The Weekend Scene: Mardi Gras ‘Bon Temps,' Presidents Day Parade and More Things to Do Around DC (2024)

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Thank George Washington that a three-day weekend is here.

Our itinerary is packed between Mardi Gras and Presidents Day — including a celebration of George Washington's birthday with a parade in Alexandria.

  • Mardi Gras 2023: Where to 'Laissez les Bon Temps Rouler' in DC, Maryland, Virginia
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You can also take advantage of free entry to Mount Vernon on Presidents Day (Monday) and Washington's birthday (Wednesday).

Things to Do on Presidents Day Monday

Mount Vernon free days & George Washington's birthday: The first president's estate will offer free entry on Monday and Wednesday, plus will host special exhibits, a ball and more. There's also a rare opportunity to visit theGeorge Washington Presidential Library on Feb. 20 from9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. It was last open to the public a decade ago and is typicallyonly open to researchers and other academics.Check out our preview.

Free pick — George Washington Birthday Parade (Monday, 1 p.m., Alexandria): This year's parade will follow a special route to pay tribute to the George Washington Masonic National Memorial.

Lundi Gras Jazz Brunch (Monday, 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Dauphine's): House jazz trio The Hot Mess will play during a special Monday brunch. You can make reservations on Open Table.

Worth the trip — Middleburg Winter Weekend Sale (Saturday to Monday): Just over an hour from downtown D.C., Middleburg’s Winter Weekend Sale is running Saturday through Monday. Look for the blue and white balloons to signal which shops and restaurants are offering deals.

Free pick — Capital Orchestra Festival (Monday, 2 p.m., The Kennedy Center): Five high school and youth orchestras from around the country will perform Mendelssohn, Tchaikovsky and more.

Discover the World of Orchids at the U.S. Botanic Garden (Friday through April 30, free): Thousands of orchids from the United States Botanic Garden and Smithsonian Gardens collections will be on display. Make sure to grab a photo in the Tropics house, where two 9-foot-tall tree sculptures will be covered with hundreds of flowers.

Free pick — Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo are open on Presidents Day. Timed-entry passes are required at the African American Museum, National Zoo and newly-renovated Air and Space Museum.

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Things to Do in Washington DC

Dee Dwyer’s Wild Seeds of the Soufside (Open Wednesdays and Thursdays, Phillips@THEARC, 1801 Mississippi Ave, SE, Washington, DC.): Dee Dwyer's exhibit is a visual journey through Southeast D.C. An opening reception is set for Feb. 24.

Aida Rodriguez at the Comedy Loft of DC (Thursday to Saturday, Northwest D.C., $25-$35): Aida Rodriguez will perform five shows. Note that the Comedy Loft has a two-item food/beverage minimum per person.

Awkward Sex... And The City at Black Cat (Friday, 8 p.m., $20): If you're so over lovey-dovey Valentine's Day, commiserate about another side of romance at this storytelling showcase.

Mardi Gras weekend on Barracks Row (Friday to Tuesday, 8th Street SE, free): Spirited sidewalk parades on Friday and Saturday accompany specials at certain businesses in Barracks Row.

Free pick — Mardi Gras at The Wharf (Saturday, 3-7 p.m., Southwest D.C.): Laissez les bon temps rouler with a mile-long parade of floats, stilt walkers, the Washington Nationals' racing presidents, Batala Washington drummers and the beloved Eastern High School Marching Band. Afterward, party on the District Pier with the Naptown Brass Band, Thrasher's rum hurricanes and fireworks at 6:30 p.m.

Free pick — Afro House: Spirit Fest (Saturday, noon to 6 p.m., Anacostia Arts Center): Mental health, spiritual wellness and self-empowerment are the goals of this daylong, free festival with live music, a creative marketplace, a wellness roundtable, African fashion and workshops.

Free pick — Mario Kart competition (Saturday, Atlas Brew Works): All arcade and pinball machines will be available for free play. The Mario Kart battle is set to begin at 4 p.m. — prizes are available for those age 21 and up.

Free pick — Presidential Family Fun Day at the National Portrait Gallery (Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.): Bring the whole family for some presidential crafts. You can also check out the life-sized portrait of President Abraham Lincoln that debuted at the Portrait Gallery last week.

Walk With Woodson(Saturday, 11 a.m., Shaw): Walk through Shaw with actor Darius Wallace playing Dr. Carter G. Woodson, the founder of Black History Month, and highlighting places and people important to his story. You must make a reservation by

"In the Heat of the Night" screening(Sunday, 10:30 a.m., the Avalon Theatre, Northwest D.C., $16.04): Sidney Poitier plays a police detective investigating a murder in a small Mississippi town. The film won five Academy Awards in 1967, and the Avalon Theatre is screening it as part of itsCentennial Programcelebrating 100 years in D.C.

Bake & Take: King Cake Edition (Sunday, 4 p.m., Mess Hall, Northeast D.C.): RavenHook Bakehouse founder Chris Girardot will take you through all the steps to make your own king cake (complete with beads and a toy baby!) while you sip hurricanes and snack on gumbo. Bonus: Everyone leaves with two king cakes!

Impractical Jokers at Capital One Arena (Sunday, doors open at 4 p.m., show at 5 p.m., $49.50+): The comedians behind this hidden camera prank show bring their antics to the stage.

Mardi Gras at Dauphine's (Sunday, $115-$200, Northwest D.C.$85-$90): The Crush Funk Brass Band, fire spinners, tarot card reading and DJ Harry Hotter will entertain while partygoers savor an open bar, passed hors d'oeuvres and food stations. VIP tickets grant you early entry at 6 p.m.; otherwise, the party starts at 7 p.m.

Things to Do in Virginia

Free pick — World Axe Throwing League — Capitol City Classic (Thursday through Sunday, Sterling): Axes and Os hosts a weekend of tool tossing competitions with big prizes in the bullseye. The public is invited to watch big axe, knife, hatchet and knife-throwing tournaments leading up to finals on Sunday. World champion Lucas Johnson is set to attend.

Samedi Gras at Breaux Vineyards (Saturday, 11 a.m., Purcellville, $15): Live music, beads, king cake, a costume contest and wine are all the ingredients for an early Mardi Gras party.

Mardi Gras Mixology at KO Distilling (Saturday, Manassas, $35): Executive Whiskey Steward Greg Rixon will share the history of three New Orleans co*cktails — the Vieux Carré, daiquiris and the Sazerac — and teach you how to make them.

Mardi Gras Brew-Ha-Ha Indoor Beer Festival at Caboose Commons (Saturday, noon to 7 p.m., Fairfax): Sample beers from six breweries. Tasting tickets will cost $3 at the door, or you can get a 10-ticket bundle for $24 on Eventbrite.

Share the Love (Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.): Donate select pet supplies to support the Animal Welfare League of Arlington and get $1 off ice skating at Cameron Run.

Things to Do in Maryland

"The Hula-Hoopin’ Queen" at Imagination Stage (Through April 8, Bethesda, $12-$36): See this Oprah-approved story about a young girl who dreams of beating her rival to become the Hula-Hoopin' Queen of 139th Street in Harlem. Imagination Stage says the play for kids aged 5-11 spotlights the joys of friendship, family and, of course, hula hooping. There will be ASL-interpreted and sensory-friendly performances in March.

Mardi Gras at True Respite (Friday, 4-10 p.m., Rockville, free entry): Zydeco band Little Red and the Renegades will bring the music, Calypso N' Roux will bring Cajun and Caribbean food truck eats and this local brewery will provide a New Orleans-inspired beer.

Free pick —Black History Month Family Day(Feb. 18, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Sandy Spring, Maryland): Learn about Montgomery County's Black history at Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park. You can also pick up take-home activities for kids aged 5 to 15.

Virtual Event

Free pick — Kaleidoscope: Women of Color Reflecting Life (Sunday, 3-4 p.m.): D.C.-area poets including Betty Nyangoni and Sharon Burton are set to read their work. Registration is required.

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The Weekend Scene: Mardi Gras ‘Bon Temps,' Presidents Day Parade and More Things to Do Around DC (2024)
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