The Atlas Obscura website charts weird and wonderful places around the world: a Bangkok garden depicting the tortures of hell; a French ghost town left as a war memorial; a New Orleans shrine where believers leave prosthetic body parts. Each year, the website sponsors Obscura Day events around the country, allowing readers to explore sites in their own back yards. In the D.C. area, that means a live recreation of Houdini’s stunts; a guided walk visiting Washington's most interesting Brutalist buildings; and a visit to an over-the-top “art house” in Hyattsville that's home to four art cars and an outdoor sculpture garden. Prices vary by event. — Fritz Hahn
Solange alone is worth the price of admission to Washington’s first major music festival of the season, which mixes hip-hop and electronic acts to promote environmental sustainability and increased food access. She's joined by such groups as the “Black Beatles” duo Rae Sremmurd and rappers 21 Savage and Lil Yachty. For a first taste, head to the Ivy City neighborhood Thursday for late-night DJ sets or “trap karaoke” at Ivy City Smokehouse. $69. — H.S.
The London indie pop trio is in town promoting their third and latest album, “I See You,” as part of their American tour. Members Oliver Sim and Romy Madley Croft’s blend their signature minimalist vocals with sampled R&B tracks, a Hall and Oates hit and other mixes for a set that ruminates on vulnerability and love. British singer Sampha opens the show. $40-$55. — Winyan Soo Hoo
You might see 15 different “Hamlet”s before getting an opportunity to view this seldom-staged Shakespearean play. The title character is rich and popular but gives it all away, leading to hard times and a thirst for vengeance. For this show, Folger Theatre turns to steady hands: frequent director Robert Richmond (“Henry V,” “Richard III”) and Ian Merrill Peakes — Iago in Richmond’s recent “Othello.” $35-$75. — Nelson Pressley
Metallica launches its first North American tour in nearly a decade at the Baltimore Ravens’ stadium, marking the Rock and Roll Hall of Famers’ first proper regional appearance since 2009, not counting the three-song thrashing it delivered at the Concert for Valor in 2014. On this extension of its WorldWired tour, expect to hear a number of headbanging favorites — “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” “Enter Sandman” and “Master of Puppets” remain set-list regulars — in addition to a heavy dose of new metal from last year’s “Hardwired…To Self-Destruct.” $55-$155. — John Taylor
Ted van Griethuysen is well-known to Washington audiences for his decades of roles with the Shakespeare Theatre Company, but he’s appeared in a dozen shows at Studio Theatre and three times won Helen Hayes Awards for his performances in Studio’s cozy confines. In French writer Florian Zeller’s 90-minute “The Father” (a recent hit in Paris, London and New York), van Griethuysen plays an 80 year old in the grip of dementia. $20-$75. — N.P.
The annual bluegrass, folk and Americana music festival brings local bands to Kingman Island on the Anacostia River, with highlights that include Justin Trawick & The Common Good, King Street Bluegrass and Charm City Junction. Cap the day with free kayaking and river tours and partake in a variety of food and drink choices from vendors on site. Proceeds from the festival go toward Living Classrooms Foundation, a nonprofit responsible for the area's habitat restoration and educational programming for at-risk D.C. public school students. $30-$125. — W.S.
Before the French Revolution descended into chaos, the country’s painters mainly occupied themselves with intricate paintings of rouged women, dapper men and children in ruffs. When Napoleon’s elder brother came to the United States in 1815 with some of this art in tow, the country was captivated. The National Gallery has assembled 68 of the finest works of 18th-century French art held in American museums, including pieces by the Rococo artist Jean Honoré Fragonard and the neoclassical master Jacques-Louis David. Free. — H.S.
Venture safely into the deep blue ocean through the lens of National Geographic's Brian Skerry. The award-winning photographer does at-times dangerous work, getting up close and personal with sharks. In addition to Skerry's large-scale images, this exhibition features video, models, artifacts and interactive experiences that help you get to know these mysterious underwater predators from a safe distance. $10-$15. — J.T.
President John F. Kennedy’s 1961 speech to Congress about space travel inspired the Washington Ballet's season finale, “Frontier” by Ethan Stiefel, which explores the physical and emotional demands placed on astronauts. It will be performed alongside Antony Tudor’s “Lilac Garden,” an Edwardian period piece about a woman forced to part with her lover, and Frederick Ashton’s “The Dream,” an interpretation of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” set to music by Mendelssohn. The Washington Ballet Orchestra will play for all three performances. $25-$130. — W.S.
Markus Lüpertz, a German artist born during World War II, once said he wanted to be “a painter without responsibilities” — beholden to art, not history. In the first major U.S. retrospective of his work, abstraction generally wins out, though the occasional military-style helmet hints at the conflict that defined his childhood. Head to the Hirshorn Museum when you’re finished to see more works from Lüpertz’s early years, when he began combining elements of pop art and abstract expressionism. $10-$12. — H.S.
John F. Kennedy Centennial, various dates in May
The late president's 100th birthday is on May 29, and the promise of Camelot will be remembered with events around the city. The Kennedy Center is naturally the center of the action, including an open house on May 27 and a Memorial Day concert on May 28. The celebrations aren't confined to the banks of the Potomac: The Smithsonian American Art Museum is presenting “American Visionary: John F. Kennedy’s Life and Times,” a photo exhibit that includes movies and other public programs; the Library of Congress's program includes lectures, exhibits and a documentary screening; and the National Archives offers a year of exhibits, a birthday concert and various talks and screenings. — F.H.
This post has been updated.