Where: Around the DMV
Admission: Varies by locale
Even though we have a few days until it’s officially winter, this round-up of ideas for activities during the covid cold months are accessible now. From hikes to art experiences to seasonal sports to garden explorations to all-season fun to holiday happenings, there are all kinds of things to do that keep social distancing and safety in mind. All you really need are good layers and maybe a little extra outdoor gear.
1. For an evening outing, head to the Ellipse to visit the National Menorah and National Christmas Tree, lit nightly starting at sundown. The tree is surrounded by America Celebrates, a display of smaller trees that showcase one-of-a-kind ornaments made by people across the country that represent every U.S. state, territory, and DC. The tree will be lit through January 1, and it’s free to visit. The Ellipse is located between the White House and Constitution Ave. Access the holiday display at 14th Street NW, or walk up from Constitution Ave. and walk around to the entrance.
2. Miracle on Half Street is today’s installment of the 12 days of Capitol Riverfront. Today from 4-8pm, the Half Street corridor of the Ballpark District will come alive with winter activations, including a Letters for Santa mailbox for kids and kids-at-heart to drop off their wishes for the year, plus winter snow and Instagrammable backdrops. Visit Half Street to see the festive sites, drop off your letters to Santa, then enjoy specials from restaurants along the corridor, including
3. For a creative way to get your letters to Santa, here’s something fun this weekend: The Station at Riverdale Park is hosting a FREE virtual Letter to Santa Watercolor Workshop. Register for it now, then pick up your complimentary crafting kit at The Station, PLUS a $10 gift card from a participating restaurant from from 11am – 2pm. Later at 4pm, tune in for a workshop with a local artist and maker. Can’t make the workshop live? They’ll send a recording to all registrants. And Santa will be here before you know it, so you can drop off your letter at participating restaurants at The Station and share on Instagram (tag @thestationrp) to be included in a drawing for a $50 gift card to Burtons Grill at The Station!
An IRL Step Afrika! show from a holiday season past
1. Since they can’t perform in person this year, Step Afrika! is presenting their annual Magical Musical Holiday Step Show virtually this evening at 7:30pm on Facebook and YouTube — for free! This is one of our favorite holiday shows, and I highly recommend watching if you’ve never seen it before (or even if you have). Register in advance here.
2. Registration is open for DC Department of Parks and Rec’s Winter Programs. They will be taking all the fun of their live, in-person programs and bringing it straight to your living room. Find all kinds of activities for everyone, kids and adults. Sessions begin Monday, January 4, 2021.
3. Outdoor ice skating is still an option for recreation this season, as many area rinks have opened with new safety measures in place for covid, including advanced reservations required. The round-up of places to skate under the sky has been updated to reflect the current status of all of them, even rinks that are closed.
This past summer at Potomac Overlook, where you can search for Santa this week
1. Starting today through December 20, you can go on a scavenger hunt around Potomac Overlook Park to find Santa’s helpers so they can get back to the North Pole in time for the holidays.Cost is $5 per family, and no reservations are needed, but check in at the Nature Center from 11am – 3pm to begin. The park in Arlington is a great place to hike around, even better when there’s an extra holiday adventure! Get some background on Potomac Overlook in this KFDC post from very pre-Covid times — but all still applicable now.
2. In case you missed it yesterday, there’s a new giveaway running for a chance to win a Family Four-Pack of Tickets to Crystalline at ARTECHOUSE.
1. The National Gallery of Art’s Virtual Artful Conversations for December begin today. During these “Color your Feelings” themed sessions, participants will create colorful works of art along with museum staff guiding the workshops. Have on hand a pencil, tempera or acrylic paints, paintbrush, and a cup of water and paper towel for rinsing your paintbrush. As an alternative to paints, they recommend colored pencils or crayons on paper. And working with paint, they recommend painting on cardboard. Recommended for ages 7-12 and an adult companion. Sessions take place today and December 16 & 17 at 4pm, and December 20 at 10am & 1pm. Free registration is required.
3. Early Christmas present: If you order today, you can get some of these sleds in time for the snow that’s supposed to come on Wednesday. (And you can start scoping out sledding hills — the recent post about Activities During the Covid Winter includes a link on where to find some good ones if you want to go beyond your neighborhood sledding spot.)