Explore Washington D.C.

Things to Do Right Now in Washington, D.C.

Never miss a beat with this guide to the best activities and events going on around Washington, D.C.

Beyond politicos and power lunches, Washington, D.C. bustles with inventive fare, artsy enclaves and monumental experiences for all ages. With endless options to choose from, start here to plan the perfect outing in the nation’s capital.

Through December 23

Downtown Holiday Market: More than 150 artisans set up shop offering pottery, art, jewelry, textiles and more, just in time for those last-minute gifts. Daily noon-8 p.m., F St. NW, between 7th & 9th sts NW. Click here for more information.

Through December 24

The Washington Ballet takes a hometown spin on the Tchaikovsky classic through December 24 at the Warner Theatre (Courtesy The Washington Ballet)
The Washington Ballet takes a hometown spin on the Tchaikovsky classic through December 24 at the Warner Theatre (Courtesy The Washington Ballet)

"The Nutcracker:" The Washington Ballet takes a hometown spin on the Tchaikovsky classic at the Warner Theatre. Set in a Georgetown mansion and along the banks of the Potomac, this "Nutcracker" stars historical figures such as George Washington, Frederick Douglass, Thomas Jefferson and Harriett Tubman with a "Springtime under the Cherry Blossoms." Prices and showtimes vary. 513 13th St. NW.  

Through Dec. 31

Miracle on Seventh Street: Get ready to deck the halls through New Year's Eve, as Drink Company's popular Christmas bar returns to Shaw for its third and biggest year. From its funky holiday decor to themed cocktails, you won't want to miss out on this instagram-worthy pop-up. 21+. Monday-Thursday, 5 pm-12:30 am. Friday, 5 pm-1:30 am. Saturday-Sunday, 1 pm-12:30 am. 1839-1843 7th St. NW.

Through January 1

ZooLights: Celebrate the holiday season with a wild display of 500,000 LED Christmas lights at the National Zoo. Enjoy fun activities including a light show, live music performances, snow-free tubing, zoo choo-choo trackless train and more.  All ages welcome. Free. 5 pm - 9 pm daily (Except December 24, 25 and 31). 3001 Connecticut Ave., NW.

The Gaylord's National Resort transforms into a winter wonderland through January 1 (© Jane Torok)
The Gaylord's National Resort transforms into a winter wonderland through January 1 (© Jane Torok)

ICE! At National Harbor: Ice sculptors from Harbin, China transform the Gaylord's National Resort into a winter wonderland featuring characters from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. All ages welcome. Prices and times vary. 201 Waterfront Street · National Harbor, MD. Click here for tickets and prices.

Through January 7

Light up the night while exploring the works from locally renowned to internationally celebrated artists in  D.C.'s historic neighborhood (©Geraud Periole)
Light up the night while exploring the works from locally renowned to internationally celebrated artists in D.C.'s historic neighborhood (©Geraud Periole)

Georgetown GLOW: The illuminated festival returns for a month-long celebration. Light up the night while exploring the works from locally renowned to internationally celebrated artists in  D.C.'s historic neighborhood. Free admission. 6 pm-10 pm nightly.

 Luncheon of the Boating Party  , 1880–81. Oil on canvas, 51 1/4 x 69 1/8 in. The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC, Acquired 1923 (© Pierre-Auguste Renoir)
Luncheon of the Boating Party , 1880–81. Oil on canvas, 51 1/4 x 69 1/8 in. The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC, Acquired 1923 (© Pierre-Auguste Renoir)

Renoir and Friends: The Phillips Collection takes a deep dive into Renoir's "Luncheon of the Boating Party," featuring more than 40 paintings, drawings, pastels, prints, and photographs from public and private collections around the world. $10-$12, 18 and under free. Tuesday-Saturday, 10 am-5 pm. Sunday, 12 pm-6:30 pm. 1600 21st Street NW.

"An American in Paris" takes the Opera House stage this month at the John F. Kennedy Center through January 7 (©Matthew Murphy)
"An American in Paris" takes the Opera House stage this month at the John F. Kennedy Center through January 7 (©Matthew Murphy)

"An American in Paris:" The modern adaptation of the Oscar-winning 1951 film starring Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron takes the stage at the John F. Kennedy Center. Get ready for toe-tapping tunes as an optimistic soldier struggling to become an artist in the City of Lights. Prices and showtimes vary. 2700 F.St NW. Tickets available here.

Through January 15

"Imaginary World of the Nutcracker:" ARTECHOUSE transforms into a winter wonderland with the latest digital installation, "Imaginary World of the Nutcracker." Inspired by the holiday tale, take a journey to a whimsical world of toys, magic trees, snowflakes and candy, while exploring interactive winter installations. $12-20.  All ages welcome during daytime admission. Evening admission 21+. 10am-4pm, 6pm-10pm. 1238 Maryland Ave SW.

Through January 21

Mary Lovelace O'Neal, Racism is Like Rain, Either it’s Raining or it’s Gathering Somewhere, 1993; Acrylic on canvas, 86 x 138 in.; Mott-Warsh Collection, Flint, Michigan)
View Mary Lovelace O'Neal's, Racism is Like Rain, Either it’s Raining or it’s Gathering Somewhere, and more abstract art at the "Magnetic Fields" Exhibition, located at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. (© Mary Lovelace O’Neal)

"Magnetic Fields: Expanding American Abstraction, 1960s to Today:" View the work of 21 black women artists who use abstract art  to communicate personal experiences through sculpture and large-scale paintings at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. This exhibition features work from artists with personal ties to D.C., including Mary Lovelace O’Neal, Alma Woodsey Thomas and Mildred Thompson. $8-$10. Monday-Saturday, 10 am – 5 pm. Sundays, noon- 5 pm.

Woman Weighing Coins, c. 1664 by Pieter de Hooch on display at the National Gallery of Art's "Vermeer" exhibition
Woman Weighing Coins, c. 1664 by Pieter de Hooch on display at the National Gallery of Art's "Vermeer" exhibition. (© Pieter de Hooch)

"Vermeer:" Featuring works by Johannes Vermeer and other paints of the Dutch Golden Age at the National Gallery of Art, the exhibit features 65 works from a group of artists that mastered portraying the domestic life of the time period through outstanding technique. Learn how these artists inspired and pushed one another to artistic achievement. Free Admission. Monday-Saturday, 10am-5pm. Sunday, 11 am - 6 pm. Located between 3rd and 9th Streets along Constitution Avenue NW.

December 20-21

The funky star brings his 24k magic to MGM National Harbor (Courtesy MGM National Harbor)
The funky star brings his 24k magic to MGM National Harbor (Courtesy MGM National Harbor)

Bruno Mars: The funky star brings his 24k magic to MGM National Harbor. Prices and times vary. 8:00 pm. Click here for more information.