In the United States, late November through early January is a time filled with many holidays celebrated by individuals all around the country. Some of the most popular holidays include Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve. These occasions bring friends and family together to spend time with one another and celebrate, including by checking out special holiday events in their area. Whether you live there or are just visiting, our nation’s capital is a wonderful place to enjoy the holidays. In this article, we’ll share 8 things to do in Washington, DC, during the holidays.
How To Enjoy the Holidays in DC
- Visit the Downtown Holiday Market
The Downtown Holiday Market is an outdoor shopping village that features many local small businesses and entrepreneurs, as well as food and live entertainment. It is open every day from 12 PM to 8 PM between November 18th and December 23rd, and is a great place to find gifts for your loved ones or simply get into the holiday spirit.
- Check Out the National Christmas Tree
One of the most famous destinations in DC during the holidays is the National Christmas Tree in President’s Park. The National Tree is also surrounded by other trees that are decorated with handmade ornaments from all of the U.S. states and territories. Additionally, there are nightly musical performances during the holiday season. Beginning December 1st, the display is open from 10 AM to 10 PM each day and is free to visit, and the National Christmas Tree is lit from 4:30 PM to 10 PM daily.
- Experience the Lighting of the National Menorah
The lighting of the National Menorah takes place on December 18th in 2022 and is accompanied by musical performances, special guests, and celebrations, including the National Menorah Essay Contest. The lighting ceremony can also be watched online, and the National Menorah can be visited throughout all of Hanukkah.
- Enjoy Beautiful Light Displays
Another great thing to do during the holidays in Washington, DC, is to enjoy the beautiful light displays located throughout the District. DC Holiday Lights turns some of DC’s most popular neighborhoods and corridors into dazzling holiday displays with lights and decor. Some of the main areas participating include Mount Pleasant, Logan Circle, Dupont Circle, Adams Morgan, U Street and Woodley Park, Columbia Heights, and other locales. You can then vote for which display you liked best. Additionally, the historic Georgetown neighborhood puts on Georgetown GLOW, which puts illuminated artworks on display through January 26th.
- Visit the Smithsonian National Zoo
Speaking of holiday lights, the Smithsonian National Zoo hosts its ZooLights! experience each year through December 30th. The National Zoo is turned into a winter wonderland with environmentally friendly lights and glowing animal lanterns. The event also includes live music performances, holiday shopping, and winter treats.
- Head to the Botanic Garden
The U.S. Botanic Garden offers a garden-wide “Season’s Greenings” display from November 24th through January 2nd. The display involves model trains, poinsettias, DC landmarks made out of plants, and other holiday decor.
- Attend Enchant Christmas
Between November 25th and January 1st, Nationals Park hosts Enchant Christmas—a winter wonderland that includes a light maze, ice skating trail, and Village featuring local vendors. This is a great outing for couples, families, and large groups, as there is something for everyone to enjoy.
- Catch a Play or Musical
If being outside in the frigid weather isn’t for you, consider staying warm indoors while catching a play or musical. DC has many great productions to choose from during the holidays, like Step Afrika, A Christmas Carol at Ford’s Theatre, and more.
Thompson-Markward Hall (TMH) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the academic and professional success of young women. Located in the heart of Washington, DC, TMH offers safe, affordable, and convenient housing for women working, attending school, or interning in our nation’s capital. Included in the room and board rates are utilities, free high-speed Wi-Fi, breakfast and dinner, and a diverse, welcoming community. Visit our website to learn more about our accommodations or to submit an application today to start enjoying all of the benefits of living at TMH!