Tis the season to be jolly, so why not have some festive fun in DC? Consider treating yourself to an evening with family and friends at one of these six holiday attractions, all within walking distance to some of the city’s finest dining options.
Take a Seasonal Spin
In the winter, The Washington Harbour’s picturesque fountain transforms into a busy ice skating rink. The Georgetown hot spot is DC’s largest outdoor skating venue, boasting an 11,800-square-foot ice rink. Show off your fancy spins and enjoy a beautiful view of the Potomac River at this winter treasure. Tickets $10-$15. 3050 K St. NW, 202.706.7666, thewashingtonharbour.com/ice-skating TASTE Aprés-skate, enjoy an Italian dinner at Fiola Mare. The restaurant offers a full seafood menu showcasing a variety of grilled fish, caviar and more. Plus, the resto is offering a special tasting menu on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve for those of you who wish to welcome the holidays sipping aperitivos. 3050 K St. NW, Suite 101, 202.628.0065, fiolamaredc.com
Celebrate in Presidential Style
Get in the holiday spirit by visiting the National Christmas Tree and National Menorah on The White House Ellipse. An annual trip to see Washington’s most famous decorations (aside from the ones inside the White House) is a must-do. Snap a selfie, check out the mini-trees from all 50 states, DC and U.S. territories, and enjoy the musical entertainment near these seasonal symbols. Free. 15th and 17th Streets NW, nationalmenorah.org; 202.796.2500, thenationaltree.org TASTE Warm up at Equinox, the regionally inspired restaurant featuring a menu with sustainable and in-season dishes from Chef Todd Gray . Enjoy the eatery’s vegan holiday menu as well as its festive Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve selections. 818 Connecticut Ave. NW, 202.331.8118, equinoxrestaurant.com
Shop and Sip on Seventh Street
Still searching for the perfect gift to buy your special someone? The Downtown Holiday Market (through Dec. 23) in Penn Quarter may have exactly what you need. With over 160 vendors selling a diverse array of handmade goods, you’re sure to find a one-of-a-kind present. Bonus: jam out to your favorite tunes with the market’s variety of live musical performers ranging in styles from jazz to rock. Free. F and Eighth streets NW, 202.215.6993, downtownholidaymarket.com TASTE Once you finish your shopping extravaganza, stop by Derek Brown’s Mockingbird Hill for a slice of meat and a holiday cocktail. Just a 10-minute drive from the market, the bar has become the official boozy holiday headquarters with its Miracle on Seventh Street pop-up Christmas bar (open through Christmas Eve). Decked with holiday décor, the bar swapped its usual menu for a unique Christmas-themed drink list featuring a nog shot and 10 specialty cocktails with names like “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” and “Can I Interest You in Hanukkah?” It sort of feels like drinking inside a snow globe. 1843 7th St. NW, 202.316.9396, miracleon7thst.com
Visit a Frozen Wonderland
Ice! at Gaylord National Resort is the perfect family friendly attraction for art enthusiasts and adventurous folk alike. The hand-sculpted winter wonderland is made from 5,000 blocks of ice and is kept at a chilling 9 degrees. Visit the impressive structure (through Jan. 3) for an interactive experience that tells the story of a holiday claymation favorite, “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town.” Tickets $15-35. 201 Waterfront St., National Harbor, Md., 301.965.4000, GaylordNationalTickets.com TASTE After exploring the ice, treat yourself to a warm meal at Gaylord’s Old Hickory Steakhouse. And, on select dates (Dec. 13 and 20), enjoy a gourmet four-course Brunch with Santa featuring a seafood tower and choice of petit filet, lobster stuffed omelet and more. Tickets $30-$60. Pre-purchased tickets required.
Go Green for the Holidays
Bring a little warmth to the chilly season with a visit to the Botanic Garden’s tropical paradise. The Season’s Greenings exhibit (through Jan.3) features a showcase of poinsettias and has one of the largest indoor decorated trees in DC. You can also explore the conservatory’s Pollination Station featuring oversized flowers, bees and butterflies, and enjoy an elaborate train display in the East Gallery. Free. 100 Maryland Ave. SW, 202.226.8333, usbg.gov TASTE Consider dining at The Source after your trip to the Botanic Gardens. This recently renovated resto features a custom designed hot pot table for four and a special chef’s tasting counter menu for two. The Asian/Pacific fusion cuisine includes Singapore curry laksa and “Hong Kong” style steamed Verlasso salmon. The eatery will also offer guests a special Christmas Eve roast duck dinner and a 5- and 7-course menu on New Year’s Eve. 575 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, 202.637.6100, wolfgangpuck.com/restaurants/fine-dining/3941
Get Wild this Winter
Take a stroll through the National Zoo and experience its annual magical lights display. ZooLights (through Jan. 2) features more than 5,000 environmentally friendly LED lights that transform the zoo into a winter wonderland. Enjoy the animal exhibits, live music performances and tasty winter treats—all under the glow of the decorative seasonal lights. Free. 3001 Connecticut Ave. NW, 202.633.4888, nationalzoo.si.edu TASTE Warm up at Open City with a hot cup of coffee and tasty dessert. The Woodley Park coffeehouse and diner, which presents a quaint and homey ambiance, also offers an array of quick bites including sandwiches, burgers and salads. And, the eatery showcases weekly specials that feature products typically used to represent the season. 2331 Calvert St. NW, 202.332.2331, opencitydc.com