Holiday Happenings Abound This Weekend
With Hanukkah starting Sunday and Christmas less than three weeks away, there’s plenty of holiday activities in the DMV this weekend from the National Menorah lighting on the Ellipse to holiday markets to concerts. This weekend is also Old Town’s annual Scottish Walk Parade and the Parade of Lights from Alexandria to D.C.’s southwest waterfront.
This weekend, Metro’s Yellow and Green lines will operate on regular weekend schedules, although Yellow Line trains will run only between Huntington and Mount Vernon Square only. Red Line trains will operate every 18 minutes. Orange, Silver and Blue Line trains will run every 20 minutes.
Parade of Lights
Head down to either side of the Potomac River for the 24th annual Parade of Lights as 60 boats decorated with lights sail from Waterfront Park in Old Town to the The Wharf in Southwest D.C. The parade kicks off at the docks of Old Town’s Waterfront Park at 5:30 p.m., the boats will sail across the Potomac at 6 p.m., the parade begins in the Washington Channel at 7 p.m. and concludes at the The Wharf in the District’s Southwest Water front at 8 p.m. There are activities on land at the Alexandria waterfront from 5-6 5 p.m. including entertainment, live holiday music and photos with Santa, and at the D.C. waterfront from 6-7 p.m. including gingerbread cookie decorating, crafting miniature parade boats, lighting of the Christmas tree, live holiday music, a s’mores bonfire, hot chocolate, and photos with Santa.
Dec. 5 from 5-8 p.m. at the Southwest Waterfront, 600 Water St. SW. Admissions is FREE!
Czech Christmas Market
The Czech Christmas Market at the Embassy of the Czech Republic will feature beautiful hand-blown glass ornaments, exquisite handcrafted glass, delicious Christmas cookies and mulled wine. Featured companies include Glassor, a maker glass ornaments that goes back to the 13th century, Topic Crystal Art, a distributor of fine Bohemian crystal imported from the Czech Republic, and Bistro Bohem, a D.C. restaurant.
Dec. 5 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Embassy of the Czech Republic, 3900 Spring of Freedom St. NW. Admission is FREE!
Dollar Days at the National Aquarium
This weekend, the National Aquarium in Baltimore is having Dollar Days when admission to the aquarium is just $1. Dollar Days tickets must be purchased on-site at the ticket window the day of admission. Tickets are not sold in advance or online.
Dec. 5 and 6 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at the National Aquarium, 501 E. Pratt St., Baltimore. Admission is $1 at the door.
WPA Holiday Pop-Up Shop
The WPA Holiday Pop-Up Shop at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden will feature unique items – jewelry, prints, clothing and accessories and more – from more than 20 DMV artists, many of whom will be there to talk about their work with shoppers. On Sunday, the National Symphony Orchestra will perform at 4 p.m.
Dec. 5 and 6 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, 700 Independence Ave. SW. Admission is FREE!
Smithsonian Holiday Festival
All 10 of the Smithsonian museums on the Mall are getting into the spirit with the two-day Smithsonian Holiday Festival. Among the smorgasbord of activities are: Italian bagpipers at the American Art Museum (see below), biplane-ornament making at the National Air and Space Museum, a U.S. Air Force Singing Sergeants performance at the American History Museum, trunk shows and book signings.
Dec. 5 and 6 from 10:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. at the Smithsonian Museums on the National Mall. Admission is FREE!
Italian Family Festival
Learn about Italian culture and holiday traditions at the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s holiday Italian Family Festival. Traditional bagpipers and the Flusso Dance Project perform, the Capital Hearings provide seasonal music and the Italian Fairy will make a special appearance. Sponsored by the Embassy of Italy and the Italian Cultural Institute, the daylong events includes crafts, face-painting and special offerings in the Kogod Courtyard’s café.
Dec. 5 from 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Eighth and F Streets NW. Admission is FREE!
Scottish Walk Parade
Enjoy marching units of Scottish Clans, the stirring sound of Scottish bagpipes and drums, Scottish dancers, Scottie dogs, classic cars, Santa Claus and more at the 45th annual Campagna Center Scottish Walk Parade in Old Town Alexandria. A massed band concert by bagpipers follows at 1 p.m. at Market Square
Dec. 5 starting at 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at Wolfe and St. Asaph Streets to Market Square at City Hall in Old Town Alexandria. Admission is FREE!
Sing, celebrate and give back at the Holiday Sing-A-Long at Wolf Trap’s Filene Center. The highlight of the show is a performance by the U.S. Marine Band, along with singalongs of Christmas carols and Hanukkah songs with choirs from the DMV. You’re also encouraged to bring a candle for singing Silent Night and a bell for singing Jingle Bells.
Dec. 5 from 4-6 p.m. at Wolf Trap’s Filene Center, . Admission is FREE, but guests are encouraged to take an unwrapped to donate to Toys for Tots.
21st Century Consort
For a holiday program of a different stripe, check out a local ensemble that consistently presents some of the most inventive and entertaining programming in the DMV. This year, the 21st Century Consort brings back Jon Deak’s The Passion of Scrooge or A Christmas Carol featuring baritone William Sharp and, as a counterweight, Paul Shoenfield’s Improvisations on Hassidic Melodies.
Dec. 5 at 5 p.m. at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, McEvoy Auditorium, Eighth and F Streets NW. Admission is FREE!
Logan Circle Holiday House Tour
Check out the traditional and contemporary houses of Logan Circle decorated for Christmas at the 37th annual Logan Circle Holiday House Tour. There will be a wassail party at Studio Theatre and a variety of musicians and singers at many of the homes and carolers roaming the neighborhood. Proceeds go to the Logan Circle Community Association.
Dec. 6 from 1-5 p.m. in the Logan Circle Neighborhood at the intersection of 13th and P Streets and Vermont and Rhode Island Avenues. Tickets are $30 in http://www.eventbrite.com/e/logan-circle-holiday-house-tour-2015-tickets-18871718819?aff=eivtefrnd advance or $35 at the door. Ticket and program pickup is at Studio Theatre, 1501 14th St. NW or Old City Farm and Guild, 925 Rhode Island Ave. NW.
Light and Love Hanukkah Celebration
The Light and Love Hanukkah Celebration at Cathedral Commons mixed-use development will feature community performances, festive crafts, kids activities and kosher food and drink from the Kosher Pantry. The Jewish Tradition will perform festival stories and songs from 1-2 p.m.
Dec. 6 from 1-3 p.m. at Cathedral Commons, 3700 Newark Ave. NW near Giant Foods. Admission is FREE!
National Menorah lighting
The First Family lit the national Christmas tree. Now it is time to light the world’s largest menorah, the National Hanukkah Menorah on the Ellipse, featuring a performance by the U.S. Marine Band, hot latkes and doughnuts and more. There will be free menorah kits and dreidels.
Dce. 6 at 4 p.m. on the Ellipse, 1600 Constitution Ave. NW. Admission is FREE, but tickets are required.
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.