Things to Do DC

The Weekend Scene: Alexandria birthday fireworks, High Wheel Race and more to do in the DC area

Celebrate France's Bastille Day, get to know Romanian culture or see concerts this weekend in D.C., Maryland and Virginia

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D.C.’s hottest club is now the Washington Convention Center, but only NATO members can get in.

Fortunately, the traffic and transit disruptions that everyone is talking about should be over by Saturday.

Therefore, we call our own N.A.T.O. – Now Attention To Our Weekend – summit into session.

  • Weekend Weather: After a rainy Friday, expect heat and sun for all your outdoor plans. Here's the forecast.

Weekend highlights

Free pick
Vienna Multicultural Festival
Fri., 4-9 p.m., Vienna, Virginia
🔗 Details

Fill your Friday evening with live music, kids’ performers, games and more (even a Thai fruit and veggie cutting demonstration!). It’s free and open to all.

Free pick
Romanian Weekend
Fri. to Sun., The Wharf
🔗 Details

All weekend long, enjoy the sights, sounds and tastes of Romania (coincidentally, a NATO member) at the free, family-friendly festival on The Wharf. The schedule includes rock concerts, traditional fiddle music, dance shows, food sampling and hands-on arts and crafts.

Capital Fringe Festival
July 11-23, various venues in D.C., tickets to each show cost $15
🔗 Details

Shows that bring the best, most creative and sometimes eyebrow-raising stories in D.C.’s theater scene take the stage at the 17th annual Capital Fringe Festival. Check the site for venues in unexpected places.

Pro Tip: Most of these shows are made by locals, some of them first-time playwrights or directors. And some are veteran performers like Virginia magician Ryan Phillips who took over our IG (Where did the liquid come from??!).

Free pick
High Wheel Race
Sat., races begin at noon at 124 N Market Street in Frederick, Maryland
🔗 Details

The 10th Annual High Wheel Race in Frederick, Maryland, is not quite an Olympic sport, but it’s sure fun to watch.

These 19th-century bikes (which you may know better as penny farthings) are going to be racing through downtown Frederick for the national title on Saturday.

Last year, Tommy gave it a shot. We’ll let you in on a secret: It’s what inspired our Summer Olympics series, Tommy Tries It.

Free pick
Alexandria & USA Birthday Celebration
Sat., 6-10 p.m. with fireworks at 9:30 p.m.
🔗 Details

You thought the birthday celebrations were over last week? No way!

Alexandria is turning 275 years young, which means it’s the place for you to party on Saturday.

Head to Oronoco Bay Park to see Alexandria’s Symphony Orchestra, fireworks and a cannon salute!

Or, hit up Canal Center Plaza for live jazz by Yellow Door Concert. New Waterfront Park will host a dance party with DJ One Luv.

News4's Tommy McFly grabs a bow and arrow as former Team USA archer Jack Williams teaches him the tricks of the sport. 

C'est Bastille Day

We’re deep in our 🥐 Francophile era 🥐 as we count down to the Paris Olympics (competitions start in two weeks!).

France’s national day on Sunday, July 14, is the parfait opportunity to party like you’re in Paris. D.C.’s love for all things French dates back to Pierre “Peter” Charles L’Enfant , after all.

Restaurant fêtes

D.C.'s French restaurant scene is fantastic (Eun Yang recently went to newcomer Pastis for Food Fare!), and many spots are celebrating Bastille Day.

Le Diplomate on 14th Street has its annual extravaganza all weekend. On Sunday, La Grande Boucherie launches a special Summer in France menu for the Olympics.

Other French restaurants getting in on the fun include Lutèce, Petite CeriseLe Mont Royal and Opaline in D.C., plus Bastille and WHINO in Virginia.

Elk Run Vineyards in Mount Airy and Lost Boy Cider in Alexandria will both throw parties.


Bastille Day at the Park in Tenleytown includes food, beverages and activities. Tickets cost $20. Take a tour in Georgetown or learn about the French alliance during the Revolutionary War at Mount Vernon.

Haute couture

Want to dress up? At the French Embassy, get a taste of the Alsace region at their Bastille Day Gala with dinner, drinks and dancing. Tickets start at $200.

Concerts this weekend

Pinky Lemon, 7 p.m. Thursday, Songbyrd, $15/$18

D.C. shoegazers celebrate the release of last month’s EP, “Pinky Hell.” Fellow Washington shoegaze/emo bands Pretty Bitter and Cuni open. Details.

Wanted Man, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Black Cat (Red Room), $15

Psychedelic D.C. garage rockers celebrate the release of a new single. Details.

Totally Tubular Festival, 5 p.m. Sunday, The Anthem, $55.50-$95.50

OD on the ‘80s down at The Wharf. The lineup includes Thomas Dolby, Wang Chung, The Tubes, Bow Wow Wow and Men Without Hats. Listen to an ‘80s artist’s other songs followed by their hit. Repeat. Details.

More things to do in D.C.

Copa at La Cosecha: Game days through July 14, free

Jazz in The Parks: Integriti Reeves with opener Baba Ras D: Sat., The Parks at Walter Reed, free

Hot Fuss: Indie Rock Dance Party: Sat., doors at 9 p.m., Black Cat, $10 in advance/$15 day-of

More things to do in Maryland

Chesapeake Shakespeare Co. Presents: A Midsummer Night's Dream: Weds., 7 p.m., Martin Luther King Jr. Recreational Park in Silver Spring, free

Strathmore: Live from the Lawn: Wednesday evenings, plus Cool Concerts for Kids on Thursdays, Strathmore in North Bethesda, free

Montgomery Parks’ Summer Concert series: Thurs., Black Hill Regional Park, free

Friday Night Live!: Fri., 6:30-8:30 p.m., City Hall Plaza, free

Shakespeare In The Parks: “A Midsummer Night's Dream”

  • Fri., 7:30 p.m., Montpelier Grounds in Laurel, free
  • Sat., 7:30 p.m., Driskell Community Park in Hyattsville, free
  • Sun., 3 p.m., Prince George's Publick Playhouse, free

West African Food Crops:  History, Cultivation and Culinary Uses: Sat., 10:30 a.m., Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, $25

Artisans Market at BlackRock Center for the Arts: Sat., noon to 4 p.m., Germantown, free entry

Things to do in Virginia

Plants in the Park: Weds., 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Met Park in Arlington, free

Pipes and Drums concert: Thurs., Market Square in Alexandria, free

BlerDCon: Fri. to Sun., Hyatt Crystal City

Torpedo Factory Art Center 2nd Friday: Fri., 7-10 p.m., Alexandria, free

Summer Art Market 2024 at Del Ray Artisans Gallery: Sat. and Sun., Alexandria, free entry

US vs. UK: Who Does Tea Better?: Sun., Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria,  $18 (lecture only); $40 (lecture + tea)

NVA Thai Street Food & Culture Festival: Sun., Manassas, free entry

Soccer in the Park: Strawberry Park at Mosaic in Fairfax, free

  • Euro Final, Sun., 3 p.m.
  • Copa Final, Sun., 8 p.m.
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