Best Music

1. "West Side Story": Emil de Cou conducts the National Symphony Orchestra in the original score from the soundtrack while the film starring Natalie Wood plays on giant screens.

Where: Wolf Trap Filene Center, 1551 Trap Road, Vienna

When: 8:30 p.m. Saturday

Info: $35 to $52 in-house, $20 lawn; 877-965-3872;

2. Buckwheat Zydeco: The Grammy Award-winning band performs a free outdoor concert featuring music from their latest winning release, "Lay Your Burden Down," as part of the Spotlight by Starlight series.

Where: Mason District Park, 6621 Columbia Pike, Annandale

When: 7:30 p.m. Sunday

Info: Free

3. Signature Theatre Annual Open House: Broadway stars Emily Skinner and Heidi Blickenstaff, "Million Dollar Quartet" star Rob Britton Lyons, Helen Hayes Award winner Natascia Diaz, Grammy nominee Chuck Mead and his Grassy Knoll Boys, and radio host Robert Aubry Davis ("Hairspray") herald a day of back-to-back live performances, master classes, "Signature Idol" competition, family events and the Grand Finale Concert.

Where: Signature Theatre, 4200 Campbell Avenue, Arlington

When: Noon to 10 p.m, Saturday

Info: Free, open to the public

4. James McMurtry: The activist singer-songwriter performs "We Can't Make It Here" and favorites from his classic albums, recently reissued.

Where: The Birchmere, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria

When: 8 p.m. Saturday

Info: $29.50; 703-549-7500;

Best Gatherings

1. Jerry Seinfeld: America's premier comedian will be performing his signature standup routine for three shows. Seinfeld has been hailed for his uncanny ability to joke about the little things in life that relate to audiences everywhere.

Where: Kennedy Center, 2700 F St. NW

When: 7 p.m. Friday; 7 and 9:30 p.m. Saturday

Info: $69 to $88; 202-467-4600;

2. Mid-City Dog Days: Resist the urge to fry an egg on the sidewalk in August. Instead, head to this annual sale and sidewalk festival, where retailers along U and 14th streets are cooking up deals and freebies. Participants this year include Lettie Gooch, Miss Pixie's Furnishings and Whatnot, Gallery plan b, Vastu and Flowers On Fourteenth, among others.

Where: 14th and U streets NW

When: Saturday and Sunday

Info: Free; 202-727-1000

3. Watch the Olympics at Capitol City Brewing Company: From the opening ceremony through the closing ceremony, both Capitol City Brewing Company locations will have the Olympics playing on multiple high-definition TVs and projection screens. The Shirlington location holds a slight edge, though, thanks to a menu of special martinis (such as the London Games Martini, made with Beefeater Gin) and bar food.

Where: Capitol City Brewing Company, 2700 S. Quincy St., Arlington; 1100 New York Ave. NW

When: Through Aug. 12

Info: Free;

4. David Wessel: Red Ink: Wessel, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and Wall Street Journal economics editor, lucidly outlines the federal budget process, focusing on the consequences of high deficits and a high national debt. This call to action urges an end to partisanship in order to get spending under control.

Where: Politics & Prose Bookstore, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW

When: 7 p.m. Monday

Info: Free; 202-364-1919;

Best Brainfood

1. "Frankenstein @ National Theatre Live": A new play by Nick Dear based on the original by Mary Shelley. Broadcast in high definition exclusively by the Shakespeare Theater Company.

Where: Sidney Harman Hall, 610 F St. NW

When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 12-13

Info: $20; 202-547-3230;

2. Washington Living: A celebration of the winners of the 2012 Washingtonian Residential Design Awards.

Where: District Architecture Center, 421 Seventh St. NW

When: Through Saturday

Info: Free; 202-347-9403;

3. Eric Nuzum: Giving up the Ghost: Nuzum tells ghost stories -- specifically, how he was haunted during high school by the apparition of a girl in a blue dress he believed lived in his parents' attic.

Where: Politics & Prose Bookstore, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW

When: 7 p.m. Tuesday

Info: Free; 202-364-1919;

4. Captured in Time: History We Wear: Pieces by silversmith and jewelry designer Blair Anderson.

Where: Popcorn Gallery, Glen Echo Park, 730 MacArthur Blvd., Glen Echo

When: Through Sunday

Info: 301-634-2222;

5. Sourcing the Museum: New works inspired by textiles from the museum's holdings.

Where: Textile Museum, 2320 S St. NW

When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays; 1 to 5 p.m. Sundays through Aug. 19

Info: $8 donation suggested; 202-667-0441;

Best Family

1. "Happily Ever After ... A Cinderella Tale": Uplifting musical version of a magical classical tale.

Where: Children's Theatre-in-the-Woods, Wolf Trap, 1551 Trap Road, Vienna

When: 10:30 a.m. Friday and Saturday

Info: $10; 703-255-1868;

2. Family Day at the Renwick Gallery: Art installation, fashion design, sculpture and even industrial design make up this showcase of artists born since 1972, the year the Renwick was founded. Family Day events include a scavenger hunt and crafts inspired by the works on display.

Where: Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, 17th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW

When: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday

Info: Free; 202-633-1000;

3. Wild Ones: Crayfish 'n' Crawdads: Learn about minerals, rocks and take a trip to the creek to see what you can find.

Where: Gulf Branch Nature Center, 3608 Military Road, Arlington

When: 3 to 4 p.m. Wednesday

Info: $5, registration required; 703-228-4747; program No. 642822-L

4. Meet an Olympian: Meet local resident and Olympic athlete Tiombe Hurd, who holds the U.S. record in the outdoor triple jump. and test your abilities in hurdles, long jump and more.

Where: National Children's Museum Launch Zone, 112 Waterfront St., Oxon Hill

When: 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday

Info: 301-686-0225;

Best Outdoors

1. Curiosity & the Cosmos: NASA's Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity is scheduled to land on Mars this weekend. Join volunteer naturalist Jim Cook as he talks about its launch and mission, and how you can watch NASA's live landing coverage online late Sunday night. After that, you'll head outside for some views of the summer night sky and constellations, and maybe find Mars itself low in the southwest sky. Volunteer-operated telescopes will be on site to show you Saturn, its rings, star clusters and more.

Where: Black Hill Regional Park, 20926 Lake Ridge Drive, Boyds

When: 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. Friday

Info: $6;; program No. 200399

2. Evening Wildflower Walk: Enjoy summer wildflowers on the refuge during this evening walk. Learn why these summertime blooms are so important in the refuge ecosystem. Field guides are recommended. For all ages.

Where: Patuxent Wildlife Research Center off of Powdermill Road, Laurel

When: 6 to 8 p.m. Friday

Info: Free; 301-497-5887;

3. See the baby cheetahs!: Two adorable, 3-month-old cheetahs are finally on display. Come enjoy their antics, or buy a ticket for the special Cheetah Celebration, where you will hear all about the cheetahs' birth.

Where: National Zoo, 3000 Connecticut Ave. NW

When: Exhibits open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Cheetah Celebration: $20 to $25, 6 to 8:30 p.m. Aug. 17

Info: Free;

4. Folger Shakespearean Garden Tour: You'll see roses blooming and fragrant herbs such as lavender and rosemary. Tours led by Folger docents.

Where: The Folger Shakespeare Library, 201 E. Capitol St. SE

When: Tours: 10 and 11 a.m. first and third Saturdays of every month; garden open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday

Info: Free; 202-544-4600;

5. Learn about local wildlife: Explore the National Wildlife Visitor Center, the largest science and environmental educational center in the Department of the Interior.

Where: National Wildlife Visitor Center, 10901 Scarlet Tanager Loop, Laurel

When: Sunrise through 7:30 p.m. through Aug. 28

Info: Free; 301-497-5580;

Best Theater

1. "Marathon '33": American Century Theater's production of June Havoc's play about her life as a marathon dancer. You'll find yourself transported back to the 1930s, a spectator at a dance marathon, as exhausted and jobless competitors literally dance for their lives.

Where: Gunston Arts Center, 2700 S. Lang St., Arlington

When: Through Aug. 25

Info: $32 to $35; 703-998-4555;

2. "August: Osage County": A vanished father. A pill-popping mother. Three sisters harboring shady little secrets. When the large Weston family unexpectedly reunites after dad disappears, their Oklahoman family homestead explodes in a maelstrom of repressed truths and unsettling secrets.

Where: Keegan Theater, 1742 Church St. NW

When: Through Sept. 2

Info: $30 to $35;

3. "Little Shop of Horrors": This madcap musical is about a hapless florist shop worker, Seymour, who finds and raises a mysterious plant that brings the florist attention from everyone. In an attempt to keep all eyes on him, Seymour gives in to the plant's appetite for human flesh and blood. Soon the plant, Audrey II, grows into an ill-tempered, foul-mouthed carnivore and Seymour faces more than he bargained for.

Where: Olney Theatre, 2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Road, Olney

When: Through Aug. 26

Info: $26 to $54;

4. A Night with Steve Wozniak following "The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs": A discussion with playwright Mike Daisey and Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Wozniak after the show.

Where: Woolly Mammoth Theatre, 641 D St. NW

When: 8 p.m. Saturday

Info: Limited tickets begin at $100; 202-393-3939;

5. "Afterplay" and "A Little Trick": Brian Friel imagines a small cafe in 1920s Moscow where Sonya, Uncle Vanya's niece, is the only customer until the arrival of Andrey, brother of Chekhov's "The Three Sisters." "Afterplay" provides a touching coda for two of Chekhov's most enduring characters. Chekhov's short story "A Little Trick" is transformed into a succinct memory play where the narrator tells of the young lady who might have been the love of his life.

Where: Quotidian Theatre, the Writer's Center, 4508 Walsh St., Bethesda

When: Through Aug. 19

Info: $20 to $25; 301-816-1023;

Best Galleries

1. Joan Miro: The Ladder of Escape: There's less than two weeks left for this extraordinary, career-spanning overview of the Catalan painter's most politically charged work. These 120 paintings and works on paper reflect his response to two world wars, the Spanish Civil War and life under Spanish dictator Francisco Franco.

Where: National Gallery of Art, East Building, Fourth Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW

When: Through Aug. 12

Info: Free; 202-737-4215;

2. Outward Reach: Timed to the celebrate Jamaica's Golden Jubilee independence celebration, this showcase of photography, video and new media from seven U.S.-based Jamaican artists examines ideas of colonialism, gender and the environment.

Where: Art Museum of the Americas F Street Gallery, Organization of American States, 1889 F St. NW

Where: Through Sept. 28

Info: Free;

3. Material Power -- Pure Metal: Presented by Zenith Gallery, this sampler of bronzes and stainless steel sculptures, metal furniture and abstracts from D.C. artist Robert T. Cole showcases both his imaginative vision and his impressive craft.

Where: Eleven Eleven Sculpture Space, 1111 Pennsylvania Ave. NW

When: Through Oct. 16

Info: Free;

4. Off the Wall: Established Contemporary: Thrilling pieces from Nan Goldin, Damien Hirst, Andy Warhol and many more, all compiled from local private collections.

Where: Contemporary Wing, 1412 14th St. NW

When: Through Saturday

Info: Free; 202-730-5037;

5. Kevin Krapf: Retratos Compartidos/Shared Portraits: This exhibit encourages visitors to contribute to it by making portraits on a special double-sided drawing table. These visitor-made drawings will be presented alongside Krapf's own work. He will work periodically on-site during the exhibition.

Where: Artisphere, 1101 Wilson Blvd., Arlington

When: Through Aug. 18

Info: Free; 703-875-1100;