How to do Thanksgiving in D.C.

This post was written by Olivia Kantor and Ben Marks.

Staying in the District this Thanksgiving? There’s plenty to do, like heading to the holiday parade at Reston Town Center in Virginia on November 29 at 11 a.m. And if you’re looking for great holiday shopping, look no further than Thread, a three day pop-up at Union Market which will showcase 30 local and national independent designers and brands.

Here are a few more free things to do over the holiday weekend.

Thanksgiving Day Swing Dance Party
The Kennedy Center Millennium Stage
Nov. 28, Free

If you're stuck at school, you probably won't be getting turkey but you can check out these holiday events. Photo used under the Creative Commons Lisence.
If you’re stuck at school, you probably won’t be getting turkey but you can check out these holiday events. Photo used under the Creative Commons Lisence.

When the turkey and stuffing is cleared away, take a walk to The Kennedy Center for a fun swing dance party. Burning off the Thanksgiving meal calories couldn’t get easier at this free event. And don’t worry if swing dancing isn’t your thing. Lessons begin at 6 p.m., giving a full hour of preparation before the party at 7. The Tom Cunningham Orchestra will perform classic swing hits, with special guest Jean Veloz. Vintage and military garments are encouraged for the event, but not required.

Season’s Greenings
U.S. Botanic Garden Conservatory
Nov. 28, Free

Escape the cold and enter a plant-filled oasis this holiday weekend. “Season’s Greenings” brings holiday cheer into the indoor tropical paradise of the U.S. Botanic Garden. A display of wintry poinsettias and conifers evoke a sense of the holidays while an 800-foot train track travels through plant-based structures in the conservatory’s East Gallery. The West Gallery boasts an enormous decorated Douglas fir that is one of the largest in the District. Monuments and notable D.C. buildings made entirely of plant materials are featured in the Garden Court, giving visitors the entire D.C. experience in the comfort of a 70-degree room temperature. The exhibit is open until Jan. 5.

National Harbor Tree Lighting & Fireworks
National Harbor
Nov. 29, Free

After a day of intense Black Friday shopping, head down to the National Harbor (only a 20-minute drive from Foggy Bottom) for the annual tree lighting ceremony. This year’s event features a 65-foot tree and over 200,000 lights as well as the American Military Spouses Choir, which were featured on “America’s Got Talent,” and a fireworks show over the Potomac. There are more holiday events scheduled at the nearby Gaylord National Resort including a hand-carved winter wonderland ice sculpture. Events begin at noon and continue throughout the day with the tree lighting ceremony at 7 p.m.

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