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Study Break: The Best of DC During the Holidays

With the end of the semester quickly approaching, so is the pressure and stress that comes with it. Final presentations, tests, and papers are piling up for most of us and soon we will be making the library our second homes for a week or two. As you begin to feel overwhelmed and inundated with studying, remember the importance of taking a study break every now and then. These breaks should consist of more than watching an episode of something on Netflix or scrolling through Instagram. A break from studying needs to include a break from screen time. Grab a friend, get some fresh air, and do something active! Taking a break and doing something fun for a few hours will make those long periods of studying a little more bearable and actually improve your work since you will return feeling energized and, hopefully, a little more relaxed.


Here is a list of events going on in DC this holiday season that can provide you with a perfect study break option:


Lighting up the Smithsonian Zoological Park through the new year, ZooLights is a DC seasonal favorite. Live music accompanies your walk through the National Zoo which is adorned with over half of a million LED lights making up all kinds of festive creations. The dazzling displays make for a perfect study break after a long day spent with your nose in a book. Zoolights is open daily from 5:00 to 9:00 and free for everyone!


Ice Skating at the Sculpture Garden:

The National Gallery of Art’s Sculpture Garden has once again been transformed into a beautiful outdoor ice skating rink. With just a quick ride on the metro you can partake in the longstanding DC tradition.  Open through March 10 of the new year, a study break at the ice rink will provide you will a fun afternoon or evening of fresh air while enjoying one of the most quintessential holiday pastimes. There are a small fees for ice skate rentals and skating sessions, but with your student ID you can get a discount.  Hours vary daily and based on weather conditions and can be found at the National Gallery of Arts website.

Downtown Holiday Market:

Going on now through December 23, the Downtown Holiday Market provides a seasonal atmosphere you cannot find anywhere else in the city. The pop-up tents from local artists and shops that line 8th and F streets NW contain a variety of clothing, jewelry, crafts, and one of a kind gifts. Festive music and delicious fresh food and drink make it the perfect lunch time study break. The market is open daily from 12:00 to 8:00. Its convenient location just in front of the National Portrait Gallery and Smithsonian American Art Museum provides easy Metro access for us U-Pass holding AU students!


Smithsonian Ingenuity Fest:

For lovers of science, art, history, and technology, head to the Smithsonian Ingenuity Fest before its closing on December 9. This eleven day event was created to honor the winners of the annual Smithsonian Ingenuity Awards, which highlights the innovative efforts of thinkers and creators across all kinds of disciplines. Admission is free and the festival is taking place throughout the district. You can look at the full schedule of events to find a topic most interesting to you for your study break on the Smithsonian Magazine website.


Georgetown GLOW:

From the start of December through January 6, Georgetown GLOW illuminates one of the most historic neighborhoods in the district. Sixteen local and international artists showcase their luminary works of art in one of ten unique installations over this five week celebration. Admission is free and the sculptures will light up the night from 5:00 to 10:00 daily. On your way back from this study break don’t forget to grab a cupcake!

US Capitol Tree Lighting:

Mark your calendars for 5:00 on December 5! On the West Lawn in front of the U.S. Capitol, our National Christmas tree will be lit for the first time and kick off the holiday season. Admission is free to come watch the illumination of this tree that has traveled all the way across the country from the Willamette National Park in Oregon to strand proudly at the heart of the district for the duration of the season.

Photo Credit: 1, 2, 3  

Suzanne Davis

American '22

Suzie is a freshman at AU and a member of the AU Women's Swim Team. She is currently studying international relations and hails from Upstate NY.
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