Does the thought of sitting through a book lecture completely turn you off? Then perhaps the Smithsonian’s Asian American Literature Festival might be for you. The three-day affair, taking place at Eaton Hotel, the Library of Congress and the Freer and Sackler galleries, boasts a range of immersive, out-of-the-box offerings that go beyond the scope of a typical literary festival. Festivalgoers can hear stories centered on queer issues in a spooky indoor retreat, or take in performers reading from their own works and singing verses from their favorite pop songs in “Queer Literaoke.” There’s also the option to get “literary mani-pedis” while learning more about Vietnamese refugee nail salon labor issues. The kicker of this entire event: You don’t need to be up-to-snuff on Asian literature to enjoy what the festival has to offer. Free. — Stephanie Williams

Go-go shows are ubiquitous around the District. But if you want to catch some of the top noisemakers in one place, head north. The Summer Spirit Festival at Merriweather Post Pavilion has slimmed down from a two-day celebration to one this year, but the more compact lineup is still brimming with decorated players in R&B and soul while also putting on D.C.’s homegrown sound. Touring headliners, including Anthony Hamilton, Jhené Aiko and Raphael Saadiq, are supported by eminent go-go legends Backyard Band and Sugar Bear, who’ve carried the torch for the music community over the past several decades. And the ladies of go-go will have their moment to shine too, with the all-female band Be’la Dona and Sirius Company (featuring former Rare Essence vocalist Kim Michelle) taking the stage. 2:30 p.m. $60-$250 . — Stephanie Williams

Art installations, concerts and festivals have helped turn Old Town Alexandria’s revamped Waterfront Park into one of the area’s coolest outdoor event spaces. Now Pizzeria Paradiso, which has a permanent location a few blocks north on King Street, is taking over the park to celebrate Virginia Craft Beer Month. The 30 brewers and cider makers include a mix of familiar names (Hardywood, Port City) and cult favorites (Aslin, Reason, Vasen) from across the state. (Thankfully, all beers will be offered as either 12 or 6-ounce pours.) The day also includes live music; pizzas from Paradiso’s mobile oven; and a variety of games, including Splash Golf, which involves smashing biodegradable golf balls into the Potomac River. Might want to try that before sampling Commonwealth’s IPAs. Noon to 8 p.m. Free. — Fritz Hahn

Whether you grew up gaming on an Intellivision, Sega Genesis or Xbox, there’s something to love (and play) at the Smithsonian’s annual celebration of video games. For two days, the Penn Quarter museum transforms into the world’s most beautiful arcade, with “The Legend of Zelda,” “Mortal Kombat 2” and “Madden 2019” among the familiar console and cabinet games set up throughout the museum. At the center of it all are 13 games created by independent developers, who this year explore the diversity of gaming. (Some games address issues of race, mental health or disability, while others were created by people of color or the LGTBQ community.) Another section of the arcade offers new games designed to be played on old consoles. You never know if you’ll find yourself enjoying a future classic. 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Free. — Fritz Hahn

As you enter the dog days of summer, you’ll find a canine or two (along with monkeys, foxes and other assorted critters) on view at the National Gallery of Art’s fauna-themed exhibition. The East Building show, which will stay open until 8 p.m. every night for its last two weeks — as a way to make up for hours that were lost when the partial government shutdown delayed its opening — will also feature pop-up gallery talks, audio tours and access to the gift shop, which features animal-themed merchandise inspired by the works on display. Monday-Friday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sundays 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Free. — Michael O’Sullivan

Fort Dupont’s annual summer concert series is usually worth checking out just for the park alone, which is one of D.C.’s finest. While the series started in July, the programming heats up this month with four shows featuring some of the finest musical staples the city has to offer. Kicking it off on Saturday night are go-go legends Rare Essence, who will celebrate their 40th year of infectiously danceable tunes. While there’s not a bad concert on deck, be sure to mark your calendar for Aug. 17, when District native Raheem DeVaughn will bring his soulful R&B stylings to the park. Free. — Hau Chu

Before a wildly successful run on Broadway, “Dear Evan Hansen” premiered at Washington’s Arena Stage — and in August, the musical returns to Washington at the Kennedy Center as part of its national tour. Bound to be relatable for any high school student who struggled to fit in, “Dear Evan Hansen” touches on serious subject matter such as mental health and social media with humor and heart. Tickets are going fast for the show, which racked up multiple Tony Awards, including best musical, and a Grammy Award. Through Sept. 8. $79-$175. — Adele Chapin

For 13 years, the African Diaspora International Film Festival has treated audiences to invaluable new releases and repertory films that capture the vast cultural reach of work by and about people of African descent. This year, ADIFF returns to Washington with a lineup that includes films from Djibouti, Brazil, Barbados, Panama, France, Guadeloupe, Cuba, Morocco and the U.S. The festival’s opening night film, “Ali’s Comeback: The Untold Story,” chronicles how the unlikely team of a white businessman, an African American senator and a Jewish mayor helped Muhammad Ali reclaim his career after being marginalized for resisting the Vietnam draft. Fifteen more narrative features and documentaries will play throughout the weekend. At George Washington University’s Marvin Center, 800 21st St. NW. Tickets are $13; $11 for students; $10 for groups of 10 or more. Day passes $40-$50; festival pass $120. — Ann Hornaday

County fair season, Aug. 9-18

Summertime brings almost all the county fair kitsch your heart could desire. Start the season in Prince William County with Virginia’s largest fair (Aug. 9-17), where the sprawling list of activities for all ages includes ranch camel and pony rides, a petting zoo and a circus. Be sure to catch the more destructive standards, such as chain-saw art, monster trucks and a demolition derby. For those same nine days, Montgomery County hosts its own fair, which features a similar slate of vehicles flinging themselves at each other, but ramps up the action to include ATV and truck drag racing. Don’t miss the Chesapeake DockDogs from Aug. 9-11, which showcases pups competing with each other in big air and speed retrieval competitions. If auto mayhem isn’t your speed, set your sights on the Arlington County fair (Aug. 14-18), a more charming affair that draws massive crowds every year. There will be carnival games and fried food galore. And while a full schedule of programming will be announced closer to the day, one of this year’s marquee events will be the addition of goat yoga. Prices vary by fair. — Hau Chu

The Iranian photographer Newsha Tavakolian has recently been barred by Iranian authorities from working in her home country — along with her husband, New York Times correspondent Thomas Erdbrink — according to the Times. Tavakolian, an acclaimed artist who began as a photojournalist, and who has work in several major museum collections, is one of six artists showcased in a new group show at the Smithsonian’s Sackler Gallery, along with Gohar Dashti, Shadi Ghadirian, Hengameh Golestan, Malekeh Nayiny and Mitra Tabrizian. (You may remember Tavakolian’s work from the 2016 show, “She Who Tells a Story,” at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, which also featured images by Dashti and Ghadirian.) From the political to the personal, the artists in “My Iran” look at the struggles of life inside their home country and in its diaspora. Through Feb. 9, 2020. Free. — Michael O’Sullivan

Chris Stapleton’s 2015 solo debut, “Traveller,” shook up country music’s pop proclivities with its back-to-basics sound and a breakout rendition of the standard “Tennessee Whiskey.” The album racked up awards and made Stapleton one of the genre’s most reliable draws: He’s since been packing amphitheaters and arenas with his “all-American Roadshow” tours. This summer’s show is worth getting there early for, with Margo Price and the Marcus King Band sharing opening duties. Price, who like Stapleton played in bands and dive bars before Jack White helped her release her big break, “Midwest Farmer’s Daughter” in 2016, recently gave birth to a daughter and is already back on the road, playing her funked-up fusion of country and rock. The Marcus King Band is led by 23-year-old guitar phenom Marcus King, whose soulful Southern voice and impressive improv chops have made the band a fixture on the jam-band festival circuit. 7 p.m. $170. — Rudi Greenberg

Combat the summer doldrums with a three-course meal out during the summer edition of Restaurant Week, a biannual tradition during which diners can score deals at restaurants in D.C., Maryland and Northern Virginia. This time around, more than 200 restaurants will offer prix fixe menus for lunch, brunch and dinner. If you’re indecisive about which array of small plates to choose from the regular menu at such hot spots as chef Erik Bruner-Yang’s standing-room-only Spoken English at the Line Hotel, let the streamlined Restaurant Week menu make the choice for you. Or try out a very pricey spot like Nobu D.C. without busting your dining budget. $35 for dinner; $22 for lunch or brunch. — Adele Chapin

Two weeks after the U.S. National Team retained the Women’s World Cup, the Washington Spirit recorded their first capacity crowd of the three-month-old National Women’s Soccer League season. Was that due to the World Cup spurring a greater appreciation of women’s soccer? The chance to welcome home World Cup winners Mallory Pugh and Rose Lavelle? Probably a bit of both. The Spirit have two games at the Maryland SoccerPlex in Boyds, Md., this month, but the most eye-catching fixture finds the team on a bigger stage: Audi Field. DC United’s stadium is more centrally located, and more importantly, its capacity is several times larger than the SoccerPlex, meaning more fans will be able to watch Lavelle, Pugh and company take on the Orlando Pride, led by U.S. striker Alex Morgan and Brazilian legend Marta. 7:30 p.m. $31-$158. — Fritz Hahn

Vampire Weekend fans waited six long years between the band’s 2013 opus “Modern Vampires of the City” and this year’s “Father of the Bride.” By the time the band’s fourth album arrived in May, fans were also met with a different band, most notably one missing producer, multi-instrumentalist and D.C. native Rostam Batmanglij. While Batmanglij still helps out on a few songs, singer-guitarist Ezra Koenig is fully running the show, and lyrically is consumed by dread, both literal and existential. Koenig’s writing is more direct than ever on the expansive 18-track album, which musically runs the gamut and finds the band channeling the Grateful Dead (“Harmony Hall,” “Sunflower”); sampling film composer Hans Zimmer’s “The Thin Red Line” score; and teaming with Haim’s Danielle Haim for a series of country-eqsue duets. 7:30 p.m. $39.50-$89.50 . — Rudi Greenberg

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, chef José Andrés, cartoonist Raina Telgemeie, and historians Henry Louis Gates Jr. and David McCullough will grace the National Book Festival’s main stage at this year’s free event. More than 200,000 readers walked through the Walter E. Washington Convention Center doors at last year’s festival, and this year’s packed schedule — featuring more than 140 authors — includes talks geared to book lovers of all ages. (The Washington Post is a charter sponsor of the festival.) 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Free. — Adele Chapin