Things to Do

AAPI Heritage Month Celebrations Around DC

Festivals, cooking classes, K-pop dance, and other fun things to do for Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

Dishes from Moon Rabbit. Photograph courtesy of Moon Rabbit.

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, a time dedicated to reflect upon and celebrate the stories and accomplishments of Asian American and Pacific Islanders. The Washington area has plenty going on this month, including street fairs, educational talks, performances, and more. Here’s a look at what’s happening in May:

White House Forum on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders

George Washington University Student Center, Great Hall, 800 21 St., NW | Wednesday, May 3, 8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Organized by the White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders, this daylong event features performances, panels, speeches, and informational sessions about different issues facing AANHPI communities. Speakers include Vice President Kamala Harris, actor Daniel Dae Kim, poet Rupi Kaur, and Senator Mazie K. Hirono. Attendees can sit in on breakout conversations in smaller groups about a range of topics such as data equity and local policymaking.

National Museum of Asian Art Centennial Festival Programming

National Museum of Asian Art | Monday, May 1 – Sunday, May 14

The National Museum of Asian Art is celebrating its 100th year of operations with a festival devoted to Asian art, cuisine, literature, and history. The museum will host several curator-led tours of the museum, a fireside chat about the rise of Korean pop culture in America, lunches from local Asian and Asian American vendors, Hindustani classical ragas-inspired music, and much more.


Assorted Events at DMV Public Libraries

Various libraries | Throughout May

The region’s public libraries are hosting events for children and adults all month long. Take a Japanese calligraphy workshop, watch screenings of Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon or Aoki, or take your family to the Rangoli-making crafts workshop.


The Library of Congress’ Jade Snow Wong Display

The Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 1st St., SE | Through Saturday, June 3 at 5 p.m.

Jade Snow Wong, the trailblazing ceramist and author, created large bodies of beautiful works and was an early writer about Chinese American experiences. The display features photographs from her career, a first edition of her autobiography, items from her tour in Asia, and more.


Magpie and the Tiger Korean Cooking Demo

Virtual event | Friday, May 12, noon

Presented through the U.S. Botanic Garden, this session demonstrates how to prepare kimchis and pickles often found in Korean-American cuisine. The demo is led by Roren Choi and Caleb Jang, the chefs behind the Magpie and the Tiger Korean culinary business.


AAPI Heritage Month Concert and Reception

Harmony Hall Regional Center, 10701 Livingston Rd., Fort Washington | Saturday, May 13, 1-3 p.m.

Enjoy performances that celebrate diverse Asian cultures, including from Meki’s Tamur Polynesian Dancers and Washington Toho Koto Society Musicians, or participate in workshops in Japanese calligraphy or Bollywood dance. Chickboy DC, the Filipino cuisine group, will be catering the event.


Hawaiian Voyaging and Dance Celebration

National Museum of the American Indian, 4th Street and Independence Ave., SW | Sunday, May 14, 10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

This event explores the significance that voyaging and dance hold in Native Hawaiian communities. The Halau Pua Ali’i ‘Ilima dance group will perform several traditional and contemporary dances, and workshops will teach participants the knot-tying techniques and canoe care integral to Native Hawaiian sailing traditions


Classic Korean Cooking Class

Cookology Culinary School, 4238 Wilson Blvd. | Thursday, May 18, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Learn to cook some staples in Korean cuisines such as japchae, bulgogi, steamed rice, and a soju bomb. The $125 class offers non-alcoholic, vegetarian, gluten-free and dairy-free substitutions if made aware of restrictions upon registration


Everything, Everyone, All the Food at Once

District Pier on the Wharf | May 19, 6:30-10 p.m.; May 20, 2-10 p.m.

Hosted by Moon Rabbit chef Kevin Tien, this feast features dishes from the country’s preeminent chefs in Asian cuisine. Dine on Chinese broccoli with fermented lemon, shredded papaya salad with strawberries and fried shrimp, Thai style smoked pork shoulder, and more. Reserve a spot for $350.


Educational Talk About the 442nd Infantry Regiment

National Japanese American Memorial, New Jersey Ave., NW and D St., NW | Multiple time slots on May 19

The 442nd Infantry Regiment served during World War II and is the most decorated regiments in U.S. history. The segregated unit was composed of second-generation Japanese American soldiers from Hawaii and the continental US and was active abroad as hundreds of thousands of Japanese Americans were interned in the United States. Organized by the National Park Service, these free talks explore the history and stories of the regiment.


Fiesta Asia Street Fair

Pennsylvania Ave., NW, between 3rd and 6th streets | Saturday, May 20, 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.

This free celebration of pan-Asian heritage will include over 1,000 performers, food vendors, artisans, and organizations. The fair, back for its 18th year, will also feature a parade, shopping, and live performances.


Asian Festival on Main

Main St., Fairfax | Sunday, May 21, noon-6 p.m.

With dozens of food options, performances, and vendors, this partnership between the Old Town Fairfax Business Association and local business owners is a vibrant celebration of diverse Asian cultures. Enjoy K-pop dances, Pakistani rap, bubble tea, Thai crepes, and more.


The Outrage Pop-Up Market

The Outrage, 1811 14th St., NW | Saturday, May 27, noon-5 p.m.

Organized by the activist fashion shop, the AANHPI Pop-Up market will host local small businesses owned by Asian American, Native American and Pacific Islander entrepreneurs.


WETA’s AAPI Heritage Programming

All monthlong, the PBS station serving the capital and beyond is broadcasting stories that explore Asian American and Pacific Islanders’ history, creativity, and resilience. Some movies include those about five-time Olympic medalist Duke Kahanamoku, three American Chinatowns, and Fanny, the queer Filipina-founded music group that was the first all-women band to release an album with a leading record label.

Julia Rosenberg
Editorial Fellow