Things to Do

Best Things to Do in the DC Area 11/14-11/20: Holiday Lights, Macy’s Holiday Windows, and Michelle Obama’s Book Tour

Plus, a holiday caravan with free train rides and photos with Santa.

Chicago will have its local opening this week. Photograph by Jeremy Daniel.

Happy Monday, everyone!

‘Tis the season to get into the holiday spirit. The area is gearing up to glimmer and shine for the holidays, and that means there are light shows, Instagram-worthy holiday displays, new winter stage plays, and more cool seasonal things to do this week.


Best Things to Do This Week

  1. DC Holiday Lights. DC neighborhoods are banding together to light up the city. From now through the start of January, you can stroll through participating corridors and be immersed in holiday attractions and decor. Plus, you can cast a vote for the best decorated neighborhood (Starting Fri, free, various locations).
  2. Macy’s Holiday Window Unveiling. A New York tradition as old as 1889 has made its way to DC. Macy’s department store will reveal the 2022 animated holiday window design along the G Street side of its building between 12th and 13th streets, NW, for all to see. Visitors to the new display can expect a holiday party featuring a WHUR 96.3 DJ, dance, face painting, balloon art, a stuffed-bear station, holiday characters including Santa, and sweets to eat (Wed, free, Downtown).
  3. Michelle Obama book tour. This is a must-see event. Former First Lady Michelle Obama will talk about her new book, The Light We Carry, this week at the Warner Theater. The show is selling out fast. The conversation will be moderated by Ellen DeGeneres and Elizabeth Alexander (Tues-Thurs, $249+, Warner Theatre).
  4. Art Walk Dupont. Calling all art lovers: You can take a self-guided walk through Dupont Circle to see a number of art installations and crafted creations at several galleries. The evening will include live music and an artist talk with Ric Gracia. Wine and refreshments will be served at the exhibition talk at IA&A at Hillyer (Thurs, free, Dupont Circle).
  5. “Chicago,” the musical. Razzle-dazzle at the local opening of Broadway’s Chicago. The popular musical has been electrifying stages for 25 years. Invite a friend and get tickets to experience “all that jazz” (Starting Tues, $55+, The National Theatre).
Book cover courtesy of Penguin Random House.

Want More Things to Do?

Budget-friendly. Spend the evening with beer historian and travel writer Ronald Pattinson (Wed, free, Northwest DC). Cuffing season is here, and the the Rosslyn BID is helping singles get ready to find a new boo. Update your profile picture, learn dating tips from an expert, and mingle with fellow singles (Wed, $10 in advance, Rosslyn).

Arts and culture. Observe the impact of the 1945 bombing of Hiroshima at the “Jacob Lawrence and the Children of Hiroshima(Tues-Sun, $16, 18 years old and younger are free, Northwest DC). View the opening of the new exhibit, “A Splendid Land: Paintings from Royal Udaipur(Starting Sat, free, Smithsonian National Museum of Asian Art). Don’t miss scholar Julia Bryan-Wilson as she highlights the embellishment works of women of color (Wed, free, virtual, Smithsonian American Art Museum). See a display of the 2022 Portrait of a Nation Award honorees celebrating change-makers such as, José Andrés, Anthony S. Fauci, Serena Williams, Venus Williams, and others  (Mon-Sun, free, Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery). Are you a fan of poetry? If yes, you’ll have a good time at this Politics & Prose discussion with former Poet Laureate of the U.S. Billy Collins (Mon, free, book is $26, virtual).

Theater and shows. Catch comedian Alex Edelman’s third solo show, Just For Us (starting Wed, $5+, Northwest DC). Bring the entire family to the world premiere of The Day You Begin based on Jacqueline Woodson’s most popular picture books (starting Sat, $20, Kennedy Center). The classic tale of Ebenezer Scrooge is premiering this week at the oldest theater in DC. See actor Craig Wallace in A Christmas Carol (starting Fri, $30, Ford’s Theatre).

History and heritage. Join A Conversation on Indigenous Knowledge and Heritage (Tues, free, virtual). Hear about the experiences of an “underground astronaut (Thurs, free, virtual) or how the pandemic affected artists and their practices (Thurs, free, virtual). Celebrate the end of wine harvest at the Embassy of France with an open bar, live music, and cooking demonstrations (Sat, $149+, Northwest DC). Taste different types of pickles and make fresh sauerkraut to take home and save for Thanksgiving dinner (Wed, $18, Dupont Circle).

Music and concerts. Make history at a live concert featuring artist, DJ, and photographer D-Nice. He will be the first DJ and hip-hop artist to headline the Kennedy Center Opera House (Sat, $189+, Kennedy Center). Groove to local musician Jru Anthony at Union Stage with singer Leven Kali (Tues, $20, Southwest DC). DC native Amadou Kouyate performs with guitarist and composer Eli Winter (Mon, $10+, Northwest DC). If you’re looking for something different than bar karaoke, then try music trivia at Songbyrd (Mon, free, Northeast DC). DC musician Jim Thomson is hosting Ethiopian Ensemble Qwanqwa in concert (Mon, $18, Capitol Hill).

Holiday fun. There’s no need to buy a wreath this year when you can make your own in Franklin Park. Design a custom arrangement with local flower truck Blue Ribbon Floral (Wed, free, Downtown). Santa is rolling into town with his illuminated 18-wheel truck and special helpers to kick off the Holiday Caravan. The family-friendly event will include a candy, toys, and Coca-Cola products giveaway, as well as photos with Mr. Claus (Wed, free, Downtown).

Movies and sports. Cheer on Team USA Men’s Basketball in their final FIBA World Cup qualifying game against Colombia (Mon, $10+, Entertainment & Sports Arena). African Ancestry and Mahogany Books is hosting a private screening of the new hit film, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever; there will be trivia and prizes (Mon, $18, Northeast DC). Attend the premiere movie screening of Limitless (Wed, free, Northwest DC).

Get involved. Help support our recently resettled neighbors at a storytelling and fundraising night. Guests will listen to narratives from refugees and their allies. The proceeds will benefit Homes Not Borders (Tues, $30, Southeast DC).

If you enjoyed these events, don’t forget to share this post with a friend on social media, and sign-up for our newsletter for more things to do.

Briana A. Thomas is a local journalist, historian, and tour guide who specializes in the research of D.C. history and culture. She is the author of the Black history book, Black Broadway in Washington, D.C., a story that was first published in Washingtonian in 2016.