Best Ways to Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month in D.C.

September 29, 2014 8:00 AM

(credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Latin American culture adds richness and zest to every facet of our lives. From its contributions to science, to flavorful foods, to language, art and sultry dance, our lives are forever enhanced. Hispanic Heritage Month is a time to celebrate this vibrant culture and all that it has to offer. Here are some of the best ways to do just that.

AFI Latin American Film Festival

AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center
8633 Colesville Road
Silver Spring, MD 20910
(301) 495-6700

Dates: Through Oct. 8, 2014; various showtimes

Celebrate Latin American culture and contributions in film. During the course of the AFI Latin American Film Festival, the very best filmmaking from Latin America is highlighted in a series of 40 films that represent 20 different Latin countries. The festival opens with film director Alberto Arvelo’s “The Liberator,” which recounted the story of military and political leader Simon Bolivar who fought in more than 100 battles against the Spanish Empire in South America. The festival will close with “10,000 KM,” a contemporary romance directed by Carlos Marques-Marcet, which explores how two lovers cope with the challenges of a long-distance relationship. This year marks the festival’s 25th anniversary.

Related: Best Places For Film Geeks And Film Buffs In DC

Fiesta! Los Quetzales Mexican Dance Ensemble
National Museum of Natural History
Baird Auditorium
10th St. and Constitution Ave. N.W.
Washington, DC 20560
(202) 633-8700

Date: Oct. 8, 2014

Music and dance always make everything better. Bright bold colors, upbeat energetic music and fun Mexican dancers will keep the kids riveted to this spirited performance by Los Quetzales Mexican Dance Ensemble. Founded in 1997 in Arlington, Virginia, Los Quetzales is a dance company whose mission is to preserve and promote Mexican folkloric traditions and culture through dance, music and art. They accomplish just that in this lively performance. As stated on the dance ensemble’s website: “These dances, diverse and unique from state to state, are the window to a peoples’ soul; they’re a vivid expression and heart of a culture.”

Encuentro de Poetas Salvadoreños: An Evening of Spoken Word & Performance
National Museum of the American Indian
Rasmuson Theater
4th St. and Independence Ave. S.W.
Washington, DC 20560
(202) 633-0925

Date: Oct. 2, 2014

If you enjoy spoken word performances, this just might be the perfect event for you. Come hear new and old works from Salvadoran poets hailing from the east and west coasts of the U.S. The dynamic and creative Quique Aviles, Leticia Hernandez-Linares, Raquel Gutierrez and Jose B. Gonzalez will perform their works for your listening and viewing pleasure in this free live webcast event, which is first come, first seated. Afterwards there will be a book signing, and attendees will be able to greet the performers.

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LAYC Hispanic Heritage Celebration

Latin American Youth Center
1419 Columbia Road N.W.
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 319-0443

Date: Oct. 1, 2014

The Hispanic Heritage Celebration at the Latin American Youth Center (LAYC) recognizes the myriad of accomplishments by Americans of Latin descent. For the past 45 years, LAYC has catered to underserved and homeless youth, as well as low-income teen parents, in its mission to help youth of diverse backgrounds successfully transition to adulthood. That objective is accomplished through bilingual enrichment, prevention and intervention programs in areas like education, housing and the arts.

Kevin Don Porter is the author of OVER THE EDGE and MISSING—two mysteries available on Visit his website at