Washington, DC is bright and beautiful around the holidays so I’ve put together 15 more things to do during the Christmas season. I always update the old post (go check it out!) with this year’s dates but here’s even more holiday cheer for your social calendar. If any of your favorites are missing, let me know in the comments!
Note: This was originally published in 2016 but has been updated to reflect 2017 dates.
Smithsonian Holiday Festival: Head to the National Museum of American History December 2-3 from 10 am to 5:30 pm to celebrate the holidays. Enjoy festive events and activities including demonstrations from Mars Heritage Chocolate and performances by the US Air Force Band.
Ice Skating at the Sculpture Garden: Ice skating surrounded by gorgeous sculptures in the Sculpture Garden? Sign us up! Beginning November 18, head to the Sculpture Garden for a skating experience like no other. Skates are available for rent.
Christkindlmarkt at the Heurich House Museum: Get started on your Christmas shopping at the German inspired Christmas market at the Heurich House Museum. Vendors from all over the DVM will be selling jewelry, ceramics, chocolate, and more. In addition, you can tour the beautiful museum dressed with festive decorations! The market will be open for one weekend: Friday, December 1 to Sunday, December 3. Get tickets online!
Georgetown GLOW: Georgetown GLOW is a unique lights display featuring local artist so you’ll find more than just your traditional holiday light set ups. The exhibit runs from December 8 to January 7 from 5 pm to 10 pm nightly.
The District’s Holiday Boat Parade: Head to The Warf near the L’Enfant Plaza metro stop on December 2 from 4 pm to 10 pm for holiday activities, a boat parade (7 PM), and fireworks. If you are in Virginia, head to the Alexandria Holiday Boat Parade for a day of holiday activities and 5:30 PM boat parade.
Fairfax Festival of Lights and Carols: Head to Old Town Hall in Fairfax on December 2 from 2 to 7 pm for holiday fun including lunch with Santa (for kids 10 and under), music, hot cider, and a tree lighting ceremony. Fun for the whole family!
Gray Ghost’s Christmas Cork and Cheese Celebration: The title says it all: ring in Christmas with wine and cheese at Gray Ghost Vineyard in Amissville (west of Warrenton). Enjoy live holiday music while sampling local wine, cheese, and sweets. Admission includes a tasting and a special holiday wine glass. This event is December 2-3.
Carriage Rides in Downtown Manassas: Enjoy free carriage rides in downtown Manassas from 1 to 4 pm on Sundays in December (December 3, 10, 17).
Ice Skating in Reston Town Center: Head to Reston Town Center for ice skating open through March. Enjoy theme days including Rock n Skate Fridays, Cartoon Skate Saturdays, and College Skate Night Thursdays.
Leesburg Holiday Parade: Head to Leesburg on Saturday, December 2 at 6 pm for the holiday parade! Swing by in the early afternoon to also enjoy music and cooking making.
Holiday Concerts with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra: Join the BSO at Meyerhoff Hall for a variety of Christmas concerts! They will be performing:
- A Christmas Carol (December 7-9)
- Handel’s Messiah (December 9-10)
- Home for the Holidays (December 16-17)
- Cirque de la Symphonie Holiday Spectacular (December 22-23).
Ice Skating at Rockville Town Square: Bring the whole family to Rockville for an evening of ice skating in Rockville Town Square. The rink offers rentals and lessons and is also open for birthday parties and corporate events.
Garden of Lights at Brookside Gardens: Head to Brookside Gardens in Wheaton for a stroll through the Garden of Lights! Afterward, warm up in the Conservatory with hot coco and enjoy the holiday model train display. Garden of Lights is open from November 24 to January 1 except December 24-25.
Annapolis Lights Parade: Annapolis is one of the best places near the DVM to see boats and they know how to deck out for the holidays. Head to the harbor on December 9 at 6 pm to see the boats dressed in festive lights!
Holiday Trains and Planes: The College Park Aviation Museum will have a festive display of holiday trains and planes December 16-23. Be sure to also check out the aircraft collections while you’re there!