Winter Events in the D.C. Area to Take your Mind off of Finals

By Kira Barrett
For Unwind magazine

December is a time for family, good food, celebrating the holidays, and unfortunately – finals.

In this cold weather it’s easy to just crawl under the covers with some Netflix and hot cocoa and call it a night. With the stress of finals and dipping temperatures, sometimes we just want to hibernate the winter away. Many college students practically live at McKeldin during finals week, molded permanently into desk chairs, living off of microwaved burritos and fighting the urge to close our eyes at all moments of the day.

But it is important to occasionally brace the cold, emerge from the dorms and take advantage of holiday events closeby. Grades are important, but so is staying sane and happy. There are a myriad of events to check out in Maryland, and particularly in Washington D.C.

Getting into the holiday spirit can take on many forms. Annaleigh Hughes, a freshman journalism student, plans on going to ZooLights at the National Zoo.


This free event includes hot holiday drinks, the Zoo choo-choo and even snowless tubing. The ZooLights display includes images of the zoo animals in motion, lighting up the dark sky in every color.

It’s a Washington D.C. classic that should be on every Maryland student’s bucket list, and is certainly a flashback to simpler times. This display runs from 6-10 p.m. every night, and ends on January 1.

For something more sophisticated, check out “Miracle on 7th Street” in Washington D.C.

“Miracle on 7th Street” is a spirited holiday metamorphosis of three D.C. bars: Mockingbird Hill, Eat the Rich and Southern Efficiency. These normally classy and understated establishments transform into a decorated and winter-themed celebration for all of December.

Each of the bars is filled with fake snow, holiday lights and even a “Stranger Things”-themed display. The cocktail menu is also altered to include special holiday themed drinks.

1020 Rennich Bar Crackdown 6
Photo by Nathan Rennich

To avoid the typical night at Bents or Cornerstone, those 21 and older can go get tipsy at one of these establishments from 5 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. on weeknights, and 5 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. on weekends.

One of the best ways to get into the holiday spirit is watching Christmas movies. Some of the classics include “Frosty the Snowman,” “A Year Without a Santa Claus,” “Miracle on 34th Street,” and “Home Alone.”

Luckily, students can throw it back to the times they believed in Santa at the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center in Silver Spring Maryland. This theater shows a holiday movie series throughout December, including movies like “Elf,” “Die Hard,” “A Christmas Carol,” “It’s A Wonderful Life,” and a few others.

Admission is $10 and it is only a fifteen minute drive from the University of Maryland.

While there are probably a hundred different holiday shows, markets and festivals in the city, The National Tree Lighting and Menorah Lighting in Washington D.C., the Symphony of Lights in Columbia, ice skating in Georgetown, and the Georgetown GLOW art installation came highly recommended by other Maryland students for the holiday season.

From public art to classic movies, holiday cocktails to doing figure-eights on ice, the DMV has the holiday season covered. There is no excuse to not get out of bed and enjoy the holiday spirit.


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