Cantina Marina closes, Oct. 1-28
The massive redevelopment of the soon-to-open Wharf has consequences for D.C.'s best waterfront bar. Cantina Marina is closing until at least 2020 and will eventually reemerge with “a new pier, a new coat of paint and thankfully new bathrooms," according to the bar's Facebook page. Whether the bar can keep its laid-back, not-in-Washington vibe in the luxe new neighborhood isn't a given, so you've got until Oct. 28 to go eat nachos and sip margaritas while enjoying the views of the Washington Channel.
P.U.B. Dread opens, Oct. 1-31
After a year of pop-ups featuring Christmas sweaters, cherry-blossom petals and the Iron Throne, Drink Company's trio of ever-changing bars on Seventh Street in Shaw is taking a decidedly darker turn. P.U.B. Dread, which will be open for the entire month of October, features rooms transformed into a haunted forest out of a creepy slasher flick; a dollhouse filled with the staring, unblinking eyes of dozens of old dolls; and a graveyard packed with coffins and tombstones. The cocktail menu includes a riff on a Zombie, garnished with a candy brain.
The Virgin Mobile FreeFest is no more. Sweetlife has shrunk dramatically. Trillectro is M.I.A. Landmark Festival was D.O.A. This festival-less landscape makes the annual All Things Go Fall Classic even more vital, so it’s promising that organizers have scaled up to a three-day event and traded last year’s sea of mud at Yards Park for the festival’s previous home at Union Market. Galantis, Young Thug and Foster the People top the 20-artist bill, but don’t miss the undercard acts, including Fletcher and Washington’s own Innanet James. Gates open at 4 p.m. Friday and at noon on Saturday and Sunday. $69-$250.
The Smithsonian’s most community-focused museum marks its golden anniversary with a day-long celebration featuring family activities, art workshops, food trucks, comedy and music from groups including E.U. with Sugar Bear and the 17th Street Dance of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free.
The pop-up restaurant showcase is a chance to sample some of the city’s most buzzed-about restaurants before they open. The third edition features Chloe, from former Doi Moi and Proof chef Haidar Karoum; Lucky Buns, by Alfie’s founder and Duke’s Grocery alum Alex McCoy; and Brothers and Sisters and Spoken English, two restaurants that Erik Bruner-Yang is bringing to the Line Hotel. Tickets include unlimited food and drink. Two sessions: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 to 4 p.m. $65-$105.
‘The Red Shoes’ at the Kennedy Center, Oct. 10-15
Ballet’s strong presence this fall continues in the touring productions of ballet-powered Broadway shows. Matthew Bourne’s treatments of classic works never fail to reveal something new, so we’re eager for his version of “The Red Shoes,” the story of an ambitious ballerina and the men who try to control her. American Ballet Theatre star Marcelo Gomes is slated to dance in some performances. $29-$129.
Get inspiration for your book club’s next pick at George Mason University and Fairfax County Public Library’s Fall for the Book festival. Headliners include Colson Whitehead, who won the Pulitzer Prize for “The Underground Railroad”; best-selling novelist Mohsin Hamid, who published “Exit West” this year, and author and trans activist Janet Mock. That’s only the start for a jampacked schedule of readings and talks with 150 authors over four days. Most events are free.
The Wharf's Grand Opening, Oct. 12
The first businesses at the Southwest Waterfront's mega-project are finally opening to the public. Early arrivals include new restaurants from Mike Isabella, Kwame Onwuachi and Fabio Trabocchi, and bars from the owners of the Brixton and P. Brennan's Irish Pub, but few debuts will be as splashy as the Anthem, a 6,000-seat concert venue from the team behind the 9:30 Club, whose first performer will be the Foo Fighters.
Female choreographers of India will bring their work to Washington for Dakshina’s 14th annual fall festival. Each evening is devoted to one choreographer. On Thursday, Mallika Sarabhai’s company Darpana will present classic and contemporary dance that examines Indian myths and current events such as global warming. On Friday, watch Rama Vaidyanathan’s performance inspired by two Indian female mystic poets. Then on Saturday, Leela Samson leads her company in dance inspired by the significance of rivers in Indian culture. $27.50-$60.
Reopening of the Freer and Sackler galleries, Oct. 14-15
After a lengthy renovation, the Freer/Sackler is planning a weekend-long event to celebrate its reopening. “IlluminAsia,” inspired by Asian night markets, will bring food stalls, art and cooking demos, light displays, music, and performances to the museums’ ground. Inside, check out the refreshed galleries and new temporary exhibits, on the history of bells in China, ancient Egypt’s fascination with cats and more. Saturday from 5 p.m. to 12 a.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free.
Virginia Wine Festival at Oronoco Bay Park, Oct. 14-15
All you’ll need to bring to Old Town is a blanket, because the Virginia Wine Festival’s got everything else covered for the perfect picnic. That includes unlimited tastings of more than 200 Virginia wines and ciders for ticket holders, along with food trucks, a Virginia oyster pavilion, music and riverfront views. Also included: a souvenir glass and the opportunity to buy bottles and cases to take home. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. $29 in advance, $45 at the gate.
The highlight of the National Gallery of Art’s fall season is an exhibition curated by its longtime curator of Dutch art, Arthur Wheelock, who has gathered 10 paintings by Vermeer (many not seen in this country in many years) as part of a show that puts the artist in the context of other genre painters from the Dutch Golden Age. Some 65 works will be on view, including paintings by Gerard ter Borch, Gerrit Dou, Pieter de Hooch, Gabriel Metsu, Frans van Mieris, Caspar Netscher and Jan Steen. Through Jan. 21. Free.
The Bentzen Ball, Oct. 26-29
“One Mississippi” star Tig Notaro is again curating Brightest Young Things’ annual Bentzen Ball comedy festival, which sprawls across the District for four days. Highlights include Al Franken and Ira Glass in conversation at the Lincoln Theatre (Oct. 29); Andrea Gibson and Amber Tamblyn in a night of poetry and spoken word at the Kennedy Center (Oct. 28); and Notaro “and friends,” including Seaton Smith, at the Lincoln on the festival’s opening night (Oct. 26). Get tickets well in advance: Some events, including a live taping of the “How Did This Get Made?” podcast, are already sold out. Times, locations and ticket prices vary.
The Smithsonian’s third annual Food History Weekend is busy enough to work up anyone’s appetite. The two-day affair includes discussions with chefs, authors and food historians (Joan Nathan, Simon Majumdar, Francis Lam, Jonathan Gold), cooking demonstrations, hands-on activities for all ages, and garden tours. The weekend wraps up with a $40 after-hours party (including food and drinks) inside the museum, with beer tastings from the Answer, Weeping Radish and other breweries. All other events are free, but some require registration.
Halloween on Screen at AFI Silver Theatre, Oct. 27-Nov. 2
There's no better way to get into the Halloween spirit than this annual scary movie festival in Silver Spring, where the biggest draw will be the only D.C. area screenings of the newly restored version of “Night of the Living Dead." (If you pick one night to go, make it Oct. 28, when the screening of the classic zombie film will be preceded by the annual Silver Spring Zombie Walk, when hordes of the undead stumble through the streets starting at 6 p.m.) Other features include the 1922 silent film “Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror" and creepy 1977 Italian horror movie “Suspiria." Showtimes vary. Admission: $13 adults, $10 seniors, $8 children. The Silver Spring Zombie Walk is free.
Get an early start on your holiday shopping — or, let's be honest, pick something up for yourself — at the museum's Makers Mart, a marketplace of jewelry, accessories, home decor and fine art created by local women artisans and designers. Entry to the fair also includes admission to the museum's galleries and exhibitions. Sunday from noon to 5 p.m., Monday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. $10 adults, $8 seniors and students. Visitors under age 18 admitted free.
‘Mean Girls’ at the National Theatre, opens Oct. 31
The Queen Bee onstage this fall is Tina Fey’s “Mean Girls” musical, getting its pre-Broadway premiere at the National Theatre. Fey’s husband, Jeff Richmond, is writing the music, with lyrics by Nell Benjamin (“Legally Blonde the Musical”); the busy Casey Nicholaw (“The Book of Mormon,” “Something Rotten!”) directs and choreographs. The show is unlikely to pioneer brave new teen territory the way “Dear Evan Hansen” did at Arena Stage — and eventually on Broadway — but you can’t argue with Nicholaw’s comic track record, and you want to watch Fey take this shot. Through Dec. 3. $73-$93.
— Fritz Hahn, Adele Chapin, Sarah L. Kaufman, Peter Marks and Nelson Pressley
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly described Alex McCoy as chef of Duke's Grocery. He left the restaurant in 2014. This version has been updated.