Things to Do

Best Things to Do in the DC Area 11/23-11/27: Georgetown GLOW, CityCenter Tree Lighting, and a Holiday Parade

Plus, places to shop on Small Business Saturday.

Capitol Hill Christmas Tree Lighting. Photograph by Sam Kittner/Capitol Hill BID.

Happy Thanksgiving-eve, everyone!

While you are spending time with loved ones this holiday weekend you can see colorful light-art indoors and out at a couple of new displays, or you can listen to music and load up on warm drinks at a whimsical tree-lighting ceremony.


Best Things to Do This Weekend

  1. CityCenterDC Holiday Tree Lighting. You’re going to want to see this oversized 75-foot tree embellished with more than 150,000 lights and 4,500 ornaments at CityCenter’s Ninth Annual Holiday Tree Lighting Celebration. NBC 4 news anchor Eun Yang will host the event and there will be a special performance by dance band The Revels. The party will continue with face painting, balloon art, and more food and frosty fun for everyone (Sat, free, Downtown).
  2. Georgetown GLOW. The ultimate outdoor light-art experience opens this weekend and will run through January. Georgetown GLOW features the interactive work of five artists ranging from illuminated butterflies to Instagram-worthy cloud-inspired swings. The program includes 30 suggested walking tours, GLOW-themed yoga and Pilates, a silent disco, and late-night shopping (starting Sat, free, Georgetown).
  3. Holiday parade. If you are looking for a holiday parade to enjoy with the family, then head to Reston Town Center. Mr. and Mrs. Claus will arrive in a horse-drawn carriage; later, they’ll be back for the evening tree lighting (Fri, free, Reston).
  4. Shop a Small Saturday market. Skip the Black Friday madness and support local vendors and small businesses this weekend at a pop-up market at Compass Rose. The restaurant’s train car patio will be stocked with art, holiday cards, plants, and more local goodies for sale. Also, food vendors and a donation-based wine tasting will be onsite (Sat, free, Northwest DC).
  5. Capitol Hill Christmas Tree Lighting. Another major tree lighting celebration is happening in DC this weekend. Guests can indulge in hot chocolate and doughnuts, while local musical groups, such as the Washington Youth Choir, perform the season’s carols at Capitol Hill’s 16th annual festival. The masters of ceremonies will be talk radio hosts Kojo Nnamdi and Tom Sherwood (Sat, free, Capitol Hill).
  6. “Spectacular Factory.” Take a multiverse stroll through Artechouse’s latest holiday attraction, “Spectacular Factory.” You can stop by the bar for a virtual reality drink experience, and then enter into a imaginary world filled with holiday-themed digital surprises (Thurs-Sun, $25, Southwest DC).


The “Spectacular Factory” at Artechouse. Photograph courtesy of Artechouse.

Want More Things to Do?

Budget-friendly. Work off Thanksgiving pie on a group bike ride (Fri, free, Northwest DC). Shop and play at District Motherhued’s holiday market supporting Black and Brown businesses (Sat, free, Northeast DC).

Arts and culture. Go on an American Sign Language guided exploration through the National Portrait Gallery’s collection of Indigenous Americans’ portraits (Sat, free, National Portrait Gallery).

Theater and shows. It’s the last chance to razzle-dazzle with the cast of the Broadway showstopper Chicago (Wed, Fri-Sun, $55+, The National Theatre). The Kansas City Ballet presents The Nutcracker (Wed, Fri-Sun, $49+, Kennedy Center). See the kid-friendly theatrical adaptation of the TV series Bluey (Wed, Fri-Sun, $29+, Kennedy Center). Smile through the Thanksgiving weekend craze with comedian and DMV native Donnell Rawlings (Fri-Sun, $40, Northwest DC) or at the Giving Thanks Comedy Jam (Thurs, $15, Northwest DC). You will laugh and possibly shed a loving tear at this modern take on Shakespeare’s romantic comedy, Much Ado About Nothing (Wed, Fri-Sun, $59+, Northwest DC).

World Cup. Soccer podcast Men in Blazers is covering the World Cup USA vs. England game results live at Capital Turnaround (Sat, $30+, Southeast DC). Go to the “World Cup Headquarters,” better known as Wunder Garten, to root team USA to victory (Fri, free, Northeast DC).

History and heritage. Honor Native American Heritage Day at the museum with five-time world champion hoop dancer Tony Duncan. Attendees will learn the history and cultural meaning of hoop dancing (Fri, free, National Museum of the American Indian). Watch Indigenous movies, music videos, documentaries, and family-friendly shorts on-demand before the Native Cinema Showcase ends (Wed-Fri, free, virtual).

Music and concerts. Dance the night away at Yum! A Benefit for DC Central Kitchen (Sat, $20, Northwest DC). Get tickets to see R&B singer Chrisette Michele live in concert at City Winery (Sat, $58+, Northeast DC). The Ingrid Michaelson Trio wants to remind us that It’s Almost Christmas (Sat, $55, Lincoln Theatre). Swing to the tunes played by jazz band The Eric Byrd Trio at their Christmas show (Sun, $15+, Downtown). It’s a Culture Fusion Fest at Union Stage (Sun, $20, Southwest DC).

Holiday festivals and fun. Ice-skating season has arrived; skate at the Wharf and sip on hot apple cider (Thurs-Sun, $13 for adults, $10 for youth, Wharf) or go to the Ice Rink at the Sculpture Garden (starting Sat, $12 for adults, $9 for children younger than 12-years old). Take the kids to the Bull Run Festival of Lights (Wed-Sun, $30+, Centreville). Or, make your way to the kick-off of Prince George’s County Festival of Lights; horse drawn carriage rides are an option (starting Fri, $10+, Upper Marlboro). Bring your pups to the Thanksgiving Barks & Brews Festival. Your furry friends can play at the dog park while you sample beer and wine from local vendors; there’s yard games for kids, live music, and food as well (Sat, free, McLean).

Get involved. Turkey Trot through the heart of Del Rey. Racers are encouraged to donate non-perishable goods to ALIVE! (Thurs, $20+, Alexandria).

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.