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Dec 19 2016
by Jacqueline Waple

8 Ways To Celebrate The Holiday Season In Our Nation's Capital

By Jacqueline Waple - Dec 19 2016
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Election season is over, and the much more pleasant holiday season is taking its place. This leaves us time to relax and reflect before the spring semester commences. If taking a trip to D.C. is on your winter break bucket list, Fresh U compiled some fun ways to experience our capital during the holidays.

1. Visit the National Christmas Tree

This year marks the 94th anniversary of this wonderful tradition as president Calvin Coolidge began this annual event in 1923. Since then, it has been a D.C. Christmas icon, and now the tree even has its own Twitter handle (@TheNationalTree)! You can visit the famous evergreen until January 1st, from 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM, but the lights are turned on around 4:30. There is no cost to the public.

2. Pick Up Gifts at the Downtown Holiday Market

Although this market is only around until the 23rd, it has more than 180 vendors, so you'll be able to find last-minute gifts for everyone on your list. Everything from fine art to t-shirts, home goods and food are for sale. It will feel good to know you're supporting small businesses and getting some unique gifts.

3. Check out ZooLights

Smithsonian's National Zoo is putting on its annual light show! Food, drinks and shopping are offered in addition to the dazzling light show. This is another free event, and it's great for the whole family; treats offered range from beer to holiday cookies and s'mores. Stop by before it closes on January 1st.

4. Catch a Show

The Washington Ballet is performing The Nutcracker in both Thearc Theater and Warner Theatre. This is just one example of the many shows offered this season in D.C., and other shows can be found here. There is something for everybody. Nothing feels quite like seeing a show during the holiday season!

5. Ice Ice Baby

Ice skating is one of the most wintry things one can do. The National Gallery of Art has a fantastic ice rink. With a cafe close by and a student discount, this is a great way to have some fun and celebrate the season. Do a little ice skating and if you're like me, a lot of face-planting, then treat yourself a cup of hot chocolate to top off the experience. Even for the uncoordinated it's a fun time! Laughs guaranteed.

6. Visit Mt. Vernon 

This might be my favorite on the list because you can visit a camel named Aladdin at President Washington's estate. What more could you ask for? Of course, there are many other seasonal activities Mt. Vernon offers its guests. Attend chocolate-making demonstrations, dance lessons and wreath-making classes! The holiday fun lasts until January 6th.

7. Experience the National Cathedral

This building is absolutely magnificent and was commissioned in 1791 by Washington himself. During the holiday season they offer faith-based events, but no matter your religious beliefs, this architectural masterpiece is definitely worth visiting.

8. "Leaf" Your Stress Behind...

...and check out the National Garden. The current exhibit, Season's Greetings, celebrates the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. There is even live seasonal music. Plus — like almost everything on this list — it's free to the public. 

Whether you've been there before, or are anticipating your first trip, Washington, D.C. is sure to deliver a good time even the election results you anticipated didn't pan out this year.

Lead Image Credit: Unsplash 

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Jacqueline Waple - University of North Carolina at Wilmington

Jacqueline is majoring in environmental science at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. She loves traveling and being outdoors. Follow her on Instagram: @naturally.jackie

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