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40+ Things to Do This January in Washington, DC

Start 2023 off right with ice skating, new plays and museum exhibits, Metropolitan Washington Restaurant Week, the Washington Auto Show and many more.

Make plans for unforgettable experiences in the nation's capital this January. After you’ve read through this list, make sure to check out our things to do for the week and weekend.

Toast to the season
Savor the season at Urban Roast with different varieties of hot chocolate and s’mores to be enjoyed among a winter wonderland atmosphere. Be transported to the Alps with ski chalet pop-ups at Dirty Habit and Ciel Social Club and winter igloos at The Next Whiskey Bar. Discover more hot and cozy drinks to warm up around the District.

 

Go ice skating in DC
DC’s year-round temps are pretty moderate, but during the winter – when cold Canadian winds whistle down the Potomac and Anacostia rivers – Washingtonians bundle up for a day (or a night) on the ice. Public ice skating rinks can be found in multiple neighborhoods in DC proper, so check out the best places to hit the ice in the nation's capital.

 

WBA Lightweight World Championship: Gervonta Davis vs. Hector Luis Garcia – Jan. 7
Capital One Arena welcomes two premier boxing champions for this exciting title bout that will be broadcast in pay-per-view on Showtime. Gervonta Davis and Hector Luis Garcia will trade blows to determine the WBA Lightweight World Champion.
5 p.m. |  Tickets
Capital One Arena, 601 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20004

 

Intangible Forms – Through March 5, 2023
The new laser-powered experience at ARTECHOUSE aims to inspire you to find interconnectedness. Enter a meditative soundscape inspired by Shinto Shrines, offering the opportunity to pause and exist outside of normal space and time. Powered by choreographed kinetic lasers, strobes, haze and moving lights, you will travel through multiple rooms of installations and an entrancing environment created by hypnotic and modular rhythms. Use the 'Tickets' link below for a special 10% discount!
Monday – Thursday: 1-9 p.m. | Friday – Sunday: 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. |  Tickets
ARTECHOUSE, 1238 Maryland Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20024

 

DC Holiday Lights – Through Jan. 8, 2023
Neighborhoods throughout the nation’s capital are adorning their “main streets” with colorful lights in celebration of the holiday season. Additionally, vendors in each neighborhood will offer holiday specials and promotions to encourage local shopping. You can enjoy this holiday cheer in Adams Morgan, Columbia Heights, Mount Pleasant, Dupont Circle, Logan Circle, U Street and Woodley Park, among other locales.

 

Vermeer’s Secrets – Through Jan. 8, 2023
In total, only 35 paintings by Johannes Vermeer are known today. The National Gallery of Art owns four of them. For decades, curators, conservators and scientists have researched the quartet of paintings by the 17th-century Dutch artist as well as two other works now considered to be forgeries from the 20th century. The Gallery now offers 50 years of imaging technology and microscopic examination in Vermeer’s Secrets, sharing unique findings about the artist’s dazzling technique and revolutionizing our understanding of him in the process.
10 a.m. – 5 p.m. |  Free Admission
National Gallery of Art, 6th Street & Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC

 

Emotions at Play with Pixar’s Inside Out – Through Jan. 8, 2023
The National Children’s Museum invites you to explore the world of Pixar’s smash hit animated film, Inside Out, at a new exhibit set to run throughout the fall and winter. Visitors can experience the role that memories, emotions and the imagination play in our everyday lives. Interactive digital experiences will feature the characters from the movie who come to represent our five core emotions. The exhibit is recommended for kids ages 2-10.
Hours & Tickets
National Children’s Museum, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20004

 

Living in Two Times: Photography by Bahman Jalali and Rana Javadi – Through Jan. 8, 2023
Noted for sharp documentary images and photomontage, the husband-and-wife team of Bahman Jalali and Rana Javadi are among the most influential figures in the development of late 20th-century photography in Iran. The duo captured moments of extreme turmoil in their homeland, most notably through the series Days of Blood, Days of Fire, selections of which are featured throughout the exhibit. Visitors can also marvel at the artists’ innovative photomontage work.
10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. |  Free Admission
National Museum of Asian Art, 1050 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20560

 

No Excuses, No Limits – Jan. 13-15
The world’s best disabled dancers come to the Kennedy Center for a series of special performances. Thanks to ILL-ABILITIES™, which uses the hip-hop connotation of the word “ill” to highlight these incredibly talented performers, you will be taken on a journey through each dancer’s story, showcasing the limitless possibilities of people, with audience incorporation a part of the show as well.
Tickets
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 2700 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20566

 

Ride the Cyclone – Jan. 13 – Feb. 19
Six teen chamber choir singers are tragically killed in a freak roller coaster accident. Stuck in the afterlife, a mechanical fortuneteller gives them a chance to sing their way back to earth. Ride the Cyclone is a quirky and edgy musical that blends humor, tragedy and enchantment. Arena Stage hosts cutting-edge production.
Tickets
Arena Stage, 1101 6th Street SW, Washington, DC 20024

 

Reggae Fest D.C. – Jan. 14
Prepare to move your feet at DC’s historic Howard Theatre during Reggae Fest, which will bring the rhythms of dancehall, soca, Afrobeat and of course, reggae, to one of the most vibrant venues in the District. Doors open at 10 p.m. for this 21-and-over event.
10 p.m. – 3 a.m. |  Tickets
The Howard Theatre, 620 T Street NW, Washington, DC 20001

 

Let Freedom Ring! with Leslie Odom, Jr. – Jan. 16
Celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a free, ticketed musical tribute featuring the iconic Leslie Odom, Jr. The annual Millennium Stage program will also feature a performance by The Let Freedom Ring Choir, led by producer Nolan Williams, Jr. Georgetown University will present the 21st annual John Thompson Jr. Legacy of a Dream Award to Paula Fitzgerald, executive director of Ayuda. The ticket giveaway begins at 4:30 p.m. at the Hall of Nations on the day of the show.
6 p.m. |  Free admission |  More info
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 2700 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20566

 

Winter Restaurant Week – Jan. 16-22
The Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington’s signature celebration returns and is ready to heat up your January. Enjoy winter in the District while taking advantage of specially priced meals, including to-go options and cocktail and wine pairings. Dig in to the details and plan your culinary excursion in DC.

 

CATS – Jan. 17-22
One of the most successful musicals of all time will light up the stage at The National Theatre. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s masterpiece follows a tribe of cats for their annual ball to celebrate and determine which cat will be reborn. Along the way, you’ll hear songs that have touched multiple generations, take in breathtaking choreography and gawk at beautiful set design.
Tickets
The National Theatre, 1321 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20004

 

The Reading Room – Jan. 19-21
Folger Theatre celebrates a new year with a showcase of new plays, all inspired by and in conversation with Shakespeare. In-depth readings of four new plays will be followed by conversations with playwrights, directors, scholars and press. Special Festival Passes and All-Access Passes are available to help you step even further into the world of theater-making.
Tickets
The Lutheran Church of the Reformation, 212 East Capitol Street NE, Washington, DC 20003

 

Shangela – Jan. 20
It’s about to be Fully Lit at the Warner Theatre in DC thanks to Shangela. The breakout star from RuPaul’s Drag Race and Dancing with the Stars will bring all her fearless drag queen energy to one of DC’s most historic venues. The national sensation, who also stars in We’re Here on HBO, will stun you throughout the evening as only she can.
8 p.m. |  Tickets
Warner Theatre, 513 13th Street NW, Washington, DC 20004

 

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Horse and His Boy

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Horse and His Boy – Jan. 20-March 3
C. S. Lewis's beloved tale, The Horse and His Boy, comes to the Museum of the Bible's World Stage Theater. You don't want to miss the special production from the Logos Theatre that will include epic puppetry, beautiful sets and costumes and an inspiring story that will appeal to all ages.
Tickets
Museum of the Bible, 400 4th Street SW, Washington, DC 20024

 

The Passion of Mary Cardwell Dawson – Jan. 20 & 22
Learn the legacy of the remarkable founder of the groundbreaking National Negro Opera Company, established in 1941. Starring acclaimed mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves, The Passion of Mary Cardwell Dawsn features music by Mark Twain Award-winning playwright Sandra Seaton and includes selections from the repertory of the National Negro Opera Company as well as original music composed by Kennedy Center Composer-in-Residence and 2023 Grammy nominee Carlos Simon. The fascinating story starts in DC in 1943, where the company is set to perform on a floating barge to evade racially segregated venues.
Tickets
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 2700 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20566

 

Washington Auto Show – Jan. 20-29
The world-class event displays engineering prowess and innovation along with more than 600 new models from 30+ car manufacturers inside the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. Interactive displays and on-site activations add to the fascination of this motor vehicle showcase.
Tickets
Walter E. Washington Convention Center, 801 Mount Vernon Place NW, Washington, DC 20001

 

Lunar New Year at the Kennedy Center – Jan. 21
The Kennedy Center welcomes you and your entire family to this free Lunar New Year celebration on its Millennium Stage. Honor the “Year of the Rabbit” with performances of The Lion Dance by the Tai Yim Kung Fu School and songs from the Concert Chorale of Washington.
6 p.m. |  Free admission
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 2700 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20566

 

Future and Friends – Jan. 22
Responsible for a rap style all his own, Future is one of the most influential artists of the past 20 years, using his signature mumble-styled vocals and a heavy use of melody and auto-tune to create a ceaseless string of hit albums and mixtapes. This year’s I Never Liked You has already gone platinum. Future, his catalogue of hits and a crew of fellow performers will hold it down at Capital One Arena for one of the most anticipated shows of the month.
7 p.m. |  Tickets
Capital One Arena, 601 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20004

 

Georgetown GLOW – Through Jan. 22, 2023
Beginning the Saturday after Thanksgiving, you can stroll through DC’s most historic neighborhood to see jaw-dropping illuminated artworks. Georgetown GLOW is a holiday hit in the District, a celebration of holiday-themed artistry. Participants range from locally renowned to internationally celebrated, while their works gorgeously adorn outdoor spaces throughout Georgetown.
5-10 p.m. nightly |  Free admission

 

Wicked – Through Jan. 22, 2023
The Kennedy Center welcomes the Broadway sensation that approaches the Land of Oz from a different angle. Before Dorothy ever arrives, there's a green-skinned young lady who's smart, fiery, misunderstood and in possession of an extraordinary talent. When she meets a bubbly blonde who is exceptionally popular, their rivalry turns into friendship until the world decides to call one “good” and the other one “wicked.”
Tickets
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 2700 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20566

 

Shen Yun – Jan. 24-29
China was once known as the Middle Kingdom, and Shen Yun will bring this ancient world to life through dance, an orchestra and incredible backdrops. All these elements come together to reveal 5,000 years of awe-inspiring Chinese stories and history. Discover new dimensions, powerful heritage and historical wisdom in this jaw-dropping series of performances.
Tickets
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 2700 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20566

 

Tom Papa – Jan. 27
When you check out Tom Papa live at the Kennedy Center, take in the observational comedy of the highest order. The stand-up legend moves from exasperation to amusement without missing a beat. With more than 25 years of experience and numerous stand-up specials to his name, expect a memorable night filled with laughs.
8 p.m. |  Tickets
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 2700 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20566

 

NSO Pops: An Evening with Ne-Yo – Jan. 27-28
Three-time Grammy Award®–winning singer, songwriter and producer Ne-Yo treats the Kennedy Center’s Concert Hall to his greatest hits in collaboration with the National Symphony Orchestra and its conductor, Steven Reineke. Ne-Yo has sold more than 10 million albums worldwide, making these two nights a unique opportunity to see a chart-topping artist present his songs in an entirely new context.
8 p.m. |  Tickets
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 2700 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20566

 

A Collector’s Eye: Freer in Egypt – Opens Jan. 28
From 1906-1909, Charles Lang Freer acquired a wide range of Egyptian art works, including the renowned Washington Codex—one of the oldest Bibles in the world—a digital copy of which will be on view in the Freer Gallery of Art as part of this special exhibit. Visitors can also expect to see New Kingdom Egyptian glass vessels, a Byzantine jewelry set, amulets and hundreds of beads, many of which will be on display for the first time.
10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. |  Free Admission
National Museum of Asian Art, 1050 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20560

 

The Lifespan of a Fact – Jan. 28 – Feb. 25
DC’s Keegan Theatre presents a brand new play about one Jim Fingal, a Harvard graduate who works as a fact checker for a failing New York-based magazine, and one Jim D’Agata, an essay writer who has penned a piece that could save said magazine. When fact checking Jim is assigned to review writer Jim’s essay about the suicide of a teenage boy, the two come into conflict in a gripping, dramatic and comedic battle over fact vs. fiction.
Tickets
Keegan Theatre, 1742 Church Street NW, Washington, DC 20036

 

This Is Britain: Photographs from the 1970s and 1980s – Jan. 29 – June 11, 2023
Britain experienced profound changes in the 1970s and 1980s, racked by deindustrialization, urban uprisings, the policies of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and the Troubles in Northern Ireland. Photography became a central form of creative expression during this period. The new exhibit at the National Gallery of Art brings together the work of a generation of essential photographers including Vanley Burke, Pogus Caesar, Anna Fox, Paul Graham, Sunil Gupta, Chris Killip, Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen and Martin Parr.
10 a.m. – 5 p.m. |  Free Admission
National Gallery of Art, 6th Street & Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC

 

Looking Up: Studies for Ceilings, 1550-1800 – Jan. 29 – July 9, 2023
The National Gallery of Art presents dozens of examples of the evolution of ceiling decoration, including the baroque and neoclassical periods. Some works are vibrant early drawings and others are large-scale models that give a sense of the experience of the intended final composition. Studies of single motifs and individual figures reveal how these grand projects enticed viewers.
10 a.m. – 5 p.m. |  Free Admission
National Gallery of Art, 6th Street & Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC

 

Into the Woods – Through Jan. 29, 2023
Stephen Sondheim’s fairy tale mash-up musical comes to Virginia’s Signature Theatre. A baker and his wife want to reverse a witch’s curse so that they can have a child together. However, their quest becomes much more complicated, with Little Red Ridinghood, Jack and his beanstalk, Cinderella and Rapunzel all eventually getting involved. A beautiful score highlights this darkly humorous journey into the imagination.
Tickets
Signature Theatre, 4200 Campbell Avenue, Arlington, VA 22206

 

I Dream a World: Selections from Brian Lanker’s Portraits of Remarkable Black Women Through Jan. 29, 2023
Installed in two parts, this new exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery features likenesses of women who have made an impact through the arts, activism, literature and politics. The masterful work of photographer Brian Lanker showcases figures such as Maya Angelou, Septima Poinsette Clark, Lena Horne, Barbara Jordan, Rosa Parks, Leontyne Price, Wilma Rudolph and Alice Walker. Icons featured in the second phase of installation will include Althea Gibson, Odetta, Cicely Tyson and Oprah Winfrey.
11:30 a.m. – 7 p.m. |  Free Admission
National Portrait Gallery, 8th and G Streets NW, Washington, DC 20001

 

Dry Cleaning & Spirit of the Beehive – Jan. 31
Two of alternative rock’s current forebears share a bill at The Howard Theatre in what promises to be an evening full of excitement. Dry Cleaning, led by the spoken word vocal stylings of Florence Shaw, are one of Britain’s most acclaimed post-punk bands after the brilliance of their first two albums. Spirit of the Beehive use noise, volume and intensity to crank out high-wire electronic tracks that shake the floor and blow your mind.
8 p.m. |  Tickets
The Howard Theatre, 620 T Street NW, Washington, DC 20001

 

First Lady of Song: Ella Fitzgerald – Jan. 31 – Feb. 5
Signature Theatre hosts a swinging cabaret filled with Ella Fitzgerald’s classic songs. The female jazz singer, known for her incredible range and syncopated style, was an American icon, reflected in the beauty of tracks like “A-Tisket, A-Tasket,” “Someone to Watch Over Me,” “Blue Skies” and many, many more. Hear renditions of those ditties and many others during an exhilarating show.
Tickets
Signature Theatre, 4200 Campbell Avenue, Arlington, VA 22206

 

Cultivate: Growing Food in a Changing World – Through Dec. 31, 2023
The U.S. Botanic Garden invites you to learn about the importance of agriculture in a special exhibit. Learn about the wild relatives of plants we eat, interactively explore the science of agriculture through microscopes, educate yourself to the practices of farming through the centuries and hear from several local chefs about their own food cultures. You can also see how plants impact recipes, observe home gardening techniques and test your knowledge of popular foods through world maps made from grains and legumes.
U.S. Botanic Garden, 100 Maryland Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20001

 

An Italian Impressionist in Paris – Through Feb. 12, 2023
The marvelous work of Italian Impressionist painter Giuseppe De Nittis (1846-1884) receives the exhibition treatment on U.S. soil for the first time at the Phillips Collection in DC this November. Although not well known outside of his home country, De Nittis’ work has become essential to understanding the upheavals of 1870s Paris, as his urban tableaus showcased a cultured and economically successful city undergoing transformation. The exhibit will also present new research detailing the artist’s friendships with Edgar Degas and Edouard Manet as well as his early collaborations in Naples with a young Gustave Caillebotte.
Hours & Admission
The Phillips Collection, 1600 21st Street NW, Washington, DC 20009

 

Called to Create: Black Artists of the American South – Through March 26, 2023
The National Gallery of Art invites visitors to enjoy more than 40 paintings, assemblages, sculptures and drawings from essential Black artists, including Thornton Dial, Lonnie Holley, Mary T. Smith, Purvis Young, James “Son Ford” Thomas and many more. Incredible quilts made from scraps of fabric and old clothing crafted by the women of Gee’s Bend, Alabama are also on display as part of an in-depth look at the significance of cultural and spiritual traditions on some of the finest contemporary art.
10 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily |  Free Admission
National Gallery of Art, 6th Street and Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20565

 

A Splendid Land: Paintings from Royal Udaipur – Through May 14, 2023
Immersive paintings transport you to the Indian court of Udaipur circa 1700 via this stunning exhibit at the National Museum of Asian Art. Paintings on a range of materials – including paper and cloth – bring your imagination to far-off lands to see palaces, lakes and mountains. See how artists of the time period depicted emotions, celebrated the natural world and built communities in the rapidly changing environment of South Asia.
10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. |  Free Admission
National Museum of Asian Art, 1050 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20560

 

One with Eternity: Yayoi Kusama in the Hirshhorn Collection – Through June 14, 2023
The Hirshhorn has been collecting the prolific work of Yayoi Kusama since 1996. The museum’s 2017 survey of her work traveled to five North American art museums, introducing Kusama’s spellbinding visions to record audiences. Now, the Hirshhorn displays five of Kusama’s works from the museum’s permanent collection, including two of the artist’s transcendent Infinity Mirror Rooms. One with Eternity: Yayoi Kusama in the Hirshhorn Collection is a tribute to the life and practice of the visionary artist. The popular exhibit has been extended through the spring of 2023 and beginning Nov. 9, next-day online ticket distribution will be available. Visit the Hirshhorn's website for more information.
10 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. |  Free admission
Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden, Independence Avenue & 7th Street NW, Washington, DC 20560

 

Why We Serve: Native Americans in the United States Armed Forces – Through Nov. 30, 2023
All the way back to the American Revolution, Native Americans have served in the U.S. armed forces, often in extraordinary numbers. The National Museum of the American explores the phenomenon of the Indigenous commitment to the U.S. military, from being drafted to the pursuit of employment or education to tribal traditions and treaty commitments.
10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. |  Free Admission
National Museum of the American Indian, 4th Street & Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20560

 

Kinship – Through Jan. 7, 2024
The National Portrait Gallery uses more than 40 artworks by eight contemporary artists, including Jessica Todd Harper, Thomas Holton, Njideka Anukyili Crosby and Sedrick Huckaby, to showcase the importance of “kinship” and the relationships that bond us. Through multiple mediums, the pieces explore intergenerational dynamics, gender roles, responses to life and death and so much more.
11:30 a.m. - 7 p.m. |  Free Admission
National Portrait Gallery, 8th and G Streets NW, Washington, DC 20001

 

A Window Suddenly Opens: Contemporary Photography in China – Through Jan. 7, 2024
The Hirshhorn’s first survey of photography by leading multigenerational Chinese artists from the 1990s through the 2000s will feature 186 artworks, 141 of which are a landmark promised gift to the museum from Chinese art collector Larry Warsh. The exhibition’s title (drawn from a 1997 publication) celebrates the shift of photography from a realistic art to a conceptual one. Featured artists include Cang Xin, Cao Fei, Chen Shaoxiong, Cui Xiuwen, Gu Dexin, Hai Bo and Hong Hao.
10 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. |  Free admission
Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden, Independence Avenue & 7th Street NW, Washington, DC 20560

 

All American: The Power of Sports – Through Jan. 7, 2024
The National Archives' new 3,000-square-foot exhibit showcases more than 75 items including original records, artifacts and photographs that showcase how American sports unite, teach and inspire us. Highlights include original sports equipment and jerseys used by icons, early 20th-century tobacco baseball cards, rare trophies, photos, letters and much more. The exhibit is located in the Lawrence F. O'Brien Gallery and is free to visit.
10 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. |  Free Admission
National Archives Museum, 701 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20408

 

Experience The Museum of Illusions 
The sensation that has already swept more than 30 major cities has touched down in the District. At the Museum of Illusions, visitors can be immersed in trickery, learn about how the human brain works and sharpen their vision and perception.
Tickets
The Museum of Illusions, 925 H Street NW, Washington, DC 20001

 

Check out Phase II of The Wharf
DC’s Southwest Waterfront development has launched its second phase for you to enjoy throughout 2023. There’s the new Pendry Hotel, a 1.5-acre park at Marshall Park Landing, 95,000 square feet of retail space and a wealth of new restaurants that are opening on a rolling basis. The list includes Philippe Chow’s Beijing-style restaurant, Lucky Buns, Mason’s Famous Lobster Rolls, Bartaco, Blank Street Coffee, Hell’s Kitchen and Fish & Chips from Gordon Ramsay, Kinfolk Southern Kitchen, Limani, Milk and Honey, Slice of Matchbox and Kilwins Chocolates & Ice Cream.

 

Visit the Rubell Museum
The Rubells’ second museum draws from the family’s extensive collection of contemporary sculptures, paintings, photographs and videos. The 32,000-square-foot space also offers activations, a bookstore and a café with indoor and outdoor dining.
More Info
Rubell Museum, 65 I Street SW, Washington, DC 20024

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