The Countdown to Christmas Is On
There’s only two weeks left until Christmas. You still have to trim the tree, hang the stockings, finish shopping, wrap the presents and bake the cookies. But there’s plenty happening in the DMV this weekend when you’re ready for a break.
Red, Orange and Yellow line trains will operate on a regular weekend schedule. Green Line trains will run on a regular weekend schedule between College Park and Branch Avenue stations. Buses will replace trains between Greenbelt and College Park. Blue Line trains will operate normally between Franconia-Springfield and Stadium-Armory, and Silver Line trains will operate normally between Wiehle-Reston East and Stadium-Armory. At Largo Town Center, Morgan Boulevard, Addison Road, Capitol Heights and Benning Road Blue and Silver line trains will arrive and depart about every 20 minutes.
2014 National Christmas Tree
The 2014 National Christmas Tree was lit Dec. 4, but if you weren’t lucky enough to snag a ticket, now is a perfect time to visit without the crowds. This year’s design includes approximately 180 green and red LED net lights, 180 green and clear twinkle LED string sets and about 300 snowflake ornaments. The Pathway of Peace around the tree features 56 unique Christmas trees to represent each U.S. state, U.S. territory and the District of Columbia. The National Christmas Tree Music Program brings in a wide variety of talent to celebrate the season from Dec. 10-22. Performances on Tuesday through Friday from 5-8:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday from 1-8:30 p.m, plus Monday, December 22 from 5-8:30 p.m.
Nightly through Jan. 1 from dusk to 10 p.m. at the Ellipse in front of the White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Admission is FREE!
ICE!, the life-sized ice show is back at Gaylord National Resort, this year featuring Frosty the Snowman, everyone’s favorite snowman. Carved from over 2 million pounds of colorful ice, enjoy larger than life scenes from the classic tale, slide down two-story high ice slides and watch artisans in action at the new Frostbite Factory, an interactive live carving area. As part of Christmas on the Potomac, the Gaylord atrium is also transformed into a winter wonderland with a free nightly indoor snowfall at 6, 7, 8 and 9 p.m., more than 2 million lights that illuminate the glass atrium and outdoor garden areas, the free fountain show with the water and lights “dancing” to the music of the Christmas story at 7 and 9 p.m. and classical Christmas carols at 6 and 8 p.m. There is also a 60-foot-tall Christmas tree made of synthetic “candy” glass suspended from the center of the atrium.
Through Jan. 4 at Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, 201 Waterfront St., Oxen Hill in National Harbor. Adult tickets range from $21-$34 and children’s tickets range for children 3-11 range from $14-$28 depending on dates. Tickets and the schedule are available here.
ZooLights decks the National Zoo out in environmentally friendly LED lights for the holidays. More than 500,000 lights will be used on everything from light-up elephants to twinkling floral displays. There will also be live performances from local artists, plenty of food and gift-worthy goods for sale.
Through Jan. 1 from 5-9 p.m. at the National Zoo, 3001 Connecticut Ave. NW. Admission is FREE!
Winter Lights Festival
The City of Gaithersburg’s Winter Lights Festival is welcoming visitors for its 19th season. The 3.5 mile drive through Seneca Creek State Park takes you past more than 365 illuminated displays and 65 animated vignettes that light up the night. Themed areas include Winter Woods, Teddy Bear Land, Victorian Village, the North Pole, and more. Proceeds from the festival benefit local charities.
Through Dec. 31 from 6-9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 6-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Seneca Creek State Park, 11950 Clopper Road, Gaithersburg. Admission is $12 per car Monday-Thursday and $15 per car Friday and Saturday.
Downtown Holiday Market
The 10th annual Downtown Holiday Market, produced by the Downtown D.C. Business Improvement District, features outdoor shopping, music, entertainment and more in Downtown D.C. At this year’s outdoor marketplace, located on F Street between 7th & 9th Streets NW, shoppers will find more than 150 exhibitors and artisans offering a diverse array of quality items including fine art, crafts, glass, jewelry, pottery, photography and clothing. The market’s festive atmosphere will be complemented by decorative accents and lighting, tasty treats, hot beverages and live musical entertainment.
Through Dec. 23 from noon-8 p.m. daily on F Street NW between Seventh and Ninth Streets. Admission is FREE!
Georgetown Glow is the region’s only curated outdoor exhibition of modern light art installations from seven local, regional and international artists chosen from 26 applicants set against the historic backdrop of D.C.’s old neighborhood. The weekend includes in-store promotions including free hot chocolate, gift wrapping and special sales and events. There is also a self-guided tour of uniquely decorated merchant windows for the third annual holiday window competition. Enjoy strolling carolers and live 30-minute outdoor musical performances each evening at 6:30 p.m. at Grace Church, 1041 Wisconsin Ave. NW.
Dec. 12-14 from 6-10 p.m. nightly throughout Georgetown. Admission is FREE!
Totally Bazaar Holiday Gift Market
Just because you slept through Black Friday doesn’t mean you need to resort to sending e-cards this holiday season. Come out and shop local at Yelp’s Totally Bazaar Holiday Gift Market and shop handpicked gifts primed for giving. Top-rated retailers, local artisans, crafty chics and style mavens will set up pop-up shops to sell their swanky wares. Whether your budget is $5 or $500, you are sure to find something ultra local, extra special and yes, über yelpy! Heck, you can even purchase a freshly cut Christmas tree the farmer’s lot. There will also be complimentary treats, a DIY s’mores bar, ice sculpture demonstrations, carolers, visits from Yelper the Red Nosed Reindeer, holiday tag making station, massages and a photobooth.
Dec. 13 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at Monroe Street Market, 716 Monroe St. NE. Admission is FREE!
More than 20 Nationals players and team personnel are expected to attend NatsFest, a fun-filled baseball festival including Bryce Harper, Jason Werth and Ryan Zimmerman. Manager Matt Williams, Nationals’ president of baseball operations and general manager Mike Rizzo as well as team broadcasters Bob Carpenter, F.P. Santangelo, Charlie Slowes and Dave Jageler are also expected to attend. There will be question and answer sessions with players, mascot and player photo stations, batting cages, face painting, caricatures and more.
Dec. 13 from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, 801 Mt. Vernon Place NW. Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for children 12 and under in advance or $25 for adults and $15 for children at the door.
Italian holiday family festival
Buon Natale! Join the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Embassy of Italy and the Italian Cultural Institute for seasonal fun inspired by Italian holiday traditions at the Italian holiday family festival. There will be crafts, performances by The Washington Ballet, OperaPop, a visit from The Italian Fairy, stilt walkers and more.
Dec. 13 from 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Kogod Courtyard, 8th & G Streets NW in Chinatown. Admission is FREE!
Rockin’ the Holiday
The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington brings their Christmas show Rockin’ the Holidays to U Street this year. Expect traditional and nontraditional takes on seasonal classics. The show features 220 singers performing signature holiday classics and new arrangements of seasonal favorites. Songs include Little Drummer Boy, Silent Night, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas and Christmas (Baby Please Come Home). The concert will also include dancers, costumes, soloists and an appearance by Santa Claus.
Dec. 13 at 3 and 8 p.m., and Dec. 14 at 3 p.m. at the Lincoln Theatre, 1215 U St. NW. Tickets are $25-$59.
Christmas movie festival
Take a break from shopping and decorating for a Christmas movie festival. Spend Sunday at the Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse, where you’ll see six Christmas favorites for eight bucks. A ticket entitles you to wander in and out of the theater at will, but why would you want to leave when they’ll bring the beer and food right to you? The films and TV specials in the lineup are National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation at 7:20 p.m., Scrooged at 5:15 p.m., How the Grinch Stole Christmas at noon and 2:30 p.m., A Charlie Brown Christmas at 12:30 and 4:30 p.m., Elf at 1 p.m. and A Christmas Story at 3 p.m. Children under 21 must be accompanied by a parent.
Dec. 14 starting at noon at Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse, 2901 Columbia Pike, Arlington. Admission is $8.
Editor-in-Chief Mark Heckathorn is a journalist, movie buff and foodie. He oversees DC on Heels editorial operations as well as strategic planning and staff development. Reach him with story ideas or suggestions at dcoheditor (at) gmail (dot) com.