December 2012 


One-Day Events

A Christmas Carol

Nov 16 - Dec 30, Ford's Theatre

Recurring daily
Address: 511 Tenth St, NW, Washington, DC
Phone: (202) 347-4833

A must-see holiday tradition!

Join the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future as they lead the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge on a journey of transformation and redemption. Originally conceived by Michael Baron, this music-infused production captures the magic and joy of Dickens's Yuletide classic. Acclaimed Washington stage actor Edward Gero returns to play Scrooge.

The Washington Post proclaims "musically high-spirited" and "infectiously jolly."

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ICE! featuring DreamWorks' Shrek the Halls

Nov 16 - Jan 6, Gaylord National

Recurring daily
Address: 201 Waterfront Street, National Harbor, MD
Times: Varies - see website
Phone: (301) 965-4000
Admission: $14 - $29
Gaylord National's popular ICE! winter holiday attraction returns with an all-NEW, hilarious theme: ICE! featuring DreamWorks' Shrek the Halls. From Nov. 16, 2012 to Jan. 6, 2013, the DreamWorks animated holiday TV special will be brought to life in an interactive world of colorful ice sculptures and incredible 20-feet tall ice slides carved entirely from TWO MILLION pounds of ice. Relive the heartwarming story as you stroll through this amazing attraction featuring your favorite characters: Shrek, Fiona, Donkey, Gingy and Puss in Boots as they celebrate Christmas in their own special way. When Shrek tries to plan the "perfect Christmas" for Fiona and the kids, his plans are disrupted by chaos and commotion. But, in the end, Shrek learns the true meaning of the holiday.

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Meadowlark's Winter Walk of Lights

Nov 16 - Jan 6, Meadowlark Botanical Gardens

Recurring daily
Address: 9750 Meadowlark Gardens Court, Vienna, VA
Times: 5:00pm doors, 5:30pm show
Phone: (703) 255-3631
Admission: $13 adults, $8 children ages 3-12

Winter Walk of Lights is an outdoor walking light show with over 500,000 led lights set in Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna, VA. Timed admission tickets are required. Dress for the outdoors! The walking path is 0.6 miles long. Stay for the animated Lakeside Lights show and enjoy refreshments at LIGHT Refreshments. Check out our calendar of events for more fun activities!

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Visit Santa at the Ice Palace!

Nov 19 - Dec 24, Fair Oaks Mall

Recurring daily
Address: 11750 Fair Oaks Mall, Fairfax, VA
Times: Mall hours
Phone: (703) 359-8300
This holiday season, visitors to Fair Oaks Mall are in store for some cool family fun when they step inside the spectacular holiday Ice Palace, locally presented by Cox Communications, your friend in the digital age ®. The display features a 30-foot ice dome with falling snow, a light show and, new this year, the beloved prehistoric herd from the family film Ice Age: Continental Drift, debuting Dec. 11 on DVD and Blu-rayTM. Interactive globes will showcase Scrat on his endless mission to catch his precious acorn, while the whole Ice Age herd is adrift on an iceberg in pirate waters. Families can measure their prehistoric heights against Sid and Diego, go paw-to-paw with the herd and track down Scrat's missing acorns throughout the palace. The high-seas adventure culminates with a visit to Santa and a special Ice Age gift.

Bring your children for a visit with Santa in an environment unlike any other, or have your family's photo taken on the Ice Throne. The Ice Palace is sure to create magical memories that you and your children will treasure.

This holiday season the Ice Palace and Santa are available all mall hours. Santa will take two thirty minute milk and cookie breaks each day.

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Bull Run Festival of Lights

Nov 21 - Jan 6, Bull Run Regional Park

Recurring daily
Address: 7700 Bull Run Drive, Centreville, VA
Times: Monday - Thursday: 5:30 to 9:30 p.m.; Fridays - Sunday & holidays*: 5:30 to 10 p.m.
Phone: (703) 631-0550
Admission: Mon-Thurs, $15 per car ; Fri-Sun & Holidays, $20 per car

For more than 12 years the Bull Run Festival of Lights at Bull Run Regional Park has drawn thousands of visitors from hundreds of miles away to Centreville, Virginia, just outside Washington, DC. This year's festival opens November 21st and runs  through January 6th, 2013!  The Bull Run Festival of Lights is held each year to celebrate the winter holiday season. The event sees more than 30,000 cars each season, and over 130,000 people! Bull Run Festival of Lights is located just off of Interstate 66 in Centreville, on Rt. 29 (Lee Highway), just 3 miles from historic Manassas Battlefield Park.

The Portal Wreath signifying the official start of the beautiful Bull Run Festival of Lights, this display has been part of the show since 2006. Each year a new ornament representing a display in the show will be added to this collection, and the portal wreath is the first in the series. Purchase yours today at the Festival of Lights Holiday Village or at

Santa's Enchanted Lights, with over 40,000 animated lights set to music! This great feature is merely a fraction of what you'll find at this season's Festival of Lights! Take a look at the video below for a small sample of Santa's Enchanted Lights, which are located in the Holiday Village. Open every night!


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Season's Greetings at the U.S. Botanic Garden

Nov 22 - Jan 1, U.S. Botanic Garden Conservatory

Recurring daily
Address: 100 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, DC
Times: 10am - 5pm
Admission: Free
Stroll through the Botanic Garden and enjoy the annual holiday exhibit, featuring wreaths and garlands, model trains, and living ornaments. Stop by the Garden Court to see a display of landmark buildings from around DC, created from various plant materials.

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Silent Night, Holy Night

Nov 22 - Jan 7, National Cathedral

Recurring daily
Address: 3101 Wisconsin Avenue, Washington, DC
Each year, the Cathedral exhibits a selection of crèches from its collection of over 500 nativity sets. These delightful crèches show the story of Jesus' birth as interpreted by cultures and customs around the world. The Cathedral's collection includes miniatures, rare materials, and unusual depictions, as well as typical examples which might be found in anyone's home. A delight for families. We invite all to look for their favorites.

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Annual Gingerbread House

Nov 23 - Dec 24, The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner

Recurring daily
Address: 1700 Tysons Blvd., McLean, VA
Times: Unveiling 11/23 at 2pm. Open daily 10am-6pm
Contact: Guest Relations
Phone: (703) 506-4300
Admission: Free

Kick-off the holidays with The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner, as the life-sized Gingerbread House is revealed for guests and the community to enjoy. Located in the hotel lobby, the culinary work of art is large enough for guests to walk around inside and explore the sugary construction, while shopping for fresh pastries and holiday treats, provided by the talented Pastry Team. Opening day festivities will include holiday confections, hot spiced cider, roasted chestnuts, and hot coco. The Gingerbread House will be on display beginning November 23rd through December 24th.

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Brookside Garden of Lights

Nov 23 - Jan 6, Brookside Garden

Recurring daily
Address: 1800 Glenalan Ave., Wheaton, MD
Times: Doors at 5:30pm
Admission: $20 per car
If you want to stay warm while still getting out of the house, consider a ride through the lights and music of Brookside Garden of Lights. There are also crafts activities for kids.

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Christmas at Mount Vernon

Nov 23 - Jan 6, George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate, Museum & Gardens

Recurring daily
Address: 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway, Mount Vernon, VA
Times: 9am-4pm
Phone: (703) 780-2000
Admission: See Website for Details

Christmas at Mount Vernon has been named as one of the "12 Places to Catch the Holiday Spirit" by AAA!

Mount Vernon is joyfully decking the halls for Christmas at Mount Vernon, a special daytime program offered through January. Themed decorations (including 12 Christmas trees), historical chocolate-making demonstrations, and 18th-century dancing will be offered. Visitors will get a glimpse of how the Washingtons might have decorated and entertained during the holiday season.

Tour the rarely-open third floor of the Mansion and learn how the Washingtons celebrated Christmas. In 1787, George Washington paid 18 shillings to bring a camel to Mount Vernon for the enjoyment of his guests. During Christmas at Mount Vernon, visitors can meet Aladdin, the resident camel.

Learn more about how the Washingtons set their holiday table in a special seasonal edition of our Dinner for the Washingtons walking tour offered weekends at 1 p.m. ($5 additional charge).

Christmas at Mount Vernon is a daytime program and is included in regular estate admission from November 23, 2012 - January 6, 2013. Click here to purchase general admission tickets.

Click here for more information about the Christmas season at Mount Vernon including dining, shopping and Candlelight tours.

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Crystal Rodrigue: 2012 Collector's Showcase Winner Solo

Nov 23 - Dec 28, Workhouse Arts Center, W-16 McGuireWoods Gallery

Recurring every week day
Address: 9601 Ox Road, Lorton, Virginia
Phone: (703) 584-2900
Admission: Free

Public Opening Reception: Friday, November 23, 5-7pm

Crystal Rodrigue employs the intensive process of overlaying photos on gilded metallic backgrounds. Her work further explores working with gilding and photographic images. Rodrigue places more emphasis on the gilding and the images by placing them on raw steel sheets to create a neutral background and shift the viewer’s focus to the gilded images. Rodrigue was the winner of the 2012 Collector’s Showcase exhibition, an annual exhibit held in February highlighting artists from the Workhouse while supporting the arts in Lorton.

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Mount Vernon by Candlelight

Nov 23 - Dec 16, George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens

Recurring daily
Address: 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway, Alexandria, VA
Phone: (703) 780-2000
Member Pre-sale: October 22 at 10 a.m. - October 26 at 5 p.m.
Public Sale: November 1 at 10 a.m.

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National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden Ice Skating

Nov 28 - Mar 1, National Gallery of Art

Recurring daily
Address: 4th and Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC
Phone: (202) 216-9397
Admission: $7 - $8
The National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden Ice Rink is open mid-November through mid-March, weather permitting. View magnificent works of sculpture while skating in the open air and enjoying music from the state-of-the-art sound system.

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17th Annual Winter Lights Festival

Nov 30 - Dec 31, Seneca Creek State Park

Recurring daily
Address: 11950 Clopper Road, Gaithersburg, MD
Times: Sunday-Thurs, 6-9pm ; Fri & Sat, 6-10pm
Admission: M-Th, $12, Fri & Sat, $15
Take a three-and-a-half-mile drive through the park to see more than 360 light displays and 60 animated vignettes.

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Canal Park Ice Skating

Nov 30 - Mar 1, Canal Park Ice Rink

Recurring daily
Address: 2nd & M Streets, SE, Washington, DC
Times: M-F, 12pm - 9pm ; Sat, 10am-10pm ; Sun, 10am-7pm
Admission: $8 adults, $7 children, seniors, military; skate rental $3
Our winter ice skating rink meanders through the Park recalling frozen canals of northern Europe and perhaps the Washington Canal itself, as historical records suggest that ice-skating occurred on the Tiber Creek in winter during the 19th century. Visitors can rest in the Pavilion and sip hot chocolate while watching skaters pass by.

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Festival of the Lights at the Mormon Temple

Nov 30 - Jan 1, Church of Jesus Christ Latter-day Saints (Mormon Temple)

Recurring daily
Address: 9900 Stoneybrook Dr, Kensington, MD
Times: Dusk to 10pm

The Washington, DC Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as the Mormon Temple, is open to all during the Christmas season. This impressive church and its surrounding grounds shine brightly with more than 450,000 sparkling Christmas lights. Each night, a different local musical group performs a live concert in a state-of-the-art theater. All events are free! Visitors are welcome to explore the Washington, DC Mormon Temple grounds and the Visitors' Center and see a live outdoor nativity scene, an indoor exhibit of international nativity scenes and a selection of Christmas films.

Ice Skating at Rockville Town Square

Nov 30 - Mar 1, Rockville Town Square Ice Rink

Recurring daily
Address: 131 Gibbs St, Rockville, MD
Times: M-Th, 12p-10p ; Fri, 12p-11p ; Sat, 10a-11p ; Sun, 10a-10p
Admission: $8 adults, $7 children ; $3 skate rentals
The ice rink is the largest outdoor ice skating rink between Baltimore and Washington DC.  It is the largest in all of Montgomery County.  The rink is 7,200 square feet.

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Ice Skating at Washington Harbour

Nov 30 - Mar 1, Washington Harbour Ice Rink

Recurring daily
Address: 3000 K Street, NW, Washington, DC
Times: M-Thrs, 12p-9p ; Fri & Sat, 12p-10p ; Sun, 10a-7p
Admission: $9 adults, $7 children, seniors, military; skate rental $5
At 11,800 square feet, the new Washington Harbour Ice Rink is DC's largest outdoor ice skating venue, and is also larger than New York City's Rockefeller Center rink. The Washington Harbour Ice Rink officially opens for the public skating season in mid-November after a transformation from its interchangeable use as a picturesque fountain. The Washington Harbour Ice Rink will be open annually from November until March for recreational skating every day, including all holidays.

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Pentagon Row Ice Skating

Nov 30 - Mar 18, Pentagon Row

Recurring daily
Address: 1201 South Joyce St, Arlington, VA
Times: M-Th, 12p-10p ; Fri, 12p-11p ; Sat, 10a-11p ; Sun, 10a-10p
Phone: (703) 418-6666
Admission: $8 adults, $7 seniors and children ; skate rental $3
Open Everyday Including All Holidays,  Even In Warm Weather!

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Silver Spring Ice Skating

Nov 30 - Mar 25, Veterans Plaza

Recurring daily
Address: 8523 Fenton Street, Silver Spring, MD
Times: M-Th, 12p-10p ; Fri, 12p-11pm ; Sat, 10a-11p ; Sun, 10a-10p
Phone: (301) 588-1221
Admission: $8 adults, $7 seniors and children ; skate rental $3
Great recreation with family and friends, Silver Spring Ice Skating at Veterans Plaza.
Come on the hour and Ice Skate for 2 hours.  We have helpful Staff and great music for Ice Skating.

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The Downtown Holiday Market

Nov 30 - Dec 23, F Street Sidewalk

Recurring daily
Address: F Street between 7th & 9th Sts, NW, Washington, DC
The 8th Annual Downtown Holiday Market returns for 24 delightful days, November 30 through December 23, 2012, on the F Street sidewalk in front of the Smithsonian American Art Museum & National Portrait Gallery between 7th & 9th Streets, NW.  Enjoy more than 180 regional artisans, crafters and boutique businesses of ethnically produced goods. While you're shopping, enjoy lively seasonal entertainment, plus great snacks and festive treats

On-Going Events


Jan 1 - Dec 31, National Firearms Museum

Recurring daily
Address: 11250 Waples Mill Road, Fairfax, VA
Times: 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Phone: (703) 267-1600
Admission: FREE
A permanent exhibit of pistols, rifles and imported weapons used by both sides during the war. A recreated federal arms factory demonstrates how guns used by the Union were made.

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Hoecakes & Hospitality: Cooking with Martha Washington

Jun 12 - Aug 11, George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate & Gardens

Recurring daily
Address: 3200 George Washington Memorial Pkwy, Mount Vernon, VA
Times: 9am - 4pm
Admission: Included in regular Estate admission: adults, $15.00; children ages 6-11, $7.00; and children under 5 are admitted free.
George and Martha Washington welcomed thousands of guests to Mount Vernon in the more than forty years they lived here. How did Martha manage to feed so many in a world without refrigerators, microwaves or running water?

Experience a behind-the-scenes look at the Washingtons' kitchen through the new exhibition, Hoecakes & Hospitality: Cooking with Martha Washington. On display inside the Donald W. Reynolds Museum, this temporary exhibition explores how foods were prepared and presented at 18th-century Mount Vernon. Before appearing in dining rooms, crispy hoecakes, smokes hams, frozen ice creams, and other foods required the work of gardeners, housekeepers, enslaves cooks, butlers and waiters - all under Martha Washington's careful supervision.

Following food from the Estate's field to kitchen to table, visitors will see recipes and cookbooks that Martha treasured, pots that simmered in her kitchen, and fine tablewares that made Mount Vernon's dining room fit for a president. For the first time ever, visitors to the Museum will experience scents as they explore the exhibition - smelling cinnamon, coffee, and warm bread. Open through August 11, 2013.

Entrance to the Donald W. Reynolds Museum is included in regular Estate admission.

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Experience Civil War Photography: From the Home Front to the Battlefront

Aug 1 - Jul 1, Smithsonian Castle

Recurring daily
Address: 1000 Jefferson Drive, SW, Washington, DC
Times: 8:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. Daily
Phone: (202) 633-1000
Admission: FREE

Learn how Americans personally experienced the Civil War through photographs of the era. Stereo-view photographs, viewing devices, and 3-D images created from the photos (glasses provided) are on view to explore this new and innovative technology of 150 years ago. A camera, glass-slide negatives, and a video reveal how the photographs were created.

The photographs are divided into the following three sections:

  • Smithsonian Castle; Washington, DC; and the National Mall
  • Beginnings of American photojournalism and battlefield photography
  • Homefront experience through photography

No photography permitted.

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