Things to Do

38 Things to Do in the DC Area This Week and Weekend

A charming neighborhood parade, fireworks, Mousetrap dance party, and more.

Photograph by Chalice Keith, courtesy of NPS.

Happy Fourth of July week, DC!

Enjoy the holiday week with fireworks, dance parties, arts and crafts, and more. 

Best Things to Do This Week

July 1 – July 7

  1. Fireworks on the National Mall. Shimmers of red, white, and blue will light up the night at DC’s annual Fourth of July celebration. Fireworks will be launched on both sides of the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool at 9:09 PM. Refer to NPS’s entry point guide – or our map of alternative viewing locations – to plan where to get the best view (Thurs, free, National Mall).
  2. A Capitol Fourth Concert. Head to the West Lawn of the Capitol for a packed lineup of musical acts celebrating the Fourth, including Golden Globe nominee Fantasia, former Glee star Darren Criss, and soul legend Smokey Robinson. If you want to catch a glimpse at performances without the Independence Day crowds, you can watch the open dress rehearsal the day before, or catch the livestream on PBS or the PBS website (Thurs, free, US Capitol, virtual).
  3. Palisades Fourth of July Parade. This charming neighborhood festival is in its 58th year. On Wednesday, you can “hoedown” in Palisades Park, with live music, ice cream, and a whole lot of pie. On parade day, everyone is welcome to join in the lively procession, no registration required (Wed-Thurs, free, Palisades).
  4. “Multiplicity: Blackness in Contemporary American Collage.” This new exhibit from the Phillips Collection celebrates the contributions of Black artists to the medium of collage. Sixty colorful, multimedia works by 49 contemporary artists, including Derek Fordjour, Mark Bradford, and Kara Walker, will be on display until September (opens Wed, $20, free for 18 and under, Dupont).
  5. Mousetrap dance party. This annual tribute to Britpop and Indiepop has been a favorite of local music enthusiasts since its first show in 1999. Celebrate the party’s 25th anniversary at the Black Cat and sing along to your favorite tracks from the Cure, MGMT, and more (Sat, $10-15, Shaw).
The American Celebration at Mount Vernon. Photograph courtesy of the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association.

Fourth of July:

  • Embroider a colorful fireworks display at this beginner-friendly course from Shop Made (Wed, $50, Georgetown).
  • Watch daytime fireworks and military drills, listen to a reading of the Declaration of Independence and to the National Concert Band, and more at George Washington’s Mount Vernon (Thurs, $26 adults, $13 ages 6-11, Mount Vernon).
  • Don your patriotic garb and head to Constitution Avenue for the annual National Independence Day Parade from 7th Street, NW, to 17th Street, NW (Thurs, free, Downtown).
  • Attend an afternoon cookout at Metrobar, with food trucks, live go-go music, and a cookie-baking contest (Thurs, free with registration, Brentwood).
  • Fire up the grill with an award-winning chef at The Dabney’s immersive new wood-fired cooking class (Thurs, $395, Mt.Vernon Square).
  • Sit in on a live reading of the Declaration of Independence, and see The Experience Band and Show perform their go-go hits at the National Archives (Thurs, free, National Archives).
  • Join the Willard Ardbeg Annual Independence Day BBQ and Block Party on Cafe du Parc’s terrace (Thurs, free, Downtown).
  • View the fireworks from the water while enjoying an open bar on this Potomac dinner cruise (Thurs, $245+, Wharf).
  • Escape the summer heat at Washington National Cathedral’s holiday-themed concert (Thurs, free, virtual, Cathedral Heights). 
  • Take in spectacular views of the fireworks from the Hotel Washington’s luxurious rooftop terrace, and eat snacks from the barbecue buffet (Thurs, $175+, Downtown)
  • Swim and dance at The Ven at Embassy Row’s party featuring tunes from a live DJ, drink tickets, and picnic bites (Thurs, $155, Northwest DC).
  • See a free lineup of country music acts in the evening, with views of the NPS fireworks closing out the show (Thurs, free, Wharf).

Arts and Culture:

  • Turn recyclable scrap into homemade paper at this hands-on workshop (Mon, $10-$30, Takoma).
  • It’s the last chance to see Carrie Mae Weems’ theatrical photography exhibit “Looking Forward, Looking Back” (closes Sun, free, Smithsonian American Art Museum).
  • Explore the wonders of language at Planet Word’s monthly after-hours event (Wed, by donation, Downtown).
  • See author Robert Schmuhl discuss his new biography Mr. Churchill in the White House with journalist Robert Costa (Wed, free, Northwest DC).
  • Cheer on local drag queens as they perform a special ode to rising pop star Chappell Roan (Wed, $15+, U Street Corridor).
  • Catch advanced screenings of the ’80s-inspired horror flick Maxxxine at Alamo Drafthouse (Wed, $16, Brentwood or Crystal City).
  • Roll out a picnic blanket and enjoy the movie-musical In the Heights on the lawn of the REACH (Fri, free, Kennedy Center).

Music and performance:

  • Enjoy Black ballet performances curated by Black choreographers at the Kennedy Center (Tues-Wed, $39+, Kennedy Center).
  • Watch indie-rock artists Mother Mother and Cavetown take the stage at The Anthem (Tues, $51, Wharf).
  • Head to the opening weekend of Studio Theatre’s satirical play The Colored Museum (0pens Wed, $40, Logan Circle).
  • Hear a range of musical compositions fill the rooms of the National Gallery at the National Orchestral Institute and Festival (Wed, free, National Gallery of Art).
  • Dance through Independence Day at Flash, where local DJs will be spinning house beats all night (Thurs, $25, Shaw).
  • See T-Boz and Chilli of the chart-topping R&B group TLC celebrate the 30th anniversary of their  album CrazySexyCool at Wolf Trap (Fri, $42+, Vienna).
  • Hear ’90s hits from DC’s resident cover band White Ford Bronco at the 9:30 Club (Sat, $25, Shaw).

Fitness and movement : 

  • Seniors can break a sweat at a low-intensity zumba class (Mon, free, Tenleytown).
  • Learn how to line dance by the water (Tues, free, Georgetown).
  • Join a Kemetic yoga class with neighbors at the library (Sat, free, Southeast DC).

Things to do with kids:

  • Take a Dino safari adventure through more than 70 life-size animated animals and lighting sculptures (opens Wed, free for ages 3 and under, $20+ for adults, Bethesda).
  • Youngsters can decorate mezuzah cases, play outdoor games, make goodie bags, eat hot dogs, and learn about Jewish history at the Capital Jewish Museum (Wed, free, but registration encouraged, Northwest DC).
  • Beautify old T-shirts or tote bags at this all-ages Tie-Dye party at Francis Gregory Library (Sat, free, Southeast).
  • The first 8,000 kids who see the Nationals take on the St. Louis Cardinals will receive a special cap signed by shortstop CJ Abrams (Sun, $13+, Navy Yard).

Omega Ilijevich
Editorial Fellow