Photo: courtesy of Mark Ein

DC’s Tennis Ace Mark Ein Keeps Citi Open on Home Court

Mark Ein didn’t want to risk it.

The local venture capitalist refused to sit idly while other cities around the world bid for the opportunity to host the Citi Open, which has called the District home since 1969. Apart from his undying, unending passion for tennis as a prominent member of the local sports zeitgeist, the owner of the Washington Kastles and Washington City Paper felt a responsibility to keep the celebrated tournament in the nation’s capital.

“I’m incredibly lucky and blessed to be able to do these things, and there’s a sense of responsibility to make these big events happen,” Ein tells me over the phone. “It meant the world to me to be able to save the event for our region. It’s been a big part of our community for 50 years. It’s touched millions of people. When the possibility that it would move came up, I felt a real obligation to make sure it thrives for the next 50 years.”

In April, Ein announced that the Citi Open tournament would remain in DC after he secured a management deal including an option to purchase the tournament within five years. This year’s iteration takes place from July 27 through August 4. The tournament is the only Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) Tour 500 in the U.S. and often features top players gearing up for the U.S. Open.

The process took six months, but Ein’s commitment to keeping the tournament local and providing support for the tournament’s charity, the Washington Tennis & Education Foundation, won out.

“Pretty early on, there was a group of people that wanted to keep it in town,” he says. “They recognized I was a supporter of that, and they reached out to us.”

The Citi Open has historically not been without its own challenges, as the weather and location have created uncontrollable problems for the tournament. Often plagued by rain and heat, matches between top players have sometimes been delayed well into the wee hours of the night. Physical upgrades are difficult to apply as well because the William H.G. FitzGerald Tennis Center in Rock Creek Park, the Citi Open’s venue, is subject to National Park Service restrictions.

“We’re very encouraged by the amount of things we’ll be able to do already this summer,” Ein says. “Fans will notice and really enjoy, and there’s a list of things we’ll be able to add each year.”

The improvements Ein mentions all fall under the umbrella of fan experience: food and beverage options, new air-conditioned spaces complete with curated music and games, and improved transportation options such as shuttles, valets and a “re-engineered parking plan.” For larger developments further down the line, Ein says he is encouraged by discussions with the park service.

“It all starts with the fact that it’s a great event,” he says. “It’s the fifth biggest tournament in the U.S., and the setting in a public park is unique and public. We’ve been re-examining every detail in every area to make it meaningfully better.”

With tournament management comes facing the potential risks associated with the production of the event. Despite variables and the dangers that come with them, Ein never wavers when dealing with his passions.

“I only do these things [because I’m] passionate about them,” Ein says with a chuckle. “The motivation for me is not financial at all. It really is to do something special for my community around a sport that I have passion for and believe in. As big of a financial investment as it is, it’s an even larger time investment. I wouldn’t spend time on it if I didn’t care deeply.”

Another tennis endeavor Ein is famous for is the Washington Kastles, a team prepared to undergo changes of its own. This season will mark the team’s Union Market debut, with a new venue currently being constructed on the roof of the famed food hall in Northeast DC. The Kastles are set to take the rooftop in their season opener on July 15 against the Vegas Rollers.

“We’re thrilled about the new stadium on the roof,” Ein says. “It’s going to be a lot smaller of a stadium, and we’re already close to selling out the whole season. But for the people who get to have a seat, it’s going to be tremendous. You’ll be able to see the entire capital.”

The new venue only sits about 700 people whereas previous seasons saw the team fill stadiums three time as large, Ein says. However, with a video board, lights and of course, a full-scale tennis court on a roof, he’s right to declare it a unique experience.

Experiences are what Ein is all about after all. Recreating for others what he once felt as a boy watching and playing tennis is of huge importance for him. The sport has given him so much, so it’s only fair.

“You learn so many important lessons about life on the tennis court,” he says. “You’re there by yourself, and you find yourself in situations that you have to figure out. It teaches you resilience, discipline, fairness and continuous improvement. It’s a great sport for people of all ages and it’s the sport of a lifetime.”

For more information about the 2019 Citi Open, visit For more information about the Washington Kastles and their upcoming season, visit

Union Market Rooftop: 1309 5th St. NE, DC;
William H.G. Fitzgerald Tennis Stadium: 16th and Kennedy Streets in NW, DC;

Liam Redford (Billy Elliot) and ensemble // Photo: Margo Schulman

Better When I’m Dancing: Billy Elliot The Musical

“What’s this show with miners in tutus about?”

That’s a question many people ask about Billy Elliot, both when the film came out in 2000 and when the hit musical debuted five years later. In this case, it’s a question asked by Matthew Gardiner, the director and choreographer behind Signature Theatre’s winter production of the musical.

If you haven’t heard of – or seen – the movie or the musical, Billy Elliot tells the story of its titular character, an 11-year-old English boy who discovers a love of ballet while surrounded by a family of coal miners who don’t support his nontraditional passion – at least not at first. Hence, the miners and tutus.

After the film became a hit, Elton John was enlisted to write songs for a musical version that debuted in London’s West End in 2005. Next came productions in Australia and in 2008, on Broadway where the musical won 10 Tony Awards including Best Musical. And now, DC area audiences can catch the musical at Shirlington’s award-winning theater through early January.

Gardiner, Signature’s associate artistic director, has a personal connection to the story as he too studied ballet growing up.

“It was hard being a boy who loved ballet and musical theatre,” Gardiner says. “I was picked on a lot. But I felt safe when I was in the ballet classroom or in a rehearsal room. Those were the places I felt most like myself and most at home.”

It’s also an experience that the young star of Signature’s production, Liam Redford, can relate to. A native of North Hanover, New Jersey, Liam is 11 and a student of all types of dance at Philadelphia’s Rock School for Dance Education. Like Billy, he’s had to deal with people who don’t understand his passion.

“I have experienced many people who are not supportive of me in being a young male dancer,” the young actor says. “In school, many of the other kids looked down on me or did not think that what I loved to do was normal.”

However, both Redford and Gardiner have been able to overcome those past experiences and follow their dreams – a theme at the heart of Billy Elliot. When speaking with Redford, it’s clear he’s still riding the high of transitioning from playing Billy at a small community theatre in New Jersey to his current role in the Signature production.

“It feels amazing to know that so many other kids just like me can take on this role and relate to Billy in all the same ways as I do as a male dancer,” he says. “I am so lucky to be able to play this role that so many amazing people have played before.”

The production has two totally different casts of school-aged cast members performing in the show, including another Billy. In a nod to the show’s composer (and maybe West Side Story), the two casts are nicknamed the “Bennies” and the “Jets.” There’s no rivalry between the two groups, though. Redford says they hang out all the time.

“We are very close and love spending time with each other, and we have so much fun when we are together. We all hang out on Mondays when we are all off. Our young performing cast is like a little family.”

The talent and dedication of all the kids involved in the production amazes Gardiner, and he says he doesn’t change his style when directing the younger actors.

“I could never do what these kids are doing at their age,” he says. “I was good, but these kids are amazing. Their dedication and artistry are unbelievable. I play my part by encouraging them and treating them like I’d treat any adult actor. They are that good.”

The director says he was originally hesitant to work on Billy Elliot as he was only familiar with the film.

But when he read the script for the musical, he realized that it had an important message for today’s audiences.

“When I read the piece, I was taken aback by this story of loss and a community fighting for their voice – and ultimately, for the dreams of one little boy. In these trying times, we need more stories about the ways in which we unite.”

Don’t miss Billy Elliot: The Musical at Signature Theatre, now through Sunday, January 6. The run time is roughly two hours and 45 minutes with one 15-minute intermission. Tickets start at $40. Learn more at

Signature Theatre: 4200 Campbell Ave. Arlington, VA; 703-820-9771;

Photo: Courtesy of Gaylord

‘Tis the Season at Gaylord National Resort

A 55-foot Christmas tree decked out with more than two million lights is suspended from the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center’s 19-story atrium, signifying that the holiday season is upon us.

“The holiday season in National Harbor is unlike any in the area,” says Jenna Buck, Gaylord National’s special events director.

After all, where else can one experience colorful, larger-than-life ice sculptures, amazing entertainment shows, indoor snowfalls and more in an indoor wonderland kept at nine degrees? The destination is also walkable and offers picturesque views of the Potomac River along with shopping, dining and millions of twinkling lights to get people in the holiday spirit.

“Every year, we add new and unique offerings to keep Christmas on the Potomac one of the most spectacular holiday experiences in the capital region,” Buck continues. “This year is no different, and we are thrilled with our program lineup.”

More than a dozen holiday activities are planned for the 11th annual Christmas on the Potomac, including Gaylord National’s popular ICE! attraction. This year’s ICE! features one of TV’s most iconic Christmas specials, A Charlie Brown Christmas, as well as four two-story ice slides, a full nativity created from crystal clear ice and two million pounds of colorful ice sculptures hand-carved by 40 artisans from Harbin, China.

“Picking themes for our ICE! attraction can take several years to work through – from getting licensing approvals to creating the designs and more,” Buck says. “A Charlie Brown Christmas is a holiday classic that was high on our list to produce. It’s something that appeals to multiple
generations, and we are excited to showcase 12 scenes from the TV special through larger-than-life, colorful ice sculptures.”

Fans of Charles Schulz’s beloved characters can also take part in the Merry Snoopy Christmas Scavenger Hunt or attend an interactive Breakfast with Charlie Brown & Friends featuring Snoopy, Linus and other favorites. But ICE! isn’t just for the kids. The Arctic Dash on December 5 is a new event designed for 21-plus visitors making use of the attraction.

“We wanted to create an ICE! experience that would be fun for adults and play to the ‘extreme factor’ of the attraction,” Buck says. “Participants will get to dash through the resort’s nine-degree ICE! attraction in their bathing suits and then celebrate with a signature cocktail in the lobby bar. We hope the event will inspire friends to brave the cold, have fun and get a taste of the holidays at Gaylord.”

Visitors to the resort will also experience two brand new shows in the atrium: a laser light show and the world-class entertainment of Cirque Dreams Unwrapped, both playing through January 1.

“This year’s atrium laser light show is called A Christmas Wish, which tells the story of a grandfather explaining to his grandchild the magic of the Christmas season,” Buck says. “You’ll hear holiday favorite tunes choreographed to our water fountain and laser lights, all set within the resort’s 19-story atrium. It also includes an indoor snowfall, so it’s quite magical.”

Cirque Dreams Unwrapped was designed exclusively for Gaylord National, according to the show’s founder Neil Goldberg.

“It is a 25-minute entertainment attraction that combines Cirque elements, elaborate costuming and theatrics within a stage set that reinforces the Christmas wishes of dreams come true,” the Broadway director says. “The show offers something for everyone and is a perfect experience to share with loved ones.”

Thanks to the enormity of Gaylord National’s atrium, Cirque Dreams Unwrapped is able to present swinging, flying and soaring aerial performances unique to this experience – all designed to emulate the holiday season and share the aspiration of wishing for dreams.

“Some of the acts are magical and majestic, while others truly personify the spirit of possibilities,” Goldberg continues. “We’ve searched the world to engage a couple of young principle artists who showcase their potential through astounding performance artistry as part of the show’s grand finale. Kids will be mesmerized, adults left in awe and all fascinated.”

Buck says Gaylord National couldn’t be more honored to have Cirque Dreams Unwrapped performed for guests during the holiday season.

There’s also a Christmas Village, where guests can ice skate, decorate gingerbread houses, ride a Christmas carousel, sing Christmas carols with Mrs. Claus and get their picture taken with Santa Claus. And the popular Build-A-Bear Workshop returns, allowing kids the chance to create their own cuddly, cute polar bear plush designed exclusively for Gaylord Hotels.

With all of the offerings provided during Christmas on the Potomac, Buck feels the best way to experience the celebration is with an overnight stay. Guests who book one of their holiday packages get exclusive perks with ICE! including unlimited entry to the attraction, a special admission line and early access to the attraction on weekends. Guests can also upgrade to an atrium view room.

The holiday season is traditionally a time to gather, share, reflect and celebrate together with loved ones. The events during Christmas on the Potomac offer the perfect entertainment options that appeal to audiences of all ages.

“At the end of every holiday season, we look back at all of our offerings to review what was popular and discuss what we are missing, as we are always looking to add to our events and create some of the best holiday entertainment in the region,” Buck says. “At the end of the day,
our goal is to provide an experience where people walk away with smiles on their faces and memories that will last a lifetime.”

ICE! featuring A Charlie Brown Christmas runs from Friday, November 16 through Tuesday, January 1 with tickets starting at $24 for children and $32 for adults. Breakfast with Charlie Brown & Friends runs from Saturday, November 17 through Monday, December 31 with tickets starting at $26.99 for children and $39.99 for ages 12 and older. Cirque Dreams Unwrapped runs from Friday, November 16 through Tuesday, January 1 with tickets starting at $19.99 for all ages; limited free seats are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Christmas on the Potomac tickets and holiday packages are available at or by calling 301-965-4000.

Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center: 201 Waterfront St. National Harbor, MD; 301-965-4000

Photo: Courtesy of Keegan Theatre

Keegan Theatre’s Holiday Tradition Continues with An Irish Carol

It’s holiday time, which for patrons of Dupont Circle’s Keegan Theatre means a visit to a decked-out Dublin pub for a Christmas classic the way only the Irish can tell it, in the eighth annual staging of An Irish Carol. Written by real life Dubliner Matthew Keenan and directed by Mark Rhea (who also helped pen the script along with his wife Susan Marie Rhea), the play is loosely based on Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

“It’s more of an adult version and has lots of fun as well as poignant moments,” Rhea says. “In the end, it is about love and friendship and how both can help heal someone. We can all use some of that in our lives right about now.”

The show was first produced by Keegan in 2011, fulfilling a dream Rhea had for years – an Irish take on the Dickens’ tale set in a pub. Discussing his vision with Keenan over a pile of hot wings one night, the Irishman asked for a crack at it – and the rest is history.

Although Rhea and Keenan had some grand theatrical ideas, the more rationally minded Susan brought them down to earth and suggested “a really human version” without all the creepy sounds and big production elements.

From that came a charmingly profane story of a man transformed by love. The plot follows Dave, an ornery curmudgeon of a pub owner and Scrooge character, who is transformed through the words of his family and friends. Past, present and future are there, but in a more real sense.

“Originally, we weren’t sure how it would do in the DC area, but it was a huge success so we decided to continue it the next year and then it just kept being successful,” Rhea says. “The audience has continued to grow, so we’ll keep producing this little gem as long as they want to see it.”

Some casting changes occur each year to keep the show fresh, though the audience enjoys seeing the returning actors year after year – including Kevin Adams, who is back as Dave. Timothy H. Lynch plays Frank, a recurring role for the actor since the first production when he read an early draft and was immediately charmed.

“I’ll play this role as long as Keegan Theatre is willing to cast me and prop me up onstage,” Lynch says. “It makes me happy every year to start rehearsal and open the run. Matthew Keenan wrote a lovely play, one where every character matters. They’ve each been touched by Dave, and each touch him in their own, honest ways – ways that don’t get old.”

The actor says as the character continues to mature, he loves discovering new nuances about Frank.

“Year after year, I find a deeper connection to Frank,” he continues. “His arc through the play gives me so much to play with. His attitude, perspective and goals change over the course of the night, giving him an opportunity to reveal himself to Dave and the audience in an unexpected way. I just love the guy and am truly grateful to get to play the role.”

One of Lynch’s favorite things about being part of the production is listening to the stories of each character – the special moments shared each night between the actors and the audience.

“Every night, we [add] a new cast member [from] each new audience. Some can be uproarious, others quietly intense – still others are full of holiday spirit, happy to be together and having a great time. They make it an ever-fresh joy. We see many returning folks, and they bring new friends and family with them. It’s exciting to be part of a growing holiday tradition.”

In a season when most of the holiday fare is aimed at families, Lynch reiterates that An Irish Carol is for adults, which is welcoming to many.

“We’re feckin’ drinkin’ onstage. We’re spoutin’ feckin’ profanity onstage. We’re makin’ feckin’ fools of ourselves onstage. We’re working through honest emotions of people trying to make the best of their lives and trying to help a good, wounded friend. It’s written in an Irish vernacular by a native Dubliner. It’s truly funny and touching and has unexpected turns.”

Rhea shares that even after all these years, none of the actors onstage take it lightly. They’re all aiming for people to have a great time.

“We are pouring our hearts out there every year,” he says. “We love doing it and connecting with the audience each and every performance. It’s a special thing to have created a sort of legacy with this little gem of a show. Hell, it might outlast me, and I would be just fine with that.”

Catch An Irish Carol at Keegan Theatre from Thursday, December 13 through Monday, December 31. The run time is 85 minutes with no intermission. Tickets start at $40. For more information, visit

Keegan Theatre: 1742 Church St. NW, DC; 202-265-3767;

Holiday Guide 2018 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. On Tap has put together a comprehensive guide of all holiday happenings in the DC area from mid-November to late December. Inside you will find a look at this year’s ICE! event at Gaylord National featuring Charlie Brown & Friends, an interview with the director of Keegan Theatre’s eighth annual An Irish Carol and a look into Signature Theatre’s Billy Elliot: The Musical. Plus, choose from tons of events in and around the District ranging from tree lightings and concerts to ice skating and holiday markets.Happy holidays!


Christmas at Oatlands 2018
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. Times and dates TBD. Oatlands Historic House and Gardens: 20850 Oatlands Plantation Ln. Leesburg, VA;


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. 5:30-10 p.m. Tickets $8-$14. Meadowlark Botanical Gardens: 9750 Meadowlark Gardens Ct. Vienna, VA;


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, beside the Pavilion. Adults $10. Reston Town Center: 11900 Market St. Reston, VA;


Ford’s Theatre Presents 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;

wash harbor iceskate

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. Various dates and times. The Washington Harbour: 3000 and 3050 K St. NW, DC;


National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden Ice Rink
Experience skating in the Sculpture Garden while surrounded by largescale sculptures by contemporary artists including Louise Bourgeois, Sol LeWitt, Roy Lichtenstein, Roxy Paine, Tony Smith and others. Various hours of operation. Adults $9 and skate rentals $4. National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden: 9th Street and Constitution Avenue in NW, DC;



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;


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 from 5:30-9:30 p.m., Friday-Sunday and holidays from 5:30-10 p.m. $20-$25 per vehicle. Carnival tickets and camel rides sold separately. Bull Run Regional Park: 7700 Bull Run Dr. Centreville, VA;


Season’s Greenings at the U.S. Botanic Garden
This year, take a train ride across America as the U.S. Botanic Garden’s annual holiday show Season’s Greenings showcases train stations! Plant-based recreations of iconic train stations from across the United States will be represented in the train room. Explore classic stations like New York City’s Grand Central Terminal, St. Louis’ Union Station, and many more. Thousands of blooms will be on display throughout the Conservatory, including a showcase of heirloom and newly developed poinsettia varieties. Their collection of DC landmarks made from plant materials will return to fill the Garden Court, this year including a botanical version of several landmarks. Various hours of operation. Free to attend. U.S. Botanic Garden Conservatory: 100 Maryland Ave. SW, DC;


28th Annual Reston Holiday Parade
Reston Holiday Parade, Tree Lighting and Sing Along at Reston Town Center are traditions that have continued over 28 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;

Barrel-Aged Black Friday
Skip the shopping frenzy and spend Black Friday with Old Ox Brewery. The 2018 Black Friday Experience includes a limited-edition flight of four specialty beers that is only available to ticket holders. In addition, your advance purchase ticket guarantees you the option to purchase a bottle of their Cooper’s Cloak Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout and a bottle of each variant. 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. Tickets $14. Old Ox Brewery: 44652 Guilford Dr. Unit 114, Ashburn, VA;

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;

City of Alexandria’s Tree Lighting Ceremony
Light up the holiday season with Alexandria’s annual tree lighting. The event will begin with a welcome by the Town Crier and remarks from Mayor Allison Silberberg, followed by a performance by Santa’s Frosty Follies from the Metropolitan Fine Arts Center, and a visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus. 6-8 p.m. Market Square: 301 King St. Alexandria, VA;



Downtown Holiday Market
Rated two years ago by TravelMag as one of the 20 best Christmas markets in the U.S., if you only have the chance to visit one of these markets this season, this is the one to go to. Built like a village, this market boasts over 150 vendors offering everything from food and jewelry to textiles and pottery. 12-8 p.m. daily. Downtown Holiday Market: Centered at 8th and F Streets in NW, DC;


Christmas at Mount Vernon
Christmas past meets Christmas present at George Washington’s estate. Just as the Washingtons celebrated the holiday with family and friends, visitors can start a new tradition of visiting Mount Vernon this holiday season. 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Adults $18. Mount Vernon: 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Hwy. Mount Vernon, VA;

Winter Lights Festival
The City of Gaithersburg Winter Lights Festival is getting ready to welcome visitors for its 23rd spectacular season. The wondrous display of lights at Seneca Creek State Park will be open nightly November 23 through December 31. The 3.5-mile drive through the enchanted setting of Seneca Creek State Park takes you past more than 450 illuminated displays that light up the night. Sunday-Thursday 6-9 p.m., Friday and Saturday 6-10 p.m. $12-$17 per car. Seneca Creek State Park: 11950 Clopper Rd. Gaithersburg, MD;


ZooLights at the National Zoo
Join the thousands of visitors who make ZooLights, powered by Pepco, 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 two dazzling laser light shows set to music! 5-9 p.m. Free. Smithsonian’s National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute: 3001 Connecticut Ave. NW, DC;


5th Annual CityCenterDC Holiday Tree Lighting
CityCenterDC will kick off the holiday season with an exciting evening of celebrations. Washingtonians will be treated to a joyful music performance by The Washington Chorus 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, their two resident 25-foot reindeer and the return of the Palmer Alley overhead holiday display! Starts at 6 p.m. CityCenterDC: 825 10th St. NW, DC;

A Victorian Christmas
Start your holiday season with A Very Victorian Christmas at the Cherry Hill Farmhouse! Step into the 1860s with period carols, parlor games, light refreshments and decorations including a Victorian-period Christmas tree and a children’s craft room. Hosted by the Victorian Society at Falls Church. 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Free admission. Cherry Hill Historic House and Farm: 312 Park Ave. Falls Church, VA;

Small Business Saturday in Alexandria
Small Business Saturday is bigger than ever this year. More than 50 independently owned boutiques in Old Town Alexandria and Del Ray will offer special in-store activities. The popular Elf Prize Patrol returns from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. in Old Town, including Del Ray. Shoppers will be treated to surprise giveaways, including several George Washington bobbleheads from George Washington’s Mount Vernon. Other highlights include free parking at parking meters, pop-up musical performances, a postcard pop-up from Penny Post, special activities at the Torpedo Factory Art Center, hands-on arts activities by the Mobile Art Lab, and holiday tunes and cheer by DJ Josh Goldman. All day. Small Business Saturday in Alexandria: Various locations in Old Town and Del Ray in Alexandria, VA;


Museum Store Sunday in Historic Alexandria
The DC region’s Shop Small headquarters, Alexandria, Virginia, is home to a robust collection of historic site museums that provide an authentic experience of history where it happened. The museums of historic Alexandria are pleased to participate in Museum Store Sunday on November 25, an international campaign led by the Museum Store Association taking place the day after Small Business Saturday. Participating museum stores include the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum, the Alexandria History Museum at The Lyceum, Friendship Firehouse Museum, Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, Alexandria Black History Museum, Fort Ward Museum, Freedom House Museum and the Carlyle House. 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;


National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony
The National Christmas Tree is DC’s claim to fame during the holidays, and for good reason. Each year the National Park Service and National Park Foundation present the annual National Christmas Tree Lighting, featuring popular entertainers and musical artists to add to the festivities. And if you can’t make it to the lighting ceremony, the gorgeous conifer lives in President’s Park on the White House Ellipse, where it’s accompanied by nightly musical performances throughout the holiday season. All day. President’s Park: 1450 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, DC;


BrewLights at ZooLights
Friends of the National Zoo’s hoppiest holiday event, BrewLights, a ticketed microbrew and craft beer event, will take place during ZooLights, powered by Pepco. Guests can enjoy beer tastings from a dozen breweries and sample savory foods from top local restaurants, all under the bright lights of DC’s favorite holiday tradition. All proceeds support the critical work of the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute, including species preservation and animal care. 6-9 p.m. Tickets $60. Smithsonian’s National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute: 3001 Connecticut Ave. NW, DC.


Warner Theatre’s The Nutcracker
DC’s perennial favorite returns for its 15th anniversary. This celebrated production is set in historic Georgetown with George Washington and King George III, among other historical figures. Join again with family and friends or start a new holiday tradition with your loved ones. Various dates and times. $32-$125. Warner Theatre: 513 13th St. NW, DC;


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 $55. MetroStage: 1201 N. Royal St. Alexandria, VA;


41st Annual Festival of Lights
The Festival of Lights is one of the DC area’s great community traditions, featuring free performances nightly in the comfortable, state-of-the-art theater located in the Visitors’ Center. A different performing artist or group is showcased each night, including bell ensembles, choirs, orchestras, and more! Enjoy nightly performances in indoor theater, Christmas trees decorated in international themes, exhibit of crèches from around the world and a life-sized outdoor nativity. Open daily 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. Washington DC Temple Visitors’ Center: 9900 Stoneybrook Dr. Kensington, MD;


48th Annual Scottish Christmas Walk Weekend & Parade
The Campagna Center presents the 48th Annual Scottish Christmas Walk Weekend & Parade. Thousands will join together for a full lineup of festivities that celebrates the rich Scottish heritage of Old Town Alexandria. Proceeds from all events of the Scottish Christmas Walk Weekend will benefit the Campagna Center’s core programs. Campagna Center: 418 S. Washington St. Alexandria, VA;



Learn some history while you shop at this holiday market. Each year, the Heurich House honors the Heurichs’ German ancestry by hosting a traditional German public Christmas market in its garden. $10-$20. Friday, November 30 from 4-9 p.m., Saturday, December 1 and Sunday,
December 2 from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Heurich House Museum: 1307 New Hampshire Ave. NW, DC;



Fairfax City Holiday Market
Join your family, neighbors and friends for the 2nd Annual City of Fairfax Holiday Market in Old Town Square. Come and shop at the market of craft vendors as you enjoy Old Town Square in the heart of Historic Downtown Fairfax covered in holiday lights. The festival will include live holiday music, hot drinks, gourmet treats and more! The Holiday Market will be open the first 3 weekends of December on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Craft vendors will vary each weekend. Fridays 5-8 p.m., Saturdays 12-6 p.m. and Sundays 12-4 p.m. Fairfax Old Town Square: 10415 North St. Fairfax, VA;


Holiday Market at Del Ray Artisans
Del Ray’s holiday market focuses on fine arts and crafts from local artists in the area. Purchase anything from ceramics and photography to cookbooks and tote bags. In addition, all artists donate a percentage of their sales to help support the Del Ray Artisans’ mission. Fridays 6-9 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Del Ray Artisans Gallery: 2704 Mount Vernon Ave. Alexandria, VA;

The Little Theatre of Alexandria’s A Christmas Carol
The Little Theatre of Alexandria rings in the holiday season with a return of the classic by Charles Dickens. Ebenezer Scrooge, a miserly Victorian humbug, travels with ghostly guides through Christmas past, present and future to find the true meaning of the holidays. Complete with special effects, Victorian carols, and Tiny Tim, A Christmas Carol is a must for the entire family. Various dates and times. Admission $20. The Little Theatre of Alexandria: 600 Wolfe St. Alexandria, VA;

Wunder Garten Winterfest
Winterfest is a magical three weekend experience popping up at Wunder Garten in DC’s NoMa neighborhood this holiday season. On weekends (Fridays-Sundays) from November 30 – December 16, Winterfest will be home to a Holiday Popup Market featuring local makers, entertainment, visits from Santa and more! Each day will bring new features. Fridays from 4-8 p.m., Saturdays from 12-8 p.m. and Sundays from 12-6 p.m. Wunder Garten: 1101 First St. NE, DC;


Annual Tree Lighting at One Loudoun
Kick off the holiday season with the sixth annual tree lighting at One Loudoun. Enjoy amazing entertainment, food and drinks, music and more. 5-7 p.m. Free to the public. One Loudoun: 20626 Easthampton Plaza, Ashburn, VA;

Deck the Halls: A Family at Christmas
Bring the family and celebrate the festive season and its traditions in the historic Tudor Place mansion. Explore the house as a history detective, finding clues to Christmas celebrations past. Nibble on cookies, write letters to Santa, sing with carolers, make yuletide crafts and enjoy other refreshments throughout an afternoon of warm merriment. 1-4 p.m. Tickets vary. Tudor Place: 1644 31st St. NW, DC;


District Holiday Boat Parade
Join The Wharf in celebrating the holiday season at the annual District Holiday Boat Parade presented by Stella Artois. The festivities kick off at 6 p.m. with live music on the main stage, then watch as over 50 brightly decorated boats pass by the piers. There will be a waterside beer and wine garden, activities for children, photos with Santa, and a special fireworks display. When the fireworks conclude, stick around for a great post-parade concert from Go Go Gadjet or go for a spin on the Wharf ice rink. 6-9 p.m. This event is free and open to the public; must be 21-plus to consume alcohol. District Wharf: 101 District Sq. SW, Washington, DC;

Frost Fest at Pentagon Row
Pentagon Row is excited to announce its signature winter event, Frost Fest. They will have an on-ice fireworks display, a live DJ, ice sculptures and special promotions! 5-8 p.m. Free to attend. Pentagon Row: 1201 S. Joyce St. Arlington, VA;

Holiday on the Avenue in Del Ray
Kick off the holidays with a visit to Del Ray for the annual holiday tree lighting featuring a special appearance by Santa Claus. Start your holiday shopping with a stroll down Mount Vernon Avenue, illuminated by thousands of luminaries. 6 p.m. Free admission. Pat Miller
Neighborhood Square: Corner of Mount Vernon and E. Oxford Avenues in Alexandria, VA;

Manassas Christmas Parade
The 73rd annual Manassas Christmas Parade will take place in the Greater Manassas area with more than 2,000 participants including marching bands, balloons, floats, dance groups and more! Parade starts at 10 a.m. Free to the public. Manassas Christmas Parade: Various locations in Manassas, VA;

NPR’s A Jazz Piano Christmas
Celebrate the season with a stylish twist on your favorite holiday classics. The Kennedy Center and NPR present A Jazz Piano Christmas, the annual holiday tradition featuring four celebrated jazz pianists performing their favorite seasonal music. 7 and 9 p.m. $55-$65. The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts: 2700 F St. NW, DC;

Scottish Walk Parade Open House
Step back in time to see Carlyle House decorated for the holidays in the style of the 18th century. John Carlyle, one of Alexandria’s town founders, was a British merchant of Scottish descent. 12-4 p.m. Free admission ($1 suggested donation). Carlyle House: 121 N. Fairfax St. Alexandria, VA;


Swedish Christmas Bazaar
Transport yourself to a traditional Swedish Christmas bazaar at this market. Artisans and vendors will offer up traditional Scandinavian and Nordic goods like homemade bread, Kosta Boda and Orrefors glassware, and Swedish delicacies like “princesstårta” and “glögg.” The event ends with traditional caroling by the Swedish St. Lucia Procession. 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. House of Sweden: 2900 K St. NW, DC;

Wolf Trap Holiday Sing-Along
Kick off the holiday season with family and friends at Wolf Trap’s 2018 Holiday Sing-A-Long! This musical celebration hosts a performance by the United States Marine Band and a Sing-A-Long of Christmas carols and Hanukkah songs with local choir and vocal groups from the metropolitan Washington area. 4-6 p.m. Free to attend. Wolf Trap’s Filene Center: 1551 Trap Rd. Vienna, VA;


2018 Nationals Winterfest
Winterfest will include interactive holiday and baseball activities for fans of all ages. Fans can meet and greet their favorite Nationals players and mascots, take a photo with Santa, strike a pose at the life-sized snow globe photo station and donate a toy to a child in need. 11:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. Tickets start at $29 for kids and $39 for adults. Nationals Park: 1500 S. Capitol St. SE, DC;

MetroCooking DC 2018
Shop. Sip. Sample. Spend the day experiencing the many culinary highlights of MetroCooking DC. See your favorite celebrity chefs whip up their signature dishes live on the James Beard Foundation Cooking Stage, including Carla Hall, Emeril Lagasse, Bethenny Frankel, Michael
Schlow and more. Various sessions and ticket prices. Walter E. Washington Convention Center: 801 Mt. Vernon Pl. NW, DC;



GRUMP in Crystal City and ZooLights
Looking for something a little less traditional? Well GRUMP is here to offer you an alternative arts and crafts holiday show. Stroll through the vendors while you wait to take your picture with the GRUMP yeti herself. Saturday, December 1 from 12-6 p.m. at SPACES The Artisphere and Friday, December 7 through Sunday, December 9 from 5-9 p.m. at the Smithsonian National Zoo. SPACES The Artisphere: 2100 1101 Wilson Blvd. Arlington, VA and The National Zoo: 3001 Connecticut Ave. NW, DC;


Georgetown Glow: Light Art Exhibition
Experience the sparkle of the season at Georgetown GLOW, the region’s only curated exhibition of outdoor public light art installations. Set against the historic backdrop of DC’s oldest neighborhood, it’s a whole new way to shine. 5-10 p.m. nightly. Free to attend. Georgetown Glow: Various exhibits near Georgetown Park located at 3222 M St. NW, DC;


The National Menorah Lighting
Chanukah kicks off with this lighting ceremony of the world’s largest menorah on the White House Ellipse, which greets all with latkes and
doughnuts and menorah kits and dreidels. Music from the United States Marine Band and the Three Cantors will add a soundtrack to the scene. As is the custom, a new candle is illuminated on each of the eight days of Chanukah. 4 p.m. President’s Park: 1450 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, DC;


Fairmont’s 15th 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 will make a special guest appearance; all families are welcome to take a photo with Santa after the ceremony. 5:30-7 p.m. The Fairmont Washington, DC: 2401 M St. NW, DC;


Candlelight Tours in the Mansion
Celebrate the holidays with a historical Christmas celebration. See the grounds lit for the holidays and enjoy a guided tour of the elegant mansion. Great for history lovers and Christmas enthusiasts alike! For adults and history buffs ages 16-plus. 6 p.m. on various dates. Tickets $15-$25. Tudor Place Historic House & Garden: 1644 31st St. NW, DC;


The Second City’s Love, Factually
Cue the cue cards and carols! From the twisted minds at The Second City comes this fastpacedromp that mingles the classic movie’s most beloved (and despised) characters and moments in an original take sure to warm your icy heart. Love, Factually is a holiday satire that blasts the December holiday time of life and love. After experiencing this mashup of parody, original comedy, music, improv and audience participation, you’ll find that funny actually is all around. Various dates and times. $49-$75. The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts: 2700 F St. NW, DC;


Mad Fox Holiday Beer Tasting
Join for a festive holiday sit-down beer tasting where you can meet brewers and brewery/ brewpub owners from across the region, and taste their wonderful winter selections. Each brewer/owner will discuss their beer and answer any questions that you have. Mad Fox will be focusing on local brewers and seasonal holiday beers. 7-10:30 p.m. $55. Mad Fox Brewing Company: 444 W Broad St. Falls Church, VA;

U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree
Join the District in the lighting of the 2018 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree on the West Lawn of the Capitol starting at 5 p.m. Check out for more details. U.S. Capitol: East Capitol and First Streets in Washington, DC;


Shops of Del Ray’s Ladies’ Night Out
Join the Shops of Del Ray to shop local and enjoy special promotions while sipping Virginia wine. 5:30-8:30 p.m. Free admission. Del Ray’s Ladies’ Night Out: Various locations on Mount Vernon Avenue in Alexandria, VA;


A Candlelight Christmas
It’s not Christmas without The Washington Chorus! Featuring brass, organ, singalongs and the magnificent Candlelight Processional, A Candlelight Christmas includes your favorite songs such as “The Dream Isaiah Saw,” “Hallelujah Chorus” and more Christmas favorites to fall in love with. Various dates and times. $18-$75. The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts: 2700 F St. NW, DC;


Blend’s German Christmas Market
Join Blend’s “Weihnachtsmarkt” outdoor German Christmas market with food from Lothar’s Butchery & Gourmet Sausages, baked goods from The Baekehaus, crepes from Happy Crêpe, glühwein (hot mulled wine) and a beer tasting from Ono Brewing Company. 3:30-8 p.m. Blend Coffee Bar: 43170 Southern Walk Plaza Ste. 120, Ashburn, VA;

Civil War Christmas in Camp
Get in the holiday spirit and learn how Christmas was observed during the Civil War. This popular family-oriented event features a patriotic Civil War Santa Claus, reenactors in winter camp settings, period decorations, fort tours and kids’ activities. 12-4 p.m. No registration required. $2 suggested admission donation per person and $5 per family. Fort Ward Museum & Historic Site: 4301 W. Braddock Rd. Alexandria, VA;

Del Ray Candy Cane Bar Crawl
Enjoy specialty cocktails, beer and food specials at select Del Ray restaurants during a neighborhood bar crawl to benefit local nonprofits. Starts at 4 p.m. Free to attend. Del Ray Candy Cane Bar Crawl: Various locations in Del Ray, Alexandria, VA;

Historic Alexandria Candlelight Tours
Travel through centuries of local history and learn about Alexandria during the holiday season at Carlyle House, Gadsby’s Tavern Museum and the Lee-Fendall House. Enjoy each site by candlelight, smell seasonal greenery, sip on drinks and taste the historic period inspired food. Seasonal libations will be available for purchase. Lloyd House will host members of Beth El Hebrew Congregation for Hanukkah traditions. 4-9 p.m. $20-$25 admission. Gadsby’s Tavern Museum: 134 N. Royal St. Alexandria, VA; Carlyle House: 121 N. Fairfax St. Alexandria, VA; Lee-Fendall House: 614 Oronoco St. Alexandria, VA; Lloyd House: 220 N. Washington St. Alexandria, VA;

How to Celebrate Kwanzaa Workshop
Have you ever wanted to celebrate Kwanzaa, but are not sure how to begin? Join the Alexandria Black History Museum for a morning that includes the history of Kwanzaa, hints on easy-to-make crafts, games, recipes and more. 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. $2 admission. Alexandria Black History Museum: 902 Wythe St. Alexandria, VA;


Russian Winter Festival
Celebrate Sviatki, the festive winter season, in traditional Russian style! Meet Grandfather Frost, Russia’s Santa Claus, and his granddaughter the Snow Maiden in a fun family play based on traditional Russian stories. Discover what the new year has in store from fortunetellers strolling the estate, presented by Happenstance Theater. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Hillwood Estate, Museum & Garden: 4155 Linnean Ave. NW, DC;


Hot 99.5 Jingle Ball
Hot 99.5 Jingle Ball presented by Capital One is back with its annual star-studded holiday concert. Top recording artists Shawn Mendes, The Chainsmokers and G-Eazy will lead the all-star lineup. The celebration will benefit the Ryan Seacrest Foundation. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. $60-$200. Capital One Arena: 601 F St. NW, DC;


Christmas Illuminations
Join Mount Vernon for an evening of fun and fireworks choreographed to holiday music. Take a stroll while being serenaded by local choirs, visit with re-enactors from the First Virginia Regiment in winter encampment, and learn 18th-century dance moves from costumed guides in the greenhouse. George and Martha Washington will also be on site to greet Mount Vernon’s holiday guests. 5:30-8:45 p.m. $20-$35. Mount Vernon: 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Hwy. Mount Vernon, VA;

Drink the District: Wine Winter Edition
The winter edition of the Drink the District Wine Festival is “Holiday Themed,” with a wide variety of wines to choose from. While you’re tasting your way through the festival or nibbling on cheese, you can get some shopping done, too. Tickets $59-$99 plus fees. La Maison Francaise at The French Embassy: 4101 Reservoir Rd. NW, DC;

A Holiday Pops! Under the Mistletoe
Dash through the snow to The Kennedy Center’s merrily adorned Concert Hall and warm your spirit with fresh takes on comforting classics and sing-along carols in this annual NSO tradition. Make an unforgettable holiday memory in a cozy, music-filled winter wonderland with your favorite yuletide tunes sung by musical theater darling Ashely Brown – originator of the title character in Mary Poppins on Broadway. Various times. $24-$99. The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts: 2700 F St. NW, DC;


A Christmas Messe
Celebrate the holidays with a repast of English music ranging from the earliest carols to later arrangements of favorites like Greensleeves by Vaughan Williams. The Folger’s 1619 manuscript A Christmas Messe – recounting a tussle between King Beef and King Brawn – offers lively accompaniment to a main course of beloved Yuletide music. Various dates and times. Tickets $50. Folger Shakespeare Library: 201 East Capitol St. SE, DC; www.folger.ed


Step Afrika!’s Magical Musical Holiday Step Show
This performance will have you stomping your feet to energetic beats from Step Afrika! and special guest DJ Frosty the Snowman. Over the years, this internationally renowned percussive dance company has created a contemporary holiday tradition at the Atlas, featuring friendly, furry characters, pre-show instrument-making workshops, photo ops, and even a dance party. Why celebrate the holidays sitting still when you can step with Step Afrika! Various dates and times. $25-$45. The Paul Sprenger Theatre: 1333 H St. NE, DC;


Holiday Ornament Workshop
This free family-friendly workshop provides the opportunity to create paper ornaments for the holiday season. All materials are provided. If you have special paper you would like to use, feel free to bring it the day of the event. No registration required. 2 p.m. Free to attend. Brentwood Arts Exchange: 3901 Rhode Island Ave. Brentwood, MD;


Kwanzaa Celebration at Dance Place
Celebrate this holiday season under the direction of Sylvia Soumah. Gather family and friends to join Coyaba Academy, Coyaba Dance Theater and special guests to celebrate the seven principles of Kwanzaa. Saturday, December 15 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, December 16 at 2 and 6 p.m. $15-$30. Dance Place: 3225 8th St. NE, DC;


Colonial Handbell Ringers Concert
The Colonial English Handbell Ringers perform clad in colonial attire, bringing a five-octave set of nearly 80 hand bells from the world-famous Whitechapel Foundry in London. The ringers will perform children’s classics, timeless holiday tunes and original show-stoppers. Audience participation in the sing-a-long is encouraged. 2 and 4 p.m. Free to attend. The Lyceum: 201 S. Washington St. Alexandria, VA;


Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker
Celebrate this Christmas with the experience taking North America by storm! Marking the 25th North American anniversary tour in 2017, Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker features over-the-top production values and world class Russian artists. Larger than life puppets, nesting dolls and gloriously hand-crafted costumes bring the Christmas spirit to life. Gather the family and see why The New York Times raves “Knock Out!” and L.A. Times raves “Christmas Cheer!” Various times. $48-$88. The Music Center at Strathmore: 5301 Tuckerman Ln. North Bethesda, MD;


Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra: A Bohemian Christmas
There’s something about a big band that encapsulates the spirit of the season. Even though the legendary nightclub it’s named for is now closed, the Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra (BCJO), a 17-piece big band, is still going strong and continuing its quest to simultaneously embrace and challenge the treasured traditions of big band repertoire. Featuring some of DC’s best musicians, the BCJO performs a holiday concert that includes classics from Ellington, Basie and Strayhorn. 8-10 p.m. $25-$30. Atlas Performing Arts Center: 1333 H St. NE, DC;


The Hip Hop Nutcracker
This holiday mash-up for the whole family is back by popular demand! The Hip Hop Nutcracker re-imagines Tchaikovsky’s classic score
through explosive hip-hop choreography. A dozen all-star dancers, an onstage DJ and an electric violinist bring the traditional Nutcracker story to life in contemporary New York City. 7:30 p.m. $30-$60. The Music Center at Strathmore: 5301 Tuckerman Ln. North Bethesda, MD;


National Symphony Orchestra Presents Handel’s “Messiah”
Join the NSO, gifted singers and a heavenly chorus for this annual holiday tradition! Conductor Jeannette Sorrell brings fresh perspective to Handel’s cherished “Messiah” with gifted soloists along with the University of Maryland Concert Choir. Experience all the hope, redemption and grace of this angelic masterpiece in the festively decorated Concert Hall. Various dates and times. $15-$89. The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts: 2700 F St. NW, DC;


Trans-Siberian Orchestra
Based on TSO’s multi-platinum DVD and longrunning PBS fundraiser, The Ghosts of Christmas Eve, the rock opera features such enduring fan-favorites as “Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24,” “O’ Come All Ye Faithful,” “Good King Joy,” “Christmas Canon,” “Music Box Blues,” “Promises To Keep” and “This Christmas Day.” This year’s tour will also boast a rousing second set containing more of TSO’s greatest hits and fan-pleasers. Shows at 3 and 8 p.m. $46-$80. Capital One Arena: 601 F St. NW, DC;


Waterskiing Santa
Now in its 32nd year, this favorite DC area Christmas Eve tradition comes to Old Town Alexandria for the fourth time. Gather at Alexandria’s Potomac River waterfront for a spectacular show by the Waterskiing Santa and his wakeboarding reindeer, plus flying elves, the Grinch and his friends, Frosty the Snowman, and Jack Frost. The prime viewing area is along the waterfront between King Street and Oronoco Street, which includes Founders Park and the Alexandria City Marina. 1 p.m. Free. Waterskiing Santa: Alexandria’s waterfront between King and Oronoco Streets in Alexandria, VA;


Big Night DC
Get ready for a night of excitement! Make your plans to ring in your new year with over 9,000 people as The Gaylord National Hotel hosts Big Night DC. Experience the most exciting and hottest gala of the season. Tickets are on sale now and will go fast. The event features 15 themed party areas, five dance floors, an awesome band and DJ lineup, party favors, exquisite Gaylord cuisine and so much more. Various ticket options available. Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center: 201 Waterfront St. Oxon Hill, MD;

First Night Alexandria
First Night Alexandria, the largest family-friendly and alcohol-free New Year’s Eve party in the Washington, DC region, returns to Old Town December 31, 2018 with family-friendly activities beginning at 2 p.m. and culminating in a spectacular fireworks display over the Potomac River at midnight. This annual New Year’s Eve bash takes over Old Town Alexandria with more than 150 performances at 23 indoor venues. 2 p.m. – 12 a.m. Tickets $25-$35. First Night Alexandria: Various locations in Old Town Alexandria, VA;

International Spy Gala NYE
This 17th annual gala is an all-inclusive, upscale, black-tie optional party for all ages. Since 2009, it has been held at the Washington Plaza Hotel where you are treated like a celebrity and receive superstar service from the moment you arrive until your mission ends. Dance all night long to the party band and DJs in Iceland, Istanbul, Caribbean Carnival and the VIP lounge. 9 p.m. – 2 a.m. Various ticket options and prices. Washington Plaza Hotel: 10 Thomas Cir. NW, DC;

The Manor DC New Year’s Eve 2019
Come experience where imagination meets reality. The Manor is the place to be this NYE 2018. The venue features 2,800 square feet of space with a unique mezzanine overlooking the bar and dance floor. Enjoy the dazzling views behind the floor to ceiling windows. The Manor is located in the heart of Dupont Circle. Starts at 9 p.m. $50-$75. The Manor DC: 1327 Connecticut Ave. NW, DC;

Military Bowl Parade
Come to one of the DMV’s favorite gameday traditions leading up to kick off – the Military Bowl Parade! The Budweiser Clydesdales will lead the way as another exciting bowl season in Annapolis is launched. After the parade, join in the official Military Bowl Tailgate in the blue lot on the west side of the stadium. 9:30 a.m. Parade and tailgate admission is free. City Dock: Dock Street in Annapolis, MD;

New Year’s Eve International Gala: A Cirque Du 2019 International Celebration of Many Nations
As you ring in 2019, you’re invited to take a journey around the world without ever leaving Washington’s royal and historic hotel! This night, you will circle the globe and visit many continents as you make your way from one huge grand ballroom to the next. Starts at 9 p.m. $109-$225. Omni Shoreham Hotel: 2500 Calvert St. NW, DC;

Nick’s Riverside Grill and Tony and Joe’s have one of the biggest New Year’s Party in DC. They offer it all: live music, DJs, appetizers and eight top-shelf open bars. They even tent and heat the entire outdoor patio surrounding our restaurants to open up the outside bars. There is plenty of room for everyone. The best part is it’s all-inclusive and the lowest price in the city. All you have to do is show up with your ticket. Doors open at 9 p.m. Tickets start at $99. Tony and Joe’s Seafood Place: 3000 K St. NW, DC;