Holiday Things to Do in Washington, DC

Smithsonian’s National Zoo holidays

The Tree

The National Christmas Tree will be lit on December 1 and open to the public December 2 through January 1. You can visit the tree during daytime hours but it will be lit from 4:30 to 10 PM: The National Christmas Tree is a beautiful display of holiday cheer in front of the White House. You can also see the Pathway Of Peace – 1 miniature tree to represent each state and territory with ornaments made by the tree’s local children. You can also visit Santa’s Workshop and watch the nightly performances.


We are located right near the zoo!  ZooLights is a huge display of holiday lights at the National Zoo. Admission is free Stay at Kalorama Guest House and you can walk from your room! Stay warm by visiting the exhibit buildings with favorite animal friends such as small mammals, apes, and reptiles. There are some paid attractions such as a slide, carousel, and a train ride. ZooLights is open nightly from November 25 to January 1. Closed December 24-25.

10 (Almost) Free things to Do in DC

Tree full of flowers with Jefferson Memorial in background

-From Washington.Org

1.Visit the National Geographic Museum and travel around the world. View engrossing exhibitions that highlight the diversity of international cultures and natural wonders. Adult admission is $8; for kids 5-12, it’s $4.

2.  See a play. Take advantage of Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company’s pay-what-you-can seats, offered for the first two performances of every mainstage production (usually Monday or Tuesday). Tickets (two per person) are sold at the theater 90 minutes prior to show time.

3. Follow Georgetown’s cobblestone streets to Old Stone House, a National Park Service site and DC’s last pre-Revolutionary building standing on its original foundation.

4. Trip the light fantastic. Thrill to Leo Villareal’s dynamic light sculpture “Multiverse” while riding the moving walkway between the National Gallery of Art’s East and West Buildings.

5. Get a behind-the-scenes look at the preservation of art in the Lunder Conservation Center. It’s the first art conservation facility allowing the public permanent access to views of essential conservation work. There you’ll see staff from the National Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian American Art Museum hard at work through floor-to-ceiling windows.

6. Take a free or nearly free docent-led tour at one of DC’s many museums and other cultural institutions, including the National Archives and the National Air and Space Museum. Before you go, make sure to check each’s website for details.

7. DC is a celebratory city in which festivals take place throughout the year. Check out our events calendar for information on DC’s most popular free-of-charge festivals, including the National Cherry Blossom Festival (March-April), the Source Festival (June) and the Smithsonian Folklife Festival (June-July).

8.  Visit The Phillips Collection in Dupont Circle, America’s first museum of modern art, where access to the permanent collection is free of charge Tuesdays through Fridays. (Contributions are encouraged.)

9.  Head to the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the only museum in the world dedicated exclusively to recognizing the work of women artists. Admission is free on Community Day, the first Sunday of every month.

10. Dance your way to Café Citron in Dupont Circle. On Wednesday nights, free salsa lessons are offered from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Need a place to stay for all these FREE things to do in Washington DC?

Our rooms  in our DC Bed and Breakfast are within walking distance of the National Zoo, restaurants and dining in Washington DC. A short walk will get you the Metro Station to DC Tourist attractions. Contact Kalorama Guest House today!

What you need to see while in DC

Closeup of Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial








1.) Smithsonian Museums on the National Mall

This should most definitely be your first stop when you get into town. There are tons of Smithsonian Institutes with history just waiting for you to see. The best part about them is that they are free. Head to any and you’re sure to have a great time. Some of the more popular ones are the Air and Space Museum, American Art Museum, American History Museum, National History Museum and the Smithsonian Gardens. They are all great choices and you are sure to learn a lot!

2.) Tour the National Monuments and Memorials

Make a “history day” of it! After you are done touring the museums you want to see, head to the monuments to get a look at something really spectacular. Honor our past Presidents, past veterans and more by visiting the different sites. Tourist favorites include the Arlington National Cemetery, Iwo Jima Memorial, Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument. These massive structures are  sure to wow you!

3.) Tour our Nations Houses of Government

Visitors from around the world come to DC in hopes of making it inside the most famous house in the world. To arrange a tour make sure you plan ahead and request a tour through one of your members of Congress.

4.) Georgetown

Shopping lovers UNITE! Go back in time to cobblestone roads and take a walk through Georgetown, one of the most sought after properties in the DC area. Georgetown offers gourmet restaurants and swanky shops giving you the experience of a lifetime.

5.) Head to the C & O Canal

Be outdoorsy on your vacation… the DC region is lucky enough to have plenty of parks throughout the area but C & O Canal is truly astounding. They offer tons of exercise options along with fun water sports such as kayaking through the canal. Bring a picnic and make a day out of it with your family.

6.) Mount Vernon

This is another one of our favorites. Mount Vernon is located right outside of DC in nearby Northern Virginia… home to the first President of the United States, George Washington. Mount Vernon tries hard to keep things exactly like they were back in the 1740’s as you can walk through the house to see how he really lived. It’s on a beautiful river, has plenty of gardens to tour and is one of our favorite stops… even as locals!


Giant Panda Mei Xiang may be having a Baby Panda!

Panda Mei Xiang at the National Zoo

Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) scientists have confirmed a secondary rise in giant panda Mei Xiang’s (may-SHONG) urinary progesterone levels. The slow rise started July 20 and indicates that she will either have a cub or experience the end of a pseudopregnancy within 30 to 50 days. Scientists have been carefully tracking Mei Xiang’s hormone levels since she was artificially inseminated April 26 and 27. The inseminations used frozen sperm collected from Hui Hui, a panda living in China, and fresh sperm collected from the National Zoo’s Tian Tian (tee-YEN tee-YEN).

View the entire article about Giant Panda Mei Xiang!

Upcoming Fall Zoo Events

It’s time to plan your fall getaway to our nation’s capital and check out the Smithsonian National Zoological Park, as our property is just minutes away. The National Zoo is a nationwide attraction for family’s everywhere, as well as a mecca for entertaining and fun events. Beginning in September, and continuing through the holiday season, the National Zoo is offering multiple events that you and your family don’t want to miss.


Bao Bao’s Birthday

  • Come and celebrate Bao Bao the Panda’s first birthday with an array of special activities, entertainment and giveaways for all to enjoy on August 23rd, 2014. The event opens to the public at 11AM and goes until 2PM. The celebration will be held at Clint Fields Plaza and around the panda yards, both in the upper and lower viewing areas. Be sure to get there early so you can receive fun treats and samples all day long including the Chinese Embassy that will be giving away noodle samples. (It’s a great way to learn about another culture!)


Rock-N- Roar

  • Starting August 8th, tickets for Rock-N-Roar go on sale to the public. Popular band The Fray comes to rock the National Zoo’s annual outdoor concert! It’s a wonderful, entertaining event that your family is sure to love. The event also includes animal demonstrations and wine and beer vendors all while in the intimate setting of the National Zoo. The proceeds of the event go to benefit animal care and conservation, which makes it even better! Make sure to bring a blanket and get cozy. The event is Friday, September 12th from 6-9PM.