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Winter Wonderfully: Spend the December Holidays in Washington, DC

December 9, 2016 Destination North America No Comments Email Email

Destination DC, the official destination marketing organization for Washington, DC helps would-be visitors plan unforgettable holidays in the nation’s capital throughout the season of sparkle. Find trip inspiration like hotel packages and deals and can’t-miss December activities on washington.org. Speak with a concierge service (1-800-422-8644) and catch real-time inspiration for holiday getaways across Destination DC’s lively social channels.

“We help travelers craft memorable holiday plans in Washington, DC,” said Elliott Ferguson, president and CEO of Destination DC. “Whether your holidays mean tea at the Willard InterContinental followed by A Christmas Carol at Ford’s Theatre, a family photo in front of the White House and visit to the National Museum of African American History and Culture or an Instagram walk through Georgetown Glow before cocktails at Christmas-themed bars in Shaw, we know how to maximize the season.”

Washington, DC’s 2016 December highlights include:
Outdoor Ice Skating
•       Glide across the ice inside the National Gallery of Art’s sculpture garden. Warm up at the Pavilion Café over hot chocolate, savory plates and delicate pastries thru March 12.
•       Spin around the Potomac River-side rink boasting views of Theodore Roosevelt Island at Georgetown’s Washington Harbour. Children can lean on a “penguin” to balance on blades.
•       Whip around the elliptical 12,000-square foot Canal Park rink at Capitol Riverfront. This rink offers sessions with deejays and costumed characters thru Feb. 26.

Holiday Displays
The District spruces up with boughs and bows, decorated trees and of course lights. Among the elaborate displays:
•       ZooLights animates the National Zoo’s parks and paths between 5-9pm with +500,000 LED lights until Jan. 1 (closed Dec. 24 and 25). FREE
•       George Washington’s Mount Vernon offers character-guided candlelit tours of the mansion, 18th century dancing and fireside caroling. Tours are Dec. 10-11 and 18.
•       The Capitol Christmas Tree on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol will be lit thru Jan. 1. The 80-foot tree from Idaho’s Payette National Forest and its 17 companion trees are decorated with 18,000 ornaments handmade by Idahoans. FREE
•       Tour America’s magnificent landscapes recreated in plants at Seasons Greenings: National Parks and Historic Parks at the United States Botanic Gardens thru Jan. 2. FREE
•       The National Christmas tree in President’s Park on the Ellipse behind the White House is home to Santa’s Workshop and nightly musical performances at dusk thru Dec. 31. FREE
•       Georgetown Glow, the curated exhibition of 11 outdoor light-art installations in the historic neighborhood and shopping district dazzles thru Jan. 1.  FREE
•       The National Menorah will be lit on the Ellipse throughout Hanukah. On Dec. 25 at 4pm, the American Friends of Lubavitch will distribute dreidels, donuts and cider. FREE

Shopping
Find luxury offerings in Penn Quarter and Friendship Heights and independent boutiques dot Georgetown, downtown and 14th Street. World-class museums including the National Building Museum, Phillips Collection, National Gallery of Art and National Museum of Natural History stock thoughtful gifts.
•       The spirit of Europe imbues the Downtown Holiday Market. The pop-up in front of the Smithsonian American Art Museum/National Portrait Gallery features 150+ regional artisans thru Dec. 23 selling ornaments, jewelry, pottery, clothing and artwork.
•       CityCenterDC, the luxury shopping and restaurant destination in Penn Quarter dresses up with a giant reindeer, a sky-high tree and an interactive hashtag postcard station.

Music & Theater
DC’s cultural calendar is studded with concerts, ballets, and holiday-perfect plays and musicals. The season brings a host of festive favorites:
• The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts features performances like Merry Tubachristmas! (Dec. 14, FREE) and the National Symphony Orchestra’s Handel’s Messiah (Dec. 15-18).
• The Washington Ballet’s version of The Nutcracker (thru Dec. 24) is a tribute to our nation’s capital that swaps George Washington for the Nutcracker Prince at the Warner Theatre.
• A longstanding DC tradition, a richly dressed production of A Christmas Carol (thru Dec. 31) takes over Ford’s Theatre.
• Family offerings include Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas: The Musical at the National Theatre (Dec. 13–31); The Secret Garden at the Shakespeare Theatre (thru Dec. 31); Carousel at Arena Stage (thru Dec. 24).
Dining
Washington, DC’s dining scene features Michelin-starred restaurants, global flavors, seasonal décor, bars with fireplaces and more:
•       The trio of bars on 7th Street in Shaw – Mockingbird Hill, Eat the Rich and Southern Efficiency – are decking the halls again for “Miracle on Seventh Street” thru Dec. 31 when they close with a New Year’s Eve bash.
•       Holiday teas are offered at luxury hotels including Peacock Alley at the Willard InterContinental; Empress Lounge at the Mandarin Oriental Washington, DC; Tea Cellar at the Park Hyatt Washington.

Emoji DC
Subscribers of Destination DC’s free, downloadable emoji app will be gifted with 24 new stickers with DC holiday, winter and inauguration themes. The tap-and-paste images are expected to appear in the Emoji DC app in December.
About Destination DC: Destination DC, the official destination marketing organization for the nation’s capital, is a private, non-profit membership organization of 900 businesses committed to marketing the area as a premier global convention, tourism and special events destination with a special emphasis on the arts, cultural and historic communities. washington.org.

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