All the things you will want to do if you are celebrating Christmas in Washington DC.
As we head into 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 Washington DC and Maryland.
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DC City Center & Christmas Tree 2020
DC City Center has always done some sort of amazing ice sculpture or attraction at the City Center Park, but this year I have not seen them announce anything. Either way DC City Center also has a pretty amazing Christmas Tree that will be lit on November 30th at 6pm. Chistmas in Washington DC is definitely not complete without a stop at City Center!
Also, you can’t miss their annual Christmas decorations at Palmer Alley NW!
Location of Christmas Tree
The Park at City Center
1098 New York Ave NW, Washington, DC 20005
Winter Igloo, Yurt, Lodge Dining Experiences in Washington DC
Because of the pandemic, Washington DC has exploded with a variety of winter and holiday-themed outdoor dining and drinking experiences. Think cute igloos, yurts, and lodges all to yourself and your 5 besties! These are some of my faves:
Winter Igloos at The Watergate Hotel 2020
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.
Heated Igloos at the Four Seasons
The Four Seasons transforms the BOURBON STEAK patio into Bourbon and Bubbles for the winter season! Book a cute igloo and enjoy food and drinks from the BOURBON STEAK menu.
(Photo from Four Seasons)
Location: 2800 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20007
Make a reservation here: https://www.fourseasons.com/washington/dining/restaurants/bourbon_steak/
Yurt Dining Experience at Fiola in DC
Every wanted to go glamping but without the actual camping part? Well, now you can with a dining experience at Fiola!
Fiola has set up yurts in a forest of trees on their patio for a winter outdoor dining experience, Yurt Village. You can enjoy a selection of 5 courses for $150 per person with selections from their Harvest Menu!
Location: 601 PENNSYLVANIA AVENUE, NW, WASHINGTON, DC 20004
Viking Village at Hook Hall
Benches covered in fur, fire pits, and woodland themed decor help you live out all your Viking fantasies at Hook Hall. You can book a Viking Hut or a Viking King’s Quarter, with prices ranging from $125 to $250.
Each themed hut includes a welcome bottle of champagne, sectional lounge seating, heaters, special food and drink menus, a table, and the option to keep the “doors” open or closed.
You can also book a Fire Pit for up to 6 people for $15.
Location: 3400 Georgia Avenue Northwest, Washington, DC, 20010
More information and booking: https://www.hookhall.com/viking
National Christmas Tree Washington DC 2020
The 2020 National Christmas Tree Lighting will take place November 30 on the Ellipse at President’s Park with streaming available December 3, 2020. No crowds this year unfortunately watch the stream here: https://thenationaltree.org/lighting-ceremony/2020-national-christmas-tree-lighting-ceremony/
If you miss the lighting ceremony you can still go see the National Christmas Tree lit after about 4:30 pm daily. This is such a special moment during Christmas in Washington DC.
DC Holiday Lights 2020
For the first time DC’s Main Streets and commercial corridors have joined together to bring you a spectacular holiday experience. Between December 1 and December 31, take a stroll down each of the participating corridors below to experience a dazzling array of lights and decor.
As many of the districts, holiday attractions, and lights are closed this year, this is a nice way to get in the holiday spirit while shopping locally!
For details on where to see the lights: https://dcholidaylights.org/
ICE at Gaylord Resort & Convention Center 2020
2020 UPDATE: ICE is canceled this year and will return next year! But the Gaylord is still worth a visit during the holidays! They have a 56 ft Christmas Tree right on the harbor from November 14 through January 3. And their indoor decorations are usually really stunning as well!
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
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
Glow Georgetown DC 2020
Update: Glow Georgetown has moved to a Spring/Summer 2021 showing, more info here: http://www.georgetownglowdc.com/
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 2020
2020 Update: NOT CANCELLED
Light Yards is one of the few glow events happening this year! It’s running from December 7th to January 10th, 2021 from 6 pm to 10 pm.
This year the holiday installation will feature the premiere of the installation “Stars” by Australian-based immersive light design sculptors Amigo & Amigo. The larger-than-life stars constructed from metallic mesh feature dancing lights and play festive music, making for a perfect socially-distanced stroll for guests of all ages who want to safely experience some holiday cheer.
The Yards Park
355 Water Street Southeast, Washington, DC 20003
Dates and Hours
Nightly from 6:00-10:00 pm beginning on Friday, December 7th through January 10th
Festival of Lights at Washington DC Mormon Temple
The Festival of Lights at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints aka the Mormon Temple to the locals and aka Disneyland if you grew up in this area, is a wonderful Christmas event that’s completely free!
The Mormon Temple definitely puts on a show during the holidays. The entire temple is dazzling in 400,000 sparkling lights. This year because of the pandemic it’s a drive-through event.
Definitely worth a visit since many of the holiday lights events in the DC area are canceled.
Washington DC Temple Visitors’ Center
9900 Stoneybrook Drive
Kensington, Maryland 20895
Dates & Time: December 11th through December 28th, 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
More information on the driving route and parking: https://dctemplelights.churchofjesuschrist.org/
UPDATE: I went during the week it first opened on a weekday and it was not crowded at all. But apparently, there are huge lines every day now! I went again on a Monday and there were indeed lines! I would go early, as in getting there by 5:30 to 5:45 pm (we arrived around 5:45 pm and there was not yet a line of cars, but we did not do the drive-through, keep reading to see our secret tip for avoiding traffic). They will already have the lights on by this time. Also, avoid the weekend if you can!
Next, you can actually see the lights from the public and open sidewalk! That’s how we did it on Monday. We didn’t actually drive through, instead, we parked and walked over, thus avoiding the traffic and line all together! Plus we had a fun little photoshoot!
The trick is to park on the residential street right off of Stoneybrook Dr. If you are driving north on Stoneybrook take a right on Hill St and park, if you are heading south on Stoneybrook take a left on La Duke Dr and park. You can easily walk to the temple from both these streets and there was plenty of parking when we went on Monday.
Zoolights 2020 Christmas Lights at the National Zoo
2020 UPDATE: Zoolights has gone mobile for 2020! The 24-foot ZooLights Express truck (powered by PEPCO), festively decorated with light displays and featuring “Panda Claws,” will hit the road Nov. 27 to Dec. 19 and visit one Washington, D.C., ward each Friday and Saturday night from 6-8 p.m.
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
Ice Skating at the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden 2020
Unfortunately, the National Gallery of Art has closed ice skating for the 2020 season. Additionally, the ice skating rinks in Georgetown and at the Wharf are also closed for 2020.
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
2020 UPDATE: Instead of the holiday decorations indoors, festive adornments, winterberries, lights, and greenery will be placed in the Terrace Gardens and Bartholdi Park from Nov. 23, 2020, through Jan. 10, 2021. There will not be a train display this year, and the Conservatory and gated outdoor gardens remain closed at this time due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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
2020 Update: The Wharf is not opening its ice rink this year.
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
ENCHANT is not in DC for 2020.
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 27 – December TBD from 9 am – 5 pm daily
Christmas Tree Farm Location
5501 Detrick Road, Mount Airy, MD 21771
Blue Spruce ($75), Douglas Fir ($70), Fraser Fir ($70), Canaan Fir ($70) and White Pine ($55) includes free use of saws, tree carts, shaking, baling, and drilling.
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!
Unfortunately, Drink Company has closed its pop up bars!
But Death Punch Bar in Adams Morgan has taken up this holiday DC tradition by opening Miracle and offer a fully immersive holiday experience upstairs! They’ve partnered with “Miracle” which has bars all over the country. You will need to make a reservation because of the pandemic and they are for an hour each.
The experience is running from 11/27/202 to 12/31/2020
More information: https://www.deathpunchbar.com/miracle
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 4 pm 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: December 4, 2020 – December 20, 2020
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
Location: 1101 FIRST STREET NE, WASHINGTON, DC 20002
More info: https://www.wundergartendc.com/winterfest