‘Tis the last weekend before Christmas, and everyone is hustling to tie a bow on their to-do list. Don’t sweat if you feel behind on gift shopping: Below, we’ve listed 13 holiday markets open this weekend.
Wrapping paper aside, what better way to treat your special someone than with a festive “holidate”?
For a low-budget date, pair free holiday lights with warming cheap eats like the U.S. Botanic Gardens and Daikaya or Bantam King; Zoo Lights and Duke’s Counter; Georgetown GLOW and Chaia Tacos or Light Yards and Solace Outpost.
National Harbor offers a Christmas tree light show nightly, fireworks Saturday at 5:30 p.m. and MGM’s The Conservatory, decked out with a 20-foot snowman and 1,500 poinsettias (BTW, Tommy and the Botanic Gardens settled the point-sett-ah vs point-set-ee-ah debate once and for all).
Let’s get down to our emoji roundup, the 30-second version of The Weekend Scene:
☕ Hot Chocolate Music Festival, what more could you want?
🎼 A performance of Handel’s “Messiah" benefits a historic Black church that was vandalized.
🕎 The National Menorah Lighting on the Ellipse is Sunday.
⚽ Free World Cup final watch party at Capital One Arena.
🍻🏈 Beer festival before the Commanders-Giants game.
🎄 All the holiday lights your heart desires.
📖 Story District hosts tales inspired by “It’s A Wonderful Life” at Union Stage.
🐶 Celebrate the pawlidays in Alexandria, Ballston and Bethesda.
🕯️ “A Candlelight Christmas!” with the Washington Chorus.
🔮 The Future Scene: The Trans-Siberian Orchestra is coming to D.C. for two shows on Dec. 26 (afternoon, evening), and $1 from every ticket will benefit the Children's National Hospital Foundation.
To us, you are perfect… especially if you tell your friends to subscribe to our newsletter! Anyone can subscribe for free at nbcwashington.com/theweekendscene.
-Tommy + Sophia
Wrap up your gift shopping at these holiday markets offering locally-made and artisanal goods in D.C., Maryland and Virginia.
Procrastinator's Holiday Market (Saturday, noon to 6 p.m., Northeast); Holiday Pop-Up- Hotel Washington by URBNmarket (Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.); Unique Markets: DC Holiday Market (Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., $10, Union Market); Capitol Cider House Holiday Artisan Market (Sunday, 3-6 p.m.)
Sunshine Project Outdoor Holiday Market Bazaar (Saturday, noon to 3 p.m., Potomac); Takoma Cocoa Crawl & Book Fair (Saturday, 1-4 p.m., Takoma Park); Holiday Artist Market (Saturday, 1-5 p.m., Bethesda); Market at the Bank (Sunday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Takoma Park); Baltimore’s Authentic German Christmas Market (Open through 5 p.m. on Dec. 24, Inner Harbor)
Del Ray Artisans’ 27th Annual Fine Art & Fine Craft Holiday Market (Friday to Sunday); Mosaic Holiday Village by URBNmarket (Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.); Blend Coffee Bar German Christmas Market (Saturday, 4-9 p.m., Ashburn); Old Town North Holiday Market (Sunday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.)
More Things to Do This Weekend:
Hot Chocolate Music Festival
Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
A white Christmas comes to a heated tent in Northeast. Indoor snow flurries, music and art performances, holiday vendors and decorative drinks will set the mood. Tickets cost $5. Details.
Saturday, 8 p.m. and Sunday, 3 p.m.
The Scotland A.M.E. Zion Mass Choir will join the National Philharmonic to perform this Christmas classic at Strathmore. Half of the proceeds benefit the historic, Black church that was vandalized last month, as Pat Collins reported. Ticket details.
Don’t believe your eyes at this museum featuring illusion rooms, including an “upside down” Metro car, mind-bending selfie stations and a kids’ playroom. It just opened Tuesday. See our preview.
How Do They Get All Those Wreaths at Arlington?
The annual Wreaths Across America event is this Saturday at Arlington National Cemetery and hundreds of other military cemeteries across the country.
Whether you go alone or with a big group, there's something truly moving and beautiful about the mass of early-morning volunteers spending a moment at each headstone.
Tommy's participated for many years and has some pro tips.
You need to register a head of time. Register for an entry time at your preferred gate.
Don't drive unless you have a handicapped placard or a family pass. No vehicles are allowed in the cemetery. Also, there are road closures. Metro is the best way to go. Here's a map.
There's a security screening, and 30,000 to 40,000 volunteers are expected to attend — that's basically a sold-out Nats Park amount of people. Be patient, bring your ID and leave prohibited items at home.
Beyond all the rules and regs, laying wreaths at Arlington National Cemetery is a special tradition that locals have an opportunity to join.
Also, what goes down, must come up. There's a volunteer day in January to pick up the wreaths — as you can imagine, it gets way less volunteer interest. We'll let you know when you can help.
Slackers, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Black Cat, $25
New York ska band flavored by dub, reggae, jazz, soul and rock has been known for its exciting live shows since its creation three-plus decades ago. Opening act Big D and the Kids Table from Boston has been delivering its ska punk for almost as long. Details.
Horse Jumper of Love, 9:30 p.m. Friday, Quarry House Tavern, $26.45
The Boston slowcore trio took a turn toward folk influences with its latest LP, “Natural Part.” Details.
Oddisee & Good Cmpny, 7 p.m. Sunday, 9:30 Club, $30
The rapper brings his politically-focused, inequity- conscious lyrics to 9:30, but don’t overlook his jazzy hip-hop and its elements of his hometown go-go. Details.
You might want to grab sunglasses to enjoy Tommy's dazzling, light-filled tour of ways to enjoy the holidays around D.C. Consider this your guide to all the holiday fun.
Alexis Bittar, Designer
Deck the halls, but make it fashion ... fa la la la la!
Every shop is tree-ing up their Christmas cheer in hope of bringing visitors through the doors. Santa's little helpers told us about the show-stopping tree by jewelry designer Alexis Bittar at the Riggs Hotel in D.C.
Bittar has bejeweled Michelle Obama and Lady Gaga, and now he's created an 18-foot feather, tinsel, pearl, pink and Lucite masterpiece.
What can be better than a Bittar tree? Snap your pics, then enjoy seasonal beverages at Café Riggs in the former bank-turned-lobby or go downstairs to the stylish Silver Lyan cocktail bar.
Alexis was in D.C. to unveil his tree and joined us for a Scene Setter interview.
What made you want to design this project?
When I was approached to design Riggs Washington D.C.’s inaugural holiday tree, I instantly wanted to respond creatively to the heritage of the hotel’s building and their feminine stance on their rooms (instead of Presidential Suites they are called First Lady Suites). The deco vaulted ceilings and modern details are similar to the way I approach my collections when I design. I like to layer and fuse eras.
How different is styling a tree than a person?
Well, I have yet to meet an 18-foot-tall person… but just like the people I create for, this tree stands proud and majestic and was able to take the weight of a bauble or two.
What's your pro-tip for looking festive yet chic while holiday party hopping?
The great thing, I think, about accessories is that you can always freshen up an old look from your wardrobe with some new accessories. Versatility is always key for party hopping — so pack two pairs of earrings and a necklace in your clutch, and off you hop swapping your earrings along the way!
When you look ahead at fashion in 2023, what do you see?
I may be biased, but I do feel a return of costume jewelry to runway and life. We are definitely seeing the return of the stacked bangles!
This Q&A was lightly edited for length and clarity.
About Tommy and Sophia
Tommy McFLY (@TommyMcFLY) brings you the best things to do around Washington as a News4 correspondent. A millennial Gemini husband and dog dad originally from Scranton, Tommy celebrates the things that bring our town together.
Sophia Barnes (@barnessophiag) started writing for NBC Washington and The Scene in 2016, covering everything from museum openings to protests to quirky animal stories. She’s an American University alum who loves good food and live music — say hi if you see her around the DMV.
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