Things to Do

Things to Do in DC This Holiday Week & Weekend (November 25-December 1): Thanksgiving Fun, ZooLights, and the Second City

See the holiday show “Season's Greenings: America's Gardens!” at the US Botanic Garden from November 28 to January 5. Photograph courtesy of the US Botanic Garden.


BOOKS Thanksgiving week is the perfect time to daydream about eating, which is how New York magazine restaurant critic Adam Platt has made his living for decades. In his new memoir, The Book of Eating: Adventures in Professional Gluttony, he recounts trying new cuisines as a child and reflects on some of his most memorable moments as a restaurant critic. Platt will be in conversation with The Atlantic’s senior editor and food columnist Corby Kummer at Politics & Prose. Free, 7 PM.

LECTURE Learn tidbits of the history of American cooking from Allen Pietrobon, assistant professor of global affairs at Trinity Washington University, at a Profs & Pints lecture at the Bier Baron Tavern. Pietrobon will discuss how American cuisine went from being admired in the early 1900s to ridiculed for the obsession with fast food by the end of the century, as well as the evolution of our cuisine, like the advent of TV dinners. $12 in advance or $15 at the door, 6 PM.


FILM Sci-fi comedy Galaxy Quest was released in 1999; to mark its 20-year anniversary, a new documentary about the film is being released. Never Surrender: A Galaxy Quest Documentary features interviews with members of the cast (Sigourney Weaver, Tim Allen, Tony Shalhoub), the director (Dean Parisot), and Star Trek stars Wil Wheaton and Brent Spiner. It delves into how the film became such a fan favorite and the culture of sci-fi movies since the late 1990s. The film debuts at multiple area theaters on one single night; prices vary by location. 7 PM.

FILM French director Michel Gondry is known for his Academy Award-winning Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. One of his more recent films, Mood Indigo, is a similarly surreal love story. A young couple struggles with dwindling health and wealth as their friendships become darker and bleaker as the film progresses. Mood Indigo will screen at the Embassy of France. Free (registration required), 7 PM.


MUSEUMS The Smithsonian American Art Museum will show more than 150 paintings and personal effects of Japanese American artist Chiura Obata, who is best-known for his images of the American West. Obata spent time in incarceration camps during World War II, creating art schools to help fellow prisoners; his work often reflects his personal struggles as an immigrant. The exhibit “Chiura Obata: American Modern” is open through May 25.

MUSEUMS American painter Thomas Wilmer Dewing‘s trademark works focused on aristocratic women lost in thought, but these passive images are at odds with his lifestyle of vibrant social outings. A new exhibit at the Freer|Sackler Galleries, “Dewing’s Poetic World,” shows archival photographs of his life and influences, including his friendship with Charles Lang Freer. Through November 2020.


PLANTS Travel through botanic gardens across the United States at the US Botanic Garden’s holiday show, “Season’s Greenings: America’s Gardens!” The show will recreate iconic garden scenes—look for Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s vibrant red Japanese torii gate—and will also fill the conservatory with a showcase of poinsettia varieties. Through January 5. Free, 10 AM to 5 PM (open until 8 PM on select Tuesday and Thursday evenings with live music performances).

RUN/WALK Before gobbling down dinner on Thanksgiving, spend the morning with SOME’s Trot for Hunger starting at Freedom Plaza. Run or walk 5K (3.1 miles) to help provide DC residents in need with food, housing, and access to healthcare; kids can participate in a “One Mile Little Turkey Fun Run.” Kids’ race: 8:30 AM, $15. 5K: 9 AM (timed) or 9:15 AM (untimed), $40-$50.


ZOO The annual holiday light extravaganza ZooLights opens at the National Zoo with 500,000 LED lights illuminating the property. New features for 2019 include 25 animal lanterns and an interactive (and Instagrammable) art exhibit called “Entre Les Rangs” with a swaying field of lights. There will be different musical performers almost every night for the holiday mood. Through January 1.

MUSIC Actor Mandy Patinkinwhom you might remember as the character Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bridewill perform music at the National Theatre. This family-friendly show will feature Broadway songs, favorite American tunes (Harry Chapin, Rufus Wainwright), and songs from Patinkin’s own solo albums. $65-$125, 8 PM.


SHOPPING Spend “Small Business Saturday” at DC Brau for the brewery’s annual Holiday Market. Browse the wares of more than 40 regional artisans selling clothing, home goods, art, jewelry, and more. In addition to Brau’s beer (and yes, you can pick up to-go cans of their new hard seltzers), there will be food trucks and live music. Free to attend, 1 to 5 PM.

MUSIC Holiday music doesn’t need instrumental accompaniment: the large-format barbershop chorus The Alexandria Harmonizers will present “Holidays in Harmony” at Strathmore’s Music Center. Hear classic and contemporary holiday tunes in the Harmonizers’ four-part harmony with the group’s signature flair and joy. Two other all-vocal groups, Vocal Spectrum and James Hubert Blake High School chorus A CAPPELLA, will also perform. $29-$59, 4 PM.


COMEDY The Second City will present another all-female performance, She the People: The Resistance Continues!, at Woolly Mammoth. Expect satires of the reality of being a woman and commentary on the 2020 election, with opportunities for audience participation. Through January 5. $20-$109.

FILM The 1925 silent drama Stella Dallas follows a small-town girl who marries above her class, then devotes her efforts to ensuring the success and social status of their daughter. The film will be shown with live musical accompaniment by silent film musician Andrew Earle Simpson at the Atlas Performing Arts Center. $14-$20, 4 PM.