1. National Symphony Orchestra: Christoph Eschenbach conducts the Season Opening Ball Concert featuring Anne-Sophie Mutter performing Mandelssohn's Violin Concerto. Other works are Beethoven's Overture to "The Creatures of Prometheus," Sarasate's "Carmen Fantasy" and Strauss's "Der Rosenkavalier" Suite.
Where: Kennedy Center Concert Hall, 2700 F St. NW
When: 7 p.m. Sunday
Info: $47 to $125; 202-467-4600; kennedy-center.org
2. Sutton Foster: The winner of two Tony Awards is guest artist for the 7th Annual ARTS by George! fundraiser for student scholarships, performing showstoppers from her starring roles and favorite ballads.
Where: George Mason University Center for the Arts, 4400 University Drive, Fairfax
When: 8 p.m. Saturday
Info: $40 to $70; 888-945-2468; cfa.gmu.edu
3. Mark O'Connor: The incomparable violinist, fiddler and composer of bluegrass, jazz and country music comes to D.C.
Where: Blues Alley, 1073 Wisconsin Ave. NW
When: 8 and 10 p.m. Friday to Sunday
Info: $45; 202-337-4141; bluesalley.com
4. Stephen Wade: The legendary banjo artist and author of "The Beautiful Music All Around Us" performs selections from his latest recording, "Banjo Diary: Lessons from Tradition" by Smithsonian Folkways.
Where: The Birchmere Music Hall, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria
When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday
Info: $35; 703-549-7500; birchmere.com
5. Asleep at the Wheel: The Austin, Texas-based country music ensemble formed in Paw Paw, W.Va., winner of nine Grammy Awards, is joined by the 19th Street Band.
Where: Birchmere, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria
When: 7:30 p.m. Sunday
Info: $35; 703-549-7500; birchmere.com
1. Studio Season Launch: A special behind-the-scenes look at the Studio Theatre's upcoming shows is hosted by the theater's artistic director, David Muse.
Where: Studio Theater, 1501 14th St. NW
When: Noon Saturday
Info: RSVP by Thursday: 202-332-3300; studiotheatre.org
2. Shakespeare Theatre Costume Sale: The Shakespeare Theatre Company is holding a magnificent prop and costume sale. Costume styles range from Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque, to Gothic, Art Nouveau and Contemporary. Shoes, hats, masks, dresses, doublets, armor, cloaks and jewelry will be sold. Prices begin at $1 and increase to more than $200.
Where: Shakespeare Theatre Company, 507 Eighth St. SE
When: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday
Info: Free; 202-547-1122; shakespearetheatre.org
3. Euro Night: Featuring food and cultural activities from more than 20 European Union embassies.
Where: La Maison Francaise, Embassy of France, 4101 Reservoir Road NW
When: 6:30 to 11:30 p.m. Friday
Info: $35, sold out at press time; 202-944-6400; euronightdc.org
4. Big Apple Circus: Legendarium: Travel back to when circus traditions were born and witness incredible acts that would have had the villagers chattering for days, like the courageous midair flips and catches of a man on the trapeze or a captivating contortionist whose flexibility is as impressive as her poise.
Where: Dulles Town Center, 45630 Dulles Center Blvd.
When: Through Oct. 8
Info: $25 to $75; 212-268-2500; bigapplecircus.org
5. Our Universes: Traditional Knowledge Shapes Our World: This exhibit focuses on indigenous cosmologies, worldviews and philosophies related to the creation and order of the universe, and the spiritual relationship between humankind and the natural world.
Where: National Museum of the American Indian, Fourth Street and Independence Avenue NW
Info: Free; 202-633-1000; nmai.si.edu
1. Artist Q&A: "Anna Bolena": Join Washington National Opera staff for a wide-ranging discussion of the opera.
Where: Kennedy Center, 2700 F St. NW
When: Post-performance (about 5:15 p.m.) Sunday
Info: Free to patrons presenting a ticket or stub from any performance of the opera; 202-467-4600; kennedy-center.org
2. "John Quincy Adams": Harlow Giles Unger's portrait of this revolutionary dynamo confirms his status as a courageous leader. The nation's sixth president, Adams was a congressman and senator, secretary of state and ambassador to six countries.
Where: Politics & Prose Bookstore, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW
When: 1 p.m. Saturday
Info: Free; 202-364-1919; politics-prose.com
3. Cheryl Goldsleger: The NAS Project: The artist uses architectural imagery to celebrate the work of a generation of scientists.
Where: National Academy of Sciences, 2100 C St. NW
When: Through Saturday
Info: Free; 202-334-2436; nas.edu
4. Envisioning the Future: Artists are as asked to create works that answer the question "What is in our future?"
Where: The Lab at Convergence, 1801 N. Quaker Lane, Alexandria
When: Through Friday
Info: Free; 703-998-6260; convergenceccf.net
5. Open City: London, 1500-1700: Over the course of two centuries, London changed from the capital of England, secure within its medieval walls, to a metropolitan seat of empire. Its population grew tenfold. Some urban developments were spurred by the dissolution of the monasteries, a royal decree that was both politically and religiously motivated. Also reshaping the city were natural tragedies, like repeated bouts of the plague or the Great Fire of 1666. This exhibit explores it all.
Where: Folger Shakespeare Library, 201 E. Capitol St. SE
When: Through Sunday
Info: Free; 202-544-4600; folger.edu
1. "Big, The Musical": When frustrated adolescent Josh Baskin wishes he were "big" and wakes up the next morning as a 30-year-old man, he discovers there's much more to being an adult than he bargained for.
Where: Adventure Theatre, ATMTC Wintergreen Plaza, 837 Rockville Pike, Rockville
When: Through Oct. 28
Info: $19; 301-634-2270; adventuretheatre-mtc.org
2. "P. Nokio: A Hip-Hop Musical": G. Petto is an ingenious designer of computer games. One day he discovers that his new character, P. Nokio, can escape the computer! G. Petto is delighted at the prospect of having a "son." He sets out to teach P. Nokio how to become a real boy by attending the Old School and studying the art of rhyme.
Where: Imagination Stage, 4908 Auburn Ave., Bethesda
When: Saturday through Oct. 18
Info: $12 to $25; 301-280-1660; imaginationstage.org
3. Michael Shwedick's Reptile World: Back by popular demand, Shwedick and his beguiling animal friends teach kids some thrilling and invaluable lessons about ecology. Adults will be awed by Shwedick's ability to present alligators, snakes and other reptiles without frightening even the youngest children.
Where: National Theatre: 1321 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
When: 9:30 and 11 a.m. Saturday
Info: Free; tickets required; 202-783-3372; nationaltheatre.org
4. "Rikki Tikki Tavi": Rudyard Kipling's story tells of a mongoose who is adopted by a family after they rescue him from a flood. Rikki Tikki Tavi is courageous, protective and can defend the family's garden from sneaky cobras with his agile body and speedy feet. Rikki befriends the family's young son and must save him from the conniving cobras.
Where: Maryland Ensemble Theatre, 31 W. Patrick St., Frederick
When: Through Oct. 7
Info: $12; 301-694-4744; marylandensemble.org
5. Outdoor movies in Lamont Park: Will it be "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" or "The Princess Bride"? Film fans get to choose (by voting) during this outdoor movie series devoted to movies of the 1980s.
Where: Mount Pleasant and Lamont streets NW
When: 7:15 to 9:30 p.m. Friday
Info: Free; 202-588-5272; mtpmainstreet.org
1. Opera in the Outfield: "Don Giovanni": Washington National Opera celebrates its fifth season of free opera simulcasts at Nationals Park with Mozart's glorious music narrating a day in the life of Don Giovanni.
Where: Nationals Park, 1500 S. Capitol St. SE
When: 5 p.m. Saturday
Info: Free; 202-467-4600; operaintheoutfield.org
2. Dam Release White Water Rafting with Pre-Raft Cookout: This is not just a regular whitewater rafting trip, but perhaps the most daring and exciting visit to the rapids you may ever experience/ Rapids are continuous Class II-III-plus and are comprised of waves and rollers up to 6 feet high. Trip length is 7 miles from Barnum to Bloomington ,and experienced guides navigate each raft. Rafters will enjoy a tasty cookout overlooking the Jennings Randolph Lake.
Where: North Branch, Va. (directions on website)
When: 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Sunday
Info: $85; thingstododc.com
3. Explore Arlington Nature: Potomac Heritage Trail: This Metro-accessible, half-day hike winds along Arlington's Potomac River shoreline from Theodore Roosevelt Island to Gulf Branch Nature Center (return shuttle to Roosevelt Island provided). Along the way, you'll look for migrant birds and wildflowers. You'll hike at a modest pace, stopping for points of natural and historic interest, but the route includes some strenuous boulder scrambling and steep climbs. The Roosevelt Island starting point is accessible from the Rosslyn Metro. Bring lunch and water in your hands-free bag or backpack. For adults and teens with an adult. For more information, call 703-228-6535.
Where: Meet at Long Branch Nature Center, 625 S. Carlin Springs Road, Arlington
When: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday
Info: $5; registration required: 703-228-4747; program No. 612942-E
4. Greater H Street NE Heritage Trail: Hub, Home, Heart: Greater H Street NE Heritage Trail invites you to follow the tracks of history through the working-class neighborhoods that formed around Washington's Union Station. Take in the Beaux-Arts grandeur of Union Station and the National Postal Museum, then wind your way through the rowhouses that sheltered railroad porters and engineers, community and spiritual leaders, and immigrant entrepreneurs.
Where: The first sign is located at the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and First Street NE, across from the Union Station Metro entrance
When: Any day
Info: Free; 202-661-7584; culturaltourismdc.org
5. Hidden Pond: A small scenic pond is the star of this gentle, well-maintained 2-mile round trip. The park offers solitude or opportunities for exploration suitable for both hikers and dogs.
When: Any season
Info: Nature Center; 703-451-9588; localhikes.com
1. "A Couple of Blaguards": This bubbling stew of Irish storytelling is flavored with the authors Frank and Malachy McCourt's renowned humor and poignant humanity as well as incidental music from the great Irish tradition. The play follows the trials of the young McCourts from their childhood in poverty-stricken Limerick through their journey to Brooklyn, N.Y.
Where: Keegan Theater, 1742 Church St. NW
When: Through Oct. 14
Info: $30 to $35; 703-892-0202; keegantheatre.com
2. "Fly": This play is based on the experiences of the Tuskegee Airmen during World War II. The play follows four courageous heroes hailing from Chicago, Harlem, rural Iowa and the Caribbean as they train to fly combat aircraft. In spite of the overt racism they encounter, the men form a lasting brotherhood and fly with distinction.
Where: Ford's Theatre, 511 10th St. NW
When: Through Oct. 21
Info: $15 to $62; 800-982-2787; fords.org
3. "Zero Cost House": Philadelphia-based Pig Iron Theatre perform the D.C. premiere of this play by renowned Japanese playwright Toshiki Okada, which demonstrates an effort to reconcile Henry David Thoreau with an earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster.
Where: Georgetown University's Davis Performing Arts Center, Gonda Theatre, 37 and O streets NW
When: 8 p.m. Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday
Info: $10 to $20; 202-687-2787; performingarts.georgetown.edu
4. "Over The Tavern": Precocious 12-year-old Rudy believes that we were put on Earth "to have fun." He refuses to be force-fed rules and values from anyone -- not from his parents and especially not from Sister Clarissa.
Where: Olney Theatre Center, 2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Road, Olney
When: Through Oct. 21
Info: $44 to $54; 301-924-3400; olneytheatre.org
5. "Taking Steps": In this riotous farce presented by Constellation Theatre, six Brits evade a ghost, capture an intruder, sidestep spouses and unwittingly bed-hop on three levels of a former brothel.
Where: Source, 1835 14th St. NW
When: Through Oct. 7
Info: $20 to $45; 202-315-1305; constellationtheatre.org
1. Imperial Augsburg: Renaissance Prints and Drawings, 1475-1540: This is the first U.S. exhibition to grapple with Augsburg's artistic innovations of the late 15th and early 16th centuries, presenting a staggering selection from the National Gallery of Art's holdings of German prints, drawings and illustrated books.
Where: National Gallery of Art, West Building, Seventh Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW
When: Through Dec. 31
Info: Free; 202-737-4215; nga.gov
2. African-American Art Since 1950: This ambitious, well-curated survey covers more than six decades of work by more than two-dozen African-American artists.
Where: David C. Driskell Center, 1214 Cole Student Activities Building, College Park
When: Through Dec. 14
Info: Free; 301-405-6835; driskellcenter.umd.edu
3. Mariah Anne Johnson: In the Pines: This exhibit fuses Johnson's 2-D and 3-D works, combining her brightly patterned paintings with repurposed vintage bedsheets and other found elements into a site-specific installation.
Where: Flashpoint, 916 G St. NW
When: Through Nov. 3
Info: 202-315-1305; flashpointdc.org
4. Heritage Aesthetic: This debut solo exhibition from Hamiltonian Fellow Amy Boone-McCreesh uses fabric, colored paper cuttings and found objects to explore the role in our lives of rituals and rites of passage.
Where: Hamiltonian Gallery, 1353 U St. NW
When: Through Oct. 13
Info: Free; 202-332-1116; hamiltoniangallery.com
5. Creating a Legacy: Paintings and Drawings by Manon Cleary: This collection of 14 paintings and works on paper by the late artist celebrates the realistic style that is the beloved artist and educator's legacy. Cleary died of pulmonary disease last November.
Where: 39th Street Gallery, Gateway Arts Center, 3901 Rhode Island Ave., Brentwood
When: Through Nov. 17
Info: Free; 301-864-3860; gatewaycdc.org