PARTIES AND GALAS
Big Night DC
For the party-hopper who hates to sit still, Big Night DC boasts fifteen themed party areas, five dance floors, and a performance lineup stacked with more than a dozen DJs and bands. A ticket includes dinner and access to the open bar.
Where: Gaylord National Hotel & Resort, 201 Waterfront Street, National Harbor, MD
Doors Open: 9 PM
International Club of DC’s NYE Gala
Eight ballrooms, free-flowing Champagne, dinner and dessert buffets, an open bar, and too many themes to list await ticket holders at the Ritz-Carlton this New Year’s Eve for a party hosted by the DC organization for internationally-minded professionals.
Where: The Ritz-Carlton Washington D.C., 1150 22nd St. NW
Doors Open: 7:30 PM (depending on ticket type)
Tickets: $109 and up
12th Annual 007 James Bond Thunderball
Can you handle a boatload of Bond? Bond ice sculptures, Bond babes, and bonding with other Bond fans? A ticket to this 007-themed ball includes food, an open bar, mock-casino gambling and more.
Where: Washington Plaza Hotel, 10 Thomas Circle, NW
Doors Open: 9 PM
NYE 2014 Masquerade Ball
The Bachelor’s Chris Bukowski hosts the Hyatt Regency’s first-ever masquerade ball. The party will feature live DJs, hors d’oeuvres, a balloon drop, and a live stream of the Times Square ball drop.
Where: Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, 400 New Jersey Ave, NW
Doors Open: 10 PM
Passport to the World Gala: An International Red Carpet Affair
Hosted by Professionals in the City, Passport to the World Gala offers a rather practical solution to finding a midnight kiss by providing optional colored bracelets that denote whether you’re single or taken.
Where: The Capital Hilton, 1001 16th Street, NW
Doors Open: 9 PM
New Years Eve Alchemy Extravaganza
Alchemical Records, a local record label, is hosting a New Year’s Eve party that includes burlesque, comedy, and a number of live music performances. Tickets ($12) don’t get you an open bar (only in a perfect world), but Treehouse Lounge will be running a number of drink specials throughout the evening.
Where: Treehouse Lounge, 1006 Florida Avenue NE
Doors Open: 8 PM
Brightest Young Things’ Rumspringa
Wait, what’s a Rumspringa? It’s not an alcoholic beverage, but you might try one when you’re on it. Rumspringa is the period of time when Amish teens leave their community to decide whether or not they’d like to remain a part of the church. This celebration recommends you dress festive.
Where: The Blind Whino, 734 First Street, SW
Doors Open: 8 PM
Tickets: $79 (price goes up $5 each week)
International Gala: A Cirque du 2014 Celebration of Many Nations
This international-themed gala boasts DC’s first ever “time machine ballroom” as well as six party rooms, five ballrooms, premium open bars, and entertainers.
Where: The Omni Shoreham Hotel, 2501 Calvert St., NW
Doors Open: 9 PM
Yuletide Ball Championships and New Year’s Eve Gala
The 26th annual ballroom dance competition features dancers at all different levels as well as awards. A ticket gets you admission to the gala, dinner, and dance showcases.
Where: Crystal City Gateway Marriott Hotel, 1700 Jefferson Davis Highway, Arlington
Doors Open: 7:30 PM
Inner Caucus and WHUR 96.3 FM NYE Party
Entertainment company Inner Caucus and radio station WHUR join forces for a New Year’s Eve party with five different DJ’s spinning tunes ranging from Calypso and Soca to ‘70s and ‘80s Soul.
Where: Hilton Alexandria Mark Center Hotel, 5000 Seminary Road, Alexandria
Doors Open: 8:30 PM
National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony
If you were lucky enough to get a ticket, head over to the White House Ellipse for the national Christmas tree lighting on December 6 at 4:30. The First Family will be in attendance, as well as performers including the Avett Brothers, Mariah Carey, Joshua Bell, and Aretha Franklin, among others. And if you didn’t get a ticket, don’t worry; the ceremony will be streaming live online.
Capitol, Fairmont, and Union Station Christmas Trees
The official lighting ceremonies may have passed, but it’s still worth your time to go see these trees. The Capitol Christmas Tree, which came from Washington State, boasts more than 5,000 handmade ornaments and will be lit from dusk to 11 PM through the season. The Christmas tree at Union Station was given to DC by the Royal Norwegian Embassy as a symbol of friendship between the US and Norway, and this year it is decorated to mark the 150th anniversary of Norwegian artist Edvard Munch.
Manassas Christmas Tree Lighting
At 5:30 on December 6, the Merry Old Town celebration kicks off with holiday music. Stay through the lighting at the Manassas Museum and give your children a chance to tell Santa their wishes at the Harrison Pavilion Gazebo. Take a free hayride around Old Town or go ice-skating at the Harrison Pavilion Ice Rink.
Leesburg Christmas Tree Lighting
Join the town mayor at the annual Christmas tree and menorah lighting on December 6 from 6 to 7 at the Leesburg Town Green. Enjoy performances by the Loudoun Chorale and the Loudoun County High School chamber choir, as well as holiday messages from the mayor and town council.
City of Gaithersburg’s Jingle Jubilee
On December 7 from 6 to 7:30, head over to the City Hall Concert Pavilion for the town’s tree-lighting ceremony. Drink hot chocolate and eat churros and other treats while listening to performances by the Prichard Music Honors Brass, Kentlands Chorus, Gaithersburg High School Band, and Aishlinn Kivlighn. Don’t forget to bring your camera so your kids can take photos with Santa, Rudolph, and even Spider-Man.
Rockville Town Square
On December 5, from 6:30 to 9, the Rockville Town Square hosts its official tree lighting along with a holiday open house. Watch live performances, take a carriage ride, go ice-skating, and stop by the shops and restaurants for special promotions. As we know, the holiday season is all about giving, so bring a toy to benefit the Housing Opportunities Commission.
At Georgetown’s Evermay estate, the Overtures Holiday Concert Series showcases emerging classical and chamber musicians in six performances. Through December 19.
Catch the Cathedral Choral Society singing at spots around DC—such as the Dupont Circle Metro station’s Q Street entrance—which culminates in The Joy of Christmas at the Washington National Cathedral. Caroling December 4 from 5:30 to 6:15 and 6:45 to 7:30 at the Willard Hotel; December 6 from 6 to 7 at the Q Street entrance of the Dupont Circle Metro station; and December 7 from 2 to 3 at the main level of Mazza Galleria. The Joy of Christmas, December 14 and 15.
The National Museum of American History hosts the official Air Force chorus for hourly performances in its Flag Hall. December 7 and 8.
Twists on Classics
Hear what Christmas sounded like in 16th- and 17th-century Latin and South America at the Folger Shakespeare Library’s Christmas in New Spain: Early Music of Mexico and Peru. December 13 through 22.
Celebrate the winter solstice with the Christmas Revels’ Echoes of Thrace, a folk performance of music and dance from Bulgaria, Greece, and Turkey. December 7 through 15.
The Trans-Siberian Orchestra tribute band Ornament—“southern New England’s premier rock orchestra”—play the ensemble’s greatest hits, a potpourri of holiday songs sung to rock, blues, and gospel music, at the Hamilton. December 15.
Don’t have plans for Christmas Day? Celebrate with other jazz fans at the All-Star Christmas Day Jazz Jam at the Kennedy Center. December 25.
From Baby Jesus to Buddy the Elf
Black Nativity, Langston Hughes’s Christmas gospel play, comes to the Ellington Theatre. December 4 through 15.
Buddy the Elf finds himself far from the North Pole yet again—this time, at the Kennedy Center—in the musical take on the movie Elf. December 17 through January 5.
Scrooge: Posthumously Way More Popular
Edward Gero stars as Scrooge in the Ford’s Theatre rendition of A Christmas Carol. November 21 through January 1.
The Little Theatre of Alexandria stages the Dickens classic “complete with special effects.” December 5 through 22.
Instead of a moneylender, a rich pub owner fills the Scrooge-like role in the Keegan Theatre’s An Irish Carol. December 13 through 31.
Olney Theatre’s take on the classic favors simplicity, sticking to the original Christmas Carol. November 29 through December 29.
Watch your most embarrassing holiday moments play out at Washington Improv Theater’s Seasonal Disorder, a medley of improv performances that use real-life stories as inspiration. December 5 through 31.
Embrace your inner Mariah Carey at Wolf Trap’s family-friendly Holiday Sing-Along, featuring Christmas carols and Hanukkah hymns. December 7.
All Singing, All Dancing
Step into the Christmas spirit with the Step Afrika! Magical Musical Holiday Step Show at H Street’s Atlas Performing Arts Center. December 11 through 22.
Composer Matt Conner sings and plays the piano at Arlington’s Signature Theatre in A Matt Conner Christmas, sharing his favorite holiday memories through music ranging from classical to bluegrass. December 11 through 15.
Holiday Follies blends songs of the Spice Girls, Frank Zappa, and others with classic carols at Signature Theatre. December 17 through 23.
Let your holiday spirit shine with Sparkle, Jingle, Joy, a holiday revue from the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington. December 20.
Nutcracker With a Twist
For a familial take on The Nutcracker, check out Olney Ballet Theatre’s production, which features three members of Brookeville’s Welch family onstage and one behind the scenes. December 13 through 24.
In a distinctly Washington iteration of the classic tale, Septime Webre’s Washington Ballet production features George Washington as the Nutcracker. December 5 through December 29.
See the tale with a puppet twist at the Puppet Company Playhouse in Glen Echo. Through December 29.
Silver Bells, Silver Screen
AFI Silver screens classic Christmas films, including Miracle on 34th Street, The Muppet Christmas Carol, and It’s A Wonderful Life. December 6 through 24.
You don’t need Netflix to binge-watch all your favorite holiday films; that’s what the Christmas Movie Festival is for. December 15.
You’ve Gotta Handel It to Them
The Washington National Cathedral’s choir and baroque orchestra performs Handel’s Messiah. December 6 through 8.
The National Symphony Orchestra plays the piece at the Kennedy Center December 19 through 22.
Get some history with your Handel at Strathmore, which offers lectures before each of its Messiah performances by the National Philharmonic.
Matisyahu keeps the Hanukkah festivities going past the eighth night with his Festival of Light show at the 9:30 Club. December 9.
After eight crazy nights, cap off the Hanukkah season withthe DC-based Klezmer band Lox & Vodka at the US Botanic Gardens’ Conservatory Garden Court. December 5.
Get crafty this Kwanzaa with the Alexandria Black History Museum’s family fun workshop, featuring games, songs, dances and crafts. December 7.
The seven principles of Kwanzaa take center stage in the Coyaba Dance Theater’s musical celebration at George Washington University’s Dorothy Betts Marvin Theatre. December 14.
Wednesday, November 27
Library of Congress: Civil War Thanksgiving
While the first day of thanks dates back to colonial times, it took hundreds of years for Thanksgiving to become a national holiday. Learn the story behind this evolution in a noon talk led by Connie Carter of the Science, Technology & Business Division.
White House Ellipse: National Hanukkah Menorah Lighting
The lighting of the world’s largest menorah draws thousands of spectators each year. The event includes performances by the United States Air Force Band, the Three Cantors, and violinist Miri Ben-Ari, as well as hot latkes and donuts. Tickets are free but required; order online.
Thursday, November 28
Kennedy Center: Thanksgiving Day Swing Dance Party
A belly full of turkey is no excuse to avoid the dance floor at this throwback evening from 7 to 9. Enjoy dance lessons from Tom Koerner and Debra Sternberg along with live music from the Tom Cunningham Orchestra.
Fillmore Silver Spring: Giving Thanks
Give thanks for your blessings by assembling takeaway care packages for those in need at this community gathering with live music and seasonal treats from 11 to 3. If you’re unable to make the event, the Fillmore is accepting donations of food, clothing, and toiletries until November 27.
Friday, November 29
National Harbor Tree-Lighting and Fireworks
The folks at National Harbor sure know how to light a shrub with style, with more than 200,000 Christmas lights adorning the 65-foot tree. A fireworks show adds even more sparkle to this night of holiday entertainment and shopping, running from 7 to 8:30.
Reston Town Center: Holiday Parade & Tree-Lighting Sing-Along
Who needs the crowds of New York City to enjoy a good holiday parade? The Reston Town Center will be hosting a day of post-Thanksgiving cheer to kick off the season, complete with its own procession, Santa visits, and a tree-lighting and sing-along. The parade is at 11; the tree-lighting and sing-along are at 6.
It’s outdoor skating season at area ice rinks. Take a break from the holiday bustle to work on your triple axel, bundle up with a date, or bring the whole family to these outdoor skating facilities. Before you tie on your skates, make sure to call ahead—hours are subject to change, especially around the holidays.
National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden (Seventh St. and Constitution Ave., NW; 202-289-3360). Open November 14 through mid-March, depending on the weather. Monday through Thursday 10 to 9, Friday and Saturday 10 to 11, and Sunday 11 to 9. A two-hour session is $8 for adults, $7 for seniors age 50 and older, children 12 and younger, and students with an ID; skate rental $3. A season pass is $195.
Canal Park (Second Pl., SE; 202-554-6051). Open mid-December through mid-March. Monday through Friday noon to 9, Saturday 10 to 10, and Sunday 10 to 7. Admission for adults is $8, kids are $7, skate rental is $3. A season pass with unlimited access is $125.
Washington Harbour (3050 K St., NW; 202-706-7666). Open November through March. Monday through Thursday noon to 9, Friday noon to 10, Saturday 10 to 10, and Sunday 10 to 7. Admission for adults is $10, children/seniors/military are $8, skate rental is $5.
National Harbour (East Pier Platform, National Harbour). Open November 29 through January 5. Admission is $5 per person and includes skate rental; you can also bring your own skates if you prefer. Open noon to 9 November 29 through December 1, then Monday through Thursday 4 to 9 and Friday through Sunday noon to 9.
Silver Spring Ice Rink (Veteran’s Plaza; 301-588-1221). Open November through March 25. Admission is $8 for adults, $7 for children 12 and under and senior citizens 55 and up; skate rental $3. Monday through Thursday noon to 10, Friday noon to 11, Saturday 10 to 11, and Sunday 10 to 10.
Rockville Town Square (131 Gibbs St., Rockville; 301-545-1999). Open November through mid-March. Two-hour admission is $8 for adults, $7 for children 12 and under; skate rental $3. Monday through Thursday noon to 10, Friday noon to 11, Saturday 10 to 11, Sunday 10 to 10.
Herbert Wells Ice Rink (5211 Paint Branch Pkwy., College Park; 301-277-3717). Open October 27 through March 31. Monday through Thursday noon to 3:30, Friday noon to 2 and 2:30 to 5:15, Saturday 2:30 to 4:30 and 8 to 10, and Sunday 1 to 3. Admission for adults is $5 for PG County residents and $6 for nonresidents; children and seniors are $4/$5; skate rental $2.
Quiet Waters Park (600 Quiet Waters Park Rd., Annapolis; 410-222-1711). Open now through March. Monday and Wednesday through Friday 1 to 9 and Saturday and Sunday 9 to 9. Adults skate for $6; seniors 60 and older, kids, and adults in groups of 10 or more are $5 per person; skate rental $3. Seniors skate for $4 on Wednesdays, and Thursdays are “cheap skate” days with $4 admission for all ages. A season pass is $100.
Pentagon Row (1201 S. Joyce St., Arlington; 703-418-6666). Open now through mid-March. Monday through Wednesday noon to 10, Thursday noon to 7 or 10 (depending on ice rentals), Friday noon to 11, Saturday 10 to 11, and Sunday 10 to 7 or 10. The rink has extended hours on holidays and when school is closed. Two-hour admission for adults is $8, children ages 12 and younger and seniors 55 and older $7; figure- or hockey-skate rental $3.
Reston Town Center Ice Skating Pavilion (1818 Discovery St., Reston; 703-709-6300). Open now through the second week of March. Sunday through Tuesday 11 to 7, Wednesday and Thursday 11 to 10, and Friday and Saturday 11 to 11. Two-hour admission is $10 for adults, children ages 12 and younger and seniors 55 and older $8; figure- or hockey-skate rental $5.
The Spooky Movie International Film Festival returns for its eighth year with ten days of more than 40 shorts and features of new horror cinema from all over the globe. The festival runs October 10 through 19 with all shows presented at the AFI Silver Theatre in Silver Spring. An all-fest pass is available for $125; tickets for individual showings are $12.
Before Edward Cullen fell for a human, before Buffy began slaying, and even before Dracula jumped from the page to the screen, there was Nosferatu. The 1922 silent German film is an unauthorized adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula and is considered to be the first appearance of vampires in cinema. A screening of the film will be accompanied by an original live score from the “Not-So-Silent” cinema quartet at the Artisphere’s Dome Theatre in Arlington on October 26 at 8 PM. Tickets are $15.
In the Forest, She Grew Fangs is local playwright Stephen Spotswood’s new take on Little Red Riding Hood. The play promises elements including: unrequited love, burning passion, and brutal vengeance. It’s presented by the Washington Rogues performing arts collective, and runs through November 3 at the Mead Theatre Lab at Flashpoint. Tickets are $15.
Hop aboard the Wheaton Haunted Train and Creepy Carousel. This spooky ride—running October 20 and 24 through 30—full of scary sights, sounds, and creatures is best suited for children eight and up. Tickets are $5 and include one ride each on the Haunted Train and Creepy Carousel along with admission to the movie theater.
Have a “spooktacular” time at the annual Boo at the Zoo October 25 through 27. From 5:30 to 8:30 PM, families with children ages 2 to 12 can enjoy a safe environment for trick-or-treating from more than 30 treat stations throughout the National Zoo. Also available is a ride on the Conservation Carousel. Tickets are $30.
Float your way over to the annual Hallowmarine at the National Aquarium in Baltimore October 26 and 27. From 10 AM to 3 PM, take part in a “scare-venger hunt,” a costume parade, and Halloween-themed crafts. The aquarium is also hosting underwater pumpkin-carving. Tickets are free with the cost of admission.
Have an astronomically fun day at the annual Air and Scare at the National Air and Space Museum. Kids can take part in indoor trick-or-treating, spooky science experiments, a puppet show, and hands-on activities at Spook-tivitiy Stations. For the wee ones, there’s a Tot Zone where kids can play dress-up, hear a story, and participate in crafts. The event is October 26 from 2 to 7 PM, and admission is free.
Come with your best trick and get a treat at the
Fall Pumpkin Harvest Festival at
Great Country Farms in Bluemont, Virginia.
Watch P-Rex the pumpkin-eating dinosaur, meet the Pumpkin Princess,
and go hog wild at the Pig Races. If you get hungry, toast
marshmallows at the bonfire
and enjoy live music. Open through October 31. Admissions is
$10 for children and
$12 for adults on weekends.
If you’re looking for a fun fall adventure, take your kids to the Fall Frolic at Glen Echo Park. On October 26 from 1 to 4 PM, kids can decorate pumpkins, get their face painted, and take part in other crafts. Families can stroll through the park’s studios and galleries, including Glen Echo Pottery, the Art Glass Center, the Yellow Barn Studio and Gallery, and more.
At Brightest Young Things’ Twerk or Treat dance party at the Sphinx Club in Logan Circle, Brooklyn-based artist collective Cheryl, DJ Rex Riot, and synth-pop ravers Avan Lava promise a full soundtrack of twerk-worthy beats. Come in a costume you can move in—you’ll get brownie points (extra candy? A duet with Robin Thicke?) for dressing up as a teen idol, “vapid empty soul,” or sexy Steve Martin (is there any other kind?), or for coming in like a wrecking ball. Saturday, October 26.
As long as you’re not afflicted with coulrophobia (a fear of clowns), Black Cat’s Halloween Circus is a good Halloween bet. The gritty, rock-and-roll ambience provides the perfect backdrop to burlesque, a freaky sideshow, and local blues crew and headliner Johnny Grave & the Tombstones. Thursday, October 31.
For a Halloween shindig, a graveyard is an unnerving, albeit trite, setting. But banality is forgiven when the burial ground in question is Southeast DC’s Congressional Cemetery. The final resting place for Civil War generals, congressmen, and FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, among others, the 206-year-old cemetery’s Ghosts and Goblets Soiree includes tours of the grounds, live entertainment, and spirits (both alcoholic and supernatural). Saturday, October 26.
You have to wonder how DJ Ghost makes a living the 364 days of the year he’s not spinning beats at the W Hotel’s annual Halloween Social. Held in the hotel’s P.O.V. rooftop lounge, it offers sweeping views of the White House. And with one of the best costume contest prizes in the city—a sleepover package in one of the W’s suites, plus recovery breakfast in bed—the attire is guaranteed to be over-the-top. Thursday, October 31.
Put on your coolest costume and head to Dupont Circle’s Kabin for Washingtonian's Halloween party from 9 to 11. There’ll be tunes from DJ Soundtraxx, Washingtonian treat bags, and drink specials—and your ticket includes one free drink. $15 online or $20 at the door. Friday, November 1.
Furloughed Washingtonians, put down the remote. There’s no need to binge-watch season one of House of Cards while throwing things at furlough-free federal figure Francis Underwood (believe me when I say if I could use more alliteration in that sentence, I would). Arts and entertainment providers all over town are offering free and cut-price tickets to shows and other events, from Steve Aoki with Pharrell Williams at Merriweather to Miss Saigon at Signature Theatre. Below, a quick roundup—we’ll keep adding to it as we hear more, so check back in.
9:30 Club/Lincoln Theatre/Merriweather/U Street Music Hall
The 9:30 Club and friends are offering “buy one get one free” tickets for the following I.M.P. shows until 11:59 PM tonight. Use the promo code 930ATA. Yes, you can also use this code if you aren’t a furloughed federal employee because it’s a general promotion, not a buyoff.
- Marky Ramone’s Blitzkrieg with Andrew W.K. on vocals, October 2, 9:30 Club.
- Chazz Palminteri’s A Bronx Tale, October 3, Lincoln Theatre.
- BOY, October 3, 9:30 Club.
- Middle Distance Runner, October 4, U Street Music Hall.
- The Flaming Lips and Tame Impala, October 4, Merriweather.
- Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, October 5, 9:30 Club.
- Soul Asylum and Fountains of Wayne (with Evan Dando!!!), October 9, 9:30 Club.
- Lee Fields and the Expressions, October 17, 9:30 Club.
- Steve Aoki with Pharrell Williams, October 25, Merriweather.
This one is for people with a federal ID only. Get free entry to the following shows when you flash it at the box office.
- Big Boi, October 2.
- Take 6, October 4.
- Alice Russell, October 5.
- And get 50 percent off tickets to the following show:
- Rufus featuring Sly Stone, October 6.
- Bill Engvall, Octover 6.
- Sutton Foster, October 12.
- Les Violons du Roy with Stephanie Blythe, October 15.
- Dianne Reeves, October 18.
For one week only, anyone can get a 50 percent discount on tickets to Odysseo, Cavalia’s totally bonkers/awesome fusion of acrobatics and equine arts.
Welcome to the first day of the Great Government Shutdown of 2013. Your nonessential federal employees are probably rewatching all of Breaking Bad from the comfort of their couches while wondering if they'll ever be paid again. Meanwhile, all free museums are closed, for the most part. Here, in photos, is a quick glimpse of what was essential and nonessential on the National Mall this morning.