Sixty local theater companies, ranging from Woolly Mammoth and Ford’s Theatre to Taffety Punk Theatre Company and the African American Collective Theater, take over the Kennedy Center for a weekend of readings and rehearsals of plays and musicals that are still in development. It’s a great (and cheap) smorgasbord of the area’s theater scene. Dates and times vary. Free.
Zoo Uncorked at the National Zoo, Sept. 7
The National Zoo’s annual wine-focused fundraiser — formerly and more cleverly known as “Grapes with the Apes” — brings more than a dozen wineries and distributors to the zoo. Beyond tasting and purchasing wines, visitors can take in after-hours tours of exhibits, listen to live music and browse paintings created by local artists. VIP tickets add extra wine and food tastings and “special animal encounters.” 6 to 9 p.m. $70; VIP admission $115.
For almost three decades, the Rosslyn Jazz Festival has drawn music fans to the downtown Gateway Park. This year’s lineup is topped by the Soul Rebels, an eight-piece New Orleans-style brass band that has performed with Nas and Big Freedia, and the driving throwback funk and soul of Lee Fields and the Expressions. When you’re not dancing, grab dinner from a food truck or have drinks in a beer garden. 1 to 7 p.m. 1300 Lee Hwy., Arlington. Free.
Adams Morgan Day, Sept. 10
This year, Adams Morgan Day will again shut down its main street, between Columbia and Kalorama roads, making room for vendors, local artists and shops. Neighborhood restaurants, including Roofers Union, the Blaguard and Mellow Mushroom, will offer specials, and Songbyrd Music House has organized a stage for local musicians at the corner of 18th and Columbia. Noon to 6 p.m. Free.
H Street Festival, Sept. 16
The city’s largest street festival shuts down the happening H Street NE corridor between fourth and 14th streets for a day of fun: Bands, fashion shows, competitive eating contests, poetry slams, vendors and art cars take over the roadway, while bars and restaurants extend their beer gardens beyond the sidewalk to accommodate up to 150,000 revelers. Noon to 7 p.m. Free.
Cox Farms Fall Festival, Sept. 16-17
Crisper weather is around the corner, and Cox Farms is ready. The Centreville farm opens for the season Sept. 16 with a two-day festival for families. Take a hayride around the farm (pulled by a tractor); meet goats, rabbits and other animals; race down the 150-foot-long slides; wander through the “Cornundrum”; and sample a variety of apples and ciders. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. $10; children younger than 2 free.
WalkingTown DC, Sept. 16-24
Whether you're new to Washington or you've lived here your whole life, WalkingTown DC will teach you something new about the city. Dozens of guided walking tours are offered over the course of a week, showing how famed landscaper Frederick Law Olmstead remade the U.S. Capitol grounds, revealing sites related to the Watergate break-in, or wandering through the narrow passages of Blagden Alley and Naylor Court in search of stables and hints of “Old Washington.” All tours are free and last between one and two hours, but reservations are required and the most popular walks fill up early. Dates and times vary. Free.
Dave Chappelle at the Warner Theatre, Sept. 19-29
Dave Chappelle is one of our own — born in Washington, graduated from Duke Ellington and now immortalized on the wall outside Ben's Chili Bowl. On the heels of his Netflix specials — the streaming service's most-viewed comedy specials ever — and a 16-night run at New York's Radio City Music Hall, Chappelle is coming back to D.C. for a run of 12 shows at the Warner Theatre. 7 or 10 p.m. nightly. $67-$490.
After months of renovations, the National Portrait Gallery’s flagship “America’s Presidents” reopens with a fresh look, new technology (34-inch interactive kiosks with touch screens) and a reorganized layout that divides presidents into six “historical chapters.” The centerpiece is the famous “Lansdowne portrait” of George Washington, which has been out of public view for restoration and research since early 2016. 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Free.
Snallygaster at the Yards, Sept. 23
Snallygaster is more than just D.C.'s best beer festival — in terms of scope, ambition and beer nerd cred, it's the best beer festival in the Mid-Atlantic region. It's easily one of the best on the East Coast, and maybe one of the best in the country. A whopping 400 beers will be available on tap, including crazy-rare offerings from Hill Farmstead, Jester King, Creature Comforts, Melvin and Allagash. The trick here is to prepare: Do your homework, make a list of beers you want to try to figure out where they are. And if you don't get that pour of Hill Farmstead Arthur or Jester King RU55, well, there's probably something amazing nearby. A fleet of food trucks and pop-ups by Neighborhood Restaurant Group restaurants provide sustenance. 1 to 6 p.m. General admission is $35 in advance, which includes 30 food and drink tickets. VIP is $60 in advance, which allows for entry at 11:30 a.m. and includes 30 food and drink tickets.
Art All Night, Sept. 23
First things first: Art All Night doesn’t actually run all night: The fun ends at 3 a.m. But the activities spread across six D.C. neighborhoods — Congress Heights, H Street NE, North Capitol Street, Shaw, Dupont Circle and Tenleytown — are enough to fill an entire week, let alone one night. Hear go-go, hip-hop and bebop on Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE or get a taste of Dupont’s international side by wandering through embassies and galleries. 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. Free.
Opera in the Outfield at Nationals Park, Sept. 23
Opera in the Outfield features a Washington National Opera production of “Aida” simulcast on the 4,500-square foot high-definition scoreboard of Nationals Park. (There are subtitles if your Italian's a little rusty.) Seating on the grass is limited, so arrive soon after the center field gates open to get a outfield wristband, or risk having to sit in the “regular” seats. There are bonuses for arriving early, including activities for kids, such as face painting and trying on opera costumes, and a screening the classic Bugs Bunny cartoon, “What's Opera, Doc?” 7 p.m. Gates open at 5 p.m. Free.
D.C. State Fair, Sept. 24
The District doesn’t have enormous fairs like Maryland or Virginia do, with midway rides and demolition derbies. That’s fine. We may not be a state, but we do have our own state fair, with contests for the best jams, bread and home brews, the best-looking marijuana plant, the funkiest-looking vegetable and the best-tasting mumbo sauce. There will be hula-hooping, watermelon seed-spitting and ladies arm-wrestling contests, a pet parade and stupid pet tricks, and cooking and educational demonstrations. 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Free.