From special museum exhibits to arts festivals, the Washington, D.C., region has much to offer family, friends, and loved ones visiting for George Washington University’s graduation weekend.
Rain or shine, we’ve compiled a list of some must-sees in the District, as well as unique events happening this weekend.
If you’re heading to the National Mall, the easiest way to get there is by Metro. Hop off at the Smithsonian station for easy access to the National Air and Space Museum, Museum of National History, Museum of American History, the National Gallery of Art, and Holocaust Museum. All museums are free and open to the public; the Holocaust Museum requires free timed tickets, which can be booked online or at the museum. In addition, the newest addition to the Mall is the National Museum of African American History & Culture; advanced timed tickets are sold out, but same-day online passes are available starting at 6:30 a.m. every day.
For a chance to see Giant Pandas Mei Xiang, Tian Tian, and Bei Bei, head to the National Zoo in the Woodley Park neighborhood of D.C. Due to Metro maintenance, the stations closest to the zoo will be closed, but free shuttle buses will be provided at Red Line stops Dupont Circle and Van Ness Metro. For more information on the D.C. Metro system, click here.
Tours of the Capitol Building also will be available this weekend, with advanced reservations recommended but not required. Tour times and dates can be reserved online, and same-day passes are available at the Capitol’s visitor center. Tickets are free.
Other special events to check out this weekend include:
Friday, May 18
Jazz in the Garden, National Mall: Head to the National Gallery of Art’s Sculpture Garden for live jazz and cool drinks. The show goes on from 5 to 8:30 p.m. Admission is free. (Concerts may be canceled due to inclement weather)
Greek Festival at St. Sophia's Cathedral: This annual three-day event celebrating Greece will include live music, dancing, craft vendors, and — best of all — plenty of Greek food. The event runs from noon to 7 p.m. Admission is free.
27th Annual Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival, Reston, Virginia: This admission-free, three-day event at the Reston Town Center starts Friday and will boast more than 200 artists from across the United States. The 11-block show will also feature art-making activities and interactive art installations.
Saturday, May 19
Outbreak: Epidemics in a Connected World, National Museum of History: This new exhibit runs through May 31 and is an examination of disease in the modern world. Visitors will learn from public health workers, epidemiologists, and others about HIV/AIDS, Ebola, influenza, and more. The museum is free and open from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Waitress, National Theatre: The Broadway musical is running in D.C. throughout the month. It centers on a pie-making waitress and her dreams of escaping her small town. Showtimes are 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. For ticket prices, visit http://thenationaldc.org/.
Fiesta Asia Street Fair, Pennsylvania Avenue NW: This free annual event includes live performances, food, outdoor craft exhibits, a martial arts demonstration, and more. The festival will be held from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Royal Wedding Pop-Up Bar, 1839 7th St., NW: The pop-up bar, open from 5 p.m. to 1:30 a.m., features recreations of the wedding cake, Buckingham Palace, and St. George’s Chapel, and a back room plays host to a red-and-gold throne. On Saturday morning, there will be a special viewing party of the wedding.
Sunday, May 20
Taste of Arlington, Wilson Boulevard: This street festival includes the culinary delights of the county, local entertainment, children’s activities, and a wine, beer, and spirits tent. The festival runs from noon to 6 p.m. Tickets required. For more information visit www.ballstonbid.com/taste/.
No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man, Renwick Gallery: One of the more buzzworthy events in the District, this exhibit features unique large-scale art installations from the Nevada-based cultural festival. The Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum is free and open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Magic Sunday Brunch at Kingbird, The Watergate Hotel: Enjoy brunch at the famed hotel while Alain Nu, a mentalist and entertainer, performs. Brunch is available from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and reservations are suggested. For more information, visit www.thewatergatehotel.com/washington-dc-restaurant-kingbird/news-and-events.