The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

Embrace the season with top winter activities in the DMV area

Collage by Caroline Harless
Pictured from left to right: Rockville Town Square’s Ice Skating Rink, Winter City Lights, Downtown Holiday Market, Ford’s Theatre “A Christmas Carol.”

For many, the chilly weather synonymous with winter means one thing: cozy season. Staying inside under warm blankets, watching holiday movies and sipping on hot chocolate are all typical winter activities many can do in the comfort of their homes. However, this magical season has so much more to offer, with lots to do in the DMV!

Go Ice Skating

Whether you’re a pro on the rink or spend your time grabbing onto the railing, ice skating is a classic winter activity to enjoy with friends or family.

Arguably the most popular ice skating rink nearby is the Cabin John Ice Rink, six minutes away from WCHS. The CJ Ice Rink is indoors and houses large recreational rinks for public skating. The Fall Public Skating Schedule has skate times throughout the week, with affordable ticket prices at $8 on most days.

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Another great ice rink is Rockville Town Square’s Outdoor Ice Skating. This rink offers a fun experience while being surrounded by restaurants you can eat at after skating. Although Rockville Town Square’s rink is smaller than CJ’s and the $11 tickets are slightly more expensive, being outside with colorful lights and decorations fosters a stronger holiday spirit. So bundle up, lace your skates and have fun!

Explore a Winter Lights Show

Have you ever wanted to experience the magic of holiday lights without all the labor of decorating your house? Well, winter lights shows are perfect for just that!

Just a drive away, the Winter Lights Festival in Gaithersburg, MD is open from Nov. 24 to Dec. 31, 2023. On weekdays tickets are $15 per vehicle and $25 Friday-Sunday per vehicle. The drive around Seneca Creek Park is 3.5 miles and contains 450+ holiday light displays. As this is a nighttime event, the Winter Lights Festival is an ideal opportunity to grab takeout and eat while enjoying the lights, making it a perfect end-of-the-night wrap-up.

While many would enjoy cozying up in the car, if you prefer to walk around a lights show instead, Winter City Lights (WCL) in Olney, MD is a great option. With a vast 18-acre winter wonderland coupled with more than 1 million lights, WCL is the largest lights show in the DMV. WCL is very interactive, as you walk through a trail in the woods to see their 52-foot tall Christmas lights tree surrounded by a 200-foot diameter canopy of lights. WCL also offers a variety of activities such as bonfires, snow tubing and concession stands with delicious food, making it all the more merry.

Visit Holiday Markets

Holiday markets are an excellent way to support local businesses while checking off items from your gift list. With many in the DMV, there’s bound to be a market for everyone!

Great for trying seasonal food and shopping ‘til you drop, the Downtown Holiday Market in D.C. is free to enter and open from Nov. 17 to Dec. 23. Spanning across two blocks, the market consists of 70+ vendors, six food and drink stalls and live music. Hours are from 12-8 p.m.

Located in Alexandria, VA, Del Ray Artisans’ 28th Annual Fine Art & Fine Craft Holiday Market is open from Dec. 1-23, 2023 on Fridays from 6-9 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. This market sells locally made arts and crafts, offering pieces made of glass and ceramics to wood and paint. Don’t miss the opportunity to experience a variety of art, as each weekend features a rotation of different artists!

Everyone knows someone in their life who puts stuff off and is always rushing around at the last minute: a procrastinator. Especially when it comes to holiday shopping, procrastination can be detrimental. Not to fear though, because the Procrastinator’s Holiday Market on Dec. 16 is here to save the day! Ideal for those partaking in last-minute holiday gift hunting, this D.C. market offers festive food, entertainment and complimentary holiday-themed activities.

Celebrate the Holidays with the Arts

It is no secret that everyone loves holiday movies — although cheesy, they bring cheer and evoke the holiday spirit. To change things up, however, opt to see a live holiday play or musical performance this year!

An innovative take on a classic holiday performance is The Washington Ballet’s “The Nutcracker.” Set in an 1882 Georgetown mansion starring a George Washington nutcracker, The Washington Ballet “D.C.-ifies” “The Nutcracker.” Not only is it a beautiful ballet, but it has a fresh twist on it, allowing viewers to experience D.C’s abundant history. Performances run from Dec. 2-30, 2023, at the Warner Theatre in D.C., and tickets start at $41.

Ford’s Theatre “A Christmas Carol” tells the transformative journey of Ebenezer Scrooge, a miserly old man, who, through encounters with ghosts of Christmas past, present and future, learns the true meaning of compassion and generosity, leading to a change in his outlook on life. Performances run from Nov. 17 – Dec. 31, 2023, at Ford’s Theatre in D.C., with tickets starting at $66.

Don’t miss The Washington Chorus’ “A Candlelight Christmas.” With lively brass, a joyous chorus and special guests, this concert is a cherished holiday tradition in the D.C. area. Get your tickets for Dec. 16, 20, 21 or 22 at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall with tickets starting at $49. You won’t want to pass up the chance to experience this seasonal performance!

Whether you decide to hit the ice or shop at holiday markets, there are plenty of fun holiday activities in the DMV waiting to be explored. Make this holiday season one you won’t forget!

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About the Contributor
Caroline Harless
Caroline Harless, News Editor
Caroline Harless is a senior and the News Editor for the Observer. In her free time, she likes to bake, hang out with friends and watch Netflix. This is her fourth year taking journalism.  

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