Festive events in and around DC to get you in the holiday spirit

It’s officially the most wonderful time of the year. The D.C. area boasts plenty of holiday-themed events to turn even the grouchiest Grinch into one of Santa’s favorite elves.

Here are a few ways to get in the holiday spirit in and around D.C.

Christmas maze at Nats Park

Enchant Christmas D.C. transforms Nats Park into what it calls the world’s largest Christmas light maze. It includes ice skating trails, a holiday market and the perfect Insta-friendly backdrops. It runs until Dec. 29.

Prices for tickets vary and many dates are already selling out.

While you’re down there, you can catch The Yards’ annual free light installation. This year’s Light Yards, the outdoor public light art installation at The Yards, takes visitors through an interactive exhibit called “Airship Orchestra,” by design studio ENESS.

Catch these Instagram-worthy works from 6 to 10 p.m. through Dec. 23.


Installations at ARTECHOUSE are always a crowd (and Instagram) pleaser. Their latest exhibit gives you a chance to catch the northern lights without having to trek through tundra. “Aurora: The Spirit of Northern Lights” runs from now until Jan. 5.

Ticket prices are cheaper when you buy online. Adults are $16 online ($20 if you buy at the door), and children 2-14 years old are $8 online ($10 onsite). See all ticket prices here.

Head to D.C.’s Georgetown

Georgetown is dressing a bit differently than the rest of the city for the holiday season. Georgetown GLOW is a curated celebration of contemporary art, put on by the Georgetown BID. The free outdoor exhibit runs through Jan. 5 from 5 to 10 p.m. nightly. Visit the GLOW website for a map of this year’s installations.

Visit a DC favorite — the popup bar

Popup Bar DC is taking its 7th Street location and turning it holiday themed with the Miracle on 7th Street. The bar, decorated with tinsel and sparkle throughout, offers seasonal drinks like the “G & Tree,” “Son of a Nutcracker,” and even offers “Nog Shots.” The Miracle on 7th Street runs until Dec. 31. This holiday season’s pop-up will also celebrate the World Series Champs, with a special night supporting the Washington Nationals Dream Foundation on Dec. 23. Tickets for that night’s event can be purchased in advance.

See the full menu and get more information on PUB’s website. 

Enjoy a CityCenter winter wonderland

CityCenterDC transforms into a winter wonderland for the holidays, featuring 25-feet tall reindeer. Get some Christmas shopping done, enjoy a meal at a nearby restaurant and walk it off under the Christmas lights while enjoying the lit-up tree.

Stroll through the Downtown Holiday Market

If you’re lacking some holiday cheer, D.C.’s Downtown Holiday Market on F and 8th Streets Northwest is the perfect place to get some. Shop for unique gifts from more than 150 regional artisans, crafters and boutique business owners while enjoying some live entertainment and plenty of snacks and treats.

The market will be open from noon to 8 p.m. every day until Monday, Dec. 23.

Check out ‘America’s gardens’

If you’re looking for free family fun, the U.S. Botanic Garden’s annual holiday display is open to the public through Jan. 5. This year’s theme is “America’s gardens,” which means you’ll see mini-scenes of notable gardens around the U.S. See a short video of this year’s display here.

There’s also a free concert series on select Tuesdays and Thursdays. Check that schedule here. And learn all about the U.S. Botanic Garden’s holiday programming on its website.

ZooLights return

ZooLights returns to the National Zoo until Jan. 1. The annual tradition is free and features performances, treats and plenty of LED lights.

Marvel at the National Christmas Tree

You just missed the National Christmas Tree lighting earlier this month, but you can still plan a trip to see the 30-foot tree. It’s lit every day from around 4:30 p.m. to midnight as part of the America Celebrates display at the President’s Park. If you visit from Dec. 11 to 15 and Dec. 17 and 22, you can even catch a live performance. See when there are performances online.

Lace up your skates

Looking to recreate your favorite Olympic ice skating moves? Or, maybe just learning how to stand without falling on your face? Ice rinks are easy to find around the D.C. area. In D.C., there’s Fort Dupont Ice Arena; in Maryland, there’s an outdoor one in Rockville; and in Virginia, you can skate like a Caps player at the MedStar Capitals Iceplex.

See WTOP’s “Best places to skate in the DC area.”

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