Things to Do

45 Best Things to Do in the DC Area This Weekend: March on Washington 60th Commemoration, Around The World Cultural Food Festival, and BBQ & Barrels

Plus, Women's Equality Day.

March on Washington leaders. Photograph by Aaron Stanley Tretick/Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Gift of Kitty Kelley and the Estate of Stanley Tretick, © Smithsonian Institution.

Happy weekend, everyone!

Crowds of people will be commemorating the 60th anniversary of the March on Washington this weekend at the Lincoln Memorial. Also, there’s an international food festival in Old Town Alexandria, and barbecue at Nats Park.


Best Things to Do This Weekend

August 24-August 27

  1. March on Washington 60th Commemoration. This year marks the 60th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. The monumental Civil Rights event is where activist Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous “I Have a Dream Speech.” Now, King’s family—along with the National Action Network and other organizations—are inviting the nation to mobilize at the Lincoln Memorial again to discuss voting rights and issues of discrimination and social justice. The program begins at 8 AM followed by the march at 1 PM (Sat, free, Lincoln Memorial).
  2. Around the World Cultural Food Festival. You can travel around the globe this weekend without taking a flight. The 7th edition of the Around The World Cultural Food Festival arrives at Oronoco Bay Park with a loaded cultural lineup representing more than 40 countries. The family-friendly and pet-friendly event features ethnic cuisines, cultural song and dance performances, and traditional artisan and craft vendors (Sat, free, Alexandria).
  3. BBQ & Barrels. Show some Natitude at the first-ever BBQ and Barrels event taking over Nationals Park. The flavorful evening pairs BBQ dishes from local restaurants such as Due South and Stack’s House of BBQ with tastings of American bourbon, rye, and whiskey. Also, attendees can watch a cocktail competition. If you aren’t interested in tasting the spirit selection, you can purchase a no-taste ticket, and enjoy live music and food (Sat, $10+, Nationals Park).
  4. Women’s Equality Day. The Mayor’s Office on Women’s Policy and Initiatives is hosting a community gathering and networking event for Women’s Equality Day. Guests are encouraged to wear yellow and celebrate at Sycamore & Oak where there will be business-clinic help desks, headshot photographs, and talks with entrepreneurs in recognition of the 19th Amendment (Thurs, free, Congress Heights).
  5. Maryland State Fair. The Maryland State Fair is back with a ton of fun for all ages, spread out over three weekends. The jam-packed schedule offers lots of food, horse and pig races, carnival rides, outdoor concerts, lumberjack shows, and educational exhibits (opens Thurs, $10+ for adults, free for children under 5, Timonium).

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Photograph by Forsaken Fotos/Flickr.

Budget-friendly: Build muscle with the St. James Performance Club Bethesda (Sat, free, Bethesda).

Arts and culture: Meet the author finalists of this year’s George Washington Literary Prize at Mount Vernon (Thurs, free, Mount Vernon). Browse the “Beyond Granite: Pulling Together” installation, and join a conversation about Indigenous Archives (Fri, free, National Mall). See a live mural painting and shop local vendors at the End of Summer Block Party (Sat, free, Georgia Avenue). Participate in a visual arts workshop at Creative Suitland Arts Center (Sat, free, Suitland). Paint an acrylic portrait of your pet (Sat, $70, Alexandria). Experience an evening of meditation led by humanitarian Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar (Sun, $28+, Arlington). Fairfax Comic Con arrives at Dulles Expo Center (Sat-Sun, $19+, Chantilly). Check out an Art Block Party to observe live art and gather with neighbors (Sun, free, Alexandria). The Maryland Renaissance Festival kicks off this weekend with crafts, entertainment, and a ton of cool costumes (Sat through October 22, $21+, Annapolis).

Community: Bring a blanket and a picnic to the River Farm Anniversary celebration featuring live music from Soulfire (Thurs, free, Alexandria). “Meat and greet” at the nonprofit I-71 Committee’s community BBQ (Sun, free, Adams Morgan). The Ward 6 community is celebrating the upcoming school year with a Back to School Bash (Sat, free, donations welcome, Capitol Hill).

March on Washington commemorations: View Martin Luther King’s original “I Have a Dream Speech” at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (through September 18, free, NMAAHC). Accord Symphony hosts a celebratory concert at Merriweather Park at Symphony Woods (Sat, free, Columbia). Swap March on Washington memorabilia at Busboys and Poets (Sat, free, Anacostia).

Theater and shows: Attend a young professionals happy hour at the Keegan Theatre followed by a showing of the stage play Sweat (Fri, $40+, Dupont). Snag tickets to RuPaul’s Drag Race Werq the World Tour while the energetic production is in town (Sat, $49+, National Harbor). A group of southern comedians bring their Black Power Rangers Comedy Tour to DC Arts Center (Fri, $18, Adams Morgan). Snarky magicians battle for the title of DC’s best magician at The Mayflower Hotel (Sat, $50+, Downtown). It’s the last call for the coming-of-age musical Fun Home at Studio Theatre (closes Sun, $65+, Logan Circle). Comedy improv actors Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood from Whose Line is it Anyway bring their tour to Strathmore (Sat, $28+, Bethesda).

Music and dance: A Train Trio plays a mix of jazz, bebop, and hip-hop at Whino (Fri, free, Arlington). Take a dance lesson during Diablo’s Cantina Latin Night (every Thurs, free, National Harbor). Party to reggae and Afrobeats at the African-Caribbean Music and Arts Festival (Sun, free, Silver Spring). Beginners and experts alike are welcome to take this community Cuban Salsa Dance Class (Sat, $15, Northwest DC). DC pop artist Ari Voxx performs at Songbyrd (Sat, $15, Northeast DC). Don’t miss the Distrito Music Fest (Sat, $35+, Wharf). Rock band Nickelback plays Jiffy Lube Live (Sat, $110+, Bristow).

Bites and beverages: Learn how to make an array of French desserts at Bread & Water Bakery (Sat, $109, Alexandria). You’ll make firecracker salmon at this hands-on social Cookology Culinary School class (Sat, $125, Arlington). Sip wine and eat oysters at Bourbon Steak’s Summer Somm Soirée (Sun, $75, Georgetown).

Things to do with kids: Kids in the Castle: Craft Story Hour at Heurich House Museum will explore the history of immigrants (Sat, free, Dupont). Kids can learn about historic games and create their own toys at Tudor Place (Sat, $5 for adults, $8+ for children, Northwest DC). There’s a moon bounce, school immunizations, Zumba, and more at the Westfield Wheaton back-to-school fair (Sat, free, Wheaton). Little ones can play games while learning about international customs at Kid’s Culture Fest (Sat, free, National Harbor). Youngsters are invited to build jellyfish terrariums at Plant House’s family-friendly workshop (Sun, $26, Alexandria). All ages and pets are welcome at Shipgarten’s Kids and Family Festival featuring face painting, moon bounces, and an Encanto character performance (Sun, free, McLean).

Get involved: Spend National Dog Day at Commentary Social House’s Pups on The Patio adoption event; adoptable dogs will be in attendance (Sat-Sun, free, Arlington).

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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.