New Year’s Eve is the main event this weekend, and we have stories guiding you to fireworks displays around the region as well as celebrations at concerts and nightclubs. But don’t miss the other things to do, including an afternoon dedicated to Watch Night and Kwanzaa through the lens of Afrofuturism at the National Museum of African American History and Culture; a late-night chance to tour the holiday displays at the Botanic Garden; ranger-guided tours of state and national parks on New Year’s Day; and guided meditation sessions to help start 2024 in the right frame of mind.
Thursday, Dec. 28
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Extended opening of ‘Seasons Greenings’ at the U.S. Botanic Garden
There are only a few days left to see the display of trains, giant pollinators and D.C. landmarks made from plant materials at the U.S. Botanic Garden. The institution is making it easier for you to explore the indoor-and-outdoor exhibit, though, staying open until 8 p.m. Thursday, instead of the usual 5 p.m. closing, with live holiday music. 5 to 8 p.m. Free.
Songbyrd x Tipsy60 Best of 2023 Party at Songbyrd
If your Spotify Wrapped was boring (or borderline embarrassing) this year, you might be wondering what you missed. Let Tipsy 60, Songbyrd’s monthly “power hour” party, guide you back through some favorite songs of 2023, from pop to indie rock to hip-hop, during a “request-friendly” set. You might hear Taylor, sure, but you might also find yourself dancing to a tune you’d overlooked. Songbyrd’s DJ Low Japan follows with a set of their own. 7 p.m. Free.
Opera on Tap at Wonderland Ballroom
Opera on Tap spreads the gospel of opera by taking the music out of stuffy, black-tie concert halls and into more humble surroundings, where listeners can focus on the emotion and beauty of the arias without getting lost in costumes and staging. The D.C. branch of Opera on Tap brings professional and semiprofessional singers into the upstairs bar at the Wonderland Ballroom, and this month’s holiday show, if it’s similar to previous years, will feature an abundance of holiday sweaters, some show tunes and a novelty number or two, all enjoyed over beers or glasses of wine. It’s a unique night of culture. 7 to 9 p.m. Free; donations accepted.
Kwanzaa at Busboys and Poets Brookland
On the third night of Kwanzaa, a gathering at Busboys and Poets in Brookland embraces the concept of Ujima, or collective work and responsibility, at an all-ages event featuring African dancing and drumming by Coyaba Dance Theater, live music and a teen panel discussion with DJ Flava of WKYS about how artists can uplift their communities. 6 to 8 p.m. Free.