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Holidays at the National Gallery of Art

National Gallery of Art Rotunda Holiday Decor 2018

From seasonal refreshments to caroling and ice skating, the Gallery is a classic holiday destination.

Celebrate 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 Gallery and Sculpture Garden are will be closed on December 25 and January 1.

Holiday Decorations
Beginning Monday, December 3, several evergreen 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. Red and white poinsettias inside tree wells will also greet visitors as they enter the East Building Atrium.

Caroling in the Rotunda
December 8, 9, 15, 16 at 1:30 and 2:30
West Building Rotunda

Caroling in the festively decorated West Building Rotunda has become a favorite activity during the holiday season. Visitors of all ages are invited to sing along with guest choirs and ensembles. This season’s guest choirs include:

U.S. Army Chorus
December 8

Encore Chorale
December 9

Westminster Presbyterian Choir and Ringers
December 15

Saint John Paul the Great Catholic High School Choir
December 16

Other Holiday Performances
Sunday Concerts, offered in the West Garden Court of the West Building, are free to the public and begin at 3:30 p.m. 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 rare, seasonal gems
December 16

Eric Mintel Quartet
Performing music from A Charlie Brown Christmas
An additional pop-up concert to celebrate the holidays
December 28 at 12:10

The Suchertorte Chamber Ensemble
Performing A Toast to Vienna in 3/4 Time
A take on the Viennese New Year concert
December 30

Sculpture Garden Ice Rink
November 19 through March 10, weather permitting
Open until 9:00 Sunday—Thursday
Open until 11:00 on Friday and Saturday

Experience skating in the Sculpture Garden while surrounded by large-scale sculptures by contemporary artists including Louise Bourgeois, Sol LeWitt, Roy LichtensteinRoxy PaineTony Smith, and others.

Skating classes are offered for all ages and levels. For fees, class information, and more, visit

The Christmas Story in Art
December 11, 13, 14, 18–21, 24 at 1:00
West Building Lecture Hall

Explore paintings in the permanent collection that depict the birth of Jesus, including The Adoration of the Magi (c.1440/1460) by Fra Angelico and Fra Filippo Lippi, in this 90-minute lecture led by David Gariff. A slideshow of many of the featured works is available online.

Gallery Shops

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

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.

Seasonal Flavors

Enjoy pumpkin gelato under I. M. Pei pyramids at the Espresso & Gelato Bar or feast on short ribs and brunch staples at the Garden Café’s weekend brunch buffet (PDF 79KB). At the Pavilion Café, you’ll find evening specials of $5 wine, craft beer, and assorted snacks during the week and holiday favorites such as hot cider and mulled wine anytime.


The Pavilion Café
A tempting array of seasonal beverages, such as apple cider, peppermint hot cocoa, and hot chocolate, keep visitors warm between spins around the ice. Alcoholic beverages are also available, including Irish coffee, apple cider with rum, mulled wine, and more.

Espresso & Gelato Bar
Holiday themed items and special seasonal flavors of gelato may be purchased through the month of December.


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