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Christmas In Washington DC


Capitol Christmas TreeWashington DC is a nice place to visit around the holidays. The weather is usually cool enough there to feel appropriately seasonable, but it's rarely cold enough to snow. The monuments and public buildings, which are always well lit and attractive in the evenings, look even prettier with the extra lights and color of the holiday season.

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You've probably seen scenes from the National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony on tv, the event is televised each year and includes a concert and appearance by the President and first family. If you can't be there for that event, there are still lots of opportunites to enjoy Christmas time in DC.

Things to Do

The National Christmas Tree

2018 National Christmas Tree Lighting: The date for the 2018 National Christmas Tree lighting has not been set yet, but the event is usuall in late November. There is a lottery for tickets to attend the tree lighting ceremony. Visit the National Tree Lighting website for details and updates.

Located on the Ellipse accross from the White House. There are smaller trees all around the big tree, each representing the United States and Territories. The National Christmas Tree is actually a living tree that grows in this location all the time. A National Hanukkah Menorah is also lit during the eight days of Hanukkah. More Info.

The Capitol Christmas Tree

The Capitol Christmas Tree is a traditional cut tree that is selected each year from one of the National Forests. The 2018 tree will come from the Willamette National Forest in Oregon. The tree makes a tour with stops along the way as it travels to DC. The date for the 2018 Capitol tree lighting has not yet been announced. More Info.

While you're in the area, you can also visit the Great Hall of the Library of Congress' Thomas Jefferson Building, where a large Christmas tree is on display in December (closed Sundays).

Ice Skating

PandaAn outdoor skating rink is set up in the National Gallery of Art's Sculpture Garden. The rink is opens in November. 2018 dates have not yet been announced. Skate rentals are available.

Zoo Lights at the National Zoo

Stroll through the National Zoo amidst the wonderland ZooLights holiday lights display. You can go inside the exhibit buildings such as the small mammal building and great ape house to warm up. There are also train rides, snow-less tubing, and the Speedwell Foundation Conservation Carousel. Plus, you can enjoy warm holiday beverages and special sweet treats available throughout the park.

Zoo Lights 2018: Every night from November 23 to January 1 (expect December 24, 25 & 31). 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Admission is free.

Festival of Lights at the Washington DC Mormon Temple

DC Mormon Temple with holiday lights Enjoy the Festival of Lights at the Mormon Temple, a display of over 500,000 lights, Christmas trees, international creches, and a life-sized nativity. Musical performances take place nightly in the Visitor Center's indoor theater. Free tickets for the performances are handed out 90 minutes before each show. 2018 Festival Lights dates are November 29th - December 31st.

Scottish Christmas Walk Weekend in Old Town Alexandria, VA

The Scottish Christmas Walk Weekend is an annual holiday season festival with a Scottish flair. Ther the Scottish Christmas Walk Parade features tartan-clan marching units, bagpipes, drums, dancers, and more. There's also a heather and greens sale, homes tour, and "Taste of Scotland" food and scotch tasting event. November 30 & December 1, 2018 in Old Town Alexandria, VA.

Mount Vernon by Candlelight

Visit Mount Vernon during the holiday season and enjoy candlelit character-guided tours of the mansion, plus 18th-century dancing and fireside caroling.

Holiday Shows

A Christmas Carol at Ford's Theater

The historic Ford's Theater production of "A Christmas Carol" begins November 15 and continue for a six-week engagement through December 30, 2018.

Handel's Messiah - National Symphony Orchestra

Handel's Messiah is a holiday favorite is performed each year by the National Symphony Orestra and the University of Maryland Concert Choir at the beautiful Kennedy Center. December 20 - 23, 2018. Hotels near the Kennedy Center

The Washington Chorus Candlelight Christmas

At A Candlelight Christmas , the Washington Chorus performs choral pieces and sing-a-longs accompanied by organ and brass at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall. December 7, 16 & 22, 2018.

The Nutcracker - Washington Ballet

The Washington Ballet's performance of Septime Webre's version of The Nutcracker is another Washinton DC holiday tradition. This version of the classic ballet is set in historic Washington DC and stars George Washington as the heroic nutcracker. It's all set to the traditional music by Tchaikovsky. At the Warner Theatre November 29 - December 28, 2018. Hotels near Warner Theatre

Kennedy Center Merry Tuba Christmas

Enjoy the free annual Merry Tuba Christmas concert featuring traditional Christmas music performed by an ensemble of hundreds of tuba, sousaphone, and euphonium players.

The 2018 concert date has not yet been announced. Watch the DC TubaChristmas Facebook page for details.

American Holiday Festival Concert - U.S Army Band

Conductor holding batonThe American Holiday Festival Concert is a popular holiday show by The U.S. Army Band "Pershing's Own." The event is free but requires tickets be aquired online in advance.

The 2018 concerts will be held at DAR Constition Hall in Washington DC on:

  • Friday, November 30 at 8:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, December 1 at 3:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, December 1 at 8:00 p.m.
  • Sunday, December 2 at 3:00 p.m.

Free tickets (while supplies last) will be available online only starting at 10:00 a.m. (ET) on November 1, 2018. Seating is general admission.

Wolf Trap Holiday Sing-A-Long

The Wolf Trap Holiday Sing-A-Long is a free annual event at the Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts in Vienna, VA. Music is provided by the "President's Own" Marine Corps Band and local choirs. The audience is invited to sing along to a selection of holiday favorites. Audience members bring bells to participate in "Jingle Bells" and candles for "Silent Night." Toys for Tots toy donations are accepted at the event. Held at the Filene Center at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts.

The 2018 date for the Wolf Trap Holiday Sing-A-Long has not yet been announced, but is usually held on the first Saturday of December.


The Hay-Adams - Located right where you want to be during the holidays, within view of the White House and Washington Monument.

JW Marriot Washington DC - Located near the White House and Warner Theater and the Smithsonian Musums.

Willard InterContinental Washington - Enjoy a luxurious stay in the heart of Washington DC. Just steps from the Eclipse and National Christmas Tree.

Washington Marriott Wardman Park - Located near the National Zoo, are a convenient Metro station provides access to the rest of the city.

Hotels near the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts - Be near the Kennedy Center for the National Symphony Orchestra's performances of Handel's Messiah.

Hotels near Warner Theatre - Home of the Washington Ballet's production of The Nutcracker.

Hotels near the National Christmas Tree - The tree is located at the Ellipse, across from the White House.

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