Happy Thursday! Looking for ideas for things to do this weekend that won’t cost you a lot? Enjoy this list of highlights for free and low cost events from my site Free in DC.

Along the U Street Corridor, you can rock out on the mic at Solly’s with a live band backing you up at DC Idol Live Band Karaoke—where I’ll be one of the guest judges—from 8:30 to 11:30 p.m. This is a 21+ event and there is a $5 cover. Need inspiration? Check out this list of over 100 songs you can choose from in advance.

Also on U Street, those 21+ can stop by the Velvet Lounge from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. for the monthly Audio Welfare Alliance Dance Party, hosted by Ozker and DJ Audiotroph, who will be spinning funk, disco, and more throughout the night.

It’s the monthly “Sounds of Hope” Open Mic Night at the Potters House in Adams Morgan, hosted by musician Mary Shapiro. All ages and all styles of performance are welcome. Doors open at 7 and the mic goes til 10 p.m. All donations support the Potter’s House Sopa A Las Dos (soup at 2:00) program.

The District’s own Djesben performs jazz, bebop and bossa nova at BloomBars in Columbia Heights from 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. This event is by donation; $10 is suggested, but no one will be turned away due to lack of funds.

Saturdays are family-friendly ARTDays at the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop, and this week the center be offering a free Eco-Art Jewlery Workshop
where you can learn to use plastic containers, credit and gift cards, and other plastic “trash” to make fabulous jewelry. There will be two classes, one at 10 a.m. and another at 11 a.m.  This event is co-sponsored by SCRAP, a nonprofit that promotes creative reuse and environmentally sustainable behavior. Space is limited, so call  (202) 547-6839 to reserve your spot.

Enjoy a free coffee tasting and learn more about what goes into making a great cup of coffee at 11 a.m., followed by a talk and yogurt tasting with Trickling Springs Creamery at 1 p.m. at the official grand opening celebration of Yola, D.C.’s only non-frozen yogurt parfait bar, located just south of Dupont Circle at 1323 Connecticut Ave.

Later in the day you can swing by Biagio Fine Chocolate—located between Dupont Circle and Adams Morgan at 1904 18th St.—from 3 to 6 p.m. for their February Sample Day, featuring complimentary samples of  more than 15 chocolates, including a 68% dark chocolate from Peru, dark mint chocolate, and milk rosemary-orange chocolate.

It’s the opening reception for Juan Tejedor‘s “Standing Atop the Ladder” at Flashpoint Gallery, located in Chinatown at 916 G St. NW from 6 to 8 p.m.  In this show—his first solo exhibition in D.C.—Tejador presents a variety of media including sculpture and works on paper, and examines various natural and man-made systems—including public transit routes, star systems, and bird migratory patterns—to investigate the very nature of structure and organization. The show will be on view through March 26.

It’s opening day of the new high-tech meets ancient-relics exhibit “Echoes of the Past: The Buddhist Cave Temples of Xiangtangshan,” on view through July 31 at the Sackler Gallery, 1050 Independence Ave. SW. This unique exhibit combines modern technology—including touch screens and a 3-D video recreation of a Buddhist devotional cave temple—to explore majestic 6th-century Chinese Buddhist sculpture from the Northern Qi dynasty.

It’s the opening day of the National Gallery of Art’s new show “Gauguin: Maker of Myth,” and to celebrate, Mary Morton, curator and head of the department of French paintings at the NGA, and Belinda Thomson, guest curator, will give an introductory lecture, followed by a book signing of Gauguin: Maker of Myth at 2 p.m. at the Concourse level Auditorium, East Building, located at 401 Constitution Ave. NW.

Join Split this Rock founder and poet at 4 p.m. Sarah Browning for the “Split this Rock” Poetry Showcase featuring poets Jonathan B. Tucker, Samuel Miranda, and Sonya Renee Taylor. The reading—which has a $5 cover—speaks to the power of poetry in our public life and as a way to give voice to the voiceless. It’s part of the Intersections Festival, which begins Friday at the Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE.

Amy Melrose is the creator of Free in DC, an arts, culture, and consciousness
blog highlighting free and low-cost events that are all Metro accessible in the D.C. area. You can also follow Free in DC on Twitter and Facebook.