By Emily Goodin and Grace Mahan - 12/20/12 11:51 PM EST
Whether the deficit talks keep you in Washington for the holidays or you simply prefer to stay in town, there’s plenty to do in the nation’s capital.
From performances at the Kennedy Center to special museum exhibits to a water-skiing Santa, The Hill has compiled a list of shows, dinner specials and other events happening over the next few weeks:
• A Messiah Sing-along at the Kennedy Center on Dec. 23 at noon.
• The Choral Arts Society of Washington performs “An Enchanted Christmas” at the Kennedy Center on Christmas Ev
• New Year’s Eve at the Kennedy Center “Music of the Mad Men Era” — Dec. 31, 8:30 p.m.: Ring in the new year with Broadway, film and television star Cheyenne Jackson, members of the National Symphony Orchestra and Principal Pops Conductor Steven Reineke in suave and stylish performances of cool sounds from the ’50s and ’60s.
• The 25th anniversary tour of “Les Misérables” — Dec. 13-30 at the National Theatre: Last year, more than 84,000 people experienced a brand-new 25th anniversary production of Boublil and Schönberg’s legendary musical. Now, due to overwhelming demand, it returns to Washington for a special holiday engagement.
• Children’s Christmas Pageant — Dec. 22, 2 p.m.: This event is designed for children and celebrates the birth of the Jesus. Free and open to the public; call (202) 537-6200.
• Carols by Candlelight — Dec. 23-24, 6 p.m.: Passes are required for the event on Saturday. Favorite carols, beautiful Christmas music and lit candles help to tell the story of the birth of Jesus.
• Discovery Theater’s Seasons of Light — Dec. 3-21: This seasonal favorite at the Smithsonian’s children’s theater celebrates the warmth of many holidays filled with light. Learn the history and customs of Devali, Ramadan, Sankta Lucia, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, Las Posadas, Christmas and the First Nations tradition of the Winter Solstice.
• Holly Trolley Fest — Dec. 1-23 at the National Capital Trolley Museum in Silver Spring, Md.: Ride with Santa on the streetcars and enjoy a model garden railway and holiday village.
• The Botanical Garden’s Season’s Greetings: The Garden will host its annual holiday showcase “Seasons Greetings” until Jan. 1. The events feature 18 different types of poinsettias, an enormous Christmas tree covered in 1,000 sparkling ornaments and even an enchanted forest complete with a fairy garden.
• The Sculpture Garden’s ice skating rink: The rink on the National Mall is open seven days a week. A ticket for a two-hour session costs $8 for an adult and $7 for a senior or student. Skate rental is $3.
• Zoo Lights: Until Jan. 1, the National Zoo will be displaying over 500,000 sparkling lights, featuring sculptures of many of the zoo’s animals, including a komodo dragon.
• “It’s A Wonderful Life”: The American Film Institute in Silver Spring, Md., will be showing the holiday classic from Dec. 20 until Dec. 24.
• “Christmas at Mount Vernon”: Running through Jan. 6, learn about the Christmas traditions of George Washington and tour the estate.
• Dress rehearsal for the inaugural parade: If you don’t want to fight the crowds on Inauguration Day, you can catch the practice run on Jan. 13.
• “Water-skiing Santa”: Be at the National Harbor at 1 p.m. on Dec. 24 and you’ll see a water-skiing Santa, flying elves, the Jet-Skiing Grinch and Frosty the Snowman performing on the Potomac River.
• Downtown D.C. Holiday Market: Complete your holiday shopping at the Downtown D.C. Holiday Market. Browse through more than 50 artisans selling unique holiday gifts like crafts, pottery, accessories, clothes, art and other knick-knacks, and listen to local bands perform holiday tunes. The market is located in Penn Quarter between Seventh and Ninth streets and is open until Dec. 23.
• Seneca Creek State Park Displays: The park, in Montgomery County, Md., holds its 17th annual winter lights festival from Nov. 30-Dec. 31. It brightens the night sky with over 65 animated displays along the 3.5-mile drive.
• Military Bowl: This year’s game, on Dec. 27, features Bowling Green against San Jose State. Kickoff will take place at 3 p.m. at RFK Stadium.
• Gaylord Resort’s Ice Display: Shrek is the inspiration for this year’s display at National Harbor. Until Jan. 6, scenes from the DreamWorks animated holiday TV special “Shrek the Halls” can be relived in this interactive winter wonderland, which features sculptures and slides that have been carved from 2 million pounds of ice.
• Blue Duck Tavern, located on the corner of 24th and M streets, NW, will be showcasing farm-fresh favorites this holiday season. On Christmas Eve and Christmas night, there will be a seasonal a la carte menu from 6 to 10:30 p.m. On Christmas Day, the restaurant will be offering a fixed-price, three-course buffet-style brunch from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The brunch fixed-price menu is $95 (excluding tax and gratuity) per person for adults and $42 for children between 6 and 12. For reservations or additional information, please call (202) 419-6755.
• Bibiana Osteria-Enoteca, located at 1100 New York Ave. NW, will offer a traditional Feast of Seven Fishes available from 5 to 10 p.m. on Christmas Eve. Priced at $65 per person (excluding tax and gratuity), menu highlights include Grilled Eel with onion compote and red wine vinaigrette; Fried Shrimp with calamari, smelts, oysters, cauliflower and lemon; Black Spaghetti with Catalina Island sea urchin and aglio olio di peperoncino, as well as Seared Cod with tomatoes, olives, raisins, capers and pine nuts with olive oil crusted potatoes. For reservations, please call (202) 216-9550.
• Ardeo+Bardeo, located at 3311 Connecticut Ave. NW, will offer the best of Modern American cuisine this Christmas Eve from 5 to 10:30 p.m. Reservations can be made by calling (202) 244-6750.
• Bistro Vivant, located at 1394 Chain Bridge Road in McLean, Va., is offering a three-course, prix fixe holiday menu from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Christmas Eve. The dinner is priced at $49 (excluding tax and gratuity) per person, or $77 (excluding tax and gratuity) per person with exclusive French wine pairings. For reservations call (703) 356-1700.
• Assaggi Mozzarella Bar, located at 4838 Bethesda Ave. in Bethesda, Md., will offer a traditional Feast of the Seven Fishes menu from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Christmas Eve. Priced at $59 (excluding tax and gratuity) per person, menu highlights include Swordfish Carpaccio with tomato, capers and black olive tapenade; Crispy Codfish and Potato Croquette over Neapolitan pickled vegetables and anchovy oil; Octopus and Fingerling Potato Salad with garlic bread and arugula; Spaghetti Pasta with manila clams and oven-dried cherry tomatoes; Paccheri Pasta with swordfish ragu “Puttanesca”; Stewed Codfish Fillet with pearl onion mussels and broccolini; and Roasted Sea Bass with escarole, black olives, pine nuts and golden raisins. For reservations, call (301) 951-1988.