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Things to Do in Washington DC at Christmas

The 2009 National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

(December 3, 2009; 5p.m.; The White House Ellipse; Tickets required)
The National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony is renowned for its military band performance and message from the President which spreads a sweet holiday message of cheer and peace to the world.

Capitol Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

(December 8, 2009; 5p.m.; West Lawn of the U. S. Capitol)
Revel in some holiday music with carols sung by the Congressional Chorus and music performed by a section of The President’s Own, United States Marine Band.

National Harbor Christmas Tree Lighting

(November 27, 2009; 5p.m.-7p.m.; Waterfront Plaza, National Harbor, MD)
National Harbor is starting this holiday season by lighting its giant 65 ft. Christmas tree on November 27th. Watch it come to life with tons of lights. The event will also feature a spectacular fireworks display, story telling and ornament making workshops for children and holiday music.

City of Gaithersburg’s 2009 Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

(December 5, 2009; 6p.m.-8p.m.; City Hall Concert Pavilion; 31 South Summit Ave; Gaithersburg, MD)
The local community in Gaithersburg, Maryland, is hosting a festive celebration for the holidays that features a sing-a-long, steaming cups of hot chocolate, pictures with Santa and a tree lighting ceremony.

Historic Waters House – Montgomery County Historical Society

(December 6, 2009; 4:30p.m.-6p.m.; 12535 Milestone Manor Lane; Germantown, Maryland)

City of Alexandria’s Tree Lighting Ceremony 2009

(November 27, 2009; 7p.m.-9 p.m.; Historic Market Square; Old Town Alexandria, Virginia)
The mayor of Alexandra as well as Santa Claus will be present for this small and enjoyable tree lighting celebration which also features holiday musical entertainment.

Reston Town Center Christmas Tree Lighting and Sing Along 2009

(November 27, 2009; 6p.m.; Market Street & Fountain Square; Reston, VA)
A day in Reston’s Town Center on November 27th includes a full day of activities like a Thanksgiving Day Parade, a visit with Santa Claus, horse & carriage rides and the Annual Race for the Kids.

Alexandria Holiday Boat Parade Schedule

(Saturday, December 5, 2009; 4p.m.-6p.m.)
The Alexandria Holiday Boat Parade of Lights is when owners decorate their powerboats, yachts and sailboats for the holiday season. The colorfully lit up boats sit displayed beautifully along the Potomac River and compete in categories like “Thinking Outside the Christmas Box” and “Best in Show.” There are also many activities for children and families alike. See below for a brief schedule
4:15p.m. – Santa arrives by boat and will take pictures for “Kids & Canines”
5p.m. – Parade starts at Washington Channel, (Water St. & Maine Avenue, Washington, DC)
6p.m.-7p.m. – Parade at the Alexandria Waterfront

Get to Alexandria by riding the OnBoard RoundAbout!

Historic Leesburg Christmas Tree Lighting

(December 4, 2009; 6p.m.; Town Green, 25 W. Market St.; Leesburg, VA)

Christmas on the Potomac

(Nov. 19-Jan. 10) Visit National Harbor and Gaylord National for the best Holiday events in the Washington DC Area. Check out ICE! at Gaylord National.

Get to National Harbor and Gaylord National by riding the OnBoard RoundAbout!

Voices of Gaylord National Christmas Show

(runs various dates in Nov.-Dec.)
A forty minute Christmas spectacle comprised of 100 plus voices from school choirs to professional singers.

Gaylord National Holiday Décor

Icicles, snowfall, a miniature town of trains…it’s as if you died and landed in holiday heaven. This holiday season Gaylord National Resort comes alive with the magnificent Tree of Light, nightly visions of snow falling and the Potomac Express Train Village.

Sounds of the Season

(Sun.-Wed., 7pm) Local musicians grace us with talented performances.

Brightest Star Fountain Show

(nightly, Atrium Fountain) Narration of classic Christmas tales back dropped with fanciful lighting and dancing fountains.

Outdoor Ice Skating

(Mon.-Thurs. 10am-9pm, Fri.-Sat. 10am–11pm
Sunday 11am-9pm) For a breath of fresh air and a view of some gorgeous ice sculptures, head over to the National Gallery of Arts Sculpture Garden Ice Skating Rink. After skating enjoy a mug of hot chocolate or lunch from the Pavilion Café.


(Rock Creek Park; Dec. 18- Dec. 30, 2008) The National Zoo begins its annual celebration of winter with crafts, live music, twinkle lights and sweet treats. Tickets are $6 for members and $12 for nonmembers, kids under 2 are free.

National Christmas Tree Lighting & Pageant of Peace

(The Ellipse; Dec. 1st- Dec. 31, 2008) Live holiday music performances and 56 fully decked out Christmas trees. Free tickets will be distributed on a first come, first serve basis.

Christmas at Mount Vernon

George Washington’s Estate & Gardens (Dec. 28- Jan. 6) Daytime program which displays themed Christmas trees and chocolate making demonstrations.

“Flamenca Navidad”-Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana

(5301 Tuckerman Ln.) Previously named one of the top five dance performances last year, don’t miss out. Tickets range from $25-$48. Visit www.strathmore.org for more information.

  • Departure Times:

    DC IT ALL! Tours Leave at 10 AM.
    DC THE LIGHTS! Tours leave at 7:30 PM
    DC THE BEST! Tours Leave at 10:30am & 2:30pm (Apr - Oct)

  • Where:

    From the North side of the Old Post Office Building at 12th and Pennsylvania NW (1100 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC)

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