Things to Do

Best Things to Do in the DC Area 6/1-6/4: Capital Jazz Fest, Planet Bethesda, and Chinatown Community Festival

Plus, a Pride celebration on Bryant Street.

Singer-songwriter Ne-Yo. Photograph by Chris Stanford.

Happy June, everyone!

Let’s start off the new month with great music, family fun, and delicious food. Celebrate Black Music Month at Capital Jazz Fest, or taste healthy bites at Bethesda’s food festival. There’s a ton of cool ways to recognize Pride Month, too.


Best Things to Do This Weekend

  1. Capital Jazz Fest. Celebrate the start of Black Music Month at the 30th Annual Capital Jazz Fest. Merriweather Post Pavilion is hosting a massive lineup of jazz, R&B, soul, and old-school music acts including singer Fantasia, Grammy-winning artist Ne-Yo, singer PJ Morton, and a special Michael Jackson tribute (Fri-Sun, $45+, Columbia).
  2. Planet Bethesda. This food, music, and fun festival brings together the best of Bethesda at Elm Street Urban Park. You can munch on plant-based foods, participate in a plant-based pie-eating contest, win vegan dinner giveaways, and enjoy a dance party with DJ Soul. Also, animal-rights activists will deliver keynote speeches. The first 1,500 guests get a free tote bag filled with goodies (Sun, free, Bethesda).
  3. Chinatown Community Festival. Join the mayor’s office in celebrating Asian and Pacific Islander cultures at the Chinatown Community Festival. The event features K-pop dance, traditional Thai dance, taekwondo demonstrations, a Japanese tea ceremony, and face painting, henna design, and sand art for children (Sat, free, Chinatown).
  4. Pride at Bryant Street. The two-day Pride at Bryant Street festivities begin with a salsa social and drag disco at Bryant Street Market, followed by a Pride parade sign-making gathering at Edgewood Market, and a DJ dance party and tasting at Metrobar (Fri-Sat, free, Northeast DC).

Want More Things to Do?

Annual Chinatown Community Festival. Photograph courtesy of MOAPIA.

Budget-friendly. Play outdoor games, eat at food trucks, and listen to singer AYO perform live at Fort Totten (Fri, free, Northeast DC). There’s a family-friendly Uptown Shuffle happening (Sun, free, Cleveland Park).

Arts and culture. Take a salsa and bachata dance lesson at Tysons Corner Center (Fri, free, Tysons). Arrange flowers with Old Dominion Flower Company (Sun, free, Tysons). View the Museum of Contemporary Art Arlington’s summer exhibitions at Art After Hours (Fri, free, Arlington). This crafty Phillips After 5 is in recognition of Pride (Thurs, $20, Dupont). Stroll local galleries at Art Walk Dupont (Fri, free, Dupont). Visit six museums during the Dupont-Kalorama Museums Consortium walk weekend (Sat, free, Dupont). U.S. Poet Laureate Ada Limón reads her poem for NASA’s Europa misison (Thurs, free, Library of Congress). View the climate-change group exhibition “Above Below Water” at Culture House DC (Fri, free, Southwest DC).

Community. Identity, community, and culture are the themes of DC Afro Latino Fest featuring live entertainment (Sat, free, Northwest DC). Go to the family-friendly Southwest Block Party at Lansburgh Park in recognition of DC Flood Awareness Week; there’s skating, obstacle courses, and ribs (Sat, free, Southwest DC).

Theater and shows. The demon barber of Fleet Street appears in Signature Theatre’s Sweeney Todd (through July 9, $40+, Arlington). Jane Franklin Dance performs works about female identity at the Athenaeum (Fri, $21, Alexandria). New stage play One in Two narrates a funny and hopeful story about HIV and the LGBTQ+ community (Thurs through June 25, $29+, H Street Corridor). The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington gives an energetic show of Dolly Parton’s greatest hits (Sat-Sun, $20+, Lincoln Theatre).

Music and concerts. Dance at at The Parks’ ’80s Block Party with your friends (Fri, free, Takoma). Move your feet at an outdoor Latin concert featuring Patrick Alban (Fri, free, Bethesda). Westfield Montgomery mall is celebrating Pride Month with an a cappella performance by Potomac Fever (Sat, free, Bethesda). Boy Meets Pearl and Charming Disaster play pop and goth-folk at Crazy Aunt Helen’s (Fri, $13, Capitol Hill). Alexandria Citizen’s Band plays a range of musical classics including Hamilton (Sat, free, Alexandria). Uptempo beats from the ’90s and 2000s are the highlight of Sandlot Anacostia’s R&B Cookout (Sat, $20, Anacostia). Rock and roll band Native Sun plays at DC9 Nightclub (Thurs, $12+, Northwest DC).

Bites and beverages. Rooftop party season is afoot at The Delegate with a live DJ, cocktails, and food (every Sat, free entry, Mount Vernon Square). Chevy Chase Lake’s Town Square is throwing a soirée with wine tastings, light bites, and a performance by Too Much Talent band (Sat, free, Chevy Chase). Sip craft cocktails and view local art installations on the Selina Union Market rooftop at Art Out Loud (Sat, $25+, NoMa).

Things to do with kids. Illustrator Tracie Ching and author Jason Reynolds are the special guests at the library’s teens-only Know Your Power Summit (Sat, free, MLK Library). Watch Disney’s Strange World movie with your family (Sun, free, National Harbor). Children 9 and under can race bikes at the Armed Forces Cycling Classic (Sat-Sun, free, Crystal City, Clarendon). Enjoy face painting, a photo-booth station, Afro-Brazilian music, and beats by DC’s Different Drummers at the Smithsonian’s Pride Family Day (Sat, free, Smithsonian American Art Museum).

Get involved. DC Brau partnered with LGBTQ-owned Red Bear Brewing Co. to create Pride Pils. You can attend the launch party, and help raise funds for nonprofits SMYAL and the Blade Foundation (Thurs, free, donations welcome, NoMa).

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.