Things to Do

39 Things to Do in the DC Area This Week: MLK Peace Walk and Parade, Seth Meyers, and Rock the Rink at the Wharf

Plus, "Love, Love, Love" stage play at Studio Theatre.

Rock the Rink. Photograph courtesy of the Wharf.

Happy Monday, DC!

Good news: We have an extended weekend ahead of us. Commemorate MLK Day of Service at the annual Peace Walk and Parade, or see A-list comedian Seth Meyers live at the Kennedy Center.


Best Things to Do This Week and Weekend

January 8-January 15

  1. MLK Peace Walk and Parade. For more than 40 years, the DC community has gathered in January to honor the life and legacy of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a peaceful march through the city. This holiday’s commemoration will begin with a peace rally and assembly at Martin Luther King Jr Avenue, SE, followed by a volunteer-based neighborhood cleanup (January 15, free, Congress Heights).
  2. Seth Meyers. Late Night show host and Emmy Award-winning comedian Seth Meyers has several sold-out stand-up shows at the Kennedy Center. You can snag resale tickets on third-party sites so you don’t miss out on the fun (January 12-13, $39+, Kennedy Center).
  3.  Rock the Rink. Glide along DC’s only over-water ice skating rink at the Wharf during Rock the Rink. Two times this winter, hockey fans can don their best Capitals gear, and skate while a DJ spins tunes in support of DC’s home team. This weekend’s party includes Caps gear giveaways, a broadcast of the Capitals’ away game against the New York Rangers, and discounted admission for skaters wearing Caps gear (Sun, February 17, $13 admission, $8 skate rental, Wharf).
  4. “Love, Love, Love” play. This stage play about Love, Love, Love transports the audience to London circa 1960 as the story follows the evolution of a single couple and their relationship over 44 years. Playwright Mike Bartlett uses humor to spotlight the lives of baby boomers and the culture they created (Wed through February 18, $40+, Logan Circle).
  5. “Latin American Architecture in Circulation.” This new exhibit in the National Gallery of Art atrium showcases early-­20th-century books, maps, and photos documenting the early modern period of Latin American architecture. The fascinating collection includes materials and objects pulled from the galleries’ library (opens Mon, free, National Gallery of Art).
  6. Let Freedom Ring Celebration. Major singers Jordin Sparks, Nolan Williams Jr., and Cécile McLorin Salvant headline a musical tribute to social justice activist Martin Luther King Jr. on MLK Day of Service. The free show is sure to be a big one; tickets won’t be released to concertgoers until the day of the performance (January 15, free, virtual, Kennedy Center).
  7. Illuminate Fairfax. If you’re experiencing post-holiday blues, Illuminate Fairfax has a festive cure for you. For the next several weeks, visitors can view artwork and joyful outdoor light installations at Old Town Plaza, Commonwealth Brewing Company, and two more NOVA locations (through February 10, free, Fairfax).


Want More Things to Do?

William Henry Brown, Facade of San Miguel in Santa Fe, New Mexico, 1870-1875, albumen silver print stereographic cabinet card, National Gallery of Art Library. Photograph courtesy of the National Gallery of Art.

Arts and culture:

  • View the paintings of two renowned artists in a single exhibition, “One-on-One: Ugo Rondinone / Louis Eilshemius” before it closes (through Sun, $20, Dupont).
  • If you’re into medieval literature and Norse mythology, you’ll love this Profs & Pints DC lecture (Mon, $14, Penn Quarter).
  • Take a plant workshop to discover the beauty of Calendula (Tues, $45, Southeast DC).
  • Attention all mushroom lovers: You can learn to grow your own fungi in this hands-on class (Tues, $38, Dupont).
  • Watch a screening of the classic Japanese film Ikiru (Wed, free, Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art).
  • Test your Disney knowledge at Johnny Pistolas trivia night (Wed, free, Adams Morgan).
  • Artists Mariam Ghani and Erin Ellen Kelly stage a performance based on history and memory in Performed Places (Thurs, free, waitlist tickets available, Smithsonian American Art Museum).
  • Major film director Ava DuVernay leads a conversation with The Washington Post at Rubell Museum (Thurs, free, but waitlist tickets available only, Southwest DC).


  • Ahead of Martin Luther King Day, sit in on a discussion with author Jonathan Eig about his new Dr. King biography (Mon, free, virtual, Smithsonian African American History and Culture Museum).
  • Students from Duke Ellington School of Arts perform original works that reimagine the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at the Smithsonian (Mon, free, but registration required, Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture).

Theater and shows:

  • See the regional premiere of the one-woman show How to Be a Korean Woman at Theater J before it closes (closes Sun, $5+ pay-what-you-can, Northwest DC).
  • Sketch, improv, and stand-up comedy make up the hilarious Washington Roast (Wed, $20, Downtown).
  • Get a live look at the popular celebrity dance show Dancing With the Stars (Fri, $220, National Harbor).
  • Have an evening of laughter with comedians Roy Wood Jr. and Jordan Klepper (Fri, Sun, $48+, Warner Theatre).
  • And That’s Why We Drink podcast is chatting live in DC (Sat, $39+ Lincoln Theatre).
  • American ventriloquist and stand-up comedian Jeff Dunham wants fans to know he is “Still Not Canceled” (Sat, $56+, Fairfax).
  • Laugh out loud at comedy hub DC Improv with Tony Woods (Sun, $25+, Downtown).

Music and concerts:

  • Celebrate Elvis Presley’s birthday at Hard Rock Cafe with a live performance from cover artist Alex Dellati (Mon, free, Penn Quarter).
  • Listen to classical folk hymns by the PostClassical Ensemble as the talented musicians perform their annual Amazing Grace concert (Wed, $45+, Kennedy Center).
  • National Symphony Orchestra director Noseda conducts Wagner’s four dramatic operas in The Ring without Words (Thurs-Sat, $19+, Kennedy Center).
  • R&B vocalist Charlie Wilson sings at MGM National Harbor (Sat, $183+, National Harbor).
  • DC Punk group Walk the Plank play live at Atlas Brew Works (Sat, $12, Ivy City).
  • Hardcore rock band Escuela Grind is in concert at Songbyrd (Sat, $18+, Northeast DC).
  • Black Techno Matters is throwing a house party to celebrate their second compilation (Sun, $11+, location TBA).
  • The Say It Loud showcase at BlackRock Center for the Arts features live performances by The JoGo Project, a tribute to Aretha Franklin, poetry, and film screenings (Sat, $35, Germantown).

Bites and beverages:

  • Participant tickets for Quincy Hall’s College Football Championship Wing Bowl are sold out, but sports fans can still watch the saucy contest while viewing the big game (Mon, $20 entry, Arlington).
  • Cheer on Washington or Michigan at Red Bear Brewing Co.’s playoff watch party (Mon, free, Northeast DC).
  • Judge your favorite cocktail at Seranta’s Coquito Wars mixology contest (Mon, $25+, Union Market).
  • Mix up a tasty mocktail during Dry January at Hank’s Oyster Bar’s Zero Proof Cocktail Class (Wed, $45, Dupont).
  • Find your New Year boo at DC Singles Happy Hour; there are drink and food specials to help keep the mingling going (Thurs, $14, U Street).


Things to do with kids:

  • Teenagers can join a graphic-novel reading group to read March, Book 1 by authors John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell (Thurs, free, but registration required, Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery).
  • The cast of Disney’s Frozen musical is coming to MLK Library for a kid-friendly performance, Q&A, and book giveaway (Sat, free, MLK Library).

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.

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.