‘Twas the Weekend Before Christmas
‘Twas the weekend before Christmas and all over town, residents were in the final countdown. With less than a week before Christmas, most people will be in the stores and malls trying to find those last special gifts, But there are still a few things going on this weekend in the DMV. Many of the holiday happenings are winding down, so you better see them before it’s too late.
Finally, some relatively good news from Metro: only the Red Line will see any weekend work. Red Line trains will run every 15 minutes. The Orange, Silver, Blue, Yellow and Green Line trains will all operate on normal weekend schedules.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Han Solo, Princess Leia, Chewbacca, C-3PO and R2-D2 are all return to the big screen this weekend as Star Wars: The Force Awakens hit theaters Thursday night. It is the eagerly awaited seventh film in the Star Wars franchise.
Dec. 18-20 at various times in several movie theaters across the DMV. Check online for times and locations.
For Season’s Greenings, the U.S. Botanic Garden goes green and red for the holidays, decorating trees, filling the space with seasonal poinsettias, setting up the train display and creating iconic D.C. landmarks from plants. The big greenhouse also works as a good place to warm up if you’re out and about on the Mall. The conservatory will stay open late on select Tuesdays and Thursday for holiday music programs.
Through Jan. 3 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily at the U.S. Botanic Garden, 100 Maryland Ave. SW. Admission is FREE!
AFI Silver Holiday Classics
AFI Silver’s Holiday Classics series continues through the weekend, showing It’s a Wonderful Life at 12:30 p.m. Friday and Sunday; The Muppet Christmas Carol at 3:15 p.m. Friday and 11:10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday; and Quai Des Orfevres, director Henri-Georges Clouzot’s 1947 Christmas crime drama at 11:30 a.m Sunday.
Dec. 18-20 at various times at the AFI Silver, 8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children younger than 12.
Downtown Holiday Market
It’s the last week to get unique gifts at the 11th annual Downtown Holiday Market in Penn Quarter outside the National Portrait Gallery. Shoppers will find more than 150 exhibitors and artisans at this year’s outdoor marketplace selling items such as fine art, crafts, glass, jewelry, pottery, photography and clothing. In addition to gifts, shoppers will find tasty treats, hot beverages and live musical entertainment at this year’s market.
Through Dec. 23 from noon-8 p.m. daily on F Street between Seventh and Ninth Streets NW. Admission is FREE!
Walking through the illuminated paths created for ZooLights at the National Zoo is a holiday tradition in Washington. More than 500,000 environmentally-friendly LED lights transform the zoo into a winter wonderland. This year, the experience gets a few new touches: a light show set to music and a chance to ride the Conservation Carousel for $3. There’s also the Zoo-Imagination Station with trains, trains and more trains that journey through a land of Legos and an alphabet country side, zoo tubing on lion/tiger hill for $3 and $3 tours through the zoo on the National Zoo Choo-Choo. There will be live music performances and tasty winter treats.
Daily through Jan 2 except Dec. 24, 25 and 31 from 5-9 p.m. at the National Zoo, 3001 Connecticut Ave. NW. Admission is FREE!
Garden of Lights
Garden of Lights, a winter garden walk-through light display returns to Montgomery County for its 18th season with more than 1 million colorful lights shaped into hand-crafted, original art forms of flowers, animals and other natural elements. Stroll from garden to garden enjoying twinkling tree forms, fountains, sparkling snowflakes overhead and more. Step inside the conservatory to enjoy G-Scale model trains wind through a seasonal landscape. Afterward, warm up inside the visitors’ center while you sip hot cocoa and listen to one of the nightly musical performances.
Through Jan. 3 except Dec. 24 and 25 from 5:30-9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 5:30-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Brookside Gardens, 1800 Glenallen Ave., Wheaton. Admission is $25 per car/van Monday through Thursday and $30 Friday through Sunday. Cash only. The conservatory winter display and garden railway exhibit are open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily free of charge.
Five artists, including locals Kelly Towles and Hiroshi Jacobs, will give light to Georgetown Glow, a public art installation on the C&O Canal. This year’s exhibition encourages contemplation of, and interaction with, the natural environment. The historic C&O Canal, reminiscent of Georgetown’s founding as a port town just steps from bustling M Street serves as the primary location for the works. The event, which expands to 10 days this year, will feature outdoor music performances on Saturday and Sunday at 6:30 p.m. at Grace Church. And you can meet the Glow artists Saturday at Hickok Cole Architects at 5 p.m.
Through Dec. 20 from 6-10 p.m. along the C&O Canal in Georgetown. Admission is FREE!
Ugly Sweater Christmas Party
If you’re looking for an opportunity to show off that garish sweater, head to Heritage Brewing Co.’s Ugly Sweater Christmas Party. Try the new Peppermint Stout and gorge yourself on Christmas cookies from Georgetown’s Dog Tag Bakery. There will be prizes for the ugliest Christmas sweater and if you take an unwrapped to for underprivileged children, you will get your first pint for $1.
Dec. 19 from 5-10 p.m. at Heritage Brewing Co., 9436 Center Point Lane,Manassas. Admission is FREE with beers priced individually.
A Charlie Brown Christmas
Jazz composer and pianist Eric Mintel will lead his quartet and the Central Bucks West High School Choir from Doylestown, Pa., in a tribute to the classic TV special A Charlie Brown Christmas, which turns 50 this year. Expect selections from the special, originals and, of course, Linus and Lucy.
Dec. 20 at 3:30 p.m. at the National Gallery of Art, Fourth Street and Constitution Avenue NW. Admission is FREE!
The city’s best record shops, crafters and many more are coming together to make for a one-of-a-kind shopping experience at Rock-N-Shop. While you browse through a selection of records, crafts, T-shirts and more, Daisy Lacy will helm the DJ booth. If you’re still hunting for a gift for that special someone, this is the perfect place to look.
Dec. 20 starting at 7:30 p.m. at the Black Cat, 1811 14th St. NW. Admission is FREE!
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.