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Top 10 Washington, DC Holiday Activities


The holiday season is very busy in Washington, DC with an amazing variety of fun activities throughout the month of December. Try something new this year and enjoy special moments with family and friends. Here are my top picks of holiday events.

1. Visit the National Christmas Tree

© Terry Adams/National Park Service
The National Christmas Tree and the Pathway of Peace is illuminated daily at dusk until 10 p.m. Each night in December, musical groups from the Washington, DC area will entertain visitors to the Ellipse.

2. See Christmas Light Displays

© FONZ/National Zoo
Celebrate the holiday season with a drive or a stroll through one of the Washington, DC area's spectacle of lights at a local park or along the water in Washington, DC, Maryland or Virginia. These Christmas light displays are beautiful and a great way to share the magic and joy of a winter wonderland.

3. Visit Gaylord National Resort's ICE!

© Gaylord National Resort

Step inside a winter wonderland created entirely of 5,000 BLOCKS of ice weighing 1.5 MILLION POUNDS! hand-sculpted by 40 international artisans and kept at a chilling nine degrees Fahrenheit. With a new theme each year, this is an interactive holiday attraction you won't want to miss.

4. Take a Candlelight Tour

© Mount Vernon Ladies Association
Take a candlelight tour and enjoy the festive holiday décor of historic homes in the Washington, DC area. Several house museums in Maryland and Northern Virginia offer candlelight tours, complete with seasonal music and holiday treats.

5. Scottish Walk Weekend and the Boat Parade in Old Town Alexandria

© Alexandria Convention & Visitors Association
Watch hundreds of Scottish clansmen with their bagpipes gather for the traditional favorite Scottish Walk Parade and dozens of festively decorated pleasure boats light up the sky along the Potomac River.

6. See the Nutcracker

© Patrick Riviere/Getty Images
Take the whole family to marvel over Clara’s Christmas fantasy when the wooden toy soldier comes alive and takes her on a magical tour of wonderful holiday adventures.

7. Attend a Holiday Concert

© Wolf Trap Farm Park
Enjoy a musical performance of Christmas classics, sing-alongs, Hanukkah songs and much more.

8. See a Holiday Toy Train Exhibit

© Kristoffer Ronneberg/Royal Norwegian Embassy
Toy train displays are a family favorite for the holiday season. See model trains winds through a miniature winter wonderland with farms, a fishing village, churches, a ski jump and more.

9. Attend the National Hanukkah Menorah Lighting Ceremony

© American Friends of Lubavitch
A National Hanukkah Menorah is lit on the White House grounds, at the Ellipse during the eight day Jewish holiday commemorating the Jewish Maccabees' military victory over Syrian oppression more than 2,000 years ago. Festivities at the lighting ceremony include musical performances and hot latkes and donuts.

10. Ring in the New Year at a First Night Event

© First Night Annapolis
Ring in the New Year with the kids at a special event with live performances of music, dance, theater, fireworks and more.

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