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National Air and Space Museum

Calendar of Events

Enjoy Washington, DC's winter wonderland this season with curated holiday teas, multiple ice skating rinks, lighted art installations like Georgetown GLOW and ZooLights, and live theater performances at the city's top venues.




Mark Rothko: Painting on Paper - National Gallery of Art | Nov. 19 – March 31, 2024

Known for his abstract paintings on canvas (some on display at the Phillips Collection), Mark Rothko also crafted more than 1,000 paintings on paper over the course of his illustrious, decades-long career. The National Gallery of Art will showcase more than 100 of these tableaus, many on view to the public for the first time, providing a unique opportunity to see new work by one of the most important artists of the 20th century.


Downtown Holiday Market - Penn Quarter | Nov. 17 – Dec. 23

DC’s free-to-frequent downtown bazaar is centrally located in front of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery. The beloved market stretches across two blocks of F Street between 7th and 9th streets. Scope out eclectic wares from dozens of pop-up tents with seasonally flavored music performed live in the background. Locally roasted coffee and crafted-before-your-eyes mini-doughnuts inspire a cold-weather appetite, creating a holiday atmosphere you won’t find anywhere else in the city.


A Christmas Carol – Ford’s Theatre | Nov. 17 – Dec. 31

Taking place inside the historic theater infamous for being the site of the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, a music-infused production captures the magic and joy of Dickens’s Yuletide classic, with familiar characters, ghosts and a children’s ensemble in the spirit of the holidays. Acclaimed actor Craig Wallace returns to play Ebenezer Scrooge in Ford’s annual tradition heralded as a “rich visual and vocal treat” (TheaterMania).


The Wharf Ice Rink - The District Wharf | Nov. 22 – February 2024

DC’s only over-water ice skating rink returns this winter season to Transit Pier right outside The Anthem. Bring your own skates or rent some rink-side to glide over the ice and enjoy amazing views of the water and monuments. Hot beverages and seasonal specialties are available nearby restaurants and shops.


Zoo lights – National Zoo | Nov. 24 – Dec. 30

ZooLights will take thousands of visitors into a winter wonderland lit by more than half a million environmentally friendly LED lights and illuminations. Visitors can stroll through immersive lantern displays showing rainforest, grassland, desert, ocean and polar habitats and the animals that call them home.


Holiday Afternoon Tea – St. Regis | Nov. 24 – Jan. 7

Luxuriate in the hotel’s grand lobby for a cherished holiday tradition. Enjoy the finest selection of teas from Dammann Frères, exquisite tea sandwiches, festive holiday desserts and pastries and optional Champagne pairings. To commemorate the experience, guests will receive an official 2023 White House Christmas Ornament.


Georgetown GLOW - Georgetown | Nov. 26 – Jan. 22

against the historic backdrop of DC’s oldest neighborhood, Georgetown GLOW is the region’s only free curated outdoor public light art experience. In addition to the light art installations by national and international artists, GLOW programming includes walking tours, GLOW-themed wellness classes, late-night shopping, and more.




The District’s Holiday Boat Parade – The Wharf | Dec. 2

Celebrate the holidays with an iconic DC event that features over 60 beautifully decorated boats parading along the Washington Channel. Get into the spirit with ornament decorating and face painting by Recreation Pier. Roast s'mores at the Camp Wharf fire pit and visit the lighted 45 ft. Christmas tree.


Holiday Workshops – Tudor Place | Dec. 2 – Dec. 15

Various holiday tours and workshops are provided at Tudor Place including a guided candlelit tour highlighting the season of gift giving among the Peter family and the African American and immigrant domestic laborers who lived and worked there, holiday tea and tours featuring a festive Victorian tea party, and a holiday wreath-making workshops using a festive mix of greens fresh-cut from heirloom plants from Tudor Place’s garden.


National Menorah Lighting - Downtown | Dec. 7

Chanukah kicks off with a lighting ceremony of the world’s largest menorah on the White House Ellipse, which greets all with latkes, doughnuts, menorah kits and dreidels. Music from the United States Navy Band adds a soundtrack to the scene. As is the custom, a new candle is illuminated on each of the eight days of Chanukah.


National Christmas Tree Lighting  - Downtown | Early December

Celebrate the National Christmas Tree Lighting’s 101st year. The gorgeous conifer lives in President’s Park on the White House Ellipse, where it's surrounded by trees decorated with handmade ornaments from 56 U.S. states and territories and is accompanied by nightly musical performances throughout the holiday season. The display is free to visit.


Pretty Woman: The Musical - The National Theatre | Dec. 12-17

The musical based on one of Hollywood’s most beloved romantic stories of all time springs to life with a powerhouse creative team led by two-time Tony Award®-winning director and choreographer Jerry Mitchell (Hairspray, Kinky Boots, Legally Blonde).


Capital City Symphony: Sleigh Ride! – Atlas Performing Arts Cente r| Dec. 17

Celebrate the joy and magic of the season with Capital City Symphony and a special guest, renowned soprano Amber Monroe, with a concert filled with holiday music and sing-along fun.


Disney’s Frozen –Kennedy Center | Dec. 20, 2023 – Jan. 21, 2024

Frozen features the songs you know and love from the original Oscar®-winning film, plus an expanded score with a dozen new numbers by the film’s songwriters, Oscar winner Kristen Anderson-Lopez and EGOT winner Robert Lopez.




The Washington, DC Auto Show – Walter E. Washington Convention Center | Jan. 19- 28

Designated as one of the nation’s top five auto shows by the International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers, the Washington, DC Auto Show’s 2024 event will feature hundreds of vehicles from top manufacturers, new experiences and activations for all ages and educational opportunities for car enthusiasts. See the brands that will be on display, ranging from concept to luxury, electric to hybrid, and exotic to historic.


Annie  – The National Theatre | Jan. 23-28

Annie, directed by Jenn Thompson, features the iconic book and score written by Tony Award®-winners Thomas Meehan, Charles Strouse and Martin Charnin. The celebration of family, optimism and the American spirit remains the ultimate cure for all the hard knocks life throws your way.


Tick, Tick... Boom! – The Kennedy Center | Jan. 26 – Feb. 1

Before there was RENT… there was Tick, Tick… BOOM!, Jonathan Larson’s explosive musical about life, death and the necessity of art. The semi-autobiographical story follows Jon, a composer struggling to break into New York City’s theater scene. This intimate, three-actor production boasts unforgettable songs.




The Victorian Ladies’ Detective Collection – Washington Stage Guild | Feb. 1-25

Sherlock Holmes meets “Arsenic & Old Lace.” In 1893, a brazen serial killer is terrorizing London. So, two strong-willed sisters who run a boarding house for single ladies take matters into their own hands – especially when Scotland Yard proves no help at all. Teaming up with a cheeky American actress, they set off to solve the crime in this entertaining murder mystery with a modern women-take-charge sensibility.


Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra "The Legacy of Max Roach" Concert – American History Museum | Feb. 10

Inspired by Chick Web, Sonny Greer, Jo Jones, and the innovations of Kenny Clarke, during the 1940s Max Roach revolutionized the world of modern drum-set playing. He developed a swing and cymbal technique with dynamic expression that became the template for the creative imagination and technical mastery required to move modern jazz forward. With songs such as “Four-X,” “Cou-Manchi-Cou,” and “Liberté,” the SJMO honors the legacy of Max Roach, who would have turned 100 in January 2024.


DC Black History Film Festival – The Lincoln Theatre | Feb. 10-11

The DC Black Film Festival is dedicated to exhibiting quality film, web series and television content by and about people of African descent. An annual celebration of Black History through film, arts and culture.


The Anxious Eye: German Expressionism and Its Legacy – National Gallery of Art | Feb. 11 – May 27

The exhibition features recent acquisitions as well as works that have rarely, if ever, been on view, including gifts donated by celebrated Washington, DC, collectors Jacob and Ruth Cole Kainen. Among the early 20th-century artists represented in more than 70 prints, drawings, illustrated books, portfolios, and sculptures are Otto Dix, Käthe Kollwitz, Egon Schiele, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, and lesser-known artists such as Walter Grammatté.


Go-Go Museum Opening – Anacostia | Feb. 19

The Go-Go Museum & Café provides a foundational introduction to Go-Go music and culture from its headquarters in the historic Anacostia neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Go-Go music is a brand of funk, R&B, hip-hop, and Afro-Latin rhythms created in the 1970s by "Godfather of Go-Go" Chuck Brown and his Washington, DC fans.




Star Power: Photographs from Hollywood’s Golden Era by George Hurrell – National Portrait Gallery | Mar. 1 – Jan. 5, 2025

Widely regarded as the preeminent Hollywood portrait photographer of the 1930s and 1940s, George Hurrell (1904–1992) created definitive, timeless images of many of the most glamorous figures of filmdom’s golden era.  Selected from the National Portrait Gallery’s collection by senior curator of photographs Ann Shumard, this exhibition features golden-era portraits that reveal Hurrell’s skill in shaping the images of Hollywood’s brightest stars.


The Book of Mormon – The National | March 5-17

From the four-time Emmy Award-winning creators of South Park, Trey Parker and Matt Stone comes this outrageous comedy musical about a pair of mismatched Mormon newbies who are sent on a mission to a place that's just about as far from Salt Lake City as you can get - Uganda.


Fighters for Freedom: William H. Johnson and the Struggle for Social Justice – Smithsonian American Art Museum | Mar. 8 – Sept. 8, 2024

A tribute to African American activists, scientists, teachers and performers as well as international heads of state working to bring peace to the world.


National Cherry Blossom Festival – Citywide | March 20 – April 14, 2024

More than 1.5 million visitors descend upon the nation's capital each year to admire the 3,000-plus trees. The annual festival held in March and April is full of events that honor both American and Japanese cultures and represents a close bond forged between the two countries that began with Tokyo Mayor Yukio Ozaki’s gift of the trees back in 1912.