ROCKING THE HOLIDAYS
MGM THEATER AT NATIONAL HARBOR
When the massive new MGM National Harbor Resort & Casino opens on the banks of the Potomac this month, several of the nation’s hottest touring musical acts will be there to inaugurate the 3,000-seat MGM Theater. The inaugural month lineup includes Boyz II Men (Dec. 15), Lionel Ritchie (Dec. 22), Bruno Mars (Dec. 27) and Duran Duran (Dec. 31, Jan. 1). Acts scheduled to perform in 2017 include Kings of Leon (Jan. 12), Earth Wind & Fire (Feb. 18), Sting (March 12) and Cher (various dates in March). The Theater will also have seven VIP suites with lobby, full-service bar and catering. Tickets are available at mgmnationalharbor.com.
GEORGETOWN GLOW & ZOOLIGHTS
SEASON OF LIGHTS
Walk around Washington before it gets too cold to see the splendid public lighting fixtures of Georgetown GLOW. This year, the exhibition runs for a month, with contemporary light art juxtaposed against the backdrop of historic locations, including Grace Church and the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal. Access to all art installations is free, #GeorgetownGLOW, GeorgetownGLOWDC.com. Make Zoolights, the Smithsonian National Zoo’s annual light exhibition, a family holiday tradition. Half a million lights transform the park into a “winter wonderland” and musical light shows are sure to dazzle. There are winter treats, shopping opportunities and themed nights like “Date Night” and “Brew Lights.” Free admission, runs through Jan. 1, 2017, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., nationalzoo.si.edu/events/zoolights.
BOTANIC GARDEN HOLIDAY DISPLAY
Model trains chug around plant- based renderings of national treasures like the Grand Canyon and the U.S. Capitol at the beloved annual U.S. Botanic Gardens holiday display. This year’s 100th anniversary celebration of the National Park Service will include one of the capital’s largest indoor trees decorated with ornaments from national parks. The best time to visit is on select Tuesday and Thursday evenings in December when the Conservatory is open until 8 p.m. and offers live seasonal music. Through Jan. 2, 2017, Free admission, open daily 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., usbg.gov.
Catch all the artists you hear on the radio at Hot 99.5’s annual Jingle Ball. Meghan Trainor, The Chainsmokers, Fifth Harmony, Diplo, Ellie Goulding, DNCE, Alessia Cara, Tove Lo and Daya plus special guest Niall Horan will perform their beloved hits at the Verizon Center, with proceeds benefiting the Ryan Seacrest Foundation. Dec. 12, 7:30 p.m., Verizon Center, tickets start at $108, verizon.centerwashingtondc.com.
DOWNTOWN HOLIDAY MARKET
Nix the indoor shopping center for the unique gifts of an outdoor market.The Downtown Holiday Market, now in its 12th year, features more than 150 regional artisans, crafters and boutique businesses of ethnically produced goods. Shop for jewelry, pottery, paintings and more while listening to live music, sipping hot chocolate and sampling sweet and savory treats from local restaurants. Noon to 8 p.m. through Dec. 23. F Street sidewalk in front of the Smithsonian American Art Museum & National Portrait Gallery between 7th & 9th streets NW, downtownholidaymarket.com.
GINGERBREAD HOUSE DECORATING & NUTCRACKER TEA
PUTTING ON THE RITZ
The life size gingerbread house display in the lobby is just one reason to visit the Ritz- Carlton, Tysons Corner. Give the kids in your life an upscale holiday event to remember, with a range of seasonal, family-friendly activities including a gingerbread house decorating class and classic afternoon tea. Petite sandwiches and pastries will be served and all children will go home with a nutcracker doll and photos to remember the day. Gingerbread house decorating class, $75 per person (ages 3 and up). The Nutcracker Tea, $79 per person, Select dates between Dec. 3-18, ritzcarlton.com, The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner, Call 703.506.4300 for reservations.
These picks appeared in the December 2016 issue of Washington Life.