Top Quirky, Off-Beat Things to do in D.C. (Before You Die/Escape)

I moved around quite a bit before ending up in our nation’s capital and became attached to each place I unpacked my suitcases. D.C. isn’t New York City. D.C. isn’t Berkeley. And D.C. is certainly not Lima. I’ve been here for four years, but I still miss the excitement of The City, the beauty of the Bay Area and the challenges of Peru. HOWEVER, I’ve grown to appreciate this metropolis for what it is. There’s a lot of curious stuff going on here, too—I just had to dig a li’l deeper. This guide is for the hodgepodge of residents who, like me, need more adventure in their lives. In no particular order, I give you the top quirky, off-beat (sometimes free, always fun) things to do in D.C. (before you die/escape):

    1. The Amazing Acro-Cats: Featuring Tuna and the Rock Cats! Check ’em meow-t! Link here $
    2. SlugFest: Celebrate everyone’s favorite(?!) gastropod at the festival of slugs. Enjoy(?!) slime tossing, slug racing and slug skin exfoliation(?!). Link here $
    3. Screaming hairy armadillos: Do I really need to add anything else? Link here
    4. Drag Queen High Heel Race: YAS KWEEN! Link here
    5. Laughter yoga: Join a group of ridiculously fun people and chuckle, chortle and guffaw your way to happiness. Laughter yoga is a huge stress-reliever. No yoga experience (or spandex) required! Link here (and here $)
    6. Washington Juggernauts: Have some anger issues? Feel like whacking someone with a blunt object? Join the Armored Combat League! Link here $
    7. Ice Cream Luge: Like many great things in life, it’s slightly messy, requires chocolate and involves alcohol. Link here $
    8. Atlas Arcade: Give your inner child beer, and don’t be stingy with the quarters. Link here $
    9. National Museum of Health and Medicine: Where else can you see a ginormous hairball IN SOMEONE’S INTESTINES? Link here
    10. Menstruation Museum: Move over, Smithsonians, you ain’t got nothing on a museum dedicated to Aunt Flow. Link here
    11. Champagne Saber: A man gets dressed up, brandishes a sword and breaks the neck off a bottle of champagne. Then he pours free drinks for everyone. Every day. (Best. Job. EVER.) Link here
    12. Puppeteering meetup: You’re always pulling strings at work, now do it as a hobby! Link here  
    13. Capitol Clash: Historical European martial arts—bring the ancient art of beating the crap outta people back to the modern era! Link here $
    14. Politicians vs. Press Spelling Bee: It’s ridiculous as it sounds. Link here $
    15. Congressional Baseball Game: Ditto. Link here
    16. Zombie Run: Break out the fake blood, torn clothes and let loose your obsession for BrrRRaaaiNsSSS! Links here, here and here
    17. Palisades Blair Witch Project: Creeptastic lair for witches (or teenagers smoking pot). It’s pretty cool. Definitely worth the (very short) trek! Ladies and gents, bring a bra or two to add to the super cool Bra Tree! Links here and here
    18. Dragon boat racing: If you angle your paddle just right, you can splash the person behind you until they’re sopping wet. I’m not a bad person. Links here and here
    19. Yoga Mortis: The corpse pose is just SO much easier in a cemetery. Link here
    20. Candlelight yoga: And if cemeteries aren’t your thing, do the downward dog in candlelight. Just make sure to watch where you cobra! Link here $
    21. Pickle vodka: I can’t even. Link here $
    22. Wiener 500 D.C. Dachshund Race: Everyone gets a first place in cuteness! Link here
    23. ASL annual song signing competition: This is SO COOL! Link here
    24. Mushroom hunting: Because who trusts the fungus you can buy at Giant? Link here
    25. Major League Quidditch: Watch adults run around with broomsticks in between their legs. Link here
    26. Lock picking class: Nothing is safe. I repeat, NOTHING is safe. Not only will this class teach you how to pick everything from bike locks to front doors, it’ll also instill you with a queasy feeling that none of your worldly possessions are secure in any way, whatsoever. Link here
    27. Pho-eating contest: Pretty much an average Friday night. Link here $
    28. U.S. Coffee Championship: GOOOOAAAAAALLLLLL! Or, um, something like that. I don’t really know how to play coffee. Link here $
    29. Tea with Strangers: Grab tea (with strangers!) and discuss why y’all aren’t drinking coffee. Link here
    30. No Pants Subway Ride: Dress code is a happy medium between a D.C. power meeting and a nudist colony. Link here
    31. Rock Paper Scissors Tournament: The most intellectually taxing event you’ll ever attend. Link here
    32. Flying trapeze: Are you afraid of heights? Great, now go practice your flips. Links here and here $
    33. Absinthe fountain: Are you hipster enough? Link here $
    34. Drag brunch at Nellie’s Sports Bar: There are no words. Just go. Link here $
    35. Malcolm X/Meridian Hill Park drum circle: Does your heart beat to the tune of a different drum? Do you wear your dreadlocks with pride (and beads)? Do you enjoy balancing on a tight rope? If that sounds like you, check out the drum circle. If not, bring a picnic blanket, some snacks and your sunglasses—it’s the HBO of people watching. Link here
    36. American Ninja Warrior-Themed Pool Competition: OMG OMG OMG Link here
    37. Square dancing: This ain’t the day to break in those new boots. Get ready for a workout, yeehaw! Link here and here $
    38. U.S. Air Guitar Championships: “smells a lot like cheap beer, sweaty spandex, and epic shredding of invisible proportions.” Link here $
    39. Archery 101: Because we all want to be Jennifer Lawrence. Link here $
    40. Murder mystery scavenger hunt at the National Museum of History: Watson, the company that hosts the scavenger hunts also has Harry Potter-themed hunts and naked-themed hunts (but not naked Harry Potter-themed hunts, sorry). Link here $
    41. Harry Potter and the Sacred Text: Soon to replace bibles in creepy motels everywhere. Link here $
    42. Robert Burns party: You gotta check this out. Pro tip: avoid the haggis! Link here
    43. DC Roller Derby scrimmage: Watch these hardcore ladies kick butt! They also have classes and bootcamps so you can attempt to attain their level of badassery. Link here
    44. 500 harmonica cases: Think your OK Cupid date has a weird hobby? Cut the dude some slack. Can’t get odder than this (and I love it!). Link here
    45. D.C. Bubble Run: There are bubbles! SO. MANY. BUBBLES, in fact, that you can almost forget the word “run” is also in there. Sneaky. Link here $
    46. D.C.’s silent disco: ParTAY (quietly)! Link here $
    47. Walk in the footsteps of spies and traitors (without actually being one): Unless that’s your thing. I don’t judge. Link here
    48. Chill with Robots at the Smithsonian: They’re no WallE, but their interest in art is unparalleled! Link here 
    49. Grab Some Grub From D.C.’s Floating Food Truck: The overpriced deliciousness is unmatched! Link here
    50. Creative Mornings D.C.: Pretend you’re a morning person and hear some brilliant speakers like NPR’s Adam Cole and the Hirshhorn’s Linn Meyers. Link here
    51. O Street Mansion Bluegrass Jam: If you play an instrument you can get in for free. (The electric triangle doesn’t count, Greg, jeeze.) Link here
    52. Annual tweed ride: Pedal like you got a full-ride to OxBridge! Link here $
    53. Play cornhole: This sport (yeah, I called it a sport) is really more of an excuse to go drinking after (or is it before?) than actually playing, but some people get really into it. As a Best Coast gal, I’d never heard of proper cornhole technique, and it’s fascinating/annoying to hear some tipsy Georgetown boys explain it. Join the movement with this link here. $
    54. DC science cafe: SCIENCE IS THE BEST. That is all. Link here
    55. Sledding on Capitol Hill: This is a winter must-do! If your partner forgets to buy sleds at the grocery store before they sell out (AHEM), just wrap a large piece of cardboard in a heavy duty garbage bag. Both to my surprise (and the stand-by medic’s) this actually works really, really well. Link here
    56. SF Hunt: a giant, 100-riddle scavenger hunt. Link here $ (use the code 730DC to get a $5 discount)
    57. Cheeseboard painting: Because using canvas is so last month. Link here $
    58. Giant SpongeBob Squarepants: He’s less annoying in real life, promise. Link here
    59. Learn how to fly fish off a building in Arlington: Nothing could possibly go wrong. Links here and here
    60. Mr. Yogato’s frozen yogurt: Where playing games gets you discounts on froyo! Link here $
    61. Sushi doughnuts: Forget sushi burritos. It’s all about the ‘nuts! Link here $
    62. AwesomeCon: It’s awesome. Do I really need to explain this one? Link here $
    63. Drunk Science: Where CH3CH2OH flows freely. Link here $
    64. Board Room bar: Let your competitive side loose and CRUSH Brian at his favorite board game. SUCK IT, BRIAN. Drinks on you, bro! Links here and here
    65. Speakeasy: You are definitely cool enough to frequent one of D.C.’s speakeasys. The question is—can you afford both that vintage wicker chair, mousse for your man bun, those non-iPod issued headphones AND the price of a cocktail? Link here $
    66. Try a Capoeira class: Free dance-fighting classes. What are you waiting for?! Check it out herehere and (heavily discounted) here
    67. Netwalking: Netwalking takes The District’s No. 1 obsession—networking—to a whole new level (of ridiculousness). If you can’t figure out how to walk and talk, this event is for you. Netwalking teaches participants to network while they walk a la The West Wing. So get out there! Take what could’ve been a nice, relaxing stroll and turn it into work! Link here $ There’s also the envirorun! Link here
    68. Jane Austen Ball: If you didn’t ZOMG LOVE the 5-hour showing of Pride and Prejudice, this might not be for you. Link here $
    69. Bastille Day Baguette Race: Running after carbs–>story of my life Link here
    70. Bastille Day French Maid Race: We all know a 22-year-old frat boy came up with this, but, whatevs, santé! Link here $
    71. Skeleton dressed up with nowhere to go: The Franciscan Monastery is… interesting. Link here
    72. Free roller skating: Reenact your fav ’80s fantasies here. Link here
    73. Try the Bagel Doughnut: BLASPHEMY! Link here and here $
    74. Celebrate textiles: Because EXCITEMENT! Link here
    75. DuPont Underground: A subterranean arts and cultural organization, DuPont Underground takes visitors on a walk through old metro lines under DuPont. Step carefully around ever-growing art installations, explore an old food court and take selfies in front of some gorgeous graffiti. Link here $
    76. Monday night meditation: Get your ooommm on at the Unitarian Universalist Church. Link here
    77. Cinematery: BYOB to this week’s movie… in the CEMETERY Link here
    78. Exorcist steps: These iconic steps don’t match the Palisades in their creepiness. They’re actually in a lovely part of the city. See if you can run up and down twice like former president Bill Clinton. Then go get a cupcake—you earned it. Link here
    79. Space cafe: Your are not allowed to make Uranus jokes here. My bad. Link here $
    80. Free Masons: Take a tour of the Free Masons Temple. My favorite part? There are dead people buried IN THE BUILDING, which is incredibly stunning and not haunted at all. The history is fascinating and the sexism is abhorrent—did you know they still don’t allow female members? WTAF, people! Link here
    81. Wizards Assemble: They’re like the Power Rangers, but with wands and lacking a catchy theme song. Link here $
    82. Fal(s)e University: A comedy show that makes philosophy (etc.) way more fun than your college profs did Link here $
    83. Floor workshop: You roll around on the floor and somehow that makes you relax. I guess it works for dogs so why not people? Link here $
    84. The D.C. Air Sex Championship: Don’t ask. Just read (it’s safe for work). Link here $
    85. Running of the Chihuahuas: <insert Taco Bell reference> Links here and here
    86. Sheep Shearing at Oxon Cove: If this doesn’t automatically intrigue you, we can’t be friends. Link here
    87. The Perfect Liars Club: Where sociopaths can really shine! Link here $
    88. VHS Nostalgia: Refuse to enter the 21st Century? Watched “The Circle” and you’re still freaked out? Welcome! Link here
    89. Haunted hospital: Check out this totally haunted hospital… if you DARE. Link here
    90. Full moon gong bath: I got nothin’. Give it a go? Link here $
    91. HUMP Amateur Porn Festival: Unrelated to the full moon gong bath, but in full support of showing your full moon, Dan Savage hosts an annual amateur porn festival right here in The District. NSFW and not for the faint of heart, porn becomes a communal and (dare I suggest it?) heart-warming experience. Link here $
    92. Dr. Who extravaganza: Fire up your Tardis and beam yourself over to the Black Cat for Saturday night Dr. Who showings and drink specials! Link here
    93. Bluegrass jamming class: Anyone with any musical talent needs to get on this ASAP. Link here $
    94. Giant crash test dummy: Because what else are you gonna do with your Saturday? Link here
    95. Climb the big toe: You know what they say about feet… THAT THEY’RE GROSS Link here
    96. Get a library card from the Library of Congress: #nerdcred Link here
    97. Visit a store devoted entirely to Peeps: Insert toothpicks into Peep wings. Stick in microwave. Watch them joust. You’re welcome. Link here
    98. Try the world’s hottest pepper: You know you like it hot. Link here $
    99. The most famous graves in the D.C. area: Smell that? It’s existential dread, and it is STRONG. Link here
    100. Watch a Supreme Court trial: YOU GET TO BE IN THE PRESENCE OF THE RBG! Link here
    101. Fermentation workshop: Hipster power ups available here Links here $ and here
    102. Easter Egg roll: Unfortunately, there’s no Chinese food involved. I know. I don’t get it, either. Link here
    103. Presidential debate watch party: Drink heavily. Shout expletives at the screen. Gravely offend the Republican at the next table. Exasperate and annoy the Democrat at the end of the bar. Oh, and watch the candidates debate. It’s a D.C. thing. Link here
    104. Try mumbo sauce and paw paw: Put the chocolate on the moose. Links here and here $
    105. D.C. Underground Comedy show: Laugh till it hurts and then keep on laughing because life’s too short to be a fuddy duddy. Pro tip: don’t sit in the front unless you want to be heckled by the performers. Link here Also check out Capital Laughs Link here $ and Press Play Improv Link here $
    106. International Day of Yoga: Celebrate the fact that you’re not a pretzel. I’m pretty sure the human body is NOT meant to contort like that. Link here
    107. Aerial Yoga Nidra aka “yogic sleep”: Another form of exercise involving sleep is fine by me! Link here
    108. Critter Yoga: Nicola from “Life is a Zoo Yoga” will guide you through a 1-hour yoga class with some very special guests. Meet baby goats,and here $lambs and bunnies as you flow through your practice. SOMUCHADORABLE! Links here and here $
    109. Acroyoga: Think crazy yoga poses but IN THE AIR. Link here
    110. Hip hop yoga: Think yoga but add Kanye. Link here $
    111. Beer yoga: Think yoga but subtract health benefits and common sense. Links here and here $
    112. Standup paddleboard yoga: OK, now y’all are going a li’l overboard with this. Link here $
    113. Rocky Horror Picture Show at E St. Cinema: This was a LOT of fun, and I’d definitely go again. Pro tips: wear nice underwear, and don’t tell anyone you’re a newb. Link here $
    114. Paddleboarding on the Potomac: Last one to fall off buys lunch! Link here $
    115. Opera on tap: “You don’t have to go home but you can’t stay here” meets “It’s not over till the fat lady sings.” Link here $
    116. Take a calligraphy class: Now you can support the postal service and send cards (seriously, buy stamps, people). Link here $
    117. Take a spin on the Capital Wheel: It’s wheel fun! Link here $
    118. Fourth of July on the mall: You can’t get more American (or sweatier) than this. Brave the crowds and the stifling humidity to experience Washington at its most patriotic! Link here
    119. Changing of the guard, Arlington cemetery: No snark for this one. It’s quite lovely. Respect. Link here
    120. Virginia Gold Cup: WARNING: You have to be willing to part with a lot of money to actually enjoy this. Link here $
    121. Eat Maryland blue crabs at longest continuously open market in US: Head to Maine St Market, buy a bushel of crabs (ask for either male or female depending on the season), chow down! Pro tip: You can ask for samples before you make a purchase. Link here $
    122. Eat crab on a baseball field: This event takes one of my FAVORITE things and combines it with one of my LEAST favorite things. Yay! Link here $
    123. Nosh on edible flowers: No, not edible arrangements. Link here
    124. DC scrabble club: It’s all fun and games until someone loses an i. Link here
    125. House concert: (Crazy) cool people open up their houses to the masses and host performers from all over the U.S. Link here
    126. D.C.’s Holi celebration: It’s fun because white people are throwing paint at each other with no idea of the significance of the event. *sigh </sarcasm> Link here
    127. Museums: Gotta catch ’em all! Link here
    128. Visit the Mormon Temple: Yeah, do that thing. Link here
    129. Inauguration: You can get tickets via your representative! * fingers crossed * your candidate wins. Link here
    130. Sunset at Gravelly Point: Bring a blanket + picnic fare and enjoy the sherbet-colored sunset as it illuminates the low-flying planes. * le sigh * How romantic! Link here
    131. Hike in Rock Creek Park: I’ll summit up nicely for you: just do it! Link here
    132. PARK(ing) Day: Parking spots around the city are transformed into beaches, art installations and cafes! Link here
    133. Ride ducks on the Tidal Basin pond during cherry blossom season: This post is not sponsored by AFLAC. Link here $
    134. Ice rink at the Sculpture Garden: There are plenty of ice rinks in and around D.C., but my favorite is the one at the Sculpture Garden. The entire place is lit up like a wonderland, and the ice is consistently fresh and smooth. Link here $
    135. Lily Festival at Kenilworth Park & Aquatic Gardens: Gorgeous blooms and few tourists. The perfect combo! Link here
    136. Free Improv Classes: No previous experience required. Get out there and say yes! Link here
    137. 6th and I Historic Synagogue: All the shows are belongs to you! Link here $
    138. West African Drum and Dance Class: What instrument can you play in your head? Ear drums! Link here $
    139. Get your groove on with dance classes: The Jam Cellar offers a free beginner’s lesson in dances like the Lindy Hop and Balboa. Links here and here (Note: I really disliked the instructor. He was very sarcastic to the point of being unapproachable. Also, you don’t get to keep the partner you bring.) There’s also free salsa lessons every Wednesday from 9-10 at El Centro! Link here More salsa here. Free swing dancing here. Contra dancing here. And don’t forget English Country Dancing Link here National Dance Day is comin’ atcha Link here Israeli folk dancing: Breakin’ it dowwwwwwn! Link here $
    140. Lunch at the American Indian Museum: This is a VERY D.C. thing to do. Check out the menu on their website, and then chow down. Link here $
    141. Use a bonafide darkroom: #oldskool Link here
    142. Technicolor church: It’s a nice day for a technicolor wedding. Link here
    143. Capital chili cookoff: Come for the chili, leave before the antacids. Link here $
    144. Learn graffiti lettering: But stay away from overpasses. Link here $
    145. Opera in the outfield: Unfortunately, there are no angels involved in these performances. Link here
    146. Torpedo Factory: This old munitions factory from WWII has been transformed into an artist’s haven. Stroll through the factory and chat with artists at work. Then hit the waterfront for a relaxing (and tasty!) dinner. Link here
    147. Daybreaker dance party: Get up early so you can get down! Link here $
    148. Busboys and Poets 11th Hour Poetry Slam: Roses are red, violets are blue, you should go to this ’cause it’s really cool. Link here $
    149. All the monuments: Walk ’em at day AND at night before calling yourself a true Washingtonian. (Kayaking the monuments and seeing them from the water is also an option!)
    150. Newseum: Celebrating the Fourth Estate. Link here $
    151. Hike the Great Falls: The only place in Maryland that doesn’t smell like Old Bay. Link here
    152. Kickball on the mall: Wear a costume. Link here
    153. Darth Vader Gargoyle at the National Cathedral: I am not making this one up. Ask one of the docents for a map and binoculars and pay homage to the Sith Lord. Link here
    154. National ArboretumLink here and full moon hike here $
    155. Monkeys With Typewriters: No monkeys were harmed during the scheduling of this event. Link here
    156. Ride the trippy Wheaton Station escalator: Just don’t try to run up it, kk? Link here
    157. Ride the Dentzel Carousel: Squeeeee! Link here
    158. Herbs 101: No, not those kinds of herbs. Link here
    159. Arcade event: Play games invented by Washingtonians. Link here
    160. Viennese masquerade ball: Get your Edgar Allan Poe on at a masquerade ball. Link here $
    161. Learn to be a doula: The blood and guts and joys of motherhood await! Link here $
    162. Nordic Film Festival: Oooh, I hope they play “How to Train Your Dragon!” Link here $
    163. Kayak Around the Ghost Fleet: Mallows Bay is a bastion of old war ships. Pro tip: you can find cheaper guided tours if you shop around. Link here
    164. Smithsonian The Future is Here Festival: The future has arrived, and it’s wearing gear from the Smithsonian gift shop. Link here
    165. Tree lighting/Menorah lighting ceremonies: Stand out in the freezing cold to watch someone flip a switch! Links here and here
    166. Sparkle: Sparkle is DC’s longest queer running open mic reading series. Link here $ and check this out while you’re at it Link here $
    167. Hear authors at Politics and Prose: Where book lovers are forced to hear about politics and politicians pretend they’ve read books. Link here
    168. Photo from the top of the GW Masonic National Memorial, the Old Post Office and the highest point in D.C., Fort Reno Park: Selfie! Links herehere and here
    169. Botanic Garden: Come for the gorgeous vegetation. Stay for the corpse flower. Link here
    170. The National Math Festival: Stoke your inner genius. Link here
    171. Architecture Month: Tour cool buildings. Link here $
    172. Porch Fest: Porches and stoops are transformed into stages for this yearly event. Link here
    173. D.C.’s Secret Gardens: You loved the movie, now check out the real deal. Link here
    174. Office Hours at Ben’s Chili Bowl: Ask a historian your most pressing questions during his office hours. Oh, and grab a bowl of chili while you’re at it! Link here
    175. Academy of Funk: Get schooled. Links herehere and here
    176. Celebrate Atlas Obscura Day: Huzzah! Link here
    177. Annual Sundress Fest: So, basically every day of summer. Link here
    178. White House Correspondents Dinner: Where journalists, politicians and celebs mingle, and there is no conflict of interest whatsoever, uh huh. Link here
    179. Free lunch with scientists!: The Broad Branch Road campus of Carnegie Science has shared home-cooked meals with the public every day since 1947. Head to the Merle Tuve Room (dining hall) of the Greenewalt Building at 12:30 for some delectable food cooked by Lunch Club members. Link here
    180. Riverpalooza: It has “palooza” in it. Need I say more? Link here
    181. Travel around the world in a day: But not really. Sorry. Links herehere and here
    182. Instameet: Obsessed with photography? They are, too. Link here
    183. Shameless, An Open Mic Variety Show: Lose your open-mic virginity at Shameless. Link here $
    184. Bike for Coffee: Every week, Arlingtonians (is that a word? I’ll roll with it) meet up for a cup o’ joe. Link here $
    185. Story District: Storytelling at its finest! Link here $
    186. Naval Academy plebes scale a 21-foot obelisk slicked with lard: The Herndon Climb is an annual tradition, according to The Washington Post. The first-year students can’t begin their summer until they replace an underclassman’s “dixie cup” hat at the top of the monument with an upperclassman’s hat. In short, free entertainment. Link here
    187. Annual ice cream social: Did I mention it’s FREE?! Link here
    188. Free Meditation Retreat: Make like it’s the weekend and sit around all day doing nothing. Link here
    189. Go ice skating in the summer: Don’t think about all the energy it takes to run that rink. Climate change is for Al Gore to worry about. Link here
    190. World Bonsai Day Festival: Where some of the arborists look like the trees they care for! Link here
    191. Retro Field Day: Three-legged race, here I come! Link here and here $
    192. Tombs and Tomes: The Congressional Cemetery’s book club… why does a cemetery have a cooler social life than you? Link here
    193. Maryland Faerie Festival: When a festival spells “fairy” the old English way, you know it’s legit. Link here $
    194. Free Film & Beer at Bistro Bohem: Booya! Link here
    195. Spinning classes… in a pool?!: So this is a thing. Link here $
    196. Happy hour challenge: Some enterprising soul with far too much time on their hands made a database of ALL the happy hours in D.C. Link here and here $
    197. Capital Fringe Festival: The poster really speaks for itself. Link here $
    198. Roam: It’s a dance party and finding it is half the fun. Link here $
    199. Free fishing and kayaking: Summer only! Link here
    200. Boundary stones of D.C.: Leave no stone unturned! Link here
    201. Pop-up concert: This event has neither popcorn nor pop tarts, and I think they’ve missed out on a real merchandizing opportunity. Link here
    202. Secret bar: Walk through a freezer door in this Peruvian restaurant. Your cocktail awaits! Link here $
    203. Mini gold FTW: Because golf isn’t just for lobbyists or lazy presidents. Link here $
    204. Dungeons & Dragons for newbs: I can’t believe you’ve made it this far in life WITHOUT playing D&D. Link here
    205. Capitol Steps: It’s comedy, not dancing. FYI. Link here $
    206. Nerd Nite D.C.: Be there and be square. Link here
    207. Greater Washington Soap Box Derby: You’re safe, Pig Pen, no actual soap here. Link here
    208. Freddie’s Beach Bar drag bingo: Reserve a seat ahead of time! Link here $
    209. Tivoli’s Astounding Magic Supply Co.: Learn a new skill! Link here
    210. Glen Echo Park: ECHO ECHo ECho Echo echo… Link here
    211. Pet parade: at the D.C. State (*ahem!) Fair Link here Bonus points if you also participate in the hula hooping competitionLink here
    212. The Lantern Fest: Sadly, the Green Lantern can’t make it this year. Link here $
    213. Giant acorn gazebo: It’s available for weddings! Link here
    214. DistrictCryo: * shivers Link here $
    215. Rehabilitate raptors: aka coolest volunteer work ever Link here
    216. DMV Pun: It’s SO PUNNY! Link here $
    217. Axe Throwing: It’s bad axe! Link here
    218. Zoo Uncorked: Yup, alcohol and zoo animals. What could go wrong? Link here $ and check this out Link here
    219. Giant “Jaws” shark: Cue theme song. Link here
    220. Try fried duck heads in Columbia Heights: They taste JUST like fried duck heads! Link here $
    221. The Spy Museum: Alias is required watching before showing up. Link here $
    222. Free concerts/ShakespeareLinks here and here and here and here
    223. Pay what you can nights at Wooly Mammoth Theater: Perfect for students or Bumble dates. Link here $
    224. Turkish Festival: Baklava never tasted so sweet. Link here
    225. Wolf Trap: An outside concert venue that encourages music-lovers to pack their own picnics! Link here $
    226. Bootleg Shakespeare: Performers memorize their lines but aren’t allowed to rehearse, and the rule is BYO props. Hilarity ensues. Link here
    227. Smithsonian Folklife Festival: It’s crowded and themed and, um, awesome?! Link here
    228. Neighborhood festivalsLinks here and here and here and here and here
    229. Art walk: First Friday of the month in DuPont! Link here
    230. Global War on Terrorism Memorial: The trick is to find it! Link here
    231. Burlesque at the Bier Baron: Twirl your pasties ’round and ’round. Link here $
    232. Circus sideshow: Bring your siblings and leave without them! Link here
    233. Chocolate lover’s walking tour: If you really loved me, this is what you’d get me for my birthday, Greg. NUDGE NUDGE Link here $
    234. Dupont’s bubble party: * insert ridic huge smile here * Link here
    235. Biennial costume sale at the Shakespeare Theatre: ALL the sparkles and spandex are belongs to you! Link here $
    236. Hungry Human Hippos: This is all that and more! Link here $
    237. Fix (nearly) everything: You’re a regular Bob the Builder. Link here
    238. Yolo Polo: Get your upper class on with a rousing game of polo! Link here $
    239. Giant Adirondack chair: ‘Cause when you’re tipsy, giant stuff is hilarious. Link here
    240. Small Press Expo: * fist pump * Link here
    241. Rosslyn’s bonfire concerts: Family-friendly event involving fire. Link here
    242. Navetoberfest: 17th Century life without all the diseases! Link here $
    243. DC Record Fair: Buy two get one hipster free! Link here
    244. DC Pagan Festival: * insert drum circle here * Link here
    245. Banned book scavenger hunt: Reading is sexy. Link here
    246. Summer camp for adults: The boozier version. Link here $
    247. Become a Citizen Forester: And wield your power LIKE A GOD. Link here
    248. White House Garden tour: Boring but pretty and one of those D.C. things-to-do. Link here
    249. Verizon Center: Beyonce has been here. Attend an event just to breathe the same air she did. (Oh, and there are, like, other concerts and hockey games and basketball games and stuff here, too. If you’re into those kinds of things.) Link here $
    250. Capitol and White House Tour: Book your tickets early. Link here
    251. Walk the C&O Canal Towpath: And wear LOTS of bug spray. Link here
    252. 9:30 Club: The dance-offs here are spectacular! Link here
    253. Georgetown waterfront fountains: They change color. Oooooh, prettttty. Link here
    254. Petworth Citizen: “…where the cocktails are wonderful and there’s a literal haven for book nerds in the back. Step inside the photogenic Reading Room (the tomes are arranged by color) and peruse the free(!) offerings…” Link here
    255. Think tank discussion: Get a free education and (oftentimes!) free food. Check out the Brookings Institution and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Links here and here
    256. Georgetown Glow: If you don’t mind all the boat shoes and popped collars that populate Georgetown, this looks gorgeous. Link here
    257. District trivia: Hang out with friends and coworkers, take advantage of happy hour specials and good noms. If you’re not a walking depository of random facts and arcane knowledge, no worries—the most important part is coming up with a funny team name. Link here
    258. Nat’s game: Watch Teddy lose (again). Link here $
    259. New golfer outing: * cough * miniature golf is way better * cough * Link here $
    260. Arlington Cinema and Draft House: A DMV fav. Link here $
    261. Annual D.C. Tabletop Games Convention: Kick some Pandemic butt! Link here
    262. The YouTube Show Takeover: Because we all need more Google in our lives. </sarcasm> Link here $
    263. The Moth @ Howard Theater: Judge storytellers ruthlessly (or nicely, whatevs). Link here $
    264. Make a noise synth: Gettin’ nerdy with it. Link here $
    265. Big Greek Party: Oompa! Link here $
    266. Annual croquet match: I don’t understand it, but I’ll watch it. Link here
    267. Protest something: Unless you work for the government or a strict NGO or the press. Then don’t. Link here
    268. Tour of the Pentagon: Check it off your To Do list and then go visit the bra tree. Link here
    269. Marine Corps parade: Ditto. Link here
    270. Jazz in the GardenLink here and check this out while you’re at it: Link here
    271. Screen on the GreenLink here and check these out, too! Link here and concert link here
    272. Kennedy Center: Perfect date night. (Pssst, there are free events every evening!) Walk out into the garden area for a beautiful view of the Potomac. Link here
    273. Arlington Flea Market and Hine Flea Market: Bargain for the coolest old license plates. Links here and here
    274. Climb to the top of Washington Monument: You can live in D.C. your entire life and never make it to the top of the Washington Monument. Put it on your to-do list before the next quake shuts it down (again). Just promise me you’ll leave your selfie stick at home—don’t be THAT person. You can (and should) get tickets online. Link here $
    275. West Wing Tour: Sadly, it’s nothing like The West Wing. I know. * sobs *
    276. George Washington’s Birthday Parade: Where do you live again? That’s right, show some respect! Plus, the volunteer fire department is usually in attendance. Interested now? Link here
    277. Celebrate ‘Disco’ Dan: RIP, man. Link here
    278. DC forest bathing: It is and it isn’t what you’re thinking. Link here and here $
    279. D.C.’s ultimate frisbee team: Because every city needs one. Link here
    280. Monopoly on the mall: Extra points if you bring an old man carrying bags of $. Link here
    281. Mayor’s cup amateur boxing tournament: It’s like Rocky but not. Link here $
    282. Movie Mondays @ DuPont Underground: An excuse to chill in DuPont. Link here
    283. Shark Week specials: (^^^) Link here $
    284. Best bike groups: D.C. bikers! But, ya know, not like those kinds of bikers. These guys wear helmets and attend poetry readings. Link here
    285. Make your own zine: Shut down that Live Journal and make change IRL! Link here
    286. The facebook monologues: FB in real life. Because you don’t spend enough time on it as it is. Link here $
    287. A People’s Choir DC: Who doesn’t love a good sing-along?! Link here
    288. Smut Slam DC: Smut smut smut! Link here $
    289. Celebrate National Cat Day: I don’t believe this actually exists. Isn’t every day National Cat Day? Link here $
    290. DC Day of the Dead Fiestas: Beautiful. Link here
    291. Food history festival: You can throw a gender reveal party for your food baby afterward. Link here
    292. Explore the skies: with the National Capital Astronomers. Link here
    293. Annual Pumpkin Palooza: Y-E-S Link here
    294. Christmas and Cherry Blossom Pop-Up Bar: Both over-hyped. Both required visiting to staunch that FOMO. Links here and here $
    295. DC Double Dutch team: They are the epitome of awesomesauce. Link here
    296. Building blocks school: Giving Frank Lloyd Wright a run for his title. Link here
    297. Do the RBG workout: I mean, if you CAN. Link here and here
    298. Gin pong: Because you’re too classy for beer pong. Link here $
    299. Drunk education: Just like your college education but less expensive. Links here and here $
    300. DC Bike Party: Gawds, The District sure loves its bikes. Link here
    301. Punk archive library shows: This exists. Link here
    302. Shakespeare in the pub: The Great Bard would approve. Link here
    303. DC Sway Day: Celebrating the end of “Stand Extremely Still Week!” Link here
    304. Ramen cocktails: I would write something about this, but I’m hitting the Post’s paywall so… good luck, you’re on your own. Link here $
    305. Breakdancing championship: Thank goodness we have these people to up our “cool” quota. Link here
    306. The future of sports: Sadly, they won’t accept my suggestion for Extreme Knitting. Link here $
    307. Stay at the Watergate hotel: Where it all went down. Link here $
    308. Mobile art gallery: For you artsy types. Link here
    309. Washington International Horse Show: Mr. Ed was unavailable for comment. Link here $
    310. The 48 Hour Film Horror Project: Akin to watching Fox News while visiting with your racist grandparents for the weekend. Scary. Link here $
    311. Smithsonian Conservation Discovery Day: Save the planet! Link here
    312. Southwest D.C. waterfront boat-home tour: But what do they do in the winter?! Link here $
    313. Dancin’ in the streets: And hopefully you won’t get hit by a driverless car… too soon? Link here
    314. Arlington Puzzle Fest: The most exciting festival you’ll never attend. Link here
    315. Season’s Greenings: Model train shows still exist. ZOMG Link here
    316. Profs and Pints: Go educate yourself. Link here $
    317. Potomac Curling Club: See, I told you this was a real sport! Link here $
    318. April Fools Fest: The WORST day of the year. Everyone thinks they’re a comedian. Don’t quit your day jobs, folks. Link here $
    319. Ice-a-thon: Break out those skates! Link here $
    320. Adult Easter Egg Hunt: There’s always alcohol involved. Link here $
    321. Learn to Row: aka get ripped for summer. Link here $
    322. Conversational DC: They’re speaking your language. Link here
    323. Cheese Club: For those of you who love eating things that smell like feet! Link here $
    324. Scooter sharing: Just like ice cream and STDs, scooters are meant for sharing! Link here $
    325. Parking lot mural: Iz purdy Link here
    326. Three Sheets Lecture Series: Because studies (don’t) show that you learn (and teach!) better when you’re drunk. Link here
    327. Rent a drum kit: Let your inner An-i-mal do its thang! Link here $
    328. DC Auto Show: I named my car Kitty. Link here
    329. Blind Hockey: <3 Link here $
    330. DC Olympic Speedskating: SPEED DEMON Link here
    331. Cupid’s Undie Run: Cupid graduated from diapers to undies. Congrats, dude! Link here
    332. Snowshoeing basics: If you complete this course, you win REI. Link here
    333. Host a puppy party: and have everyone love you forever and always. Link here $
    334. Free hugs: Please wear deodorant. Link here
    335. #adulting: I’m sort of embarrassed for you. Link here
    336. Polar Plunge: I feel so alive! Link here $
    337. Nog fest: NOG NOG NOG NOG! Link here $
    338. Coloring Club: Because you can’t do this at home by yourself. Link here
    339. Aqua Pole Dancing: The world is a better place because of aqua pole dancing. Link here
    340. Ice Skating on the C&O Canal: Inadvisable. Link here
    341. Join the DC Psychedelic Society: Your brain may or may not thank you. Link here
    342. DC Chinese New Years Day Parade: Gorgeous display of Chinese culture. Link here
    343. Prom for grown-ups: It’s always fun to relive those awkward teenage years! Link here $
    344. ’90s Dance Party: Britney may make an appearance! (She won’t. But it could happen!) Link here $
    345. The D.C. Weirdo Show: If you’re reading this list, you belong at this show. Link here $
    346. Fire & Ice Festival: Kinda annoyed that Earth and Wind weren’t invited… Link here
    347. Theodore Roosevelt Island Moonwalk: Sadly, this has nothing to do with the dance move. Link here $
    348. Arlington Chainsaw Art: Family friendly! Link here
    349. Go hashing: Not as exciting as it sounds. Link here
    350. The Hip Hop Orchestra: What every marching band geek aspires to. Link here $
    351. Street skating: These people mean business! Link here
    352. The castles of the DMV: From hence forth you must speak in Old English, preferably with a Monty Python-inspired accent. Link here
    353. Death Cafe: Drink tea, eat cake and talk about the Grim Reaper behind his back. Link here
    354. Garage racing: Ride too quickly around parking garages? This is for you! Link here and here
    355. FuckUp Nights DC: Are you a disappointment to your mother? You’re in good company here! Link here $
    356. Go plogging: There’s just too much do-goodery on this site. Link here
    357. Learn to ride a unicycle: YES! Do this thing! Link here $
    358. Go scuba diving: Make like a fish and scuba. Link here $
    359. Go skydiving: Make like a bird and fall out of the sky, erm… Link here $
    360. Concert in the blind: A unique way to really listen. Link here $
    361. Tiny house expo: Tour tiny houses! It takes about two seconds. Link here $
    362. Hot air balloon festival: GORGEOUS Link here $
    363. DC Murals: Check out some art that’s NOT in a Smithsonian! Link here
    364. Tiny Desk Concert: Go to a mini concert at NPR! While you’re at it, check out their rooftop beehive. Link here
    365. DC Puppy World Cup: NEED I SAY MORE?! Link here
    366. Spot the ‘bot: Delivery robots have infiltrated our city. The invasion has begun! Link here
    367. Mushroom House: Check out this crazy architectural wonder! Link here
    368. DC-Henge: When everything aligns just right, you can almost pretend we’re not living in a hellish swamp. Link here
    369. DC Bike Polo: Like regular polo but without the posh outfits and posh horses! Link here
    370. MudFest: In the words of Ms. Frizzle, “Get messy!” Link here $
    371. Snore & Roar Sleepover: Camp at THE ZOO! Link here $
    372. Chicks in Bowls: Hardcore roller skating! Link here
    373. Abandoned sites: Very creepy and very illegal. But still cool—very, very cool! Link here
    374. DC Vault: Learn how to pole vault with the best of the DMV! Link here $
    375. New York Avenue Sculpture Project: Badass artists who happen to be women, make their mark on NY Ave. Link here
    376. Corgoberfest: Hundreds of corgis waddle their way around DC. DERP! Link here
    377. Vikings at The Wharf: Grab your Viking helmets and head on down to the wharf to check out a real-life Viking vessel! Link here
    378. Navy Yard’s Blue Castle: Let down your hair, dawn your shining armor, kiss a princess (or prince!), and check out the Navy Yard’s Blue Castle! Link here
    379. Nicecream: Futuristic ice cream flavors flash frozen in liquid nitrogen. YUM. Link here $
    380. Ice cream for man’s best friend: Let your pup in on the fun with Frosty Paws Treats ice cream! Link here $
    381. DC “State” Fair: Go eat something deep-fried. Link here $
    382. Teddy’s Garage Sale: Every year the Nats host a “garage sale” with leftover (and highly coveted!) giveaways. Link here $
    383. 3-D printing: The library has 3-D printers THAT YOU’RE ALLOWED TO TOUCH! AMAZING! Link here
    384. Annual DC Rickey Competition: For those who love competition AND alcohol. Link here $
    385. Doodle in Silver Spring: Monthly doodling sessions for the sort-of-artistically inclined. Link here
    386. Free music at Fort Reno: Rock out and chill. Link here
    387. Eat your heart out: D.C. finally has a three-star Michelin restaurant! Link here $
    388. District 3-on-3 basketball tourney: Uniting nations with a popular pastime. Link here $
    389. X-treme contra dancing: 10 hours of “blissful dancing” featuring a hardwood floor and fiddlers! Link here $
    390. Free museum day: Most museums in D.C. are free, but if you have one on your bucket list that you’d rather not spring for, check out free museum day. Link here
    391. Broomball: Can’t ice skate? Hate sweeping the porch? Want to play something relatively similar to a “sport?” Broomball is here for you. Link here $
    392. National Cat Day: Go pay your respects to some felines… for FREE! It’s all fluff and zero ruff. Link here
    393. Period Portraits: “Not back in time but the bloody kind.” Link here $
    394. D.C.’s got garden game: Check out these transit-accessible gardens! Link here
    395. Fungal foray: Head out into the wilderness with the Mycological Association of Washington D.C. and pluck enough fungi for an omelet! Link here $
    396. Go stickering: An easier (and less illegal) way to make your mark on the DMV. Link here
    397. Pillow fight: D.C. has a yearly pillow fight, and you need to get in on this! Link here
    398. Say hi to Oscar: He’s that creepy mannequin that’s been staring at you for years. Link here
    399. Old Glory: Go see D.C.’s rugby team! Link here
    400. D.C.’s Kaleidoscopic Tower: “The squat stone building projects a rainbow of colors at night.” Link here
    401. Be a twitcher: That’s ornithologist-speak for “bird watcher.” Link here
    402. Support GOGO: Check out D.C.’s funky music scene. Link here
    403. Drink it all in: Drink in a gorgeous garden! Link here
    404. Rent the National Zoo: Party with real-life party animals by renting out the National Zoo for your next birthday bash! Please invite me. Link here $
    405. Book-themed cocktails: Just don’t eat the bookworm at the bottom of the bottle! Link here $
    406. Capital Irish Film Festival: Because who doesn’t love all things Irish? Pass the corned beef and cabbage! Link here $
    407. Mermaid convention: Detailed knowledge of “The Little Mermaid” soundtrack required. Link here $
    408. Esports: Check out Washington Justice—way cooler than sportsball Link here $
    409. Polar Plunge: Hosted by Catholic University, this even raises money for the Special Olympics! Link here $
    410. Watch tennis on top of Union Market: WE LOVE YOU SERENA! Link here $
    411. Indie pro wrestling: Ticked off at any/all politicians? Watch some peeps battle it out and pretend that you’re the one putting that politico in a headlock. Link here $
    412. Head to your local ANC meeting: aka Advisory Neighborhood Commission. It’s way better than watching reality TV, and you have the added bonus of potentially making a difference in your community. Pro tip: bring some popcorn Link here
    413. Seersucker social:”DC’s dandiest residents turn out for a lawn party filled with great style.” Link here
    414. BINGO: “Trivia is hard. Bingo is fun.” Link here
    415. See a basketball legend refereeing rec games: Go ahead, ask for an autograph. Link here
    416. Pay your respects: at DC’s first pet cemetery. Link here
    417. Meow DC: DC has its own CAT FESTIVAL! <insert pun here> Link here $
    418. Kingman Island Bluegrass and Folk Festival: You know what this party needs? MORE BANJO! Link here $
    419. Washington Psychotronic Film Society: You’ll love these films! (Depending on your tolerance to weird.) Link here
    420. Humane Society: YOU CAN BORROW A PUPPY FOR THE AFTERNOON! *squeals of joy * Link here
    421.  Washington’s Premier handbell ensemble: Ring in the weekend with some bell music! Link here $
    422. Annual Greek festival: Eat ALL the spanakopita! Link here $
    423. Visit DC’s slightly disappointing waterfalls: But, hey, it’s all we’ve got so enjoy! Link here
    424. Indie bookstore crawl: Forget about beer (yeah, I said it!), and do a bookstore crawl. Support local bookstores and get some fab new reads out of the deal! Link here

BONUS: The Best Food (According to Me)

  • Sandwiches: Secret Sandwich Society in Richmond, VA
  • Waffles: Open City chai waffles in Woodley Park
  • Korean BBQ: Honey Pig in Falls Church
  • Cupcakes: Georgetown cupcake
  • Themed bar: Bonfire
  • Dumplings: Bob’s Soup Dumplings
  • Doughnuts: Astro Donuts (go right before closing for free doughnuts with your purchase!)
  • Burger: Rebellion korean burger
  • Milkshake: Ted’s Bulletin
  • Vietnamese: The Four Sisters in Falls Church (don’t go to their other chains, poor quality)
  • Chicken and waffles: Founding Farmers (after 11 a.m.)
  • Crab CakeDennson’s Grocery in Colonial Beach
  • Coffee: Killer ESP and/or Cafe Tryst
  • Karaoke: Hill Country
  • Diner: Silver Diner in Arlington

Cool Stuff to do Outside and Around D.C.

Oftentimes, the best way to appreciate D.C. is to leave D.C. Let’s face it, the weather is only nice for a few weeks (if that) in the spring and fall, but even that’s ruined by the multitude of tourists who don’t understand crosswalks and can’t figure out that they need to STAND ON THE RIGHT. If you’re a little wound up from all the crazy (tourists/politicians/press briefings/take your pick) then get out of town and head to:

Have recommendations? Advice? Cautionary tales? Message me at or via twitter.

Photo Credit: Delete