Release Date: October 26, 2018
Discover the Holiday Season at the National Gallery of Art with Caroling, Lectures, Ice-Skating, Gallery Gifts, Seasonal Flavors, and Festive Decorations
Washington, DC—The National Gallery of Art celebrates the holiday season throughout the month of December with a variety of free programs, including concerts, caroling, films, lectures, and gallery talks. All programs are free and open to the public on a first-come, first-served basis. In addition to the Gallery"s free programs, the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden ice rink offers skaters of all ages an opportunity to enjoy winter weather amid stunning large-scale sculpture. The Gallery and Sculpture Garden will be closed on December 25 and January 1.
Beginning Monday, December 3, several Christmas trees adorned with sparkling white lights and hundreds of red poinsettias and white hydrangeas will grace the Rotunda and Garden Courts, creating a festive holiday atmosphere on the Main Floor of the West Building. The holiday display in the Rotunda is made possible by a generous endowment established in 2003 by Lee and Juliet Folger. Red and white poinsettias inside tree wells will also greet visitors as they enter the East Building Atrium.
"The Christmas Story in Art" is a 60-minute lecture about paintings in the permanent collection that depict the birth of Jesus. It is led by Gallery lecturer David Gariff and held in the West Building Lecture Hall. A slideshow of many of the featured works is available online.
December 11, 13, 14, 18–21, 24 at 1:00
West Building Lecture Hall
Caroling at the Gallery
The Gallery's long-standing tradition of community caroling in the West Building Rotunda continues to be a favorite family activity during the holidays. Visitors are invited to sing along with guest choirs and ensembles at 1:30 and 2:30 p.m. on December 8, 9, 15, and 16. The groups will perform their own music as well as lead the audience in familiar Christmas carols. Performances last 45 minutes; singers and spectators of all ages are welcome. The following groups will lead caroling this year:
U.S. Army Chorus
December 8 at 1:30 and 2:30
December 9 at 1:30 and 2:30
Westminster Presbyterian Choir and Ringers
December 15 at 1:30 and 2:30
Saint John Paul the Great Catholic High School Choir
December 16 at 1:30 and 2:30
This year an additional pop-up concert will be held to celebrate the holidays: Eric Mintel Quartet will perform music from A Charlie Brown Christmas on December 28 at 12:10. Location to be announced.
Concerts, offered on Sundays in the West Garden Court of the West Building, are free to the public. Performances begin at 3:30 p.m. and end at approximately 5:00 (unless otherwise noted). Audiences are admitted on a first-come, first-seated basis starting at 3:00. This year's offerings include The Hot Club of San Francisco performing Hot Club Cool Yule—featuring many of your favorites and a few rarer, seasonal gems—on December 16 as well as the Suchertorte Chamber Ensemble's performance of A Toast to Vienna in 3/4 Time, a take on the Viennese New Year concert, held on December 30.
National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden Ice Rink
The 2018–2019 ice-skating season at the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden Ice Rink begins on November 17, 2018 and continues through March 10, 2019, weather permitting. Skating classes are offered for all ages and levels. Located on the National Mall between 7th and 9th Streets along Constitution Avenue NW, the ice rink continues to be a favorite destination, attracting thousands of visitors to skate in the nation's capital. The ice rink is managed by Guest Services, Incorporated.
Skating in the Sculpture Garden, surrounded by the grand architecture of national museums and monuments and in close proximity to the U.S. Capitol, is enhanced by views of post–World War II sculptures by internationally famous artists such as Louise Bourgeois, Alexander Calder, Roy Lichtenstein, Roxy Paine, and others from the Gallery's renowned collection.
Ice Rink Hours:
Monday–Thursday, 10:00 a.m.–9:00 p.m.
Friday, 10:00 a.m.–11:00 p.m.
Saturday, 11:00 a.m.–11:00 p.m. (open to the general public); 10:00 a.m.–11:00 a.m. open for Learn to Skate USA sessions only
Sunday, 11:00 a.m.–9:00 p.m.
Holiday Dining Options
With panoramic views of the Sculpture Garden and a seasonal menu of freshly made soups, salads, sandwiches, flatbreads, and desserts, the Pavilion Café is a perfect complement to your ice rink visit. Beverages include coffee, tea, hot chocolate, wine, beer, and specialty coffee drinks with seasonal delights such as hot cider, mulled wine, pumpkin spice lattés with flavored whipped cream, and more. A children's menu for ages 12 and under is also available. The Pavilion Café offers specials Monday through Friday from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. and closes two hours before the ice rink each day. At the Espresso & Gelato Bar in the East Building, special seasonal flavors of gelato may be purchased through the month of December. Host a holiday gathering at any of our dining locations or purchase gift cards for anyone on your list. For more information, visit nga.gov/cafes.
The Gallery Shops are a festive destination for unique, internationally sourced gifts, as well as holiday cards, ornaments, and Advent calendars featuring Gallery masterpieces. Browse a treasure trove of art-inspired accessories, relive your visit with exhibition catalogs and custom framed prints from your favorite artists. A distinctive array of games, toys, and activities encourage creative play and learning, while exclusive home accessories make the perfect gifts for friends and family—or yourself. Shop in-store or online at shop.nga.gov.
Every purchase supports the National Gallery of Art, making it a gift that gives twice. Visitors receive $20 off online purchases of $100 or more when they use the code HOLIDAY20.
Christina Brown, (202) 842-6598 or [email protected]
Department of Communications
National Gallery of Art
2000 South Club Drive
Landover, MD 20785
phone: (202) 842-6353
e-mail: [email protected]
Chief of Communications
The Gallery also offers a broad range of newsletters for various interests. Follow this link to view the complete list.