The 31 best things to do in D.C. this weekend and next week

National Park Week, beginning Saturday alongside Earth Day, includes free admission to all national parks, including Great Falls. (Kevin Ambrose for The Washington Post)
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This is a big weekend for nature lovers, full of Earth Day celebrations, cleanup events and concerts, and also the kickoff to National Park Week, which means free entry at Great Falls Park, Prince William Forest Park and other local sites. The National Cannabis Festival rolls into town on Saturday, with associated 4/20 events. Looking for something else? Try the Petworth PorchFest, which turns a neighborhood into a music festival; a museum festival connecting six museums and galleries; and outdoor movies and concerts.

Need even more Earth Day ideas? Check out our updated guide to the best ways to celebrate Earth Day in the D.C. area.

Thursday, April 20

National Cannabis Festival’s 4/20 Week

While the National Cannabis Festival takes place on Saturday, there are plenty of chances to begin celebrating early during 420 Week. The day itself begins with a 4.2-mile fun run, led by festival staff and fellow enthusiasts, starting at Meridian Hill Park at 8:40 a.m., and finishes with a 4/20 Kickback at Songbyrd at 8 p.m., featuring a mix of music and video. Full schedule available on the National Cannabis Festival website.

Canna-Crawl for 4/20

The I-71 Committee, a lobbying group of stakeholders and shop owners aiming to pass legislation to license the I-71 market for recreational marijuana use, is reimagining bar crawls with a “Canna-Crawl” on what is regarded as a holiday for fans of, uh, gifts. Tickets will get patrons gifted cannabis from each of the 11 stores, mostly in Northwest Washington, involved in the committee. 4:20 to 7:20 p.m. $4.20.

National Cannabis Policy Summit Congressional Forum at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center

While marijuana legalization and reform movements evolve across the country, “there are still many challenges ahead,” says Caroline Phillips, the founder of the National Cannabis Festival. The National Cannabis Policy Summit, first held in 2018, brings together lawmakers, business leaders, lobbyists and advocates at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center to discuss the current landscape. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) will deliver the keynote speech; the event is free for the public to attend. Even Phillips is sometimes stunned by how far public sentiment about cannabis has come in recent years: “I think if you’d asked me eight years ago if our event would be invited into the United States Capitol, let alone having the Senate majority leader deliver the keynote address, I would have told you, ‘I don’t know if that’s going to happen.’” 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Free.

Plant-Based No-Waste Cooking Class at Mess Hall

Chef Margaux Riccio of D.C. vegan restaurants Pow Pow and Bubbie’s Plant Burgers & Fizz is known for her ingenious methods of making plant-based cheeses, and she is teaching a class at Mess Hall focused on sustainable cooking. Learn techniques to reduce food waste while trying out recipes for homemade almond milk and almond cheese. Splurge on a VIP ticket to get unlimited pours of wine. 6 p.m. $70-$85.

‘Before 42’ at the National Archives

Last Saturday was Jackie Robinson Day for Major League Baseball, with every player on every team sporting the No. 42 jersey that Robinson wore on his major league debut in 1947. While Robinson was the first man to break baseball’s color barrier since the 1880s, he stood on the shoulders of giants: Negro League players such as Satchel Paige, who barnstormed with — and outpitched — major league players, and the Homestead Grays’ duo of Josh Gibson and Buck Leonard. Join Bob Kendrick, the president of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, and the Rev. Ray C. Mackey III, the chairman of the Biz Mackey Family Foundation, at the National Archives’ William G. McGowan Theater for a discussion of the Negro League players who paved the way for Robinson’s groundbreaking success. ESPN’s Clinton Yates serves as moderator; Rep. James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.) provides opening remarks. 7 p.m. Free; registration required.

Headroom Listening Sessions and LTJ Bukem at Flash

There are two very different reasons to head to Flash on Thursday night. From 7 to 9 p.m., there’s the return of the Headroom Listening Sessions, a monthly showcase for local EDM producers that allows them — and everyone else in the room — to listen to their latest new track on Flash’s best-in-class sound system instead of headphones or stereo speakers. It’s as much a meet-and-greet as a workshop, and a chance to hear the sound of up-and-coming D.C. By contrast, Flash’s headliner needs no introduction: LTJ Bukem emerged as a leader in Britain’s drum and bass scene in the 1990s, founded Good Looking Records, and continues to tour and release atmospheric, ambient-influenced d’n’b. Expect him to push Flash’s impressive speakers and subwoofers to their limits. Headroom: 7 to 9 p.m. Free. LTJ Bukem: 10 p.m. $25-$30.

Jaleo Gin and Tonic Festival

Once each year, all Jaleo restaurants pay homage to the gin and tonic, a cocktail closely identified with England but beloved in Spain. The festival’s menu includes original variations such as the Romeria, which adds rosemary syrup to Puerto de Indias, a gin made in Seville, and Indian tonic. Through April 30. Cocktails $16.

Friday, April 21

Water cleanup at the Wharf

On the day before Earth Day, the Wharf is offering discounted kayak rentals — in exchange for some light volunteering. Collect trash from the artificial wetlands designed to catch debris during an hour-long cleanup, before heading to the after-party at a to-be-announced restaurant at the Wharf, which promises music, snacks and a complimentary beer for every participant. This event is limited to those 21 and older, and all proceeds will go to local waterway preservation organizations. 5 to 7:30 p.m. $10.

‘A League of Her Own’ at Union Market

Drive-in movies became a trend during the pandemic, but Union Market has been hosting outdoor screenings in its parking lot since 2013. Reserve a space, ease the seat back and listen to the sound through your FM radio, or join the carless masses in front of the market on Neal Place, where picnics are welcome — food and drinks can be procured from the market’s vendors or the outdoor Suburbia bar. This week’s film is “A League of Their Own,” the 1992 hit starring Geena Davis, Madonna and Tom Hanks that tells a fictional story inspired by the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. Film begins around 8:30 p.m. $20 per car; free for walk-ups.

Emo Nite at Echostage

Looking for a place where you can revert to your teenage self and leave your anger and tears on the dance floor? Emo Nite, which started at a Los Angeles bar, has become a national phenomenon, allowing like-minded fans at Coachella and Lollapalooza to scream along as DJs play emo and pop-punk favorites by Fall Out Boy, Brand New, Panic! at the Disco and other bands you know all the words to. 9 p.m. $30; buy three tickets and get one free.

D.C. Lindy Exchange

The annual D.C. Lindy Exchange attracts swing dancers from across the country for what feels like a nonstop week of dancing. Festivities begin with the Craig Gildner Big Band playing classic 1930s and ’40s swing in the most appropriate setting: the historic Glen Echo Spanish Ballroom. Around midnight, after three hours of dancing, the big band gives way to two more groups, Keenan McKenzie and the Riffers and Taryn Newborne and the Real Deal, who will keep going until 4 a.m. On Saturday afternoon, Chelsea Reed and the Fair Weather Five set up in Dupont Circle for a free, fun outdoor dance that draws a large number of curious passersby, some of whom are compelled to join in. It’s back to Glen Echo on Saturday night, with the Scott Silbert Big Band as the main attraction, more dancing until 4 a.m., and a jam session at Glen Echo’s bumper car pavilion before Gordon Webster and Friends take the ballroom’s stage. Free swing dance lessons are included with the Friday and Saturday night events. $20-$30 per event; $150 for an all-access pass.

Saturday, April 22

Earth Day activities

Earth Day falls on a Saturday this year, making it easy to spend the weekend celebrating Mother Earth. Whether you prefer to immerse yourself in nature, cultivate a green thumb or listen to eco-inspired music, there’s an event that fits your interests.

Earth Day cleanups

How better to spend a few hours on Earth Day than beautifying D.C.-area rivers and parks? Cut down invasive honeysuckle in Arlington with the Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail, or volunteer to collect litter along D.C. waterways with Anacostia Riverkeeper, which will host a cleanup at Kenilworth Park in Northeast.

Honor Earth: A Celebration of Earth Day at Anacostia Community Museum

Learn how to get a garden started at day-long festivities at the Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum that include workshops in its garden along with seed giveaways and plant care instruction. Other activities include lessons in urban foraging, a panel discussion on the future of farming for farmers of color, and giveaways from local food and beverage companies while supplies last. Shuttles will be running every 30 minutes to the museum from the Anacostia Metro station. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free; registration recommended.

Living Earth Festival: Native Nations Confronting Climate Change at the National Museum of the American Indian

From water shortages to wildfires, America’s West is facing critical environmental challenges. A two-day gathering at the National Museum of the American Indian looks at how “Indigenous communities are stepping forward with aggressive plans to protect their ways of life.” The program will be live-streamed through the museum’s website. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free.

National Park Week

Entrance fees to all national parks will be waived on April 22, the first day of National Park Week. This is a good opportunity to visit parks that normally require an entrance fee, such as nearby Great Falls Park, Prince William Forest Park or Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. A full list of parks is available on the National Park Service website. Various locations. Free.

National Cannabis Festival

The National Cannabis Festival, which returns to the RFK Stadium grounds for the seventh time this weekend, is known for its mix of activism and hip-hop, with past musical headliners including De La Soul, Ghostface Killah and Ludacris. This year, 2 Chainz, Juicy J and Free Nationals are topping the bill for a day-long show expected to attract thousands, alongside locals Backyard Band and Cumbia Heights. But the day is about much more than music: The festival itself is introducing an LGBTQ lounge and will also hold pavilions focused on entrepreneurship, wellness and culture. Head to Grower’s World, where festivalgoers can meet participants and judges from the National Cannabis Championship — a celebration of homegrown cannabis flowers — and learn how to improve plants, or hear budding entrepreneurs pitch new business ideas during the CannaTank competition. Noon to 10 p.m. $85; $306 for a group of four. VIP tickets $425.

Do the Loop

When most folks talk about museum-hopping in D.C., they’re referring to visiting multiple Smithsonians on the Mall, or maybe browsing the galleries and historic houses near Dupont Circle. The new “Do the Loop” event has a much more ambitious agenda, with shuttle buses servicing six off-the-beaten-path institutions, including the Kreeger Museum in Foxhall, American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center in Tenleytown and Dumbarton Oaks in Georgetown. (The Jackson Art Center, Addison/Ripley Fine Art and Klagsbrun Studios, also participating, are a short walk from Dumbarton Oaks.) Each location offers something different: tours of Dumbarton’s gardens and museum; live jazz and food trucks at the Kreeger; an art workshop for children at Jackson Art Center. While there’s parking at the AU Museum and limited parking at the Kreeger, organizers are encouraging visitors to take the free shuttles between locations, with a circular route beginning at American University throughout the day. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free; no reservations required.

Petworth PorchFest

It would be impossible to experience everything at Petworth PorchFest, even if you wanted to. For one afternoon, the entire neighborhood becomes a giant music festival, turning 85 porches and front yards into pop-up stages filled with acts who’ve played local clubs — familiar names include the Rock Creek Kings bluegrass band, the horn-driven Crush Funk Brass Band, the zippy ska of the Fuss and the Latin dance music of Leon City Sounds — but also neighbors who want to show off their musical side. Almost 200 acts perform in all, with the main stages at the Petworth Rec Center, where rapper Dior Ashley Brown and jazz saxophonist Herb Scott are headlining, and in the parking lot behind the Art of Noize. A schedule is posted on the Petworth PorchFest website, but the best way to enjoy this annual outdoor happening is to wander around Petworth, letting your ears guide you to new sounds, and popping into local restaurants, bars and shops. 2 to 6 p.m. Free.

Record Store Day

In the year after vinyl records outsold CDs for the first time in decades, Record Store Day is back with a list of new music and unreleased albums at shops throughout the country. Taylor Swift’s “Folklore: The Long Pond Studio Sessions” is among the exclusive vinyl releases, live shows and rare reissues up for grabs, alongside artists like the Rolling Stones, Violent Femmes, Dolly Parton and the Dismemberment Plan — if you can get there early enough. Several local stores have altered opening hours and expect lines to start forming in the early morning, since records are usually sold on a first-come, first-served basis. (Union Market’s Byrdland Records has sold out of appointment shopping until 11 a.m.). Some stores are hosting concurring events: Joe’s Record Paradise in Silver Spring has a jazz-related panel discussion and symposium, and Mobius Records in Fairfax is serving RSD-themed beer and hosting live bands from noon to 4 p.m. Check social media to see which records each store will stock, and visit for a full list of participating shops.

Abbondanza Natural Wine Festival at Sonny’s Pizza

Take the warm weather as a good sign: This weekend marks the return of Abbondanza, the free-flowing natural wine festival held in the courtyard behind Sonny’s Pizza, for the first time in 2023. The setup is fairly simple: Each table is run by a different importer of natural and low-impact wines, which means one minute you’re tasting a selection of Italian reds, but the next table may have orange wines from the Baltics, whites from France, a mix of Argentina and California — and that’s all part of the fun. Expect at least seven or eight wine importers to taste and learn from, plus beers and cider, while the staff from Sonny’s keeps a table filled with free pizza that complements what you’re sipping. 1 to 4 p.m. $65; $85 VIP tickets allow for noon entry.

DC Wine Fest at Union Market

DC Wine Fest returns to Dock 5, the warehouse space above NoMa’s Union Market marketplace, for a day of tastings from 44 winemakers. The 10-hour event is broken into three general admission sessions that last two hours, and each has an early admission option to tack on another 60 minutes of tastings. Three singers liven up each session with live music, and eats are available from caterers including Corkys Crab Cakes and New Gourmet Delight. The event is 21 and up, and even nondrinkers need a ticket for entry. Noon to 10 p.m. $39-$60.

TEDx at local universities

TED Talks have swept the internet since their earliest days, but TEDx, the organization’s grass-roots initiative, brings the talks from screens to in-person locations, with both Georgetown University and George Washington University hosting their TEDx events this weekend. GWU kicks off its talks Saturday, which all answer to this year’s theme: “origin story.” As at GWU, GU’s speakers (with the theme “seasons for change”) include leaders in diverse fields, professors and students. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at GWU. $25. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at GU. $10.

M83 at the Anthem

It may have just recently seen viral TikTok fame for its song “Wait,” but this French synth-pop group has been churning out ambient, dreamlike tracks for more than 20 years. Nine albums later, “Fantasy,” released last month, delivers an otherworldly feel unsurprising for a band that takes its name from Messier 83 spiral galaxies. The lyrics are sparse, as in the group’s other works, but that doesn’t mean M83 doesn’t have much to say. Take the track “Us and the Rest,” which is almost an indictment of our modern age in how heavily it yearns for another place and time. “Hello, freak! / Can you see the sky ladder / By the limbo cafe / Leading to the green ray? / Sometimes it fades,” the barely audible sci-fi-themed lyrics hang under heavy reverb. So what if that other place is in a different galaxy? 8 p.m. $45-$75.

‘¡Porque Sí!’ at Theater J

Imagine flamenco dancers at the circus and you’ve got an inkling of the inspiration behind the show “¡Porque Sí!” at Theater J. Two local artists, aerialist Gwynne Flanagan and flamenco dancer Yolit Yospe-Kachlon, teamed up to create a show that explores the similarities between their art forms. These graceful performances of both flamenco and aerial acrobatics will be accompanied by live music. Saturday at 4 and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 4 p.m. $32-$40.

Sunday, April 23

FrühlingsFest at Wunder Garten

The warm-weather counterpart to Oktoberfest, FrühlingsFest is a celebration of the renewal of spring, rather than the harvest. Wunder Garten wraps up its two-weekend FrühlingsFest with “Bavarian Sunday,” a party featuring a German oompah band from 2 to 5 p.m.; stein-holding contests; a menu of sausages and pretzels; and seasonal German beers, including Hofbrauhaus Maibock. Can’t make it Sunday? There are other events throughout the weekend, including a beer tasting on Friday and a band on Saturday afternoon. Through Sunday. Free.

Workout classes on Yards Park boardwalk

Consider postponing that gym membership for the warmer months as outdoor workout series return, including this one from the Capitol Riverfront BID that offers morning classes in yoga, kickboxing and boxing from national studios and the District’s own VIDA Fitness. Remember to bring a mat and to register for each class ahead of time — they run through May 21. Sundays at 8:30 a.m.; Tuesdays at 7:30 a.m.; Thursdays at 7 a.m. Free.

Monday, April 24

United by Hockey Mobile Museum at the Embassy of Canada

The Capitals might not have made the playoffs, but fans can still get a taste of hockey in D.C. this week, thanks to the NHL’s United by Hockey Mobile Museum, which visits the Canadian Embassy on Monday and Tuesday. Browse game-worn jerseys and Olympic memorabilia, watch videos, check out collections of hockey cards, or try calling a game in the interactive broadcast booth. Monday from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. and Tuesday from 1 to 5 p.m. Free.

Long Beard at DC9

To fully understand “Means to Me,” the second album by Long Beard (Leslie Bear), close your eyes and think of a suburban hometown. Maybe it’s winter, when harmonies feel more tense and rhythms drag in syrupy slow motion. Adolescent doubt blends with wistful memories of first kisses outside a CVS and rooftop conversations. That’s the scene Long Beard directs with her 10-track sophomore release. In “Snow Globe,” her glowing voice lilts over nostalgic guitar riffs: “The last time I was driven away / Looking back at you, baby / Aren’t you better off without me rooted in your town?” Maybe her album is less of a homecoming and more of an unguarded study on what it means to grow up and move out. 8 p.m. $15.

Blues Alley Big Band Festival

Big bands crowd onto Blues Alley’s legendary (and intimate) stage during the club’s annual Big Band Festival, which kicks off with shows featuring George Washington University’s GW Jazz Orchestra and the Georgetown University Jazz Ensemble. Tuesday brings two performances by the Ben Patterson Jazz Orchestra, an ensemble led by the longtime trombonist for the Air Force’s Airmen of Note jazz band. Wednesday is a doubleheader for local favorites Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra, with a special appearance by saxophonist and composer Charles McPherson, who recorded and performed with Charles Mingus from 1960 to 1972. Through Wednesday; 7 and 9 p.m. each night. $25.

Wednesday, April 26

Jazz in Canal Park

With outdoor movies making a comeback, outdoor concerts aren’t far behind. The weekly series at Canal Park near the Navy Yard kicks off with the Great Falls Jazz Group, an ensemble of high school and college musicians. Pick up a picnic from nearby restaurants, such as Rasa or Wiseguy Pizza. 6:30 p.m. Free.