Thanksgiving Weekly Scene

Explore D.C. and get in the holiday spirit this week with our recommendations.

Staying in D.C. for Thanksgiving break? Don’t worry- there are plenty of festive events to keep you occupied over the next few days, including a free dinner, holiday market and tree lighting celebration.

The Nutcracker

Head over to the Kennedy Center to marvel over a truly classic experience. Watch Clara’s Christmas fantasy come to life, when the toy soldier comes alive and fills her life with adventure.

When: Nov. 23 through 27

Where: Kennedy Center

Metro: 30S, 30N

Thanksgiving Day Trot for Hunger

Sponsored by SOME (So Others Might Eat), this popular 5K fun run and family walk benefits programs for the homeless, and helps SOME serve more than 800 meals to the hungry every day of the year.

When: Nov. 24 8:30 a.m.

Where: Freedom Plaza

Metro: Metro Center, Red Line

Seasons Greetings at the United States Botanic Garden

If you’re looking for a relaxing way to spend Thanksgiving day, look no further than the Botanic Garden’s annual holiday show. The Garden is beautiful year-round, but especially so during the holiday season, when it features poinsettias, a tree adorned with ornaments from national parks and a model train that travels through recreations of national and D.C. landmarks. Admission is free.

When: Nov. 24 to Jan. 2, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Where: 100 Maryland Avenue SW

Metro: Judiciary Square, Red Line

PRIDE Thanksgiving at AU

Staying at school for the holidays doesn’t mean you have to miss out on a delicious dinner! AU Pride Alumni Alliance is hosting a free Thanksgiving meal for LGBTQ, ally and international students. The menu has something for everyone, including classic turkey, plenty of vegetables and a selection of various pies, as well as more unique options like pumpkin seed-encrusted salmon. Email or to RSVP.

When: Nov. 24, 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Where: Butler Boardroom

Metro: Tenleytown AU, Red Line

Reston Town Center Parade

Gather alongside the Reston community for a full day of festivities after Thanksgiving. Events kick off at 8 a.m. with the Gingerbread Man Mile, followed by the Annual Holiday Parade at 11 a.m. A visit with Santa takes place shortly after the parade from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., before the day concludes with both a Holiday Tree Lighting and Horse-Drawn Carriage Rides from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

When: Nov. 25 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Where: Reston Town Center 

Car necessary 

Downtown Holiday Market

D.C.’s 12th annual downtown holiday market returns this Friday, with over 150 rotating vendors selling jewelry, art and other special gifts. As you browse the free market, enjoy festive music and indulge in a hot beverage, empanadas and mini doughnuts. There’s no better way to get in the Christmas spirit and start ticking items off your holiday shopping list.

When: Nov. 25 to Dec. 23, 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Where: 8th and F Streets NW

Metro: Gallery Place, Red Line


The Smithsonian National Zoo’s free annual light display kicks off this Friday, with live music, seasonal food and drinks and a light show. The holiday exhibit features creations made from over 500,000 lights to provide guests with a magical experience as they explore the grounds.

When: Nov. 25 to Jan. 1, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Where: 3001 Connecticut Avenue NW

Metro: Woodley Park, Red Line

Holiday Tree Lighting at CityCenterDC

CityCenterDC’s third annual holiday tree lighting ceremony will take place this Saturday. Aside from lighting the 75-foot tree (the largest in D.C.!), the free celebration includes a holiday concert, festive activities and the presentation of a new light display along Palmer Alley.

When: Nov. 26, 6 p.m.

Where: 10th Street NW

Metro: Metro Center, Red Line

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