Best Music

1. National Symphony Orchestra: Marek Janowski conducts Strauss' "Death and Transfiguration," Blacher's "Variations on a Theme of Paganini" and Beethoven's Concerto in D Major for Violin and Orchestra, performed by Arabella Steinbacher.

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;

2. Emmylou Harris: The Electric Trio consists of Grammy Award winners Harris, Rodney Crowell and Richard Thompson, named by Rolling Stone as among the top 20 guitarists of all time.

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

When: 8 p.m. Friday

Info: $38 to $92; 301-581-5100;

3. Manhattan Transfer: The four voices of the Grammy Award-winning a cappella ensemble sing favorites from their enormous repertoire.

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

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Info: $55; 800-745-3000, 703-549-7500;

4. Les 7 Doigts de la Main perform "PSY": Circus and acrobat troupe from Montreal overcomes insurmountable challenges with mind-blowing feats.

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

When: 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday

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

5. The Iguanas: The New Orleans jazz and R&B ensemble mixes in traditional Mexican melodies for a tasty musical gumbo.

Where: The Barns at Wolf Trap, 1635 Trap Road, Vienna

When: 8 p.m. Friday

Info: $22; 877-965-3872;

Best Brainfood

1. " Malavika Sarukkai": A significant player in the Indian classical dance style bharatanatyam, dancer and choreographer Malavika Sarukkai returns with Ganga: Nitya Vaahini (the Eternal River), continuing to push the style's boundaries.

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

When: Friday and Saturday

Info: $36; 202-467-4600;

2. "Orchid Month": Throughout March, thousands of orchids fill the greenhouses with fragrance and color, while guest lecturers, specialized tours, hands-on workshops and demonstrations bring new perspective to the exotic flower.

Where: Hillwood Estate, 4166 Linnean Ave. NW

When: Through Saturday

Info: See website for days and hours; 202-686-8500;

3. "Les 7 Doigts de la Main: PSY": The Montreal-based troupe utilizes acrobatics and circus arts to explore the human mind.

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

When: Friday and Saturday

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

4. "Seeds, Pods, and Saplings: The Convergence of Three": This special exhibition will bring together the works of Japanese-born sculptor Yuriko Yamaguchi, painter Michi Fugita and internationally renowned multimedia artist Iona Rozeal Brown to form an other-worldy landscape in bloom.

Where: The D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities, 200 I St. SE

When: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. through June 30

Info: Free; 877-442-5666;

5. "New York City Ballet": Renowned for its linear purity, speed, and musicality, the acclaimed New York City Ballet performs two mixed repertory programs accompanied by the New York City Ballet Orchestra.

Where: Kennedy Center, 2700 F St. NW

When: Through Sunday

Info: $25 to $95; 202-467-4600;

Best Theater

1. "Wallenstein": One of Germany's greatest dramatic works, this play follows the famous general Albrecht von Wallenstein at the height of his power during the Thirty Years' War. Leading Europe's most powerful army, Wallenstein must decide either to stay loyal to his king and lose his power or to betray his country for greater gain.

Where: Shakespeare Theatre Company, Sidney Harman Hall, 610 F St. NW

When: Thursday through June 2

Info: $43 to $105; 202-547-1122;

2. "Coriolanus": Shakespeare's tale of the mighty hero who earns the name "Coriolanus" for his triumphs. However his inflexible contempt for popular rule causes him to be condemned as a traitor and sent into exile. Desiring revenge against the Romans who banished him, he befriends his blood enemy, Aufidius, to launch an assault on his beloved city.

Where: Shakespeare Theatre Company, Sidney Harman Hall, 610 F St. NW

When: Friday through June 2

Info: $43 to $105; 202-547-1122;

3. "Hello, Dolly!": Based on "The Matchmaker" by Thornton Wilder, "Hello, Dolly!" tells the story of Dolly 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 Theater, 511 10th St. NW

When: Through May 18

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

4. "Passaggio": Michael Patrick Smith's work is set in a small Italian town, where the annual festival of the Madonna lies in the hands of the opera-loving mayor. Hidden loves and faithful passions of the townsfolk intersect and the mayor's belief in the power of song collides with the demands of the people to bring a little wealth back to the town.

Where: George Mason University, Harris Theater, 4400 University Drive, Fairfax

When: Thursday to April 6

Info: $15 to $20; 888-945-2468;

5. "Vanitas": A theatrical cabinet of curiosities. The Queen, the Fool and the Musician wrestle with Three Fates in this new Happenstance Theater adventure about Beauty, Death and Time.

Where: Round House Theater, 8641 Colesville Road, Silver Spring

When: Friday through April 14

Info: $15; 240-644-1100;

Best Family

1. Celebrate Easter: Come enjoy Easter at Tudor Place with an egg hunt, egg roll contest, egg decorating and more.

Where: Tudor Place Historic House and Garden, 1644 31st St. NW

When: 10 a.m. to noon Friday

Info: $5 to $10; 202-965-0400;

2. "From Here to There": This play about building bridges involves puppetry, comedy, live music, poetry, boxes and construction paper. It is a play in which two actors create a make-believe world that binds together their opposite interests.

Where: Imagination Stage, 4908 Auburn Ave., Bethesda

When: Through April 14

Info: $10 to $27; 301-280-1660;

3. Story Time: Flights of Fancy: "The Best Winds" by Laura E. Williams: Museum staff read stories about famous aviators, hot-air balloon flights, trips to Mars, characters visible in the night sky and creatures that have their own wings. Each session includes one story and a hands-on activity.

Where: Gallery 110, Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, 14390 Air and Space Museum Parkway, Chantilly

When: 11 a.m. Friday

Info: Free; 202-633-1000;

4. "Three Little Birds": Three little birds sing their sweet songs to Ziggy, a very shy child who is happy watching the world from the TV in his room.His tricky friend Nansi wants him to get out and enjoy the island of Jamaica. But Ziggy is afraid of hurricanes, mongooses and evil spirits. Their worldly adventure is enlivened by the fantastic songs of renowned reggae artist Bob Marley. For ages 4 and up.

Where: Adventure Theatre MTC, 7300 MacArthur Blvd., Glen Echo

When: Through April 14

Info: $19; 301-634-2270;

5. "The Big Meow": Jane Franklin Dance presents this performance. Little Cat is taunted by neighborhood felines because his meow is just too loud. This makes Little Cat sad because he so wants to fit in, but no one will play with him because of the enormous sound that comes out of his tiny little mouth. The lovable furball ultimately learns to be proud of his big, strong voice.

Where: Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, 641 D St. NW

When: Through April 6

Info: $10 to $15; 202-393-3939;

Best Gatherings

1. Aziz Ansari: The red-hot comedian and "Parks and Recreation" star riffs on marriage, having kids and other facets of adult life as he continues his Buried Alive tour.

Where: DAR Constitution Hall, 1776 D St. NW

When: 7 and 10 p.m. Friday

Info: $33 to $43; 202-628-1776;

2. "Cherry Blast Art + Music Dance Party": This party is a multisensory, multimedia art and music experience in a warehouse overlooking the Anacostia River with beautiful views of the monuments and featuring some of the best in D.C.'s emerging culture scene.

Where: 500 Pennsylvania Ave. NE

When: 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. Friday

Info: $10; 877-442-5666;

3. Joyce Carol Oates: "The Accursed": Set in Princeton, N.J., at the turn of the 20th century, Oates' latest novel combines the historical with the fantastic for a compelling story about power. Home to former President Cleveland, as well as future chief executive Woodrow Wilson, the place is also haunted by shape-shifting creatures that move from nightmares to actual abductions of the town's daughters.

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

When: 7 p.m. Monday

Info: Free; 202-364-1919;

4. Festival Day in Fairfax!: Fairfax County celebrates the National Cherry Blossom Festival at its visitor information center in the Tysons Corner Center. The Fairfax County Visitors Center has everything you need to know about the festival. Pick up programs, schedules and even a free memento.

Where: 1961 Chain Bridge Road, McLean

When: Noon to 3 p.m. Saturday

Info: Free; 877-442-5666;

5. A Tribute to Bob Marley: Jamaican-born artist Junior Marvin performs the music by the reggae legend.

Where: The Hamilton, 600 14th St. NW

When: 8:30 p.m. Saturday

Info: $33 to $38; 202-787-1000;

Best Outdoors

1. "Cherry Blossoms by Land and Sea": A workshop by boat in travel photography and camera use, using the morning sun on the cherry blossoms along Hains Point and Ohio Drive from the Potomac River as a backdrop.

Where: Paddleboat Rental Station, 1501 Maine Ave. SW

When: 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. through April 29

Info: $89 per person, plus $25 for accompanying nonphotographer guest; 877-512-5969; register at

2. Boat Tours Among the Blossoms and Monuments: Cruise along the blossoms and monuments, and enjoy the spectacular beauty as they reflect off the water.

Where: Washington Harbor, 3100 K St. NW

When: 10:25 a.m. to 5:40 p.m. through April 14

Info: $24, $12 for children ages 4-12; 301-765-0750; tickets must be purchased in advance at

3. Glorious Gardens Self-Guided Tour: What better time to experience nature's beauty than during the National Cherry Blossom Festival. Fairfax County is home to several splendid gardens. Just check in at the front desk of each garden and receive your free memento. Included are Meadowlark Gardens and Green Spring Gardens.

Where: Meadowlark Gardens, 9750 Meadowlark Garden Court, Vienna; Green Spring Gardens, 4603 Green Spring Road, Annandale

When: Through April 14; call for hours

Info: Meadowlark, $5, 703-255-3631; Green Spring Gardens, free, 703-642-5173;

4. Geology and Plant Communities Around Long Branch: Have you wondered what's been going on in the parks around Long Branch for the last 500 million years? Get caught up on the not exactly late-breaking, but sometimes earth-shattering news as you hike around the park and get the scoop straight from the rocks. You might be surprised to learn just how busy this area has been in geological terms and how that geological history shapes the plant communities we see here today. For more information, call 703-228-6535.

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

When: 9 a.m. to noon Saturday

Info: $5; registration necessary: 703-228-4747; program No. 632943-E

5. Tidal Basin Paddle Boats: View the Jefferson Memorial and Japanese cherry trees from the water. Enjoy a family outing or take a break from touring and soak up some sun in your very own Tidal Basin paddle boat.

Where: Tidal Basin, 1501 Maine Ave. SW

When: Through April 21

Info: $12 per hour for a two-person boat, $19 per hour for a four-person boat; 202-479-2426;

Best Galleries

1. Albrecht Durer: Master Drawings, Watercolors, and Prints from the Albertina: Perhaps the greatest artist Germany has produced, Albrecht Durer's Olympian craftsmanship is still studied nearly half a century after his death. Vienna, Austria's Albertina Museum has loaned the National Gallery of Art 118 works on paper and 27 engravings and woodcuts from Durer and his confederates, which are presented along with 19 related drawings and prints from the NGA's collection.

Where: National Gallery of Art, Fourth St. and Constitution Ave. NW

When: Through June 9

Info: Free; 202-737-4215;

2. Un Lugar Sin No Reposa/A Place with No Rest: Guatemalan photographer Luis Gonzalez Palma explores the role of body language in human communication in this provocative new series.

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

When: Through May 26

Info: Free; 202-458-6016;

3. Thomas Muller: Nothing Rhymes with Orange: South African-born, Los Angeles-based artist Thomas Muller's third solo show at Project 4 uses ceramic "letterform" sculptures to subvert the formal boundaries of written language.

Where: Project 4 Gallery, 1353 U St. NW, third floor

When: Through April 27

Info: Free; 202-232-4340;

4. Marilee Shapiro: A Collection 100 Years in the Making: Marilee Shapiro began her training as a sculptor in the 1930s and was 89 years old when she took her first course in computer graphics. Her computer paintings reflect her delight in mastering a new tool, as well as the artistic instincts she's honed in more than seven decades as a practitioner.

Where: Gallery Plan B, 1530 14th St. NW

When: Through Sunday

Info: Free; 202-234-2711;

5. Reinventing the Wheel: Japanese Ceramics 1930-2000: Functional and sculptural forms exhibiting the traditional craftsmanship as well as the daring artistic exploration of contemporary Japanese ceramics artists.

Where: Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Jefferson Drive and 12th Street SW

Whem: Through June 13

Info: Free; 202-633-4880;