Things to Do

Best Things to Do in the DC Area 11/10-11/13: Native Veterans Celebration, Spirit Park Grand Opening, and Art on the Avenue

Plus, a holiday tree light show and fireworks.

A rendering of the amphitheater in Spirit Park at the National Harbor in Maryland. Rendering courtesy of National Harbor.

Happy Thursday, everyone!

There are several Veterans Day commemorations and celebrations happening this weekend to honor those who served our country. Or, if you are still recovering from election week, you might take your mind off of the polls at an immersive art experience before it leaves DC or at an arts festival in Virginia.


Best Things to Do This Weekend

  1. Native Veterans Celebration. All are welcome to join the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian’s celebration of Native Americans veterans and their families. On Friday, there will be a procession along the National Mall from the museum to a ceremony stage in front of the US Capitol. The weekend events will continue with music and cultural performances featuring author and design talks, a film showcase, history discussions, and refreshments for veterans in the hospitality suite (Fri-Sun, free, virtual, National Museum of the American Indian).
  2. Spirit Park Grand Opening. Recognize Veterans Day in your best red, white, and blue outfit at the grand opening of Spirit Park on Friday. There will be a flag-raising ceremony and fireworks. On Saturday, you can shop from veteran-owned businesses at the Stars & Stripes Fair or attend the lighting of a 60-foot RGB tree and listen to a holiday medley performed by the United States Air Force Band (Fri-Sat, free, National Harbor).
  3. Art on the Avenue festival. Del Ray’s rescheduled multicultural arts and music festival, Art on the Avenue, is taking over Mount Vernon Avenue this weekend. There will be four stages featuring live bands and musical performances, morning through afternoon. Festival-goers can taste food from local street vendors and view art from a variety of artists. There will fun for kids, too, including art projects, the chance to take to a theater stage, and a musical petting zoo (Sat, free, Alexandria).
  4. “Aṣẹ: Afro Frequencies.” It’s your last chance to explore the highly detailed “Aṣẹ: Afro Frequencies” immersive and interactive exhibit at ARTECHOUSE. Guests can walk through a celebration of the Black experience through the eyes of artist Vince Fraser and poet Ursula Rucker (Thurs-Sun, $25, Southwest DC).
A rendering of Artechouse exhibit. Rendering courtesy of Artechouse.


Want More Things to Do?

Budget-friendly. Participate in an improv workshop at the library (Thurs, free, Petworth). Author Natasha Lance Rogoff talks about her new book, Muppets in Moscow, at Planet Word (Thurs, free, Northwest DC). Have fun at an art show with bottomless mimosas (Sat, free, Northeast DC). Swap literature at the fall book exchange (Sat, free, Northeast DC).

Arts and culture. Pick up new craft at ArtRave (Sat, free, Adams Morgan) or at Art Fest (Sat-Sun, $20, Alexandria). View a new exhibit at a mobile art gallery (Thurs-Sun, free, Navy Yard). Get creative and learn the basics of modern calligraphy (Sat, $45, Georgetown) or make a soy candle (Sun, $50, Alexandria). Sip wine and munch on charcuterie during a candle-making workshop (Sat, $55, Springfield). Attend a holiday fashion show; the event will include holiday cocktails, desserts, and shopping (Sun, $100, Georgetown). Pottery on the Hill is back this weekend (Fri-Sun, $35+, Capitol Hill). Listen to a live reading of the anthology, Diaspora Café D.C. (Sun, free, Bethesda). Explore the first exhibition in the US devoted to the work of Italian painter Giuseppe De Nittis (Sat, $16, Northwest DC). Go to a showcase opening reception and concert in acknowledgement of Veterans Day (Fri, free, Anacostia). Learn about the connection between architecture and identity during a lecture and film screening with Germane Barnes (Thurs, $35, National Building Museum).

Theater and shows. Winter has come early at THEARC. See the opening of the season’s The Nutcracker (Sat-Sun, $30+, Southeast DC). Or, giggle at comedians telling stories about their families (Fri, $19, Northwest DC). The Virginia Opera presents The Pirates of Penzance (Sat-Sun, $40+, Fairfax). Save your seat at the new play Stranded (Sat, $20, Northwest DC). Be part of the two-day celebration of dance in DC (Sat-Sun, $15+, Northeast DC). Commemorate the lives of people at the musical ELEGIES (Thurs-Sun, $60, Northwest DC).

Exercise and wellness. Break a sweat at the Boombox Wellness Day Pop-up (Sat, free, Navy Yard). Stretch and have a drink at a vinyasa yoga class (Fri, $25, Alexandria). Ladies, check out this self-defense class (Sat, $35, Downtown). Take it slow and relax at a sloth-themed yoga and painting class (Sun, $40, Arlington). Take a group Queer Bike Ride (Sat, free, Mount Vernon).

History and heritage. Partake in a culturally inspired dinner around a bonfire at Chihuahua Night (Thurs, free, Northwest DC). Have an adventurous scavenger hunt with author JoAnn Hill and tour guide Katie Kirkpatrick (Sun, $30, Georgetown). Join in on a conversation about the contributions made by Latino veterans (Thurs, free, Smithsonian National Museum of American History). Indulge in an evening of dining, fashion, and art at the Embassy of Saudi Arabia (Thurs, $64, Northwest DC). Get inspiration for your dream home at the DC-Metro Modern Home Tour (Sat, $40, various participating locations).

Music and concerts. Enjoy live salsa and jazz music in the park (Sat, free, Dupont Circle). Travel through time and experience a musical tribute to 1940s jazz artist Hazel Scott (Fri, $35+, Bethesda). Get tickets to a Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen tribute (Thurs, $38, Arlington). Experience the world premiere of Grammy-winning composer Michael Daugherty’s Blue Electra, performed by violinist Anne Akiko Meyers (Thurs-Sat, $29, Kennedy Center). SING! with the Vienna-Falls Chorus (Sat, $20, Tysons). Dance to the beat and stuff yourself with pupusas (Fri, $5, Northwest DC).

Movies and fun. Bring the entire family to an outdoor screening of The Polar Express (Sun, free, National Harbor) or watch Frozen 2 (Fri, free, Arlington). Teenagers are invited to a Bingo Night at the library (Thurs, free, Southwest DC). Watch the new Black Panther: Wakanda Forever at a private screening (Thurs, $35+, Alexandria).

Get involved. Your laughter at DMV Comedy Wars will help support the Humane Rescue Alliance (Thurs, $15, Arlington).

If you enjoyed these events, don’t forget to share this post with a friend on social media, and sign-up for our newsletter for more things to do.

Briana A. Thomas is a local journalist, historian, and tour guide who specializes in the research of D.C. history and culture. She is the author of the Black history book, Black Broadway in Washington, D.C., a story that was first published in Washingtonian in 2016.