Things to Do

Best Things to Do in the DC Area 12/8-12/11: Step Afrika!’s Holiday Show, Kennedy Center Holiday Market, and Wicked

Plus, a number of places to have breakfast with Santa.

Photograph of Step Afrika!’s "Magical Musical Holiday Step Show" courtesy of Step Afrika!.

Happy Thursday, everyone!

You can stay warm indoors and enjoy a lively step show or embrace the sweater weather outdoors at a holiday pop-up market. Whichever you choose, you’re bound to have a great time.


Best Things to Do This Weekend

  1. Step Afrika!’s “Magical Musical Holiday Step Show.” You don’t want to miss DC’s very own Step Afrika dance in the holiday spirit live at Arena Stage. The show will include all of your favorite holiday characters from the Arctic Kingdom and music by DJ Nutcracker (starting Fri, $56+, Southwest DC).
  2. Victura Park holiday market. The outdoor community space at the REACH is transforming into a holiday market. Guests can shop for holiday gifts from local craftspeople, vendors, and artists at Victura Park for two weekends in a row through December 18. Seasonal bites, hot chocolate, and spiked cider will be available, plus a a s’mores station (starting Sat, free, Kennedy Center).
  3. “Wicked.” The Broadway tale of the witches of Oz, Wicked, takes center stage this weekend. Journey to the land of Oz to discover the musical narrative of what the mythical land was like before Dorothy came strutting along the yellow brick road in her red sparkly heels (starting Thurs, $59+, Kennedy Center).
  4. Maryland holiday market. Check out the local makers and vendors at the merry market at Aster College Park’s new skybridge and lounge. You can bring your pets, too, to capture a holiday portrait of them. There will also be hot cocoa, festive cookies, and personalized ornaments (Thurs, free, College Park).
Jennafer Newberry as Glinda and Lissa deGuzman as Elphaba in the National Tour of WICKED. Photograph by Joan Marcus.

Want More Things to Do?

Budget-friendly. Walk through a holiday wonderland of oversized ornaments, stylish trees, a colossal snowman, and a 15-foot snow globe (through Jan. 15, free, MGM National Harbor).

Arts and culture. Browse the McLean Project for the Arts’ latest winter exhibitions at the opening reception (Fri, free, McLean). Calling all writers: practice your penmanship at a creative writing workshop (Thurs, pay what you can, virtual). Make your own ugly holiday sweater at Union Market (Sat, $40, Northeast DC). Shop baked goods, candles, dog treats, and more gift items while listening to live music (Thurs, free, Navy Yard).

Theater and shows. Attend the 40th annual Christmas Revels and experience a 19th-century story of holiday music and dance (Sat-Sun, $12+, Northwest DC). Explore a piece of Underground Railroad history in Mexodus (Sat-Sun, $15, Northeast DC). Experience the live musical adaptation of the book The Children of Willesden Lane with pianist Mona Golabek (Thurs-Sun, $65, Northwest DC). Get tickets to a movie party at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema for a screening of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (Sun, $16+, Northeast DC, Arlington). Laugh with comedian Matt Braunger (Sat, free, Kennedy Center) or at Turaath Night featuring six comics (Thurs, $45, Northwest DC).

History and heritage. Make your way to Virginia for a candlelit guided tour and learn about 18th-century holiday traditions (Fri-Sat, $18+, Mount Vernon); you can meet Aladdin the Christmas Camel, too (Thurs-Sun, $15+, Mount Vernon). Shop African arts, home decor, jewelry, and textiles at the Luangisa African Holiday Show & Tour (Sat-Sun, $26+, Northwest DC). Learn what Christmas was like during World War II (Thurs, free, National Mall). Join a discussion with the Smithsonian about social justice (Thurs, free, virtual). Bring the kids to Explore Kwanzaa (Sat, free, Anacostia).

Fun with Santa. Partake in a magical breakfast with Mr. Claus at Ada’s on the River (Sat-Sun, $65, Alexandria), Mia’s Italian Kitchen (Sat-Sun, $57, Alexandria), or at Theismann’s Restaurant (Sat-Sun, $53, Alexandria). Don’t leave your pets out of the holiday cheer: Bring your furry friends to Santa Paws Yappy Hour (Fri, free, Rosslyn). Fulfill your shopping wish list at a holiday market showcasing local vendors; there will be live music, story time for kids, hot chocolate, and complimentary gift wrapping (Sat-Sun, free, Rosslyn). Santa likes brunch too. Visit Old Saint Nick at the Watermark Hotel (Sun, $29+, free for children younger than 5 years old, Tysons).

Music and concerts. Catch the final performances of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, DC’s Holiday Show (Fri, Sun, $25+, Lincoln Theatre). Can you hear those sleigh bells jingling, ring ting tingling too? Sing-along with the American Festival Pops Orchestra (Fri-Sat, $36+, Fairfax, Manassas). Keep the holiday tunes going with the Vienna Boys Choir (Fri, $33+, Fairfax). Enjoy a multi-instrumental performance (Fri, $18+, Bethesda). This seasonal show will feature tap dancing and an 18-piece jazz orchestra (Thurs, $50, Capitol Hill). Go to the Worship Live Holiday Tour (Sat, $38+, MGM National Harbor). Dance the night away at Happy Holi-Gays: Pride Night Onesie Party with DJ DJ (Thurs, free, Northeast DC).

Get involved. Musicians from the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra are teaming up with Miriam’s Kitchen to support its mission of ending veteran homelessness (Thurs, free, donations welcome, Northwest DC). Attend a dinner to raise funds for DC Vote efforts (Thurs, $151+, Northwest DC).

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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.