Things to Do

37 Best Things to Do in the DC Area This Week: Alexandria Restaurant Week, DCBX Latin Festival, and Giant Panda Birthdays at the National Zoo

Plus, "To Kill a Mockingbird" is showing at the Kennedy Center.

Giant panda cub Xiao Qi Ji celebrates his 2nd birthday with fruitsicle cake at the National Zoo. Photograph by David Andrews.

Happy Monday, everyone!

Have some foodie fun during Alexandria Restaurant Week, and then celebrate the zoo’s giant pandas before they eventually leave for China.


Best Things to Do This Week

August 21-August 27

  1. Alexandria Restaurant Week. Dine on $25, $35, and $45 pre-fixe menus at almost 75 restaurants during Alexandria Restaurant Week. From Old Town to the West End, foodies can taste such offerings as lobster ravioli from Aldo’s Italian Kitchen and French delights from recently opened Josephine Brasserie & Bar (Mon-Sun, $25+, Alexandria).
  2. DCBX Latin festival. Dance, strut, and eat at the DCBX 15 Latin festival. This year’s fiesta features a lineup of 15 artists from various dance genres including salsa, bachata, urban kiz, and zouk; there are workshops, ballroom dancing, a 50 Years of Hip Hop vs Reggaeton experience, and a “flavor fiesta” (Wed-Mon, $69+, Northwest DC).
  3. Giant panda birthdays at the National Zoo. Two giant pandas are having birthday parties at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo this week. On Monday Xiao Qi Ji turns three, and on Sunday Tian Tian will mark 26 years. Spectators are invited to watch the bears receive birthday treats on the Giant Panda Cam, or visit the Asia Trail. It’s the last birthday celebration before these giant pandas are slated to go to China at the end of the year (Mon, Sun, free, National Zoo).
  4. “To Kill a Mockingbird” play. Harper Lee’s historic To Kill a Mockingbird novel comes to life at the Kennedy Center in Aaron Sorkin’s Broadway adaptation of the award-winning story. The play, which is running a limited engagement in town, tells the southern American tale of  law, social justice, and community during the Great Depression era (Tues-Sun, $49+, Kennedy Center).

Want More Things to Do?

Maeve Moynihan (“Scout Finch”) and The Company of To Kill a Mockingbird. Photograph by Julieta Cervantes.

Exercise and wellness: Embody your inner fire at Eaton DC’s holistic class about pleasure (Fri, $40, Downtown). Search for paw paw fruit on a trek led by Cultivate the City (Sun, $10+, location to be announced). Relax and color to the sounds of jazz music (Wed, free, Capitol View). Core Power leads a yoga class at Met Park (Wed, free, Arlington).

Arts and culture: View reimagined paintings of Black Loyalists and Victorian sitters in artist Gordon Shadrach’s “Reposition” exhibit at the Embassy of Canada (Mon-Fri through October 31, free, Penn Quarter). Gather with poets at Mahogany Books Summer Salon Series (Tues, free, Anacostia). Dine on vegan cuisine while watching The Invisible Vegan outdoors at Spacy Cloud (Thurs, free, Adams Morgan). Authors Katie Wells and Kafui Attoh discuss their new book Disrupting D.C.: The Rise of Uber and the Fall of the City at Politics and Prose (Tues, free, Northwest DC). Shop stylish clothing and home goods at That’s So Vintage Market (Sat, free, but tickets required, Union Market). Tour the Plants Alive greenhouse and learn tips and tricks for houseplant growing (Sat, $5+, Silver Spring). Watch a movie screening of robot thriller M3GAN (Tues, free, MLK Library). Grown-ups can read teen novels too at I Never Wanna Grow Up Book Club (Mon, free, Northwest DC). This edition of AdMo Vibe features video game music from a live orchestra at (Wed, free, Adams Morgan). Learn pet-friendly planting skills from a veterinary professional (Wed, $28, Capitol Hill).

Theater and shows: Participate in virtual screenings and workshops led by industry professionals throughout DC Black Film Festival (Fri through August 30, $10+, Capitol Hill). Neko Ramos and Dr. Khadijah Z. Ali-Coleman headline Spit Dat open mic at Woolly Mammoth Theatre (Mon, free, Northwest DC).

Music and concerts: Boogie with local band Jimi Smooth and HitTime (Wed, free, Wharf). Take a beginner’s salsa dance lesson with Baila DC (Thurs, $7+, Union Market). Rapper Toosii is live in concert at The Fillmore Silver Spring (Mon, $65+, Silver Spring). Jethro Tull rock band is led by a flute player; you can see the legendary group play at Wolf Trap (Thurs, $49, Vienna). Indie folk singer Molly Parden performs at Songbyrd (Wed, $15+, Northeast DC). Sing along to Taylor Swift songs with fellow Swifties at the Pug dive bar (Mon, free, H Street Corridor).

Bites and beverages: Ben’s Chili Bowl turns 65 this week, and neighbors can eat free half smokes in celebration of the Black-owned landmark (Tues, free, U Street). Chaplin’s restaurant and cocktail bar is throwing a ’90s-themed anniversary party (Mon, free, Northwest DC).

Sports: Start the Commanders football season off with a VIP game day experience at Hard Rock Café including a tailgate, open bar, and a visit to the field tunnel (Mon, $395+, Penn Quarter).

Game night: The Price Isn’t Right at DC housing trivia night at The Exchange Saloon (Mon, free, Northwest DC). Mondays are for trivia at Wunder Garten (every Mon, free, NoMa). Compete for prizes on the Hi-Lawn rooftop (every Mon, free, Union Market), and play bingo (every Wed, free, Union Market).

Things to do with kids: Watch family-friendly throwback flick School of Rock at Sunset Cinema (Thurs, free, Wharf). Youth can water plants at Powell Community Farm, and participate in gardening projects (Tues, free, Mount Pleasant).

Get involved: Eat pizza at the S. Arlington Pupatella for a good cause. The pizza and patio fundraiser will help support 9-11 charities (Wed, free, Arlington). Sticky Fingers Diner hosts a charity auction to benefit Maui Rapid Response and the Maui Humane Society (Wed, free, H Street Corridor).

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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.