Things to Do

39 Things to Do in the DC Area This Week: Winter Restaurant Week, The Blackbyrds 50th Anniversary, and “Building Stories” at National Building Museum

Plus, "Batman" live in concert.

“Building Stories” at the National Building Museum. Photograph by Elman Studio.

Happy snow day, DC!

Here are some fun things to do around town this week. You can try a new restaurant while Winter Restaurant Week specials last, or take your loved ones to a new storybook-themed exhibit at National Building Museum.


Best Things to Do This Week and Weekend

January 16-January 21

  1. Winter Restaurant Week. Here’s a good reason to pause your new year diet plan: Winter Restaurant Week is back. Dine at more than 100 local eateries, restaurants, and bars at a discount price. Some participating restaurants, including Japanese eatery Daikaya and Tim Ma’s Any Day Now, are offering multi-course pre-fixe dinner menus starting at $40. For lunch and brunch, check out L’Ardente or Officina (through Sun, prices vary, various participating restaurants).
  2. The Blackbyrds 50th Anniversary concert. Since the ’70s, this Howard University-formed group has been a part of DC’s music scene. Playing hits such as “Walking in Rhythm” and “Rock Creek Park,” the R&B group has remained popular over the past five decades. This weekend, The Blackbyrds celebrates their 50th with original members Keith Killgo and Joe Hall joined by younger musicians (Sat, $35+, Howard Theatre).
  3. “Building Stories” at the National Building Museum. Children’s literature expert Leonard Marcus has curated a new family-friendly exhibition at the National Building Museum. The immersive exhibit about architecture featured in children’s books and young-adult fiction will be on display for the next decade. “Building Stories” will feature hands-on activities, media installations, sketching, and reading, and aims to encourage young learners to build stories of their own. You can attend the opening community celebration this Sunday (opens Sun, free, Penn Quarter).
  4. “Batman” Live in Concert. Celebrate the 35th anniversary of Warner Bros. Pictures’ iconic 1989 Batman film with sounds from the movie played by a live orchestra. For superhero fans this is a unique way to experience the action-packed adventures of Bruce Wayne (Fri, $45+, Warner Theatre).
  5. NMWA Nights. There’s a new after-hours party in town. The recently reopened National Museum of Women in the Arts is kicking off their inaugural NMWA Nights this week with a sold-out extravaganza. Beginning this week, museum explorers can sip cocktails and observe exhibitions every third Wednesday of the month. This first evening affair invites guests to view “The Sky’s the Limit” while grooving to a DJ-crafted female-focused playlist (Wed, $22, sold out but tickets may become available, Northwest DC).
  6. Washington Auto Show. You can add the newest vehicles to your automobile wish list at the Washington Auto Show. Get a first look at hundreds of new makes and models from industry manufacturers, take a VIP tour, and view a live painting of “art” cars (Fri through January 28, $20, Walter E. Washington Convention Center).
  7. “Mindplay” at Arena Stage. Step into a world of illusions and imaginations at Arena Stage’s Mindplay. Theatermaker and mentalist Vinny DePonto guides audiences on a thought-provoking production where the lines between invention and reality are tested  (Fri through March 3, $41+, Southwest DC).

Want More Things to Do?

The Blackbyrds 50th Anniversary concert. Photograph by Eva Hambach.

Arts and culture:

  • Author Kyle Chayka explains the cultural impact of algorithms in his new book Filterworld (Tues, free, Northwest DC).
  • The remake of 2000s hit film Mean Girls is showing in area theaters. We heard watching the screening at Angelika Pop-up is so fetch (Tues-Thurs, $11+, Union Market).
  • Learn to speak conversational French (every Tues through February 27, $20+, Downtown).
  • Araminta Hall stops by Solid State Books to discuss her latest novel, a psychological thriller about One of the Good Guys (Tues, free, H Street Corridor).
  • Make new friends, and get creative at Collage Night (Wed, free, Northwest DC).
  • Make a vision board out of your New Year’s resolutions at Relume (Wed, $30, Capitol Hill).
  • Are you interested in beer history? Head over to ChurchKey for a panel discussion on historic brewing (Thurs, free+, 14th Street Corridor).
  • Women’s history museum curator Angela Tate will guide a gallery tour of the Simone Leigh exhibit at Hirshhorn (Fri, free, Smithsonian Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden).
  • View a more than 300-year-old Chinese lacquer screen (closes January 28, free, Smithsonian National Museum of Asian Art).



  • Journalist and author Franklin Foer leads a lecture on his book The Last Politician: Inside the Biden White House (Tues, free, but registration required, Cleveland Park).
  • Sit in on an evening talk about America’s real estate during the country’s founding (Thurs, free, Mount Vernon).
  • Enjoy dinner, conversation, and dessert at Capital Jewish Museum (Thurs, $45+, Northwest DC).
  • National Park Service Ranger Joe Mohr talks about human rights champions Martin Luther King Jr., Abraham Lincoln, and Frederick Douglas at Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial (Fri, free, Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial).
  • Architectural historian Kim Prothro Williams teaches readers about Hidden Alleyways of Washington, DC (Sat, free, Northwest DC).


Theater and shows:

  • It’s the last chance to see Disney’s Frozen musical bring Elsa and Olaf to life on the Opera House stage (through Sun, $35+, Kennedy Center).
  • Watch a humorous show at Rhizome where performers explore what it means to “remove” (Tues, $10+, Takoma).
  • Theater performer Nova Y. Payton performs songs from Burt Bacharach’s musicals at Signature Theatre (Tues through February 4, $45+, Arlington).
  • Not Another D&D Podcast is inviting fans of the talk show and game into their Dungeon Court (Thurs, $64+, Warner Theatre).
  • Actress Kym Whitley comes to DC for standup at The Comedy Loft (Thurs-Sat, $30+, Northwest DC).
  • Funny actor and podcaster Andrew Schulz brings his tour to DAR Constitution Hall (Fri-Sat, $59+, Downtown).
  • Watch the world premiere of three one-act operas as part of the American Opera Initiative (Fri, $25+, Kennedy Center).
  • Broadway star Liz Callaway performs a musical tribute to Sondheim (Sat, $59+, Kennedy Center).
  • The Folger Theatre performs Music and Satire: From the Writings of Rabelais (Fri-Sun, $20+, Capitol Hill).


Music and concerts:

  • The Del McCoury Band plays their legendary bluegrass music at Wolf Trap (Tues-Sat, $63+, Vienna).
  • Drummer Blaque Dynamite teams up with local R&B artist Jarreau Williams for a show at Pearl Street Warehouse (Wed, $20+, Wharf).
  • Local Filipino-American singer-songwriter Karen Culi plays at The Pocket (Thurs, $10+, Union Market).
  • Who’s your favorite artist, Beyoncé or Taylor Swift? Dance at 9:30 Club until you decide (Fri, $20, Shaw).
  • Listen to covers of Nina Simone at historic jazz venue Blues Alley (Sat-Sun, $40, Georgetown).
  • Fans of Sonic will geek out over this animated-themed symphony show (Sat, $180+, Warner Theatre).
  • The Smithsonian’s resident music ensemble, 21st Century Consort, perform works at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church inspired by Simone Leigh’s exhibition (Sat, free, Southeast DC).


Things to do with kids:

  • Kiddos can have playtime at NASA during the morning Grow with Goddard session (Thurs, free, Greenbelt).
  • Join Hill Family Biking on a ride to the new SW Library for story time, and a guided library tour (Sat, free, Eastern Market).


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.