Free this week: A concert by Hot Club of DC at the Botanic Gardens and New Year’s Eve at one of the plushest lounges in town.
The last day of this Hanukkah celebration hosted by Chabad Lubavitch of Upper Montgomery County winds down with hands-on festive activities such as cookie decorating, potato men and games. Visitors can also make menorahs, dreidels or picture frames for a fee.
The gypsy jazz and swing group performs a show at the U.S. Botanic Garden at 6 p.m. If you haven’t yet seen the holiday display at the U.S. Botanic Garden, you can also wander amid the foliage-filled arrangements of holiday classics such as poinsettia, evergreens and even some mistletoe.
The Baltimore Museum of Art hosts a Kwanzaa celebration, with performances by Keur Khaleyi African Dance Company and storyteller Maria Broom. Visitors can also see the museum’s current exhibit, “Hand Held: Personal Arts from Africa.”
Cajun cellist Sean Grissom gives two nights of performances harkening back to the height of the vaudeville era. He’s joined by Mallory Lewis, daughter of “Lamb Chop” entertainer Shari Lewis, as well as the Alexandria Kleztet.
Nineteenth-century Spanish photographer Juan Laurent took photographs of Spanish art and architecture, as well as the cities of Spain. See the National Gallery’s exhibit, “The Solemnity of Shadows: Juan Laurent’s Vision of Spain,” before it ends Friday.
Many bars are hosting free, low-key New Year’s Eve gatherings this year in lieu of high-priced affairs, but Smith Commons is actually promising a party, with live jazz by the Bob Butta Quartet (7 to 10 p.m.), a DJ spinning until 3 a.m., passed hors d’oeuvres and a Moet champagne toast at midnight, plus two specialty cocktails for sale — all in H Street’s most stylish lounge.
New Year’s Day can be quiet around Washington. But if you’re still feeling festive, head to the National Zoo for the last day of ZooLights. Tons of animal light sculptures made from thousands of lights will be on display, and the “iceless” environmentally-friendly skating rink will be open for business (skating costs $5, skate rental costs $2).