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U.S. Botanic Garden

Why brave the line and the bitter winter gusts at the Ellipse when the U.S. Botanic Garden’s holiday tableau promises poinsettias, music and model trains, plus a thermostat set to a balmy 70 degrees? Each year, the conservatory lights up its giant Douglas fir and decks its halls with ornaments and bronzed replicas of the city’s memorials and monuments. This year, the model train will zip around miniature versions of the Eiffel Tower, Unisphere, Ferris wheel and Seattle’s Space Needle, an exhibit inspired by wonders created for the world’s fairs. Adding to the ambiance: Tuesdays and Thursdays beginning Dec. 5, you can catch it all by moonlight, as the garden stays open late to host seated concerts by jazz, choral and klezmer acts.