There’s no place quite like the District to celebrate the Fourth of July. Patriotism, along with the temperature, runs high in the nation’s capital as residents, interns, and tourists alike don their red, white, and blue and settle in for some star-spangled celebration. While the packed city lends the day an unbeatable holiday buzz, the crowds can drive up prices and cause everything to book up fast. For those of you just looking for great seats to the best free show in town, check out these awesome venues to catch fireworks sans cost.
Kennedy Center North and South Plazas
2700 F St., NW
Metro: Foggy Bottom
Tip: While the hidden gem that is the Kennedy Center Roof Terrace will be closed for a private event on the Fourth, the North and South Plazas will remain open to the public, boasting firework views and a fantastic location. Stroll along the Potomac to the Georgetown waterfront to catch dinner before the fireworks begin.
Gravelly Point Park
Metro: Reagan Airport, Crystal City
Tip: Reflections of the fireworks on the waters of the Potomac make watching from Virginia a superb option. The crowd is always substantial at Gravelly Point, so avoid the rush to get on the Metro after the fireworks end by taking a longer walk along the trail and boarding at Pentagon. Be warned, though, that with DCA right next door, the low-flying planes can make this spot a bit noisy.
East Potomac Park/Hains Point Picnic Area
Metro: L’Entfant Plaza
Tip: The views aren’t quite as good as they can be elsewhere along the river, but there’s often more room for large groups, and grilling is legal in this park, so if you’re looking for a place to host a barbecue, it’s a good option. (Note that reservations for picnic areas are required.) Parking is available, but be sure to get there early to secure a spot.
Lady Bird Johnson Park
Metro: Arlington Cemetery
Tip: It’s a little tougher to get to, but decidedly less crowded than the National Mall and with possibly even better views. Find more information online. If you’re a hiker or biker, the park is accessible by the Mount Vernon Trail, so hop on the trail anywhere along its 18-mile route and head toward the park.
Air Force Memorial
Columbia Pike and S. Joyce St., Arlington
Metro: Pentagon/Pentagon City
Tip: Arrive by 8 PM for the Air Force Band’s pre-fireworks concert. Click here for more information.
US Marine Corps War Memorial (Iwo Jima)
N. Meade St. and N. Marshall Dr., Arlington
Tip: Probably the best choice for shutterbugs looking for the most spectacular options to frame their fireworks photographs. Do your best to stake out a clear view of the Lincoln Memorial, and try to avoid getting stuck behind any trees. Find more info online.
Cardozo High School
1300 Clifton St., NW
Metro: U Street/Cardozo
Tip: Prepare for extra crowds as people return to this popular spot post-renovation closing last summer. Try and claim a space on the top of the grassy hill on the east side of the campus. You can also see the fireworks from the western side, but the 11th Street side offers a neighborhood party atmosphere, with plenty of families setting off their own firecrackers and sparklers all around. Not recommended for those who are skittish about the potential for firecracker-related mishaps.
Washington National Cathedral
3101 Wisconsin Ave., NW
Metro: Tenleytown-AU/Cleveland Park
Tip: The bathrooms in the cathedral parking garage are usually kept open until about 8 PM. Music lovers can start their day early with the annual Independence Day Organ Recital at 11 AM.
Metro: Archives-Navy Memorial-Penn Quarter/Smithsonian
Tip: It’s the classic choice for a reason: It attracts the biggest crowds by far, which can help make your celebration that much more festive. But don’t forget about how hairy things get at the Smithsonian Metro station on July Fourth. While the station will remain open during the day, the Mall-side entrance will become “entry-only” when the fireworks end. Our advice? Avoid the overrun station by walking to downtown.
A version of this article, by Sommer Mathis, appeared online in 2011.
OPENING THIS MONTH
The classic musical West Side Story returns to the National Theatre after a pre-Broadway run in 2008. June 3 through 8.
At Warner Theatre June 3 through 8 is We Will Rock You, the Queen jukebox musical about a dystopian future.
The Tony Award-winning puppet musical Avenue Q comes to Olney Theatre Center, offering hits such as “What Do You Do With a BA in English?” and “Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist.” June 11 through July 6.
Beauty and the Beast, the musical version of the Disney film with a Grammy- and Academy Award-winning score, comes to Wolf Trap June 6 through 8.
No Rules Theatre Company presents Boeing Boeing, about a man juggling several women whose complicated love life is thrown into a tailspin in part thanks to flight delays. June 4 through 29 at Signature Theatre’s Ark Theatre.
Ugly Betty’s Michael Urie stars in Buyer & Cellar, about a struggling LA actor who takes a job in the basement “mall” of a Hollywood star. June 20 through 29 at Shakespeare Theatre.
Ordinary Days, at Round House Bethesda through June 22, is Adam Gwon’s off-Broadway hit about four New Yorkers trying to nativate their romantic lives.
Cloak and Dagger , from Helen Hayes Award winner Ed Dixon, is a musical-comedy whodunit that sends up classic 1950s film noir. June 12 through July 6 at Signature Theatre.
The smash musical adaptation of Disney’s The Lion King, with direction and costumes by Julie Taymor, returns to the Kennedy Center for the first time since 2008, June 17 through August 17.
Arcturus Theatre Company presents Distracted, about two parents trying to deal with their nine-year-old son’s recent diagnosis of ADD. At Atlas Arts Center June 12 through 22.
At the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop is Enter Ophelia, Distracted, Taffety Punk’s depiction of Hamlet’s Ophelia as she descends into madness. June 20 through 28.
London’s Gate Theatre brings Grounded—about a female fighter pilot who, because of an unexpected pregnancy, is relegated to flying drones—to Studio Theatre June 10 through 29.
Nancy Robinette stars as a woman trapped up to her waist in earth in Samuel Beckett’s dark comedy Happy Days. June 7 through July 5 at Atlas Arts Center.
At Arena Stage is the world premiere of Healing Wars, a theatrical dance piece narrated by Bill Pullman that explores the experiences of doctors who treat patients during wartime. June 6 through 29.
American Century Theater presents Judgment at Nuremberg, playwright Abby Mann’s work based on the true story of post-World War II war trials. Through June 28.
Cock, Mike Bartlett’s story of a gay man fixated on his encounter with a woman while on a break with his boyfriend, is at Studio Theatre through June 22.
The first play of Pulitzer Prize winner Tracy Letts (August Osage County), Killer Joe is a black comedy about a Southern family who hires a hit man to kill the matriarch in order to collect on insurance money. June 5 through 29 at DC Arts Center.
Academy Award winner Bill Condon directs a reimagined Side Show, the 1997 Broadway musical about conjoined twins and vaudeville entertainers Violet and Daisy Hilton. June 14 through July 13 at the Kennedy Center.
At Round House Silver Spring is The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, about the trial of the biblical traitor taking place in purgatory. Through June 14.
Imagination Stage presents the beloved Roald Dahl classic The BFG, about a friendly giant who brings good dreams to children and the little orphan girl who befriends him. June 26 through August 10.
The Prostate Dialogues , a one-man show by Jon Spelman that explores the effects of cancer on an individual’s life and relationships, runs through June 29 at Theater J.
Private Lives, Noël Coward’s 1930 comedy about a divorced couple who discover they’re honeymooning in adjacent suites, is at Shakespeare Theatre through July 29.
The Totalitarians, Peter Sinn Nachtreib’s farce about a speechwriter’s attempts to get a wealthy housewife into political office, is at Woolly Mammoth through June 29.
Theater Alliance’s The Wonderful World of Dissocia, which premiered at the 2004 Edinburgh International Festival, tells the story of a woman with dissociative identity disorder who’s lost the memory of one hour of her life. June 4 through 28 at Anacostia Playhouse.
A Midsummer Night’s Riot closes June 6 at Keegan Theatre.
Things You Shouldn’t Say Past Midnight closes June 7 at Keegan Theatre.
The Piano Lesson closes June 8 at Olney Theatre.
Freud’s Last Session is at Theater J until June 29. Read our review.
July 21 and 28, and August 4 and 11
National Mall between Seventh and 12th sts., NW
The popular film festival this year shows The Karate Kid, Lover Come Back, Key Largo, and A Soldier’s Story.
Follow @SOTGinDC for updates.
Wednesdays through August 20 at 7 PM
Loree Grand Field, Second and L sts., NE
The theme this year is “unlikely friendships,” which means you can see favorites such as The Sandlot and Top Gun, as well as newer movies including The Perks of Being a Wallflower, The Dark Knight, and Pitch Perfect.
Follow @NoMaBID for updates.
June 24, July 8 and 22, and August 5
Sursum Corda at L and First sts., NW
The lineup of family-friendly movies features Wall-E, Frozen, The Lego Movie, and Despicable Me 2; kids’ activities and free snacks are available.
Thursdays, June 5 through September 4
Canal Park at M and Second sts., SE
Head here to catch sports-themed flicks, from Bend It Like Beckham to Space Jam to the beer-pong comedy Balls of Fury.
Follow @CanalParkDC for updates.
July 17 and 24, and August 28 at 8:15 PM
Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, 1964 Independence Ave., SW
See Documented, about the struggles of undocumented immigrants in America; the Jackie Robinson biopic 42; and Mandela, which examines the life and influence of Nelson Mandela.
Fridays through July 11; seating begins at 7:30 PM
The DC-themed lineup features Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Legally Blonde 2, and The American President; see the full list online.
July 22 through 26
Woodmont Triangle at Norfolk and Auburn aves., Bethesda
The five-day run of films features Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Moonrise Kingdom, Citizen Kane, Pitch Perfect, and Top Gun.
Thursdays, June 12 through August 21
Rockville Town Square; 200 East Middle La., Rockville
The mix offers family-friendly movies (including a Frozen sing-along on July 3) and more adult fare such as Gravity.
Sundays through September 28 at 6 PM
The Plaza at National Harbor
Visit the website for the full schedule.
Mondays and Fridays June 16 through August 18; Fridays through Sundays beginning August 23
Columbia Lakefront Stage, 10275 Wincopin Cir., Columbia
All movies are rated G, PG, or PG-13; see the full list of titles online.
August 15 through 17 at 8:30 PM
850 Hungerford Dr., Rockville
The event benefits National Institutes of Health charities; check the website closer to the start date for the schedule of movies.
Every other Saturday through October 4; times vary
101 Centerway, Greenbelt
The Wizard of Oz, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Up are all on offer; see the website for the full schedule.
Mondays, June 2 through August 25
Bell Street Courtyard, 1850 Bell St., Arlington
The airplane-themed movies include Red Eye, Snakes on a Plane, and Flight. See the full lineup online.
Fridays through August 22 at 8 PM
Gateway Park; 1300 Lee Hwy., under the Key Bridge
The theme this year is “work,” which encompasses flicks such as Anchorman, Horrible Bosses, and the 1995 cult hit Empire Records.
Follow @RosslynVA for updates
Fridays through August 29 at 7 PM
Strawberry Park at Strawberry La. and District Ave., Fairfax
June’s theme is “blockbusters,” July’s is “All-American,” and August’s is “food and film.” Check out the schedule online.
Saturdays in August
5875 Trinity Pkwy., Centreville
The options this year are Casablanca, Despicable Me 2, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2, Frozen, and The Lego Movie.
June 8, July 13, August 10, and September 14 at 7 PM
Lake Anne Plaza, 1690 Washington Plaza, Reston
Each screening has a different theme, from family (Up on June 8) to date night (Skyfall in September).
August 16, 23, and 30 at 8 PM
Tysons Corner Plaza, 1961 Chain Bridge Rd., Tysons Corner
This Tysons Corner movie series (now accessible by Metro!) is screening Jaws, Man of Steel, and The Blind Side. Lawn chairs are available on a first come, first served basis, so get there early if you want to snag one.
This post has been updated from a previous version.
Memorial Day weekend is upon us, and with it many of the pools in the Washington area are open. Here, we’ve got information on opening hours and dates, features, prices, and more. Don’t see your favorite one on the list? Let us know in the comments, and we’ll add it.
PRIVATE POOLS IN DC
1612 U St., NW; 202-939-2563
Located on the rooftop of Vida Fitness U Street, with a Navy Yard location opening in August, this pool is meant to feel like a resort with cabanas, king-size daybeds, a full-service bar, and complimentary towel service.
Price: $159 a month for single membership that includes full access to all Vida Fitness area locations.
Hours: Sunday through Wednesday 10 to sunset, Thursday 10 to midnight, Friday and Saturday 10 to 1
2015 Massachusetts Ave., NW; 202-265-1600
This newly renovated rooftop oasis features a 450-square-foot pool with cabanas, lounge seating, a new food menu, and views of the Washington Monument and National Cathedral. Scheduled to open June 15.
Prices: $25 for a day pass, $500 for single membership that includes one complimentary guest and a hotel room discount.
Hours: Thursday through Sunday and Wednesday 11 to 8, Saturday 11 to 10. Closed Monday and Tuesday.
10 I St., SW; 202-488-7500
The Capitol Skyline Hotel pool will continue to host its popular weekend pool parties and has updated its food menu and patio furniture for the 2014 season.
Prices: $20 entry fee, $225 for single membership, $425 for family membership, $325 for couples membership.
Hours: Weekdays 11 to 9, weekends 10 to 9
1900 Connecticut Ave., NW; 202-332-9300
Enjoy food and drinks poolside while relaxing in the sun at this Dupont Circle hotel. The Bistro is open daily from 1 to 8.
Price: $20 for daily pass, $250 for single membership, $300 for couples membership, $375 for family membership.
Hours: Weekdays 10 to 8, weekends 10 to 9
415 New Jersey Ave., NW; 202-638-1616
Relax on chaise lounges or daybeds with a beverage in hand at this Capitol Hill rooftop pool and lounge. For $50, guests can also enjoy yoga on weekends from 7:30 to 8:30 AM. Head up to the pool and lounge after 5 for free entry and happy hour.
Price: $25 for a day pass.
Hours: Open daily 11 to 10
1919 Connecticut Ave., NW; 202-483-3000
Relax at this heated pool and sun deck and take in views of the Washington Monument. There’s also a wading pool for children.
Price: $1,249 for single membership, $2,249 for couples membership, $650 for child membership.
Hours: Open daily 6 AM to 10 PM
10 Thomas Cir., NW; 202-842-1300
This hotel offers complimentary towel service and a poolside bar open daily from noon.
Price: $50 for daily pass, $800 for single membership, $1,500 for couples membership, $2,100 for family membership (two adults, two children).
Hours: Open daily 9 to 9
901 Sixth St., NW; 202-488-3701
Water aerobics, swim lessons, lap lanes, and numerous fitness classes are just some of the features of this neighborhood fitness and swim facility. With an indoor and outdoor pool, there’s room for everyone to enjoy the water.
Price: Membership information available upon visit to the club.
Hours: Weekdays 6:15 to 9, Saturday 8:30 to 6:30, Sunday 10 to 5
2500 Georgia Ave., NW; 202-673-2121
This is one of the more popular pools in the city, so space fills up quickly. If you make it before the rush, enjoy this large outdoor pool for all ages and swim levels.
Price: Free for DC residents.
Hours: Weekdays 1 to 8, weekends noon to 6. Closed Thursday.
972 Ohio Dr., SW; 202-727-6523
This Olympic-size pool is located on Hains Point between the Potomac River and Washington Channel with a nearby miniature golf course and driving range.
Price: Free for DC residents.
Hours: 1 to 7 on weekdays. 12-6 on weekends. Closed Wednesday.
2435 N St., NW; 202-727-3285
Swim lessons, water aerobics classes, and two 25-yard lap lanes are all offered at this popular DC pool.
Price: Free for DC residents.
Hours: Weekdays 1 to 8, weekends noon to 6. Closed Tuesday.
1555 34th St., NW; 202-645-5569
This small Georgetown pool is a great place to enjoy the summer weather and catch some rays. Volta Park is also home to two tennis courts, two basketball courts, and a playground.
Price: Free for DC residents.
Hours: Weekdays 1 to 8, weekends noon to 6. Closed Monday.
Even if you aren’t Irish, St. Patrick’s Day is one of the most fun holidays to celebrate every year. And there are plenty of ways to do it, from all-you-can-drink bar crawls to more family-friendly activities. For more ways to celebrate, check out Best Bites Blog’s roundup of food and drink specials.
11905 Market St., Reston
It’s a family event in Northern Virginia as Clyde’s brings in bagpipers, moon bounces, face-painting, and other activities for kids. Saturday kicks off with the Lucky Leprechaun 5K at 8:30 AM and includes live music at 6:30.
When: Saturday, March 15
2106 Vermont Ave., NW
Between green Jell-O shooters Friday, green beer Saturday, and all-you-can-eat corned beef and cabbage ($10) Sunday, you might not even make it to Monday. Listen to bagpipers while you enjoy your Guinness ($5), and grab a free T-shirt at the door.
When: Through Monday, March 17
1333 New Hampshire Ave., NW
This spot offers a heated tent party from 10 AM to 3 AM. Enjoy Baileys and Guinness ($5) as well as specials on both domestic drafts ($2) and rail drinks ($4) that last from Friday through St. Patrick’s Day.
1423 P St., NW
You can celebrate with themed cocktails such as Emerald Isle punch ($6) all weekend, plus all-day happy hour on Monday. In addition to the cocktails, get half-price draft beers and food specials. Bonus: One lucky Irish quiz winner will receive a $50 EatWell gift card.
When: Through Monday, March 17
1813 Columbia Rd., NW
This restaurant is closed on Monday, but celebrates a day early with a special three-course dinner meal ($35) and live Gaelic music from a local guitarist. Irish beer and specialty cocktails will also be available.
When: Sunday, March 16; special dinner menu from 5:30 to 9:30
1600 K St., NW
The annual St. Patrick’s Day celebration includes a special on corned beef and cabbage ($16.90) and a performance from the DC Fire Department’s Emerald Society Pipe and Drum Corps. But the biggest reason to head there is that a $1,884 bar tab, in honor of its founding year, will be raffled off.
8707 Quarry Rd., Manassas
Want to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day a week late? Head to RFK Stadium for this annual festival, with more than 30 deejays and bands on seven stages and pub games.
When: Saturday, March 15, at 11 AM
From arts and crafts on Saturday to Irish folk tales Monday, there are events throughout the weekend specially crafted for kids. They’re capped off by a St. Patrick’s Day party for kids ages 5 to 12 at 4 on Monday.
When: Saturday, March 15, through Sunday, March 17
8707 Quarry Rd., Manassas
Head to Northern Virginia to watch Irish dancers, drummers, and other local and regional groups; afterward you’ll be in the middle of a number pubs and taverns to extend the celebration.
When: Saturday, March 15, at 11 AM
209 Boardwalk Pl., Gaithersburg
Sixty-nine different groups will stroll through Gaithersburg tomorrow, including politicians, school groups, bagpipers, and Irish organizations. The 14th annual parade is organized by the Harp & Shamrock Society of Gaithersburg.
When: Saturday, March 15, at 10 AM
More than a dozen bars, including Clarendon Ballroom, Mad Rose, and Velocity Five, are participating. Carry around your refillable shamrock mug ($20) and enjoy $2 pizza slices and different specials at each stop.
When: Saturday, March 15, from 2 to 9
1300 First St., SE
If you don’t want to leave the District, take advantage of three hours of unlimited tastings ($50) of more than 75 beers. Live entertainment and numerous Navy Yard food trucks will be available, and you get unlimited pours of two select beers.
When: Saturday, March 15, from 1 to 4 and 6 to 9
1303 Wisconsin Ave., NW
If you decide you want to feed your competitiveness along with your stomach, sign up for this free scavenger hunt in Georgetown tomorrow. Create a team of three to five other people and compete to win the interactive games that involve food and drinks.
When: Saturday, March 15, at 1
Early reports indicate the weather won’t affect the Super Bowl as much as many thought, so don’t let the cold stop you from enjoying the Super Bowl—and the commercials—as much as possible.
Whether you want Peyton Manning and the Broncos to win another Super Bowl or you’re a 12th man faithful for Seattle, we’ve rounded up all the watch parties and game-day specials we could find to make you a winner regardless of the final score.
This restaurant offers $9 food and drink specials themed around Denver and Washington. The Denver dish is pork green chili over rice; Washington’s is a smoked coho salmon, egg, and cheese bagel topped with fried onions, crème fraîche and salmon roe. Quench your thirst with a beer-and-shot combo: Seattle whiskey paired with a Denver brew.
The Connecticut Avenue game bar will give out free Buffalo wings with purchase starting at 5:30 PM until supplies last, as well as free Capitals tickets at halftime. Happy hour runs until 7, featuring select drafts, house wines, and rail liquor for $4. After 7, get $14 pitchers of Yuengling and Miller Lite.
This 19th Street spot will serve themed red, white, and blue drinks: $6 Fireball, $6 White Coffee, and $4 Blue Moon.
51st State Tavern
This New York sports team bar will have half-price wings and $6 burger baskets. After 8, Miller Lite and Coors Light are $3.75, and Jameson and Jägermeister are $5.
Enjoy 25-cent wings, $5 appetizers, and drink specials that include $10 Miller Lite and Yuengling pitchers.
Hawk & Dove
Watch the game with the Bud Light Girls, who are bringing swag and (a limited number of) free beers. The dive bar also offers $14 buckets of Budweisers or Bud Lights as well as $14 Heineken and Newcastle pitchers.
Jack Rose Dining Saloon
This Adams Morgan spot offers super chili bowls and beer bowls as well as $5 beers from two featured breweries, $5 select whiskey, and $5 spiked homemade punch.
Watch the game on one of the 22 TVs or two HD big-screens, and get there at 4 for $3.50 Budweiser bottles, $14 Bud Light pitchers, and $15 Yuengling pitchers. On the food side you’ll find $6.75 platters of jumbo chili dogs, bratwurst, and house-made beef chili.
Mad Hatter DC
Order off the $5 food menu featuring wings and nachos, and pair your snacks with a pitcher of Miller Lite ($12) or $15 Blue Moon ($15). A Miller Lite “super tube” is $25, and buckets of Miller Lite or Coors Light are $20.
This spot boasts 14 TVs and a 100-inch projector, plus a full menu of under-$10 items. Play in the flip tournament for a chance to win a $100 bar tab for a future night, and drink $4 Southern Comfort shots and $11 Bud Light pitchers.
McFadden’s Restaurant & Saloon
Once the Broncos and Seahawks have scored seven points, you can order a $7 grilled chicken sandwich or McFadden’s burger. Pitchers of Miller Lite or Coors Light are $12, and buckets of the same are $15.
All 14 of the TVs will have the sound on, and you can take advantage of specials such as 25-percent-off appetizers and $5 local beers.
Murphy’s of DC
The Irish pub will serve $4 shots and $4 16-ounce Miller Lite aluminum bottles.
Nellie’s Sports Bar
Select drinks are $4 specials, including mimosas, Nellie’s draft beer, house rail drinks, and Zing Zang Bloody Marys. Buckets of beer (Budweiser, Bud Light, and Michelob Ultra) are $15.
Big is the goal here—think a 100-inch projector screen and gallon jugs of Budweiser and Bud Light for $25. Jell-O shots colored for both teams are $1, and the buffet of wings, pulled pork, and a nacho bar is $17. You can also take your drinks out to the heated deck, which is equipped with a couple of TVs.
Grab some of the free popcorn to go along with your beer pitcher: $12 for Bud Light, $14 for Yuengling, or $16 for craft brews.
Public Bar (Dupont and Tenley)
Specials include 20 wings and a bucket of five beers for $25, PBR cans for $2, $3 Miller Lite and Coors Light, $4 Peroni and Blue Moon, and $5 vodka-Red Bull.
Wings and burgers are half off, and rail drinks and domestic beers are $3.30.
Town Tavern DC
The 15 HDTVs will be supplemented with surround sound, and you’ll find $3 domestic beers, $10 Bud Light pitchers, and $12 wing-and-pitcher combos.
201 Bar/Union Pub
Denver and Seattle may be fighting for the Lombardi trophy, but these two are teaming up to bring you 22 minutes of free beer. At 201 Bar you’ll get $5 Redhook Audible Ale from the state of Washington; Union Pub will serve $5 Major Tom’s American Wheat from Denver. Those drinks at both places will be free from 6 until the 6:22 scheduled kickoff time.
Ventnor Sports Cafe
The Adams Morgan spot will do a Colorado and Pacific Northwest Tap Takeover featuring Great Divide, Oskar Blues, Elysian, and Redhook. There’ll also be themed food from both places.
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.