Enjoy These Activities Before They’re Gone
Most people are out of town this weekend or have family visiting so there isn’t much going on except the ongoing holiday events that will end with the new year. If you are in town and don’t plan on going shopping for those after Christmas bargains, these are all worth checking out.
Metrorail service on the Red, Silver, Blue, Yellow and Green lines will operate on a regular weekend schedule. On Saturday, Orange Line trains will operate 16 minutes, rather than every 12 minutes. Regular Orange Line service on Sunday.
Symphony of Lights
Symphony of Lights is a spectacular display of 70 larger-than-life, animated and stationary light creations. It is a treasured community tradition and a “must-see” during the holiday season. It is the largest annual fundraising event benefitting Howard County General Hospital. Enjoy a 20-30 minute drive through the annual display of holiday light creations, illuminated by a fantasy of color, design and animation.
Through Jan. 4 at Symphony Woods, 10475 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia, Md., from 6-10 p.m. Wednesday through Monday. Admission is $20 per carload at the gate. On New Year’s Eve the display will be open from 5-8 p.m. followed by fireworks at 7 p.m. Admission is $20 for New Year’s Eve including a walk through the lights, party favors and entertainment including a DJ, Zumba dancing and face painting. Food will be available for purchase. Children under 3 are free.
Ice skating in the Sculpture Garden
Experience ice skating in the National Gallery of Art’s Sculpture Garden, surrounded by the grand architecture of national museums and monuments. The ice skating rink, a long-time favorite destination, attracts thousands of visitors to skate in the park-like setting on the National Mall, surrounded by extraordinary sculptures by renowned modern and contemporary artists such as Louise Bourgeois, Alexander Calder, Roy Lichtenstein, Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen. The Pavilion Café offers a panoramic view of the Sculpture Garden and ice rink as well as a variety of food and beverages.
Through Mar. 16 at the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden Ice Rink on the National Mall, Seventh Street and Constitution Ave. NW. from 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday. Closed New Year’s Day. Admission to a 2-hour session is $8 for adults, $7 for seniors over 50, students with school ID and children 12 and under at the door. Skate rental is $3.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.