Best Music

1. This Land is Your Land -- Woody Guthrie at 100: This celebration of the life and work of Woody Guthrie, in collaboration with the Grammy Museum, features performances by John Mellencamp, Jackson Browne, Rosanne Cash, Judy Collins, Arlo Guthrie and many others.

Where: Kennedy Center Concert Hall, 2700 F St. NW

When: 7:30 p.m. Sunday

Info: $45 to $175; 202-467-4600; 800-444-1324;

2. National Symphony Orchestra: Christoph Eschenbach conducts Bruckner's Symphony No. 7, and guest contralto Nathalie Stutzmann sings Wagner's "Wesendonck Lieder."

Where: Kennedy Center Concert Hall, 2700 F St. NW

When: 7 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday

Info: $10 to $85; 202-467-4600; 800-444-1324;

3. "Beethoven: The Power of Three": National Philharmonic Music Director Piotr Gajewski opens the season with a concert featuring pianist Orli Shaham.

Where: The Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda

When: 8 p.m. Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday

Info: $26 to $84, kids 7 to 17 free; 301-581-5100;

4. "The Golden Age of Black and White": Jack Everly and the BSO SuperPops present music of the 1950s with guest vocalists Chapter 6, Karen Murphy and Kirsten Scott.

Where: The Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda

When: 8 p.m. Thursday

Info: $28 to $63; 301-581-5100;

5. Maureen McGovern: Barbara Cook's Spotlight shines on the extraordinary voice belonging to the star of Broadway, film and recordings.

Where: Kennedy Center Terrace Theatre, 2700 F St. NW

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Info: $45; 202-467-4600; 800;444-1324;

Best Galleries

1. Roy Lichtenstein: A Retrospective: This first major exhibition since the pioneering pop artist's death in 1997 features more than 100 paintings from throughout his long career, as well as several drawings and sculptures.

Where: National Gallery of Art, West Building, Seventh Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW

When: Sunday through Jan. 13

Info: Free; 202-737-4215;

2. Political Wits, 100 Years Apart: This collection of political cartoons by Honore Daumier and Patrick Oliphant, culled from the Phillips Collection's substantial holdings of both artists' work, celebrates two of the sharpest political wits of the 19th and 20th centuries, respectively.

Where: The Phillips Collection, 1600 21st St. NW

When: Through Jan. 20

Info: $10, students and seniors $8, youth 18 and under free; 202-387-2151;

3. Landscape as Self-Portrait: This solo exhibition of paintings from the Australian artist William MacKinnon seeks to capture the "internal weather of the mind; fog, dips and peaks."

Where: Morton Fine Art, 1781 Florida Ave. NW

When: Through Nov. 6

Info: Free; 202-627-2787;

4. Solitude: Paintings by Grace E. Peterson: Peterson's vibrant landscapes effuse serenity and calm. Though she's turned her attention from stained glass art to painting, her mastery of translucent and pure pigments give her canvases a similarly luminous quality.

Where: Waverly Street Gallery, 4600 East-West Highway, Bethesda

When: Through Nov. 3

Info: Free; 301-951-9441;

5. Nathan Oliveira: Paintings, Sculpture, Monotypes and Watercolors: A selection of rarely seen works highlights the prolific Californian who rejected abstraction, and whose six-decade career spanned from midcentury until his death in 2010.

Where: Marsha Mateyka Gallery, 2012 R St. NW

When: Through Oct. 27

Info: Free; 202-328-0088;

Best Gatherings

1. Diva It Up: Put on Your Opera Face: Learn how to glam it up opera-style during this hands-on makeup class and demonstration. Professional makeup artists share techniques and tips for creating theatrical faces.

Where: Kennedy Center Hall of Nations, 2700 F St. NW

When: 2 p.m. Saturday

Info: $15; 202-467-4600;

2. Nathan Williams and the Zydeco Cha Chas: This high-energy performance features zydeco, the fast and furious accordion-driven dance music of the Creole people of South Louisiana. Dance lessons are offered at 5 p.m. by Dancing by the Bayou, with the performance after.

Where: Kennedy Center Millennium Stage, 2700 F St. NW

When: 6 p.m. Monday

Info: Free; 202-467-4600;

3. Open Rehearsal: Mariinsky Ballet: Join Explore the Arts as dance scholars guide you through a behind-the-scenes view of the dancers preparing onstage for a performance.

Where: Opera House, Kennedy Center, 2700 F St. NW

When: 12:30 p.m. Tuesday

Info: $10 to $12; 202-467-4600;

4. "The Goddess Diaries": In these eight short personal narratives about key milestones in the lives of girls and women, storytellers range in age from 11 to 65. Discussing bridal registries, bad husbands and personal violence, the monologues tell compelling stories. Between the speeches, music and dance performances create a rich tapestry of expressions. All proceeds go to the GMU Victims of Violence Fund.

Where: Harris Theater, George Mason University Center for the Arts, Route 123 and Braddock Road, Fairfax

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

Info: $5 to $20; 703-993-8888;

5. "POTUS Among Us": Washington Improv Theater's savvy satire places the presidential election in your hands, letting you determine platforms and steer the campaign.

Where: Source, 1835 14th St. NW

When: Through Nov. 5

Info: $15 to $30; 202-315-1305;

Best Brainfood

1. Paul Elie: Reinventing Bach: Elie calls the 20th century the "recorded era," and his focus on the great Bach interpreters of recent decades -- Albert Schweitzer, Pablo Casals, Leopold Stokowski and, of course, Glenn Gould and Yo-Yo Ma -- concentrates as much on the development of recording technology as it does on the individual artists.

Where: Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Info: Free; 202-364-1919;

2. Mariinsky Ballet: "Cinderella": The fairy godmother. The stroke of midnight. The glass slipper. Triumphantly returning to the Kennedy Center, St. Petersburg's Mariinsky Ballet performs a contemporary take on Alexei Ratmansky's romantic and moving version of the classic fairy tale.

Where: Kennedy Center, 2700 F St. NW

When: Tuesday through Oct. 21

Info: $29 to $150; 202-467-4600;

3. Compagnie de Danse Jean-Rene Delsoin: The Haitian dance company's outstanding, vibrant dancers and drummers embody choreography that captures Haiti now -- raw and refined, spiritual, powerful and precarious.

Where: Kennedy Center Millennium Stage, 2700 F St. NW

When: 6 p.m. Tuesday

Info: Free; 202-467-4600;

4. "F. Murray Abraham": Classic Conversations with Michael Kahn: Classic Conversations allows famous actors to talk about their craft. Abraham won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role as Antonio Salieri in Amadeus. He has appeared in "All The President's Men," "Scarface," "Mighty Aphrodite" and "Finding Forrester."

Where: Sidney Harman Hall, 610 F St. NW

When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday

Info: $15; 202-547-1122;

5. La Pantalla Comica: This film festival showcases comedy in Mexican cinema from the 1940s to today.

Where: GALA Hispanic Theatre, 3333 14th St. NW

When: Friday to Sunday

Info: $5 suggested donation per movie; 202-234-5510;

Best Outdoors

1. All You Can Eat Crab Feast Cruise on Potomac: This is a wonderful way to enjoy a meal of world-famous Maryland crab while taking in sweeping views of the Washington skyline and monuments. You'll depart from Georgetown, enjoy the meal, socialize, make new friends and enjoy the view for two hours. The cruise also features $3 margaritas.

Where: Georgetown harbor, end of 31st Street NW; boat will docked across from the Riverside Grille; the boat's name is the Nightingale

When: 11:45 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday

Info: $65;

2. Twilight Horseback Trail Ride and Bonfire: Leave modern development and traffic behind and travel back to Colonial days on a horseback trail ride through the unspoiled rolling hills and streams of Patapsco Valley State Park in southwestern Carroll County. Through 8,000 acres of picturesque parkland, these trails run alongside flowing streams and cliffs overlooking the woodlands. After an hourlong journey, relax and enjoy a warming bonfire with coffee, hot chocolate and s'mores. Alcohol will not be served, but feel free to bring your own.

Where: Misty Manor Riding Stables, 7621 Ride Road, Marriottsville (see website for directions)

When: 5:30 to 8 p.m. Saturday

Info: $55;

3. Jogging Tour of D.C.: An early-morning jogging tour surveys the monuments and memorials. This hearty run takes you from the Washington Monument through the west end of the Mall and into West Potomac Park. The route passes the World War II, Lincoln, Korean War and Vietnam memorials, then proceeds around the Tidal Basin to feature the Jefferson, FDR and Martin Luther King Jr. memorials.

Where: Meet at Smithsonian Metro entrance, Mall side

When: 9 to 11 a.m. Sunday

Info: $20;

4. See the Great Cats at the Zoo: The Great Cats exhibit on Lion/Tiger Hill features Sumatran tigers and African lions -- living, breathing, roaring great cats. They are ambassadors for their wild relatives, and for the zoo's conservation and science initiatives for tigers, lions and many other cats, which, even if not great in size, are still great.

Where: National Zoo, 3001 Connecticut Ave. NW

When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, weather permitting

Info: Free; 202-633-4888;

5. Visit Brightwood: A roam through Brightwood will reveal an illustrious Civil War legacy, ample African-American history and an eclectic assortment of architecture and shops. More than one individual took credit for shouting "Get down, you fool!" to President Lincoln while he stood, top hat and all, on the Fort Stevens parapet as Confederate soldiers took aim. That hot July day in 1864, Lincoln became the only sitting U.S. president to come under enemy fire.

Where: First sign located at 5427 14th St. NW, at the southeast corner of Kennedy and 14th streets at Colorado Avenue

When: Any day

Info: Free; 202-661-7581;

Best Family

1. Survival Skills: Compasses and Sundials: This hands-on class teaches traditional survival skills. You'll learn how to find your bearings with and without a compass. Then you'll use this tool to help build a sundial. For kids 7 to 12. For more info, call 703-228-6535.

Where: Long Branch Nature Center, 625 S. Carlin Springs Road, Arlington

When: 4 to 5 p.m. Friday

Info: $5; registration necessary: 703-228-4747; program No. 612922-D

2. Fall Heritage Festival: Gather around the Walker Log House to celebrate our nation's heritage. Step back into history and try your hand at some old-time games and crafts. Drop in anytime from 1 to 5 p.m. Park on Military Road or 36th Road North. Close-in neighbors are encouraged to walk. For families, adults and Scout troops. Children must be accompanied by an adult. For more info, call 703-228-3403.

Where: Gulf Branch Nature Center, 3608 Military Road, Arlington; parking lot closed for the event

When: 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday

Info: $5, children under 2 free; no registration necessary

3. "Mouse on the Move": Nellie and Amelia are two adventuresome mice ready to explore the world beyond their little mouse-hole. They decide to go to the moon, since it's cat-free and made of delicious, mouth-watering cheese.

Where: Imagination Stage, 4908 Auburn Ave., Bethesda

When: Through Nov. 11

Info: $10 to $12, lap seats $5; 301-280-1660;

4. Explore the Universe at Rock Creek Park: Join others in the planetarium for a programexploring the sun, moon, stars, planets and other space phenomena. Ages 7 to adult.

Where: Rock Creek Park Nature Center/Planetarium, 5200 Glover Road NW

When: 4 p.m. various days from Saturday through Nov. 25

Info: Free; 202-895-6070;

5. "Platero y Yo": A young poet and his donkey, Platero, deepen their friendship as they encounter changing seasons, children, eccentrics and Gypsies in the Andalusian countryside. This bilingual presentation highlights a poignant classic by Juan Ramon Jimenez, one of the greatest writers of modern Spanish literature.

Where: GALA Hispanic Theatre, 3333 14th St. NW

When: Monday through Oct. 27 (see website for dates and times)

Info: $10 to $27; 202-234-5510;

Best Theater

1. "Our Class": As 10 Polish classmates (five Catholic, five Jewish) grow up, their lives take dramatically unexpected turns as their country is torn apart by invading armies, first Soviet, then German, then Soviet again. Friend betrays friend and violence quickly escalates, reaching a crescendo that will forever haunt the survivors.

Where: Theater J, 1529 16th St. NW

When: Through Nov. 4

Info: $25 to $35; 202-777-3210;

2. International Festival of Hispanic Theater: Teatro de la Luna presents theater from Argentina, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Venezuela, Spain and the United States (children's theater).

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

When: Through Nov. 17

Info: $30 to $35; 703-548-3092;

3. "DruidMurphy": A cycle of three plays by Ireland's premiere playwright, Tom Murphy, will be shown on separate nights, and all at once on Saturday: "Famine," "A Whistle in the Dark" and "Conversations on a Homecoming."

Where: Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater, 2700 F St. NW

When: Wednesday through Oct. 20

Info: $35 to $65; 202-467-4600;

4. "Songs of Migration": Created by internationally acclaimed South African trumpeter, composer and lyricist Hugh Masekela, "Songs of Migration" is a musical tribute to the great songs of migrants across the African continent.

Where: Terrace Theater, Kennedy Center, 2700 F St. NW

When: Wednesday through Oct. 20

Info: $30; 202-467-4600;

5. "Hedda Gabler": Considered scandalous in its day, Henrik Ibsen's play examines the life of an ambitious, talented woman trapped by obligation and societal conventions in a boring and loveless marriage.

Where: Catholic University Drama Complex, 3801 Harewood Road NW

When: Thursday through Sunday

Info: $5 to $15; 202-319-4000;