These DC holiday lights displays are just what you need to get into the Christmas spirit
Feel the magic of the season come alive with the sparkle and glow of these DC holiday lights. From the festive lighting of the National Christmas Tree or National Menorah to an immersive holiday lights walking trail, these events are sure to warm your winter nights and give you inspiration for holiday shopping. Your family will leave belting out their favorite Christmas carols and you might get some ideas for your own decorations!
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Holiday Tree and Menorah Lighting Ceremonies in Washington, DC
Holidays at The Wharf
Make Christmas special by heading to the waterfront for this tree lighting ceremony and boat parade. This free event is packed with holiday fun, including a Santa photo op, miniature boat making, ornament decorating, live music, a boat procession. A little word to the wise: carpool (parking is hard-to-find) and come early if you can for a good viewing spot.
Date: Dec. 3
1100 Maine Ave.
Union Station Annual Tree Lighting
The iconic wreaths that hang from Union Station are a must-drive-by when going on night tour of the city. Head inside on Dec. 8 for the lighting of a 32-foot tree generously gifted by the Royal Norwegian Embassy. This festive celebration includes a tree lighting at 5 p.m., a pop up concert featuring some amazing performers you won't want to miss!
Date: Dec. 8
1500 S. Capitol St. SE
Related: 9 Places to Cut Your Own Tree in DC
National Tree Lighting
Presented by the National Park Service and National Park Foundation, this tree lighting marks the 100th anniversary of the annual event and features one large tree along with 56 smaller trees representing all of the 50 states, U.S. territories and the District of Columbia. Tickets to this event are distributed via a lottery system which has already occurred. If you don't score tickets to the actual lighting, you can still visit the tree every day after it is lit on Dec. 2 through Jan. 1, from 4:30-10 p.m.
Date: Dec. 2
National Menorah Lighting Ceremony
The lighting of the world’s largest menorah is a tradition that dates back to 1979. Presidents, Vice Presidents, and members of the Cabinet and Congress attend this annual tradition. Music, food, and entertainment are a part of this free event. Tickets are required and seating is limited, so go online to get yours before they get scooped up.
Date: Dec. 18
Holiday Lights Displays in Washington, DC
If bigger is better, this football-field sized wonderland should be on your must-see holiday bucket list. Stroll through the Enchant Eatery for magical gifts and gourmet treats, take a whirl on the illuminated ice skating rink and get lost in a maze of lights that will spark wonder and the Christmas spirit. Hurry: these tickets sell out!
Cost: $35 adult, $23 child
Date: Nov. 25-Jan. 1
1500 S. Capitol St. SE
Holiday Lights Displays in the Surrounding Suburbs
Winter Walk of Lights
This Vienna garden becomes a twinkling wonderland at dusk when a half-mile walk becomes illuminated with animated lights, expertly wrapped trees and holiday scenes. The walk is a one-way trail, so be sure to grab a pic of you favorite light displays before moving on; you won't be able to back track. The family is going to love this one!
Date: Nov. 11-Jan. 8
9750 Meadowlark Gardens Ct.
Festival of Lights and Carols
Get ready to belt some Christmas classics (and a few new tunes) at this annual sing-along event. Head to Old Town Square to listen to live holiday music, eat s’mores and sip hot cider. Be sure to stay for the Christmas tree lighting ceremony at 5:30 p.m.
Date: Dec. 3
10415 North St.
Santa Lights Manassas
Choo, choo! Santa coming through! Get hyped for the arrival of Santa by VRE train. Now a 28 year tradition, Santa arrives by rail to light the Manassas tree followed by a very special meet-and-greet. There are plenty of holiday activities to make an evening out of this annual event. Go ice skating, take a wagon ride or get a jump on holiday shopping.
Date: Dec. 3
9101 Prince William St.
Related: Things to Do in DC When the Grandparents Visit
National Zoo Zoolights
Enjoy the holiday lights at the National Zoo for free this year! Your family will see mesmerizing lights, eat delicious treats, and hear some jolly tunes to get you into the holiday spirit. There will also be great opportunities for holiday shopping. Passes are required for entry and will be available soon, so check back. Also, keep in mind there is a parking fee.
Date: Select dates from Nov. 25-Dec. 30
3001 Connecticut Ave. NW
Lights on the Bay
Grab your footed pajamas and a thermos of hot chocolate; this light display is a drive-thru attraction that features over two miles of lights along the Chesapeake Bay. Lights on the Bay boasts over 70 animated and stationery exhibits. For an additional fee, guests can purchase 3D glasses for a truly unique experience.
Cost: $20 per car; $5 with 3D glasses
Date: Nov. 22-Jan. 2
1100 E. College Pkwy.