Things to Do

After-Hour Museum Parties Are Back

Here are five upcoming events worth checking out.

National Gallery Nights in 2019. Photograph courtesy of National Gallery of Art.

Late-night, in-person museum receptions and after-hours parties are returning. For those who can’t visit museums during their normal business hours—here’s your chance. For those who need a fun date, it’s a great option. And for those who enjoy learning something, there will be plenty of that, too.


Planet Word

Calling all Wordle and triple-letter-score aficionados: One of DC’s newest museums, Planet Word, is hosting a preview party of its newest exhibit, “Lexicon Lane,” which invites visitors on a word-sleuthing adventure. Join other party-goers to solve some of Lexicon Lane’s nested puzzle cases.

Immigrant Food will provide complementary puzzle-themed cocktails and snacks.

How to attend

  • When? Friday, March 25, from 6:00 p.m.
  • How? Tickets for $40 are available here.

National Gallery of Art

The National Gallery of Art will open its West Building after-hours from 6 to 9 p.m. for “National Gallery Nights” (formerly NGA Nights). Kicking off April 14, the “Flowers After Hours” night will be an “ode to all things floral.” Visitors will enjoy music, performances, pop-up experiences, and paper-flower making. While there, visitors will have an opportunity to visit the “Afro-Atlantic Histories” exhibit—which opens April 10.

There will be light fare and drinks available for purchase.

How to attend

  • When? Thursday, April 14, May 12, and June 9 from 6 to 9 p.m.
  • How? Registration for April 14 opens March 21 at 10 a.m, available here. Capacity is limited. Registration for May 12 and June 9 will open one month in advance, April 15 and May 13 respectively.


National Building Museum

Technically, the museum is not open after-hours for visitors to explore exhibits but instead for the Architecture & Design Film Festival (ADFF). The festival features 12 films, with some showings that go as late as 10 p.m.

However, visitors who attend the opening night and screening of “Mau”  on March 24 can enjoy a reception including signature cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and dim sum.

How to attend

  • When? The festival takes place at the National Building Museum from Thursday, March 24, through Saturday, March 26, with various screening times. There’s a master schedule on the website.
  • How? Single tickets are available to purchase at $12. The opening night (with reception) tickets are $40 and can be purchased here.


“Futures” Exhibit

The “Futures” exhibit at the Smithsonian Arts and Industries Building will be celebrating a “Cyborg Birthday Party.” Visitors will be able to enjoy the museum after-hours, to the sound of DJs, and learn from cyborg artists. Costumes are encouraged.

Cocktails and alcohol-free options will be available for purchase.

How to attend

  • When? Friday, March 25, from 7 to 10 p.m.
  • How? The event is free, but individuals can register here.


Phillips Collection

The Philips Collection will be hosting artist Marta Pérez García for an artist talk and exhibition preview of her project Restos-Traces. Created during the Covid-19 pandemic, Restos-Traces is comprised of almost 30 female torsos constructed with handmade paper and added elements such as wire, nails, metal spikes, hair, teeth, and film negative.

How to attend

  • When? Thursday, March 31, from 6:30 to 8 p.m.
  • How? The event is free and no registration is required. Proof of vaccination and masks required.

Jade Womack is an energy economist by day, and an events blogger by night. She started her blog, Clockout DC, when she was moonlighting as a bartender in 2019. She grew up in Arlington, and currently lives in Adams Morgan with her dog.