This could be one of the biggest and busiest Washington weekends in recent history. The marquee events that will have visitors flocking to the District include the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture; Saturday's National Book Festival; Art All Night, which takes over the city on Saturday evening; and D.C. Beer Week events, which start Saturday afternoon. (And that's just scratching the surface.) Expect road closures and crowds, and pack your patience. Here are this weekend's best bets in nightlife, festivals, museums, music and much more around the Washington area.
- Know before you go: The new museum opens on the Mall
- Hungry for more? Where to eat near the African American Museum
- Get inside: Four ways to experience the new museum
Friday-Sunday: The National Museum of African American History and Culture opens on Saturday afternoon, and if you already have tickets, you're in good shape. If not, you can still attend the Freedom Sounds Festival, which runs Friday afternoon through Sunday with free, unticketed music performances and more. Perhaps most notable: a concert at 6 p.m. Saturday featuring Public Enemy, the Roots and Living Colour. on Saturday morning, there will be jumbo screens set up around the museum and Washington Monument area to watch the opening ceremonies, featuring President Obama and other luminaries. But this is all just scratching the surface of information you want and need to navigate the new museum and its various events. For more, go to wapo.st/museum.
Through Sunday: Theatre Week is like Restaurant Week, but instead of prix-fix meals at local restaurants, you're getting discounted tickets to local plays ($15 or $35). And just like the local restaurant week, there are some gems on the list, including "Sense and Sensibility" at the Folger Theatre and "The Little Foxes," which opens this weekend at Arena Stage. And those are just two of many. Theatre Week runs through Oct. 2. Go to theatreweek.org/threatre-week-2016 for a full list of participating theaters and shows.
Thursday: Comedian, actor and eccentric Norm Macdonald appears at Sixth and I to discuss his new book, "Based on a True Story," with Geoff Edgers of The Washington Post. (Let's see how many questions Geoff can get in.) The talk starts at 7 p.m. and tickets are $23-$35.
Friday: It’s been a pretty good year or so for Amy Schumer, bringing her stand-up tour to Verizon Center. The feature film she wrote and starred in last summer, “Trainwreck,” made $110 million; her “Live at the Apollo” stand-up special debuted on HBO last fall; and her new book, “The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo,” made it to the top of the New York Times bestseller list. Her comedy has grown a bit more political of late, which will feel right at home in Washington, but she should still find room for the raunch and cringe-inducing “dirty laundry,” as she calls it, in her stand-up set. The show starts at 8 p.m. and tickets are $52-$140.
Saturday: You can visit some of the city's museums that charge admission fees for free with the return of Museum Day Live! (a.k.a. Free Museum Day). Participating institutions include the National Building Museum, the Newseum, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the Kreeger Museum and the Phillips Collection. Make sure to sign up online to print your free passes for this Saturday-only event, and visit smithsonianmag.com/museumday to see a complete list of participating museums.
Saturday: Stephen King, who will be discussing his long career and a new book, “End of Watch,” in a ticketed event, is the headliner at the National Book Festival at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. But even if you don’t have a seat to see the King of Horror, you’ll find an impressively long list of celebrated authors making appearances at this annual Library of Congress affair. Salman Rushdie, The Washington Post’s Bob Woodward and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar also will speak on the main stage, while such notable writers and personalities as Ken Burns, Lois Lowry, Newt Gingrich, Diane Rehm, Carl Hiaasen, Berkeley Breathed, Annette Gordon-Reed and Sarah Vowell — just to name a few of the more than a hundred scribes in attendance — will discuss and sign their work. The book festival runs from 8:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. and admission is free.
Saturday: Now in its 16th year, the Barracks Row Fall Festival on Eighth Street SE has something for everyone. For baseball fans missing the home team, the NatMobile will be out with video games, team gear and live ball toss. For kids, there will be two butterfly releases and a petting zoo featuring piglets, llamas and lambs. And for the hungry and thirsty, some of the restaurants along Barracks Row — including Belga Cafe and Matchbox — will host a Beer-B-Cue. After that, you’ll be ready to arm wrestle with the D.C. Rollergirls. The festival runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and admission is free.
Saturday: After a summer of barbecue, crab, beer and wine festivals, here’s something of a healthy chaser: an annual event devoted to the vegan diet. At D.C. VegFest at Yards Park, there’s everything you’d expect from a big D.C. gathering — live music and speakers, activity areas for children and dogs — but with the addition of an all plant-based lineup of free samples and food for purchase from more than 40 restaurants and vendors. D.C. VegFest runs from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and admission is free.
Saturday: For one night each season, with the Washington Nationals out of town, the ballpark’s high-definition scoreboard swaps out lineups and pitching stats for high-pitched singing and colorful costumes for Opera in the Outfield, its simulcast of the Washington National Opera. In addition to the main event — Mozart’s comic masterpiece “The Marriage of Figaro” — there will be prize and photo opportunities, open concession stands and a screening of the Bugs Bunny cartoon “What’s Opera, Doc?” Gates open at 5 p.m. for pre-opera activities, with the main event starting at 7, and tickets are free.
Saturday-Sunday: What's Going On: Voices of Shaw, a festival highlighting the people and traditions of the hot D.C. neighborhood, kicks off Saturday with a launch party at A&D Bar, featuring storytelling and other Art All Night activities, and continues Sunday with a "Common Grounds" performance by artist Tsedaye Makonnen at Compass Coffee. For more information and a complete schedule of events, go to whatsgoingonshaw.com. The festival runs through Oct. 2.
Saturday-Sunday: D.C. Beer Week kicks off this weekend with a number of events going on throughout the city. The big launch party is BrewHaHa at Old Ebbitt Grill on Saturday (7:30-10:30 p.m.), featuring 20 local beers paired with dishes from local restaurants; there's also the Blind and Bitter event at Churchkey (noon-4 p.m.), which lets you blind-taste IPAs to see what you really like. Sunday brings 3 Stars Brewing's Hopfunk Fest (1-6 p.m.), which will be overflowing with barrel-aged beers, sours, IPA and more from local and out-of-town craft brewers. For a complete schedule of events, go to dcbeerweek.net.
Saturday: Washington lights up with head-turning performance art, illumination, music and more for this annual celebration, now called Art All Night: Made in D.C. The overnight affair features only local artists this year and spreads throughout the city, with revelers getting the chance to see art in all of its forms in seven neighborhoods: Congress Heights, Dupont Circle, H Street NE, North Capitol, Shaw, Tenleytown and Van Ness. For instance, on Eighth Street NW in Shaw, “Circus of the Night” performers will appear on the hour, dancing with fire and juggling on stilts, while bands and dozens of artists will take over two large outdoor spaces in the North Capitol area. But there's a lot more: Make sure you go to artallnightdc.com for a complete rundown. The festivities run from 7 p.m. until 3 a.m. Sunday morning, and admission is free.
Sunday: America's front lawn is a busy place this weekend, so why not have another Yoga on the Mall to cap things off? There will be activities for participants of all ages and levels, plus instruction from visiting teacher Shiva Rea. The event, in the Sylvan Theatre area near the Washington Monument, runs from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and participation is free, but make sure to RSVP online.
Sunday: It sounds funny, but Princess, which plays 9:30 Club, is serious business. It's a Prince cover band led by actress Maya Rudolph (of "Saturday Night Live" fame) and her friend, singer Gretchen Lieberum. They've been performing off and on for five years, and pulled together a short tour this summer that feels like more of a tribute since the singer's passing earlier this year. Doors for the Princess show open at 7 p.m. and tickets are $30.