Washington’s museums, concert halls and restaurants usually stay open on holidays — except for Dec. 25. If you don’t celebrate Christmas, don’t have family in town, or just want to get out of the house, it can be tricky to find something to do. Here are five easy itineraries that include art, music and, yes, movies and Chinese food.
All-Star Christmas Day Jazz Jam at the Kennedy Center: The 20th edition of the All-Star Christmas Day Jazz Jam on the Millennium Stage features vibraphonist Chuck Redd, vocalist Delores King Williams and a team of local musicians swinging and singing their way through a mix of standards and holiday tunes, beginning at 6 p.m. The Watergate’s Kingbird restaurant, located next to the Kennedy Center, is offering a la carte meals in addition to prix fixe brunch and dinner.
“Season’s Greenings” at the U.S. Botanic Garden: The Smithsonian might be closed on Christmas, but at least one building on the Mall will leave its lights on: The U.S. Botanic Garden, which is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The annual “Season’s Greenings” holiday display features American train stations made from plant materials, including Washington’s Union Station and New York’s Grand Central Terminal. After you’ve had your fill of trains — and visited the humid orchid room to warm up — head across Capitol Hill to Cafe Berlin, a German restaurant offering a hearty three-course, $55 dinner with seatings at 2, 4:30 and 7 p.m.
Dinner and a movie: This is the classic anti-Christmas activity, because most movie theaters will be open regular hours. Among D.C. theaters, the Regal Gallery Place Stadium 14 has plenty of blockbusters, including “Bumblebee” and “Holmes and Watson,” and is close to New Big Wong, a Chinese restaurant beloved by chefs and bartenders for its Cantonese and Szechuan dishes, and Reren, known for its delicious Chinese-style pulled noodles. An artsier option pairs a screening of “Roma” or “The Favourite” at Landmark’s E Street Cinema with a burger and a beer at Harry’s Pub, in the Hotel Harrington across the street. The bar is an unreconstituted slice of old-school Washington.
Ice skating and “Georgetown Glow”: Washington’s largest public ice rink isn’t at the National Gallery of Art — it’s the fountain at Washington Harbour in Georgetown. The picturesque rink, steps from the Potomac, is open from noon to 10 p.m. on Christmas. After skating, wander up toward the C&O Canal and explore Georgetown Glow, a series of 11 light installations designed by artists from around the globe, and spread throughout the neighborhood. Finish the evening with a trip abroad: The newest member of the Guapo’s chain brings a refined idea of Tex-Mex — enchiladas, ceviches and burritos — to Washington Harbour. Alternatively, Bistrot Lepic’s restaurant and cozy wine bar are open, though the restaurant menu is a $75 prix fixe option.
JV’s Christmas Holiday Bash: “Ageless Charm Without Yuppie Bastardization” is the motto at JV’s, a Falls Church roadhouse open since 1947. Doors open at 5 p.m. for dinner — the menu leans toward meatloaf, chili mac and country-fried steak — and local soul favorites Jimi Smooth & HitTime take the stage at 8:30 for a set heavy on Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding and Sam Cooke. There’s a $10 cover for the show.