1. ZooLights at the National Zoo
ZooLights is a holiday tradition in the district. There are more than 500,000 environmentally friendly LED light displays transforming the gorgeous zoo into a winter wonderland. ZooLights is open from November 25 to January 1st and is closed December 24th and 25th.
3001 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008
2. Alexandria Holiday Boat Parade of Lights
Dozens of lighted boats light up the Potomac River every year. Every year the displays get bigger and brighter as the participants try to impress the panel of judges for a coveted prize. This year’s parade will take place December 3rd at 5:30pm and is free to the public.
105 N. Union Street Alexandria VA
3. Festival of Lights at the Mormon Temple
In its 39th year, the Festival of Lights features 650,000 lighting up the beautiful Temple and surrounding grounds. There are nightly performances from various bell ensembles, choirs orchestras and more, along with a life-sized outdoor nativity. The Festival runs from December 1st until January 1st.
9900 Stoneybrook Drive, Kensington MD 20895
4. Winter Lights at Seneca Creek State Park
Winter Lights is a 3.5 mile drive through Seneca Creek Park. You will past 380 displays including the North Pole, Teddy Bear Land and a Victorian Village. Winter Lights is open November 25 through December 31st. Prices range from $12-$15 for cars, SUVs and vans but increase for limos, buses and mini-buses.
11950 Clopper Road, Gaithersburg MD 20878
5. Winter Festival of Lights at Watkins Regional Park
Celebrating its 30th year, the Festival of Lights is a drive through spectacular. Visitors will enjoy lighted displays made of more than one million twinkling lights and one of the tallest trees in the state. Winter Festival of Lights at Watkins Regional Park is open November 25th to January 1st. It’s $5 for a car or van and is cash only.
301 Watkins Park Dr, Upper Marlboro, MD 20774
6. Garden of Lights at Brookside Gardens
Stroll through beautiful Brookside Gardens this winter and enjoy dazzling light displays featuring flowers, animals snowflakes and much more. You can warm up in their Visitors Center with hot cocoa while listening to the evening’s musical performances. The Garden of Lights is open November 25-January 1 and is $25-$30 per car/van.
1800 Glenallan Avenue, Wheaton MD 20902
7. Symphony of Lights in Columbia
This family oriented event in Maryland benefits Howard County General Hospital. It features over 100 animated light displays including a laser light show and 3-D holiday video projected 50 feet high at Merriweather Post Pavilion. Symphony of Lights is open November 23rd-January 1st and costs $20-$25 per vehicle.
10475 Little Patuxent Parkway Columbia, Maryland
8. Eastport Yacht Club Parade of Lights
Nominated as one of USA Today’s Best Holiday Parades, the Eastport Yacht Club Lights Parade is an Annapolis tradition. On December 10th, a parade of lighted boats light up the waterfront in this fun community event.
317 First St Annapolis, MD 21403
9. Lights on the Bay at Sandy Point State Park
This two mile scenic drive along the Chesapeake Bay is a favorite tradition in Maryland. There are 70 lighted displays including a colonial village inspired by historic Annapolis, North Pole Village and Enchanted Fairy Tales. Lights on the Bay is open November 19th until January 1st from 5pm-10pm. Admission is $15 per vehicle.
1100 E College Pkwy, Annapolis, MD 21409
10. Bull Run Festival of Lights
Enjoy 2.5 miles of holiday light displays from the comfort of your car. Once your ride is over, you can enjoy the charm of the holiday village where there are rides, refreshments and photos with Santa. The Bull Run Festival of Lights is open from November 23rd-January 8th from 5:30-9:30 during the week and 5:30-10:0pm on the weekend. The cost of admission is between $15-$20 for cars or vans but prices increase for mini-buses and buses.
7700 Bull Run Dr, Centreville, VA 20121
11. Winter Walk of Lights at Meadowlark Gardens
Meadowlark Botanical Gardens transforms into a magical Winter Walk of lights ever year. Featuring a Holiday Nature Walk, the Fountain of Lights and much more, it is one of the most gorgeous displays in the area. You can end your evening by roasting marshmallows and sipping hot chocolate. The Winter Walk of Lights is from November 18th-January 8th from 5:30-10:00pm.
9750 Meadowlark Gardens Ct, Vienna, VA 22182
12. The National Christmas Tree
Every year since 1923, a large evergreen located near the White House has been decorated as a beautiful Christmas tree. The tree is often surrounded by smaller state trees and visitors can visit Santa Claus during their visit. The tree lighting will take place December 1st and visitors can visit the tree through Christmas.
15 and 17 Street NW, Washington, DC 20500
13. Annmarie Garden in Lights
Stroll through the glittering woods at Annmarie Garden in Lights. Visitors are delighted by lighted mythical creatures, dinosaurs, pirates, princesses and other one-of-a-kind displays. The garden is open December 2nd-January 1st from 6pm-9pm. Admission is $6.00/per person.
13480 Dowell Rd, Dowell, MD 20629
14. Miracle on 34th Street in Hampden
While Baltimore is a bit farther outside of DC, Miracle on 34th Street is not to be missed. Known as “Christmas Street”, this one block of homes in Hamden becomes a lighted display of holiday magic every year. The miracle begins November 26th.
720 West 34th Street, Baltimore MD 21211