Things to Do DC

The Weekend Scene: Things to Do in DC, From Family-Friendly to Offbeat

Events, activities and free things to do in the D.C. area the weekend of July 15-17


It's a sweet weekend to live in the D.C. area — even sweeter than usual because Sunday is National Ice Cream Day.

Get in touch with the D.C. area’s offbeat side by catching a stage show at Capital Fringe Fest, a penny-farthing bike race through Frederick, Maryland, or a wild Elvis-meets-WWE comedy-burlesque show.

Looking to get the whole family out for free or cheap? Head to Capital One Arena on Friday night for a hockey scrimmage played by prospective players. On Sunday, the Fiesta Asia street fair will have dancing, performances and food from more than 20 Asian cultures, plus there will be kids’ activities.

The fest is also a very short walk from the National Gallery of Art, which is showing the last weekend of the Afro-Atlantic Histories exhibit.  

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

Elvis’ Birthday Fight Club
Friday and Saturday
Gala Hispanic Theater (3333 14th St NW, Washington, D.C.)

This self-described “bizarre cultural phenomenon” is coming to the Gala Hispanic Theater. Celebrity impersonators will battle unlikely matches in this comedy-burlesque show at Creative Alliance. Tickets start at $28. If you can’t make it this week, the spectacle may be worth the trip to Baltimore next weekend.

Capital Fringe Festival
July 14-17 and July 21-24

The Fringe theatre festival returns for another summer and has grown since its start in 2006. Shows range from comedies like “EGO/DEATH” by Natalie Parks to dramas like “Green Machine” by Urban Idyll Theater. Performances are in multiple locations in Georgetown and tickets can be purchased online.

Here's our preview of the festival.

Free Pick
Hockey Development Camp Scrimmage Hosted by the Capitals
Friday, July 15 at 6 p.m.
Capital One Arena (601 F St NW, Washington, DC 20004)

Calling all hockey enthusiasts to attend an open house and development camp scrimmage at Capital One Stadium. Participants will be able to watch Capitals' prospects play on ice, hop in a photobooth, enter raffles and win prizes, plus test out season ticket locations for the upcoming season. Admission to the event is free and open to the public. The Capitals are asking those interested in attending to secure their spot and RSVP here

Lake Arbor Jazz Festival
Wednesday, July 13 to Sunday, July 17 
Lake Arbor Community Center (10100 Lake Arbor Way, Mitchellville, MD 20721)

Get ready for a festival full of great R&B and contemporary jazz music. Described on its website as “a spectacular weekend of music that you absolutely won’t want to miss,” the Lake Arbor Jazz Festival offers a diverse lineup of jazz musicians and plenty of events to enjoy with the whole family. The main performances of the festival will take place on Saturday and Sunday at the Lake Arbor Community Center, however, a variety of events throughout the week are offered at different locations listed here

A high-wheel bike race with competitors from across the country and parts of Europe takes place Saturday. News4’s Tommy McFly reports.

National Clustered Spires High Wheel Race
Saturday, July 16, watch party begins at 11 a.m., races begin at noon
101 N Court Street, Frederick, Maryland

Penny-farthings — those old-timey bikes with the big front wheel — are no relic in Frederick this weekend. Racers will compete in this one-of-a-kind race for a national title. A free, family-friendly watch party outside City Hall will feature music by the Dapper DJs plus food, wine and beer for purchase.

Mount Vernon Arts Family Day
Saturday, July 16 and Sunday, July 17, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. 
George Washington’s Mount Vernon (3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Hwy, Mt Vernon, VA 22121)

Transport into a world of 18th-century art at George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate. Art demonstrations, hands-on crafts, music seminars and more will be available in all different areas of the property. 

A sensory-friendly installment of the event will occur only on Saturday from 9 to 11 a.m. This time will be dedicated to creating a comfortable experience for guests that may require or prefer a quieter version of the event. 

Summer Reggae Wine & Music Festival
Saturday, July 16 – Sunday, July 17, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Linganore Winecellars (13601 Glissans Mill Rd, Mount Airy, Maryland)

Reggae fans and wine connoisseurs alike can enjoy this festival featuring 19 different wines and two live bands per day. The event also includes food and shopping from over 40 local vendors and full bottle sales for wine flavors visitors take a liking to. Tickets start at $32.50.

Free Pick
Fiesta Asia Street Fair
Saturday, July 16, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
400 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, D.C.

Spend this weekend celebrating Asian heritage with the Fiesta Asia Street Fair, the largest Pan-Asian festival in the D.C. metropolitan area. The festival includes over 1,000 performers, artisans and organizations and spans more than 20 diverse Asian cultures. The event is free and open to the public.

Annapolis Irish Festival
Saturday, July 16, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Anne Arundel County Fairgrounds (1450 General’s Highway, Crownsville, Maryland)

Don’t forget to wear your green to the return of the Annapolis Irish Festival! Experience unique activities like ax throwing, escape rooms, meeting Irish Wolfhounds and more, all while enjoying a variety of food and drink options. Tickets should be purchased as soon as possible, as the organizers anticipate a sold-out event. Admission for children under 12 is free, however a children’s ticket is still required to enter.

Free Pick
National Harbor River Cleanup
Saturday, July 16 from 3 to 6 p.m.
National Harbor Carousel Parking Lot (137 National Plaza Suite 200, Oxon Hill, MD 20745)

Help keep the Potomac Rivers clean by participating in the Potomac Riverkeeper Network’s monthly river cleanup. Volunteers of all ages are welcome to join in on cleaning up the pollution on the shorelines. Gloves, trash bags and other cleaning supplies will be provided at the registration table before the event. Registration will be open 30 minutes before the start time of the event and is located in the parking lot for the National Harbor Carousel. Prior to registration, volunteers must sign this waiver

Plants Alive! Kokedama Workshop
Saturday, July 16 from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.
3 Stars Brewing Company (6400 Chillum Place Northwest, Washington, DC 20012)

Bring out your inner gardener in a kokedama workshop hosted by the local farming movement Cultivate the City. Learn step by step how to grow and maintain this Japanese moss ball plant from gardening experts from the area. Price of admission to the event includes the cost of the necessary supplies to participate, such as the moss, string, soil and plants. 

Walker Redds Project and N2N Band Performances
Sunday, July 17 from 4 to 6 p.m.
Fairwood Community Park (12390 Fairwood Parkway, Bowie 20720) 

The Fairwood Community Park Performance Series and Music Festival is back with a summer line-up full of diverse music genres. This Sunday, the festival is showcasing the unique sounds of the Walker Redds Project and the N2N Band. Admission to the festival’s musical entertainment is free and open to crowds of all ages.

American Prophet: Frederick Douglass in his own words
July 15 - August 28
Arena Stage (1101 6th St SW, Washington, DC)

For the rest of the summer, the Arena Stage will be showing “American Prophet,” a musical centered around Frederick Douglass’s speeches and writings. Audience members can learn about Douglass’s rise as an abolitionist through new melodies and an original script. Performances will be available at multiple times of day and tickets can be purchased online.

Free Pick
Final Weekend: Afro-Atlantic Histories
Through July 17, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
National Gallery of Art (6th St NW & Constitution Ave NW, Washington, D.C.)

Visit the National Gallery of Art for the last week of “Afro-Atlantic Histories,” a gallery of more than 130 works of art from artists in the African Diaspora. The exhibit includes paintings, sculptures, photographs and time-based media. Admission to the National Gallery of Art is free.

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