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Christmas In Washington DC


Capitol Christmas TreeWashington DC is a nice place to visit around the holidays. The weather is usually cool enough there to feel appropriately seasonable, but it's rarely cold enough to snow. The monuments and public buildings, which are always well lit and attractive in the evenings, look even prettier with the extra lights and color of the holiday season.

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You've probably seen scenes from the National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony on tv, the event is televised each year and includes a concert and appearance by the President and first family. If you can't be there for that event, there are still lots of opportunites to enjoy Christmas time in DC.

Things to Do

The National Christmas Tree

There is a lottery for tickets to attend the National Tree Lighting Ceremony in person.Visit the National Tree Lighting website for details and updates. If you would rather watch the event from the comfort of your home, CBS will broadcast the Tree Lighting Ceremony on December 15, 2023.

The National Christmas Tree is located on the Ellipse accross from the White House. There are smaller trees all around the big tree, each representing the United States and Territories. The National Christmas Tree is actually a living tree that grows in this location all the time. A National Hanukkah Menorah is also lit during the eight days of Hanukkah. More Info.

The Capitol Christmas Tree

The Capitol Christmas Tree is a traditional cut tree that is selected each year from one of the National Forests. The 2023 tree will come from the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia. The tree makes a tour with stops along the way as it travels to DC. The date for the 2023 Capitol tree lighting has not yet been announced. More Info.

While you're in the area, you can also visit the Great Hall of the Library of Congress' Thomas Jefferson Building, where a large Christmas tree is on display in December (closed Sundays).

Ice Skating

PandaAn outdoor skating rink is set up in the National Gallery of Art's Sculpture Garden. The rink is open November 20, 2023- March 3, 2024 (weather permitting).

Zoo Lights at the National Zoo

Stroll through the National Zoo amidst the wonderland ZooLights holiday lights display. You can go inside the exhibit buildings such as the small mammal building and great ape house to warm up. Visitors can enjoy warm holiday beverages and special sweet treats available throughout the park.

Zoo Lights 2023: November 24 to December 30, 2023 Visit the Zoo website for details

Festival of Lights at the Washington DC Mormon Temple

DC Mormon Temple with holiday lights Enjoy the Festival of Lights at the Mormon Temple, a display of over 500,000 lights, Christmas trees, international creches, and a life-sized nativity. Musical performances take place nightly in the Visitor Center's indoor theater. 2023 Festival Lights dates are November 30, 2023 - Janauary 1, 2024.

Mount Vernon by Candlelight

Visit Mount Vernon during the holiday season and enjoy candlelit character-guided tours of the mansion, plus 18th-century dancing and fireside caroling.

Holiday Shows

A Christmas Carol at Ford's Theater

The historic Ford's Theater production of "A Christmas Carol" runs November 17 - December 31, 2023.

Handel's Messiah - National Symphony Orchestra

Handel's Messiah is a holiday favorite is performed each year by the National Symphony Orestra and the University of Maryland Concert Choir at the beautiful Kennedy Center. December 14 - 17, 2023. Hotels near the Kennedy Center

The Nutcracker - Washington Ballet

The Washington Ballet's performance of Septime Webre's version of The Nutcracker is another Washinton DC holiday tradition. This version of the classic ballet is set in historic Washington DC and stars George Washington as the heroic nutcracker. It's all set to the traditional music by Tchaikovsky. At the Warner Theatre December 2 - 30, 2023. Hotels near Warner Theatre

American Holiday Festival Concert - U.S Army Band

Conductor holding batonThe American Holiday Festival Concert is a popular holiday show by The U.S. Army Band "Pershing's Own." The event is free but requires tickets be aquired online in advance.

The 2023 concerts will be held at DAR Constition Hall in Washington DC on:

  • Friday, December 1 at 8:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, December 2 at 3:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, December 2 at 8:00 p.m.
  • Sunday, December 3 at 3:00 p.m.

Free tickets (while supplies last) will be available online only starting at 10:00 a.m. (ET) on November 1, 2018. Seating is general admission.


The Hay-Adams - Located right where you want to be during the holidays, within view of the White House and Washington Monument.

JW Marriot Washington DC - Located near the White House and Warner Theater and the Smithsonian Musums.

Willard InterContinental Washington - Enjoy a luxurious stay in the heart of Washington DC. Just steps from the Eclipse and National Christmas Tree.

Washington Marriott Wardman Park - Located near the National Zoo, are a convenient Metro station provides access to the rest of the city.

Hotels near the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts - Be near the Kennedy Center for the National Symphony Orchestra's performances of Handel's Messiah.

Hotels near Warner Theatre - Home of the Washington Ballet's production of The Nutcracker.

Hotels near the National Christmas Tree - The tree is located at the Ellipse, across from the White House.

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