1. See the Christmas trees
The National Christmas Tree and the Pathway of Peace is lit up every evening in December at dusk. The Pathway of Peace is composed of 56 smaller, decorated trees representing all 50 states, five territories and DC. Not too far from the National Christmas tree is the Capitol Christmas Tree on the West Lawn of the Capitol. This year, the Capitol tree will be lit on December 6th.
2. Go ice skating
Lace up your skates at the ice skating rink at the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden or at the Washington Harbor Rink.
3. Dress up as Santa and enjoy the holiday cheer.
Every year Santarchy takes over Washington DC. Join other jolly holiday lovers and dress up as Santa and run around town spreading holiday cheer. This year’s Santarchy will take place on December 10th.
See their Facebook page for more details.
4. ZooLights at the National Zoo
ZooLights is a magical display of lights at the National Zoo. There are live music performances, snow-less tubing, winter treats and holiday shopping opportunities. ZooLights is free and open every day of December excluding Christmas Eve and Christmas day.
5. Seasons Greetings at Botanic Gardens
The Seasons Greetings exhibit at the National Botanic Gardens features holiday trains, holiday village displays and beautiful holiday decor. The Conservatory is open from 10am-5pm every day and is free.
6. Downtown Holiday Market
Get all of your shopping done at the Downtown Holiday Market located at 8th and F Streets NW. You’ll find special and unique gifts from over 150 exhibitors and vendors.
7. Go to a Christmas concert
From the traditional hymns at the National Cathedral’s Joy of Christmas show to the patriotic US Air Force Band Spirit of the Season or the sing-a-long tradition of the Washington Chorus at the Kennedy Center, you can enjoy the sounds of the season all over the DC area.
8. ICE! at National Harbor
The world famous ICE! exhibit at the Gaylord National Resort at the National Harbor features beautiful and colorful ice sculptures celebrating the joy of the season.
9. Stroll through CityCenter
Spend an evening in the chic CityCenter neighborhood shopping or enjoying one of its many fabulous restaurants and while you’re there, you can admire the breathtaking decor including the whimsical “Dream Closet” installation.
10. See a holiday show
This year, the Cincinnati Ballet is performing the Nutcracker at The Kennedy Center; a Christmas Carol is being performed at several local theaters in the area and How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical will be at the National Theatre.
11. Holiday Train Display at Union Station
Every year, the beautiful and realistic model train set in the lobby of Union Station brings joy to the Union Station travelers. The train is running and can be viewed daily from 10am-7pm.
12. Christmas at Mount Vernon
While just outside of DC, Mount Vernon is a must-visit for any Washingtonian during the holiday season. The estate is decorated in elegant decor and there are many holiday themed activities including Christmas Concerts, holiday fifing, wreath-making classes and much more!