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  • Evie Corr

Walls’s Favorite Winter Activities

Credits: Myra Shalaty

As autumn fades, Walls students look forward to winter activities. Below, The Rookery explores some of D.C.’s favorite winter traditions.

Ice Skating

There are many skating options in the District.

The Sculpture Garden, located on the National Mall, is one of the most popular ice rink locations. This rink has a festive atmosphere and vibrant winter spirit. Holiday music is playing, food is available, museums are nearby, and visitors are surrounded by beautiful sculptures and works of art. The entry fee to the rink is $12, but there is a student discount for only a $9 entry. To receive this discount students must show their student ID. Renting is available, but only for skaters 18 or older. There is a $6 skate rental and $1 locker rental. One of the best things about the Sculpture Garden is its Metro accessibility. It’s Metro-accessible: the Smithsonian (Blue, Orange, and Silver Lines) and Archives (Yellow and Green Lines) stations are nearby.

Southeast of the Sculpture Garden is Canal Park, in the Navy Yard neighborhood, located a block from Nationals Stadium and near the Anacostia River. Dining options abound: Pizza, sushi, ice cream, and garlic knots are available at the rink. Many Navy Yard shops and restaurants are also nearby. Skate rental is only $5, with an additional $12 entry fee. Just like the Sculpture Garden, Canal Park has Metro accessibility: the Green Line’s Navy Yard station is only a two-minute walk from the rink.

Finally, the Washington Harbor rink, located at Georgetown Harbor, offers beautiful views of the Potomac. It isn’t too far from school, about a 25-minute walk down Virginia Ave. The rink entry fee is $10 and skate rental is $7. Unlike the Sculpture Garden and Canal Park, Washington Harbor rink isn’t near a Metro stop, but it is bus-accessible via the 31 or 33.

U.S. Botanic Garden

Located just down the hill from the U.S. Capitol, the U.S. Botanic Garden features a stunning holiday display of model trains and scale models of D.C.’s most iconic buildings and monuments, all made from plant materials.

This year, the Botanic Garden has set up the trains outside, a holdover from last year’s COVID-friendly exhibit, but there will be holiday-themed exhibits inside the conservatory as well. The seasonal exhibit will run from Nov. 24, 2022 until Jan. 2, 2023. Tickets are not required to visit the Botanic Garden.

Lighting Ceremonies

Another unique D.C. winter tradition is the National Menorah Lighting, which has taken place on the first night of Hanukkah every year since 1979. The lighting is held on the Ellipse in front of the White House. A large crowd attends the lighting every year, seated in front of the approximately 30-foot-tall menorah. Music is played by various military bands and food is available. Rabbis representing the American Friends of the Lubavitch, the organization that hosts this event, are hoisted in a cherry picker to light the large menorah.

This year the lighting occurs on Sunday, Dec. 18, the first day of Hanukkah. Tickets are free and available on the National Menorah website. The White House is only a 10-15 minute walk from school. Prominent guests attending include the President,Vice President, members of the Cabinet and Congress and the diplomatic corps.

Another notable celebration is the Capitol Christmas Tree lighting ceremony. For over fifty years, D.C. has kicked off the Christmas season by lighting a 50-foot evergreen tree. A different state provides the tree each year, which is decorated from top to bottom by the Capitol Grounds Team. This year the tree came from the forests of North Carolina. The Capitol Tree remains lit from sundown to 11 p.m. every night through Christmas.

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