Things to Do

Best Things to Do in the DC Area 5/1-5/7: NMAA Centennial Festival, Around the World Embassy Tour, and “The Sleeping Beauty” Ballet

Plus, a Cinco de Mayo round-up.

The Washington Ballet’s The Sleeping Beauty. Photograph by Dean Alexander.

Happy May, everyone!

New month alert: You can celebrate all things spring this week outdoors at the Flower Mart or  Taste of Tysons Corner, or head over to the National Museum of Asian Art’s Centennial Festival to jumpstart Asian American Pacific Heritage Month.


Best Things to Do This Week

  1. NMAA Centennial Festival. This festival is celebrating two things this May: Asian American Pacific Heritage Month and the Smithsonian National Museum of Asian Art’s centennial. To mark the occasions, the museum is throwing a 14-day festival with a round-the-clock lineup of panel discussions, cooking demos, K-pop performances, Indian dance recitals, live concerts, and more (Mon through May 14, free, National Museum of Asian Art).
  2. Around the World Embassy Tour. You can travel the world this weekend without taking a flight: The Around the World Embassy Tour returns for its spring open house featuring more than 60 embassies. Guests are immersed into an array of art, dance, fashion, music, and food from Norway, Colombia, Rwanda, Japan, and many more countries (Sat, free, various embassies). (These are the embassy events that particularly caught our eye.)
  3. “The Sleeping Beauty” ballet. The Washington Ballet returns to the Kennedy Center stage with their delightful variation of fairytale classic The Sleeping BeautyWhimsical sets and costumes will guide theatergoers through the romantic story of a magical kingdom, and a slumbering Princess Aurora (Thurs-Sun, $25+, Kennedy Center).
  4. Flower Mart at All Hallows Guild. This kid-friendly community tradition helps raise funds for the Washington National Cathedral’s gardens and grounds. Spanning two days, guests can shop boutique booths for plants, books, and high-end treasures, ride the antique carousel, and climb the Cathedral towers during Flower Mart (Fri-Sat, free, Northwest DC).
  5. Taste of Tysons Corner. Stroll through Tysons Corner Center to sample more than 40 tasty bites from area eateries such as Seasons 52 and Olivia Macaron. Throughout the day live bands So Fetch and The Covers Band will perform on the outdoor plaza stage. In between music sets, guests can watch chef cooking demonstrations, and play Spin the Wheel to win a restaurant gift card (Sat, free, $25 for VIP, Tysons).

Some 60 embassies will open their doors to the public on May 6. Photograph courtesy of Events DC.

Want More Things to Do?

Budget-friendly. Sing karaoke at Doubles (Sat, free, Northwest DC) or at Hard Rock Cafe (Tues, free, Penn Quarter). Shop Mother’s Day gifts at the Persian Art and Craft Fair (Sun, free, Vienna). Watch the high fashion movie The Devil Wears Prada outside at Alethia Tanner Park (Wed, free, Northeast DC).

Arts and culture. Chat about video game novel Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow with the Folger Book Club (Thurs, free, virtual). View the work of 27 artists in the recent exhibition “Black Art: In the Presence of Light” at Gallery B (Fri through May 28, free, Bethesda). Oil and multimedia paintings describe the struggle of postpartum in “Do You See Me?(Fri through May 28, $15, Dupont). Browse objects from the Tudor Place’s collection (Thurs, $25, Georgetown). Explore art and join a panel talk with art professionals at The Smithsonian Craft Show (Wed-Sun, $10+, Penn Quarter). Attend the opening of printmaking exhibition “Exploring the Possibilities(Fri, free, Alexandria). Photo exhibition “Survive, Glamorously: Images of Drag in the District” opens this week (Wed through May 13, free, Northeast DC). “1898: U.S. Imperial Visions and Revisions” examines the U.S. intervention in Cuba and U.S. expansion into Guam, Hawaiʻi, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines (through February 25, 2024, free, Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery). There’s bachata and live painting at Lima Twist (every Tues, free entry, Northwest DC).

Community. Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton is the keynote speaker at the women empowering Vital Voices Global Festival (Fri-Sat, free, virtual, Northwest DC). Gather to support labor rights at the May Day Festival (Mon, free, Meridian Hill Park). Area entrepreneurs can network at Skyland Town Center for National Small Business Week (Mon, free, Southeast DC). DC’s ACLU hosts a Bill of Rights Celebration with music by DuPont Brass (Tues, $51, H Street Corridor). Be a part of the White House Forum on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (Wed, free, virtual, George Washington University).

Theater and shows. Enjoy two operas in one show (Tues-Wed, $30+, Kennedy Center). There’s magic, mind reading, and dinner at the Arts Club of Washington (Sat, $68, Northwest DC). The National Symphony Orchestra brings jugglers and aerialists to life in Cirque de la Symphonie (Thurs-Sat, $49+, Kennedy Center). The Town Tavern showcases a lineup of local comedy talent (Wed, donations welcome, Adams Morgan). Get a first look at the Keegan Theatre’s Inbox Zero, a play about a scam gone wrong (Thurs, $25, Dupont).

Music and concerts. Electropop duo 100 Gecs performs at The Anthem (Mon, $45+, Wharf). There’s music and cocktails from South West Asia and North Africa at the REACH (Wed, free, Kennedy Center). Australian jazz and funk band Hiatus Kaiyote is live in concert at the Fillmore (Tues, $84, Silver Spring). The Kaleidoscope Vocal Ensemble plays classical music at St. Mark’s Church (Fri-Sun, $45, Capitol Hill). Tesla Quartet performs Rising Tides at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center (Sun, $5+, College Park). Pianist Anastasia Maksiuta plays at the Arts Club of Washington (Fri, free, Northwest DC). Test your musical knowledge at this part-concert and part-trivia night show (Tues, $30, Wharf). Metal band Ministry rocks the Fillmore Silver Spring (Wed, $42, Silver Spring).

Sports. It’s race day: Root on your favorite jockey at the Virginia Gold Cup (Sat, prices vary, tickets on sale Tues, The Plains). Dress in your best derby outfit for a chance to win a prize at Duke’s Grocery Kentucky Derby viewing party (Sat, free, Navy Yard). Watch the Kentucky Derby and party with a DJ on the The Morrow rooftop (Sat, free, NoMa). Or, head to the races at Throw Social (Sat, free, Brentwood).

Exercise and wellness. Relax with slow movements at Eaton DC’s Qi Gong workshop (Tues, $25, Downtown) or at R&B yoga (Wed, $25, Downtown). Kick off National Bike Month at the Mah Ze Dahr bakery bike lane (Fri, free, Arlington). Take a dance class at the Melanin Monday meet-up (Mon, free, U Street). Break a Zumba sweat (Mon, Wed, free, virtual, Petworth).

Cinco de Mayo. Have a fiesta at DLeña with a live mariachi band (Fri, free, Mount Vernon). Bar hop at the Cinco de Mayo Pub Crawl (Fri, $10, Penn Quarter). Party with two DJs at Cinco de Mission (Fri, free entry, Navy Yard). Sip tequila at the Sandlot Anacostia’s block party (Fri, $20, Anacostia). Visit three restaurants and taste specialty cocktails at the Arlington Margarita and Mimosa Fest (Sat, $28, Arlington). Eat Mexican food and dance to music at Metrobar (Fri, free, Brentwood). The Mayflower Club is throwing a day party (Fri, $10+, Northwest DC). Grab drinks at the margarita cart at El Tamarindo’s Garden Fiesta (Fri, free, Adam Morgan).

Things to do with kids. Walk through an outdoor dinosaur land with your kids, and play in a bounce house at the new Jurassic Encounter (Thurs through May 14, $15+, Centreville). Or, meet ancient giant creatures at the immersive indoor Dinos Alive Exhibit (ongoing, $20+, Northeast DC).

Get involved. Running of the Chihuahuas is back for a fun-filled day of barks, music, a pet photo booth, and refreshments. The race proceeds will benefit Rural Dog Rescue (Sat, free, Wharf).

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.