Things to Do

38 Things to Do in the DC Area This Week: Lunar New Year Celebration, “Annie” the Musical, and Alexandria Restaurant Week

Plus, "Shen Yun" is back at the Kennedy Center and comedian Jim Gaffigan is at DAR.

The North American Tour of ANNIE. Photograph by Evan Zimmerman/MurphyMade.

Happy Monday, DC!

Ring in the Lunar New Year with a family-friendly show at the Kennedy Center. Or, visit a local theater to see a new musical.


Best Things to Do This Week and Weekend

January 22-January 28

  1. Lunar New Year Celebration. It’s the Year of the Dragon, and all ages are welcome to celebrate the Lunar New Year at the Kennedy Center. The traditional showcase will feature colorful lion dancing, drumming performances, and more live entertainment to mark the occasion (Sat, free, but pre-registration sold out, limited tickets available at the door, Kennedy Center).
  2. “Annie” the musical. The sun will come out tomorrow at the opening night of Annie the musical. Expect to hear songs from the beloved Broadway score as the hopeful story of a young orphan girl takes center stage at National Theatre (Tues-Sun, $44+, National Theatre).
  3. Alexandria Restaurant Week. Winter Restaurant Week season is afoot! DC’s food specials have been extended for another week, and you can also grab a discounted plate in Alexandria this week. Alexandria Restaurant Week offers pre-fixe menus for $30, $40, or $50  (through Sun, $30+, various participating locations).
  4. “Shen Yun.” The magic of Shen Yun returns to the Kennedy Center to captivate audiences with vibrant costumes, stunning choreography, and live vocal performances. The bilingual show is a glimpse into the art scene of China before communism rule (Fri through February 4, $85+, Kennedy Center).
  5. Broadway Center Stage: Tick, Tick . . . BOOM! If you’re a fan of Rent, you’ll enjoy the production’s pre-cursor: Tick, Tick . . . BOOM! Theatergoers can see a revival of Jonathan Larson’s three-actor musical drama from the modern direction of actor Neil Patrick Harris (Fri through February 4, $59+, Kennedy Center).
  6. Rapper Common at Sixth & I. Rapper and actor Common discusses his new book And Then We Rise: A Guide to Loving and Taking Care of Self with award-winning writer Clint Smith at Sixth & I. The new title chronicles Common’s wellness journey, and encourages readers to begin one of their own (Sat, $12 for virtual, $42 for in-person ticket and book, Northwest DC).
  7. Mindful Drinking Fest. Here’s a great option for those practicing Dry January. Mindful Drinking Fest returns to DC for a non-alcoholic party, tasting, and seminar. Mocktail enthusiasts can sip the latest zero-proof beverages, sing karaoke, and connect with fellow mindful drinkers (Fri-Sun, $38+, Union Market).

Want More Things to Do?

Mindful Drinking Fest. Photograph by Elli Waldner.

Arts and culture:

  • There’s one more week to browse new car makes and models at the Washington Auto Show (closes Sun, $20, Walter E. Washington Convention Center).
  • Four new exhibits recently opened at The Museum of Contemporary Art Arlington. You can explore an international video installation, paintings, and locally produced artworks (through March 17,  free, Arlington).
  • Nibble on snacks while you listen to chef and James Beard Award-winning essayist Lisa Donovan talk about her food journey at Bold Fork Books (Mon, $5, Mount Pleasant).
  • Senator Jeff Merkley and his chief of staff and cowriter, Mike Zamore, add a new book to the anti-filibuster conversation (Tues, free, Northwest DC).
  • Best-selling author Ibram Kendi discusses his adaptation of Barracoon for young readers (Wed, free, MLK Library).
  • Author Temim Fruchter talks about her novel City of Laughter with  and Addie Tsai at Loyalty Bookstore (Wed, free, Petworth).
  • Join curator Cory Lee Stowers and public historian Kimberly Springle for a conversation about DC murals (Sat, free, Anacostia).
  • Watch giant trucks run over obstacles at Monster Jam (Sat-Sun, $22+, Capital One Arena).



  • Are you a Vikings history nerd? You’ll geek out over this Profs & Pints DC lecture (Mon, $14, Penn Quarter).
  • DC historic sites will help you understand the Equal Rights Amendment in A Tour of Her Own’s virtual tour (Wed, $25, virtual).
  • Visit the former residence of the Ambassadors of Spain to join an expert-led seminar about vaccines (Wed, free, Northwest DC).


Theater and shows:

  • Tony Award- and Pulitzer Prize-winning musical Next to Normal depicts a family struggling to overcome mental illnesses at Round House Theatre (Wed through February 25, $46+, Bethesda).
  • If you’re looking for some clean comedy, actor Jim Gaffigan is coming to town for a live show at DAR Constitution Hall (Thurs-Sun, $57+, Downtown).
  • Don’t miss Folger Theatre’s second iteration of the four-day Reading Room Festival (Thurs-Sun, $35+, Southeast DC).
  • This pop-up comedy show is a secret. Laugh out loud at Don’t Tell Arlington (Fri, $25, Arlington).
  • Get a first look at The Ford’s Theatre Legacy Commissions. Guests will experience live readings of three original plays (Fri-Sat, free, Downtown).


Music and concerts:

  • The North Carolina quintet Wednesday  and Brooklyn’s Hotline TNT rock out a sold-out show at 9:30 Club; resale tickets are available from third-party providers (Tues, $38+, Shaw).
  • Grab a bite to eat, and listen to live acoustic sounds at Hard Rock Cafe (Tues, free, Penn Quarter).
  • Instrumentalist Torres plays guitar, bass, and organ at The Atlantis (Wed, $20, Shaw).
  • Oliver Tree plays funky synth-pop tunes at The Anthem (Wed, $45+, Wharf).
  • Nashville singer-songwriter Briston Maroney plays at 9:30 Club. Tickets are sold out, but there’s still a chance to snag a resale seat (Fri-Sat, $82+, Shaw).
  • Alternative rock singer and guitarist Juliana Hatfield sings legendary songs from her 35-year career (Fri, free, Kennedy Center).
  • Singer-songwriter Grace Potter rocks out at The Anthem (Sat, $50+, Wharf).
  • Rapper Mick Jenkins will perform at Howard Theatre (Sun, $22, U Street Corridor).
  • Snag a resale ticket to Mayer Hawthorne’s sold-out show at The Atlantis (Sun, $149+, Shaw).
  • French pianist Lucas Debargue plays a candlelit concert at Howard County Community College (Sun, $45, Columbia).
  • Colombian Latin Pop Rock band Morat is live in concert at MGM National Harbor (Sun, $76+, National Harbor).


Bites and beverages:


Things to do with kids:

  • Youngsters are invited to a virtual classroom to learn about Martin Luther King, Jr., and explore civil rights landmarks across DC (Tues, free, virtual).
  • Ice skate, play ice curling, get your face painted, and view ice sculptures with the family at Ice Fest (Sat, free, Leesburg).


Plan ahead:

  • Tickets are selling fast for Broadway star Audra McDonald‘s concert (January 30-31, $49+, Kennedy Center).

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.