts and Industries Building will temporarily open for the first time in almost 20 years with an exhibit that will blast viewers towards the future. The “FUTURES” exhibition will include 150 innovations, technologies, and artifacts that make us think about the future that we want to live in. The exhibition will kick off with a weekend festival that will feature a live tour from Bill Nye the Science Guy; a roundtable with Bill Nye, actor and White House appointee Kal Penn, musician and biologist Mariah the Scientist, and director of the Smithsonian Institution Lonnie G. Bunch III; a concert with performances from indie pop trio SHAED, Mariah the Scientist, the cast of the HBO Max series “Legendary,” and go-go band Black Alley; and a family-friendly day with pop-up activities for kids. Friday 11/19 through Sunday 11/21; Free, register here.

All aboard: The Station in Riverdale Park, Md. will be taking families out on the track for train rides around The Village Green. Grab a bite to eat at nearby restaurants or get started on your holiday shopping at this mixed-use community development. Saturday 11/20 from 10 AM-1 PM; Free, register here.

A different perspective: The hip Eaton DC hotel is hosting a series of workshops to talk about African spirituality, specifically the orisha pantheon, and how we can apply it to our lives. The orisha are deities in the Yoruba religion that is practiced in West Africa. This week, the group will be discussing Iwa-pele, which is the indigenous African belief that ethics and spiritual growth are linked to each other. Sunday 11/21 from 3:30 PM-5 PM; $40, buy tickets here.

People already have their holiday decorations up. It’s practically Christmas already!

That’s all for this week, folks! Don’t forget to drop me a line at and let me know what you’re up to.

Damare Baker
Assistant Editor

Before becoming an assistant editor, Damare Baker started out as an editorial fellow 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.

Zach Bright

Zach joined Washingtonian in October 2021. In the past, he’s written for The Colorado Sun, The Nevada Independent and SRQ Magazine.