10 Great Things to Do in DC This July

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Things to Do

Shake your hips at the International Colombian Festival, vibe out at Broccoli City, and more.

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MUSIC

1. Drake and 21 Savage

Capital One Arena | July 28–29

The hip-hop stars link up for a series of concerts promoting their 2022 collaboration album, Her Loss. But you’ll likely hear a lot more material than that: This is Drake’s first tour since 2018, and he’s put out multiple albums since then, including last year’s dance-­oriented Honestly, Nevermind.

THEATER

2. Capital Fringe Festival

Artwork courtesy of Capital Fringe.

Multiple locations in Georgetown | July 12–23

“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade” is the theme of this year’s long­-running theater fest. The lineup of mostly local performers will offer a wide range of shows, including standup comedy, improv, storytelling, and a two-person version of Romeo and Juliet.

MUSEUMS

3. “Many Wests: Artists Shape an American Idea”

Angel Rodríguez-Díaz painting, “The Protagonist of an Endless Story,” courtesy of Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Smithsonian American Art Museum | July 28, 2023–January 14, 2024

If your idea of Western art involves paintings of cowboys on the range, this exhibit will spur a different way of looking at the American West. Almost 50 modern and contemporary artists are represented, including Angel Rodríguez-Díaz, whose striking portrait of writer Sandra Cisneros is shown above.

MUSIC

4. Joe Hisaishi Symphonic Concert

Photograph by Mark Gambino.

Wolf Trap |  July 14–15

If you’re a fan of Studio Ghibli movies like Princess Mononoke and Howl’s Moving Castle, you know Hisaishi’s work: He’s composed the music for almost all of Hayao Miyazaki’s films. Here he’ll lead the National Symphony Orchestra in a performance of his scores, accompanied by film clips.

THEATER

5. Cambodian Rock Band

Photograph by Joan Marcus.

Arena Stage | July 19–August 27

Lauren Yee’s hit play taps the sounds of ’60s and ’70s Cambodia—as crafted by the contemporary band Dengue Fever—to tell of a father and daughter’s trip to Phnom Penh during which they confront the country’s difficult past.

FESTIVALS

6. International Colombian Festival

Photograph courtesy of Festival.

Catholic University | July 22

This growing event celebrates Colombia and Latino culture in general, with live music, dance performances, lots of food, and other fun attractions. This year, Mexico will also be featured as a “guest country,” so expect an even bigger crowd than in the past.

MUSIC

7. Rent in Concert

Logo courtesy of AMP Worldwide.

Kennedy Center | July 26–28

Probably you’ve never wondered what “Seasons of Love” would sound like backed by the Nation­al Symphony Orchestra, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a fun concept. This world-premiere re­imagining of the beloved musical features vocalists and musicians in a concert setting.

MUSEUMS

8. “Reconstructing ‘Weatherbreak’ in an Age of Extreme Weather”

Photograph courtesy of J. Paul Getty Trust/Getty Research Institute.

National Museum of American History | July 1–31

The original Weatherbreak was a 25-foot-high geodesic dome erected near Montreal in 1951—the first in North America. Now a team of architecture students is building its own version of the structure inside the museum, while pointing out how such domes address current issues related to housing and climate.

MUSIC

9. Broccoli City Festival

Photograph courtesy of Festival.

RFK Festival Grounds |  July 15–16

Now a local institution, Broccoli City returns with another lineup of top R&B and hip-hop artists, including Lil Uzi Vert (above), Jazmine Sullivan, Ice Spice, and City Girls. Day two includes a number of DC and Maryland artists: Brent Faiyaz, Fat Trel, and Tre’ Amani are on the bill, along with a go-go Battle of the Bands showdown.

BOOKS

10. Prom Mom by Laura Lippman

Photograph courtesy of Harpercollins.

Politics and Prose (Connecticut Avenue) | July 26

The latest book from the acclaimed Baltimore crime novelist is a suspenseful love story involving a baby, a death, and a messy entanglement from the past. The author might also discuss The Summer of Fall, her recent memoir about the end of her marriage and other personal struggles.

 This article appears in the July 2023 issue of Washingtonian.

Briana A. Thomas is a local journalist, historian, and tour guide who specializes in the research of D.C. history and culture. She is the author of the Black history book, Black Broadway in Washington, D.C., a story that was first published in Washingtonian in 2016.

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