Things to Do

37 Things to Do in the DC Area This Week: Juneteenth Celebration at Smithsonian, Out & About Festival, and Home Rule Music Festival

Plus, the Folger Shakespeare Library reopens.

Photograph of Howard by Bobbi Rich.

Happy Monday, DC!

Celebrate Juneteenth at a number of community events this week, and attend the grand reopening of the Folger Shakespeare Library. Also, two homegrown music festivals are in town this weekend.

Best Things to Do This Week and Weekend

June 17-June 23

    1. Juneteenth Freedom Celebration. The Smithsonian’s Anacostia Community Museum is marking the Juneteenth holiday with an all-day lineup of performances. Five musical acts will appear on the main stage, including singer Alex Vaughn, go-go group Too Much Talent Band, and DC’s viral Front Porch artist Noochie (Wed, free, Anacostia)
    2. Out & About Festival. Live out loud at the Out & About Festival in celebration of Pride Month. The event will spotlight LGBTQ+ artists and allies including headliner and Grammy winner Brittany Howard, indie singer Jenny Lewis, vocalist icon Kim Gordon, and pop group Lawrence, at Wolf Trap’s charming outdoor amphitheater; there is a kid-friendly concert, too (Sat, $49+ for festival tickets, $12 for children’s shows, Vienna).
    3. Home Rule Music Festival. This celebration of DC’s musical legacy kicks off with local jazz veteran Doug Carn playing on Friday at the Black Cat with his sextet. The following day, the Home Rule Music Festival continues with a free outdoor concert at the Parks at Walter Reed featuring jazz legend Gary Bartz, go-go greats Rare Essence, and local favorite DuPont Brass (Fri-Sat, free+, Shaw, Takoma Park).
    4. Folger Shakespeare Library reopens. Attend the grand reopening of the Folger Shakespeare Library to explore manuscripts, folios, and other rare items from the world’s largest Shakespeare collection. There’s an exhibition trail for kids, hands-on book-making activities, and a chance to see the new exhibit “Imprints in Time” (opens Fri, free, but timed-entry pass encouraged, Capitol Hill).
    5. US Botanic Garden evening hours. The US Botanic Gardens is the most recent museum and gallery to join the after-hours party trend. You can sip botanical-themed mocktails and lemonade while viewing the garden’s rare orchids, fruit trees, and cacti through extended evening hours this summer (Thurs, July 18, August 15, free, Southwest DC).
    6. Jhené Aiko concert. Jhené Aiko is set to fill Capital One Arena with her whimsical sounds and high vibrations. Admirers of the R&B singer’s records can sing along to her soft melodies on her Magic Hour Tour stop in DC (Sun, $110+, Capital One Arena).
    7. Reggae Rise Up Maryland. The third annual Reggae Rise Up Maryland arrives at Baltimore Peninsula to spotlight reggae and Afro-Caribbean music. The genre showcase features hip-swaying rhythms and rhymes from hip-hop band The Roots, Arlington’s own Soja, multi-instrumentalist Xavier Rudd, and a ton more acts. In addition to the three days of music, attendees can play games, explore the beer garden, and take pictures in the photo booth (Fri-Sun,$5+ for music festival, $8+ for beer festival, Baltimore).

Want More Things to Do?

Juneteenth Parade and Festival Performers. Photograph by Luke Thompson Photography.

Arts and culture:

  • Celebrate the writings of author James Baldwin at the library (Tues, free, MLK Library).
  • Create an environmentally-friendly candle at the recently opened Merry Pin (Tues, $55, Takoma Park).
  • Shaw’s Tavern is hosting this month’s Inner Loop author readings (Tues, free, Shaw).
  • Bring a blanket to Marie Reed Elementary School Soccer Field, and watch a movie a screening of Race (Tues, free, Adams Morgan).
  • Mingle with friends and share snacks at the Kreeger Museum on International Picnic Day (Tues, $15, Downtown).
  • Learn about President Abraham Lincoln’s development of the Emancipation Proclamation during this special program at President Lincoln’s Cottage (Wed, $15, Northwest DC).
  • See prints by Nigerian sculptor and printmaker Bruce Onobrakpeya at the Smithsonian (opens Fri, free, Smithsonian National Museum of African Art).
  • Enjoy art programs and extended visiting hours at museums on the National Mall during Smithsonian Solstice Saturday (Sat, free, National Mall).

Community and heritage:

  • Attend a concert by the Washington Revels Jubilee Voices, and hear spoken word and storytelling in celebration of Juneteenth (Wed, free, Alexandria).
  • Yoga, go-go music, and a pop-up market are on the Juneteenth in the District at Bryant Street agenda (Wed, free, Brentwood).
  • Celebrate Black liberation at Bread for the City’s Michelle Obama Southeast Center with a community block party (Wed, free, Anacostia).
  • The National Archives displays the original Emancipation Proclamation and the General Order No. 3 to commemorate Juneteenth (Tues-Thurs, free, National Archives).
  • The fourth annual Annapolis Juneteenth Parade and Festival hosts a day of music, performances, and food trucks (Sat, free, Annapolis).

Theater and shows:

  • Experience the Comedy Bang! Bang! podcast live (Mon, $53+, Warner Theatre).
  • Watch a screening of The Watermelon Woman to explore the intersections of race and sex through film (Tues, $15, Union Market).
  • Get tickets to a Black Out performance—an evening meant for an entirely Black audience—of the Pulitzer-winning play Topdog/Underdog (Wed, $25, Bethesda).
  • 10,000 Dreams: A Celebration of Asian Choreography showcases Asian artists’ contributions to ballet (Tues-Sun, $29+, Kennedy Center).
  • Ghostly docu-fiction Anhell69 screens at the National Gallery of Art (Sun, free, but registration required, National Gallery of Art).

Music and concerts:

  • Cumbia punk band Kumbia Queers plays at Songbyrd (Mon, $20+, Northeast DC).
  • The Soul Rebels with special guests Ghostface Killah & GZA perform at Howard Theatre (Thurs, $29+, U Street Corridor).
  • The Hold Steady band plays three shows at the 9:30 Club (Thurs-Sat, $45+, Shaw).
  • Georgetown’s first World Music Day features dozens of live music acts throughout the neighborhood including on one of the stages at La Maison Française (Fri, free, Georgetown).
  • The Church & The Afghan Whigs rocks out Lincoln Theatre (Sat, $45, U Street Corridor).
  • Future Islands brings their synth-pop sound to the Anthem (Sun, $45+, Wharf).

Bites and beverages:

  • Pit-masters compete in a massive barbecue battle where guests can sample food, play games, and see live performances (Sat-Sun, $20+, Downtown).
  • Taste food and libations from area restaurants along Old Town Fairfax Summer Crawl (Sat, $15+, Fairfax).


  • Clipper Round the World Yacht Race arrives in DC for the first time ever. You can explore the activation at the Wharf before the crew departs (Mon-June 25, free, Wharf).

Plan ahead:

  • Next week’s Jazz in the Garden features Caribbean tunes from Josanne Francis (free, lottery for June 28 closes Fri, National Gallery of Art).

Things to do with kids:

  • Go on a Disney music and film journey with the National Symphony Orchestra (Sat-Sun, $39+, 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.