Best Music

1. David Cassidy: The former teen idol-turned-pop star performs songs from his vast repertoire.

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

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday

Info: $49.50; 703-548-7500;

2. Dr. Lonnie Smith Trio: The KC Jazz Club presents the jazz organist boasting more than 70 albums, performing with Jonathan Kreisberg and Jamire Williams.

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

When: 7:30 and 9:30 Saturday

Info: $26 to $30; 202-467-4600; 800-444-1324;

3. Mulgrew Miller Trio: The KC Jazz Club presents the trio dubbed by NPR as "one of the best in jazz, today or ever."

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

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

Info: $26 to $30; 202-467-4600; 800-444-1324;

4. Rachelle Ferrell: The jazz artist and pianist, equally at home with pop, soul and R&B, sits in for a long weekend.

Where: Blues Alley, 1073 Wisconsin Ave. NW

When: 8 and 10 p.m. Thursday to Sunday

Info: $60; 202-337-4141;

Best Galleries

1. Per Kirkeby: Paintings and Sculpture: Scandinavia's most celebrated living artist is also a trained geologist, and his body of work is a kind of dialogue between art and science. This collection of 26 paintings and 11 bronzes is his most comprehensive U.S. survey yet.

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

When: Through Jan. 6

Info: $12, students, seniors and military $10, members and youth free; 202-387-2151;

2. The Deep Element: Photography at the Beach: Photos by Harry Callahan, Mitch Epstein, Nicholas Nixon and other pioneering photographers highlight this exploration of 130 years documenting the beach, both as a physical destination and as a state of mind.

Where: Corcoran Gallery of Art, 500 17th St. NW

When: Through Oct. 14

Info: $10, seniors and students $8, military and youth free; 202-639-1700;

3. Turned and Burnt: Pre-Columbian Artifacts and Wood-turned Vessels: These Mayan ceramics predate the arrival of the potter's wheel in the Americas, reflecting the prevalence of hand-firing techniques in the manufacturing of their era.

Where: Luther W. Brady Art Gallery, Media and Public Affairs Building, second floor, 805 21st St. NW

When: Monday through Dec. 21

Info: Free; 202-994-1525;

4. Tierra y Memoria: Striking Paintings and Linocuts by Juan E. Hernandez G.: The artist formerly known as Juan Ernesto Hernadez Gonzalez makes strongly composed pieces documenting the hard, humble lives of low-income workers on the strees of his native Tegucigalpa, Honduras, and elsewhere.

Where: The Art League Gallery, the Torpedo Factory, 105 N. Union St., Alexandria

When: Through Nov. 5

Info: Free; 703-683-1780;

5. Eyesontheborder: Nine artists, including F. Lenox "Lenny" Campello, Teresa Diaz and Margaly Garza, pool their works to illustrate the cultural diversity of Latin American countries.

Where: Takoma Park Community Center, 7500 Maple Ave., Takoma Park

When: Through Nov. 4

Info: Free; 301-891-7100;

Best Family

1. Survival Skills: Ropes and Weaving: These hands-on classes teach traditional survival skills. In Ropes and Weaving, you'll learn how to create rope and twine from plant material, an essential tool. You'll also learn techniques for making natural baskets. For kids 7 to 12. For information, 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-B

2. The Wiggles: The Wiggles turned 21 this year and they are all grown up and ready for their last hurrah before Murray Cook (Red Wiggle), Greg Page (Yellow Wiggle) and Jeff Fatt (Purple Wiggle) hang up their jerseys and make way for a new generation.

Where: Warner Theatre, 513 13th St. NW

When: 2:30 and 6:30 p.m. Tuesday

Info: $17.50 to $82; 202-783-4000;

3. Wild Ones: Fall Herps: You'll explore the Long Branch Nature Center grounds for salamanders, frogs, toads, turtles, lizards and snakes and learn how they get ready for winter. Find out which ones you might see around your home and meet one of the Nature Center's snakes up close. For children 6 and up. For information, call 703-228-6535.

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

When: 4 to 5 p.m. Wednesday

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

4. "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.

Where: Imagination Stage, 4908 Auburn Ave., Bethesda

When: Through Oct. 18

Info: $12 to $35; 301-280-1660;

5. "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.

Where: Maryland Ensemble Theatre, 31 W. Patrick St., Frederick

When: Through Sunday

Info: $12; 301-694-4744;

Best Brainfood

1. Artist Q&A: "Don Giovanni": Join Washington National Opera staff for a wide-ranging discussion with the artists of the opera.

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

When: Post-performance Sunday (about 5:15 p.m.)

Info: Free to patrons with a ticket or stub from any performance of "Don Giovanni";

2. "The Black Count": If you've read "The Three Musketeers" or "The Count of Monte Cristo," you know some of the story Tom Reiss tells in this life of Alexandre Dumas pere. But his son left out a lot. Come hear more about the elder Dumas.

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

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Info: Free; 202-364-1919;

3. "Cole Porter: You're The Top!": Porter created some of the most witty, melodious and sophisticated songs ever written for the musical theater. In this scintillating musical revue, audiences are treated to a panoply of his hits.

Where: Creative Cauldron at ArtSpace, 410 S. Maple Ave., Falls Church

When: Friday through Oct. 28

Info: $22, seniors and students $20; 571-239-5288;

4. "A Clockwork Orange": Alex and his vicious teenage gang revel in horrific violence. Alex, the ringleader, also revels in the music of Beethoven. When a drug-fueled night of fun ends in murder, Alex is finally captured and given a choice: be brainwashed into good citizenship and set free, or face a lifetime imprisonment.

Where: Scena Theater, H Street Playhouse, 1365 H St. NE

When: Saturday through Nov. 18

Info: $25 to $35; 703-683-2824;

5. "The Post Secret Play": The show brings to the stage the website that posts self-confessed secrets from anonymous writers.

Where: Round House Theatre, 4545 East-West Highway, Bethesda

When: 8 p.m. Friday

Info: $10; 240-644-1100;

Best Outdoors

1. Autumn Conservation Festival: This festival is an unforgettable day of fun, tours and activities at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. It's the one time every year that SCBI Front Royal is open to the public. Chat with world-famous scientists and learn about their fascinating research, which spans the globe. Scientists will also be on hand to help you explore the tools and technology they use to understand animals and their environments. Get behind-the-scenes looks at some of SCBI Front Royal's endangered animals.

Where: Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, 1500 Remount Road, Front Royal

When: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Info: $30 per car; 202-633-4888;

2. Hike the Hoyle's Mill Trail: This trail in Montgomery County connects the Black Hill Regional Park with the South Germantown Recreational Park and nearby Schaeffer Farm trail system is well-maintained. The 7.8-mile hike is an easy one and includes the blocked-off Hoyle's Mill Road. A newly constructed bridge crosses Little Seneca Creek, replacing the old deep ford.

Where: Gaithersburg

When: Year-round

Info: Free; 301-670-8080; 301-949-3010;

3. Civil War to Civil Rights: Downtown Heritage Trail: Walk in the footsteps of Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, Walt Whitman, Clara Barton and other great Americans whose lives were intertwined with the history of the nation and its capital during theCivil War. This trail will bring you past a building that not only served as a hospital for wounded Union soldiers but also hosted Lincoln's second inaugural ball. You will also see "Angel of the Battlefield" Barton's former home and office, buildings where the Lincoln conspirators met and the place where civil servants compensated former slave owners for the loss of their human property.

Where: See website for map.

When: Any day

Info: Free; 202-661-7584;

5. October Hayride and Bonfire at Butler's Orchard: Get into the October spirit with a popular seasonal tradition at Butler's Orchard in Germantown. On the 45-minute hayride, you'll get cozy and explore the huge orchard grounds by sunset (and look out for hidden Halloween surprises that may pop up on our trip). Tons of freshly picked apples provided. After the hayride, enjoy a roaring bonfire with s'mores, hot dogs, beer, sodas, marshmallows and more!

Where: Germantown (see website for directions)

When: 8 to 11:15 p.m. Saturday

Info: $42;

Best Gatherings

1. Voices of Strength: Two Programs of Contemporary Dance & Theater by Women From Africa: A two-evening showcase of African contemporary dance articulating women's struggles toward empowerment.

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

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

Info: $36; 202-467-4600;

2. Royal Drummers and Dancers of Burundi: The performances are based on ancient sacred traditions of the country in Central Africa.

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

When: Friday and Saturday

Info: $23 to $46, students free; 703-993-8888;

3. "The Rape of Lucrece": A loud coalescence of Taffety Punk actors, dancers and musicians bend Shakespeare's epic poem to their will.

Where: Capitol Hill Arts Workshop, 545 Seventh St. SE

When: Through Saturday

Info: $10; 202-547-6839;,

4. "Reckless": Spooky Action Theatre: From Craig Lucas comes this darkly comic tale of a modern-day Alice in a perilous winter wonderland. When Rachel is forced to flee her home on Christmas Eve, she embarks on a series of comic misadventures that test her belief that it is indeed a wonderful life.

When: 1810 16th St. NW

When: Through Oct. 28

Info: $10 to $25; 301-920-1414;

5. "The Better Half": This theater/dance piece pokes fun at classic stage melodrama "Angel Street" and the film "Gaslight," about a villainous husband who tries to drive his wife insane.

Where: Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, University of Maryland, University Boulevard and Stadium Drive, College Park

When: Thursday and Friday

Info: $24 to $30; 301-405-2787;

Best Theater

1. "One Night With Janis Joplin": With a voice like whiskey and a laugh like pure joy, Joplin took the music scene by storm. Packed with classic songs ("Piece of My Heart, "Summertime," "Mercedes Benz"), the show also shines the spotlight on trailblazers who influenced Joplin, like Bessie Smith, Etta James and Aretha Franklin.

Where: Arena Stage, 1101 Sixth St. SW

When: Through Nov. 4

Info: $45 to $94; 202-488-3300;

2. "Dying City": One year after the suspicious death of his identical twin brother, Craig, in Iraq, Peter shows up unannounced at his sister-in-law Kelly's apartment. Having not spoken since the funeral, Peter and Kelly face off in a passive-aggressive battle rooted in half-truths and betrayal.

Where: Signature Theatre, 4200 Campbell Ave., Arlington

When: Through Nov. 25

Info: $47.10 to $69.65; rush seats available; 703-820-9771;

3. International Festival of Hispanic Theatre: 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: Sunday through Nov. 17

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

4. "Hemispheric Dysfunctionalism and the Cortical Titanic": Set aboard the Titanic, this play explores how we receive information and use this information in a rapidly changing, technological world.

Where: Fort Fringe, 607 New York Ave. NW

When: Friday through Oct. 28

Info: $20 to $25; 866-737-7230;

5. "Black Watch": Viewed through the eyes of those on the ground, "Black Watch" reveals what it means to be part of the legendary Scottish regiment, what it means to be part of the war on terror and what it means to make the journey home again.

Where: Sidney Harman Hall, 610 F St. NW

When: Through Sunday

Info: $70 to $85; 202-547-1122;