Are you wondering what's happening in Washington, DC this winter? (Try saying that 10x fast!) Every year, our nation's capital puts on a seasonal show that features a plethora of FREE holiday festivities and events. From annual tree lightings, to family-friendly ZooLights, to holiday market shopping, and more — the city celebrates all winter long! With so many visitors coming to share seasonal joys with family and friends, goDCgo encourages you to take transit to avoid traffic and the search for parking. Transit options include Metrorail, DC Circulator, Capital Bikeshare, Metrobus, and dockless vehicles like bikes, mopeds, and scooters.
Though DC hosts numerous holiday events, we've decided to highlight some of our favorites below:
Celebrating its 15th year, the Downtown Holiday Market boasts one of the most spectacular outdoor shopping environments in the region. Visit this one-stop shop to explore more than 150 small and local businesses selling a variety of handmade art, wares, treats, and gifts for everyone on your shopping list. Open November 22 to December 23, 2019 from 12 to 8pm daily, the market brings a unique and festive shopping “village” to Downtown DC, including live entertainment.
Reimagine the season of light at the 6th edition of Georgetown GLOW, the region's first and only curated exhibition of outdoor public light art installations. Set against the historic backdrop of DC's oldest neighborhood, it's a whole new way to shine. Works will be lit starting December 6, 2019 to January 5, 2020 from 5 to 10pm nightly.
An American holiday tradition since 1923, the National Christmas Tree will be celebrating 97 years this December. This special occasion is one of the few times of year that continues to bring citizens together to share in a message of hope and peace. The National Christmas Tree will be lit every day from December 5, 2019 to January 1, 2020 at approximately 4:30pm to midnight as part of the America Celebrates display on the Ellipse at President’s Park (White House). The display will be open to the public after the National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony on December 5.
As the world's largest menorah, the National Menorah Lighting has become a premier symbol of the festival of Chanukah beginning December 22 through December 30, 2019. The annual lighting ceremony is open to the public and televised to reach everyone across the globe and possibly inspire other Jewish communities to sponsor their own public menorah lighting ceremonies. The National Chanukah Menorah can easily be found on the Ellipse, just across from the White House. Make sure you stop by to see and celebrate the miracle of Chanukah – "The Festival of Lights."
Plan your visit to America's Gardens during the "Season's Greenings" holiday show from November 28, 2019 to January 5, 2020 between 10am and 5pm. You'll get to see plant-based recreations of conservatories, fountains, sculptures, and DC landmarks; iconic garden scenes; a diversely decorated tree; and a showcase of 3,000+ heirloom and poinsettia varieties.
Tip: Best times to visit are weekdays early in December or select Tuesday and Thursday evenings in December when the Gardens are open until 8pm with live seasonal music.
See over 500,000 environmentally-friendly LED lights transform the National Zoo into a winter wonderland! An annual event, ZooLights includes live music performances, tasty treats, and plenty of family fun for all ages. New this year, is an interactive art exhibit called "Entre Les Rangs." Catch the 2019 attractions between November 29, 2019 to January 1, 2020 from 5 to 9pm.
Download our Winter Wonders Guide to explore even more events and your best options for getting there.