Best Music

1. James Galway: The Washington Performing Arts Society presents the extraordinary flutist and his wife, Jeanne Galway, accompanied by pianist Michael McHale and a string trio performing works by Mozart, Debussy, Doppler, Bizet and selected Irish folk tunes and dances on the Legacy Tour.

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

When: 4 p.m. Sunday

Info: $29 to $85; 202-467-4600; 800-444-1324;

2. NSO Pops: The Chieftains arrive direct from Ireland with "Lucky You," their Grammy-winning music.

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

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

Info: $20 to $85; 202-467-4600; 800-444-1324;

3. Natalie MacMaster: The Canadian fiddler and step dancer celebrates St. Patrick's Day.

Where: George Mason University Center for the Arts, 4400 University Drive, Fairfax

When: 7 p.m Sunday

Info: $24 to $48; 888-945-2468;

4. Danu: Hylton Presents welcomes the traditional Irish band from County Waterford.

Where: Hylton Performing Arts Center, 10960 George Mason Circle, Manassas

When: 8 p.m. Sunday

Info: $28 to $44; 888-945-2468;

5. Jaime Laredo and Jennifer Koh: The Fortas Chamber Music Series presents the violinists performing works for two solo violins, with the Curtis Chamber Orchestra.

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

When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday

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

Best Family

1. "Flying Feet and Fiddle Bows: An Irish Celebration": Get in the St. Paddy's Day spirit as acclaimed dancer Shannon Dunne and Pete Moss and the Bog Band throw an authentic Irish ceili party. Learn about Irish musical traditions, and experience the floor-pounding beat of sean-nos and set dancing. For ages 5 to 12.

Where: Discovery Theater, Ripley Center, 1100 Jefferson Drive, SW

When: 10:15 and 11:30 a.m. Friday

Info: $5 to $12; 202-633-8700;

2. "Peeper Prowl": Hop on over and join the fun as you learn about and search for these tiny tree frogs and other amphibians. For families with children ages 5 and up. Children must be accompanied by a registered adult. For more information, call 703-228-6535.

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

When: 7 to 8:15 p.m. Saturday

Info: $5; registration required: 703-228-4747; program No. 632953-B

3. Saturday Morning at the National: "The Adventures of Polly Pedestrian": Polly learns important lessons -- in English and Spanish -- about traffic and pedestrian and bicycle safety from an unlikely friend: Ricardo, The Cavalier Raccoon! Puppetry, cool characters and a rockin' finale enhance this play about responsibility and compassion.

Where: National Theatre, Helen Hayes Gallery, 1321 Pennsylvania Ave. NW

When: 9:30 and 11 a.m. Saturday

Info: Free, tickets required; 202-628-6161;

4. "Shades of Green Hike": See how many shades of green you can find as you search for the true pot of gold. Dress for changeable spring weather. For families with children 6 and older. For more information, call 703-228-3403.

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

When: 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. Sunday

Info: $5; registration necessary: 703-228-4747; program No. 632853-H

5. "First Child in the Woods (Spring Break Camp)": Great activities, crafts and hands-on encounters with animals will be balanced with unstructured time. Deadline to register is March 26. For ages 6 to 10. For more information, call 703-228-3403.

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

When: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through March 29

Info: $200; registration required: 703-228-4747; program No. 632823-J

Best Brainfood

1. Brad Parks: Parks will discuss his book "The Good Cop," about an investigative reporter who traces illegal gun smuggling from Virginia to New Jersey.

Where: One More Page Books, 2200 N. Westmoreland St., Suite 101, Arlington

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Info: Free; 703-300-9746;

2. Nordic Cool 2013: GoteborgsOperans Danskompani: Having transitioned from solely classical ballet to an additional focus on contemporary dance, Sweden's GoteborgsOperans Danskompani brings three contemporary works created on the company.

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

When: 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday

Info: $29 to $60; 202-467-4600; 800-444-1324;

3. Culkin School of Traditional Irish Dance: In celebration of St. Patrick's Day, students offer a performance highlighting the unique tradition of Irish music and dance.

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

When: 6 p.m. Sunday

Info: Free; 202-467-4600; 800-444-1324;

4. Nordic Cool 2013: Exhibition: Our World, Our Future: Youth Making a Difference through Creativity, Technology, and Art: The voices of Nordic children are featured in a special exhibit comprised of short videos expressing their views on the environment and sustainability.

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

When: All day through Sunday

Info: Free; 202-467-4000; 800-444-1324;

5. "How to Lose a Mountain": This multimedia performance by Dance Exchange illustrates the lessons learned on a trip from D.C. to the mountains in West Virginia.

Where: Dance Place, 3225 8th St. NE

When: 8 p.m. Saturday, 7 p.m. Sunday

Info: $8 to $22; 202-269-1600;

Best Gatherings

1. "Beyond the Hills": This drama focuses on the friendship of two young girls who grew up together in an orphanage. Directed by Cristian Mungiu and starring Cosmina Stratan, Cristina Flutur and Valeriu Andriuta.

Where: Landmark's E Street Cinema, 5555 11th St. NW

When: Friday

Info: 202-783-9494;

2. St. Paddy's Palooza: Daylong celebrations featuring Irish food, drinks and dancing.

Where: The Limerick Pub, 11301 Elkin St., Wheaton

When: Thursday through Sunday

Info: Free;

3. "Born on a Mountaintop: On the Road with Davy Crockett and the Ghosts of the Wild Frontier": Before Davy Crockett became the legendary figure of song and folk tales, he was in fact born in the Tennessee River Valley, served three terms in Congress and probably died at the Alamo. Bob Thompson's lively biography follows the many versions of Crockett, separating myths from truth.

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

When: 6 p.m. Saturday

Info: Free; 202-364-1919;

4. The Classical Repertory Dance Theater Spring Concert: Members of Joy of Motion Dance Center's adult ballet company perform works choreographed by founder and artistic director Miya Hisaka and more. Where: Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE

When: 8 p.m. Saturday; 7 p.m. Sunday

Info: $20 to $25; 399-7993;

5. "Senator Fred Thompson: Expert Witnesses": Shakespeare Theatre Company's new legal series starts with with actor and former Sen. Fred Thompson. Before joining the cast of the critically acclaimed TV series "Law and Order," Thompson represented Tennessee as a U.S. senator for nearly a decade. This program will be the first of many discussions with prominent people who have bridged the worlds of law, theater and the arts.

Where: Lansburgh Theatre, 450 Seventh St. NW

When: 7:30 p.m. March 18

Info: $40; 202-547-1122;

Best Theater

1. "A Walk in the Woods": Two arms negotiators, a Russian and an American, meet informally after long, frustrating hours at the bargaining table in Geneva. As their talks continue, it is clear that these two wise and decent men face profound frustration in dealing with the mistrust of both governments.

Where: American Century Theater, Gunston Arts Center, 3700 S. Four Mile Run Drive, Arlington

When: Friday through April 14

Info: $25 to $30; 703-998-4555;

2. "Mary T. and Lizzy K.": As one woman's skilled hands work overtime, creating the most beautiful garments of her career, the other's reality continues to slip ever further from her grasp. Old wounds and new recriminations explode in this riveting drama about loss, love and the importance of promises, both kept and broken.

Where: Arena Stage, 1101 Sixth St. SW

When: Friday through April 28

Info: $40 to $85; 202-488-3300;

3. "Hello, Dolly!": Based on "The Matchmaker" by Thornton Wilder, "Hello, Dolly!" tells the story of Dolly Gallagher Levi, a matchmaker who has been hired to arrange a marriage for the widowed half-millionaire Horace Vandergelder. Dolly, however, has other plans.

Where: Ford's Theatre, 511 10th St. NW

When: Friday through May 18

Info: $15 to $90; 202-347-4833;

4. "A Behanding in Spokane": A mysterious stranger is on the hunt for his missing appendage, and two bungling crooks are caught up in his dangerous machinations. Scathing and hilarious, "Behanding" is another dazzlingly macabre tale from the pen of Martin McDonagh.

Where: Keegan Theatre, 1742 Church St. NW

When: Saturday through April 7

Info: $30 to $35; 703-892-0202;

5. "I, Jack, am the Knave of Hearts": A man bursts onto the stage brandishing a sword; the sight of the audience fills him with longing and awakens distant shreds of memory. He has no idea where or who he is, but knows he has escaped hell.

Where: DC Arts Center, 2438 18th St. NW

When: Thursday through April 6

Info: $15 to $25; 202-462-7833;

Best Outdoors

1. "Amphibians of Arlington": Meet the amphibians of Arlington. Dress for mud and changeable spring weather. For families with children 6 and older. For more information, call 703-228-6535.

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

When: 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Saturday

Info: $5; registration required: 703-228-4747; program No. 632843-E

2. "St. Patrick's Day Parade": This year's D.C. St. Patrick's Day Parade is built on the theme "Celebrating Service to the Stars and Stripes," with Adm. Mike Mullen, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, serving as grand marshall. Grandstands and judges are between 15th and 16th streets, so optimal viewing is likely to be in that general vicinity.

Where: Constitution Ave., between Seventh and 17th streets NW.

When: Noon to 3 p.m. Sunday

Info: $15 for grandstand seats; 301-384-6533;

3. Nordic Cool 2013: Exhibition: Elk Towers (Aland Islands): Originally conceived for an exhibit at the Aland Art Museum, Juha Pykalainen brings three of his wooden sculptures of elk to make the Kennedy Center landscape fun and alive.

Where: Kennedy Center exterior grounds, 2700 F St. NW

When: Through Sunday

Info: Free; 800-444-1324;

4. Limousine Leprechaun Scavenger Hunt and Race of Washington, D.C.: Race around the city in search for the "Leprechaun's gold" via an all new Scavenger Hunt full of twists and turns and challenges to see if you can keep up with the leprechaun.

Where: Meet at Roslyn Metro station; check-in at top of escalator

When: 6:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Saturday

Info: $68; 301-519-8030;

5. Nordic Cool 2013: Exhibition: New Nordic -- Architecture and Identity (Denmark): From Denmark's Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, this exhibition explores the relationship of Nordic culture, identity and architecture.

Where: Kennedy Center exterior grounds, 2700 F St. NW

When: Through Sunday

Info: Free; 800-444-1324;

Best Galleries

1. "Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop": Fictionalizing photography didn't come in with desktop publishing -- it just got easier to pull off. This tutorial in the art of analog photo-manipulation features some 200 examples -- from the likes of Gustave Le Gray, Weegee and Richard Avedon -- of images manipulated in-camera or in the darkroom circa 1840 to 1980.

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

When: Through May 5

Info: Free; 202-737-4215;

2. "Hiroshi Jacobs & Casey Hughes: Vector Cloud": Architects Casey Hughes and Hiroshi Jacobs explore "how lines can suggest surfaces, and how surfaces in turn can suggest volume and enclosure," in this site-specific, cloud-like installation piece.

Where: Flashpoint, 916 G St. NW

When: Through April 13

Info: Free; 202-315-1305;

3. "Fashioning the New Woman, 1890-1925": Fashion played a big role in expediting the opening of societal and economic roles to women during the Progressive Era, as this compelling exhibit illustrates.

Where: Daughters of the American Revolution Museum, 1776 D St. NW

When: Through Aug. 31

Info: Free; 202-628-1776;

4. "Portraiture Now: Drawing on the Edge": This survey of the works of six artists pushing the boundaries of representational portraiture -- Mequitta Ahuja, Adam Chapman, Mary Borgman and others -- invite a fascinating debate on what "drawing" means in the 21st century, when our tools of image capture are advancing more rapidly than at any point in history.

Where: National Portrait Gallery, Eighth and F streets NW

When: Through Aug. 13

Info: Free; 202-633-1000;

5. "On Common Ground: Dominican Republic and Haiti": A survey of contemporary work by the emerging artists of Hispaniola, the island shared by the Dominican Republic and Haiti.

Where: Art Museum of the Americas, 201 18th St. NW

When: Through May 26

Info: Free; 202-458-6016;