Things to Do

10 Great Things to Do in DC This September

Hear music from Janelle Monáe, attend the World Culture Festival, and enjoy art from Native American artists.

Top left to right: Photograph of World Culture Festival courtesy Art of Living Foundation, Janelle Monáe by Amy Harris/Invision/AP images, The Screwtape Letters by Joan Marcus. Bottom left to right: Photograph of Melvins by Chris Casella, “Indian Canyon” courtesy of Cara Romero, Robert Glasper courtesy of Robert Glasper.


Black Cat 30th Anniversary

Velocity Girl. Photograph by Jim Saah.

Black Cat | September 8–9

The beloved DC rock venue celebrates three decades with two shows: The first night features the likes of Ex Hex and club co-owner Dante Ferrandos Gray Matter, while reformed 90s darlings Velocity Girl (above) and Ted Leo & the Pharmacists are among the highlights of night two.



Robert Glasper

Photograph courtesy of Robert Glasper.

Wolf Trap | September 9

The Grammy-winning pianist and composer has long fused jazz and rap with his Black Radio project. This performance will help celebrate the 50th anniversary of hip-hop, with prominent rappers such as Cordae, Common, and Lupe Fiasco making appearances.



Amy Bruni

Sixth & I | September 13

Get a head start on October hauntings with the paranormal investigator, podcaster, and star of the Travel Channel show Kindred Spirits. Bruni will share tales of her encounters with the dead—and just might inspire you to conduct your own paranormal investigation.


Photograph courtesy of Riverhead Books.


The Vaster Wilds by Lauren Groff

Politics and Prose (Connecticut Avenue) | September 13

The renowned author’s latest novel tells the story of a young servant girl who escapes from a settlement in Colonial America. On her own, she learns to survive in a magical but frightening wilderness.



The Screwtape Letters

Photograph by Joan Marcus.

Capital One Hall | September 16

C.S. Lewis’s epistolary novel, The Screwtape Letters, addressed evil in a decidedly more biting manner than his beloved Chronicles of Narnia series did. Actor Brent Harris brings this humorous and sobering battle for the soul to the stage.



Boris and Melvins

Photograph by Chris Casella.

Howard Theatre | September 22

For whats sure to be a gloriously ear-splitting night, Japanese noisemakers Boris will perform their aptly titled 2002 album, Heavy Rocks. Seattle vets Melvins (above), meanwhile, will perform their 1991 album, Bullhead. Not coincidentally, the latter collection opens with a track called Boris, which, yes, gave the first band its name.



The Land Carries Our Ancestors

Photograph courtesy of Cara Romero.

National Gallery of Art | September 22–January 15

Artist Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, a citizen of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Nation, curated this exhibit of work by Native American artists living in the US. Pieces range from traditional weaving and beadwork to modern sculpture and abstract painting. Above, a detail from “Indian Canyon” by photographer Cara Romero.



Janelle Monáe

Photograph by Amy Harris/Invision/AP Images.

The Anthem | September 24–25

The musician and actress who’s set to depict Josephine Baker in the upcoming television series De la Resistance brings her sultry new album, The Age of Pleasure, to the Wharf for a show guaranteed to heat up the early-fall evening.



Itzhak Perlman

Photograph by Todd Rosenberg.

Strathmore | September 28

The classical-violin superstar scored in 1995 with the Emmy-winning PBS special Great Performances: In the Fiddlers House, which found him exploring Jewish klezmer music. Now he’s bringing that concept to Strathmore, and hell be joined by klezmer stars including Hankus Netsky and Andy Statman.



World Culture Festival

Photograph courtesy of Art of Living Foundation.

National Mall | September 29–October 1

In these polarizing times, one longs for unity. This three-day event, organized by the Art of Living Foundation (whose founder, Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, is not without controversy), encourages attendees to renew, groove, dance, sing their way to a more harmonious world.

This article appears in the September 2023 issue of Washingtonian.