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11 Things to Do This Weekend in Washington, DC

Our end-of-the-week picks for July 19-21 include celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing, the Capital Fringe Festival and a range of performances.

Check out our end-of-the-week picks and discover all of the best events, festivals, museum exhibits, concerts and more happening in the nation’s capital.


Join the National Air and Space Museum and NASA for the Apollo 50 Festival on the National Mall

Apollo 50 Festival on the National Mall
While the National Air and Space Museum is highlighting the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing all year long, this summertime celebration on the National Mall is the capstone event. The three-day extravaganza promises an abundance of space-related fun, including hands-on exhibits and activities from NASA, Boeing and The LEGO Group (among others), live costumed performances from Ready Jet Go! and a range of exciting speakers. The celebration also incorporates "Apollo 50: Go for the Moon," a 17-minute show that will use full-motion projection mapping art and archival footage displayed on the face of the Washington Monument to recreate the launch of Apollo 11 and tell the tale of the first moon landing, with screenings at 9:30 p.m., 10:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
9 a.m. |  Free admission

National Mall, Between 4th and 7th Streets NW, Washington, DC 20013

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By the Light of the Silvery Moon exhibit at National Gallery of Art opening July 14, 2019

‘By the Light of the Silvery Moon: A Century of Lunar Photographs from the 1850s to Apollo 11’
Before or after you check out the Apollo 50 Festival, make sure to check out the National Gallery of Art's celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing with this exhibition of rarely seen lunar images that beautifully blend science and art. Across roughly 50 works, you’ll see photographs from unmanned missions leading up to Apollo 11, stenographs taken on the moon by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin and lunar shots that date back to the 19th and early 20th centuries. The exhibit is open through Jan. 5, 2020.
10 a.m. – 5 p.m. | Free admission
National Gallery of Art, 4th Street & Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20565

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Smithsonian Sleepover at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC

Smithsonian Sleepover at the National Museum of Natural History
The National Museum of Natural History will provide kids with an unforgettable adventure this Friday. Participants in this Smithsonian Sleepover will have a chance to explore the new Fossil Hall, one of the most remarkable exhibits in DC, learning about the Earth’s past, its oceanic wonders, its many mammals and of course, dinosaurs. The event will also feature hands-on crafts and games. Ages 8-14 are permitted, and there must be at least one adult present for every three children in any group that registers. No siblings younger than 8 are allowed, and no adults are allowed without children.
7 p.m. | Register
National Museum of Natural History, Constitution Avenue at 10th Street NW, Washington, DC 20013


Band Performing at the Capital Fringe Festival at the Logan Fringe Art Space - Summer Festivals in Washington, DC

Capital Fringe Festival
During the edgy Capital Fringe Festival, you can catch out-there performances from local creatives, including improv dramas, live music performances, film screenings and much more. Events take place throughout the Southwest Waterfront, including at the illustrious Arena Stage and inside local churches. Get your tickets and check out the full schedule on the festival’s website. Capital Fringe runs through July 28.

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'Hamlet' Free For All at Shakespeare Theatre Company from July 10-21

Free For All: ‘Hamlet’ – Final Weekend
Shakespeare Theatre Company’s annual Free For All comes to the end of its two-week run this Sunday with the final performances of the legendary Hamlet. Set in a modern surveillance state version of Denmark, Hamlet arrives home to find his father dead, his mother remarried and his uncle on the throne. Once his father’s ghost appears seeking vengeance, the wheels are set in motion for a tragedy. Free For All tickets can be obtained via an online lottery. Tickets are also distributed at Sidney Harman Hall starting two hours before each performance (200 total).
2 p.m. & 8 p.m. |  Tickets
Sidney Harman Hall, 610 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20004

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Mosaic Theater Company Presents 'Twisted Melodies’ at the Atlas Performing Arts Center through July 21

Mosaic Theater Company Presents: ‘Twisted Melodies’ – Final Weekend
This one-man show written and performed by Kelvin Rolston, Jr. imagines the final day in the life of Donny Hathaway, one of soul music’s greatest singers and composers who tragically passed away in 1979. Rolston masterfully depicts Hathaway’s inner struggle between mental illness and the muses that guide him. Mosaic Theater Company hosts this powerful production to the Atlas Performing Arts Center through this Sunday.
3 p.m. & 8 p.m. | Tickets
Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H Street NE, Washington, DC 20002

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Washington Kastles Tennis
The Washington Kastles embark on their first season in a brand new venue on top of Union Market. Yep, you read that right – you’ll be able to watch this elite World TeamTennis match atop one of DC’s hippest destinations. The Kastles’ crew of stars, including local favorite Frances Tiafoe, will take on the rival New York Empire for the second night in a row after dueling in New York on Friday.
6 p.m. |  Tickets
Kastles Stadium at Union Market, 1309 5th Street NE, Washington, DC 20002

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Exterior of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts - Theater in Washington, DC

‘Freestyle Love Supreme’
From Tuesday through Sunday, the Kennedy Center welcomes this improvisational performance that comes from the mind of a trio that includes Lin-Manuel Miranda. MCs, musicians and beatboxers will take the stage and venture into the audience to freestyle an entire evening of entertainment. Attendees will even be asked to provide suggestions, creating an interactive experience that won’t soon be forgotten. Prepare for a wild ride.
9:30 p.m. |  Tickets
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 2700 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20566


Grand African Run at The Yards Park on July 21

Grand African Run
As part of African Week celebrations in the District, the DC Mayor’s Office has partnered with the African Union and the nonprofit Nova Connections to host the inaugural Grand African Run. The event features a main 5K race and a 1K run for children ages 11 and younger. The course will run along the Anacostia River, with the race starting and finishing at the Yard Park. Top African athletes will attend as guests and participants.
7:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. | Register
The Yards Park, 355 Water Street SE, Washington, DC 20003

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‘Earthrise’ at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts from July 18 – Aug. 4

In honor of the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, Earthrise will use projections, songs and NASA footage to create a breathtaking chronicle of Apollo 11’s monumental moment in 1969. The story concerns children of NASA employees: an engineer’s daughter, an astronaut’s son and a mathematician’s daughter. The audience will witness these three kids marveling at the very first lunar landing, the culmination of a historic mission. The show opens Thursday and runs through Aug. 4.
1:30 p.m. & 4 p.m. |  Tickets
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 2700 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20566

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‘Disney’s Aladdin’ at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on July 18 – Sept. 7

‘Disney’s Aladdin’
The hit Broadway musical, adapted from the classic Disney film, touches down at the Kennedy Center from Thursday through Sept. 7. One lamp and three wishes will launch an outstanding production filled with beloved songs, gut-busting comedy, gorgeous set design and magical carpet rides. Bring the entire family to this majestic show that will draw quite a bit of fanfare in the nation’s capital (this is code for: get your tickets ASAP).
1:30 p.m. & 7:30 p.m. |  Tickets
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 2700 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20566

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The Best Events and Festivals Happening in Washington, DC