Things to Do

Best Things to Do in the DC Area 1/5-1/8: “Vermeer’s Secrets,” “Which Way to the Stage,” and a Pixar Children’s Exhibit

Plus, a free movie screening at the Smithsonian.

Photograph courtesy of National Gallery of Art, Washington/Andrew W. Mellon Collection.

Happy weekend, everyone!

Let’s continue to ring in the new year with more fun things to do around town this weekend. From last-minute art galleries to new stage plays, you’ll find something exciting to bring cheer to your 2023.


Best Things to Do This Weekend

  1. “Vermeer’s Secrets” at the National Gallery of Art. You don’t want to miss viewing this rare collection of artworks by 17th-century Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer before the exhibition closes. “Vermeer’s Secrets” uses imaging technology to present a behind-the-scenes look at a quartet of paintings and two enigmatic works. Be sure to arrive early; spots at this in-demand showing can fill-up quickly, and on weekends and at busy times you may need to join a “virtual line” of an hour or more (Thurs-Sun, free, National Gallery of Art).
  2. “Emotions at Play” at National Children’s Museum. Bring your kids to the “Emotions at Play” interactive exhibit before it closes. This colorful, imaginative play world is inspired by the animated Pixar film, Inside Out (Thurs-Sun, $16, National Children’s Museum).
  3. “Which Way to the Stage.” Signature Theatre’s new Associate Artistic Director Ethan Heard makes his debut with Which Way to the Stage, a fun-loving comedy about friendship and ambition (through January 22, $52+, Arlington).
  4. “Descendant” movie screening. Watch a screening of the Netflix film, Descendant, at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. The museum is hosting the event and post-show panel discussion on slavery and freedom in recognition of the 160th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation (Sat, free, National Museum of African American History and Culture).
Which Way to the Stage at Signature Theatre. Photograph by Daniel Rader.

Want More Things to Do?

Game night. Cheer on local trivia champion Pat Curran at Breadsoda’s Jeopardy! watch party as he competes in the popular TV show (Thurs, free, Northwest DC). Win a gift card or a pack of beer at Atlas Brew Works’ Game of Thrones-themed trivia night (Thurs, free, Ivy City).

Arts and culture. Watch a screening of the documentary Do I Need This? (Fri, free, virtual). Be a part of a conversation with Grammy-nominated musician and children’s book author Valerie June (Sat, free, Kennedy Center). Hear about Kate Andersen Brower’s new book Elizabeth Taylor: The Grit & Glamour of an Icon at Politics and Prose (Sat, free, book is $32.50, virtual, Northwest DC). It’s the last call to browse the immersive “Spectacular Factory” exhibition at Artechouse (Thurs-Sun, $25, free for children younger than 3, Southwest DC). Attend a tipsy terrarium workshop (Fri, $26, Alexandria). It’s the final weekend to observe “Living in Two Times: Photography by Bahman Jalali and Rana Javadi(Thurs-Sun, free, National Museum of Asian Art).

Exercise and wellness. Enhance mobility and posture in a gentle full-body movement class to music (Thurs, free, virtual). Participate in a yoga class for seniors (Fri, free, Cleveland Park). Embrace movement and energy at a local dance class (Sat, $27, Northwest DC).

Bites and beverages. Make a delicious brick-oven pizza at a cooking class led by Chef Will Fagg of TinyBrickOven (Sat-Sun, $40, Baltimore). Have a good time at this feel-good Drag Queen Story Time Brunch (Sat, $10, Southeast DC).

Theater and shows. Try out your comedy script at Library Tavern’s open mic night (Thurs, free, Northwest DC). Or, order a slice of pizza with a side of laughter at Bulldog Pizza’s comedy night (Thurs, free, Northwest DC). Don’t miss podcast host and comedian Luis J. Gomez’s The Comedy Loft debut show (Thurs, $25, Northwest DC), or see DC comedian T.J. Ferguson (Fri-Sat, $15, Northwest DC). The Broadway tale Wicked is live on stage (through January 22, $59+, Kennedy Center).

Sports. Get tickets to the WBA Lightweight World Championship boxing match featuring Gervonta Davis and Hector Luis Garcia (Sat, $135+, Capital One Arena).

Outdoor attractions. Tour the Potomac River and make new friends (Thurs-Sun, $45, Georgetown). Georgetown is still glowing in the new year. Check out vibrant artworks and holiday lights throughout the neighborhood (through January 22, free, Georgetown).

Music and concerts. Experience Afghan culture through music, poetry, and art (Thurs, free, virtual, Kennedy Center). Guitarist Buffalo Nichols shares Black stories through his folk music (Fri, free, virtual, Kennedy Center). Listen to live bluegrass bands, Split String Soup and Old Town Flood, at Union Stage (Thurs, free, Southwest DC). Maryland artist J.Addo performs live in concert (Fri, $20, Southwest DC). Louis Lortie plays Chopin (Sat, $35+, Bethesda). Fill your evening with live electronic and electro-acoustic sounds performed by international artists (Sat, $10, Takoma). Jam out at a multi-sensory musical tribute to Beyoncé at the Miracle Theatre (Thurs, $50, Southeast DC). See jazz group Good Vibes in concert (Sat, $15, Northwest DC). DMV rapper Noochie has a show at Songbyrd (Fri, $12+, Northeast DC).

Things to do with kids. Drive through 2.5 miles of holiday illuminations before Bull Run Festival of Lights closes (Thurs-Sun, $30+, Centreville). Visit a sparkling display of holiday lights at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens (Thurs, $18, Vienna). Draw or paint a winter hat at the library (Sat, free, Northwest DC). Here’s a fun movie night for teens: watch a screening of Elvis in honor of the singer’s birthday (Sat, free, MLK Memorial Library). Work together to craft a kindness quilt (Sat, free, MLK Memorial Library). Get creative and construct a new art project in the Moonshot Studio (Sat-Sun, free, Kennedy Center).

Get involved. Knit and crochet warm items to donate to neighbors in need (Thurs, free, Alexandria). Join a neighborhood clean-up (Sat, free, Capitol Hill).

If you enjoyed these events, please 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.