Things to Do

Things to Do in DC This Weekend (November 29-December 2): Janelle Monáe and John Krasinski at the Smithsonian Ingenuity Festival, a Scottish Christmas Walk, and Holiday Pop-Up Shops

Watch the Scottish Christmas Walk Parade in Old Town Alexandria this Saturday. Photo by R Nowitz.


DANCE The Washington Ballet presents its 15th anniversary run of Nutcracker at the Warner Theatre. While the production still uses the classic Tchaikovsky score, it also has a very DC spin: The story begins in a Georgetown mansion and features a George Washington nutcracker and dancing cherry blossoms throughout the night. Through December 28. Note that November 29 is a Preview Night. $32-$200.

FESTIVAL Smithsonian magazine is hosting its second Smithsonian Ingenuity Festival to celebrate the honorees of its American Ingenuity Awards. At Smithsonian museums across DC, look for events with A Quiet Place’s John Krasinski (12/5, American Art Museum), musicians Janelle Monáe and Christian McBride (12/5, National Museum of African American History and Culture), and actor John Leguizamo (12/6, National Museum of American History). Beyond the celebrity talks, there are plenty of hands-on lectures and events for kids: the National Museum of Natural History is hosting several sessions about tarantulas and fun molecular biology activities to learn about DNA. The festival’s full schedule also includes several concerts at Pearl Street Warehouse and the Lincoln Theatre. Through December 9. Most events are free; concert prices vary.


FILM AFI’s European Union Film Showcase at AFI Silver presents 49 films from 25 EU member states, including eight US premieres and 12 films in the running for this year’s Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. The festival opens on Friday with the Polish film Cold War from Oscar-winning director Paweł Pawlikowski. You can also catch screenings of notable Oscar nominees Girl (Belgium), Dogman (Italy), and Winter Flies (Czech Republic). Through December 19. $15 (single screening tickets) or $200 (full festival passport).

MUSIC Local thrash metal band Deceased was planning on celebrating the release of its new album Ghostly White with a show at Dangerous Pies DC (the new concert space above Dangerously Delicious Pies). Unfortunately, the band’s drummer Dave Castillo passed away earlier this month, so the concert has been turned into a tribute show to his memory. Instead of Deceased, Virginia Beach death/thrash band The Day of the Beast will headline the show, and locals Sloth Herder and Sickdeer will also perform. $10, 9 PM.


PARADE Did you know that Alexandria was established by three Scottish merchants? Celebrating its heritage, Old Town Alexandria will kick off the holiday season with the 48th annual Campagna Center Scottish Christmas Walk Weekend & Parade. Dozens of Scotsmen and women will take to the streets in their colorful tartans, accompanied by bagpipe and drum music. The parade starts at St. Asaph and Wolfe Streets and finishes at Market Square. After the walk, take your own stroll through some of Alexandria’s finest houses in its Holiday Home Tour. Later that evening, head to the waterfront for the Alexandria Holiday Boat Parade of Lights. As the sun sets, dozens of brightly-lit boats will cruise the Potomac; pop by the Alexandria City Marina early for events such as a hot chocolate bar and a pop-up Port City beer garden. Scottish Christmas Walk: Free, 11 AM. Home tours: $40, 12:30 PM. Boat Parade of Lights: Free, 5:30 PM (festivities at the marina from 4 to 8 PM).

LIGHTS 10 commissioned works by 16 artists will light up Georgetown for the fifth edition of Georgetown GLOW. Wander the neighborhood to find all the lit up art installations or join one of the many GLOW-inspired walking tours. In conjunction with GLOW, Georgetown is hosting a “GLOW All Night” shopping event on December 7th where stores will be open until 9 PM with pop-up shops and trunk shows. On the same night, Georgetown Galleries on Book Hill will participate in a Winter Art Walk; each gallery  will feature a neon or lighted art piece in its window. GLOW: Through January 6. Free (walking tour prices vary), 5 PM – 10 PM.

SHOPPING Three great markets where you can start chipping away at your holiday gift list:

  • Quirky arts and crafts market GRUMP returns to Rosslyn this year. Check out 45 vendors at SPACES (the former Artisphere location) to find handmade items like a crocheted Ruth Bader Ginsburg doll (Hooked & Loopy), journals with LEGO-board covers (Moonlight Bindery), or a t-shirt with Medusa as a cyborg (Spaghetti Kiss). Free, noon to 6 PM. (Note: GRUMP will also be at ZooLights 12/7-12/9).
  • Find Swedish and Scandinavian goods at the House of Sweden’s SWEA Christmas Bazaar in Georgetown. Enjoy Swedish delicacies such as the mulled wine glögg as you peruse crafts and textiles. The event concludes with traditional caroling in the St. Lucia Procession. Free, 11 AM to 4:30 PM (indoors) or 6 PM (outdoors).
  • The National Museum of the American Indian is hosting a Native Art Market offering traditional and contemporary items made by Native American artists. Over 30 different artists will feature jewelry, beadwork, sculptures, textiles, and more. Through December 2. Free, 10 AM to 5:30 PM.

BASEBALL If you’re missing the summery sport, check out the Nationals Winterfest at Nationals Park. Tour the clubhouse, get autographs, and pitch in the bullpen—or go for another sport altogether and try your hand at curling. Through December 2. $39 (adults) or $29 (children), 11:30 AM to 4 PM.

COOKING Foodies should head over to the Walter E. Washington Convention Center for the annual MetroCookingDC show. Emeril Lagasse headlines and other guests include chef Jacques Pepin, Skinnygirl founder Bethenny Frankel, and cookbook author Carla Hall (see the full list here). Shop for food and cooking items, watch demonstrations, or take classes at Sur La Table’s Pop-Up Cooking School. Through December 2. Admission is $21.50 (classes cost extra), 10 AM both days.


MUSIC Grammy award-winning singing group Pentatonix has just released a new holiday album, Christmas Is Here! While it includes some offbeat holiday tunes (like The Nightmare Before Christmas‘s “Making Christmas”), their two shows at The Anthem will feature harmony-laden versions of caroling classics “Let It Snow,” “Jingle Bells,” and “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.” Through December 3. $59.50 – $149.50, 5:30 PM.

MENORAH Celebrate Hanukkah on the Ellipse with the National Menorah lighting on Sunday afternoon. In addition to a performance by the U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own,” enjoy hot latkes and donuts to kick off the Jewish Festival of Lights. Free to attend (registration required), 4 PM (gates at 3 PM).


OUR PARTY Sip the night away at Washingtonian’s Winter Wine Classic at AJAX. The Après Ski-themed event features live music, light bites, and varietals from an array of winemakers including local favorites like City Winery, Summer Sessions, District Winery, and Grape Intentions. Get tickets here.