Things to Do

Best Things to Do in the DC Area 2/13-2/20: Mardi Gras Parade, Romeo and Juliet Ballet, and Bethesda Restaurant Week

Plus, date night at the Museum of Illusions.

Mardi Gras at the Wharf. Photograph courtesy of the Wharf, Washington, DC.

Happy Monday, everyone!

Celebrate Valentine’s Day with someone special at the Museum of Illusions, or grab a friend and indulge in a number of local Galentine’s activities. If you’d rather skip the heart-filled holiday all together, then party outdoors at the Wharf’s Mardi Gras Parade.


Best Things to Do This Week

  1. Mardi Gras Parade. The Wharf is bringing the New Orleans spirit to DC for a mile-long Mardi Gras parade. The community is invited to join in on the Bourbon Street-style festivities featuring stilt walkers, decorated floats, the Eastern High School marching band, and live performances and music from Batalá Washington and Naptown Brass Band. The night will end with a fireworks finale (Sat, free, the Wharf).
  2. “Romeo and Juliet” ballet. Don’t miss the American Ballet Theatre’s interpretation of Shakespeare’s timeless romance about forbidden love, Romeo and Juliet. The tragic love story will be narrated by a cast of dancers following the choreography of Kenneth MacMillan (Wed-Sun, $49+, Kennedy Center).
  3. Bethesda Restaurant Week. It’s time to Savor Bethesda. Dine in or out at a number of downtown Bethesda restaurants and eateries during the city’s restaurant week. The menu deals are for $10, $20, and $35. Some of the specials include breakfast and lunch at Josephine Gluten Free Bakery, bbq dinners from Smoke BBQ, and pre-fixe burger deals and appetizers at World of Beer (Thurs through February 26, prices vary, various participating locations).
  4. “Black Like Me” exhibit. Check out Zenith Gallery’s new group exhibition “Black Like Me.” The collection features cultural mixed-media works, sculptures, paintings, and abstract art from local artists including Wesley Clark and Bulsby Duncan (through April 15, free, Downtown).
  5. Date night at the Museum of Illusions. Visit the immersive Museum of Illusions on Valentine’s Day with your sweetheart. Couples can sightsee mind-bending holiday-themed illusions at the Sip and Sweets event; complimentary drinks and treats are included, too (Tues, $38, Northwest DC).
Maman is participating in “Savor Bethesda” Restaurant Week. Photograph courtesy of Bethesda Urban Partnership, Inc.

Want More Things to Do?

Budget-friendly. Relax and stretch to the tunes of soul singer Sade during yoga at Eaton (Mon, donations welcome, Downtown). Sit in on a conversation with local romance writers at One More Page (Tues, free, Arlington).

Arts and culture. View the space art exhibit “Launching the Future: Looking Back to Look Forward(through March 1, free, Northwest DC), or explore artificial intelligence at “Altar(through September 15, free, Northwest DC). East City Bookshop hosts a queer speed dating event inspired by queer romance novels (Mon, free, Capitol Hill). Discuss drawing and poetry with artist Tony Lewis (Wed, free, virtual*). Attend a spoken-word and open-mic night at Busboys and Poets (Sun, free, Northwest DC). Meet culinary historian Alex Prud’homme (Wed, free, Northwest DC). Observe Van Gogh’s paintings at this digital art exhibition featuring live music (Tues, $75+, Northeast DC). Check out this pop-up cultural center to explore Black history within the Italian context (through March 31, free, Morgan State University). The French film Mozart’s Sister is showing at the Embassy of France (Tues, $5+, Northwest DC). Watch three movies back to back at the library. The featured films are Billie Holiday documentary Strange Fruit, Beyoncé’s Lemonade, and the Woman King (Tues, free, MLK Library). Fill your evening with R&B music, poetry, and a panel discussion on dating at Karma (Wed, $10+, Northeast DC).

Bites and beverages. Party at a Mardi Gras bar crawl (Sat, $10+, U Street). Cook for peace at the Meditation Museum (Sat, free, Silver Spring). Spend Galentine’s sipping wine with a fun sommelier (Mon, $35+, Penn Quarter). Prosecco, Putts and Presents sounds like a great time with your girl gang (Wed, $50, Northwest DC).

History and heritage. Discover some inventions created by Black innovators (Thurs, free, Northwest DC). Attend a panel discussion about Black hair bias (Mon, free, virtual). Learn about American icons that attended a historically Black college or university (Mon, free, Northwest DC).

Theater and shows. See the classic film Sabrina for Valentine’s Day (Tues, $7, Northwest DC). See Crowns (through February 25, $25, Bowie). Laugh out loud with the Impractical Jokers (Sun, $24+, Capital One Arena). Get tickets to the stage play Girlhood at Round House Theatre (Fri-Sun, $25, Bethesda). Arena Stage is throwing an Anti Prom event featuring the production Ride the Cylcone, an East Coast Swing dance class, and festivities emceed by Tara Hoot (Tues, $60, Southwest DC). Comedians from the TV show Flatbush Misdemeanors host a live stand-up (Thurs, $20, Kennedy Center). Watch the classic film Sleepless in Seattle at the Miracle Theatre (Wed, $10, Capitol Hill). Keegan Theatre is throwing a Galentine’s Day cabaret (Mon, $25, Northwest DC). Story District is having the Worst Date Ever (Tues, $30, Howard Theatre).

Music and concerts. It’s a Beyoncé vs Rihanna Valentine’s Dance Party (Tues, $15, Northwest DC). Dance all night long at Black Cat (Tues, free, Northwest DC). Songbyrd is calling all the single ladies and gentleman to the dance floor (Wed, free, Northeast DC). Attend the Stop! Not Me: Music and Black Resistance Concert at CAAPA Cultural Center (Sat, free, Fort Washington). See Carrie Underwood live in concert (Wed, $39+, Capital One Arena). Enjoy romantic jazz music performed by the Magic Bass and Steve Washington (Tues, free, Northwest DC). The Calidore String Quartet returns to the Kennedy Center (Wed, $50, Kennedy Center). Julia Wolf plays at Union Stage (Mon, $15, Southwest DC). Jessica Vosk presents a Broadway Valentine with the Washington Performing Arts at Sixth and I (Tues, $45, Northwest DC).

Game night. Join a Black History Month Trivia night (Sat, free, Capitol Hill). Eat brunch at Butter Me Up and play Black History Month Trivia (Sat, $65+, Cardozo). Play to win Wunder Garten trivia night (Mon, free, Northeast DC), or Wunder Garten’s musical trivia (Wed, free, Northeast DC). Participate in Think-N-Drink Trivia at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema (Wed, free, Northeast DC). There’s more Black history trivia at the University of the District of Columbia (Sat, free, Northwest DC). Play trivia to benefit a new public art project centered on endangered animals (Wed, $20, Northwest DC).

Things to do with kids. Take your kids to the Dinos Alive immersive experience (Wed-Sun, $20+, Northeast DC). You don’t want to miss the outdoor light show Nova Wild (through April 9, $35+, $24 for ages 3 to 12, Vienna).

Get involved. Make your own flower bouquet with Lily’s Flower Truck in celebration of Galentine’s Day. The first 50 people to show a receipt from one of the National Landing area coffee shops will get a free flower bouquet. A portion of the event profits will support local animal shelters. (Mon, free, Arlington).

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.

An earlier version of this post listed this event location as the Smithsonian Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, but it will be virtual only. We regret the error.

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.