Things to Do

Best Things to Do in the DC Area 1/19-1/22: Mindful Drinking Fest, Fire and Ice Festival, and “Cats” the Musical

Plus, Lunar New Year celebrations.

Fire and Ice Festival. Photograph courtesy of The Wharf.

Happy weekend, everyone!

It’s chilly outside, but that’s not stopping this fun line up of weekend festivals. Taste new zero-proof cocktails at a non-alcoholic drinking fest, or warm up with fire dancers and live music at the Wharf’s outdoor party.


Best Things to Do This Weekend

  1. Mindful Drinking Fest. The ultimate Dry January event brings an array of non-alcoholic beverage tastings and wellness workshops to Selina DC. Derek Brown’s Mindful Drinking Fest will also include a bartender competition featuring alcohol-free spirits and wines, where guests can vote on their favorite. There’s an after party, too (Sat, $75+, grand tasting passes are sold out, but all-day passes are still available, Northeast DC).
  2. Fire and Ice Festival. Head to the Wharf for an afternoon full of live entertainment. The third annual Fire and Ice Festival will turn up the heat with a DJ, fire twirlers, s’mores at the fire pit, and whiskey tastings. Cool down with rounds of cornhole and shuffleboard on the ice (Sat, free, Wharf).
  3. “Cats” the musical. Rediscover the Broadway hit this weekend at the National Theatre. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats is packed with exciting choreography, detailed costume design, and renditions of songs like “Memory” (Thurs-Sun, $35+, National Theatre).
  4. Lunar New Year at MGM. Celebrate the year of the rabbit at MGM National Harbor. You can check out a vibrant showcase of jade rock fountains, a 15-foot tall animatronic rabbit, a money tree, and more holiday-themed decorations in the conservatory through March 18. Pan-Asian restaurant Ginger is offering a special Lunar New Year menu through January 29. And there’s a traditional Lion Dance parade that starts in the casino valet and ends in the conservatory (Sun, free, MGM National Harbor).
  5. Our Struggle For Justice: A Day of Action. The National Portrait Gallery is hosting a Day of Action in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The event will feature art pop-ups and live music by DJ Adrian Loving and emcee Healacist HipHopMomma Princess Best, along with tours of permanent exhibition “Struggle for Justice” and discussions with local social-justice activists. The program is geared towards high school and college students, but open to everyone (Sun, free, Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery).
Lauren Louis as Demeter, Chelsea Nicole Mitchell as Bombalurina, and the company of the 2021-2022 national tour of CATS. Photograph courtesy of Matthew Murphy/Murphymade.

Want More Things to Do?

Budget-friendly. Go to the U.S. Air Force Concert Band’s chamber-music concert spotlighting elements of jazz, funk, hip-hop, and more (Thurs, free, Alexandria). Laugh out loud with a line up of comedians at Kelly’s Irish Times (Thurs, free, Northwest DC).

Arts and culture. Observe the multi-sensory exhibition “Preston Singletary: Raven and the Box of Daylight,” before it closes (through January 29, free, Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian). Join a three-session symposium: Staking Claim: Latinx Art and US American Experiences (Fri, free, virtual, National Gallery of Art). View  “A Sky of Shattered Glass Reflected by the Shining Sun” by artist Stephanie Mercedes at Culture House (Saturdays through February 25, free, Southwest DC). Sit in on an artist talk about oil paintings at Zenith Gallery (Sat, free, Northwest DC). Visit the opening reception of “sowing worlds within the incompossible” at the Washington Project for the Arts (Sat, free, Northwest DC). Check out cartoon-themed artworks on display at Nepenthe Gallery (Thurs-Sat, free, Alexandria).

History and heritage talks. Honor the life of scholar-activist Mike Davis at Creative Grounds (Thurs, free, Northwest DC).

Theater and shows. Attend the Washington National Opera’s play about National Negro Opera Company founder Mary Cardwell Dawson (Fri-Sun, $49+, Kennedy Center). Get tickets to a grand opening show at the new Give A Hoot Comedy Club, featuring comedian Chris Coccia; a portion of the proceeds will go to local charities (Fri-Sat, $20, Gaithersburg). See stage play Prima Facie at Harman Hall (Thurs-Fri, $20, Northwest DC), or The Seagull at Harman Hall (Sun – February 3, $20, Northwest DC). Don’t miss the opening of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Horse and His Boy, a new production at the Museum of the Bible (through March 4, $54+, Southwest DC). Experience a live taping of Not Another D&D Podcast (Thurs, $70, Lincoln Theatre).

Music and concerts. Immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of Korea with the drummers of Washington Samulnori in honor of the Lunar New Year (Sun, free, National Gallery of Art). Party with a DJ and debut your karaoke skills at Ginza’s Lunar New Year celebration (Sat, $58+, Southeast DC). Relax into musical meditation with Verdi Requiem and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (Thurs-Sat, $25+, Baltimore, Bethesda). Check out an evening of music with DC songwriters at Pearl Street Warehouse (Thurs, $10+, Wharf). Listen to live classical music from the National Symphony Orchestra Youth Fellowship Program (Thurs, free, virtual, Kennedy Center). Put on your dancing shoes and join a Country Dance and Night and Competition (Thurs, $10+, Arlington). Rapper Future and special guests are making a tour stop in DC (Sun, $115+, Capital One Arena). Experimental DC hip-hop duo Model Home is performing at Comet Ping Pong (Fri, $18+, Northwest DC). And Shangela is live at the Warner Theatre (Fri, $27+, Northwest DC).

Game night. Here’s a fun way to liven up bingo: wear pajamas and play the game with friendly neighborhood goats (Sat, $40, Arlington).

Things to do with kids. Brunch and a movie? Count us in. See a movie screening of The Goonies while chowing down on breakfast bites at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema (Sat, $11, Northeast DC, Arlington). Discover a new exhibit at the National Children’s Museum: “XOXO: An Exhibit About Love & Forgiveness(opens Sat, closed on Tuesdays, $16, Northwest DC).

Get involved. Volunteer at Plant Alive! and help cultivate large greenhouses (Sat, free, Silver Spring).

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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.