Things to Do

Best Things to Do in the DC Area 5/4-5/7: DC Boat Show, Cinco de Mayo Downtown, and Canal Boat Tours

Plus, a Coronation Day celebration at the embassy.

Photograph courtesy of Chris Chern/Georgetown BID.

Happy Thursday, everyone!

There are a ton of reasons to celebrate this weekend: Kick-off the festivities with a Cinco de Mayo outdoor jam, and then head to the British Embassy for some Coronation Day tea and fun.


Best Things to Do This Weekend

  1. DC Boat Show. The local boating community is showing off its best sailboats, power boats, and new tech at the DC Boat Show this weekend. There will be several bars—including a beer garden and dueling piano bar—and live bands along the Potomac Waterfront. On Saturday, local artist Shawn Owen will perform at the harbor beach party (Fri, $40+, National Harbor).
  2. Cinco de Mayo Downtown. There’s Cinco de Mayo fun happening all over DC this weekend, but this party includes an outdoor parade float. Join the Mayor’s Office in celebrating Mexican culture with a live Mariachi band, food, and music by DJ Hercules. The festival float will begin at the Reeves Center, and musical performances will happen at F and Eighth streets, Northwest (Fri, free, Downtown).
  3. Canal Boat Tours.  C&O Canal Boat Tours are back with seasonal cruises through the first mile of Georgetown’s historic waterway. Take a ride with a guide to learn about the traditions and culture of the canal (opens Fri, $25, Georgetown).
  4. Coronation party at the British Embassy. There won’t be a viewing of King Charles III’s coronation at the British Embassy, but there will be an outdoor celebration to mark the occasion. Guests are invited to toast with tea in honor of the United Kingdom royals at the embassy’s Sidewalk Celebration. Complimentary shortbread, tea, coffee, and coronation cake will be served while guests browse a photo exhibit of the King, participate in children’s activities, and write notes to the King and Queen Consort (Sat, free, Northwest DC).

Want More Things to Do?

“Pixelbloom: Timeless Butterflies.” Photograph courtesy of ARTECHOUSE.

Budget-friendly. Shop trendy local vendors at the Makers Market pop-up (Sun, free, Arlington). Browse crafts and goods and grab a bite from food trucks at the Sister 2 Sister Bazaar pop-up market (Sat, free, Alexandria).

Arts and culture. The “Pixelbloom: Timeless Butterflies” digital exhibit at Artechouse has extended dates (closes July 9, $17+, Southwest DC). Watch movie Crimson Tide on the Navy Memorial plaza (Thurs, free, Penn Quarter). Artist Anna Tsouhlarakis creates a sculpture onsite at the National Portrait Gallery bring awareness to the Missing or Murdered Indigenous Persons Movement (Fri, free, Penn Quarter). See a screening of Japanese avant-garde film A Page of Madness (Fri, free, Smithsonian National Museum of Asian Art). Art historian Katy Hessel discusses her new book The Story of Art without Men (Thurs, free, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden). Grab a lawn chair and watch the ’80s film Overboard (Thurs, free, National Harbor).

Community and history. Learn the secrets and scandals of the Nation’s Capital on a guided walking tour (Sun, $20, National Mall). Attend a symposium about Popular Culture in the White House (Fri, $50, Northwest DC). Explore the historic Mount Vernon battlegrounds during Revolutionary War Weekend (Sat-Sun, $35, Mount Vernon).

Theater and shows. Get tickets to the rocking musical Passing Strange at Signature Theatre (through June 18, $66+, Shirlington). Catch the opening of Exclusion, a play about the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, at Arena Stage (Fri through June 25, $56+, Southwest DC). Check out Jane Franklin Dance’s creative showcase at Museum of Contemporary Art Arlington (Sat, free, Arlington). Take in a sensory-friendly production of Shout Sister Shout (Sat, $25+, Penn Quarter).

Music and concerts. Listen to local ensemble Orquesta Melao perform salsa, merengue, and latin jazz at the Quadrant (Fri, $30+, Northwest DC). Visit Boordy Vineyards for an outdoor concert with Maryland Opera (Fri, $20, Baltimore). Get tickets to the Mason Symphony Orchestra spring concert (Sun, $20, Fairfax). Jam to bluegrass tunes played by The Gravel Road Band (Thurs, free, Silver Spring). Go to a benefit concert at Songbyrd to support transgender equality (Fri, $10+, Northeast DC). R&B stars Kem, Ledisi, and Musiq Soulchild sing live at DAR Constitution Hall (Fri, $75+, Downtown). Rapper Babyface Ray performs at the Fillmore Silver Spring (Fri, $27+, Silver Spring). DC’s Trouble Funk band plays go-go hits at Bethesda Blues & Jazz (Fri, $35, Bethesda). Local singer Raheem DeVaughn has a show at the Birchmere (Thurs, $85, Alexandria). Jersey Shore T.V. personality DJ Pauly D is in town at Soundcheck (Thurs, $50, Northwest DC). Choral Arts presents Eric Whitacre’s The Sacred Veil (Sat, $30+, free for virtual, Northwest DC). 

Coronation. Don your royal attire and watch the coronation of King Charles III at Duke’s Grocery (Sat, $10, Foggy Bottom), at The Queen Vic (Sat, free, H Street Corridor), or over afternoon tea at the Four Seasons (Sat, $125, Georgetown). More events here.

Bites and beverages. Lace up your sneakers and have Brunch On the Go (Sat, $65, Navy Yard). Sail across the Potomac on a Full Moon Margarita Cruise (Sat, $35, Georgetown). Get glam and dine on a three-course meal at the Share the Love Gala (Sat, prices vary, Penn Quarter). Make ravioli during a pasta-making workshop at Hill Center (Thurs, $69, Capitol Hill). Enjoy the weekend weather with friends and drinks at the Takoma Beerfest (Sat, $45, Takoma Park).

Game night. Throw axes in celebration of Cinco de Mayo (Fri, free, Northeast DC). Attend a juggling convention and play games with fellow high-tossers (Fri-Sun, free, College Park).

Things to do with kids. Mingle with characters from Encanto at the Cinco De Mayo Kids and Family Festival, which will also feature moon bounces and music (Sun, free, McLean). Watch an outdoor showing of Toy Story (Sun, free, National Harbor).

Get involved. Volunteer to clean up the Carter Barron Amphitheater (Sat, free, Rock Creek Park).

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.