The leaves are falling, there’s a chill in the air and it’s time to make a list and check it twice. The holiday season is in full swing — now’s the time to secure gifts for your loved ones!

Whether for Christmas, Hanukkah, or a birthday…this 2023 gift guide has the present for that special someone.

For the one who has a skip in their step…

As the world’s first holiday show incorporating the African American tradition of stepping –  starring fabulous furry friends from the Arctic Kingdom, “Popper the Penguin” and “Polo the Polar Bear,” and let’s not forget “DJ Nutcracker” – Step Afrika!’s Magical Musical Holiday Step Show is a unique, music-filled holiday event for the entire family where – spoiler alert – kids might even get to dance on Arena’s iconic Fichandler Stage!

For the one who spoils their fur babies…

Unleash the paw-sibilities for your pet this holiday season with The Pet Shoppe Boys at The Wharf! Founded by passionate pet enthusiasts, Patrick and Troy, their pet store offers a curated selection of high-quality pet supplies, from premium dog food, cat food, treats, cozy beds, toys, and more! We at Arena love our furry friends, especially our Marketing team mascot, Pickles!

(We also sell Snarfies handmade pet treats at Visitors Services!)

For the one who’s a D.C. history buff…

Have your loved one step into the remarkable world of Tempestuous Elements, a captivating portrayal of the pioneering Black feminist and educator, Anna Julia Cooper. Step Afrika! will also be back at Arena Stage this summer with The Migration: Reflections on Jacob Lawrence, telling the story of one of the largest movements of people in United States history, when millions of African American migrants moved from the rural South to the industrial North in the 1900s.

We’d also suggest picking up the latest books that offer diverse perspectives and deep insights into Black history, culture, and the ongoing struggle for equality in America from our favorite local bookstore, Politics & Prose. Our reading list includes: Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Color Purple by Alice Walker, and The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story edited by Nikole Hannah-Jones.

For the one who is super excited about The Notebook musical coming to Broadway…

Look no further than tickets to Unknown Soldier, a poignant and sweeping musical that echoes the emotional depth and discovery so cherished by Nicholas Sparks fans. As Ellen Rabinowitz uncovers a photograph of an anonymous soldier hidden among her grandmother’s treasures, the story unravels into a captivating journey of love, loss, and the ties that bind us. 

Crafted by Daniel Goldstein and the late Michael Friedman, Unknown Soldier is an elegiac tale that beautifully weaves together past and present, offering a heartfelt exploration of family secrets and their profound impact on shaping destinies.

For the one who enjoys venturing into the unknown…

Looking for a show where your thoughts play a leading role? Led by Drama Desk Award–nominated theatermaker and mentalist Vinny DePonto, Mindplay is an intimate performance that is great for veteran theater-goers and newcomers alike. Let your loved one escape into the expansive beauty of imagination and bask in the ephemeral and surprising nature of memory with Mindplay this season.

For the one who loves to show/wear their passions….

At Arena’s gift bar we have amazing posters, pins, books, hats…you name it! Why not snag a poster of your loved one’s favorite Arena play?

Marcella Kriebel is a DC-based artist whose posters you might recognize from the Arena gift bar! Right now we’re also selling her gorgeous note cards. We’re also proud to be selling Howell’s Honey, a small family-owned company in Northeast Maryland.

It wouldn’t be a gift guide if we didn’t mention our show-specific rubber ducks, we also have holiday themed ones this year! Our lobby is open Tuesday – Sunday 12-8pm, stop by anytime and pick up a present from Visitor Services.

For the one who sees all the Best Picture Nominees…

There’s so much to choose from at Arena Stage this season…. comedy, tragedy, mystery, and much more, but why choose when you can give yourself or a loved one a 3-play subscription?!? Arena Stage is more than a destination, but an entire experience. Receiving the best seats at the best prices as an Arena subscriber is a great way to ring in the new year!

And right now we have the best deal of the year! Your loved one can dive into a world of captivating storytelling and immersive performances by choosing any three shows from our stellar lineup for only $120. That’s three mesmerizing theater productions for only $40 a ticket.

For the one who likes to make a show an all day affair…

Southwest DC truly has it all… great food, beautiful views, and discounted Arena Stage tickets! Did you know for each show we have designated nights where we offer patrons who reside or work in Southwest tickets that are $36 for musicals and $26 for non-musicals, plus fees?

Don’t miss this chance to give a loved one a night out in Southwest with Arena Stage! It’s a gift that’ll be remembered forever, not put in a closet and forgotten about until next holiday season. A few of our dinner favorites at The Wharf include Colada Shop, Mi Vida, Grazie Grazie, or Chopsmith! Post-show fun at Tiki TNT & Potomac Distilling Company (20% off your individual check if you show your Swept Away ticket stub) and roasting s’mores at Camp Wharf is a great way to end the night!

Is your loved one from out of town? We have an exclusive rate at The Pendry Washington DC – The Wharf, a hotel within walking distance of the theater! Use code: ARENASTAGE

For the (little) one with endless creativity….

Give the gift of endless creativity and exploration at Camp Arena Stage…where community and art make magic! Camp Arena Stage is a multi-arts full-day summer camp, for young people, ages 8-15. The joy of crafting their own schedule from a plethora of captivating classes like acting, hip-hop dance, drawing, painting, and rock band ensures an unforgettable summer experience. With each moment spent at camp, children unlock their creative potential, making it an ideal gift that ignites passion, fosters talent, and leaves a lasting impact.

For the one who already has an Arena subscription…

We’ve recommended a lot of tickets. But what if your loved one is ahead of the curve and already has these?! Don’t worry—we thought of that. There are so many ways to enhance the Arena experience! 

Gift a drink voucher, so they can enjoy a Dobie Delight before their next show. Or, go the non-alcoholic route with our partner Sobar. We also now offer Ceramic Souvenir Cups (with a lid, so it can be brought into the theater), which have been a huge hit!

There’s truly something for everyone. From the theater subscribers to campers with a skip in their step – everyone deserves a thoughtful gift this time of year. We hope you’ll take our advice and get them something extra special, they deserve it. And why not throw something in for yourself!

Kevin Kraft and Brynn O’Malley in She Loves Me (2006/7 Season). Photo by Scott Suchman.

Step Afrika!’s Magical Musical Holiday Step Show at Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater. Photos by Margot Schulman.

Step Afrika!’s Magical Musical Holiday Step Show at Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater. Photo by Jati Lindsay.

Tempestuous Elements Illustration by Loveis Wise.

Step Afrika!’s company performs The Migration: Reflections on Jacob Lawrence. Photo by Jati Lindsay.