The 22 best things to do in D.C. this weekend and next week

The National Memorial Day Parade features marching bands, including the Fifes and Drums of York Town, which participated in 2022. (Matt McClain/The Washington Post)
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The long weekend brings solemn Memorial Day ceremonies, including the opportunity for the public to lay flowers at the Tomb of the Unknowns. For the first time since 2019, the public can attend the live broadcast of the National Memorial Day Concert, recorded on the Capitol’s West Lawn. But this weekend also brings plenty of fun, from the cookouts and dance parties of Black Pride to the Hometown Holidays music and food festival in Rockville. The Kennedy Center kicks off its summer outdoor movie series, the Smithsonian teaches families how to be better birdwatchers, all-conquering ’90s cover band White Ford Bronco marks 15 years of playing “Semi-Charmed Life,” and Anxo hosts a party to celebrate six years of making cider.

Thursday, May 25

DC Black Pride

The 32nd DC Black Pride weekend pays homage to the Clubhouse, a community gathering place and legendary dance club that was located in Petworth from 1975 to 1990. The hub of the celebration is again the Renaissance Hotel near Mount Vernon Square, which hosts workshops and town halls on a variety of subjects including relationships and faith; a vendor market; and events including a tribute to the Clubhouse, with house music by DJ Suspense (Saturday at 3 p.m.); a talent showcase with music and comedy (Friday at 6 p.m.); and the annual Mary Bowman Poetry Slam (Saturday at 6 p.m.). Beyond the main venue, though, there are parties happening at nightclubs and event spaces all over town. A few highlights include Pride by the River, a free Sunday party in Anacostia Park (noon to 8 p.m.,; Monday’s Pride in the Park at Fort Dupont, featuring music, DJs, ax throwing, a spades tournament and more free fun (noon to 7 p.m.,; and Sunday’s Greatest Cookout of All Time at Gateway DC, headlined by Ari Lennox and featuring DJs, go-go bands, vendors and food trucks (2 to 8 p.m., $65-$105). Through Monday. See for a full schedule of events. Official events, including the tribute to the Clubhouse and the talent showcase, are free but require advance reservations.

Friday, May 26

Extraordinary Cinema at the Kennedy Center

The “video wall” at the Kennedy Center’s Reach expansion faces a large, grassy lawn, where the Extraordinary Cinema series will show summer blockbusters and family films outdoors from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend, beginning with “Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark.” Coming attractions include “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” (June 2) and “Jaws” (July 7). Blankets and chairs are encouraged, and unlike with many indoor events at the Kennedy Center, no tickets are required, though the location may change based on heat warnings or the threat of rain. Films begin around 8 p.m. Through Sept. 1. Free.

How to turn the DMV’s summer outdoor movies into the perfect date night

Hi-Lawn Memorial Day Celebration

Hi-Lawn, the grassy alfresco venue atop Union Market, brings back its four-day Memorial Day celebration featuring a menu of barbecue, ribs and cookout fare; drink specials on adult juice boxes, seltzers and beer; and cornhole, giant Jenga and lawn games. Make a note for Sunday, when Eddie Pasa performs ’90s covers from 4 to 6 p.m. Through Sunday; hours vary. Free admission.

Renwick Invitational Open House at the Renwick Gallery

The Renwick Gallery, the Smithsonian’s museum devoted to contemporary American craft, highlights emerging and midcareer artists during its annual Renwick Invitational. For the first time in the invitational’s history, this year’s exhibit features exclusively Native American and Alaska Native makers, with more than 50 works from six artists. The invitational, which extends through March 2024, kicks off with an open house featuring all the artists in the show and a gallery talk with guest curator Lara Evans. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Free; registration requested.

Guided installation tour at the Former Residence of the Ambassadors of Spain

The Columbia Heights cultural center opens its doors for a summer installation, available for viewing through June 11, that features eight exhibits from Spanish artists — including three outdoors on the grounds. The highlight is the alfresco “Around Pollinators,” with works from Spanish artist and environmentalist Lucía Loren that explore the important role of native biotopes in the face of climate change. Free guided tours start Friday and repeat on Saturday and Sunday at 11:30 a.m. There are also tours on June 9, 10 and 11. 6 to 8 p.m. Free; reservations required.

Saturday, May 27

Black Birders Week at the Smithsonian

If you need an excuse to experience the great outdoors this week — especially with kids — how about birdwatching? The Smithsonian celebrates Black Birders Week with events including a STEM day at the National Museum of African American History and Culture on Saturday, where participants can build bird feeders and nests, listen to music, and even go on a guided bird walk (advance registration required), and Tuesday’s Beguiling Birds family day at the National of Museum of Natural History, with play-focused activities designed to teach children about birds. Through June 3. Free; registration required for National Museum of African American History and Culture events and for admission to the National Zoo.

White Ford Bronco 15th anniversary at the Bullpen

The undisputed champion of D.C. cover bands, White Ford Bronco has earned legions of fans thanks to an ability to seamlessly integrate Blink-182, ’N Sync, No Doubt and Third Eye Blind into live performances that turn into raucous singalong dance parties. The band’s natural connection with the audience — every show features shout-outs to bachelorettes — and seemingly limitless energy win over crowds who, let’s face it, might not have been born when Lenny Kravitz was singing “Are You Gonna Go My Way.” White Ford Bronco marks 15 years of playing the best of the ’90s during a show at the Bullpen. Gates open at 5 p.m., and the music begins at 7. 5 p.m. $22-$25.

Live-action ‘The Little Mermaid’ release parties

With the drop of Disney’s latest live-action adaptation comes area parties fit to bring the little ones. Metrobar hosts an under-the-sea-themed Black Is Beautiful Art Market featuring Black women artists and vendors, photo booths, seafood, tastings from local coffee makers, mermaid-inspired cocktails and live art, including Ariel and Ursula body art painting. Buy a movie ticket at Alamo Drafthouse for a bar discount (11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free.) Meanwhile, Westfield Wheaton mall has three live “mermaids” performing, plus live music and face painters, at the Macy’s lower court. Consider taking the kids after a showing. (Noon to 4 p.m. Free.)

Rockville Hometown Holidays at RedGate Park

Rockville’s annual Memorial Day celebration contains multiple events under one banner. There’s a two-day Music Fest with more than a dozen artists, including the roadhouse blues of the Nighthawks, the go-go-meets-jazz sound of the JoGo Project, and the cover bands Almost Queen and Yellow Dubmarine. There’s the Taste of Rockville festival, with local restaurants and food trucks serving barbecue, hot dogs, and shaved ice. Kids can hop on slides or rides or watch animal shows. Adults can play lawn games, participate in yoga or visit the beer garden. Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Admission free; rides and Taste of Rockville booths require tickets.

‘And the Category Is … An Afternoon With Ricky Tucker’ at Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library and Voguing Party at Mount Pleasant Community Library

In celebration of Black Pride and the upcoming Capital Pride, the D.C. Public Library hosts an afternoon with Ricky Tucker, the author of “And the Category Is …,” a book celebrating New York City’s ballroom community — the LGBTQ dance subculture that gave us voguing and much more. After a panel discussion about Tucker’s book, the action moves to the Mount Pleasant Neighborhood Library for a Voguing Party featuring a dance performance by the International Kiki House of Supreme, followed by a friendly-but-fierce voguing competition. Book talk: 1 to 3 p.m. Voguing Party: 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Both events free.

Sunday, May 28

National Memorial Day Concert at the U.S. Capitol

For the first time since 2019, the National Memorial Day Concert on the Capitol’s West Lawn is open to the public. The annual tribute to the armed forces, a mixture of musical performances and dramatic readings, is hosted by actors Joe Mantegna and Gary Sinise and includes appearances by country singer Trace Adkins, gospel icon Yolanda Adams, and soulful duo the War and Treaty, as well as the National Symphony Orchestra and military ensembles. The evening also includes tributes to Gold Star families and the 50th anniversary of U.S. troops returning from the Vietnam War. No tickets are required. Also, remember one of D.C.’s worst-kept secrets: The public can attend the dress rehearsal, too, which starts at 8 p.m. Saturday. Gates open at 5 p.m., and the concert begins at 8. Free.

Flowers of Remembrance Day at Arlington National Cemetery

The newest tradition at Arlington National Cemetery is Flowers of Remembrance Day, which allows members of the public to lay flowers on the plaza at the Tomb of the Unknowns on Sunday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. (Do not bring your own flowers.) At 10 a.m., historians discuss the origins of Decoration Day — now Memorial Day — in the cemetery’s Memorial Amphitheater before leading a walking tour of the grounds. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free.

Anxo sixth anniversary

Six years ago, when Anxo became the first licensed cider makers in D.C. since Prohibition, its debut ciders were made with crab apples foraged from the yards of friends. Today, the owners have a modern production facility and tasting room in Brightwood Park and collaborate with cider makers on both sides of the Atlantic. Taste their latest concoction — a dry-hopped cider created in collaboration with Right Proper Brewing and the Heurich House Museum — and signature ciders at a Brightwood block party on Sunday, accompanied by a DJ from the neighborhood’s HR Records. Six is the magic number at this “Anxo-versary,” with pours of cider, wine and cocktails for $6 each, as well as $6 Anxo burgers from Brightwood Pizza. Noon to 9 p.m. Free.

The Funset at Dew Drop Inn

The Funset — the mix of hip-hop, R&B, yacht rock and off-kilter jams that’s become one of D.C.’s essential indoor-outdoor dance parties — marks the long weekend by teaming up with Rock Creek Social Club, which has been rocking parties for more than a decade. DJs Jerome Baker III, Smudge, Harry Hotter, Jahsonic and Kenny M joining forces for a “No Work or School Monday” celebration might just burn down the Dew Drop, one of D.C.’s most idiosyncratic bars. 5 p.m. Free.

LSDXOXO at Flash

As LSDXOXO, Raushaan Glasgow has been one of underground dance music’s most vital DJs and producers for nearly a decade, living up to his mind-expansion-but-make-it-cute moniker at every turn. The Philly-born, Berlin-based talent — who has produced, remixed and collaborated with the likes of Lady Gaga, Kelela and BbyMutha — has eclectic tastes that shine through in tracks and mixes that bring pop memories to dark club dance floors. And after years of ceding vocal duties to samples and chanteuses, his latest tracks feature his full voice, artistry and personhood. “When I began making music, I was scared to be seen,” he told Mixmag. “Now I’m proud to be seen and heard.” 10 p.m. $30.

Rare Essence Memorial Day Party at Ivy City Smokehouse

On the first weekend of June, go-go legend Rare Essence is set to perform at the Roots Picnic festival in Philadelphia, alongside Backyard Band. But first, there’s a celebration in Rare Essence’s hometown: a Sunday night party at Ivy City Smokehouse featuring Jas Funk, hosted by comedian Billy the Kid with music from veteran DJ Big John. 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. $40.

Daylight 17th Anniversary Party at Art Whino

For almost two decades, Daylight’s mix of soulful house, old-school hip-hop and vintage R&B has been drawing crowds across the area, as DJ Divine, Big Tone and company have thrown parties at venues like Liv and Gypsy Sally’s — and Daylight has outlasted most of them. This year, Daylight’s anniversary party pops up at Ballston’s Art Whino, with DJs Divine, Bill Source and RBI joined by D.C. hip-hop trailblazer Priest Da Nomad for a special performance. The dress code is “fresh kickz.” 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. $20.

Monday, May 29

Memorial Day commemorations

Tributes take place across the Mall on Monday, including a wreath laying and observance at the World War II Memorial (9 a.m.), a ceremony (1 p.m.) and a storytelling talk with veterans (10 a.m.) at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, a ceremony with the U.S. Navy Band and Ceremonial Guard at the U.S. Navy Memorial (1:30 p.m.), and a ceremony and wreath laying at the Korean War Veterans Memorial (4 p.m.). There are also free guided walking tours of the World War II Memorial with park rangers at 7 and 8 p.m. (See the full schedule of events on the Mall.)

National Memorial Day Parade

The National Memorial Day Parade fills Constitution Avenue NW with marching bands, groups of veterans and active-duty military, and uniformed reenactors on Monday afternoon. Lunar module pilots from three Apollo missions serve as the parade’s grand marshals. The parade begins at 2 p.m. and stretches between Seventh and 17th streets. Joe Buck and Anthony Anderson serve as hosts, and the event features musical performances by Craig Morgan, Andy Grammer and Colbie Caillat. 2 p.m. Free.

Tuesday, May 30

Annapolis Pride beer release at Forward Brewing

Since 2021, Forward Brewing has created a special beer for the Annapolis Pride celebration. Stop by the Eastport taproom to try this year’s release, and stick around for the brewery’s weekly oyster fest, with local oysters available from 4 to 7 p.m. 4 p.m. Free.

Wednesday, May 31

Rock the Dock at the Wharf

The Wharf kicks off its summer concert series, which runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day, with a performance by local energetic funk/R&B frontman Jarreau Williams. Grab a drink or dessert before heading to Transit Pier any Wednesday evening for a lineup ranging from reggae to 2000s pop to Americana. 7 p.m. Free.

Brain Tourniquet at Songbyrd

Press materials describe Brain Tourniquet’s hometown as the “City of Magnificent Distances,” an archaic, sarcastic nickname for D.C. that speaks to a truth in the band’s music: If the shortest distance between two points is a line, the shortest distance from rage to the stage is hardcore music. Brain Tourniquet specializes in the true-to-its-name “powerviolence” subgenre, paying homage to acts like Man Is the B------, Crossed Out and Neanderthal (borrowing its name from one of Neanderthal’s songs). While most of the band’s songs are fast and furious, the title track of “ … An Expression In Pain” is a 10-minute epic that covers the most sonic distance. 8 p.m. $15-$18.