Smithsonian Holiday Festival 2016 in Washington DC

Celebrate the Season Along the National Mall

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••• Photo © Smithsonian Institution

Each December, the Smithsonian hosts a two-day holiday festival with special events at several of the museums on the National Mall in Washington DC. The event features family-friendly entertainment including concerts, seasonal films, Mars Chocolate demonstrations, holiday photo opportunities, trunk shows, book signings, and more. It's easy to get in the spirit of the season - You don't have to walk between the museums - a Holiday Shuttle will loop around the National Mall every 10 minutes, transporting festival-goers to the participating locations.

Dates and Times:  December 3-4, 2016, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Participating Museums

The best way to get to the National Mall is to use Metro.  The closest stations to the Mall include Smithsonian, Federal Triangle, Metro Center, L’Enfant Plaza, Federal Center SW, and Archives-Navy Memorial. Parking is very limited near the National Mall. For suggestions of places to park, see a guide to parking near the National Mall.

See a map and directions to the National Mall.

Smithsonian Holiday Festival Highlights

  • Trunk Shows – Unique apparel and jewelry will be for sale including African inspired items at the African Art Museum, Southwest sterling silver jewelry at the American History Museum, Japanese kimonos at the Freer Sackler Galleries, aviation apparel and accessories at the Air and Space Museum and gemstones crystals and hand painted mosaic designs at the Natural History Museum.
  • Live Music - USAF Band Silver Wings, Blue grass band (caroling at the end of the performance) performs at the American History Museum, 12:30, 1:30 and 2:30 p.m. USAF Band’s Celtic Aire performs at the Air and Space Museum, 11 a.m., 12, 1 and 2 p.m. USAF Band-s Max Impact performs at the Air and Space Museum, 11 a.m., 12, 1 and 2 p.m.
  • Movie - The Muppet Christmas Carol plays at the American History Museum, 11 a.m., 1 and 3 p.m. The Polar Express: A 3D Experience plays at the Natural History Museum at 11:25 a.m. and 4:15 p.m.
  • Author Signings – Author Pamela Heyne and Child’s long-time food photographer Jim Scherer sign copies of their book, “In Julia’s Kitchen: Practical and Convivial Kitchen Design Inspired by Julia Child,” where they collaborated to share Child’s kitchen design and lifestyle concepts and examine the kitchens in her Cambridge, Mass, home; at la Pitchoune, the Child’s French vacation retreat; and in her television studio.
  • Gift-wrapping - Available throughout the festival at the National Air and Space Museum, National Museum of American History and National Museum of Natural History.

Read More About the Smithsonian Museums in Washington DC