13 must-see holiday light displays around D.C.
The D.C. area is glowing up for the holidays.
- Here are the best lights around town, including extravagant (and free!) neighborhood displays, ticketed festivals, and luminescent villages.
Details: A bunch of D.C. neighborhoods decorate their main streets, and throw holiday events and markets with local businesses.
Dates: Now through Jan. 7.
Where: Check out the decorations in Chevy Chase, Cleveland Park, Columbia Heights, Dupont Circle, Georgetown, Logan Circle, Lower Georgia Ave., Mt. Pleasant, Petworth, The Parks, U Street, Upper Georgia Ave., Uptown, and more.
Details: Northern Virginia parks offer a variety of light-gazing experiences. Whether you prefer to stay cozy in your car through the Bull Run Festival of Lights, the area's largest drive-thru experience in Centreville, skate at Ice & Lights in Alexandria, or stroll through Meadowlark's Winter Walk of Lights in Vienna.
Dates: Now through Jan. 7.
Price: Tickets vary by activity. Advance online reservations are encouraged.
Details: Olney's "Field of Screams" turns into a festive Christmas campus for the holidays with over a million lights and 18 acres of outdoor fun — think bonfires, snow tubing, a 1.5-mile light trail, and lots of warming food and drinks.
Dates: Now through Dec. 30.
Price: Tickets are $39 for adults, $31 for kids, and free for children under 4. Snow tubing and axe-throwing are extra.
Where: 4501 Olney-Laytonsville Rd., Olney, MD
Details: The U.S. Botanic Garden's annual holiday display features model trains in the gated outdoor gardens and festive lights throughout the native plants and flowers.
Dates: Nov. 23-Jan. 1.
Details: The National Zoo's animal-themed light and lantern display is a D.C. holiday favorite — plus the family-friendly evenings include live musical performances, holiday markets, hot cocoa for kids, spiked hot cocktails for adults, and more attractions beyond the twinkles.
Dates: Nov. 24-Dec.30.
Price: Tickets are $6 per person (free for kids under 2). Parking passes are $30.
Where: National Zoo, 3001 Connecticut Ave., NW
Details: Visitors walk through 1,000 hand-made Chinese lanterns at this luminescent display near Tysons Galleria, decked out with interactive features and a bounce house — perfect for families, art lovers, and Instagrammers alike.
Dates: Nov. 24-Feb. 18.
Price: Tickets are $26 for adults and $18 for kids, plus bundles for groups.
Details: The massive holiday village and light maze at Nationals Park caters to both families and adult fun. Visitors can skate through a glowing forest, eat and drink in the marketplace, and snag photos with Santa.
Dates: Nov. 24-Dec. 31.
Price: Tickets are $32 for adults and $24 for juniors, plus package specials for families/groups.
Where: Nationals Park, 1500 S. Capitol St. SE
Dates: Nov. 24-Jan. 1.
Price: Varies by vehicle. Cars are $10 online and $15 at the gate.
Address: 301 Watkins Park Dr., Upper Marlboro, MD
Details: Combine a trip to the Downtown Holiday Market in Penn Quarter with a stop by CityCenterDC's 75-foot tree and giant reindeer nearby. A lighting ceremony takes place on Nov. 25 with live music by The Revels, balloon artists, face painters, and holiday treats.
When: Nov. 25.
Where: 825 10th St., NW
Details: The National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony happens on Nov. 30. The public is invited to visit the 63-foot Norway spruce, alongside 58 smaller trees, starting Dec. 2 — all lit up around sunset each evening. The National Menorah lighting happens on Dec. 7.
Where: White House Visitor Center, 1450 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Details: Local and international artists create luminescent installations that are set up throughout Georgetown. Visitors can sign up for various walking tours through the neighborhood.
Dates: Dec.1 - Jan.7
Price: Free, though some tours are ticketed.
Where: Various locations around Georgetown.
🛥️ Holiday Boat Parades
Details: Local boats deck their decks in holiday lights for two different parades at The Wharf and in Old Town, Alexandria. The parades coincide with dockside holiday parties filled with live music, activities, and food and drink specials. In Alexandria, it's part of a three-day festive weekend of events.
When: Dec. 2.
Where: The Wharf, 45 Sutton Sq., SW. Old Town, Cameron St., Alexandria
🎨 Artechouse's Spectacular Factory
Details: An immersive holiday light experience returns to the multi-media art studio, where visitors can walk among floating giant Christmas bells and thousands of nutcrackers.
When: Dec. 20-Jan. 8.
Price: Tickets start at $14.
Where: Artechouse, 1238 Maryland Ave., SW
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