Things to Do

Best Things to Do in the DC Area 1/23-1/29: Alexandria Restaurant Week, Lunar New Year, and Architecture and Design Film Festival

Plus, Shen Yun at the Kennedy Center.

Alice Street, directed by Spencer Wilkinson, is featured in the Architecture & Design Film Festival. Photograph courtesy of Alice Street.

Happy Monday, everyone!

Taste specialty menu items during Alexandria Restaurant Week, or grab an all-access pass to a local film festival to add to a week of fun.


Best Things to Do This Week

  1. Alexandria Restaurant Week. Did you have a good time chowing down during DC Restaurant Week? (Some DC restaurants have extended their Restaurant Week deals.) Now, it’s Virginia’s turn to show off their restaurant specials.  All weeklong you can dine in or out at nearly 80 restaurants offering a selection of prix-fixe menus during Alexandria Restaurant Week. Some of the highlights include mussels at Augie’s Mussel House, steak frites at Bastille Brasserie and Bar, elegant comfort fare and Hummingbird, and crabcakes at Clyde’s at Mark Center (Mon-Sun, $25+, Alexandria).
  2. Architecture and Design Film Festival. The National Building Museum is hosting another Architecture & Design Film Festival: DC. The showcase will present 16 films related to how design impacts the environment and culture. Festival-goers can also attend special events throughout the weekend including an opening reception and documentary screening of Alice Street, happy hour with local vendors, and a go-go brunch with DC band TOB to close out the showcase (Thurs-Sun, single tickets $30, all-access pass is $150 or $70 for students, Northwest DC).
  3. Lunar New Year Family Celebration. Learn about a variety of Lunar New Year traditions with live music and dance performances at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. All ages are invited to see performances by the Madison Chinese Dance Company and Korean traditional percussion troupe Washington Samulnori; there will be calligraphy demonstrations, too (Sat, free, Smithsonian American Art Museum).
  4. “Shen Yun” at the Kennedy Center. Don’t miss the theatrical exploration of classical Chinese dance in the colorful production Shen YunThe New York-based show uses all-original orchestral works and an ancient art form of dancing to take guests through five millennia of traditional Chinese culture (Tues-Sun, $85+, Kennedy Center).
  5. Lunar New Year at Tysons. Tysons Corner and the Asian American Chamber of Commerce has an exciting lineup of traditional performances and shows that everyone can be a part of to ring in the Lunar New Year. Guests can experience Sun Magic at a live demonstration, a Mongolian fashion show, and live cultural dances from Korea, Indonesia, China, and more (Sat, free, Tysons).
Spanish-Mediterranean spot Barca is participating in Alexandria Restaurant Week. Photograph courtesy of Barca.

Want More Things to Do?

Budget-friendly. Mingle with local professionals at a networking happy hour featuring a live DJ and a modeling showcase (Thurs, free, Northeast DC). If you are interested in running a marathon, you can learn about training and finishing your next or first race at this panel (Mon, free, MLK Memorial Library). Attend a mental health town hall (Wed, free, Dupont).

Arts and culture. It’s the last chance to observe several exhibits at the Smithsonian this week: “Preston Singletary: Raven and the Box of Daylight View(Mon-Sun, free, Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian), part 1 of “I Dream a World: Selections from Brian Lanker’s Portraits of Remarkable Black Women(Mon-Sun, free, Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery), Japanese prints in the “Underdogs and Antiheroes” collection (Mon-Sun, free, Smithsonian National Museum of Asian Art), a gallery of flower and bird artworks at “Feathered Ink(Mon-Sun, free, Smithsonian National Museum of Asian Art), and an artistic study of the color brown at “Coffee(Wed-Sat through January 28, free, Northwest DC). Explore the group exhibition “Creating a New Whole” at Morton Fine Art (through February 4, free, Northwest DC). Have a Girls Night In and journal, work out, and enjoy refreshments (Fri, $20+, Northwest DC). Meet up with local artists (Thurs, free, Adams Morgan). Join a roundtable with a group of artists (Tues, free, virtual). Sit in on a conversation about portraits with documentarian Nate Larson (Tues, free, virtual).

History and heritage talks. Travel to the past at this roaring ’20s discussion, “Cocktails, Lipstick, and Jazz(Tues, $25, virtual). Saudi-Palestinian artist Dana Awartani is speaking on art and heritage at the Hirshhorn (Wed, free, virtual). Author Shilpi Malinowski discusses her book Shaw, LeDroit Park and Bloomingdale in Washington, DC: An Oral History (Mon, free, MLK Memorial Library). Participate in a Son Jarocho music heritage workshop at BloomBars (Mon, free, Northwest DC). Learn about America’s rust belt with author Gabriel Winant (Mon, free, virtual). Or, hear about the history of “The Televised Presidency” at the White House Historical Association moderated by journalist Frank Sesno (Tues, free, Northwest DC).

Theater and shows. Be a part of an open mic night hosted by Spit Dat at Woolly Mammoth Theatre (Mon, free, Northwest DC). Attention all Game of Thrones fans: Kit Harington is playing the title role in Henry V. Watch the live recording at Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Harman Hall (Fri and Feb. 5, $20, Northwest DC ). Get tickets to Ride the Cyclone at Arena Stage (through Feb. 19, $66+, Southwest DC).

Music and concerts. Party on a weeknight and taste coquitos at Serenata at La Cosecha (Mon, free, Northeast DC). Singer and harpist Calvin Arsenia performs live at Songbyrd (Wed, $20+, Northeast DC). Eden has a tour stop in DC (Thurs, $75, Howard Theatre). Experience an evening of burlesque (Sat, $20+, Howard Theatre). See pianist Leif Ove Andsnes in concert (Tues, $60+, Kennedy Center). Learn new line dances to old-school music at the library (Tues, free, Alexandria). Washington Performing Arts presents pianist Charles Richard-Hamelin (Sat, $75+, Kennedy Center). Check out Virginia post-hardcore band Pulses at Jammin Java (Wed, $15+, Vienna).

Game night. Win—or lose—District Trivia at Red Bear (Mon, free, Northeast DC). Party and play games at Drag Bingo (Tues, free, Northeast DC). Have a good time playing darts, board games, and ping pong at Breadsoda (Tues, free, Northwest DC).

Things to do with kids. The entire family can enjoy live music, a snowflake scavenger hunt, hot dogs, and Encanto live character performances at the Shipgarten Winter Family Festival (Sat, free, McLean). Have a play date at the museum and create a model of an extinct ocean animal to take home (Tues, free, Smithsonian Natural History Museum). Teens are invited to learn about Bomb Graphic Novel with authors Steve Sheinkin and Nick Bertozzi (Mon, free, Cleveland Park).

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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.