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30+ Things to Do This August in Washington, DC

Summer rolls on with an incredible month of events in the nation’s capital.

With DC’s reopening under way, you can make summer plans for unforgettable experiences in the nation's capital. August is packed with a great mix of in-person and virtual events as many of the city’s businesses and attractions begin to welcome visitors again. After you’ve read through this list, make sure to check out the rest of our summer content, as well as our things to do for the week and weekend.

Citi Open – Through Aug. 8
One of DC’s longest-standing sports traditions, the Citi Open will take place at the Rock Creek Park Tennis Center for the first time since 2019. You'll see talented players from the men's and women’s circuit compete for valuable tour points and prestigious trophies, including Rafael Nadal (his first time at the tournament), Coco Gauff and Nick Kyrgios. Visit the event’s website for updates, ticket information and scheduling.
Tickets
Rock Creek Park Tennis Center, 4850 Colorado Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20011

 

Screening of Untitled: Dave Chappelle Documentary Film – Aug. 1
Dave Chappelle himself will deliver remarks at this screening of his documentary that chronicles the creation of his cornfield concerts last summer in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Fueled by the murder of George Floyd and unable to perform around the country, Chappelle took it upon himself to deliver relief – both economic and comic – to his community. The screening is recommended for mature audiences.
8 p.m. |  Tickets
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 2700 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20566

 

Take to the sky again with the National Air and Space Museum
Reinvigorate your love for the stars at this immensely popular museum. Glimpse the 1903 Wright Flyer, run your hands over moon rock and experience the larger-than-life world of aviation and space travel with the entire family. Please note that some areas of the museum are undergoing a large-scale renovation. For details regarding your visit, check out the museum’s website.
Free admission
National Air and Space Museum, 655 Jefferson Drive SW, Washington, DC 20560

 

Enter the National Museum of Women in the Arts for free – Aug. 1-8
One of DC’s most fascinating museums will undergo a renovation beginning Aug. 8. Before its doors close, the National Museum of Women in the Arts will offer free admission for an eight-day stretch at the beginning of August. Marvel at the museum’s wondrous collection of art by women. Note that the gift shop and library are currently closed to the public. The museum will still offer virtual programming during its renovation.
Plan your visit
National Museum of Women in the Arts, 1250 New York Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20005

 

SAAM Arcade 2021 – Aug. 2-8
This beloved gaming-focused celebration returns virtually for 2021 with a theme of “Building Community, Embracing Individuality”. A week-long game jam begins on Aug. 2, in which users can build their own video and tabletop game. On Aug. 8, all games created during the jam will be available for discovery and enjoyment. Participation in SAAM Arcade 2021 is free of charge!
More info

 

Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons – Aug. 7
Pop royalty comes to The Anthem this August, marking the venue’s exciting reopening. Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons rose from blue-collar backgrounds to become one of the greatest pop music groups ever. Their story is so epic that it was turned into a smash hit Broadway play, Jersey Boys. Expect Valli and the group to play all of their classics during a vibrant set.
8 p.m. |  Tickets
The Anthem, 901 Wharf Street SW, Washington, DC 20024

 

Metropolitan Washington Restaurant Week – Aug. 9-15
Enjoy the District’s best eats with the summer edition of Restaurant Week. Foodies and deal hunters always swoon over the prix-fixe menus from a cast of DC’s best restaurants. Make sure to book a table and keep up with participating restaurants, along with can’t-miss dishes and deals.

 

National Gallery of Art Concerts in the Sculpture Garden – Aug. 12 & 26
Those who revel in DC’s summertime will surely be happy to know of the return of live music to the National Gallery of Art’s Sculpture Garden. On Aug. 12, enjoy the contemporary American sounds of the Baltimore Jazz Collective. Two weeks later, the U.S. Army Brass will perform classic and patriotic songs in the gorgeous setting. Free, timed passes are required for ages 2 and up. Grab tickets quickly, as they could sell out!
More info
Gates open at 5 p.m. |  Music begins at 6 p.m.
National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden, 7th Street and Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20408

 

You and Me and You – Aug. 13
Based in DC, this folk-rock group blends nostalgia and beautiful harmonies into a sound all their own. The trio’s debut EP was released this past April, and they’ll bring their cozy and distinct performance style to the stage at DC9, the perfect setting for their intimate songs.
8 p.m. |  Tickets
DC9 Nightclub, 1940 9th Street NW, Washington, DC 20001

 

Jason Mraz – Aug. 15
Grammy Award-winning guitarist and singer/songwriter Jason Mraz brings his energetic live show to The Anthem. Celebrate the return of live music at one of DC’s coolest venues with a performance by one of the most decorated pop musicians of the past three decades. Expect Mraz to play his biggest hits and selections from 2020’s Look for the Good.
8 p.m. |  Tickets
The Anthem, 901 Wharf Street SW, Washington, DC 20024

 

Modest Mouse – Aug. 17
Modest Mouse has achieved success on the pop charts without ever losing its core base of fans. The group has also never stopped releasing excellent music, with lead singer/guitarist Isaac Brock’s signature wail and insightful lyrics always coloring music that takes listeners on a journey. The band will showcase an impressive catalogue during this August show at The Anthem.
8 p.m. |  Tickets

The Anthem, 901 Wharf Street SW, Washington, DC 20024

 

Kaskade – Aug. 20
One of America’s most popular DJs will light up Echostage as the venue hosts its brand of energetic EDm shows once again. Named “America’s Best DJ” by DJ Times in 2011 and 2013, Kaskade hails from Chicago, where he first began mastering beats and a turntable. Now, the Grammy-nominated artists plays to sold out crowds all over the world. His infectious set will have you dancing well into the night.
9 p.m. |  Tickets
Echostage, 2135 Queens Chapel Road NE, Washington, DC 20018
 

Aztec Sun – Aug. 21
For nearly a decade, Aztec Sun has rocked venues all over the District with a retro groove that brings to mind ‘70s funk and soul, Motown-era pop, jazz and much more. Expect a set sure to move your feet at the Hamilton Live. Aztec Sun has been named Best Local Original Band by the Washington City Paper, so $10 standing tickets are a steal.
8 p.m. |  Tickets
The Hamilton Live, 600 14th Street NW, Washington, DC 20005

 

Harlem Globetrotters at Capital One Arena – Aug. 22
The magicians of the hardwood come to DC for a display like none other. This Harlem Globetrotters show now features extra flair, with renowned comedians woven into the cast to create a hilarious evening filled with ankle-breaking moves and rim-rattling dunks. Bring the whole family along for this rare chance to catch the Globetrotters.
2 p.m. |  Tickets
Capital One Arena, 601 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20004

 

Cloud Nothings – Aug. 26
Hailing from Cleveland, Oh., Cloud Nothings bring forth guitar-driven pop and expertly crafted songs from bandleader Dylan Baldi. Their early, DIY recordings were fuzzed up and catchy, while 2012’s Attack on Memory signaled a much louder and streamlined sound for the group. Since then, Baldi and co. have only built on this breakthrough, with this year’s The Shadow I Remember earning rave reviews. Don’t miss the band’s sonic onslaught at Black Cat in DC.
7:30 p.m. |  Tickets
Black Cat, 1811 14th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009

 

Opera in the Outfield: Rossini’s Cinderella – Aug. 28
The Washington National Opera brings Cinderella to Nationals Park for an evening at the ballpark unlike any other. This year, the event is being offered free of charge. Gates open at 5 p.m. for family-friendly pre-opera activities, The opera begins promptly at 7 p.m., providing a unique experience that only comes but once a year.
5 p.m. |  Free admission
Nationals Park, 1500 South Capitol Street SE, Washington, DC 20003

 

Inside the Wardrobe – Through Aug. 29
The stars have aligned in bringing this 20,000-square-foot, interactive exhibit to DC’s center of fashion, Georgetown. You will journey through more than 20 experiences focused on the fun and creativity of getting dressed. Inside the Wardrobe merges an Instagram playground and a pop-up museum into a fashionista fantasyland. Design Foundry is behind this incredible addition to DC’s summer lineup.
Thursdays & Fridays, 5-9 p.m. |  Saturdays & Sundays, 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. |  Tickets
3270 M Street NW, Suite C100, Washington, DC 20007

 

Free Bingo Nights at Union Market – Tuesdays through Aug. 31
DC Fray and Union Market come together to host this free evening outdoor event series that offers a safe, in-person activity for a Tuesday night. Register for free and you can play 6-8 rounds of bingo with a prize waiting at the end of each round. Expect the occasional free drink and plenty of space to kick back and relax.
7-9 p.m.
Neal Place at Union Market, 1309 5th Street NE, Washington, DC 20002

 

Objects from the Studio: The Sculptor’s Process – Through Aug. 31
The Kreeger Museum offers this fascinating exhibition featuring sketches, maquettes and other interesting objects from the studios of some of the most important modern sculptors. Gain insights into the artistic process of creators such as Richard Deutsch, Carol Brown Goldberg, John L. Dreyfuss, Kendall Buster and many more. Visit the Kreeger Museum’s website for health precautions and timed entry information.
Hours & Tickets
The Kreeger Museum, 2401 Foxhall Road NW, Washington, DC 20007

 

Live! Concert Series on the Plaza – Through Sept. 3
Woodrow Wilson Plaza at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center welcomes you back for live music throughout the rest of the summer. Monday through Friday, you can enjoy live music on the sunny plaza from 12-1 p.m. Every performance is free and open to the public. For a full schedule, visit the event website.
Monday – Friday, 12-1 p.m. |  Free admission
Woodrow Wilson Plaza at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20004

 

Intersections: Marley Dawson – Through Sept. 5
The Phillips Collection hosts two site-specific art pieces by Australian artist Marley Dawson as part of its ongoing Intersections series. The first, inspired by the Goh Annex stairway at the museum, features two groups of kinetic sculptures that form a spiral. The second is a wall-mounted sculpture that features hundreds of brass rods hung on a brass track, a piece in conversation with Morris Louis’ painting Number 182. You can read through The Phillips Collection’s health precautions as you plan your visit.
Hours & Tickets
The Phillips Collection, 1600 21st Street NW, Washington, DC 20009

 

Renewal 2121 – Through Sept. 6
After the COVID-19 pandemic and rising concerns over climate change, this installation at ARTECHOUSE transports you 100 years into the future. You’ll be immersed in an industrial city where nature is combating the onslaught of an overreaching metropolis, a stark warning if mankind continues at its current pace. Hope is found through cherry blossoms peeking through neon lights, showing the way for those ready to take action. Renewal 2121 is an original ARTECHOUSE production and was inspired by DC’s illustrious cherry blossom season. Use the 'Tickets' link below for a special 10% discount.
Monday – Thursday: 12-8 p.m. |  Friday – Sunday: 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. |  Tickets
Safety guidelines
ARTECHOUSE, 1238 Maryland Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20024

 

Inside Out: 2021 Summer Block Party – Through Sept. 6
This year’s edition of the National Building Museum’s Summer Block Party features a roundup of smaller projects and programs both inside and outside the museum, making for safer environs this summer. You can enjoy a wooden maze filled with books, a hand-made cathedral truss, interactive lawn art, outdoor movies (via DowntownDC Summer Flicks) and more. Most programming is free.
More info
National Building Museum, 401 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20001

 

Seeing Differently: The Phillips Collects for a New Century – Through Sept. 12
This year marks the centennial of The Phillips Collection, which is considered America’s first museum of modern art. The museum honors the occasion with this breathtaking exhibit that highlights more than 200 works from the museum’s 6,000-piece collection, taking you on a 200-year journey through the artistic themes of setting, history and identity via videos, paintings, prints, sculptures and more.
Hours & Tickets
The Phillips Collection, 1600 21st Street NW, Washington, DC 20009

 

Jacob Lawrence: The American Struggle – Through Sept. 19
The Phillips Collection showcases Jacob Lawrence’s 30-panel series entitled, Struggle…From the History of the American People. Lawrence painted the stunning series between 1954 and 1956, and this exhibition marks the first time that the pieces have been reunited since 1958. The display also features two new panels discovered in 2020 and 2021, adding fascinating new context to this lesser known series that still showcases Lawrence’s legendary narrative artistry. You can also view Lawrence’s essential Migration Series at the museum.
Hours & Tickets
The Phillips Collection, 1600 21st Street NW, Washington, DC 20009

 

Georgetown Glow Spring 2021 in Georgetown DC

Georgetown GLOW: Summer Edition – Through Sept. 26
After the 2020 edition was postponed due to the COVID-19 crisis, 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.

 

Victura Park at the John F. Kennedy Center Washington, DC

Outdoor Mini Festivals at the Kennedy Center – Weekends through Oct. 2
This month, the Kennedy Center will begin holding three-day, outdoor mini festivals (Thursday – Saturday) curated by artists and organizations from around the DC area. Audiences can enjoy films, live performances, art vendors, dance and yoga lessons on the REACH plaza, with food and drinks available from Victura Park. Attendance is totally free of charge, but some events require registration.
More info
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 2700 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20566

 

Welcome Home: A Portrait of East Baltimore, 1975-1980 – Through Jan. 17, 2022
As part of a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, three women photographers – Elinor Cahn, Joan Clark Netherwood and Linda Rich – captured East Baltimore for a five-year stretch from 1975 to 1980. In this exhibit at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, you can view the stunning work of Cohn, Netherwood and Rich in all its glorious detail, as the trio captured celebrations, luncheons, homes, businesses and the everyday strife that members of the community faced. These images are being presented in an exhibition setting for the first time.
Wednesday – Sunday, 11:30 a.m. – 7 p.m. |  Free admission
Smithsonian American Art Museum, 8th and G Streets NW, Washington, DC 20004

 

Check out the reopened Smithsonian Castle
This gateway to history has opened its doors again. While the Victorian arches and dark woodwork of the Castle suggest a bygone era, it now holds a thoroughly modern visitors center with interactive 3-D maps pinpointing and detailing the 17 DC-area Smithsonian Institution properties, including museums, galleries and the National Zoological Park. Visit the Castle’s webpage for more information regarding its reopening.
Open daily, 8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. |  Free admission
Smithsonian Castle, 1000 Jefferson Drive SW, Washington, DC 20560

 

Check out the reopened National Museum of African Art
This outstanding Smithsonian museum has reopened its doors, allowing visitors to engage with African art and history dating back centuries. The National Museum of African Art provides a comprehensive look at the history of expressions on the African continent, using a fascinating creative lens. For information regarding hours and entry, visit the museum’s website.
Wednesday – Sunday, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. |  Free admission
National Museum of African Art, 950 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20560

 

Delve back into Asian art at the Freer Gallery
One of DC’s most beautiful buildings, the Freer was the first Smithsonian museum devoted solely to art when it was first built. Expect special new features when you re-visit the Freer Gallery of Art. Among the highlights: an exhibition dedicated to Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai, best known for his unforgettable and iconic Great Wave Off the Coast of Kanagawa. Visitors can experience Hokusai’s mastery in woodblock printing, painting and drawing and view his renderings of everyday Japanese life, known as manga. Note that the Sackler Gallery remains closed until November for exhibition construction. For more information, visit the museum's website.
Friday – Tuesday, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. (last admittance at 3 p.m.) |  Free admission
Freer Gallery of Art, Jefferson Drive at 12th Street SW, Washington, DC 20013

 

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