Staff Picks: DC’s Best Holiday Attractions

The most wonderful time of the year is upon us. There are a number of unique and festive things to do in DC during the holiday season. Take the TFAS staff’s advice and get in the holiday spirit by visiting one of Washington’s noteworthy holiday attractions.

“ZooLights at the National Zoo is a fun and unique way to experience the National Zoo. Walk the zoo grounds at night to check out dozens of animal and holiday themed light displays as well as the traditional animal exhibits. ZooLights is free and runs most Friday through Sunday evenings from 6:00 PM – 8:30 PM in December.” Dana Faught, Recruitment and Admissions Coordinator

“If you really want to get into the holiday spirit, check out a 30 year DC tradition at the Kennedy Center. The Choral Arts Society of Washington hosts an awesome Christmas concert and includes a good mix of classic Christmas carols and popular holiday favorites.” Joe Starrs, Institute on Political Journalism & Institute on Comparative and Political Economic Systems Director

“What could be more festive around the holiday season than ice skating on the National Gallery of Art’s Sculpture Garden ice rink? It allows you to skate while enjoying the amazing works of art located in the garden.” Lily Pascucci, Capital Semester Director

 “The National Christmas tree is a must see. Located south of the White House on the Ellipse, the lighting of the National Christmas Tree is a tradition that dates back to the 1920s. While a select number of tickets are available for the lighting ceremony on December 9th, the tree is illuminated every subsequent night in December until 11pm for visitors to see.

Be sure to also check out the 56 smaller trees which are decorated by organizations from each of the states, territory and the District of Columbia.” Emily Hill, Institute on Philanthropy and Voluntary Service Manager

“Seeing Handel’s “Messiah” performed at the National Cathedral is always a moving experience. It is especially poignant to see it in the historic National Cathedral, which is decorated for the holidays.” Jonathon Tilley, Institute on Business and Government Affairs Coordinator

Happy Holidays! With Marvin Hamlisch and the NSO Pops is a time honored Kennedy Center tradition. With the hall sparkling with lights and decorations, a visit from Santa and musical guests singing holiday favorites, the show will remind you what this time of year is all about. Don’t forget to warm up your voices before you go – It wouldn’t be complete without caroling from the audience! The show runs from December 9-12 at The Kennedy Center’s Concert Hall.” Haley Heieck , Institute on Comparative Political and Economic Systems Coordinator

“A unique way to get in the holiday spirit is to visit the Mount Vernon Estate to see how George Washington celebrated in the 18th century. Christmas at Mount Vernon runs from November 26th through January 6th and offers guests the special opportunity to tour the rarely-opened third floor of the mansion. Guests also get to experience themed decorations, chocolate-making demonstrations and a gingerbread Mount Vernon.” Hicks Winters, Legal Studies Institute Director

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