Now that the seasons are changing -- and we've all had our fill of deep-discount miniature candy bars from Halloween -- DC and the rest of the nation is in full gear-up mode for the holidays. In and around Washington, DC, December means an abundance of iconic winter- and Christmas-themed events and activities.
Whether you're a foodie, the outdoorsy type, a theater buff or something else, the nation's capital has something for everyone come holiday time. Below, we give you the must-know details on our top six DC holiday things todo list.
You don't have to have little ones to enjoy this annual DC tradition. Each year the National Zoo, in partnership with local electric company Pepco (which powers the event) puts up 500,000-plus energy-efficient LED lights in various zoo- and holiday-themed shapes to "transform the Zoo into a winter wonderland," according to the zoo's website. The free event, which runs this holiday season from Nov. 29 to Jan. 1, includes live music, food, and holiday shopping opportunities. This year will also include the ZooLights debut of the award-winning "Entre Les Rangs" ("Between the Rows") exhibit, "featuring a field of lights that call to mind wheat swaying in the breeze," according to the website.
Visitor parking at the zoo is limited, so we (and the zoo) recommend using Metro if you go. If you're working at Metro Offices' Dupont Circle location, the zoo, located near the Woodley Park-Zoo/Adams Morgan Metro stop, is a quick 17-minute ride away on the Red Line. The best part? No car is required.
Ice skating at the Sculpture Garden
Nothing says holiday like gliding around on frozen water with sharp metal on the bottoms of your shoes. So head over to the National Gallery of Art Ice Rink, which is open from Nov. 15 to next March 15.
If the festiveness of the sport and the beauty of the Sculpture Garden aren't enough to lure you to the rink, consider the health benefits of ice skating, which are many. Mondays through Thursdays you can skate late, too; on those days the rink is open until 9 p.m. The entry fee for two 45-minute skate sessions is $9 for adults and kids age 13 and up, and skate rentals are $4 per pair. That's not a bad price tag for a post-work workout.
For many people, going to see this Tchaikovsky-scored classic is longtime tradition. In Washington, there are multiple performance styles from which to choose. If you're the traditional type, you can't go wrong with the annual performance by our 'home team.' The Washington Ballet puts on a beautiful, DC-themed production set in Georgetown. It runs from Nov. 30 through Dec. 29 at the Warner Theatre. Ticket prices run from just over $200 to a pretty reasonable $50-something.
If you want to go all-out classic, head to the Kennedy Center, where the Atlanta Ballet will be performing "The Nutcracker" from Nov. 27 through Dec. 1. Ticket prices range from $49 to $179. This particular production debuted just last year, and DC audiences will be the first outside of Atlanta to see it.
Got little ones? They're sure to enjoy the Puppet Co.'s marionette-and-costume-characters version of "The Nutcracker," which runs from Nov. 29 to Dec. 29 at the Puppet Co. Playhouse in Glen Echo. Tickets are just $12.
A Christmas Carol
Come see the Dickensian classic at a Washington institution, Ford's Theatre. The show runs from Nov. 21 to Jan. 1, and tickets range from $22 to $124. The play, in which the curmudgeonly Ebenezer Scrooge learns (with a little help from a ghostly visitor) the true meaning of Christmas, has been well-reviewed in its 31 consecutive years at the theatre. The Washington Post has called the production "infectiously jolly," and Broadway World has said it "brightens downtown Washington with its irrepressible good cheer and optimism."
Bonus: The theater, a National Historic Site, is a mere five-minute walk from Metro Offices' Metro Center location. So why not make an evening of it one day after work? Meet a friend, family member, or your significant other for dinner at the very nearby Pi Pizzeria or the Smith -- and then walk to the theatre to enjoy the show.
Started by a group of Jewish friends tired of having nothing to do each Christmas Eve, the national Matzoball has since exploded in popularity among young single professionals. With parties taking place Dec. 24 in cities throughout the U.S., the MatzoBall DC 2019 will be held at the multi-story, "retro-themed" DECADES DC nightclub from 9 p.m. Dec. 24 to 3 a.m. Dec. 25. Tickets, which include a live DC performance, start at $30 per person.
Pathway of Peace
Rather than despair over having missed the deadline to enter the National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony Lottery this year (or over the logistics of getting in and out in a timely fashion in the event you actually scored tickets), check out the Pathway of Peace. This beautiful, free walkway is open from Dec. 9 through Jan. 1, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays, and 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. It's the footpath around the National Christmas Tree (which will be lit in the famous ceremony on Dec. 5), and it will feature "56 state and territory trees decorated with hand made ornaments that are unique to each tree," according to the National Park Service site. Tip: Work at MetroOffice's midtown location and you can walk the path on your lunch break. The Ellipse, where the pathway is located, is just .6 miles from our offices, or about a 10-minute walk.
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