Being stuck in D.C. for Thanksgiving break doesn’t have to be a bad thing. With holiday events like a Thanksgiving dance party and tree lightings, the District might actually be one of the best places to spend the holiday.
Plus, with a life-size gingerbread house, Zoolights at the National Zoo and a Relient K concert, this weekend offers plenty of opportunities to let out your inner kid.
1940’s-themed Thanksgiving Dance Party: The Kennedy Center presents “A Night at the Stork Club,” a 40s-themed swing dance party where guests can jam to music by crooner Johnny Boyd (and burn off that Thanksgiving food coma in the process). Head over early for free swing dance lessons at 6 p.m., and stick around for the dance party at 7 p.m.
Millenium Stage at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 2700 F St. NW. Dance lessons at 6 p.m., party from 7 to 9 p.m. Free
“Thank You Thanksgiving” at The Black Squirrel: For a Thanksgiving meal minus the cost and hours of preparation, head to The Black Squirrel for the pub’s sixth annual “Thank You Thanksgiving.” You’ll find a full buffet of Turkey Day classics like stuffing, mashed potatoes and even pumpkin beer, all for just $7 per guest. You can start noshing at noon, but the pub won’t close until 2 a.m., so there’s plenty of time for late-night eats. Friendsgiving, anyone?
The Black Squirrel, 2427 18th St. NW. Noon to 2 a.m. $7
Life-size gingerbread house unveiling: Instead of spending hours frosting a store-bought gingerbread house only to have it collapse into a sugary mess, visit the Ritz Carlton’s annual life-size gingerbread house, which will be unveiled at Tysons Corner on Friday. While you marvel at your childhood dream, sip some hot spiced cider or hot cocoa provided by the hotel. The house, constructed by the Ritz Carlton pastry team, will be on display through Jan. 2.
The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner, third-floor lobby, 1700 Tysons Blvd., McLean, Va. Opens 4 p.m., Nov. 28, on view through Jan. 2. Free
Zoolights at the National Zoo: Starting Friday night, the National Zoo will become a winter wonderland replete with over 500,000 LED lights for the annual “Zoolights” celebration. The zoo will offer guests two 150-foot snow-tubing tracks ($3 per ride), a “Gin-GRR-bread Habitat Competition” with the theme “Bao Bao’s Blizzard Bash” and live musical performances. As you unleash your inner child, the zoo will serve older guests special winter treats, like spiked hot chocolate and mulled cider, to remind you of your real age. Can’t make it to the opening? Come back any night through Jan. 1 (excluding Dec. 24, 25 and 31) to get in on the festivities.
The National Zoo, 3001 Connecticut Ave. NW. 5 to 9 p.m. Nov. 28 through Jan. 1 (except Dec. 24, 25 and 31). Free
“Feverland” exhibit at Project 4: Saturday is the last day to see “Feverland,” a solo exhibit at Project 4 Gallery by D.C. local and Maryland Institute College of Art instructor Katherine Tzu-Lan Mann. With her paintings – patterned, emotive collages of color – Mann aims to celebrate the “connections and clashes” of differing elements in the world. Her thought-provoking work has diverse sources of inspiration, from Beijing opera costuming to lattice-work and sequins, making her exhibit a treat to both the eye and the mind.
Project 4 Gallery, 1353 U St. NW, No. 302. Open noon to 6 p.m. Free
CityCenter First Annual Holiday Tree Lighting: Didn’t win tickets to the National Christmas Tree Lighting? Don’t worry. Head to CityCenter for its first annual holiday tree lighting and help start a new tradition. The event will feature warm holiday drinks, like hot cocoa from RareSweets and tea from Mango Tree, and a live performance by the Gay Men’s Chorus of D.C. CityCenter will collect nonperishable food items for D.C. Central Kitchen, and those who donate will be entered in a raffle to win prizes from CityCenter retailers.
The Park at CityCenterDC, 825 10th St. NW. 6 p.m. Free
Relient K 10th Anniversary Tour: If you’re still not done reminiscing about your childhood this weekend, you’ve got one last chance. The Fillmore will host rock band Relient K’s 10th anniversary concert Sunday, celebrating the 2004 album “Mmhmm.” Don’t even try to pretend you don’t remember every word to hits like “Be My Escape” and “Must Have Done Something Right.”
The Fillmore Silver Spring, 8656 Colesville Road, Silver Spring, Md. 8 p.m. $30
MSTRKRFT at U Street Music Hall: If you’d rather jam out to some more recent tunes, head over to U Street Music Hall for a DJ set by MSTRKRFT (pronounced Master-craft). But don’t be late. The late-night concert is free, and tickets will be handed out at the door on a first-come, first-served basis. The duo behind MSTRKRFT experiment with house, hip-hop, grime and punk beats to create a grungy yet upbeat sound, like in “Heartbreaker” and “Work On You.”
U Street Music Hall, 1115 U St. NW. 10 p.m. Free