Things to Do

Last-Minute DC Area Ideas 8/18-8/21: Outdoor Concerts, BBQ Cookouts, and a Panda Birthday Celebration

Plus, the Arlington County Fair has arrived!

Panda cub Xiao Qi Ji's first birthday celebration. Photograph courtesy of Smithsonian’s National Zoo.

No plans this weekend? Here are some last-minute things to do.

Happy panda birthday! Celebrate giant panda Xiao Qi Ji’s second birthday at the National Zoo this weekend. Visitors can watch zookeepers present Xiao Qi Ji and his mother with a cake (and hopefully get to sing happy birthday) to celebrate the occasion (Sun, free but entry pass required, Woodley Park).

Fun at the fair. The Arlington County Fair is in full swing! The fair, complete with rides, performances, and fried food, is happening all weekend long at Thomas Jefferson Community Center (Wed-Sun, free, Arlington). 

Break a sweat. Get a good workout at a free Zumba class (Sat, free, Arlington), a twerk fitness class (Sun, $15, Adams Morgan), the Anacostia Park run (Sat, free, Anacostia), the Fletcher’s Cove Parkrun, (Sat, free, Fletcher’s Cove), the Vegan Fun Run (Sun, free, Georgetown), or the Bubble Run (Sat, $15, Fort Washington). 

Outdoor concerts. Enjoy the summer air and jam out at the Shenandoah Run Summersounds Concert (Sat, free, Manassas), Concerts on the Green (Sun, free, Great Falls), or R&B in the Fort (Sat, free, Fort Dupont Park).

Lots of lectures. If you’re looking learn a little more about the stories behind art, head to a discussion with a curator at the Phillips collection (Thurs, free, virtual), the NMWA Art Chat (Fri, free but registration required, virtual), or an artists talk with local DMV artists (Fri, free, Spring Valley). 

A day at the museum. Learn more about the English language at Ellen Jovin’s Grammar Table at Planet Word (Sat, free, Downtown), take a tour of Korean Fashion at the Textile Museum (Fri, free but membership required, Foggy Bottom), or head to Dumbarton House for Dolley Day (Sat, free, Georgetown). You can also head to the open house for the Library of Congress’ “Not an Ostrich Exhibit” (Thurs, free, Capitol Hill).

Free flicks. Outdoor movies this week include Rear Window (Fri, $5+, Forest Hills), In the Heights (Thurs, free, National Harbor), Crazy Rich Asians (Thurs, free, The Wharf), Flags of Our Fathers (Thurs, free, Penn Quarter), Angola Do You Hear Us? Voices From a Plantation Prison (Thurs, free, Foggy Bottom), and Under The Stadium Lights (Thurs, free, the Mosaic District). Family friendly movies this week include Annie (Sun, free, National Harbor), The Secret Life of Pets (Wed, free, Rockville), and The Princess and The Frog (Fri, free, Arlington). 

  • Film fest. You can also head to DC’s Black Film Festival to see films from Black creators (Thurs – Sat, $5+, Capitol Hill).  

Fun food events. Enjoy dog treats and happy hour with The Dog Days of Summer series (Thurs, free, Cathedral Commons), join the first annual I-71 Committee Community Cookout (Sun, free, Adams Morgan), or head to the Dear Summer BBQ (Sat, $0+, Navy Yard).

Kids corner. Bring the kiddos to Unicorn Kids Club for kids with dyslexia (Sat, free, Fort Stanton), Mandarin Story Time (Sat, free, Adams Morgan), or Kids Yoga. You can also get free school supplies at the Back-to-School Free Bookbag & Supplies Drive-Thru (Sat, free but registration required, Hillcrest Heights).

Sophia Young
Editorial Fellow
Maggie Hicks
Editorial Fellow