The restaurant Chloe opens, Jan. 5
Chef Haidar Karoum came to Washington's attention with his cooking at Proof, Estadio and Doi Moi, a trio of restaurants owned by the late Mark Kuller. After more than a year out of the kitchen, Karoum is set to open Chloe, a dining room near the Navy Yard that will showcase South Asian, Spanish and Mediterranean cuisines.
Paradiso Game Room opens, mid-January
Bars with pinball machines and video games are all the rage, and Pizzeria Paradiso is the next to take the plunge. The basement Birreria Paradiso bar in Georgetown is being converted into a game room, with skee-ball, shuffleboard, darts and vintage pinball and game machines. Because nothing goes better with pizza and craft beer.
NSO in Your Neighborhood, Jan. 3-8
The National Symphony Orchestra series frees symphonic music from stuffy, pricey concert halls and brings string quartets, chamber ensembles and other groups to new audiences at churches, bars, museums and other venues throughout Brookland and Penn Quarter. See what happens when violins meet hip-hop at Smith Public Trust on Friday, or bring the family to an “instrument petting zoo” before a performances at the National Portrait Gallery on Saturday. Dates and times vary. Free.
Super MAGFest at National Harbor, Jan. 4-7
“MAGFest” is short for “Music and Gaming Festival,” and games are what you’ll find at the Gaylord around the clock, all weekend: 200 arcade and pinball machines (all set for free play, of course), video-game tournaments and tabletop games ranging from Dungeons & Dragons to the newest indie creations. Take a break at panel discussions and video-game film screenings, watch live video-game-inspired improv comedy and theater, or learn how to be a circus performer. Times vary. $20-$85.
Boat Burning at the 9:30 Club, Jan. 7
A huge chunk of D.C.’s music scene will gather in one room at the 9:30 Club for Boat Burning’s “Music for 100 Guitars” performance, which is exactly what it sounds like. It’s basically a guitar orchestra, with the music collective Boat Burning pulling in musicians from bands across the region to make a huge racket. If that’s not spectacle enough, D.C.-based guerrilla projectionist Robin Bell is preparing visuals for the show. 8 p.m. $25.
'On Your Feet!' at the Kennedy Center, Jan. 9-28
The ups and downs of singer Gloria Estefan’s career translate surprisingly easily to a Broadway musical, complete with conga-line dance numbers. The crowd-pleasing hit show rolls into the Kennedy Center featuring all the hits Estefan fans will recognize, such as “Rhythm Is Gonna Get You.” These songs are interspersed into the story of Estefan and husband Emilio’s journey from Cuba to the top of America’s pop music charts. Times vary. $59-$149.
Women's Voices Theater Festival, Jan. 15 through February
If you see a play in the District in January or February, there’s a good chance that it’ll be the work of a female playwright. More than 28 productions from female playwrights and theater-makers will hit stages in the region as part of the Women’s Voices Theater Festival. Shows include Sarah DeLappe’s “The Wolves” at Studio Theatre, which chronicles the drama of a season of girls’ winter indoor soccer; Timberlake Wertenbaker’s American Revolution-themed “Jefferson Garden” at Ford’s Theatre; and Annalisa Dias’s “4,380 Nights” at Signature Theatre, about a prisoner languishing in Guantanamo Bay. Various times and locations.
Since 1979, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday has been honored with a parade on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard SE. Community leaders and organizations set out from the intersection with Good Hope Road in historic Anacostia at noon and march to the Barry Farm Recreation Center, where a health and community fair is held. An annual two-mile Peace March, which has counted Donnie Simpson, Dick Gregory and Nick Cannon among its attendees, begins at 10 a.m. and also finishes at Barry Farm. Free.
'Americans' at the National Museum of the American Indian, opens Jan. 18
An Indian Chief motorcycle, a Tomahawk flight-test missile and hundreds other objects emblazoned with the name and image of American Indians will be on display at the National Museum of the American Indian’s new long-term exhibition. “Americans” dives into the many ways American Indians have shaped the nation’s history, identity and pop culture. The exhibit also challenges visitors to reexamine the stories they thought they knew about the Trail of Tears, the Battle of the Little Bighorn and the life of Pocahontas. Through 2027. Free.
There's more to opera than war horses such as “Carmen” and “The Magic Flute.” The Washington National Opera's American Opera Initiative Festival is focused on the next generation of opera, with premieres of four new works, including a trio of 20-minute operas for those with very short attention spans, over the course of three days. The main attraction is two performances of the hour-long “Proving Up,” from the duo behind the acclaimed 2016 opera “Breaking the Waves.” Times vary. $19-$49.
The amateur storytellers of Story District can make an audience howl with laughter, bring a packed room to hushed silence and leave a crowd hanging on their every word. The organization puts on dozens of shows each year, but if you only make it to one, make it Top Shelf. The eight performers telling their true tales on stage were selected by a panel of judges as the very best of more than 150 stories performed in 2017. 8 p.m. $25-$35.
Winter Restaurant Week, Jan. 22-28
Restaurant Week can be overwhelming: Last summer's edition featured three-course brunch, lunch and dinner deals from 250 restaurants. It can also be underwhelming, with regular complaints about eateries that skimp on portion sizes or modify menus to use cheaper ingredients. But with a little research, you can come out ahead: Who'd turn down a $22 lunch at Rasika or Fiola Mare, or a $35 dinner from Kyirisan? Book in advance, because the best time slots disappear quickly. $22-$35.
Folk artists and self-taught artists have always had a role in modern American art, but the boundaries have shifted and changed over time. A major exhibit at the National Gallery of Art looks at how these disenfranchised and outsider artists have intersected with more mainstream artists. More than 250 works are included in the show, ranging from paintings and sketches to quilts and Polaroids. Open daily. Free.
'Whipped Cream' at the Kennedy Center, Jan. 30-Feb. 4
The season of “The Nutcracker” is over, but there’s another candy-themed ballet in the wings: “Whipped Cream,” Alexei Ratmansky’s full-length ballet for American Ballet Theatre, makes its D.C. premiere at the Kennedy Center. In this whimsical tale, a boy overindulges at a pastry shop and falls into a sugar coma, dreaming of a world of whipped cream inhabited by such characters as Princess Praline and Prince Coffee and dancers dressed as meringue confections. Times vary. $49-$249.
— Fritz Hahn, Adele Chapin and Nelson Pressley