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10 Things to Do on Christmas Day in Washington, DC


Looking for something to do in Washington, DC on Christmas Day? Although not everyone celebrates the holiday, most businesses and attractions are closed on December 25th. Here are some ideas to fill your day.

1. Visit the Monuments and Memorials

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Christmas Day is a good time to see the monuments and memorials in DC and Northern Virginia. Although the visitor centers are not open, you can still get up close and enjoy the majestic views. It’s also an easy day to find parking close by!

2. Explore Mount Vernon Estate

Photo © Virginia Tourism Corporation

The estate is open Christmas and New Year's Day. During the Holidays at Mount Vernon visitors get a glimpse of an early-American Christmas. Exclusively during this time, the rarely-seen third floor is open to the public. An elaborately re-created dessert course is displayed in the large dining room with the Washingtons' famed "Great Cake" as the centerpiece of the feast.

3. See "Seasons Greenings" at the U.S. Botanic Garden

Photo © Rachel Cooper, licensed to About.com, Inc.

The attraction on the National Mall is open on Christmas Day and features a unique exhibit with model trains and incredible replicas of Washington, DC's most famous buildings and monuments. This is a great holiday treat to be sure not to miss.

4. Walk the Grounds of Arlington National Cemetery

Photo © Rachel Cooper, licensed to About.com, Inc.

The grounds to the national burial ground are open 365 days a year. Tours do not operate on Christmas Day, but visitors may explore on foot. Print out an interactive map and plan your own walking tour.

5. Go to a Movie

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Movie theaters are open and a selection of good movies usually come out in time for the holiday season. Here’s a guide to local cinemas:

6. Take a Hike in a Local Park

Photo © Rachel Cooper, licensed to About.com, Inc.

If the weather is clear, this is a nice day to take a quiet stroll through a park. Please note that some parks may close their entrance gates, so you may want to call ahead to find out about accessibility. See a guide to the local parks:

7. See a Show or Concert at the Kennedy Center

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Washington's premier performance venue offers a free All-Star Christmas Day Jazz Jam at 6 p.m. at its Millennium Stage. Ticketed performances are also scheduled in the Opera House, the Eisenhower Theatre and the Theatre Lab on Christmas Day. Check the official site for schedules.

8. Volunteer

Photo © Steve Debenport

The Christmas holiday is a great time to lend a hand to the needy. Offer to help at a local soup kitchen or a nursing home.

9. Eat Out

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A variety of nice restaurants offer Christmas dinner or brunch, buffets and a la carte menus. See a guide to Christmas Dinner at Restaurants in the Washington, DC Area.

10. Visit the Jewish Community Center

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The community center offers a health and fitness center and a variety of programs for all ages. There’s a location downtown and one in Rockville, Maryland. Check the schedule online or call to see what is going on.

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