Dec 3, 2021 - Things to Do

Explore D.C.'s holiday markets

People walking around at the Downtown Holiday Market.
The Downtown Holiday Market. Photo: Paige Hopkins/Axios

'Tis the season for exploring outdoor markets and doing all of the holiday activities that were scaled back or canceled last year at the height of the pandemic.

The Downtown Holiday Market, one of D.C.’s top holiday experiences, is in full swing with over 70 exhibitors, six food vendors, and live music.

Here are a few of Paige’s takeaways from a recent trip there.

1. Cool Santa shops here. The market had a variety of ultra-local vendors with handcrafted items that would make for great gifts.

One of my favorite local makers was Canimals by Manatho Shumba Masani. The artist creates animal sculptures out of soda, beer, and other cans.

  • “One man’s trash is another man’s giraffe,” he says (he specializes in giraffe sculptures).
A sculpture of an animal made of aluminum cans.
Photo: A Canimal sculpture. Paige Hopkins/Axios

I also visited Godet Woodworking, Sarah Nickel CeramicsTerratorie Maps + Goods, and The Neighborgoods.

2. It’s worth a trip even if you’re done shopping. The market and live entertainment are free, so all you need are some candied nuts from The Capital Candy Jar or BBQ from Old Blue to make a fun date night or family outing. 

The other vendors are: Alexa’s Empanadas (they’ve got churros!), The Taste of Germany, ITtropical and Migue’s Mini Donuts.

3. Some of the vendors will change ​​— so it might be worth multiple trips for serious shoppers. 

The first half of the market will go through Sunday. The second half will last from December 7 through December 23.

  • Some vendors will be there for the entire time.
A pulled pork sandwich from old blue BBQ.
Pulled pork sandwich from Old Blue BBQ. Photo: Paige Hopkins/Axios

If you’re looking for a holiday market in a different part of town, here are a few on our to-visit list:

The Fairfax City Holiday Market starts today. It’ll run this weekend and next weekend, and there will be chances for your kids and pets to take pictures with Santa.

The EWI Holiday Market is Saturday in Silver Spring. The annual event highlights women-owned businesses.

For more, including the Procrastinator’s Market, check out this list by NBC4.

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