The 31 best things to do in D.C. this weekend and next week

The penultimate week of the National Cherry Blossom Festival is filled with activities for all ages and interests, from the live music, hands-on activities and fireworks at Petalpalooza at the Capitol Riverfront to the art-centric First Saturday at the National Gallery of Art to the pop-up market at National Landing’s Pink in the Park festival. Duke Ellington’s 125th birthday is celebrated with concerts at the Smithsonian and the Kennedy Center. The Words Beats and Life Festival focuses on poetry and hip-hop at events around the city. March Madness viewing parties get more intense now that the tournament is down to the Final Four. Oh, and did you know there’s a solar eclipse on Monday, with viewing parties across the D.C. region?

Thursday, April 4

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Words Beats and Life Festival

The Words Beats and Life Festival officially began Monday, but the annual mix of poetry, hip-hop and activism picks up steam as the weekend approaches. On Thursday night, choices include dance-forward “electronic folk music” from the trio of Sunken Cages, Dragonchild and Faraway Ghost on the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage (free, 6 p.m.); Word Power: Dynamic Duos, an event mixing DJs, poets and lyricists at Busboys and Poets in Hyattsville, followed by an open mic (8 p.m., $5); and a free rooftop party at the Eaton hotel with DJs Miss H.E.R., Farrah Flosscett and Coco Spinelle dropping hip-hop, Afrobeats and beyond (8 p.m., free with RSVP). As the week goes on, look for a talk with poet, actor and songwriter Saul Williams at Woolly Mammoth (Friday); youth poetry slams and a “Literary Decathlon” that involves writing haikus and love poems and a “compliment battle” (Saturday); and the Jazz and Blossoms party in Franklin Park (Sunday). Through Sunday; event prices vary.

Cherry Fund: Rewind

Since 1996, the Cherry Fund has raised more than $1.3 million for nonprofits helping D.C.’s LGBTQ+ community, bringing DJs and participants from around the world for parties. This year’s party, which benefits the DC Center for the LGBT Community, has a theme of “Rewind,” so consider it a teaser for June’s “Totally Radical” Pride festivities. The celebrations start Thursday with a free party at Kiki on U Street, featuring DJ Tezrah. The parties keep coming: Friday at Ultrabar with Brazilian DJ Paulo Pacheco and Mohammed from Atlanta, inspired by “legendary dance floors of days gone by”; Saturday at the Mayflower with DJs Orel Sabag (Israel) and Tom Stephan (London) until 3 a.m., followed by the “after-hours” party at Flash that kicks off at 4 a.m. and runs until 9, including a daylight party on the roof; and Sunday night’s finale, at Zebbie’s Garden, with Cherry regular Nina Flowers. Through Sunday. General admission $45-$70; VIP pass for all events $220.

Eclipse Cocktails at Red Derby

On Monday, the D.C. Public Library began handing out free solar glasses that will protect your eyes during the upcoming eclipse. Neighborhood online groups were soon full of reports that all the glasses were gone, and at least one reporter struck out when they went to their neighborhood branch around lunchtime. The Smithsonian is handing out tens of thousands of free glasses before the main event, but if you want to have some fun with it, the Red Derby’s serving up a free pair of glasses alongside its new raspberry rum swizzle, dubbed the Eclipse Cocktail. Get one before they’re gone. Though Saturday. $10.


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