Things to Do

25 Offbeat Things To Do In DC Around The Holidays

Photo via iStock.

As the holidays near, these concerts, markets, and other events to check out across town will get you in the spirit.

Waterskiing Santa

Alexandria waterfront, December 24

Santa ditches the sled for a river ride. Free.

Kwanzaa Celebration

Anacostia Community Museum, December 26–28

Three full days of activities. Free.

Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington Holiday Show

Lincoln Theatre, December 9 and 16–17

Expect a rousing rendition of “I Should Have Been a North Pole Elf.” $25 to $65.

National Menorah Lighting

White House Ellipse, December 12

Will Javanka do the honors? Free.

Washington Ballet: The Nutcracker

Warner Theatre, December 1–24

A DC-set version of the classic. $30 to $120.

Wreaths Across America

Arlington National Cemetery, December 16

Volunteers decorate vets’ graves. Free.


Heurich House Castle Garden, December 1–3

The lovely courtyard of this historic house hosts a traditional market. $2 to $10.

Step Afrika! Magical Musical Holiday Step Show

Atlas Performing Arts Center, December 15–30

Step dancing with a seasonal spin. $18 to $45.

Swedish Christmas Bazaar

House of Sweden, December 2

Mmm, princesstårta cake. Free.


The Anthem, December 9

Her recent album is (mostly) Xmas songs. $64.50 to $84.50.

Downtown Holiday Market

Eighth and F Sts., NW, November 24–December 23

Local artists and live music. Free.

Holiday lecture

Library of Congress, December 7

NASA scientist Miguel O. Román discusses energy use during this much-lit time of year. Free.

US Navy Band Holiday Concert

DAR Constitution Hall, December 16–17

Washington’s most shipshape ensemble. Free.

The Hip Hop Nutcracker

Strathmore, December 12–13

Tchaikovsky with breakdancing. $28 to $58.

NSO Pops: “Handel’s Messiah: A Soulful Celebration”

Kennedy Center, December 20

Mervyn Warren, who produced an R&B version of Messiah, joins the National Symphony Orchestra. $29 to $79.

A Christmas Carol

Ford’s Theatre, November 16–December 31

Ford’s has staged this for 35-plus years, so you can visit both the Ghost of Christmas Past and the ghost of A Christmas Carol productions past. $32 to $105.

My So-Called Jewish Life

Sixth & I, December 19

Storyteller Amy Saidman hosts a Hanukkah share session. $20 to $25.

Trans-Siberian Orchestra

Capital One Arena, December 14

Still doing its thing despite the death of its founder this year. $47 to $88.

Holiday Market

Eastern Market, December 3, 10, 17, and 19

A gold mine for gifts. Free.

Turtle Island Quartet With Liz Carroll

National Gallery of Art, December 17

The string quartet teams up with an Irish fiddler for some holiday bow action. Free.

An Operetta Holiday

GALA Hispanic Theater, December 6 and 9–10

This show includes music from Franz Lehár’s The Merry Widow, which contains a couplet that some might find seasonally appropriate: “I refresh my jaded brain / With little suppers and Champagne.” $22 to $45.

NPR’s A Jazz Piano Christmas

Kennedy Center, December 9

Past participants have included Ellis Marsalis and Carla Bley. $55 to $70.

Holiday Boat Parade of Lights

Alexandria Marina, December 2

Excited to watch Christmas-light-decorated watercraft compete for top honors in this annual event? Whatever floats your boat. Free.

Kwanzaa Celebration

Dance Place, December 16–17

Coyaba Dance Theater celebrates Kwanzaa and its own 20th anniversary. $15 to $30.

A John Waters Christmas

The Birchmere, December 21

The director’s guide to surviving the season. $55.

This article appears in the December 2017 issue of Washingtonian.

Editorial Fellow

Nehal joined Washingtonian as an editorial fellow in fall 2017. She enjoys all things food, arts, culture, and health and is always looking out for new trends. This past May she graduated from Johns Hopkins with a degree in creative writing and a minor in photography. She lives in Foggy Bottom.