The Weekend Scene: What to Do Around DC on Thanksgiving Weekend

Beat your food coma with stuff to do around D.C., Maryland and Virginia

thanksgivbing weekend scene Tryptich
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What to Know

  • It will get cloudy on Saturday, then there's a chance for rain late in the afternoon
  • Rain is likely on Sunday and high temps will be in the 40s

When you've had your fill of gobbling turkey, watching football and whipping cream, there are plenty of ways to get out and enjoy the long, holiday weekend around the D.C. area.

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What to Do All Weekend

Free Pick
"Season’s Greenings: America’s Gardens"
Opening Day: Thursday, Nov. 28
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.

Downtown DC Holiday Market
noon to 8 p.m. daily through Dec. 23
Centered at 8th and F Streets

Here's a spot where you can support small and local business owners while finding unique gifts for everyone on your list. There are daily exhibitions and performers, too, along with food and drink for purchase. It's free to enter.

NSO Pops: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix™ in Concert
Through Dec. 1
The Kennedy Center

It's your last weekend to catch the National Symphony Orcestra perform the magical music from the fifth Harry Potter movie.

ICE! at Gaylord National
201 Waterfront St., National Harbor, Maryland
Through Dec. 30 

Bring the kids to this icy wonderland decked out with "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" ice sculptures. It's open the entire holiday weekend, including Thanksgiving. Tickets start at $25 for a child and $30 for an adult.

Photos: Grinch Is Star of This Year's ICE! at National Harbor

Enchant Christmas at Nats Park
Through Dec. 29
Nationals Park

This very special event at Nats Park will feature many spectacular Christmas amenities, including an ice skating trail, Christmas Market and what the event calls the world's largest Christmas Light Maze.

The attraction is closed on Thanksgiving, but is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It's a good idea to buy tickets in advance.

Dining options will include sweet treats, a custom Ben's Chili Bowl offering and more. If you're thirsty, stop by the Ice Bar and Lounge for drinks like spiked coffee, beer, mulled wine and other spirits and cocktails. Tickets start at $20 for adults and $15 for children, but visit the website for deals and special offers.

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.

Chef Fitz Tallon from Eataly NYC shows you how to carve a turkey.

10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
1238 Maryland Ave SW

This interactive arts space is winding down it's current exhibit "Lucid Motion," which pulls visitors into the art. It's open through Sunday. Adult tickets start at $16 if bought online.

Mix the virtual world with reality at Lucid Motion, the newest exhibit at ARTECHOUSE. Interactive technology allows visitors to be a part of the process of making the art. Watch the video to learn more about the experience.

Free Pick
The National Museum of the Marine Corps
9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
18900 Jefferson Davis Hwy, Triangle, Virginia

Follow the history of the Marines, see real-life aircraft and artillery pieces or sit back for a screening of "We, The Marines" or "Superpower Dogs." Admission to the museum is free.

Dive into how pupusas, El Salvador's national dish, made their way from El Salvador to Washington D.C. and what makes this dish special to the District's culinary scene.

Zoo Lights
5-9 p.m., then nightly through Jan. 1
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 areas.

New attractions this year include "Pandamonium: A Virual 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.

Festival of Lights
Nightly 5-9:30 p.m.
Watkins Regional Park (301 Watkins Park Drive, Upper Marlboro, Maryland)

Drive through a display of more than 2.5 million twinkling lights. Advance online tickets cost $8 per car.

These tips will help you maximize your Black Friday shopping.

Happening Saturday

Free Pick
2019 CityCenterDC Holiday Tree Lighting
6-7 p.m.
The Park at CityCEnter (10th St and New York Ave NW)

Attendees of this festive tree lighting will be treated to a musical performance by The Washington Chorus, balloon artists, face painters and more. Say hi to Eun Yang as the gorgeous 75-foot tree lights up for the holidays.

Happening Sunday

Free Pick
National Museum of Women in the Arts Community Day
noon to 5 p.m.
1250 New York Ave NW

This downtown museum has its monthly free day on Dec. 1. A free tour starts at 1 p.m.

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