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Old 09-21-2008, 07:33 PM
63 posts, read 155,316 times
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I Have spent the last 22 years going home to Pennsylvania for Christmas so I always try to do all the Christmas stuff in NOVA/DC before I leave. We have a tradition of going downtown to see the tree at the White House and at the Capital. (we like the Capital tree better). There are always horses and carriages available there to hire. Last year we also went to Georgetown and Georgtown Park Mall the night before Christmas Eve. The mall was deserted! It was great. We love being downtown during the Christmas season. Just walking up the Lincoln Memorial steps is magical. So is the Mount Vernon candlelight tour. A trip to Old Town Alexandria is nice too with dinner at Gadsby's Tavern. Even though I like going back home to PA, I like to take advantage of all that is here since this is now my home and I love living here.
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Old 09-21-2008, 07:33 PM
55 posts, read 177,128 times
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Normie, I've gotten some super great deals at Leesburg Outlet too!
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Old 09-22-2008, 09:21 PM
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Reston Town center has a covered but outdoor ice skating rink- kind of Rockefeller center esk. very nice (not sure of the cost). The Chrismas sing-a-long at Wolf Trap is a can't miss and it's free- bring a gift for toys-for-tots. Usually the Sunday afternoon around December 8th (whatever weekend is around then). Bring hot chocolat and jingle bells.
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Old 09-28-2008, 10:15 AM
Location: Alexandria, VA
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This may be a stupid question but are most of these activities metro/bus accessible?
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Old 09-28-2008, 11:57 AM
Location: Home is where the heart is
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Reston Town Center is, take the metro to West Fall Church then take the bus. It drops you off at RTC parking lot. Alexandria and anything downtown DC is, but I don't know the details off hand. I don't know about Wolf Trap.
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Old 09-30-2008, 02:39 PM
Location: DC
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Going to Old Town Alexandria is always one of my favorite things to do during Christmas. There's Victorian carolers and brass bands playing on the streetcorners (I want to say a military band, but I could be wrong, there are a lot), decorations, and Old Town in general is just really cute. There's plenty of cozy little coffee shops to duck in when you get cold, or go look at art at the Torpedo Factory. When I went to college my parents would come down, pick me up, and spend a weekend there on the way home. Georgetown is also fun. Then there's the Capitol and White House trees, which I always like to do. The White House one I usually see at night, either after an early dinner or before a late one. There are usually performances there as well, but I always miss them (if you look online I'm sure you can find a schedule somewhere).
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Old 09-30-2008, 04:14 PM
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They have ice skating on the Mall near the National Gallery of Art and in Pentagon Row in Pentagon City (both Metro accessible).

The Friday section of the Washington Post come out with a Winter Festival guide sometime around November. You can email them to see when it come out. Even if you miss it, any Friday section in December will list Holiday-related events that those light shows, etc.
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Old 10-02-2008, 07:10 PM
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Ice Skating at the sculpture gardens near the National Portrait Galleries is a must. There's music and it's much nicer than skating at Reston Town Center. Also, the cafe right there is really nice.
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Old 10-05-2008, 11:04 PM
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The Nat'l Botanical Gardens does an awesome exhibit every year running from after Thanksgiving to mid-Jan. that features a display of famous buildings from around the City and a model railroad, all constructed out of natural materials.

The gardens are located just to the side of the Capitol, so it's easy to reach if you're already going to be in that part of town.

The United States Botanic Garden (http://www.usbg.gov/index.cfm - broken link)
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Old 10-06-2008, 08:35 PM
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Try Old Town Alexandria during the Christmas Season. There are a lot of special activities and the town is nicely decorated. Yes, it's a slightly-too-precious tourist trap, but it's pretty. If you take the Metro and get off at King Street there is the free King Street Trolley bus that will take you down King Street towards the waterfront.

Don't forget New Years either as many of the local towns host First Night on New Years Eve, to provide a family-friendly alternative to heavy partying and drinking. They always features tours, lights, parades, etc. and can be found throughout the DC/VA/MD area.

The Washington Post always has a list of activities throughout the next couple of weeks, and you can check them out online as well. Also, the Washingtonian Magazine (for sale at most local newstands and supermarkets) has lots of suggestions as well, and you can read about featured events online for free at www.washingtonian.com. In fact, that site is worth checking every week for loads of fun and interesting things to do in the area.
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