15 Holiday   Events in Washington, D.C. You Must Attend    

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View the National Christmas Tree Ceremony

Without the National Christmas Tree in Washington D.C., it would be like not seeing the Eiffel Tower in Paris during the holidays. Every year in President's Park, a giant live evergreen is decorated near the White House.

Take In The Smithsonian National Zoo’s Zoo Lights Show!

The free holiday lights display runs from Thanksgiving weekend to December. D.C. families and visitors from far and wide visit the zoo to see the 500,000 LED lights and lanterns at their brightest during the holidays.

Washington Harbour Ice Rink Skating

Washington Harbour Ice Rink rivals Rockefeller Center as D.C.'s largest outdoor ice skating rink.After dinner at Fiola Mare, Guapo's, or Farmers Fishers Bakers, rent skates and dance on the ice.

See the Capitol Christmas Tree

The Capitol Tree travels far before reaching the West Lawn. An American Christmas tree farmer is chosen as the Capitol Tree each year and makes the risky journey to the capitol.

Attend Mount Vernon By Candlelight

We allow this attraction outside the city since visiting President George Washington's former estate over the holidays is most fun.

Attend The City Center DC Holiday Tree Lighting Celebration

The downtown D.C. mixed-use development hosts season-long events.The Saturday after Thanksgiving, the region unveils its 75-foot lit Christmas tree with a large party featuring live music, merchants, food, and holiday activities.

See Union Station’s Model Train

Union Station is one of the nation's busiest rail terminals, but the holidays make it lively. Visitors to the Norwegian-gifted model trains and enormous Christmas tree increase foot traffic.

Visit The U.S. Botanical Garden

U.S. Botanic Garden has plenty of red and green for Christmas.In addition to pine, poinsettias, and probably mistletoe, the gardens have reproductions of prominent D.C. structures.

Watch The Holiday Boat Parade At The Wharf

This unique D.C. event sends the Christmas parade to sea. Over 60 Christmas-lit boats compete in the Holiday Boat Parade.Come with the family to see them glide by The Wharf and watch the fireworks at night.

Catch A Movie At The National Museum Of American History

The National Museum of American History shows a famous Christmas film.After viewing It's A Wonderful Life, White Christmas, and A Christmas Story on the big screen, cap the night with a bucket of popcorn and Junior Mints.

The Washington Ballet Performs “The Nutcracker”

Washington dance performs a D.C.-specific variation of the classic. Washington, King George III, and others join the fun in their 1882 Georgetown version of the story.

See “A Christmas Carol” At Ford Theatre

The building is well-known for being where Lincoln was shot. You can take walks of it all year, but during the holidays, it's a beautiful place for A Christmas Carol.

Attend A National Cathedral Christmas Concert

The National Cathedral in Washington, DC, is the sixth-largest church in the world and a must-see. Plans to build Bethlehem Chapel began in 1791, but it didn't open until 1912.

Shop The Downtown Holiday Market

Every year, this holiday market opens in front of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery. It's fun to shop for Christmas gifts here.

Discover Christ kind market at Heurich House Museum

The Heurich House Museum's German Christmas market turns 10 this year.Visit the German-style artisan market Dec. 2-4 to find gifts from over 50 local small-scale makers. Warm up with Gluhwein and shop!

See Also

9 Coins With Secret Messages And Their Meaning