Photograph by Jim Jenkins/ Smithsonian’s National Zoo.

Happy Monday, everyone!

Before you stuff yourselves with turkey and holiday treats this Thanksgiving week, check out some fun things to do around DC. You can join a World Cup watch party, go to a timeless ballet, or explore the unveilings of several local holiday light displays.

 

Best Things to Do This Week

  1. ZooLights. The Smithsonian National Zoo will glow in the dark starting this week as part of its annual holiday tradition. Adults and kids are invited to the winter wonderland of shining animal lanterns, winter treats, live music, and seasonal shopping (starting Fri, free but entry pass required, National Zoo).
  2. “Season’s Greenings.” The annual garden-wide holiday display is back at the U.S. Botanic Garden. This year’s “Season’s Greenings” will be revealed on Thanksgiving Day and remain open through the beginning of January. You don’t need a green thumb to fall in love with this flower art. Every day the the outdoor gardens and conservatory will present poinsettias, holiday decor, and DC landmarks made from plants. G-gauge model trains will ride through the greenery, too (starting Thurs, free, U.S. Botanic Garden).
  3. Enchant. Stroll through a spectacular light maze and be filled with holiday cheer at Enchant at Nationals Park. The dazzling display includes sparkling tunnels, giant snowflakes, and winter globes. There’s also ice-skating, an illuminated “forest,” festive mocktails and food, photos with Santa, live music, and a chance to win a Hallmark Channel trip sweepstakes (starting Fri, $35+ for adults, $23 for children, Nationals Park).
  4. Soccer in the Circle. Root on team USA at an outdoor watch party as they compete against Wales in their first FIFA World Cup game. Soccer fans can enjoy music, food, giveaways, and art at Soccer in the Circle (Mon, free, Dupont). If you are looking for more soccer events happening this week, then check out our round-up.
  5. The Nutcracker.” The Washington Ballet’s seasonal show, The Nutcracker, opens this week. Time-travel to the late 1800s to experience Georgetown with George Washington, King George III, and other historical notables as more than 100 dancers bring this holiday classic to life on stage (Fri-Sun, $48+, Northwest DC).

 

Ice skating at Enchant DC in Nationals Park. Photograph courtesy of Enchant DC.

Want More Things to Do?

Budget-friendly. Explore the Hirshhorn’s latest video installation exhibit, “John Akomfrah: Purple” (starting Wed, free, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden).

Arts and culture. Shop from more than 30 neighborhood artisans and makers at a Small Business Saturday pop-up market (Sat, free, Takoma). Sip beers from Port City Brewing Company and grab bites from food trucks at the Holiday Maker’s Market (Sat, free, Alexandria). See rare prints from Europe’s Northern Renaissance before the exhibit closes (Mon-Sun, free, National Gallery of Art).

Theater and shows. Signature Theatre is honoring the memory of Stephen Sondheim with a tribute of songs and musical games (Sat, free, virtual). It’s your last chance to get tickets to Sanctuary City before the show closes at Arena Stage (Tues-Wed, Fri-Sun, $56+, Southwest DC). Prepare to be entertained at the opening of musical comedy Tootsie (Fri-Sun, $57+, Tysons). A new Shakespeare-inspired play opens this week; see the magical tale of The Tempest (starting Wed, $46+, Bethesda).

History and heritage. Discover the holiday traditions of 18th-century Virginia on a guided candlelight tour (Fri-Sat, $26 for adults, $18 for children, Mount Vernon).

Music and concerts. The Washington Capitals are throwing a party to celebrate the release of this year’s Reverse Retro jersey. Fans can pick up a free Reverse Retro T-shirt and groove with ’90s tribute band White Ford Bronco at 9:30 Club (Mon, $25, Northwest DC). Sofar Sounds brings an experience of two to three short musical performances (Wed, $21, Capitol Hill). A quintet of sibling pianists are bringing holiday cheer to George Mason University. Guests can expect to hear classic winter tunes like “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and “Sleigh Ride” (Sat, $30+, Fairfax). Or, book a seat to a multi-instrumental performance of cartoon songs. The animations will be shown on stage in sync with The Queen’s Cartoonists band (Sun, $19, Fairfax). Sing along with your family and “let it go” this holiday weekend at Disney’s Frozen in concert (Fri-Sat, $39+, Kennedy Center). Add some jazz and R&B hits to your Thanksgiving playlist and see Eric Benet and Jeff Bradshaw live (Sat, $60, Northwest DC).

Holiday fun. Spend Thanksgiving eve at a community movie screening of The Last Waltz (Wed, free, Northwest DC). Bundle up and head outdoors to the immersive family-welcoming Ice & Lights experience; there’s ice-skating, too (Mon-Sun, $9+, Alexandria). Have you ever seen a dancing Christmas tree? Get ready to be amazed by an outdoor attraction of light shows, 14 bonfires, a glowing walking trail, and a 52-foot tree at Winter City Lights (Fri-Sun, $37+, Olney).

Get involved. Run the 10k Turkey Chase Charity Race. The YMCA Bethesda-Chevy Chase and Bethesda Chevy Chase Rotary have hosted the race since 1982 to raise funds for community programming (Thurs, $40, virtual, Bethesda). Dress your pet in a turkey costume for a good cause and run or walk in this year’s America’s Trot for Hunger (Thurs, $25+, virtual, Downtown).

If you enjoyed these events, don’t forget to share this post with a friend on social media, and sign-up for our newsletter for more things to do.

Briana A. Thomas is a local journalist, historian, and tour guide who specializes in the research of D.C. history and culture. She is the author of the Black history book, Black Broadway in Washington, D.C., a story that was first published in Washingtonian in 2016.

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