Things to Do

37 Things to Do in the DC Area This Week: National Cherry Blossom Festival, Sakura Sunday, and “Little Shop of Horrors” Musical

Plus, DC Environmental Film Festival.

Photograph courtesy of The Wharf, Washington, DC.

Happy Cherry Blossom week, DC!

Peak bloom has arrived just in time for the opening of our beloved National Cherry Blossom Festival. The week brings a number of celebrations to town: You can join in the spring festivities with music and art at Sakura Sunday, Bloomaroo, Pink in the Park, and more.


Best Things to Do This Week and Weekend

March 18-March 24

  1. National Cherry Blossom Festival. The National Cherry Blossom Festival launches this week with a sold-out opening ceremony packed with Japanese cultural performances. The evening showcase spotlights the voice of folk singer and songwriter Naotaro Moriyama, and a collaborative dance with the Washington Ballet Company featuring choreography by international dancer Jo Kanamoriat at Warner Theatre (Sat, free, limited walk-up tickets available, Warner Theatre, virtual).
  2. Sakura Sunday. National Harbor’s annual Sakura Sunday brings a Japanese pop-up market, art, music and dance, culinary treats, and more to the Maryland waterfront as part of the National Cherry Blossom events. After pre-festival zen yoga, guests can enjoy Kuniko Kanawa’s opening ceremonial blessing dance followed by a Japanese sword training class, live sushi demonstration, K-pop performance, and tea offerings under the Capital Canopy marketplace (Sun, free, National Harbor).
  3. Little Shop of Horrors musical. The classic sci-fi thriller Little Shop of Horrors arrives at Ford’s Theatre as a rock-musical adaptation from the original ’60s film. Follow florist shop worker Seymour as he attempts to care for a blood-craving carnivorous plant (through May 18, $71+, Penn Quarter).
  4. DC Environmental Film Festival. The 32nd Annual DC Environmental Film Festival is back for ten days of movie screenings and film talks across the region. Moviegoers can see shorts, documentaries, and full-length productions about climate change, environmental justice, wildlife, outdoor adventure, and public health at local museums, embassies, theaters, and community centers (Thurs through March 30, free+, various locations).
  5. Bloomaroo at the Wharf. Usher in the arrival of spring at the Wharf’s cherry blossom-inspired Bloomaroo. All ages are welcome to participate in a matcha tea sampling, a haiku creation station, and kids’ crafts, and you can also watch musical go-go, jazz, and rock performances across multiple stages. To close out the affair there will be a pink fireworks finale along the decorated waterfront (Sat, free, Wharf).
  6. Chef José Andrés’ cookbook talk. If you enjoy dining at chef José Andrés’ local eateries, you now have the chance to make some of his delicious recipes from the comfort of your own kitchen. Join Andrés at Lincoln Theatre for an evening of interviews, live music, and food as the local culinary master demonstrates how to cook dishes from his new cookbook, Zaytinya: Delicious Mediterranean Dishes of Greece, Turkey, and Lebanon (Thurs, $45+, Lincoln Theatre).
  7. Pink in the Park. Met Park is the launching site for this year’s Pink in the Park. The three-weekend event features pink-themed art activations, live music, family fun, vendors, and more. This weekend, Art of Pink celebrates local artists, makers, and small business owners at Sari Sari Pop-Up Market; there will be food and a live mural painting. In the coming weeks, families are invited to a splash party at Pink in the Pool, and an outdoor music festival featuring local bands at Pink Beats (Sat, April 6, April 13, free, Arlington).

Want More Things to Do?

Arts and culture:

  • Author Grace Lin teaches readers The Stories Behind the Chinese Menu (Tues, $25, virtual).
  • Read fairytale novel Cry of the Peacock with the Olney Theatre Book Club (Tues, free, Olney).
  • March’s NMWA Nights theme is “Aye Girl.” Dance to live tunes and discover art from LGBTQ+ and BIPOC communities (Wed, $25, sold out, but limited tickets at the door, National Museum of Women in the Arts).
  • Spy Museum Executive Director Chris Costa gives a behind-the-scenes look at the latest intelligence, national security, and terrorism issues (Thurs, free, but registration required, virtual).
  • Attend a book signing and awards ceremony for former US Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey at the National Press Club (Thurs, $25, Downtown).
  • Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden is commemorating a 50-year anniversary with a major survey of works from their robust collections. View a mostly-chronological presentation of 270 artworks in “Revolutions: Art from the Hirshhorn Collection, 1860–1960(opens Fri, free, Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden).
  • Browse glass, jewelry, leather, paintings, prints, photography, pottery, and more art at Capital Art & Craft Festival (Fri-Sun, $10+, Chantilly).
  • Planet Word is hosting the 2024 North American School Scrabble Championship. Visit the museum to see word experts compete for first place (Sat-Sun, free, Downtown).
  • A new local exhibit uncovers 100 years of Black arts education in DC. Check out the opening of “A Bold and Beautiful Vision” featuring panel discussions with Topper Carew, artist Lex Marie, and more (Sat-Sun, free, Smithsonian’s Anacostia Community Museum).


Community and heritage:

  • Learn the history of stitching and needlework that creates clothing, napkins, blankets, and more at Woodlawn’s 61st Annual Needlework Show (closes March 31, $18+, Alexandria).
  • Cruise along the Potomac River in a Water Taxi to see budding cherry blossoms on a sightseeing tour (Wed-April 14, $22, Alexandria, Wharf).
  • Play trivia, sip drinks, and learn about the upcoming solar eclipse at Astronomy on Tap (Wed, free, U Street Corridor).
  • Explore exhibitions at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, and learn about women in music at the museum’s Community Day (Sat, free, Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture).
  • Go on a guided cherry blossom adventure through Congressional Cemetery to learn about women’s history from Off the Mall Tours (Sun, $30, Southeast DC).


Theater and shows:

  • The Embassy of Argentina kicks off DC Tango Festival with Argentinian wines and performances by the Pan American Symphony Orchestra (Wed through April 20, $45+, various locations).
  • Don’t miss the first-ever DC Sketch Comedy Festival. You can laugh out loud over a span of three days at 22 different comedy troupes (Wed-Sat, $20, various locations).
  • Discover 13th-century sounds and culture at Folger Theatre’s Music of Medieval Spain program (Fri-Sun, $45, Southeast DC).
  • It’s the last call for The Washington National Opera’s Songbird—a New Orleans-based jazz comedy (closes Sat, $69+, Kennedy Center).
  • Ira Flatow and the rest of the SciFri crew bring their Science Friday discoveries to Lisner Auditorium (Sat, $7+, Foggy Bottom).
  • Helen Hayes award-winning actor Justin Weaks reflects on his HIV health diagnosis in a workshop performance that uses poetry and narration to tell his story (through Sun, pay-what-you-will $5+, Penn Quarter).

Music and concerts:

  • Acclaimed folk musician Rhiannon Giddens plays a fusion of blues, jazz, Cajun, country gospel, and rock at Strathmore (Mon, $29+, Bethesda).
  • The National Symphony Orchestra’s neighborhood concert series returns with complimentary shows in collaboration with Wards 6 and 8. Pearl Street Warehouse is hosting the show this week (Mon, free, Wharf).
  • Women composers and musicians make up the Alma Ensemble. The group will perform a lunch concert with a dessert reception at Hylton Performing Arts Center (Tues, $40+, Manassas).
  • Sing along with the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington at a piano-led open mic night (Wed, free, H Street Corridor).
  • Post-modern vocalist Meow Meow brings her diva flare to Wolf Trap (Thurs, $34+, Vienna).
  • There are resale tickets available for Sam Barber’s sold-out show at The Atlantis (Fri, $156+, U Street Corridor).
  • Longtime electronic pop French singer Lætitia Sadier performs at Songbyrd (Sat, $17+, Northeast DC).
  • Emmanuel Episcopal Church is hosting the last IN Series Opera concerts for Las Místicas de México (Sat-Sun, $30, Baltimore).

Things to do with kids:

  • This Hill Family Biking trip rides to the Southwest Library for story time and a guided tour of the facility (Sat, free, Capitol Hill).
  • Take your kids to a family-friendly cherry blossom celebration at Smithsonian American Art Museum where they can make crafts, get their faces painted, and go on a gallery scavenger hunt (Sat, free, Smithsonian American Art Museum).


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.