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Five Festive and Fun Things to Do in D.C.

by Irvina Lew

Dec 19, 2019

Dave Newman | Dreamstime.com


Whether a first-time visitor or a regular, discovering Washington, D.C.’s beautiful broad streets, basins, malls and parks decorated for the season is always fun and festive.


Here are five activities the entire family will cherish.


Take a Tour 

The D.C. area never fails to captivate on a city tour. Fortunately, the options and the price ranges run the gamut from free buses to touristy trips and private guides. One free bus is the Southwest Shuttle. And various D.C. Circulator Buses ($1 for adults; 50 cents for kids) travel the town (Union Station to the Mall). Of course, there are the hop-on, hop-off and Old Town Trolley options, plus my grandchild’s and my personal favorite: the D.C. Duck Tour. Whatever you choose, a drive around will wow everyone.


See The Nutcracker

The Warner Theater, a restored movie palace, is the annual home of Washington Ballet’s The Nutcracker, with dazzling performances through Dec. 29. The performers reflect the diversity of the community and the classic holiday story takes place in Georgetown on a snowy Christmas Eve.


Skating in D.C. Photo: Cvandyke | Dreamstime.com

Slide and Skate

Georgetown may be best known for the university and M. Street restaurants and shops, but it’s also the home of Washington Harbour Ice Rink. Skating lessons are available for guests 3 years and older. From here, there are incredible views of the Kennedy Center and, in the evening, guests see the lights of the Kennedy Center Honors’ ribbons.


Visit the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

The December calendar at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts includes major productions of My Fair Lady, Come From Away and the delightful Sheer Madness. See free daily performances on the Millennium Stage 6–7 p.m., no advance tickets needed. In the 324-seat Family Theater, within Kennedy Center’s recently expanded The Reach, kids will delight seeing Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus. The Reach offers a multitude of family activities along the water. At Moonshot Studio, until Dec. 28, there are projects for all ages, Saturdays 10-4 p.m. On the rooftop, there are dining options, including a restaurant hosting Sunday Brunch with Santa Dec. 22, and a cafeteria. Lots of locals bring their own picnics to the roof.


Go to the Zoo

The Smithsonian’s National Zoo presents an annual Zoo Lights event throughout the holiday season with holiday crafts, ice sculpting demonstrations, choral groups, storytellers and thousands of Christmas lights. Kids love to travel the Zoo Choo Choo, slide the tubing track or ride a carousel amid animal figurines.


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