Aug 17, 2023 - Things to Do

National Gallery Nights return this fall with lottery system

Dancing at National Gallery Nights in the museum.

Party night at the museum. Photo: Amanda Andrade-Rhoades/The Washington Post/Getty Images

National Gallery Nights return next month with new outdoor fun and creative themes.

Why it matters: The museum's free after-hours event series is one of D.C.'s most popular — and a rare place you'll catch college kids partying alongside retirees.

What's happening: Themed nights return to the East Building on second Thursdays each month (Sept. 14, Oct. 12, and Nov. 9) with music, live performances, art, and pop-up discussions.

What's new: The museum is bringing the party outdoors into the 4th Street Plaza.

  • Beer, wine, specialty cocktails, gelato, and a light food menu will be available for purchase outdoors as well as throughout the East Building.

Mark your calendars: Like so many popular D.C. events, NGN is using a lottery system for indoor activities only (outdoor is open to all).

How it works: Lotteries will occur the week before each event, opening on Mondays and closing Thursdays at noon. So set your alarms for noon on September 4 now!

  • All entrants will be notified of their status, tickets or not, on the previous Friday. A limited number of first-come passes will be available at the door starting at 5:30pm (we're guessing there'll be lines on top of lines here).
  • All passes are free, though registration is required for the indoor activities.

What's next: Fun themes!

ğŸŽ‰ Block Party (Sept. 14): The museum celebrates the 50th anniversary of hip-hop with beatboxing and street dances, performances by the Ladies of Hip Hop Dance Collective, and DJs for the night's dance party.

👻 Nightmare at the Museum (Oct. 12): Halloween, but make it artsy. Go for an outdoor screening of the O.G. "Ghostbusters" movie with a live remixed soundtrack from DJ 2-Tone. A Monster Mash goes down indoors with costumes, a DIY mask station, and face painting.

ğŸŽ¨ Indigenous Features (Nov. 9): The party complements the museum's exhibition, "The Land Carries our Ancestors: Contemporary Art by Native Americans." A Native activist, musician, and visual artist will perform electro-soul, and there'll be pop-up gallery talks and art-making inspired by the environment.

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