In between last-minute gift shopping at local markets, treat yourself to dazzling holiday light displays or a cheery pop-up bar drink.
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Drive Through The Lights
Merriweather Post Pavilion
Nightly through Jan. 1
Drive through a musically-themed symphony of lights at this Columbia, Maryland, concert venue. It costs $20 per car before fees. If you prefer a more ambulatory experience, save the date for a walk-through night on Dec. 31.
Joy of Christmas
Saturday, Dec. 21 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.; Sunday at 5 p.m.
The Washington National Cathedral
Enjoy Christmas carols old and new alike in the National Cathedral.
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Miracle on 7th Street
Through Dec. 31
1839 7th Street NW
Whether you're in the Christmas spirit or just want to drink any spirits, this pop-up bar has got you covered. On-theme cocktails with highly photogenic presentations run $13-$14. You can sip them and explore themed rooms, including one devoted to the Nationals' World Series win.
Chai-vy and Cohen-y
Through Dec. 31
Ivy and Coney, 1537 7th Street NW
Celebrate Hannukah with Manischewitz, latkes and dreidels at this pop-up bar. They've also got a "ShotNorah" if you can find seven friends daring enough to try.
Light Yards 2019
The Yards Park (1300 First St SE)
Daily until Dec. 23, 6-10 p.m.
A special interactive light installation will be brightening up The Yards DC through December. Come by to see Airship Orchestra, the theme for this year's installation, and see The Yards Park in a whole new light.
Through Jan. 5
Stroll through Georgetown alight with glowing artistic displays, from a Cloud Swing on Book Hill to a live dance show at 3206 N Street NW. Delightful spots are all along the waterfront, canal and into the neighborhood. Here's a map.
Aurora: The Spirit of Northern Lights
Through Jan. 5
The interactive arts space has launched a Northern Lights-themed exhibit featuring an ice forest, frosted forests and dancing skies. You don't need to approach the North Pole to see something spectacular. Adult tickets start at $16 online.
"Season’s Greenings: America’s Gardens"
Open daily 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The U.S. Botanic Gardens
The U.S. Botanic Garden's annual holiday display debuted on Thanksgiving. It's free to enter this balmy and full-of-life spot all year round.
Winter Walk of Lights
Meadowlark Botanic Gardens, Vienna, Virginia
Nightly admissions from 5:30-9:15 p.m. through Jan. 5
Wind through a dazzling display of lights; then stop by the gift shop and s'mores snack shop. Tickets start at $8.
Nightly through Jan. 1, 5-9 p.m.
The National Zoo
See the zoo come to life with thousands of twinkling lights in displays throughout. You can also get a special late-view of the animals in certain exhibits.
New attractions this year include "Pandamonium: A Virtual Experience" where you can get up close to pandas and "Entre les Rangs, A Luminous Field of Lights," which the zoo says is highly Instagrammable.
Rock'n'Shop at Black Cat
Saturday, Dec. 21 4 p.m.
The Black Cat
Grab last-minute gifts that you can't just find anywhere, from records to crafts to band t-shirts.
Christmas Caroling at The Wharf
Saturday, Dec. 21, 5-7 p.m.
Sing along with Christmas carolers and enjoy a meet-and-greet with Santa and his elves. The event is free and open to the public.
The Dogist x Framebridge: Pup Portraits
Sunday, Dec. 22, noon to 2 p.m.
Framebridge 14th Street (1919 14th Street NW)
Make a frame purchase worth $39 or more and you can get a free set of photos showing your pup with the store's Christmas tree.
40th Annual National Menorah Lighting on The Ellipse
Sunday, Dec. 22, 3:45 p.m.
The Ellipse on the National Mall
Mark the beginning of Hannukah near the White House by watching the National Menorah Lighting. It's free and open tot he public, but you need a ticket.