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9 things to do around town in DC, Maryland and Virginia this Thanksgiving weekend | Nov. 25-27

Catch your first holiday lights show, check out a World Cup watch party, shop 'til you drop, work on your watercolor techniques or see a one-man production.

WASHINGTON — Family still in town you want to show a good time? (Or looking to escape after a little too much family bonding?) Head out to activities across the DMV to get into the season's spirit -- whether that's catching your first holiday lights show, strapping on your ice skates, or checking out a World Cup watch party. There's so much to experience across our area!

Every week, WUSA9 is giving you the details on at least nine local activities to check out in your off time. We'll give you three ideas (and, sometimes, a bonus item or two) every week each in D.C., Maryland and Virginia. Have any more events you think your neighbors should know about? Email the time, place and description to bashford1@wusa9.com.


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Wharf Ice Rink Opening Weekend

  • Recurring; Friday, Nov. 25 from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday, Nov. 26 from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday, Nov. 27 from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. 
  • 970 Wharf Street SW, Washington on Transit Pier
  • Admission:  $13 per adult, $10 per child and $11 per senior/military service member with ID. $7 skate rentals, $3 locker rentals available, plus more.
  • Organizer: District Wharf

D.C.'s only ice skating rink on the water opens for the season on Nov. 23, 2022. Bring your own skates or rent some rink-side and enjoy the amazing views of the water and monuments, and then check out some of the Wharf's exciting new additions.

Looking for more locations to show off your skating skills? Check out all of these ice skating rinks opening for the season in the DMV.

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Opening weekend of ZooLights

  • Recurring; Friday, Nov. 25 to Sunday, Nov. 27 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Smithsonian National Zoo, 3001 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008 
  • Admission: Free, but a special entry pass separate from a daily Zoo pass is required. Flat-rate parking fee of $30. 
  • Organizer: National Zoo

The popular Christmas light display at the Smithsonian's National Zoo is back just in time for the holiday season.

The event will feature live music performances, tasty winter treats, and opportunities for holiday shopping. Attendees will see LED lights and dozens of glowing animal lanterns that “transform the Zoo into a winter wonderland," according to the National Zoo.

Passes will be released on a rolling basis starting two weeks out from the event. Additional passes will be released one week out from the event, the day before, and the day of the event, so be sure to be on the lookout!

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Happy Hour World Cup Watch Parties

  •  Recurring; Friday, Nov. 25 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 26 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 27 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
  • 1335 H St NE Washington DC 20002
  • Admission: No admission fee, find beer, wine, rail cocktail and food specials
  • Organizer: H Street Country Club

Swing by happy hour and catch the World Cup with other fans while you're at it!

Plus, this bar, among a host of others, has been approved to serve alcohol even longer than usual during the World Cup. 

RELATED: World Cup 2022: When does the US play?

RELATED: LIST: Here are the bars, restaurants in DC approved to serve alcohol longer during the World Cup


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Garden of Lights at Brookside Gardens

  • Recurring; Friday, Nov. 25 to Sunday, Nov. 27
  • 1800 Glenallan Avenue Wheaton, MD 20902
  • Admission: Tickets are $10 per person, age five and older, and are only available to purchase online.
  • Organizer: Montgomery Parks

"The Garden of Lights display transforms Brookside Gardens into a magical winter wonderland," organizers share about this festive event. 

"Stroll through the one-half mile, outdoor, walk-through exhibit and enjoy the twinkling lights and glimmering one-of-a-kind displays adorning the flowerbeds and grounds throughout the 50-acre horticultural gem in Wheaton. Shop for unique seasonal items at the Gift Shop"

Stick around for the hot chocolate and light snacks, both available for purchase!

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Downtown Frederick's Frosty Friday

  • Friday, Nov. 25 from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Downtown Frederick, MD 21701
    Admission: Free
  • Organizer: Downtown Frederick Partnership

If your Black Friday isn't complete without a little shopping, downtown Frederick has you covered.

"Kick off your holiday season with all-day shopping in Downtown Frederick! Parking is FREE, shops open early and stay open late, and Downtown Frederick is filled with holiday cheer and decoration," the city advertises.

Some restaurants will even be serving a special "Frosty Friday" breakfast, plus you can expect giveaways, photos with Santa, evening marshmallow roasting at the bonfires and more!

Experience the unforgettable characters and vivid imagery as Charles Dickens originally intended – in his own words – and rediscover this timeless classic presented in a masterful solo performance. Adapted by Paul Morella. See website for hours.

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A Christmas Carol solo production

  • Recurring; Friday, Nov. 25 at 7:45 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 26 at 3 p.m. and 7:45 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 27 at 3 p.m.
  • 2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Rd Olney, MD 20832
  • Admission: Tickets start at $40
  • Organizer: Olney Theatre

This Olney Theatre tradition gives a new meaning to a one-man band; check out this unique production of the holiday classic, A Christmas Carol, featuring just one performer playing more than 40 different roles.

"In a season stuffed with varied versions of the classic yuletide tale, Paul Morella’s solo performance stands apart for its devotion to Dickens’ original language and storytelling genius," organizers share. "One extraordinary performer brings to life Scrooge and his specters, the whole Cratchit family, and celebrants of Christmases past, present, and future . . . it’s why this production is a treasured annual tradition gathering more devotees than ever as it enters its 13th iteration."

Plus, if this weekend is a little too packed, throw it on the calendar for a weekend later on -- the show runs through January.


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Meadowlark's Winter Walk of Lights

  • Recurring; Friday, Nov. 25 to Sunday, Nov. 27 from 5:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
  • Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, 9750 Meadowlark Gardens Court Vienna, VA 22182 
  • Admission: Online Ticket Price (ages 2 & older): $16 plus Eventbrite fee
  • Onsite Ticket Price* (age 2 & older): $20
  • Organizer: NOVA Parks

"Meadowlark’s Winter Walk of Lights is an elegant garden trail decorated with thousands of sparkling lights," organizers share, who are celebrating this holiday winter walk in its 11th year. 

"The half-mile walk through the enchanting Meadowlark Botanical Gardens (Vienna, VA) features lighted nature themes and animated displays along a paved wheelchair and stroller-accessible trail. Stay warm by sipping on a hot beverage (with or without spirits) as you walk and s’mores to finish out the evening."

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Wine & Watercolors with Shop Made in VA

  • Friday, Nov. 25 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
  • 1121 King Street, Alexandria, VA
  • Admission: Starts at $20
  • Organizer: Shop Made in VA

Get your artistic juices flowing and find some time to relax after the Thanksgiving rush with this local workshop, which includes wine-tasting with a flight of Virginia wines.

"This DIY event is self-guided and a ticket gets you a seat at the table, two prints to paint, and access to shared supplies!" the event description reads.

Plus, if you're looking for a bite to eat as you work up a watercolor masterpiece, check out their cheese and charcuterie box offering as an extra add-on.

Mount Vernon by Candlelight

  • Friday, Nov. 25 and Saturday, Nov. 26
  • 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Hwy, Mt Vernon, VA 22121
  • Admission: Members: $26 adult, $18 youth
    Non-members: $36 adult, $28 youth 
  • Organizer: Mount Vernon

"Join us for a candlelit guided tour and hear about holiday traditions in 18th-century Virginia," the team at Mount Vernon shares regarding this festive event. 

"Learn about holiday traditions of 18th-century Virginia, and hear stories of Christmases past from costumed character actors portraying Washington’s family, friends, and enslaved or hired staff. Walk through the lantern-lit historic area, stopping at the Slave Quarters, outbuildings, and inside Washington’s Mansion."

Visitors can also greet Aladdin, the Christmas camel, on the 12-acre field and participate in 18th-century dancing in the Greenhouse.

Estate guests will also enjoy 18th-century music and caroling while munching on complimentary ginger cookies and spiced cider in the Donald W. Reynolds Education Center Lobby.

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