Things to Do

See Luxury Textiles, Decorate Cookies, and Shop Minority-Owned Holiday Markets: Last-Minute DC-Area Weekend Ideas 12/16-12/19

Plus what is open Christmas Day!

Photograph by Jade Womack.

Happy Thursday,

Here are some last-minute, low-commitment ideas for this warm, wet, and chilly weekend. 

For this week’s “What’s on our radar?” we are highlighting things to do on Christmas Day.

If you are looking for a round-up of the 80+ events this entire week, check out Monday’s newsletter. For a round-up of seasonal events, we are also regularly updating the holiday guide.


 So, What Should You Do Dec 16-19?

For your convenience, this newsletter includes emojis to help you during these unprecedented times: 

  • The 🛋 indicates an event is happening in-person inside.
  • The 🌲 indicates an event is happening in-person outside
  • The 💻 indicates an event is happening virtually. 
  • And lastly, the 🆓 indicates an event is free. 


Your Last-Minute Weekend Plans

1. Hockey 🤝 Ice Skating. 🏒 The Washington Capitals are taking over the Wharf rink with themed smores and decor. Come join fellow hockey fans for Caps gear giveaways. (Fri, 🆓 entry and $5 off skate rental if wearing Caps gear, 🌲, Wharf).

2. Help Lay Over 400,000 Wreaths. Volunteer to lay wreaths at Arlington National Cemetery as part of Wreaths Across America. You must pre-register for a specific entrance gate and entrance time. (Sat, 🆓 entry, but pre-registration required, 🌲, Arlington). 

3. A Sample Sale and Clothing Drive. 👚 Common Thread is closing and celebrating all weekend (Sat, Sun, 🛋, Union Market).

4. Luxury Textiles in Iran. 🇮🇷 The ‘Fashioning an Empire: Safavid Textiles from the Museum of Islamic Art, Doha’ exhibit opens this weekend at the Asian Art Museum.  The exhibit uncovers how in the seventeenth century, these textiles became the most lucrative economic commodity in Iran and were exported by land and sea to both Europe and the East, generating tremendous wealth and prosperity for the Safavid Empire. (starts Sat, 🆓 entry, 🛋, National Mall) 

5. Immigrant and First-Generation Comedians. The “Comedy as a Second Language” has returned to Busboys and Poets. (Thurs, $10, 🛋, Takoma) 

6. Decorate Cookies. 🍪 Jackie is hosting a cookie-decorating party (Sun, $45, 🛋, Navy Yard) that features 3 cookies and a flight of 3 cocktails. Firefly is hosting a holiday gingerbread-house workshop (Sun, $45-$60+, 🛋, Dupont Circle) featuring an adult option with unlimited cocktails and a kids option with unlimited mocktails. 

7. Pop-Up Markets Popping Up Everywhere. 🛍 Continue your seasonal shopping at these pop-up markets around the DMV: 

    • DC: Support Asian-owned businesses at SAMASAMA (Sat, 🆓 entry, 🌲, Edgewood). There’s two Black-owned holiday markets this weekend, the Umoja Market (Sat-Sun, 🆓 entry, 🌲/🛋, Anacostia) and the Black Owned Holiday Market (Sat, 🆓 entry, 🌲/🛋, 14th St.). 
    • Virginia:  Explore the holiday market at National Landing (Sat-Sun, 🆓 entry, 🌲, Arlington).

8. Holiday-Themed Fun. 🎁 Catch the breathtaking acrobat performances of Cirque Dreams Holidaze (Thurs-Sun, $23+, 🛋, National Harbor) or enjoy a Holiday Spectrum Drag Show (Fri, 🆓 entry bring cash for tips, 🛋, Union Market). Or dress up as Santa and head to WINTERFEST (Sat, 🆓 entry, 🌲, Union Market). You can watch one of your family holiday movies too such as Love Actually at The Stacks (Fri, $20 per car, 🌲, The Stacks), Elf (Fri, Sun, $8 for adults, 🛋, Capitol Hill), or It’s A Wonderful Life (Fri, Sat, $8 for adults, 🛋, Capitol Hill).


What Is On Our Radar:What’s Open Christmas Day?’

Here are some ideas for things to do on December 25.  If you’re looking for a place to catch a meal, here’s an article about some festive ideas.

  • Tour George Washington’s Home. 🏡  Mount Vernon is open 365 days a year. 
  • Get Enchanted. ⛄ Visit Enchant Christmas and their holiday light maze starting at 4:30 p.m.
  • The Monuments. 🏛 The National Mall’s monuments are always open! My tip is to go to the base of the Washington Monument at night–from there, you can see the Capitol, Lincoln Memorial, and White House! 
  • Take a Hike. 🌳 Enjoy Rock Creek Park and Theodore Roosevelt Island. 
  • Stop by the National Christmas Tree. 🎄 The National Christmas Tree will be open for visitors till 11 p.m. 
  • Go Ice Skating. ⛸ The Canal Park, Washington Harbour, and Wharf rink will be open. 

Thanks for reading! 

Your Neighbor,

Jade (@clockoutdc)

Jade Womack is an energy economist by day, and an events blogger by night. She started her blog, Clockout DC, when she was moonlighting as a bartender in 2019. She grew up in Arlington, and currently lives in Adams Morgan with her dog.