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Holiday Guide 2017 Listings

It’s that time of year again – the leaves have fallen, the temperature has dropped and holiday season in the nation’s capital is in full swing. We’ve put together a comprehensive guide of all things holiday-themed happening in the DC area from mid-November to New Year’s Day. Check out our top picks for local holiday markets, an interview with one of the creative minds behind the family-friendly ICE! event at Gaylord National and an inside look at Les Misérables at National Theatre. Plus, choose from tons of events around the DMV ranging from tree lightings to holiday concerts. Happy holidays!


MID-NOVEMBER THROUGH SUNDAY, JANUARY 7

Meadowlark’s Winter Walk of Lights
Meadowlark Botanical Gardens have been transformed into a half-mile, animated walk of lights. Revisit perennial favorites such as the Lakeside Lights, the Fountain of Lights and the Holiday Nature Walk, and look for new displays each year. Put on your walking shoes and bring the family to experience a Northern Virginia festive tradition. Round out your visit by roasting marshmallows and sipping on hot beverages by the fire. Various dates and times. Tickets $8-$13. Meadowlark Botanical Gardens: 9750 Meadowlark Gardens Ct. Vienna, VA; www.novaparks.com

MID-NOVEMBER THROUGH MARCH

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The Washington Harbour Ice Rink
From mid-November to March, the Washington Harbour Ice Rink transforms into a picturesque fountain, and is open for recreational skating every day, including all holidays. Adult admission $10, children $9, skate rentals $6. The Washington Harbour: 3000 and 3050 K St. NW, DC; www.thewashingtonharbour.com

Ice Skating at Reston Town Center Pavilion
From early November through March, the Pavilion floor is transformed into a gleaming ice skating rink. Ice skates and other supplies are available inside the Information Center at the Skate Shop, directly beside the Pavilion. Reston Town Center: 11900 Market St. Reston, VA; www.restontowncenter.com

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Ice Skating at Tysons Corner Center
This annual ice rink is located on the second floor next to Lord & Taylor. If you’re in Virginia, this is a can’t miss opportunity for events, parties or even skate lessons. Tysons Corner Center Ice Rink: 1961 Chain Bridge Rd. McLean, VA; www.tysonscornericerink.com

Sculpture Garden Ice Rink
Experience skating in the Sculpture Garden while surrounded by large-scale sculptures by contemporary artists including Louise Bourgeois, Sol LeWitt, Roy Lichtenstein, Roxy Paine, Tony Smith and others. Various hours of operation. Adults $8.50. National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden: 9th Street and Constitution Avenue in NW, DC; www.nga.gov

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 16 – SUNDAY, DECEMBER 31

A Christmas Carol
Join the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future as they lead the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge on a journey of transformation and redemption. Originally conceived by Michael Baron, this music-infused production captures the magic and joy of Dickens’s Yuletide classic. Acclaimed actor Craig Wallace returns to play Ebenezer Scrooge. This annual production has been a Washington tradition for more than 35 years. Various dates and times. $32-$105. Ford’s Theatre: 511 10th St. NW, DC; www.fords.org

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 17 THROUGH FEBRUARY

Canal Park Ice Skate

Canal Park Ice Rink
Formerly an abandoned bus parking lot, Canal Park is one of Capitol Riverfront’s many neighborhood attractions. The ice rink at Canal Park stands out from its other DC counterparts in that the ice is on a track, much like gliding along a frozen canal. Skate your way around and around the figure eight, and admire city views everywhere you turn. Various hours of operation. Adults $9. Canal Park Outdoor Ice Rink: 200 M St. SE, DC; www.canalparkiceskating.com

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 17 – SUNDAY, DECEMBER 24

Christmas at the Old Bull & Bush at MetroStage
The Old Bull and Bush Public House in Hampstead, London is alive with British music hall songs and Christmas carols. The show was a staple at the Old Vat Room at Arena Stage for years, and this season MetroStage welcomes Florrie Forde, the most famous music hall star of the era, and her troupe of British performers as you celebrate the holidays with family and friends. Various times and dates. Tickets $60. MetroStage: 1201 N. Royal St. Alexandria, VA; www.metrostage.org

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 17 – SATURDAY, DECEMBER 30

Christmas at Oatlands 2017
Oatlands Mansion is decorated for Christmas and open for tours. Come see Oatlands decked in fabulous holiday style.  Arrive at the Carriage House Visitor Center, purchase your tickets and proceed to the mansion, and while you’re there, find the perfect gift at the Historic Carriage House Shop and don’t forget to visit the formal terraced garden. The Mansion will close at 5 p.m. daily. Oatlands Historic House and Gardens: 20850 Oatlands Plantation Ln. Leesburg, VA; www.oatlands.org

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 17 – SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 19

Junior League of Washington’s 59th Annual Holiday Shops
Holiday Shops is more than a unique shopping experience. It is also one of JLW’s major fundraisers. Funds raised at the event support the League’s ongoing efforts to improve the Washington DC community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers and by awarding annual grants to local nonprofits. Merchants will help you find those special gifts for your family and friends, and with each purchase, you will know you are making a positive impact on the community. Dock5 at Union Market: 1309 5th St. NE, DC; www.jlw.org/holidayshops/

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 18

Kid’s Krafts at Friendship Firehouse Museum
Come create and take home craft and ornament projects inspired by early firefighting history. They will be great gifts for the holidays, or any time of year. For ages 4-8 and their caregivers. Children and caregivers work on crafts and visit the historic firehouse together. 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Entry fees priced at $5 per child and $2 per adult. Friendship Firehouse Museum: 107 S. Alfred St. Alexandria, VA; www.alexandriava.gov

Rockville Town Square Holiday Open House
Don’t miss this festive kickoff to the holiday season! Help Rockville countdown to light the tree with Santa, enjoy merchant specials, strolling entertainment, giveaways, register to win and more! 5-8 p.m. Rockville Town Square: 30 Maryland Ave. Rockville, MD; www.rockvilletownsquare.com

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 22 – SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 26

Kansas City Ballet: The Nutcracker
From the moment you meet toymaker Drosselmeier in his workshop, elaborate sets, sparkling costumes and impressive choreography will take your breath away. Plenty of inventive twists are abound, from a toy bear that comes to life and a grandfather with hip-hop moves to a line of giant Russian nesting dolls. Showtimes 1:30 and 7:30 p.m. every running day. Tickets $59-$175. The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts: 2700 F St. NW, DC; www.kennedy-center.org

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 22 – SUNDAY, JANUARY 7

Bull Run Festival of Lights
Every year from Thanksgiving until just after New Year’s Day, you can experience the Bull Run Festival of Lights: 2.5 miles illuminated by holiday light displays. Drive the festival route from the comfort of your car. After viewing the lights, bring your family and friends to the holiday village to enjoy rides, refreshments, and of course, photos with Santa Claus (holiday village open select nights). The festival happens annually at Bull Run Regional Park. Monday-Thursday 5:20-9 p.m., Friday-Sunday and holidays 5:30-10 p.m. $20-$25 per car. Bull Run Regional Park: 7700 Bull Run Dr. Centreville, VA; www.novaparks.com

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 23 – MONDAY, JANUARY 1

Season’s Greenings at the Botanic Garden
This year, take a trip across America as the annual holiday show Season’s Greenings showcases Roadside Attractions! In the model train show, trains will chug around, below, through, and above plant-based recreations of iconic sights from across the United States. Various hours of operation. Free to attend. United States Botanic Garden Conservatory: 100 Maryland Ave. SW, DC; www.usbg.gov

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 24

27th Annual Reston Holiday Parade
Reston Holiday Parade, Tree Lighting and Sing Along at Reston Town Center are traditions that have continued over 27 seasons, gathering the community with a different theme each year and bringing friends and families together for an entire day filled with activities for all. See the website for a full schedule of activities. The parade begins at 11 a.m. Free and open to the public. Reston Town Center: 11900 Market St. Reston, VA; www.restontowncenter.com

Black Friday Alexandria
Check out Alexandria’s alternative Black Friday experience that features more than 50 independent boutiques kicking off the holiday shopping season with one-of-a-kind deals on designer and coveted merchandise, including home décor, chic fashions, gourmet food, classic toys and gifts for dogs. Store offers vary, with special discounts throughout the day. Times vary by store. Black Friday Alexandria: Various locations in Old Town and Del Ray in Alexandria, VA; www.visitalexandria.com

City of Alexandria Tree Lighting Ceremony
At this official kickoff to the holiday season, the city tree is lit on Market Square and a special program includes a welcome by the town crier, the mayor and other city officials, a visit by Santa and holiday performances from the Metropolitan Fine Arts Center. 6-9 p.m. Market Square: 301 King St. Alexandria, VA; www.visitalexandriava.com

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 24 – SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 26

NSO Pops: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets in Concert
The National Symphony Orchestra brings a classic Harry Potter film to life. The entire family can enjoy the second installment in the Harry Potter series, The Chamber of Secrets, in startling high definition on a giant screen while the Orchestra plays every note of John Williams’ unforgettable score. You’ll be dazzled as Harry embarks on his second year at Hogwarts, where magical adventures await. Run time TBA. Tickets $29-$99. The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts: 2700 F St. NW, DC; www.kennedy-center.org

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 24 – SATURDAY, DECEMBER 23

Winter Days and Nights on the Farm
Depending on the weather, it could be a winter wonderland with snow, or just another outdoor time at the exploring nature and having amazing farm fun with family and friends. Our fire pits are inviting to keep you warm and make some s’mores. Traditional hayride included with the admission. The farm started its early days a Christmas tree farm 55 years ago. 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. $11.95 per person. Ticonderoga Farms: 26469 Ticonderoga Rd. Chantilly, VA; www.ticonderoga.com

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 24 – SUNDAY, DECEMBER 31

Winter Lights Festival
The City of Gaithersburg Winter Lights Festival is getting ready to welcome visitors for its 22nd spectacular season. The wondrous display of lights at Seneca Creek State Park will be open nightly. The 3.5-mile drive through Seneca Creek State Park takes you past more than 380 illuminated displays and 65 animated vignettes. Sunday-Thursday 6-9 p.m., Friday and Saturday 6-10 p.m. $12-$15 per car. Seneca Creek State Park: 11950 Clopper Rd. Gaithersburg, MD; www.gaithersburgmd.gov

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 24 – MONDAY, JANUARY 1

ZooLights at the National Zoo
Join the thousands of visitors who make ZooLights a part of their annual holiday tradition. A free event, ZooLights includes live music performances, tasty winter treats and plenty of opportunities for holiday shopping. More than 500,000 environmentally-friendly LED lights transform the zoo into a winter wonderland complete with a dazzling light show set to music! 5-9 p.m. Free. Smithsonian’s National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute: 3001 Connecticut Ave. NW, DC; www.nationalzoo.si.edu

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 24 – SATURDAY, JANUARY 6

Christmas at Mount Vernon
The holidays are full of delight at George Washington’s estate. During the day, tour the Mansion, watch historic chocolate-making demonstrations, and meet Aladdin the Camel. 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Adults $18. Mount Vernon: 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Hwy. Mount Vernon, VA; www.mountvernon.org

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 25

4th Annual CityCenterDC Tree Lighting
Washingtonians will be treated to a joyful holiday concert and an official lighting ceremony and countdown emceed by NBC4’s Eun Yang. Families will be entertained with balloon artists, face painters, holiday activities and more. Enjoy the dazzling 75-foot holiday tree, two 25-foot reindeer, and the return of our Palmer Alley overhead holiday display. 6 p.m. CityCenterDC: 825 10th St. NW, DC; www.citycenterdc.com

A Victorian Christmas
Start your Christmas season off with a visit to Cherry Hill Farmhouse to see how Christmas was celebrated during the Victorian age. Costumed re-enactors welcome friends and neighbors who gather for some holiday cheer during the 1860s and 1870s. Period decorations, music and Christmas carols, and children’s activities are all part of the festivities. 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Free admission, donations appreciated.  Cherry Hill Historic House and Farm: 312 Park Ave. Falls Church, VA; www.fallschurchva.gov

City Market at O Holiday Tree Lighting
There’s plenty of free fun for everyone at City Market at O’s 4th annual Tree Lighting Festival. Food offerings include from Dolci Gelati, Fluffness Cotton Candy, Midnite Confection›s Cupcakery, and Timber Pizza Company, plus a popcorn bar, hot cider, hot chocolate and free holiday photos. 2-5 p.m. City Market at O Street: 800 P St. NW, DC; www.citymarketato.com

Small Business Saturday in Alexandria
Old Town and Del Ray are set to host the bigger than ever Small Business Saturday, where more than 50 independently owned boutiques from the city. New this year, shoppers will be treated to free parking at meters, a Santa Stroll on King Street and more. Don’t miss surprise giveaways! All day. Small Business Saturday: Various locations in Old Town and Del Ray in Alexandria, VA; www.visitalexandriava.com

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 26

Museum Store Sunday in Alexandria
Visit your favorite historic Alexandria museums for the first-ever Museum Store Sunday for unique and historically inspired gifts with special offers, seasonal refreshments and more. Ten participating museum stores include George Washington’s Mount Vernon, Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum, The Lyceum: Alexandria’s History Museum, Friendship Firehouse and the Alexandria Black History Museum. The museums of historic Alexandria are pleased to participate in this international campaign led by the Museum Store Association. 1-5 p.m. Museum Store Sunday: Various locations in Alexandria, VA; www.visitalexandria.com

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 28

Fairmont’s 14th Annual Tree Lighting
Families will take the chill off with complimentary hot chocolate and cookies as they listen to the award-winning Georgetown Visitation Madrigals perform holiday classics. Children will enjoy decorating holiday cards while members of the United States Marine Corps Reserves will perform a presentation of colors. Santa Claus and Rudolph will make a special guest appearance; all families are welcome to take a photo with Santa. Starts at 4:30 p.m. The Fairmont Washington, DC: 2401 M St. NW, DC; www.fairmont.com

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 29

Christmas Tree Lighting at Union Station
The annual tree lighting ceremony includes Christmas carols and refreshments. The tree will be lit by the Ambassador of Norway. The event is also an opportunity to stop by the Norwegian Giant Model Train exhibit in the West Hall at Union Station. Starts at 6 p.m. Union Station: 50 Massachusetts Ave. NE, DC; www.unionstationdc.com

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