Holiday Happenings Abound This Weekend
It’s December, and holiday events are in full swing in the DMV. This weekend there’s plenty of holiday happenings indoors and out – from shopping to lights to concerts.
SafeTrack Surge 11 continues with single tracking between East Falls Chuch and West Falls Church stations with Orange, Blue and Silver Line trains running every 24 minutes. Red Line trains will single track between the Van Ness-UDC and Medical Center stations with trains operating between Shady Grove and Glenmont every 30 minutes and between Farragut North and Glenmont every 15 minutes. Green and Yellow Line trains will run on normal weekend schedules.
This stroll through D.C.’s most historic neighborhood will make you light up as you pass by unique, outdoor public light art installations. Georgetown Glow has proven to be such a hit that it is now a month-long celebration that kicks off this Friday. A group of artists, from locally renowned to internationally celebrated, will display works in outdoor spaces throughout Georgetown. This year’s display, which features eight exhibits, up from five last year, encourages contemplation of, and interaction with, the natural environment. Each work has an element of interactivity allowing the viewer to walk in, on and around the piece, while others ask the viewer to become part of the artwork. Afterwards, wander through a winter wonderland at The Washington Harbour, one of our favorite places to ice skate in the District.
Dec. 2 through Jan. 1 from 6-10 p.m. nightly in along the waterfront, around the C&O Canal and up Wisconsin Avenue in Georgetown. Admission is FREE!
The annual Seasons Greenings holiday show at the United States Botanic Garden includes a collection of area landmarks made entirely from plant materials, including the U.S. Capitol Building, the Washington Monument and more. New for 2016: Inspired by the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, a model train will tour a landscape of iconic American places (Old Faithful, the Grand Canyon, the Gateway Arch, the Statue of Liberty, etc.) also crafted from plants. Seasons Greenings will also showcase a large indoor tree sporting ornaments from national parks. There are thousands of blooms on display from exotic orchids to a showcase of heirloom and newly developed poinsettia varieties. On select Tuesday and Thursday evenings in December, the Conservatory will stay open until 8 p.m. to hose live seasonal music.
Through Jan. 2 from 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. at United States Botanic Garden, 100 Maryland Ave. SW. Admission is FREE!
Downtown Holiday Market
The Downtown Holiday Market is centrally located at Eighth and F Streets NW, in front of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait allery. Scope out eclectic wares from dozens of pop-up tents with seasonally flavored music performed live in the background. The holiday bazaar features more than 150 exhibitors throughout its fun. You will find everything from funky t-shirts and area photography to handmade jewelry and soaps. At night, its bright lights bring Penn Quarter to life, providing a holiday spark to the neighborhood. Locally roasted coffee and crafted-before-your eyes mini-doughnuts inspire a cold-weather appetite, creating a holiday atmosphere you won’t find anywhere else in the DMV.
Through Dec. 23 from noon-8 p.m. daily at Eighth and F Streets NW outside the National Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Admission is FREE!
National Christmas Tree
The National Christmas Tree was lit on Thursday for the last time by President Barack Obama. The lighting ceremony kicked off one of the city’s time-honored traditions with a star-studded performance. Visiting the tree is free throughout the season, and musical performances are held there nightly. The Pathway of Peace surrounding the tree features 57 state and territory trees decorated with handmade ornaments that are unique to each tree.
Nightly through Jan. from 4:30-10 p.m. on the White House Ellipse, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Admission is FREE!
ZooLights decks the National Zoo out in more than 500,000 environmentally friendly LED lights that transform the zoo into a winter wonderland complete with a dazzling light show set to music. Take a break and thaw your paws in the animal exhibit buildings and see the nocturnal critters in the Small Mammal House, Reptile Discovery Center and Think Tank. The Zoo Choo-Choo takes visitors on a merry tour through the zoo on a trackless train around the Great Cats exhibit and features views of the light displays. There is also snow-less tubing on 150-foot long tracks and the solar-powered carousel will be giving rides. Ride tickets are $3 each at the zoo or $20 for eight tickets.
Nightly through Jan. 1 except Dec. 24 and 25 from 5-9 p.m. at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, 3001 Connecticut Ave. NW. Admission is FREE!
Heurich House Museum’s famed Castle Garden hosts its Christkindlmarkt this weekend. Shop the arts and crafts-laden market that features an array of goods from more than 40 vendors from the DMV. You will also be able to go inside the historic mansion, which will be decorated for the holiday season.
Dec. 2 from 4-9 p.m. and Dec. 3 and 4 from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. at Heurich House Museum, 1307 New Hampshire Ave. NW. Admission is $10 for adults and $2 for children at the door.
The Washington Ballet pulls out all the stops for this classic Christmas tale of The Nutcrakcer that features a D.C. twist. The Russian ballet goes local thanks to a Nutcracker Prince in the likeness of George Washington and cherry blossom set designs. Set in historical Georgetown, you will be dazzled by an impressive roster of dancers and the beautiful Tchaikovsky score.
Through Dec. 24 at 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 2 p.m. Saturday, and 1 and 5:30 p.m. Sunday at the Warner Theatre, 513 13th St. NW. Tickets are $25-$140.
With the calendar’s turn to December comes a wealth of holiday revelry in the District, including this annual performance of Handel’s classic oratorio Messiah by the Washington National Cathedral Choir and its resident Baroque orchestra. The story of Christianity is told through beautiful music, true to Handel’s original style, inside the Cathedral’s elegant environs.
Dec. 2 at 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 3 and 4 at 4 p.m. at Washington National Cathedral, 3101 Wisconsin Ave. NW. Tickets are $25-$95. Students are $10.
Mistletoe at the Yards
For a dash of holiday romance and perhaps an Instagram-able moment, head to Mistletoe at the Yards. The Southeast waterfront area will feature eight giant mistletoe sculptures spread throughout the park and neighborhood. The larger than life custom designs include a java inspired mistletoe archway, a tower built from letters to Santa, an ice cream sundae sculpture complete with a cherry on top, a human-sized holiday themed dog house, wine corks and more, all featuring mistletoe. And there’s a map if you want to plan the perfect mistletoe walk. Enter to win gift cards to neighborhood restaurants by posting to social media using the hashtag #DeckTheYards.
Through Dec. 27 at Yards Park, 301 Water St. SE. Admission in FREE!
Smithsonian Holiday Festival
Join Smithsonian museums in celebrating the holiday season during the two-day Smithsonian Holiday Festival. Holiday-themed events include concerts by the U.S. Air Force Band High Flight, book signings, trunk shows, kid-centric activities, free screenings of The Muppet’s Christmas Carol and much more. Other highlights include sampling astronaut food like freeze-dried ice cream at the Natioanl Air and Space Museum store, tasting chocolate during a demonstration by American Heritage Chocolate at the National Museum of American History, or watching The Polar Express in IMAX 3D ($12/adults, $8/children) at the National Museum of Natural History. Visitors can also enjoy a variety of seasonal drinks and treats including gourmet marshmallow recipes at the museum cafes.
Dec. 3 and 4 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at the National Museum of American History, National Air and Space Museum, National Museum of Natural History, National Museum of the American Indian, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Sackler Gallery and the Smithsonian Castle all on the National Mall. Admission is FREE!
Metropolitan Cooking & Entertaining Show
From a Grand Tasting Pavilion featuring more than 50 local restaurants to chances to meet top celebrity chefs, the Metropolitan Cooking & Entertaining Show is like a Super Bowl for foodies. The two-day event also features tasting and entertaining workshops, a pop-up cooking school and a wine and beer garden, as well as cooking demonstrations with top celebrity chefs including Jacques Pepin, Tom Colicchio, Peter Chang and Duff Goldman. Whether you are an aspiring home cook or expert entertainer, it provides a one-of-a-kind experience for all food and entertaining enthusiasts. Finally, James Beard Award-winning chefs such as Victor Albisu, Richard Sandoval, Scott Drewno, Tim Ma and David Guas will participate in fascinating cooking demos. Ready the taste buds for this culinary bonanza.
Dec. 3 from 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. and Dec. 4 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, 01 Mount Vernon Place NW. Admission is $21.50 for adults and $10 for children ages 4-12.
Swedish Christmas Bazaar
An annual tradition, the Swedish Women’s Educational Association International’s Swedish Christmas Bazaar happens this Saturday. The event features a Swedish marketplace with crystal glassware, artworks, crafts, books, gifts and food including princesstarta and gloog for sale. Snack in the Swedish café, try to win prizes and stick around for the main event: the St. Lucia procession with traditional caroling.
Dec. 3 from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. at the House of Sweden, 2900 K St. NW. Admission is FREE!
Deck the Halls: A Family at Christmas
Explore the Tudor Place mansion as a history detective, finding decorations and clues to Christmas celebrations past during Deck the Halls: A Family at Christmas. Write a letter to Santa, sing with carolers, make yuletide crafts and nibble on holiday cookies. Refreshments will also be available for maximum merriment. Families and children of all ages are welcome.
Dec. 3 from 1-4 p.m. at Tudor Place, 1644 31st St. NW. Admission is $5 for adults and $10 for children younger than 12 at the door.
A star-studded seasonal lineup turns out for the Holiday Sing-A-Long at Wolf Trap. Where else can you see Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph and Santa Claus share the stage with “The President’s Own” U.S. Marine Band? Visitors are encouraged to bring battery-operated candles for a Silent Night procession, bells to ring during Jingle Bells and enthusiasm to sing along with the local choir and vocal groups. There will be a Toys for Tots collection at the entrance.
Dec. 3 at 4 p.m. (gates open at 3 p.m.) at Wolf Trap’s Filene Center, 1551 Trap Road, Vienna. Admission is FREE!
Parade of Lighted Boats
Observe the parade of lights from dry land, as more than 40 decoration-strewn vessels embark from the docks of Old Town Alexandria at 5:30 p.m. in the annual Parade of Lighted Boats and arrive at the Southwest Waterfront at 7 p.m. D.C.’s Southwest Waterfront will become electric with live music, hot chocolate, a lighting of a Christmas tree, photos with Santa, gingerbread man decorating, a roaring s’mores bonfire, hot chocolate and much more!
Dec. 3 from 5-8 p.m. from the Docks of Alexandria to D.C.’s Southwest Waterfront, 600 Water St. SW. Admission is FREE!
Nosh, Sip & Schmooze
One Eight Distilling hosts Nosh, Sip & Schmooze featuring hand-crafted cocktails, hors d’ouevres from Chinatown’s new On Rye restaurant and a meet-and-greet with chef, blogger and author Amy Kritzer, in partnership with the Federation’s Jewish Food Experience. There will also be desserts from Kritzer’s cookbook, Sweet Noshing, which can be purchased and signed during the event. A cash bar will also be available.
Dec. 4 from 1-4 p.m. at One Eight Distilling, 1135 Okie St. Admission is $36 and includes one signature cocktail (or mocktail, if you’re abstaining) and heavy appetizers. Kritzer’s hardcover cookbook is available for $13.
Logan Circle Holiday House Tour
Logan Circle is hip, happening and historic. Get in the holiday spirit by exploring a diverse mix of Victorian mansions and upscale modern housing lining D.C.’s only remaining residential circle during the 38th installment of the Logan Circle Holiday House Tour, which spans eight mayors and seven different presidents. Musicians and singers will lend holiday cheer along with a wassail reception at Studio Theatre.
Dec. 4 from 1-5 p.m. in Logan Circle NW. Tickets are $30 in advance or $35 at Studio Theatre, 1501 14th St. NW, where the tour begins.
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.