Weekend Outlook – Dance to live jazz music at an annual festival on the National Mall

Media Credit: Hatchet File Photo

This annual festival captures the hearts of D.C. concertgoers with striking music, “socialdisdancing” and live performances seated at the Sylvan Theater on the National Mall until sunset.

Fall classes may be underway, but there’s still time to take advantage of the late summer days with these exciting Labor Day weekend events.

Soak up the feeling of summer with outdoor happenings like a guided walking tour of painted African American performers, get down to jazz performances at an annual family-friendly music festival and catch a rare sighting of exotic birds like cockatoos and falcons.


D.C. Jazz Fest: Music and Murals of Black Broadway Walking Tour
Take a trip to the past with D.C. Jazz Fest’s educational program Jazz in the Hoods, which features a music-themed mural walk-through hosted by author and journalist Briana Thomas. The event is dedicated to prominent African American jazz artists with ties to D.C. like Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday and Miles Davis. The organization recognizes the vitality and endurance that the genre of jazz music has had with this tour of D.C.’s art scene. U Street, once known as “Black Broadway,” has served as the nightlife entertainment hub from the 1920s to 1950s and, with the help of the Lincoln and Howard Theatres, has been a space to amplify Black history makers like Ellington, who is among other entertainers now recognized with a mural.

U Street Northwest. 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Tickets start at $40.


Capital House Music Festival
This annual festival captures the hearts of D.C. concertgoers with striking music, “socialdisdancing” and live performances seated at the National Mall Sylvan Theater until sunset. Gather your blankets, friends and favorite shades for a lineup including recording artist Aaron K. Gray, an all-female Afro-Brazilian percussion band and a handful of DJs. This charity event for Inner City Music Programs will close out the summer with an homage to Sam “The Man” Burns – a D.C. native and house music DJ legend who suddenly passed away in 2020. 

National Mall Sylvan Theater, Independence Ave SW and 15th Street NW, Washington, D.C. 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tickets are free.


Birds in Flight
Don’t miss the opportunity to watch a multitude of birds rarely seen in the District, including owls, falcons, cockatoos and ravens, flying atop the zoo. No matter the weather at the open green space known as Great Meadow, the birds will soar overhead as the public views this enticing spectacle. Stop by the Birds in Flight show at the historic Smithsonian National Zoo to see bird behaviorist Phung Luu and his exotic birds at this limited-time event, only available through Sept. 5.

National Zoo, 3001 Connecticut Ave. NW. 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Wednesday through Monday. Free and open to the public.

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