If you missed the lighting ceremony on Dec. 4, it’s still not too late to walk down the Pathway of Peace and take in the spectacle that is the National Christmas Tree. Located south of the White House in The Ellipse, the tree is lit around 4:30 p.m. every day and open to the public from 8 a.m. to midnight until January 1. A full list of daily events at the tree can be found here.
If you missed the grand lighting ceremony on Dec. 12, it’s still not too late to see a new candle illuminated each night until Wednesday, Dec. 20. Across The Ellipse from the National Christmas Tree, the National Menorah is the largest in the world
Follow model trains as they weave their way around the Botanic Garden conservatory, past miniature models of landmarks from around the country including Mt. Rushmore, Randy’s Donuts, The Big Chair and the Mr. Potato Head Statue. The exhibition will be on display from Nov. 23 to Jan. 1.
What started as a lost bet in 1986 has become an annual Christmas Eve tradition along the Alexandria waterfront. At 1 p.m. starting near Founders Park, St. Nick, the Grinch and other characters will take to the Potomac for an hour-long show.
- Seasons of Light at the Smithsonian: A live, educational performance for kids around 510 years old that teaches all about “the history and customs of Diwali (Devali), Chanukah, Las Posadas, Ramadan, Sankta Lucia Day, Kwanzaa, Christmas, and the First Nations’ tradition of the Winter Solstice.”
- The Santaland Diaries at the Drafthouse: Based on the script by David Sedaris, an unemployed Broadway actor is forced to take a job at a Macy’s as one of Santa’s elves, setting up a comic, cynical take on the holiday season.
- The Nutcracker: versions of the classic ballet will be performed the Warner Theatre (featuring the Washington Nationals’ president mascots on Dec. 23), the Momentum Dance Theatre, George Mason University by the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra and the Hylton Performing Arts Center.
- A Christmas Carol: See Scrooge on stage at Ford’s Theatre, the Kennedy Center, the Little Theatre of Alexandria and the Keegan Theatre (for An Irish Carol).
- The Little Prince, a Holiday Family Opera at The Kennedy Center: A family friendly play based on the iconic story by Antoine de SaintExupery. Performances are nightly from Dec. 14-17.
Take a tour around Georgetown’s version of a public holiday lights display. Various vivid, colorful and neon art installations are located around the Georgetown area, perfect for a nighttime stroll and even better for your Instagram.
Walk into this winter wonderland, made of over 2 million pounds of sculpted ice in the Gaylord National Resort at the National harbor. Ice sculptures, slides and more tied together by this year’s theme: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
The National Gallery Sculpture Garden’s ice rink is a quintessential winter spot in D.C., but the Gallery hosts a range of seasonal activities including a holiday concert series and Caroling in the Rotunda.
Leading up to its Christmas Day Holy Eucharist and Organ Recital, the National Cathedral is organizing a Bethlehem Simulcast Service on Dec. 16 and a Gospel Christmas concert Dec. 22.
The Anacostia Community Museum is hosting Kwanzaa celebrations Dec. 26, 27 and 28. Over the three days of celebrations there will be a live performance of Nana Malaya Rucker’s “The Dancing Diplomat & Nubian,” a performance by the Mevlin Deal African Heritage Drummers and Dancers, and a day of Kwanzaa inspired arts and crafts.
Wreaths will be placed on the headstones of veterans in cemeteries across the country on Dec. 16. Volunteer to lay wreaths at the Arlington National Cemetery starting at 8:15 a.m. Saturday, or visit the cemetery throughout the holiday season.
Count down to 2018, and still make it home by 8 p.m. The Merriweather Post Pavilion will have fireworks, food, music and the Symphony of Lights.
First Night Virginia
Several cities are hosting family friendly, alcohol free New Year’s Eve celebrations including: Alexandria, Falls Church and Winchester. This year’s First Nights in Falls Church and Williamsburg have both been canceled.
Party on New Year’s Eve
- James Bond night at Brixton.
- Great Gatsby themed yacht party at the national Harbor.
- 4th Annual Burlesque Ball at Manor.
- Back to the Future, retro themed gala at Decades.
- Two stages at the Black Cat, Peaches O’Dell and Dj Dredd.
- Eric Prydz at Echostage.
- 16th Annual Spy Gala at the Washington Plaza Hotel.
- Silent Disco at the Embassy Row Hotel.
- Cirque du 2018 International Celebration of Many Nations at the Omni Shoreham.