Things to Do

40 Best Things to Do in the DC Area This Weekend: Mubadala Citi DC Open, Summer Block Party Late Night, and Otakon

Plus, Reunion Summer punk festival.

Summer Block Party installation Look Here in the National Building Museum’s Great Hall. Photograph by Timothy Schenck/Reddymade and the National Building Museum.

Happy weekend, everyone!

July is coming to a close, but that doesn’t mean the summer fun is slowing down. Root on your favorite tennis player at the Citi DC Open, or join fellow anime and gamer fans at Otakon.


Best Things to Do This Weekend

July 27-July 30

  1. Mubadala Citi DC Open. The Mubadala Citi DC Open swings off this weekend, bringing world-class players to DC for nine days of top-notch competition, culinary and beverage offerings, and new fan experiences. On Saturdays opening day, young tennis fans can participate in sports drills, face painting, and temporary tattoos. Plus, throughout the tournament there will be player meet-and-greets, live music, and giveaways (Sat through August 6, $15+, Rock Creek Park). 
  2. Summer Block Party Late Night. The reflecting kaleidoscopes of the Summer Block Party installation “Look Here” at the National Building Museum can be viewed after hours this weekend. This special Late Night event is ’90s-themed, featuring a nostalgic live musical performance by The Fixe, bites from a food truck, and drinks from Atlas Brew Works and Right Proper Brewing Company. Guests are encouraged to wear retro outfits (Thurs, $20, Penn Quarter).
  3. Otakon. Anime and manga fans will flock to the Walter E. Washington Convention Center this weekend for the return of the summer favorite Otakon convention. Over a span of three days, the super popular celebration of Asian pop culture will have contests, art shows, video games, dances, a costume masquerade, and more fun for gamers and comic lovers to enjoy (Fri-Sun, $40+, Mount Vernon Square).
  4. “Many Wests: Artists Shape an American Idea” exhibit. The new exhibition “Many Wests: Artists Shape an American Idea” at the Smithsonian aims to expand the way popular culture and historical narratives view Western art. Almost 50 modern and contemporary artists are represented, including photographers, sculptures, and painters (Fri through January 14, 2024, free, Smithsonian American Art Museum).
  5. Reunion Summer. DC punk is a treasured piece of the local music scene, and this weekend eight bands are coming together to celebrate the genre’s history and culture post-pandemic. The all-ages, two-day Reunion Summer festival will benefit St. Stephen’s church, and include a community picnic at Fort Reno, and live music from local groups such as Jackie and the Treehorns and Princessed (Fri-Sat, $15, Columbia Heights).

Want More Things to Do?

Otakon celebrates Asian pop culture at the Washington Convention Center. You might run into Pokémon characters Slowbro and SlowKing. Photograph by Daniel Roh/Otakorp Con Coverage.

Budget-friendly: Visit Heurich House Museum’s biergarten, and shop the Immigrant-Owned Mini Markt curated by KAMA DC (Sat, free, Dupont). Stretch and sweat with Equinox on the City Ridge lawn (Sat, free, Northwest DC), or participate in a relaxing sunset yoga class at Potomac Yard (Sun, free, Arlington).

Arts and culture: Attend the opening reception of Mehari Sequar Gallery’s retrospective of Senegalese photographer Djibril Drame (Thurs, free, H Street Corridor). Washington Project for the Arts hosts a conversation with artists exploring African migration (Thurs, free, virtual). Unwind from your work week at Plant and Sip (Fri, $10, Northeast DC). Go to the ribbon-cutting of the new independent bookstore People’s Book for an author reading, live jazz, and face painting (Sat, free, Takoma Park). The home movie Walden spotlights New York’s avant-garde arts scene during the ’60s (Sat, free, National Gallery of Art). Sit in on a gallery chat at the Kreeger Museum with Hamiltonian Artists fellows and curator Anisa Olufemi (Sat, free, Northwest DC). See more than 100 cats compete for the “best cat” title at the family-friendly Cat Show (Sat, $20 Chantilly).

Community and history: Tour the “Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg” exhibition at the Capital Jewish Museum (through November 30, $12, free for children under 12, Downtown). Ride through the National Mall with a meditation group in awareness of BIPOC Mental Health Month (Sat, free, Downtown).

Theater and shows: Laugh at standup comedians at Kelly’s Irish Times (every Thurs, free, East End). The 40th edition of the Comedy Kumite competition at DC Improv features sets from 24 local comics (Fri-Sun, $22+, Northwest DC). The American Ballet Theatre presents Giselle with the Wolf Trap Orchestra (Thurs-Fri, $28+, Vienna).

Music and concerts: Travel back to the ’70s at an outdoor concert with The American Pop Orchestra at City Center (Thurs, free, Downtown). Listen to the sounds of Sunday jazz on the Robinson Landing promenade (Sun, free, Alexandria). Or, tap your feet to the Revelator Hill Blues band at Veterans Plaza (Thurs, free, Silver Spring). Local Americana group The Grandsons will perform rain or shine at Glen Echo Park (Thurs, free, Glen Echo). Local pop rock band The Montaines are in concert at Public Option (Sat, $15, Northeast DC). Backyard Band leads a jamming go-go concert at Howard Theatre (Sat, $30+, Howard Theatre). Five bands compete in a music battle at Jammin Java (Sat, $10, Vienna). American roots music and Chinese classical come together in concert at Hill Center (Sun, $20, Capitol Hill). R&B On The Water Summer Series returns to HQO Events with soulful vibes (Sun, $45, Navy Yard).

Bites and beverages: Celebrate the birthday of Jackie Kennedy Onassis with a five-course dinner at Opaline Bar and Brasserie; guests can take home a print of the former first lady painted by DC artist Maggie O’Neill (Fri, $125, Downtown). El Callejón is throwing a community jamboree at Eckington Hall. The entire family can shop local vendors, eat barbecue and ice cream, listen to live music, and play outdoor games (Sat, free, NoMa).

Outdoor movies: Watch the biopic Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance with Somebody in Woodmont Triangle (Fri, free, Bethesda). Lay out on the Library of Congress lawn, and watch ’90s classic movie Groundhog Day (Thurs, free, Library of Congress). This weekend’s sunset cinema pick is Where the Crawdads Sing (Thurs, free Wharf).

Game night: Put your American history knowledge to the test at DAR Museum Trivia Night (Thurs, $25+, Downtown).

Things to do with kids: Children can participate in a story-time reading, and make crafts at Heurich House Museum (Sat, free, Dupont). See Spongebob and friends sing and dance in a new musical (through August 6, $12+, Woodbridge). Kids World is taking over Franklin Park with dance parties, book readings, music, and learning activities (Fri-Sun, free, Downtown).

Get involved: Treat yourself to a night of standup comedy, drag, vogue, and live music for a good cause at Capitol Cider House. A portion of the event’s proceeds will benefit Sanctuary DMV (Sat, $10, Georgia Avenue). Bourbon Steak and Napkin Network are hosting a community diaper drive (Sun, donations welcome, Georgetown).

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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.