Things to Do

34 Best Things to Do in the DC Area This Week: Black Restaurant Week, Drafts and Crafts Festival, and Tons of Barbie Events

Plus, "The Last Improv Show" at the Kennedy Center.

Cambodian Rock Band. Photograph by Joan Marcus.

Happy Monday, everyone!

Discover the area’s Black-owned restaurants and food shops during Greater DC Black Restaurant Week, or shop art and beverages at a first-of-its-kind *festival.


Best Things to Do This Week

July 17-July 23

  1. Greater DC Black Restaurant Week. Snag food deals and specials at local Black-owned eateries during Greater DC Black Restaurant Week. The fourth annual campaign features bites and special menus from food trucks, restaurants, and sweet shops. To get a first taste of the week’s lineup you can attend the kick-off mixer at the Delegate (through July 30, prices vary, multiple participating restaurants).
  2. Drafts and Crafts festival. Browse art and drink beer at the * DC Brewers’ Guild and DC Makers’ Guild Drafts and Crafts festival. The city’s first small-scale producers festival highlights beverages and crafts from a variety of 35 local artisans and drink makers. Guests can shop ceramics, woodworks, prints, and jewelry while enjoying unlimited tastes of local brews (Sat, $20+, *Union Market).
  3. “Cambodian Rock Band” the musical. Lauren Yee’s hit play Cambodian Rock Band taps the sounds of ’60s and ’70s Cambodia—as crafted by the contemporary band Dengue Fever—to tell of a father and daughter’s trip to Phnom Penh during which they confront the country’s difficult past. The lively musical kicks off Arena Stage’s 2023-2024 season (Wed through August 27, $66+, Southwest DC).
  4. “The Last Improv Show.” This popular Los Angeles comedy special wraps up at the Kennedy Center this week with hilarious improvisation and comedic monologues from special guests like science guy Bill Nye, actor Diedrich Bader, and more surprises (closes Sun, $49+, Kennedy Center).

Want More Things to Do?

Artwork courtesy of Capital Fringe.

Budget-friendly: Check out the Ken and Barbie Bar Crawl and Movie Night at Mexican restaurant La Sandia (Fri, $3+, McLean).

Arts and culture: Take a herb-handling workshop at Common Good City Farm (Mon, $20, Northwest DC). Browse the works of nearly 50 women and non-binary artists in the Hirshhorn’s “Put It This Way(closes September 17, free, Smithsonian Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden). American conceptual artist Jessica Diamond presents text-and-image-based artworks in the “Wheel Of Life” exhibit (closes June 2, free, Smithsonian Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden). The National Small Works returns to Washington Printmakers Gallery (through July 30, free, Northwest DC). Learn about butchering and preparing the whole animal in Duck Boot Camp (Thurs, $69, Capitol Hill). 

Community and history: A local history professor discusses Slavery and the American Revolution at Penn Social (Mon, $14, Penn Quarter), and then the Profs & Pints DC conversation continues with “Unbuilt Washington—The City That Never Was(Tues, $14, Penn Quarter). Learn about former First Lady Mamie Eisenhower’s pink fashion (Thurs, free, Northwest DC).

Theater and shows: The Capital Fringe Fest continues with more than 80 shows (through Sun, $15, Georgetown). Laugh with comics as they conquer their Stage Fright (Mon, free, U Street). Experience comedy and burlesque at Illusions the Drag Queen Show (Fri, $10+, Downtown). Mark the 80th anniversary of the musical Oklahoma! at Landmark E Street Cinema (Wed, $21, Northwest DC). Join the Barbie craze at City Tap Dupont’s Barbie Drag Brunch (Sat, $38, Dupont). The Monsters of the American Cinema explores humor and thrills through ghostly monologues (Thurs through August 6, $5+, H Street Corridor).

Music and concerts: The Washington Bach Consort plays classical selections at Fort Reno (Mon, free, Northwest DC). Cisco Swank performs jazz and hip-hop at Songbyrd (Mon, $15+, Northeast DC). DC music producer Matt McGhee has a show at Union Stage (Tues, $15, Wharf). Vaughn Ambrose and the SJE perform outdoor on the Robinson Landing waterfront (Wed, free, Alexandria). Peter Frampton rocks his guitar at the MGM National Harbor (Thurs, $49+, National Harbor). Rapper Killer Mike is on tour with The Midnight Revival gospel choir (Tues, $35, Lincoln Theatre).

Exercise and wellness: Break a sweat at a Pure Barre workout (Mon, free, Arlington). Barre3 Old Town is leading an outdoor cardio class (Sun, free, Alexandria).

Sports: Root on your favorite team at the MLS All-Star Game (Wed, $195+, Audi Field). You can also attend the Special Olympics Unified Sports All-Star Game (Wed, free, Annapolis).

Game night: There’s a Barbie Trivia Party (Mon, free, NoMa), and a Barbie-music-themed trivia (Wed, free, NoMa) at Wunder Garten. Play literary trivia at Kramers (Mon, free, Dupont). Listen to jazz tunes played by Keith Butler, Jr. and play board games at the museum (Thurs, free, Smithsonian American Art Museum).

Things to do with kids: General Motors brings hands-on programming and a racetrack to the National Children’s Museum to inspire young engineers (Wed, $16, Downtown).

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 Heurich House Museum, but it is not. 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.