7 Things to Do Over Christmas Break

Enjoy bumper cars on ice, Handel's 'Messiah' in full pageantry and a field of holiday dreams at Nats Park.
Syneticcinderella Robertmariacovenant

Synetic Theater stages two final holiday performances of its modern Cinderella story. Photo by Robert Maria Covenant.

‘Twas the week before Christmas, and all throughout Arlington and the greater D.C. area there was fun to be had, including concerts, fairytale theater performances, holiday flicks, lights spectacular and Santa on water skis. For those concerned about Covid safety, the options include plenty of outdoor activities. Here’s what’s on deck as the countdown to Christmas and the New Year continues.


God Bless Americana: Arlington singer-songwriter Justin Trawick, whose musical influences include Greensky Bluegrass, G. Love, Old Crow Medicine Show and David Gray, takes the stage at The Renegade in Clarendon with his group, The Common Good. The band’s latest single, “Back of the Line,” was released in 2020 during quarantine. // 8 p.m., Dec. 21 at The Renegade, 3100 Clarendon Blvd., Arlington. No cover.

Elf Conscious: Dress as your favorite holiday character or don your tackiest holiday threads and head to Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse for an Ugly Sweater Holiday Party. The holiday classic Elf , starring Will Farrell, will be airing on the big screen. Prizes for best (worst?) dressed will include gift certificates to local restaurants such as Lost Dog Cafe, William Jeffrey’s Tavern and Rebellion on the Pike, along with free tickets to upcoming comedy sets at the Drafthouse. The party includes themed drink specials and is limited to those 21+ after 9 p.m. // 7 p.m. (doors open at 6 p.m.), Dec. 21 at Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse, 2903 Columbia Pike, Arlington. Tickets $8.

Hallellujah!: Stan Engebretson conducts the National Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorale in an exuberant and triumphant performance of Handel’s Messiah at the dazzling new Capital One Hall in Tysons. This quintessential holiday production features soprano Suzanne Karpov, mezzo soprano Magdalena Wor, tenor Matthew Smith and baritone Brandon Hendrickson. // 7:30 p.m., Dec. 23 at Capital One Hall, 7750 Capital One Tower Road, Tysons. Tickets start at $45.

Sister Act: Glass slippers? Please. Cinderella steps into her own shoes in Synetic Theater’s wordless revamp of the classic fairy tale. Led by an all-female team of creators and starring Maria Simpkins in the lead role (with a change-up that replaces the traditional wicked stepmother with an egomaniacal stepfather), this vibrant performance features Afro-Latino inspired music and dance. // Matinee performances 11 a.m., Dec. 23, and 2 p.m., Dec. 26 at Synetic Theater, 1800 S. Bell St., Arlington (Crystal City). Tickets $15-$30.

Ice Bumper Cars

Ride ice bumper cars at the Gaylord National Harbor Resort at National Harbor through Dec. 31 (courtesy photo)

On Ice: Looking for a fun, seasonal outing to stave off cabin fever? Bundle up and take to the ice at one of 11 D.C.-area ice-skating rinks, including a handful of outdoor holiday pop-ups featuring twinkling lights, fire pits, hot cocoa and s’mores. The Gaylord National Resort at National Harbor also has has ice bumper cars, snow tubing and other wintry activities for the whole family. See our round-up of area ice-skating venues here. // Multiple dates, times and locations.

Walk in the Woods: Perhaps you have family in town and you’re looking for an afternoon excursion that all can enjoy. Step into the winter landscape, burn off a few holiday calories and help the kids (and perhaps your pooch) blow off some steam by heading out for one of these eight great hikes close to home. You don’t have to go far to find pretty scenery, and the trails vary from gentle to strenuous. // Multiple locations in Virginia and Maryland.

Night Lights: The magic of the season continues with holiday lights displays at various parks and botanical gardens, many of which will extend into the new year. The options include a variety of walkable and drivable experiences in the DMV, including a chance to see Nats Park in a whole new…er…light. See our list here. // Multiple locations in Virginia, Maryland and the District.

Related Stories:

Where to Catch the Brightest Holiday Light Displays in the Area

Where to Ice Skate Around Arlington This Season

Categories: Things to Do