Things to Do DC

The Weekend Scene: 10+ Things to Do While It's So, So Hot

Things to do, events and free picks for this weekend in D.C., Maryland and Northern Virginia

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The D.C. area’s sweat factor this weekend will be as intense as a post-Nationals game rush to Metro. For us, that means enjoying our city early and late — with a nice siesta as temperatures get close to 100°.

We might spend the morning sipping iced coffee at the Lotus and Water Lily Festival at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens — special kid-friendly activities and tours are happening on weekends in July.

In the evening, we’re looking forward to a good laugh. Amanda Seales — AKA Tiffany DuBois in “Insecure” — is bringing an entire weekend of comedy to The Kennedy Center, including a Black knowledge quiz show and a live podcast episode. D.C. native Paris Sashay is crossing the river with her friends for a show on Sunday at the Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse. And we can't talk about comedy in the Capital without mentioning DC Improv — the OG of laughs — who has hypnotist Flip Orley this weekend.

Or, check out shows (some free) at two fresh comedy venues that made a punchline out of pandemic setbacks: Room 808 in Petworth and Hotbed in Adams Morgan.

We highlighted both in The Weekend Scene newsletter — sign up here to get a jumpstart on weekend plans every Wednesday.

Things to Do in D.C., Maryland and Virginia This Weekend

Free Pick
Lotus and Water Lily Festival
Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens (1900 Anacostia Ave SE, Washington, D.C.)
Through the end of July

The lotus flowers are in peak bloom this week at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens.

The best time to visit is early in the morning when the flowers are fully open, the National Park Service says. The park is open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily — make sure to bring your own water.

Stroll the quarter-mile boardwalk or bike around the park at your own time (here are maps), or take the whole family to special events on Saturday and Sunday.

This weekend, the festival’s theme is exploring nature and the environment. Join a ranger on a walk through the Shaw Water Gardens or get up close with live critters.

Mariachi Aguila Internacional DC will perform on Saturday from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.; bring a picnic and unwind after-hours.

The festival continues through the end of July.

Amanda Seales at the Kennedy Center

Amanda Seales — AKA Tiffany DuBois in “Insecure” — is bringing an entire weekend of comedy to The Kennedy Center. Catch the “Smart Funny & Black” quiz show on Friday, a live edition of her “Small Doses” podcast on Saturday afternoon followed by “An Evening with Amanda Seales.”

Free Pick
Culture Caucus Summer Festival: Don’t Mute DC
Friday, July 22, 5-8:30 p.m. and Saturday, July 23, 2-8:30 p.m.
The Kennedy Center

Don't Mute DC, a coalition dedicated to preserving D.C.'s Black culture and fighting displacement, is curating two days of music, movement and a panel discussion called "The Healing Power of Go-go Music."

Check out a cabaret performance tracing "The Politics of the Drum" on Friday at 5 p.m. to sets by The Experience Band & Show (Friday, 6 p.m.) and The Junkyard Band (Saturday, 6 p.m.). The arts market will be open both days.

Classic Film Screenings
Friday at 7:30 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Packard Campus Theater (19053 Mount Pony Road, Culpeper, Virginia)

Legends including Elvis Presley, Greta Garbo and Federico Fellini will appear on screen at the Library of Congress’ Packard Campus Theater in Culpeper. This weekend’s screenings are "Flesh and The Devil" at 7:30 p.m. Friday, 1964’s “Viva Las Vegas” at 2 p.m. Saturday, followed by "8 ½" at 7:30 p.m.

Free Pick
Maps of Washington Open House
Saturday, July 23 at 10:30 p.m.
The George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum (701 21st St. NW, Washington, D.C.)

Peer into the D.C. area’s history through historic maps, and learn about how you can use the Albert H. Small Center for National Capital Area Studies for your own research. Register here.

Free Pick
Alethia Tanner Day
Saturday, July 23, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Alethia Tanner Park

Double-Dutch demos and lessons, seed-planting, music a pop-up market and more to honor Alethia Tanner, a D.C. civil rights icon.

Free Pick
SummerFest Olney Theatre
Saturday, July 23, 1 p.m.
Olney Theatre Center (2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Road, Olney, Maryland)

Come for free performances, including the National Players’ “Much Ado About Nothing,” and stay for a craft market, prop sale, backstage tours and more. Refresh at food trucks or try a beer tasting.

It’s free, but do grab a ticket in advance. Note that masks are required indoors.

Bonbon – A Mini Festival Benefitting SMYAL
Saturday, 5-11 p.m.
Songbyrd (540 Penn St NE Washington, D.C.)

Dance the evening away while benefitting SMYAL, an organization that provides services to LGBTQIA+ youth in the District.

All Purpose Monumental Drag Brunch
Sunday, July 24, 11 a.m.
All Purpose Pizzeria, 79 Potomac Avenue SE, Washington, D.C.

Emerald Star hosts this drag brunch; tickets cost $38 and come with bottomless Aperol spritzes or mimosas.

National Tequila Day

Sunday is National Tequila Day, perfect for cooling down with an ice-cold margarita.

Slice up some limes and enjoy specials at Tex-Mex chain Chuy’s ($1 tequila floaters, $5 top-shelf shots), dLeña (Reposado Margarita, $16), Inca Social ($5 shots and margs), metrobar (2 for $30 margaritas from 1-3 p.m.) and Bark Social (spicy watermelon jalapeno lemonade).

Free Pick
Imagine: Reflections on Peace
U.S. Institute of Peace (2301 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, D.C.)

“Why is it so difficult to make a good peace when it is so easy to imagine?” That’s the central question guiding this multimedia exhibit highlighting societies that have survived violent conflict.

It’s open Thursday, Fridays and Mondays through Aug. 1  Free, timed entry tickets are available here. Note, organizers say the exhibit may not be suitable for visitors under 14.

Free Pick
Zenith Gallery Presents Art For All
Zenith Galleries (1429 Iris Street NW and 7350 Georgia Ave NW in Washington, D.C.)

Stroll through the Zenith Gallery’s outdoor sculpture garden and indoor exhibits at their two locations. Opening receptions are set for Thursday (4-8 p.m.) and Saturday (2-6 p.m.).

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