One of my all-time favorite Christmas songs is kitschy, but catchy—and any DC-area local knows it because it’s blasted non-stop on 97.1 FM this time of year—it’s the regional Christmas carol “It’s Christmas Eve in Washington.” In case you can’t bring yourself to listen, here’s the first verse:
It’s snowing tonight in the Blue Ridge
There’s a hush over Chesapeake Bay
The chimneys are smoking in Georgetown
And tomorrow is Christmas Day
The Tidal Basin lies quiet
The tourists have found their way home
Mr. Jefferson’s standing the mid-watch
And there’s a star on the Capitol Dome
It’s Christmas Eve in Washington
For it’s here that freedom lives
And peace can stand her ground
When my sisters and I were at the Capitol Christmas tree Wednesday night, we couldn’t help but to sing this cheesy song while taking in the beautifully lit tree with the Capitol Dome in the background—which brings me to the whole point of today’s post.
When I did my 2017 reader survey this summer, many of you wanted to see more DC-related content and I’ve dropped the ball on that one. Whenever I’m in town, I’m often out and about doing fun things around the city and where I live across the river in Arlington, Virginia. However, much like Wednesday night, I often don’t lug my DSLR camera around with me in DC like I do when I’m traveling. As such, I usually only have a few iPhone photos to show, and because I’m a perfectionist at heart, I often beat myself up about the fact they aren’t of a high enough quality to post on the blog. But, I had such a fun time exploring DC at Christmastime this week that I wanted to share what we did—and commit to making more of an effort to share similar adventures in 2018, even if the only photos in the post were snapped on my iPhone, like they are in today’s.
Earlier this week, I was watching a Christmas movie after a day at work and my spin class, and was a little sad that the holiday season is winding down and I hadn’t yet taken advantage of any Christmastime activities in DC. So I texted my sisters and asked them if they wanted to hit up Zoo Lights at the National Zoo. They were in, so we connected on the Metro after I got off work Wednesday night, and off we went!
Zoo Lights has been on my DC bucket list since I moved to Arlington in 2013—so I was extremely excited to go this year. I’d recommend taking the Metro to the Woodley Park/Adams Morgan station and then making the short walk up Connecticut Avenue to the main zoo entrance. That’s where you’ll see the Insta-famous Zoo Lights sign shown above and be welcomed into the light show with Pandas of all sorts—a Santa Panda, light-up Pandas, even a statue of a Panda you can pose with. Right after you enter, there’s a visitor center on the left that sells both alcoholic—wine, beer, and mixed drinks—and non-alcoholic beverages, like hot chocolate and apple cider.
Once we had our libations, we spent about an hour walking around the zoo. Many of the animal houses are closed, but a few were open. Honestly, the lights were such an attraction that we actually didn’t venture into any of the animal houses, and instead, took in the light-up animals and displays that were timed to music. It was so fun to simply just walk around since there were lights everywhere you looked—my favorite were the flamingos. (Duh!)
Once we’d made a big lap around the zoo, we weren’t quite ready to end the festivities. So we took the Metro over to Hill Country for some barbecue and mac and cheese, and then took a short walk over to the Capitol Building to see the Christmas tree there. The last time I’d seen it up-close in person was 2004, so it was high time I got down there again! We spent a good twenty minutes taking it all in—first from across the Capitol reflecting pool, and then right up next to it. Politics aside, it was truly a majestic sight to see, and I’m so glad we took the time to get down there. I hope it becomes an annual tradition since it put me in such a festive mood!
And with that, I’m signing off from the blog until sometime next week—I hope you all have a safe, warm, and very Merry Christmas!