Plan a mix of virtual and safe, in-person activities this spring in Washington, DC
As you continue to practice social distancing and DC gradually reopens, we've gathered up some things to do this April, including safe in-person activities and virtual events. You can also check out tons of on-demand virtual museum tours, neighborhood tours, TV and movies streaming ideas with a DC bent, DC-inspired music playlists and Washington, DC Zoom meeting backgrounds. Be sure to read our things to do during the week and weekend and check up on what’s open around the city as well.
If you're interested in a staycation in the District, make sure to check out our Stay Local DC content and deals.
Rich Kids: A History of Shopping Malls in Tehran – April 1-18
Social media’s addictive power is addressed in this new play from Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, which will be broadcast live on afternoons and evenings from April 1-18. Rich Kids offers a darkly comedic tale of Iran’s elite, who are consumed by their phones and their privilege. The play, which won the 2019 Scotsman Fringe First Award, uses an Instagram filter to examine the massive societal change of the time.
Jazz Appreciation Month programming from the National Museum of American History – April 1-30
A truly American art form, jazz music has a history and heritage that is intertwined with the story of America itself. Throughout the month, the National Museum of American History will celebrate the sound, style and stimulations of jazz, with the impact and contributions of women to the genre taking center stage. Nina Simone is 2021’s featured artist, and you can learn more about her career in addition to perusing a wealth of online resources for all ages. Sign up for the museum’s newsletter for the latest programming updates.
The Tea: Omnia Azar – April 2
This free online series from the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) features women musicians performing original work via live-stream as well as a short interview over tea in which the artist reveals her creative process. In April, NMWA will welcome Omnia Azar, a Michigan native who makes vibrant music that blends jazz, soul, funk and R&B. NMWA is also open for in-person visits – check out the museum’s website for more information.
12-1 p.m. | Live Stream Link
Blossoms & Baseball: A Drive-In Movie Pop-Up at Capitol Riverfront – April 2-3
Thanks to a collaboration between the Capitol Riverfront BID, the National Cherry Blossom Festival and the Washington Nationals, you will be able to watch baseball-themed movies outdoors in honor of the start of the 2021 MLB season. The lot at 101 V Street SW will have space for 100 vehicles ($20 per car) so safe distancing can be accomplished. Friday night will feature a screening of 42: The Jackie Robinson Story, while Saturday offers A League of Their Own. Before the films start, you can enjoy trivia, prizes and giveaways; on Saturday night, the Swizzler Hot Dog Truck will be on-hand.
7:30-9:30 p.m. | Tickets
The Stacks, 101 V Street SW, Washington, DC 20024
Sakura Matsuri – Virtual Community Gathering – April 3
The Japan-America Society of Washington, DC has reimagined this annual celebration for 2021. This year, Sakura Matsuri will be a virtual community event, with stage performances from local and Japanese groups and the chance to interact with vendors, participants and exhibitors. Virtual expo booths will let attendees check out Japanese crafts, view demos, purchase items, learn more about Japan and meet business owners.
National Cherry Blossom Festival Virtual Celebration Show presented by Events DC – April 9
As the festival winds down, hang out at home and wrap it all up with one more epic celebration show presented by Events DC. Expect cherry blossom-inspired performances and activations during the broadcast, which will premiere on Gather by Events DC on April 9, with a showing on WJLA the next day. The show will also air through nationally syndicated outlets through June.
Georgetown GLOW: Spring Edition – April 9 – June 27
After the 2020 edition was postponed due to the COVID-19 crisis, Georgetown GLOW is returning with a two-part series of outdoor installations, with the first set to light up DC’s most historic neighborhood from April 9 through June 27. The region’s only free, curated, outdoor public light experience will be open to all both day and night, and you can read up on the spring edition’s artists and installations (there are five in total) on Georgetown GLOW’s official website. Mark your calendar of the summer edition as well, slated to run from July 2 – Sept. 26.
Dupont Circle Pop-up – April 10
Artists and makers will be situated in front of retail shops all over the Dupont Circle neighborhood for this annual event hosted by Historic Dupont Circle Main Streets, which also plans to incorporate Dupont Underground. Roughly 40 vendors will sell paintings, scarves, chocolates, jewelry, pottery and additional items. Pop-up shops will feature imported food, fine art, shoes and more. The neighborhood also features a plethora of restaurant options. Please make sure to wear a mask and maintain social distance during this free event.
12-5 p.m. | Free admission
National Cherry Blossom Festival – Through April 11
Nothing signifies the arrival of spring in the nation's capital quite like the blooming of the cherry blossom trees and the National Cherry Blossom Festival to celebrate the occasion. Visitors descend upon Washington, DC each year to admire the 3,000-plus trees. The festival, which runs through April 11, features both virtual and in-person events that honor American and Japanese cultures and represents a close bond forged between the two countries that began with Tokyo Mayor Yukio Ozaki’s gift of the trees back in 1912.
Petal Porch Parade Touring – Through April 11
Presented in tandem with Amazon, the National Cherry Blossom Festival’s new Petal Porch Parade asks DMV residents to decorate their porches, yards and windows to conjure springtime spirit throughout the area. Decorations are in place throughout the festival (through April 11). Petal Processions will be held on April 10 and 11 as a grand culmination, with the procession set to visit select Porch Parade neighborhoods, including 10 donated Toyota vehicles painted by DC artists. Visit the festival’s website for more information on how to participate and safely enjoy this exciting new spring initiative.
Art in Bloom – Through April 11
Custom cherry blossom public art sculptures have been placed at 25 distinct DMV locations throughout all 8 DC wards, as well as Northern Virginia and Maryland, by the National Cherry Blossom Festival. Challenge your friends and family to discover all 25 and note that successfully completed hunts will be entered into a drawing for prizes. Post your poses with the pieces on social media using the hashtag #ArtInBloom. Check the festival’s website for updates on the promotion.
The Whispering Star – Through April 11
The Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery allow you to stream this fascinating film for free through April 11. Directed by Japanese auteur Sion Sono, The Whispering Star is a sci-fi parable that follows Yoko, a humanoid robot who runs on AA batteries and delivers packages throughout the galaxy. She’s curious about what she delivers to Earth, where humans have become an endangered species. Shot in the evacuated zones of Fukushima with non-professional actors living in areas devastated by the nuclear disaster, the film is a startling reminder of the perils of nuclear war … while also being a playful comedy.
Stream | Trailer
Book Hill in Bloom – Through April 11
Georgetown’s Book Hill neighborhood is fully outfitted for cherry blossom season. More than 25 small businesses on upper Wisconsin Avenue have decked out their storefronts with cherry blossom-themed set-ups. Restaurants, salons, spas and retail outlets are also offering special discounts, promotions and programs. In Book Hill Park, you can check out Ice Flavors, a sculpture designed by artist Cory Oberndorfer as part of the National Cherry Blossom Festival’s Art in Bloom program (referenced above). Last but certainly not least, customers can enter to win prizes when they mention “Book Hill in Bloom” at participating businesses.
National WWI Memorial First Colors Ceremony – April 16
Celebrate the inaugural raising of the flag over the new National World War I Memorial site in the nation’s capital. The virtual event aims to “bring our history home,” with the American flag that first flew over the U.S. Capitol four years ago returning to its final destination of Washington, DC, except this time, it will fly high above DC’s newest memorial. The commemorative flag’s journey recalls the epic voyage to Europe by the Doughboys and honors those who made the ultimate sacrifice. The event is free to attend.
10 a.m. | Register
Teddy Bear and Doll Tea – April 18
Dumbarton House hosts this outdoor tea experience meant for the entire family to enjoy. Pack a picnic blanket and a favorite doll or teddy bear to enjoy individually packaged tea boxes on Dumbarton House’s grounds. Afterwards, a tour of the estate will be offered and socially distanced games will be available for play. Please remember that masks are required at all times when not enjoying tea. Families will be spaced throughout the grounds.
11 a.m. – 1 p.m. | Register
Dumbarton House, 2715 Q Street NW, Washington, DC 20007
A Boy and His Soul – Through April 18
Round House Theatre is streaming this captivating production that sees Jay, in the process of cleaning out his family West Philadelphia home, reconnect with his family through the power of music. Upon discovering a robust record collection featuring R&B, classic soul and disco from the 1970s and 80s, Jay is reminded of a quote from his mother: “Keep a song in your heart, and you will always find your way.” This one-man show is funny and heartwarming, and serves as perfect comfort food while you’re relaxing at home. Upon purchasing a ticket, you can watch A Boy and His Soul on-demand.
Order a Cinco de Mayo Party Box from Brewvana – Through April 22
Brewvana, an e-commerce brand from the folks at City Brew Tours, has a Cinco de Mayo party planned out for you, complete with a box of goodies sure to send your celebration of Mexican beer to the next level. The curated selection of Mexican flavors includes six craft beers of various styles, a beer cocktail making kit for two, chops and sala, Taza Mexican stone-ground chocolate, coasters, limited-edition beer glasses and more. Order up your box and join beer lovers from all over the country for a virtual event on May 5 from 8-9:30 p.m. that will feature tutorials, pairings and much more. Boxes are available for ordering through April 22. A portion of proceeds go to VAMOS!, a non-profit organization that empowers people in Morelos, Mexico with job opportunities and basic human services.
Order | Virtual event on May 5: 8-9:30 p.m.
Earth Day at Hillwood – April 22
Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens hosts this virtual tour on Zoom in honor of Earth Day. You’ll learn about Hillwood’s conservation efforts from Jessica Bonilla, the estate’s director of horticulture. Bonilla will discuss the property’s pollinator gardens, its new native garden (featuring a bio-retention pond), worm composting and energy improvements.
2 p.m. | Tickets
Nationals Home Run Charity 5K Virtual Race Week – April 23-30
Nats fans and area residents are invited to celebrate the start of baseball season – and it’s for a great cause. The Home Run Charity 5K Virtual Race Week allows fans of all ages to safely participate, with proceeds benefiting the community work of Washington Nationals Philanthropies, the official charitable arm of the club.
Smithsonian Craft Optimism – April 24 – May 1
Curated and climate-conscious, this online marketplace from Smithsonian offers free registration and a chance to browse hand-crafted American goods that either educate about climate change or provide a sustainable response to the major environmental issue of our time. Expect jewelry, glass, ceramics, wood-carved objects and so much more. Visit the dedicated website for more details – a registration portal is coming soon.
Downtown DC’s Chalk Walk – Through April 30
Located at the Gallery Place alley off 7th Street NW, this activation from DowntownDC is a city highlight throughout the spring. You can step into an immersive art experience that makes for a great Instagram post, as you’ll be situated in the midst of a massive cherry blossom-inspired 3D installation. Share your photos with #ChalkWalkDC for a chance to win prizes from the DowntownDC BID.
Have a festive spring experience at CityCenterDC – Through April 30
CityCenterDC welcomes you enjoy a new, safe dining experience surrounded by cherry blossoms. Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steakhouse and Fig & Olive are both offering reservations for greenhouses filled with springtime decorations. Both restaurants are also featuring spring-flavored dishes and drinks to go with the seasonal vibes. You can also visit artist Andrew Taylor's sculpture at The Park at CityCenter, one of the 26 pieces commissioned for the National Cherry Blossom Festival's Art in Bloom project. The sculpture will be on display through May 31.
Call (202) 289-0201 to reserve at Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steakhouse
Call (202) 259-5004 to reserve at Fig & Olive
Sonya Clark: Tatter, Bristle, and Mend – Through June 27
The National Museum of Women in the Arts features this fascinating exhibit from textile artist Sonya Clark, renowned for her work in mixed media that addresses Blackness, history and identity. This first survey of her 25-year career offers her most acclaimed sculptures, including pieces made from currency, beads, cotton plants, pencils, a hair salon chair and much more. In total, 100 works of art are highlighted in the exhibit, focusing on themes of labor, language, heritage and visibility. Timed tickets are required for museum entry. For more details about visiting, check out the museum’s website.
Monday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. | Sunday, 12-5 p.m. | Tickets
National Museum of Women in the Arts, 1250 New York Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20005
Mary Ellen Mark: Girlhood – Through May 31
Considered an icon of photography, Mary Ellen Mark captured subjects living outside of the mainstream candidly and vividly. With this exhibit at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, you can see the world through Mark’s incredible camera, particularly her depictions of young women and girls living in a range of circumstances all over the world. This collection of dozens of Mark’s photographs features some of her most renowned work. Timed tickets are required for museum entry. For more details about visiting, check out the museum’s website.
Monday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. | Sunday, 12-5 p.m. | Tickets
National Museum of Women in the Arts, 1250 New York Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20005
Renewal 2121 – Through Sept. 6
In the face of 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.
Monday – Thursday: 12-8 p.m. | Friday – Sunday: 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. | Tickets
ARTECHOUSE, 1238 Maryland Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20024
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 is honoring the occasion with this breathtaking new exhibit. Seeing Differently 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. Check the museum’s website for the latest information about visiting.
Thursday – Sunday, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. | Tickets
The Phillips Collection, 1600 21st Street NW, Washington, DC 20009
Experience The Capital Wheel
Soar 180 feet in the air on the area’s only observation wheel, which spins right on the National Harbor’s majestic waterfront. The Capital Wheel features 42 climate-controlled gondola cars that seat up to eight and circle every day and night of the year, providing stunning views of Alexandria, Va., DC’s monuments and the Potomac River. Sunset rides are particularly scenic. Use code VISITDC for a 10% discount on tickets through Dec. 31, 2021.
Monday – Thursday, 4-8 p.m. | Friday – Sunday, 12-8 p.m. | Tickets
The Capital Wheel at National Harbor, 141 American Way, National Harbor, MD 20745
Order a special item from Ice Cream Jubilee
Any time of the year is a good time for ice cream. One of DC’s most popular purveyors of the sweet treat, Ice Cream Jubilee, can deliver special flavor combinations and themed ice cream packs right to you. Currently, you can order classic pint packages, kits that put ice cream with both profiteroles and cookies, a Sundae pint pack and more.
Check out virtual offerings from DC museums
DC has a plethora of museums, including 17 Smithsonians. If you're looking for creative ways to get out of your house and into a new environment without actually leaving your house, we've compiled a list of virtual museum offerings in DC. You can take a voyage to space, see live animals, discover famous women in history or view the Hirshhorn's Sculpture Garden from a whole new perspective. Read on for more!
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The Best Events and Festivals Happening in Washington, DC