Six Things to Do Christmas Weekend
Merry Christmas! Although most people will be celebrating with lots of presents and food this weekend, there are still a few things going on. If you are looking for something to do after the presents are all opened and the turkey is put away, Christmas is a good day to see a movie with short lines and plenty of room in theaters. You can also visit ICE! over at National Harbor or the holiday display at the U.S. Botanic Garden. And in the evening, head to the Kennedy Center for some jazzy Christmas music. Then on Saturday and Sunday when you get tired of returning gifts or hunting for bargains, visit ZooLights at the National Zoo or the Garden of Lights at Brookside Gardens before they go dark next weekend.
Metro is giving riders a Christmas present by not scheduling any track work with weekend. All lines will operate on regular weekend schedules. On Christmas Day, trains and buses will operate on a Sunday schedule with the trains running from 7 a.m.-3 p.m, off-peak fares and free parking. And on New Year’s Eve, Metrorail will remain open until 3 a.m. with regular weekday service and regular fare and parking rates until midnight. There will be FREE rail and bus serving from midnight until the end of service sponsored by Miller Lite so you can go out and ring in the New Year without worrying about driving home after drinking.
The Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center goes all in for “Christmas on the Potomac,” best exemplified by Ice!, the 2 million pounds of colorful sculpted ice. The theme for this year’s display is the stop-animation cartoon Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town, which first aired 45 years ago and tells the story of how Kris Kringle became gift-giving Santa Claus. The display is made with 2 million tons of colored ice. Enjoy the lights, sights and other holiday activities, bundle up — the temperature rests at a snowman-friendly 9 degrees — and hit one of the five ice slides throughout the installation.
Dec. 25 from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. then daily through Jan. 3 from10 a.m.-9 p.m. at Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, 201 Waterfront St. in National Harbor. Tickets cost $28-$35 for adults, $20-$28 for children ages 3 to 11 and free for children 2 and younger.
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.
Daily through Jan. 3 including Christmas Day from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily at the U.S. Botanic Garden, 100 Maryland Ave. SW. Admission is FREE!
All-Star Christmas Day Jazz Jam
As Christmas winds down, skip the long winter’s nap for the All-Star Christmas Day Jazz Jam. The Christmas traditions features host and vibraphonis Chuck Redd, drummer Lenny Robinson, trumpeter Tom Williams, bassist James King and singer Delores Williams performing jazz renditions of holiday favorites.
Dec. 25 starting at 6 p.m.at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage, 2700 F St. 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.
Cellist Sean Grissom returns to the Kennedy Center with Holiday Vaudeville to host a variety show that melds holiday music, comedy and more. Grissom will play his brand of Cajun music, magician Mark Mitton will perform tricks and local klezmer quartet The Alexandria Kleztet will mix old and new styles.
Dec. 27 and 28 starting at 6 p.m.at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage, 2700 F 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.