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The 10 Best Holiday Events In Washington DC

The 10 Best Holiday Events In Washington DC

The holidays are here! And there’s no place better to celebrate than Washington, DC. From stunning holiday light displays to special exhibits at Washington DC museums, Washington DC aquariums, and other public attractions you and your family can find something festive to do every day during holiday season. Some of the holiday events in Washington, DC that you just can’t miss are:

The Downtown DC Festive Holiday Market

When: November 18-December 23, open noon -8 PM daily except Thanksgiving Day

Where: 8th & F Street, NW, across from the Smithsonian Art Museum

This wonderful holiday market is filled with gorgeous unique products, many of them handmade, that are perfect for holiday giving. In addition to more than 50 different vendors selling unique items there are performers throughout the day and plenty of delicious holiday treats, hot foods, and seasonal beverages for sale too. If you’re new to DC you can’t miss the Market! Make it a new holiday tradition for your family to visit the market, do some holiday shopping, and celebrate the holidays as only DC can.

Find artisan gifts and delicious treats at the DC Holiday Market

Visit The National Christmas Tree

When: Lighting December 2nd -January, 2023- Park is open daily 7.30 AM-4 PM

Where: President’s Park

There is nothing quite like seeing the National Christmas Tree lighting, which is the unofficial kickoff to the holiday season in DC. If you can bring your family to President’s Park to see the first lighting of the tree it will be a fantastic memory for your kids. But, you can visit the tree and see the brilliant lights and ornaments any day of the week. The park is open daily, except for New Year’s Day.  In addition to the magnificent National Christmas Tree there are other light displays and attractions throughout the park.


When: November 25-December 30 select days only, usually Friday through Sunday

Where: The Smithsonian Zoo

Zoolights is a magical holiday experience that you and your kids will remember always. This is a fun holiday tradition for many families in Washington DC. You can walk through the lighted paths of the Zoo and experience a true winter wonderland of stunning holiday light displays. There are also live musical performances of holiday music and there are plenty of holiday treats available for purchase like hot chocolate, popcorn, and other delicious snacks. The Smithsonian Zoo paths are wheelchair accessible and wheelchairs and other mobility aids are available for rent if necessary.

Georgetown GLOW

When: November 26-January 27

Where: Georgetown Business Improvement District

Georgetown GLOW is a world-class event featuring art exhibits, performances, stunning holiday light displays, amazing food and drinks, and a total immersion in the art and culture that makes DC such a fantastic city. There are more than 30 different walking tours of the area you can sign up for that each highlight some of the unique history and culture of the area. There are plenty of family friendly entertainments but some adult ones too that are great for an evening out. And no visit to Georgetown is complete without sampling some of the five star cuisine available there. For a truly metropolitan holiday experience don’t miss Georgetown GLOW.

Skating At The Sculpture Garden

When: November 26-March 5; 11 AM-9 PM Sun-Th, 11 AM-10 PM Fri-Sat

Where: National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden

The stunning Sculpture Garden at the National Gallery of Art is an amazing backdrop for an icy wonderland. You can skate all day everyday or enjoy some family skating on weekends or at night. It’s also the perfect winter date night location. If you and your family love to skate you can get a season pass that will give you access until March.

There are classes on skating and skate rentals available. Spending a winter afternoon skating is a great way to keep the kids busy while they’re on school break, but it’s magical to skate under the holiday lights surrounded by classic works of art. Make it a family tradition!

Mt. Vernon By Candlelight

When: Nov. 25-26, Dec. 2-3, Dec. 9-10, Dec. 18

Where: Mt. Vernon

Get a peek at what holidays were like in the past on this very special candlelight tour of George Washington’s home at Mt. Vernon. It’s a truly spectacular journey into the past that your kids and anyone interested in American history will enjoy. Participants will experience the traditions of an 18th-century Christmas with period caroling and music, period dancing and party games, and a look at authentic period holiday decorations. Tour guides will walk you through what a historical Christmas celebration was like.

City Center, DC

When: Now-January, 2023

Where: City Center, DC

If history is not your thing and you prefer a modern holiday event that’s filled with social media ready backdrops and fantastic TikTok opportunities head to City Center, DC. This modern shopping palace is filled with stunning art exhibits, fashion for everyone in the family, and some of the most Instagram-worth photo spots in the whole city. You can find unique artisan gifts for everyone on your list and sample some of the best street food in the city. If you prefer a more sit down meal experience there’s no shortage of fantastic high-end restaurants, artisan foods, and delicious seasonal treats and drinks available.

Model Trains At Union Station

When: Daily, 10 AM-5 PM

Where: Union Station, the North end of Grand Plaza

Trains and Christmas just go together. And for many families having model trains around the Christmas tree is a family tradition passed down through generations. But if you have a train lover in your family you can take them to one of the best places to view model trains from the past and today: the Model Train Gallery at the world famous Union Station. Take your kids, take your parents, and spend some family time together exploring the world of model trains. The seasonal train displays are something that you and your family will never forget.

Season’s Greenings at The Botanical Garden

When: November 24 -January 2; 10:00 AM to 5 PM, Tuesdays until 8 PM

Where: The United States Botanical Gardens

Can’t get enough trains? You will see plenty of unique model trains at the Season’s Greenings event at the US Botanical Gardens. This is a great indoor event that you can enjoy with your kids or your parents on the coldest winter days when no one wants to be outside. The Botanical Gardens have created exhibits for the trains to move through that recreate the landscape and famous features of states around the country as well as from other countries. You can wander through the Conservatory to see beautiful light displays and stunning trees and plants as well as taking a tour of the fantastic displays created for the holidays.

Holiday Boat Parade At The Wharf/Light Up The Wharf

When: Saturday, December 3

Where: The Wharf and The District

The District has a whole slew of holiday events including some fantastic vendors selling unique gifts and handmade items, amazing food and drinks, and seasonal treats throughout the holidays. It’s always a great place to spend a weekend afternoon as a family. But if you want to kick the holidays off in style don’t miss the Holiday Boat Parade and Light Up The Wharf events on December 3. It’s the official kickoff of the holiday festive season and there will be lots of light displays, Christmas trees, and performers playing and singing carols and holiday music. The best part will be the Holiday Boat Parade where you and your family can watch dozens of festively decorated and lighted boats sail by. Don’t miss it!

The holidays aren’t the only reason to love living in Washington DC. If a move to DC is in your future contact us today for help choosing the right neighborhood or getting the best mortgage. We’re here to help you make a move to DC and love where you live all year long. Contact us today!

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