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8 Things To Do in Washington, DC, During the Holidays

8 Things To Do in Washington, DC, During the Holidays

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

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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 AfrikaA Christmas Carol at Ford’s Theatre, and more. 


Thompson-Markward Hall’s Impact

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.

In addition to offering a wonderful place to call home in DC, we provide useful information to residents and prospective applicants as a resource to help them become familiar with DC and be successful in all of their endeavors. Whether you’re currently looking for a place to stay in DC, planning for a potential future here, or simply looking to learn more about the DC area, TMH is here to help!

Learn more about our accommodations or to submit an application today to start enjoying all of the benefits of living at TMH! You can also make a donation to support the crucial work we do!

Resident Resources

Room and board is due on the first of every month. TMH does not issue payment notices. A $20.00 late fee is charged everyday beginning at 9:00 pm on the 5th day of the month until the room and board payment is received. If you are unable to make your monthly payment for any reason, please speak to management immediately.

Room and board includes the first day of the month until the morning of the last day of the month or until the morning of the day of check-out, whichever day comes first.

In the event that a resident does not stay the entire month, rent will be prorated within the same month. To view the pro-rated fee schedule and a list of other fees—click here: TMH Pro-Rated Fee Schedule 6-1-2022


Each resident is asked to abide by the TMH House Rules and Regulations stipulated here: House Rules and ProceduresRule-packet-Emergency-Procedures-Updated-12-2019. Please read this document to become familiar with TMH policies and procedures such as guest policies, meal times, smoking areas, printer and copier use, Internet and telephone use, damage charges, and much more.

Monday-Friday hours / breakfast 7:00am-9:30am dinner 5:45pm – 8:00pm sat hours / breakfast 8:00 – 11:00am sun hours / brunch 8:00 – 11:00am dinner 5:00pm-7:00pm

Weekly Menu

Commuting: Metro stops within walking distance are Union Station, Capitol South, and Eastern Market. Refillable SMARTRIP cards are available for purchase at all metro stops. For more information on public transportation visit WMATA.

Parking: TMH does not offer parking and street parking is limited. Most areas offer 2 hour parking from 7:00am-8:30pm and unlimited overnight parking without a permit. However, if you do not have a Residential Parking Permit and your car is seen in the area repeatedly within a 30-day period you may be ticketed for not obtaining proper tags.

Union Station is the nearest public parking garage. There is generally a wait list for obtaining a parking space. Click here to visit their website to obtain up-to-date information.

Temporary Parking Permits: DC offers Reciprocity Parking Permits in special situations. Click here to see if you qualify. If you meet the requirements, you can obtain a Proof of Residency form from the front office.

Registering Your Vehicle in DC: If you do not meet the requirements for a temporary parking permit, you may choose to register your vehicle in DC. Click here for specific instructions.

Other Transportation Information:

  • Voting: To become a registered voter in the DC area, visit the Board of Elections & Ethics. Please note that you must unregister from your current voting state in order to register as a voter in DC.
  • DC One Card: DC has a new initiative to incorporate multiple cards into one all-inclusive card. The DCOne Card is a library card, Metro card, and can grant access to Public Parks programs. Click here to register or get more information.
  • DC Plastic Bag Policy: Washington DC’s Skip the Bag, Save the River Initiative requires a $0.05 fee per bag from businesses selling food and alcohol. Be sure to take reusable bags with you to the grocery store to avoid the fee.
  • DC Emergency Alerts: The DC Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Response has an alert system to notify residents of severe weather, police activity, road closures, and school and government closings. Notifications can be received via email or text message and can be specified to neighborhoods or work areas. For text alerts sign up here.
  • DC Metropolitan Police Resources: DC Metro PD offers several resources as well as an anonymous tip line for security concerns. You can find the tip line number as well as other important emergency phone numbers here.