Things to Do

44 Things to Do in the DC Area This Week: Hot 99.5’s Jingle Ball Concert, “Pretty Woman” the Musical, and Procrastinator’s Holiday Market

Plus, Christmas fireworks at Mount Vernon.

Pretty Woman the musical. Photograph by Morris Mac Matzen.

Happy Monday, DC!

Watch a family-friendly fireworks show at Mount Vernon this weekend, and shop small for last-minute presents at the Procrastinator’s Holiday Market as we continue the exciting countdown to Christmas.


Best Things to Do This Week and Weekend

December 11-December 17

  1. Hot 99.5’s Jingle Ball. Hot 99.5 radio is throwing its annual holiday bash at Capital One Arena this month. The Jingle Ball concert is a mash-up of star-studded performances by some of the country’s top pop artists, country singers, and rappers including OneRepublic, Jelly Roll, Doechii, Flo Rida, Melanie Martinez, David Kushner, and more (Mon, $40+, Capital One Arena).
  2. Pretty Woman’ the Musical. Roy Orbison’s signature song inspired the ’90s rom-com featuring Julia Roberts and Richard Gere. With a book by the film’s director, Garry Marshall, and songs by Bryan “Cuts Like a Knife” Adams and Jim Vallance, the story arrives on the National Theatre stage as one of Broadway’s funnest musicals (Tues-Sun, $39+, National Theatre).
  3. Procrastinator’s Holiday Market. This winter event is geared toward last-minute planners—or shoppers still on the search for the perfect gift. No matter which category you fit into, the Procrastinator’s Holiday Market is the place to browse vendors and festive menus, take a kid-friendly train ride, and participate in holiday-themed activities at Kraken Kourts and Skates (Sat, free, Northeast DC).
  4. Cirque Musica ‘Holiday Wonderland.’ The entire family will enjoy the thrills and acrobats of Cirque Musica at their seasonal live show in Tysons. The sensory experience infuses holiday classics and symphonic music with the magic of a world-renowned circus that all ages will find delightful (Thurs, $39+, Tysons).
  5. ‘Girl From the North Country’ musical. The Tony Award–winning musical Girl From the North Country features 20 songs by Bob Dylan. The new production—set in Dylan’s birthplace of Duluth, Minnesota—follows the lives of wayward travelers coming together at a guesthouse in the 1930s (Tues through December 31, $49+, Kennedy Center).
  6. Christmas Illuminations at Mount Vernon. Behold sparkling fireworks while overlooking the Potomac River at Mount Vernon this weekend. The Christmas Illuminations celebration includes mansion tours, holiday music, season’s greetings by General and Lady Washington, shopping at the Winter Market, and more (Fri-Sat, $58+ for adults, $36+ for youth, Mount Vernon).
  7. Holidays at Hotel Washington. They’ve decked the halls with holiday glitz and entertainment at Hotel Washington this season. The local retreat has live caroling performances, welcome hot chocolate for guests, a giant sleigh installation for Instagram-worthy photos, and meet-and-greets with Santa and Mrs. Claus for the family. In addition, if you’re looking for a stay-cation to unwind for the holidays, you can visit the Grinch-themed Whoville Hideout suite through December 28 (Thurs, Sun, free, Downtown).

Want More Things to Do?

Photograph courtesy of Candlelight Concerts.

Arts and culture:

  • Browse gifts from local women-owned vendors at the Cork Wine Bar and Market holiday pop-up (Mon, free, 14th Street).
  • Author and retired US Navy admiral Sandy Winnefeld discusses his book Sailing Upwind at Robert H. and Clarice Smith Auditorium (Tues, free, Mount Vernon).
  • View Redeat Wondemu’s platinum and cyanotype photography at the opening reception of the “Her” exhibition at Art of Noize (Fri, free, Northwest DC).
  • Attention Anime fans: You can nerd out in cosplay over your favorite flicks and comics at Animania (Fri, $20, Wharf).
  • Check out records and crafts at Black Cat’s rock’n’roll garage sale (Sat, free, 14th Street Corridor).
  • Unique Market spotlights brands and art, including candles, hats, flowers, jewelry, and handmade bags from independent designers (Sat-Sun, $12+, Union Market).


Community and heritage:


Theater and shows:

  • Round House Theatre’s dark comedy The Seafarer is a Christmas Eve story about redemption and hope (through December 31, $46+, Bethesda).
  • Comedic podcast Are You Garbage? brings jokes and a live Q&A session to Howard Theatre (Thurs, $30, Howard Theatre).
  • The Ear Hustle podcast is commemorating 100 episodes with a cross-country tour (Thurs, $30, Eastern Market).
  • It’s the last chance to clap your hands to Step Afrika’s energetic holiday show at Arena Stage (closes Sun, $76+, Southwest DC).
  • The Dance Institute of Washington expresses the Spirit of Kwanzaa on stage (Fri-Sat, $30, Howard University).
  • Cirque Dreams Holidaze returns to the the Theater at MGM with colorful dance choreography, acrobats, and holiday cheer (Fri-Sun, $43+, National Harbor).
  • Dance Loft presents a revival of The Nutcracker (Fri-Sun, $12, 14th Street).


Music and concerts:

  • It’s the 50th year of the annual Merry TUBACHRISTMAS concert. Join the festivities as several tuba players belt out holiday melodies (Mon, free, but advance tickets  are sold out, limited walk-ins available, Kennedy Center).
  • Pianist and singer Patrick Watson and singer-songwriter La Force perform at Union Stage (Mon, $30, Wharf).
  • Girl Named Tom performs at The Birchmere Music Hall (Mon, $55, Alexandria).
  • Spend your lunch break at The Epiphany Choir Christmas Concert to add the season’s joy to the work week (Tues, free, Downtown).
  • Art rapper Open Mike Eagle rhymes his latest records at Songbyrd Music House (Tues, $20+, Northeast DC).
  • Progressive rock brother duo deTournai team up for a concert at Jammin Java (Wed, $15, Vienna).
  • Avant-garde composer William Basinski brings his mesmerizing drones and music to The Atlantis (Wed, $35, U Street Corridor).
  • Electronic DJ Debit mixes jams at Flash (Fri, $10+, Shaw).
  • Folger Consort plays a unique performance of the 17th-century nativity story in A Baroque Christmas Story at St. Mark’s Church (Fri through December 22, $20, Capitol Hill).


Holiday experiences:

  • It’s the last week of Hanukkah. You can celebrate at the National Menorah on the White House Ellipse (through Fri, free, White House).
  • The ongoing multi-sensory musical Candlelight concerts will have a holiday edition this week. Listeners can sing-along to Christmas carols and music from The Nutcracker (Wed, December 21, $45, Howard Theatre).
  • Visit Hillwood for a holiday-themed afternoon tea with friends (through January 7, $38, Northwest DC), or create holiday blooms from home (Fri, $12, virtual).
  • Sip hot cocoa, and take pictures with Mr. Claus at All Purpose Capitol Riverfront (Sat, $9, Capital Riverfront).
  • Merry Grinchmas! Snap memorable photos with your family and pets alongside the Grinch in Adams Morgan this weekend; there’s live caroling and face painting, too (Sat, free, Adams Morgan).
  • Have an enchanting two-course tea with Santa, and enjoy a kid-friendly performance by the Great Zucchini at Hank’s Oyster Bar (Sun, $65, Alexandria).


Things to do with kids:

  • Participate in music, stories, and crafts with your family during the National Postal Museum’s bilingual program (Tues, free, Smithsonian National Postal Museum).
  • The Strathmore Children’s Chorus sings international melodies (Thurs, $16+, Bethesda).
  • Chef Emma Thomas will lead a gingerbread house workshop for children at Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse (Sun, $55, Reston).


Get involved:

  • The Animal Welfare League of Arlington wants to help you decompress with a guided yoga mediation beside cuddly adoptable kittens (Wed, $40, Arlington).


Plan Ahead:

  • DC’s indie-rock soul band Oh He Dead plays a New Year’s Eve show at Union Stage (December 31, $35+, Wharf).

If you enjoyed these events, please 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.