Downtown Holiday Market Stretches Two Blocks and Returns for 2020

The Downtown Holiday Market is a beloved annual shopping tradition by many Washingtonians. In the past, dozens of vendors lined the corner of 7th and F Street to sell toys, jewelry, art, and more. The crowd buzzes with holiday cheer and the traditional hustle and bustle of the season.  

2020 seems like an impossible year to recreate these types of holiday traditions but the Downtown Holiday Market is up to the challenge. This year, the market stretches two entire blocks to make room for social distancing. The streets are blocked off to car traffic and the market has only one entry and exit point in front of the Portrait Gallery. Masks are required and hand sanitizer stations are located throughout the market. 

DowntownDCBID, who runs the market, invited me to shop the market early to give you guys a sneak peek of what you can expect.

Even the entertainment sports a new makeover. Guests will find several photo opp spots featuring nutcrackers, trees, and giant gift boxes. Music plays from a giant screen with festive animations. 

Plus, the Downtown Holiday Market partnered with Artechouse, a rotating light and technology-based art gallery in L’Enfant Plaza. Guests can download the Artechouse app for Apple or Android and then use it to unlock special winter scenes. 

If hunger strikes, don’t miss the tasty treats from 6 food carts located throughout the market. I never miss a chance to churros which come in 3 flavors: chocolate, dulce de leche, and Bavarian cream. Guests will also find treats like empanadas, mini donuts, candy, and German-style snacks. 

“The additional space is so refreshing!” many vendors tell us as we explore the market. The additional space was added to ensure social distancing and guests allowed inside may be cut off if needed. However, vendors seem to agree that the new space allows guests to truly enjoy the ambiance and get a good look at all the gifts available for sale. 

70 vendors line the two blocks selling toys, jewelry, art, clothes, and treats. Gifts come at various price points so guests can find something for everyone on their list. Some of my favorite local DC artists will be at the market this year like the creative maps from Cherry Blossom Creative (full show), colorful paintings from EWBA (second half), STEM-inspired art from Circuit Breaker Labs (full show), and cute candles from Banner Bee (first half).  Find the full list of vendors on the website and keep in mind some vendors will only be at the market for half of the dates. 

Pictured: Cherry Blossom Creative, Banner Bee, Circuit Breaker Labs

The Downtown Holiday Market is open from 12 to 8 pm through December 23. It is closed on Thanksgiving Day and Mondays November 30, December 7, and December 14. Find the entrance in front of the Portrait Gallery. Entry is free. 

At a Glance

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