Just when you think it can’t be any more fun to study English in Washington DC, the holidays arrive! For students attending a language school in DC, there is plenty of festive fun in store all season long. We’ve gathered a giant list of fun things for students taking English courses in Washington DC to enjoy this December. The below list covers the bulk of the holiday season and something for every student – no matter your budget!
1. Go Ice Skating
A quintessential way to celebrate the winter season is to go ice skating. Fortunately, students in DC have several options for ice skating. Students can find ice skating rinks at the National Mall and Washington Harbor. There is even an ice skating rink on the roof of the Watergate Hotel.
2. Visit the Free Museums
There is never a wrong time to visit one of the many free Smithsonian museums in Washington DC. However, winter is a wonderful time to visit because it is a great escape from the cold and is often less busy than during the summer months. The Smithsonian museums are open every day except for December 25th.
3. Explore Mount Vernon
George Washington’s Mount Vernon hosts a holiday event each season. Christmas at Mount Vernon takes guests into America’s holidays of the past with a tour of the mansion, warm cider, cookies, and fireside caroling.
4. See the Lights at Smithsonian National Zoo
If you love animals and love Christmas lights, then you must make plans to see the Smithsonian National Zoo Zoolights event each night from 5 pm – 9 pm. It boasts over 500,000 lights, live music, activities, and laser shows. Best of all – it is free!
5. Visit the National Christmas Tree
Students who are only living in DC while they study should definitely make a point to visit the National Christmas Tree located at President’s Park by the White House. In addition to the National Christmas Tree, guests can walk the Pathway of Peace and view 56 decorate state and territory trees.
6. View the National Hanukkah Menorah
The winter season is also when Chanukah is celebrated. The public is invited to the Lighting of the National Menorah on the White House Ellipse on December 2nd at 4 pm. This event is free, but tickets are required.
7. Enjoy Winter Sports
Sports fans will be thrilled to know that the winter sports season in DC is packed with competition. Students in the DC area have their choice of cheering on college basketball teams, the Washington Capitals NHL (hockey) team, and the Washington Wizards (basketball) NBA team.
8. Watch The Nutcracker
Students have their choice of forty showtimes of the Washington Ballet’s performance of the holiday classic The Nutcracker. They have super value priced performances for those looking to save some money.
9. Have Some Fun in the Snow
While we can’t predict when it is going to snow in DC, we can tell you that it is likely going to happen this winter. Fortunately, there are many fun ways to enjoy your snow days in DC. For example, you can explore the beauty of the National Mall covered in snow or go sledding down some of the area’s steepest hills.
10. Get Warm by The Torch
The Wharf in DC is now home to The Torch – a 14-foot gas-powered flame. In addition to the cool scenery along the waterfront, the Wharf is home to restaurants, shopping, and outdoor firepits that can be used to keep you warm or to cook smores.
11. Visit Georgetown GLOW
Throughout December, students can visit the historic Georgetown neighborhood to see the public light installation, Glow. This outdoor light experience is beautiful to see. You also have the option of viewing this public art event as part of a DC walking tour.
12. Enjoy the Holiday Boat Parade of Lights
The DC Boat Parade is a marvelous light event held each year. Boats decked out with Christmas lights travel from the waterfront in Alexandria to the Wharf. Guests can view the boat parade for free and enjoy the festive atmosphere. This year’s event will be December 1st.
13. Shop at the Downtown Holiday Market
Running between Thanksgiving and Christmas by the Capitol One Arena, the Downtown Holiday Market is a fun place to spend some of your downtime. You can shop, enjoy the holiday décor, eat yummy treats, and listen to live music.
14. Study by the Christmas Tree at the Library of Congress
If you are looking for spots to study with a festive atmosphere, head to the Library of Congress. The Thomas Jefferson Building is home to a beautiful indoor lit Christmas tree that makes the library even more beautiful.
15. Explore Gaylord National Resort
During the winter season, the Gaylord National Resort at the National Harbor in Maryland hosts ICE, an extravagant winter event. ICE has over 6,000,000 Christmas lights, ice skating, 140 ice sculptures, shows, and more! Guests can also experience A Charlie Brown Christmas live.
16. Play at Holiday in the Park at Six Flags America
Holiday in the Park is a seasonal event at the Six Flags America theme park. It runs from the day after Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day. Several of the theme park rides will be operating, and guests can enjoy festive food and entertainment.
17. Celebrate New Year’s Eve
As 2018 comes to an end, there will be plenty of ways to ring in the new year in DC. Look for ways to celebrate with your classmates at one of the events around the district. Take your pick of a New Year’s Eve cruise or a wild party at the club. Check out this guide to where to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Washington DC for more suggestions.
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