Release Date: October 25, 2019
Discover the Holiday Season at the National Gallery of Art with Caroling, Gallery Talks, Ice-Skating, Curated 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. 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 2, eight Christmas trees adorned with sparkling white lights, hundreds of poinsettias of varying colors, white hydrangeas, and amaryllis will grace the Rotunda and East and West 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. Additional red and white poinsettias inside tree wells will 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 given by Gallery lecturer David Gariff in the West Building Lecture Hall.
December 17, 19, 20, 23, 24 at 1:00 p.m.
Caroling at the Gallery
The Gallery's long-standing tradition of community caroling in the West Building Rotunda is a favorite family activity during the holidays. Groups 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:
Capitol Hill Chorale
December 7 at 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.
Xaverian High School, New York
December 14 at 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.
In addition to caroling, two performances in the West Garden Court, West Building will celebrate the holiday season. On December 15 at 3:30 p.m., Calmus Vocal Ensemble performs an international selection of Christmas carols from Denmark, Germany, England, France, Ireland, Croatia, Peru, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Russia, Sweden, and Spain. On December 21 at 3:30 p.m., the East of the River ensemble merges music of the Mediterranean, Balkans, Armenia, and the Middle East in an unforgettable musical journey for the New Year titled Solstice: Darkness Is Your Candle.
Sculpture Garden Ice Rink
The 2019–2020 ice-skating season at the Sculpture Garden Ice Rink begins on November 15, 2019, and continues through March 15, 2020, weather permitting. Skating classes are offered for all ages and abilities. Located on the National Mall between 7th and 9th Streets along Constitution Avenue NW, the ice rink continues to be a favorite winter destination, attracting thousands of visitors each year.
Skating in the Sculpture Garden, surrounded by the grand architecture of national museums and monuments and in close proximity to the Capitol, is enhanced by views of post–World War II sculptures from the Gallery's collection by artists such as Louise Bourgeois, Alexander Calder, Roy Lichtenstein, and Roxy Paine. The ice rink is managed by Guest Services, Incorporated.
Ice Rink Hours:
Monday–Thursday, 10:00 a.m.–9:00 p.m.
Friday, 10:00 a.m.–11:00 p.m.
Saturday, 10:00 a.m.–11:00 p.m.
Sunday, 11:00 a.m.–9:00 p.m.
For more information about skating, fees, class registration, and announcements about openings and closings, call (202) 216-9397.
Holiday Dining Options
The Gallery has a multitude of dining options to complement your holiday visit. 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 delicious winter destination. Beverages include coffee, tea, hot chocolate, wine, beer, and specialty coffee drinks, as well as 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 $5 food and drink 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 throughout the month of December. You may host a holiday gathering at any of our dining locations or purchase gift cards for those on your holiday shopping list.
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, or relive your visit with exhibition catalogs and custom framed prints of your favorite works. 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 for 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.
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.