December is upon us, and though the year may be ending the month is sending it out with a bang and a ton of festive and fun activities and events! As you head into the holiday season—no matter how or what you celebrate—Washington, D.C., is brimming with wonderful ways to get into the spirit and send out the year in style!
The Fever Originals Candlelight series is a perfect plan for a quiet intimate evening with those important to you. This December, Fever’s Candlelight holiday-themed series transforms iconic seasonal songs into beautiful classical music so that you can get into the holiday spirit while taking in such an enriching experience.
Location: St. Francis Hall – 1340 Quincy Street Northeast, Washington, 20017-2614
Location: The Howard Theatre – 620 T Street Northwest, Washington, 20001-5117
This December, right in the heart of Friendship Heights, this incredible immersive experience is a great place to go with friends again and again. It opens on December 15th but presale tickets are already available, so be sure to get your tickets for this December before it sells out!
Location: 5333 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, DC 20015
The Winter Lantern Festival is back in D.C. this year, giving Washingtonians the ability to experience this completely unique holiday season light display for the 4th annual time! Through December it is open to visit every weekend, but on Christmas week it will be open every day, giving you the perfect opportunity to gift this unique experience to friends or family.
Location: 8025 Galleria Drive, Tysons, VA 22102
4. Stimulate your senses by dining in the dark
Looking for an exciting surprise? What’s more exciting than a blindfolded dinner? Dining in the Dark allows you to pick a surprise three-course meal based on your dietary preferences (green for vegan, blue for seafood, or red for meat) that will stimulate your senses! Currently, you have the option to choose from two locations around Washington D.C. to take in this unique culinary experience!
Location: 2901 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA
Location: 1101 Pennsylvania Ave. SE Unit 1, Washington, DC
5. Immerse yourself in renowned art
What could be more awe-inspiring than immersing yourself in your favorite art? The Immersive Van Gogh Experience allows you to do just that! The exhibits use floor-to-ceiling projections to showcase each artist’s famous works, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in their art. Buy tickets to Van Gogh here!
A trip to this whacky and fun museum exhibit dedicated to some of the most iconic product failures and flops in recent history is surprisingly one of the most inspiring experiences you can find around D.C. this December. The exhibit itself is sure to give you a few chuckles but by the end of the experience you walk away feeling inexplicably at ease!
But hurry, because this exhibit is only in D.C. until December 10th, and after that, it is moving to another city!
Location: Georgetown Park, 3270 M Street NW, Washington D.C.
Learn about the history of the Titanic expedition as well as the historical significance attached to this ship while taking in the stories of actual passengers who were aboard the Titanic when it hit the iceberg! The exhibition provides unmatched insights into the ship and its history, even displaying some of the personal belongings of the passengers and crew that provide a touching bit of realism to the story of the Titanic that we’ve all heard before.
Location: 254 Mariner Passage at National Harbor
Have you ever wished you could interact with dinosaurs? Well, now is your chance! This exhibit features 80 prehistoric specimens and even a virtual aquarium so you can interact with these magnificent creatures from millions of years ago.
Location: Rhode Island Center
Throughout the month of December, you’ll have the opportunity to take in one of the most breathtaking holiday light displays to come to the DMV area! LuminoCity presents the perfect plan for families or groups of friends for an easy-going plan that makes for the perfect picture.
Location: Montgomery County Fair. 501 Perry Parkway, Gaithersburg, MD
It isn’t a recreation of “Night at the Museum” but it’s a close second! You and seven others can experience a private or semi-private tour, complete with a private guide, of the Natural History Museum and the National Gallery of Art. Over five-and-a-half hours, plus a lunch break, you’ll get to see some of the most renowned works these museums have to offer!
Location: Smithsonian Natural Museum of Natural History
“All the world’s a stage,” and Drunk Shakespeare D.C. is hitting the stage like you’ve never experienced before! Grab a drink yourself and watch five classically-trained (and intoxicated) actors attempt to recreate some of Shakespeare’s most famous works to hilarious results!
So much history lies in the streets of Washington, D.C., that it can be overwhelming trying to take it all in. This fun and knowledge-filled walking tour features a professional guide who will bring you to all the major sites and attractions while teaching you their rich histories!
D.C. is overflowing with history—and with that history come a few frights and spooky legends! This walking ghost tour will show you the haunted side of the District you never knew!
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints’ Washington, D.C., Temple will return with its iconic holiday light display from Thursday, Nov. 30, through Sunday, Jan. 1, featuring 400,000 twinkling lights!
Kick off the holiday season with this stunning light display on the water! The Wharf is hosting its annual District Holiday Boat Parade on Saturday, Dec. 2, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. The free event features more than 60 boats, decked to the bow with holiday lights, setting sail down the Washington Channel. You can watch the boats and then head to The Wharf to roast s’mores, get pictures with Santa, have a cocktail (if you’re 21 or older!), and even skate at the ice rink!
Location: 760 Maine Ave SW, Washington, DC
D.C. Holiday Lights gets the city into the holiday spirit as it turns the various D.C. neighborhoods into twinkling wonderlands from Nov. 18, 2022-Jan.8, 2023! With eye-catching displays and a themed scavenger hunt, you can experience it all in different dazzling forms across each participating neighborhood!
The Festival of Lights will arrive in the District soon, and Washington, D.C., will be kicking it off with the lighting of the world’s largest menorah. Head on over to the White House Ellipse on Sunday, Dec. 7, to admire the giant, 30-foot menorah and celebrate the start of Hanukkah!
18. Head to the Smithsonian’s National Zoo to experience the fun of ZooLights
ZooLights is back at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo! A $6 admission ticket allows you to peruse the zoo’s beautiful light displays, shop, and take in live performances and tasty treats after dark on select nights between Nov. 24 and Dec. 30. For a full list of dates and to reserve an entry pass, please visit the zoo’s website.
Location: 3001 Connecticut Ave NW
As holiday celebrations are poised to begin, Washington, D.C., is stringing up dazzling holiday light displays all around the city. So put on a scarf and hat, grab a warm beverage, and bask in the cheerful spirit of the holiday season with these stunning displays! Here’s a sneak peek of some of the best displays, and you can find the full list here:
- Holidays at the Harbor—National Harbor
- D.C. Holiday Lights
With the holidays swiftly approaching, lights are up, the city’s holiday trees will soon all be lit, and it’s the perfect time to get a jumpstart on holiday shopping. What better place to do so than one of D.C.’s own holiday markets?! Get your holiday spirit on while supporting local vendors and, of course, sipping on some delicious festive beverages while you’re at it! Here’s a sneak peek of some of the most festive holiday markets, and you can find the full list here:
- Downtown Holiday Market
- Nall’s Winter Market at Union Market
Washington, D.C., has a number of different dazzling holiday trees, and Secret D.C. has rounded up three of the best D.C.-area holiday trees for your viewing pleasure!
Cocktails, cozy blankets, and igloos? Yes, please! Winter and cozy season are upon us, and it’s the perfect time to enjoy the many awesome winter setups the city has to offer, including the Watergate Hotel’s enchanting igloos!
23. Step into a magical winter wonderland of lights with Enchant at Nationals Park
Enchant at Nationals Park is true winter wonderland! Held from Nov. 24, 2023-Dec. 31, 2023, Enchant whisks you away with twinkling light tunnels, a Christmas Light Maze, ice skating, a Santa meet-and-greet, a holiday market so you can shop for your loved ones this holiday season, and so much more!
Location: Nationals Park
Open through Jan. 2, 2023, this free exhibit features a number of plant-crafted displays of iconic landmarks, such as the U.S. Capitol Building and the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. Still need to do some holiday shopping? No problem! Grab a botanical gift for the person in your life with a green thumb from the gift shop, made possibly by the Friends of the U.S. Botanic Garden and Rewild.
For the eighth year, Georgetown will alight with the holiday spirit thanks to Georgetown GLOW. From Dec. 1, 2023-Jan. 7, 2024, the beloved D.C. neighborhood will be illuminated with stunning light art installations!
Start the month of December on a high note by attending D.C.’s Cocktail Week event and taking in a tasty drink from one of D.C.’s top bars that’ll be in attendance at the event! Be sure you get there when you can because it runs from November 28th to December 5th.
As the weather begins to get colder and we wake to frost layering the ground and cars, we’re officially entering hot chocolate season! A tasty, chocolatey cup of sweet goodness is key to keeping warm during cold D.C. winters and even boosting one’s intelligence! Here’s a sneak peek of some of our favorite D.C. spots to grab a cup of hot chocolate, and you can find the full list here:
- L.A. Burdick
- Colada Shop
- Sticky Fingers Diner
As we enter the holiday season in Washington, D.C., the bar scene has definitely taken notice! From some of D.C.’s favorite bars decking the halls and revamping their menus to holiday pop-up bars magically appearing all over the District, the festive decor and holiday-themed drinks are calling your name! Here’s a preview of some of our favorite D.C. holiday-themed bars you don’t want to miss, and you can find the full list here:
- Holiday Bar at Colada 14th
- Miracle at Death Punch Bar
- Ciel Chalet at Ciel Social Club
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and there’s nothing quite like a freshly cut Christmas tree and the scent of pine to help get you into the Christmas spirit. To help you set the holidays into motion, Secret D.C. mapped out a few places where you can find your perfect Christmas tree. Here are a few of some of the best spots to shop, and you can find the full list here:
- Dan & Bryan Christmas Trees
- Olde City Farm & Garden
- Clemsonville Christmas Tree Farm