Ahhh, September (shout out to Earth, Wind & Fire), that magical month when you can still sip rose on a sun drenched patio yet still sense the shift to the first leaves starting to change color. It’s time to soak up the last days of summer and make the most of these final days.
We've pulled together lots of fun local activities and events to help you discover new and different things to do and see a different side of DC.
Don't waste the sun--let’s do this!
Broadway in the Park. No tickets to a Broadway show? Meh. Celebrate the return of live musical theater with a night of Broadway’s greatest hits at Wolf Trap. Starring Broadway’s Renee Elise Goldsberry (Hamilton, The Color Purple), Brian Stokes Mitchell (Kiss Me, Kate, Shuffle Along) and a cast of Signature favorites, enjoy classic showtunes like “Don’t Rain on My Parade,” “I Am What I Am,” “The Schuyler Sisters,” “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” and so much more. Sept 3
SW night market. MarketSW is the place to be! This eclectic Friday night market features a diverse mix of art, crafts, handmade jewelry, accessories, bath/beauty, vintage and antique furniture, and home furnishings. On stage, local musicians and DJs curate a mix of live music and inviting evening soundtracks. Additionally, specialty food businesses, a fully-stocked beer garden, a cigar lounge, and select food trucks add to the programming mix. Free. Sept 3 + 17
Show off your best jazz hands. Celebrate the long weekend with the sounds of jazz at the 2021 DC JazzFest. From September 1-5, there will be 20+ concerts, interviews and exclusive events featuring international superstars and homegrown talent. The signature event, DC JazzFest at The Wharf will take place, as a hybrid of in-person and livestream performances to a worldwide audience. Tickets required. Sept 4-5
Jazz in the Garden. No, this isn't *that* Jazz in the Garden event. Instead, head to Hillwood, the former estate of businesswoman, socialite, philanthropist and collector Marjorie Merriweather Post, for an evening of jazz showcasing the music of Duke Ellington in Hillwood's spectacular gardens. Ticket required. Sept 8
Mural mania. Head to NoMa to see muralists from DC and around the world create amazing larger-than-life murals that enliven buildings and streetscapes for the return of DC Walls (formerly Pow! Wow! DC), a 10-day mural arts festival. Free. Sept, 8 - 18
Cheaper than Hamilton tickets. Do you love Hamilton and find yourself singing its tunes all day long? Then HAMILTUNES: AN AMERICAN SING-ALONG! is the event for you! Sign up to lead songs, or relax and sing-a-long with the audience to this incredibly popular, award-winning Broadway musical, with lyrics and music by Lin-Manuel Miranda. Hercules Mulligan! Bonus: this event will be held at Metrobar, DC's new bar housed in a refurbished metro car with district-made cocktails, beer + wine. Tickets required. Sept 9
International shorts. Get your popcorn ready for the 2021 DC Shorts International Film Festival, featuring 95 short films across genres from 26 countries. The hybrid event includes a mix of online and in-person screenings, plus talkbacks and workshops. Tickets required. Sept 9 - 19
Celebrate pioneering Black artist Alma Thomas. Starting this month, more than a dozen cultural institutions across DC will put on an exhibit and other programming in honor of local artist and educator Alma W. Thomas.
Thomas was the first Howard University art department graduate in 1924, and she helped shape the DC art scene. The celebration includes a mix of virtual and in-person events, chief among them being the Phillips Collection’s Everything Is Beautiful exhibit, running October 30 through January 23, 2022. Starting in September, there will also be teacher workshops, a three-part symposium on Thomas’s life with an introduction by former First Lady Michelle Obama, and opportunities to learn about more women artists. Dates vary
9/11 musical memorial. This month marks the 20th anniversary of the deadly terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.Ford’s Theatre is marking the occasion with a special production of the 9/11 musical “Come From Away” on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Written by Irene Sankoff and David Hein, the show is based on a true story in the week after 9/11 when 38 planes were ordered to land in the small Canadian town of Gander in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador as part of Operation Yellow Ribbon. Free. Sept 10
Movie nights in NoMa. Who says outdoor movies have to end when the kids go back to school? The NoMa BID hosts CiNoMatic (formerly NoMa Summer Screen) at Alethia Tanner Park On Wednesday evenings until October 27. Explore the world from your own backyard with movies that celebrate the theme: Reignite Your Wanderlust!The fun includes swag, a selection of local food and beverages for purchase, lawn games, and more! Free, Thru Oct 27
Bard express. Join Synetic Theater' for a brand new 20th anniversary show, Shhhhhakespeare Revue, featuring an incredible cast of 6 actors as they take on 34 roles from 10 Shakespeare classics including Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream! in just 60 minutes! Sept 10 + 11
Yay, Adams Morgan Day. Celebrate one of DC’s liveliest, most diverse neighborhoods with this day-long extravaganza in Adams Morgan that is the longest-running neighborhood festival in the District. Sept 12
Gotta get up early in the morning. Come together with Yogi Hawah Kasat.at the Kogard Courtyard for Daybreaker DC // THE IRL RETURN as MC Haile Supreme leads you in deep meditation and DC Brass blasts the music to help you shake off your stress and bad juju and greet the day with a new attitude. Ticket required. Sept 15
Forest bathing. For something new, give forest bathing at National Arboretum a try. Forest bathing, or shinrin yoku, is the simple practice of taking in the woods through the senses for health benefits. Join the Friends of National Arboretum nature and forest therapy guide for a two-hour program that encourages you to slow down and take in the National Arboretum through all your senses. Suggested donation. Sep 17 + 25
Book 'em. It's like Christmas for bibliophilias! This year's Library of Congress National Book Festival invites audiences to create their own festival experiences from programs in a range of formats and an expanded schedule over 10 days. The spectacular lineup includes authors, poets and illustrators from America and around the world, including Michael J. Fox, Diane von Fürstenberg, Roxane Gay, Kazuo Ishiguro, Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Marcus Samuelsson. Sept 17 -26
H Street Festival. Another one of DC’s most popular neighborhoods pulls out all the stops for this annual festival. The H Street Festival features live music, dance performances, family-friendly activities, contests and plenty of food vendors across its many staging areas, with dozens of businesses participating. Sept 18
Get to know DC on foot. WalkingTown DC is DC’s best public tour program, featuring 50 guided walking tours in neighborhoods throughout the District. This popular annual event takes place annually in September and introduces residents and visitors to the art, culture, and history of Washington, DC through a series of “bite-size” lunchtime tours, after-work “happy hour” tours, and longer weekend tours. WalkingTown DC connects you to well-known and unfamiliar places. Tours are led by historians, licensed tour guides, community leaders and business owners, enthusiasts and docents, who all donate their time and expertise for this annual festival. And it's all free! Sept 18 - 26
Night of laughs with Sarah Cooper. Sarah Cooper went viral during the 2020 election with her hilarious lip-sync impressions of the former president. Named one of Variety Magazine’s “10 Comics To Watch For 2020” and Vulture Magazine’s “The Comedians You Should and Will Know in 2020," catch her live at DC Improv as she makes her Capitol debut. Sept 23 - 25
Stay up late. For two nights, Art All Night turns public and private spaces throughout the city in 16 neighborhoods across 8 wards into pop-up galleries and performance stages for an evening of art in all its forms, including painting, photography, sculpture, crafts, fashion, music, dance, theater, film, and poetry. The free event celebrates the visual and performing arts, showcasing the diverse talents of our city’s creative community. Free. Sept 24 - 25
Murder was the case that they gave me. Local faves Oh He Dead bring their catchy and infectious R&B, funk and folk sound to the 9:30 stage. Grab tickets and see why the group were the 2020 recipients of Washington City Paper’s “Best of DC." Tickets required. Sept 25
Celebrate DC's musical heritage. NEXTfest, DC's largest fully free celebration of jazz, funk and go-go music culture features two stages, nine bands and a day full of varied cultural programming at Meridian Hill Park. The festival , presented by CapitolBop and co-produced by Long Live GoGo, the group behind Moechella, and Washington Parks & People, features leading names in music from the DMV including Mumu Fresh aka Maimouna Youssef, Plunky & Oneness of Juju, Marc Cary's Go-Go Project and TOB Band and Show. Sept 25
American Roots. Head to historic Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital for the American Roots Music Series. a toe tapping, music series celebrating Americana music. This month, the free outdoor event hosts Rachel Baiman, a songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who has emerged as a fearless voice of the American female experience. “Her album Shame” was featured on NPR’s “Songs We Love." Free. Sept 26
Georgetown GLOW: Summer Edition. Georgetown GLOW continues with a summer edition meant to dazzle you as you explore one of DC’s most historic neighborhoods. The region’s only free, curated, outdoor public light experience is open to all both day and night, and you can read up on the artists and installations on Georgetown GLOW’s official website. Thru Sept 26
Celebrate festival season at the REACH. The REACH at Kennedy Center has been celebrating summer with a series of Millennium Stage mini festivals. Each week, enjoy different themed entertainment featuring films, live performances, arts vendors, dance, and yoga lessons. National Theater for the Deaf, Smithsonian Asian American Center, Creative Nomads, SAMASAMA, D.C. Legendary Musicians, Step Afrika!, and more, are among the scheduled performers. Oh, did we mention it's all free?! Thru Oct
Curious? There's more!
Look up, down, and all around. Adventures can be found everywhere -- if you're curious enough to look. k for it