Things to Do

39 Things to Do in the DC Area This Week: National Cannabis Festival, Filmfest DC, and “New Worlds: Women to Watch 2024” Exhibit at NMWA

Plus, Red Bull Showrun DC.

The 2021 National Cannabis Festival. Photograph by Doug Van Sant.

Happy Monday, DC!

This week is jam-packed with live music shows, cultural festivals, and art exhibit openings. You can choose from partying at National Cannabis Festival, binging movies at Filmfest DC, or getting a first look at a new women’s exhibit at National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Best Things to Do This Week and Weekend

April 15-April 21

  1. National Cannabis Festival. The two-day concert-style National Cannabis Festival returns to DC with a massive lineup of performances. Hip-hop legends Wu-Tang Clan and Redman headline the event alongside bassist Thundercat. If you’re looking for local musicians, go-go acts Backyard Band and Black Alley, and Noochie Live From The Front Porch will be there to represent DC (Fri-Sat, $55+, RFK Festival Grounds).
  2. Filmfest DC. This binge-worthy festival returns to DC with a lineup of more than 60 films from 36 countries. Moviegoers can watch international productions such as Italian thriller Diabolik or French comedy A Difficult Year, plus two films about DC’s go-go and jazz scene: Bring the Beat and The Humbler (Thurs to April 28, $14+, various DC locations).
  3. NMWA Nights and “New Worlds” exhibit. New Worlds: Women to Watch 2024” presents 28 artists’ works as the latest installment of the National Museum of Women in the Arts’ triennial exhibition series. You can experience the new exhibition at the museum’s Earth Day-inspired after-hours party featuring music by artist Neffy and libations (Wed, $25 for adults, $22 for DC residents, sold out but limited walk-up tickets available, Downtown).
  4. “Hair” musical. You are in for an electric ’60s-era show at Signature Theatre’s Hair musical. Set during the Vietnam War, this rock musical tells the psychedelic story of hippies on a coming-of-age journey in the face of pacifism and freedom (Tues to July 7, $40+, Arlington).
  5. Corcoran’s NEXT Festival. This school-year-end celebration is back at George Washington University to showcase a vast display of projects from graduating Corcoran students. The month-long NEXT Festival lineup includes dance recitals, theater productions, music performances, and research panels (Wed to May 16, prices vary, Northwest DC).
  6. Red Bull Showrun DC. Red Bull Showrun is making a grand DC debut this weekend along Pennsylvania Avenue. Driver David Coulthard and the Oracle Red Bull Racing team are inviting F1 fans to get a behind-the-scenes look at motorsport fun. Prior to the car showing, there will be a fan fest at Union Market on Friday where guests can participate in racing simulators, a Q&A with the Red Bull racing team, and interactive race car activations (Fri-Sat, free, Union Market and Downtown).
  7. Georgetown House Tour. This neighborhood jewel has been running for more than 90 years. Home and history enthusiasts can take a self-guided tour of some fabulous Georgetown homes to help raise funds for St. John’s Episcopal Church’s outreach and ministry. In addition to the adventurous stroll, you can sip hot tea, and snack on sandwiches and sweets at the historic St. John’s Church (Sat, $60+, Georgetown).
  8. ChocolateCon. The producers of Porchfest DC are bringing a new cultural convention to town this weekend. Chocolate Con celebrates the heritage and creativity of DC through live go-go and DJ performances, a small business vendor fair, community conversations, spoken word performances, art, games, and much more (Sun, free+, Southeast DC).

Want More Things to Do?

Arts and culture:

  • See a screening of the documentary Signing Black in America at Planet Word (Mon, free, Downtown).
  • There’s hot chocolate, popcorn, and more Selena-themed snacks at Rhizome’s screening of the biopic movie (Mon, free, but registration encouraged, Takoma).
  • Sip wine with author Rosa Jackson as she discusses her cookbook Niçoise at Bold Fork Books (Mon, free, Mount Pleasant).
  • Test your Swiftie knowledge at As You Are’s competitive Taylor Swift Trivia (Wed, free, Southeast DC).
  • International author David Diop visits the Alliance Française (Wed, $5+, Kalorama).
  • Paint-your-own pottery with a Shop Made in DC instructor (Tues, $80, Georgetown).
  • Two paintings by French Post-Impressionist Paul Cezanne will be unveiled at the Phillips Collection (Thurs to July 14, $20, Dupont).
  • Also, stop by the Phillips Collection for their after-hours art event where you can explore “Bonnard’s Worlds,” “Jennifer Bartlett: In and Out of the Garden,” and more (Thurs, free, Dupont).
  • All ages can contribute to a community mural, color in chalk, and attend talks with design professionals at the National Building Museum (Sat, free, Penn Quarter).


Community and heritage:

Theater and shows:

  • It’s the last call to experience dance-theater show Message In A Bottle (closes Sun, $35+, Kennedy Center).
  • Comedian Winston Hodges tells jokes at Le Mont Royal (Wed, $10, Adams Morgan).
  • TV producer and foodie Phil Rosenthal arrives at Warner Theatre (Wed, $40+, Downtown).
  • See Scena Theatre drama The Last Drop at DC Arts Center (Thurs to May 12, $45, Adams Morgan).
  • Prepare to burst into laughter at Dan Soder’s DC Improv comedy set (Fri-Sun, $35+, Downtown).
  • The Color Purple is the second in-house-produced musical by BlackRock Center for the Arts (Fri-Sun, $42+, Germantown).
  • Tickets to see actress and comedian Wanda Sykes are sold out, but there are seats available via third-party sellers. Don’t miss the chance to laugh out loud with her at the Warner Theatre (Sat, $55+, Downtown).
  • Ammigone readapts Athenian tragedy Antigone into a story about queerness, faith, and family at Woolly Mammoth Theatre (Sat to May 12, $25+, Penn Quarter).


Music and concerts:

  • Jazz pianist Ellington Carthan performs Duke Ellington’s little-known concert pieces (Tues, $45+, Kennedy Center).
  • Rap duo Atmosphere make a tour stop at The Fillmore (Tues, $41+, Silver Spring).
  • Multi-instrumentalist Elliot Moss sings sonic tunes at DC9 Nightclub (Wed, $22+, Shaw).
  • Southern Rapper Bby Mutha performs at Union Stage with Virginia’s Fly Anakin (Wed, $22, Wharf).
  • Rock and roll hall-of-famer John Mellencamp brings his tour to DAR Constitution Hall (Thurs, $77+, Downtown).
  • Simone Young conducts the National Symphony Orchestra in Mozart’s elegant Piano Concerto No. 9 (Thurs, Sat, $15+, Kennedy Center).
  • Legendary musicians Rakim, DJ Jazzy Jeff, and Ravi Coltrane are teaming up for a concert as part of the Kennedy Center’s inaugural Hip Hop &… Festival (Fri, $59+, Kennedy Center).
  • Local musicians come together to perform “The Big Lebowski Experience“—an in-costume concert featuring songs from the movie soundtrack (Sat, $16+, Wharf).


Things to do with kids:

  • DC students on spring break can have a Day of Play at RFK Campus to participate in football, bean bag tosses, tug of war, and frisbee games (Tues, free, RFK Campus).
  • Springfest in Old Ellicott City features music on two outdoor stages, food trucks, crafts, and a scavenger hunt for kids (Sat, free, Ellicott City).
  • Learn about Earth Day Heroes with interactive exhibits and family-friendly activities at National Academy of Sciences (Sat, free, but registration encouraged, Downtown).
  • Musical performances, craft workshops, and more are a part of Smithsonian’s Earth Day Family Festival (Sat, free, National Portrait Gallery).


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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.