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!
1. Downtown Holiday Market
D.C.’s stunning seasonal outdoor market is returning from Nov. 18-Dec. 23! Held outdoors over the course of two blocks— F Street NW, from 7th to 9th Streets NW—the Downtown Holiday Market gives Washingtonians the opportunity to patronize a number of local small businesses while they complete their holiday shopping! Feeling a little cold and hungry? A number of outdoor food and drink vendors are also on-site so you can sip hot chocolate or snack on an empanada as you shop!
2. D.C. Holiday Lights
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!
3. Holidays at the Harbor—National Harbor
National Harbor kicked off the holiday spirit on Tuesday, Nov. 15, lighting its Christmas tree to kick off its Holidays at the Harbor series. It was the inaugural lighting for National Harbor’s new 60-ft. RGB tree, which now will illuminate the evening skies each night through Saturday, Dec. 31—every 30 minutes from sunset to 9 p.m.—alongside the sounds of a “holiday medley performed by the United States Air Force Band.” But the holiday festivities don’t stop there! Holidays at the Harbor also features a number of festive activities suitable for all ages: Festive Fireworks every Saturday night through Dec. 17, the winter wonderland of ICE! at Gaylord National, holiday shopping at the Tanger Outlets, and more!
The holiday season is descending upon the District—and CityCenterDC is helping kick it off with its ninth annual Holiday Tree Lighting on Saturday, Nov. 26! Days after Thanksgiving, as Washingtonians begin to swap out their autumn ornamentation for winter decorations, CityCenterDC will be helping the transition as it alights its 75-ft. tree, complete with more than 150,000 lights and 4,500 ornaments. It will stop you in your tracks!
5. 100th Annual National Christmas Tree
Washingtonians, mark your calendars! The 100th Annual National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony is taking place Wednesday, Nov. 30 the Ellipse in President’s Park. Just less than a week after Thanksgiving, the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony will help Washingtonians and visitors alike kick off the holiday season. The first National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony took place in 1923 under President Calvin Coolidge. To celebrate its historic 100-year milestone, the National Park Service and National Park Foundation are promising a one-of-a-kind “star-studded” event!
6. Enchant at Nationals Park
Enchant at Nationals Park is true winter wonderland! Held from Nov. 25, 2022-Jan. 1, 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!
7. Georgetown GLOW
For the eighth year, Georgetown will alight with the holiday spirit thanks to Georgetown GLOW. From Nov. 26, 2022-Jan. 22, 2023, the beloved D.C. neighborhood will be illuminated with stunning light art installations!
8. The National Menorah
The Festival of Lights will dazzle in the District with the lighting of the world’s largest menorah. Head on over to the White House Ellipse on Sunday, Dec. 18, to admire the giant, 30-foot menorah and celebrate the start of Hanukkah. As is tradition, a new candle will be lit on each of the eight days of Hanukkah, so make sure to stop by!
9. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints’ Washington, D.C., Temple will return with its iconic holiday light display from Thursday, Dec. 1, through Sunday, Jan. 2, featuring 400,000 twinkling lights!
10. Spectacular Factory: The Holiday Multiverse at Artechouse D.C.
Fully immerse yourself in art, lights, and holiday cheer with Spectacular Factory: The Holiday Multiverse at Artechouse D.C. From Nov. 19, 2022 through Jan. 8, 2023, can journey through a spectacular and dreamy immersion of “thousands of nutcrackers, thrilling train rides through wreaths, spinning candy cane carousels and more.”
ZooLights is back at Smithsonian’s National Zoo! Free admission with a timed entry pass allows you to peruse the zoos beautiful light displays, shop, and take in live performances and tasty treats after dark on select nights between Nov. 25 and Dec. 30. For a full list of dates and to reserve an entry pass, please visit the zoo’s website.
12. The District Holiday Boat Parade
Kick off the holiday season with this stunning light display on the water! The Wharf is hosting its 30th annual District Holiday Boat Parade on Saturday, Dec. 3, 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!
This article was written by Jenna Romaine and Ma Del Rosario Castro Diaz