As we head into the end of November, the Christmas holiday is inching closer and closer. What better way to make the most of December than squeezing in some of those holiday vibes with the best Christmas events in DC and Maryland. All the things you will want to do if you are celebrating Christmas in Washington DC.
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Ice Maze the Park at City Center & Christmas Tree
The Park at City Center is building a giant ICE MAZE with 110,000 pounds of ice and 7 foot walls! Completely free event! And if you happen to be here for the Ice Maze City Center also has a pretty amazing Christmas Tree that will be lit November 30th at 6pm. Chistmas in Washington DC is definitely not complete without a stop at City Center!
Dates and Hour:
December 14 and 15 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m
Closed to public from 2 pm – 4 pm each day for chilling repairs.
Location of Winter in Washington
The Park at City Center
1098 New York Ave NW, Washington, DC 20005
National Christmas Tree Washington DC
The 2019 National Christmas Tree Lighting will take place December 5 on the Ellipse at President’s Park for the 97th year! If you miss the lighting ceremony you can still go see the National Christmas Tree lit after about 4:30pm daily. This is such a special moment during Chrismas in Washington DC.
ICE at Gaylord Resort & Convention Center 2019
How many Christmas events in DC can boast that they have TWO MILLION TONS of ice carved into colorful sculptures? Pretty epic right? ICE is the Gaylord Resort’s indoor wonderland, this year featuring the 1957 Dr. Seuss classic How The Grinch Stole Christmas! This is an event the whole family will enjoy. The amazing ice sculptures were created by artisans flown in from Harbin, China. And did I mention there’s a slide completely made of ICE? How fun is that?
ICE at Gaylord is kept at a chilly 9 degrees Fahrenheit, but not to worry your ticket comes with a hooded calf length parka to keep you nice and toasty. Remember to still dress warmly especially your feet and legs.
Definitely get your camera ready for ICE because it is an Instagrammers dream and such a fun event for Christmas in Washington DC! Remember to bring one of those lens wipes (like for your sunglasses) because your camera will fog up from the cold.
- Hand-carved scenes depicting the story of How The Grinch Stole Christmas!
- A self-guided, walk-through experience that lasts approximately 15-30 minutes. In total, you should plan to spend anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours for the entire ICE! experience.
- Four two-story tall ice slides
- A walk-through holiday attraction kept at a chilly 9°F
- 2 million pounds of colorful ice sculptures
- A separate area dedicated to the majestic Nativity in crystal-clear ice
- Hand-carved by 40 artisans from Harbin, China.
Dates for ICE at Gaylord Resort
November 15, 2019 – December 30, 2019
ICE at Gaylord Ticket Prices
From $25.00 Child/$33.00 Adult. More information on ticket pricing and calendar : https://tickets.gaylordnational.com/eventperformances.asp?evt=34
Entrance inside The Christmas Village.
201 Waterfront Street · National Harbor, Maryland 20745 USA
Glow Georgetown DC 2019
Georgetown has always been one of my favorite neighborhoods in Washington DC for the holiday season. This historic feel and cute little allies make it perfect for a day of shopping and brunching. During the holidays this year, Georgetown is set a GLOW with magical light art installations throughout the neighborhood. This is one of the most delightful Christmas events in DC because it is completely free and open to the public and perfect for the whole family. For a map of the exact locations of each installation go here:
Dates and Hours for Georgetown GLOW
DECEMBER 6 – JANUARY 5, 5-10 P.M. NIGHTLY
Light Yards is another free public light installation similar to Glow Georgetown, except these art installations are INTERACTIVE. These light installations are curated by international award-winning artists, ENESS.
The Yards Park
355 Water Street Southeast, Washington, DC 20003
Dates and Hours
Fri, Dec 6 – 19, 2019, 6:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Zoolights 2019 Christmas Lights at the National Zoo
The National Zoo glitters with Zoolights, an annual Christmas in DC tradition. Of all the Christmas events in DC, Zoolights is probably the most kid-friendly. Zoolights is free to the public and quite the winter wonderland experience with 500,000 LED lights glittering through the zoo. New attractions this year include Gingerbread Village, Reindeer Games Fun Zone, and an Interactive Light display. Take a fun ride on the National Zoo’s Choo Choo to get beautiful views of the displays or enjoy a spin on the carousel.
Though there is parking at the zoo for $25 per car, it is HARD to find a spot! I would recommend taking the Metro. The National Zoo is on the Red Line and the stops for the zoo are Woodley Park-Zoo or Cleveland Park metro station, both are about the same 10-minute walk to the zoo.
Dates and Hours
Nov. 29 to Jan. 1 (except Dec. 24, 25 and 31) | Free Admission
3001 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008
Winter Igloos at The Watergate Hotel 2019
The ultimate in luxury, The Watergate Hotel offers cozy winter themed igloos for you and your posse to rent! Have a hot drink and a bite too eat with 8 of your closest friends. These winter igloos are heated and beautifully decorated for that winter wonderland feel. Probably the most expensive activity on this list of Christmas events in DC, the igloos costs from $150 to $300 to rent with food and beverage minimums. Food and Beverage minimum ranges from $50 to $75 per person, depending on time and size of your party. If you are looking for a unique winter activity and don’t mind the extra dollar signs, then this would be a truly epic experience.
Dates and Hours
Open from now through March 2020
Monday – Saturday
90-minute seatings from 5pm – midnight
Rental fee waived for all seatings on Mondays
Rental fee waived for 5pm seatings Tuesday – Thursdays
Whisky Bar 90-minute seatings from 4:30pm-9:30pm
Kingbird Terrace Sunday brunch and mimosa seatings from 11:30am-4:00pm
More information on booking: https://www.thewatergatehotel.com/the-next-whisky-bar/winter-igloos
The Watergate Hotel
2650 Virginia Ave NW, Washington, DC 20037
Ice Skating at the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden
A list of Christmas events in DC would not be complete without some ice skating! The National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden transforms into a stunning ice skating rink every year. Come during the day for fun with the whole family or come at night for a romantic date night, either way ice skating at the Sculpture Garden is a must do for the holidays in Washington DC. The ice rink does get quite crowded though so if you have young children be careful.
Skating sessions begin at the top of each hour and are sold in two 45 minute sessions, $9 for adults and $8 for children under 12, adults 50 and older, and students with a valid student ID. If you happen to miss the beginning of the session, whittle the time away by checking out the surrounding art or grabbing a hot chocolate at the Pavilion Café. The skate rental fee is $4; lockers are available for $0.50 ($5 deposit required).
Dates and Hours for the Ice Rink at the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden
November 15, 2019–March 15, 2020
10:00 a.m.–9:00 p.m.
10:00 a.m.–11:00 p.m.
10:00 a.m.–11:00 a.m. (open for Learn to Skate USA lessons only)
11:00 a.m.–11:00 p.m. (open to the general public)
11:00 a.m.–9:00 p.m.
Location of National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden
Constitution Ave NW & 7th Street, Washington, DC 20408
US Botanical Gardens Season’s Greetings Holiday Exhibit
Looking to escape the cold but still enjoy the holiday spirit? Well add the Botanical Garden’s Holiday Train display to your Christmas events in DC checklist because it’s spectacular. This year they’ve recreated historic train station across the United States with plants. So take the journey across America without leaving the city. And while it’s looking a bit bare outside beautiful holiday blooms will be on display inside including over 3,000 poinsettias.
Dates and Hours
November 28, 2019 – January 5, 2020, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
100 Maryland Ave SW, Washington, DC 20001
Ice Skating at the Wharf
Ice skating at the Wharf is a relatively new activity in DC because the whole area was redeveloped in recent years. The ice rink is over the water and would provide a beautiful sunset skating experience. The start times are less rigid than at the Sculpture Garden so could offer a more relaxed experience. There are plenty of restaurants for dinner and drinks after your skate.
The Wharf Ice Rink is open every day from November 26, 2019 through late February, depending on weather conditions.
Dates and Hours
MMonday & Tuesday: 12:00–6:00pm
Wednesday & Thursday: 12:00–10:00pm
Friday & Saturday: 12:00–11:00pm
Special Extended Hours
November 28 (Thanksgiving Day): 11am–9pm
November 29: 11am–11pm
December 22-23: 11am–11pm
December 24 (Christmas Eve): 11am–8pm
December 25 (Christmas Day): 12pm–10pm
December 26-30: 11am–11pm
December 31 (New Years Eve): 11am–8pm
January 1 (New Years Day): 11am–10pm
January 2: 12pm-10pm
January 20 (Martin Luther King Day): 10am–6:00pm
February 17 (Presidents Day): 10am–6:00pm
Prices for Admission
-Active Military: $2 discount with valid ID
-Seniors (65+): $2 discount with valid ID
Child $8 (12 years and younger)
Skate Rental: $6
Skate Aid Rental: $5
Gloves/Socks Purchase: $6
Locker Rental: $3
Enchant Christmas in Washington DC
The world’s largest Christmas light maze and market is going to be at National’s Stadium this holiday season! Ice skate under twinkling lights, enjoy hot cocoa while wondering through life sized light displays. Honestly I’m super excited to go to this for Christmas in Washington DC!! I think it will be the most photogenic of all the Christmas events in Washington DC this winter.
Enchant sells tickets based on time windows. I would buy the earliest window possible because you get as much time as you want at Enchant in Washington DC and also it does tend to get colder the later it is. We got the 4:30 to 5:30pm tickets. You can arrive after your ticket window but not before which is why I recommend getting earlier tickets. Enchant was not crowded at all, though we did go on a Sunday night after it had rained all day. Actually the later it got the less crowded it was, probably because of the cold. It was such a beautiful experience! We even did the ice skating. Watch my video of our experience below and subscribe!
Enchant Christmas DC Dates and Hours
- November 22 – December 12
- Monday-Thursday | 4:30pm – 10:30pm
- Friday-Sunday | 4:30pm – 11:30pm
- December 13 – 30
- Everyday | 4:30 p.m. – 11:30 p.m.
More prices and tickets here: https://enchantchristmas.com/dc
Christmas Tree Farm at Gaver Farm
There’s nothing quite like getting a real Christmas tree and cutting it yourself! Gaver Farm has over 60 acres of beautiful Blue Spruce, Douglas Fir, Fraser Fir and Canaan Fir trees on their farm for you to cut your own. Experience the magic of being surrounded by endless rows of Christmas trees and bringing one home to enjoy for your holidays! Though this farm is not in DC it’s close enough at about 1 hour outside of DC in Mt. Airy Maryland.
Dates and Hours
November 28 – December 23, 2019 from 9 am – 5 pm daily
Christmas Tree Farm Location
5501 Detrick Road, Mount Airy, MD 21771
$65+ per tree depending on size
More information at https://gaverfarm.com/christmas/christmas-trees/
Christmas Pop Up Bar | Miracle on 7th Street
Miracle on 7th Street Pop Up Bar has become number one on our Christmas in Washington DC checklist since the first one about 3 years ago. Brought to you by The Drink Company (responsible for the infamous Game of Thrones Bar and the magical Cherry Blossom Bar), Miracle on 7th is spot on every year in decorating this location into an epic Christmas explosion. Between the boozy holiday beverages and exploding Christmas vibes, you may actually believe that Santa does exist. My favorite cocktails? Definitely Let the Muletide Roll and The Mortimer Duke because I like my drinks more on the refreshing side.
During the weekend (Thursday – Sunday) lines here are LONG so get there early or else you could be waiting a while out in the cold. Though during the week, the lines are much shorter so you could just walk right in.
If you are a DC local or visiting during the holidays, Miracle on 7th should definitely be on your winter bucket list.
Miracle on 7th is now family friendly too! Before 9pm those that are UNDER 21 can enter accompanied by a parent or gaurdian that’s 21 and over. They’ve also extended their hours to day time on Saturday and Sunday. I can’t wait to take my toddler here!
Dates and Hours for Miracle on 7th Street
Open from November 22-December 31
Monday – Thursday
5pm – 12:30am
5pm – 1:30am
1pm – 1:30am
1pm – 12:30am
Address for Miracle on 7th Street
1839 7th St. NW
Washington, DC, 20001
The Willard InterContinental for Christmas in Washington DC
The Willard InterContinental is a hotel that outdoes itself every year with the Christmas décor. If you are looking to get into the holiday spirit a stop here to check out their Christmas decorations is a must. And if you want to really take it all in, stop for their Holiday Afternoon Tea at Peacock Alley.
Holiday afternoon tea at the Willard is spectacular. They have a delightful selection of holiday themed teas and treats. I absolutely loved their scones. Afternoon Tea at the Willard is child friendly and our daughter enjoyed it. The Willard gave her the option of having tea or hot chocolate. Of course she chose hot chocolate!
Holiday tea is served in December from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., excluding December 24, 25 and 31st. Reservations are required.
Location of The Willard
1401 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20004
Wunder Garten DC Winterfest
Wunder Garten is a cute little beer garden in DC hosting a Winterfestival! This was our first time there and it was awesome!! The outdoor space is cozy with fire pits and heaters. They transformed the Bier Garden into an epic Christmas explosion that rivals Miracle on 7th! This DC Christmas pop up is not to be missed! And definitely try their spiked cider, super yummy and it’ll keep you warm.
If you want to take a few pictures in the Bier Garden without having fondue head there before 4pm on a weekend or on a Sunday when Little Stable is not serving fondue or else you are required to eat if you want to have a seat.
Wunder Garden Winterfest Hours and Dates
When: Friday, December 6, 2019 – Sunday, December 22, 2019
Monday-Thursday 4:00 pm-11:00 pm
Friday 3:00 pm-1:00 am
Saturday 12:00 pm-1:00 am
Sunday 12:00 pm-11:00 pm
*Little Stable hours are Thursday and Friday, 5:00 pm -11:00 pm and Saturdays 4:00 pm – 10:00 pm.
Location: 1101 FIRST STREET NE, WASHINGTON, DC 20002
More info: http://www.winterfestwg.com/