Events

Everything You Must Do in DC This Holiday Season

Published On 11/20/2017 Published On 11/20/2017
The Watergate Hotel
The Watergate Hotel's winter wonderland | The Watergate Hotel
November
The Watergate Hotel
The Watergate Hotel's Winder Wonderland | The Watergate Hotel
November
Friday - Sunday
Nov 10-Jan 7

Ooh and aah at twinkly Christmas lights

Ooh and aah at twinkly Christmas lights

Various locations
There’s no shortage of holiday light displays around the region, but there are definitely a few that stand out from the rest. Zoo Lights transforms the NationalZoo into a sparkling wonderland. Georgetown GLOW illuminates up the neighborhood with light art exhibits. Meadowlark’s Winter Walk of Lights is a stunning half mile of lights in the Meadowlark Botanical Gardens. Symphony of Lights has more than 100 light creations plus a laser light show.
Cost: Entrance fees and opening dates vary
Thursday - Monday
Nov 16-Jan 1

Explore The Watergate's stunning winter wonderland

Explore The Watergate's stunning winter wonderland

The Watergate is sure to become the place to hang this holiday season, with their outdoor rooftop skating rink and luxury igloos. There’s simply nowhere else in the city that can offer panoramic views while you ice skate, so head to the Top of the Gate for a one-of-a-kind winter experience. Plus, the Next Whisky Bar has introduced decked out 12-foot heated igloos on their terrace, which can be reserved for a tasting menu, a whiskey flight, a date night, or afternoon tea.  
Cost: Skate rentals are $20 for adults. Igloos start at $200.
Saturday - Monday
Nov 18-Jan 1
This icy village starring Rudolph and all his friends was carved from more than 2 million pounds of ice. In addition to the sculptures, there are four ice slides throughout. The place is kept at 9 degrees, so parkas are provided.
Cost: Tickets start at $24 for children and $32 for adults
Thursday
Nov 23

Let someone else do the the cooking on Turkey Day

Let someone else do the the cooking on Turkey Day

Various locations
Skip the stress and the mess and let the pros handle the bird. Various restaurants host Thanksgiving feasts, but our picks include Blue Duck Tavern’s epic family-style meal, Mintwood Place’s decadent three-course dinner, and Succotash’s classic Southern spread.
Cost: Prices vary
Thursday - Monday
Nov 23-Jan 1
This year’s holiday theme is Roadside Attractions, with model trains that chug around plant creations made to look like iconic sights from across the country. On select Tuesdays and Thursdays in December, there will be live holiday music in the Conservatory.
Cost: Free
Friday - Sunday
Nov 24-Dec 31
1839 to 1843 7th Street NW
The Christmas bar is BACK, BABY. This year is the biggest one yet, with five themed spaces bringing to life the magic of the holiday season. There’s an antique sleigh, a working toy train, a walk-in gingerbread house, and a room for those who prefer to spend the 25th with Chinese takeout and a movie. Don your ugliest sweater and sip cocktails like I Sleigh, All Day and Elf’s Breakfast, which
features cinnamon toast crunch, maple syrup, and candy spaghetti.
Cost: Entrance is free., most cocktails are $14 each.
Friday - Saturday
Nov 24-Dec 23
Downtown, Centered at Eighth and F Streets NW
The 13th annual Downtown Holiday Market boasts more than 150 regional artisans selling art, crafts, jewelry, pottery, clothing, and specialty food items. There’s also seasonal entertainment and snacks while you shop. Check back regularly, since the exhibitors and the selection of goods rotates.
Cost: Entrance is free
Friday - Saturday
Nov 24-Jan 6
Mount Vernon goes all out for the holidays, with old-timey Christmas events happening throughout the season. Hang out with Aladdin the Christmas camel, watch chocolate demos, find out what the Washingtons would have eaten for holiday dinner, have tea with Martha, or tour the estate by candlelight.
Cost: Admission is $18 and certain programs have additional ticket fees
Thursday
Nov 30
The White House Ellipse
The lighting of the National Tree takes place on November 30 this year featuring Mannheim Steamroller, with the television broadcast following on December 4 on the Hallmark Channel. Starting December 1, it will be open daily. During your visit, be sure to admire the creative ornaments adorning the surrounding trees representing each state and territory.
Cost: Free
December
Christmas in Middleburg
Christmas in Middleburg | Chris Weber
December
Friday - Saturday
Dec 1-2
Old Town Alexandria
Get in touch with your Scottish heritage (or just pretend you’re in Braveheart) with a tartan-riddled parade, a heather and greens sale, and a Scotch tasting event.
Cost: The parade is free and Taste of Scotland starts at $110 per ticket
Friday - Sunday
Dec 1-3
Middleburg
The bucolic town of Middleburg is the perfect backdrop for Christmas magic. Have breakfast with Santa, watch horses, riders, and hounds strut through town during the Hunt Review, enjoy the Christmas parade, shop at the craft show, indulge in a progressive food and wine tasting, and catch the tree lighting.
Cost: Free admission, costs vary at shops and restaurants
Friday - Sunday
Dec 1-3
The Christkindlmarkt is a recreation of a traditional German public Christmas market featuring goods from more than 40 local artisans. The historic house will also be decorated and open for tours.
Cost: Admission is $10 per day
Friday - Sunday
Dec 1-17
Wunder Garten’s Winterfest will have a Made in DC market, a Christmas tree lot, art installations, s’mores and a fire pit, live music, food vendors (including Timber Pizza), hot cocktails, winter beers, and a whole lot of holiday lights.
Cost: Free admission
Saturday - Sunday
Dec 2-3
During this annual holiday event, the whole museum will be filled with cheer. Expect musical performances, cooking demos, festive decor, holiday movie screenings, and more.
Cost: Free
Monday - Wednesday
Dec 4-13
Strathmore’s holiday lineup includes classical crossover quartet Sons of Serendip, Canadian Brass, Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra, and the Hip Hop Nutcracker. It all kicks off with jazz from saxophonist Dave Koz.
Cost: Ticket prices vary depending on the event
Tuesday - Sunday
Dec 5-31

Deck the halls with cheer at tons of Kennedy Center events

Deck the halls with cheer at tons of Kennedy Center events

The holiday season at the Kennedy Center is stacked with the Second City’s take on Dickens, an NSO POPs holiday concert, the Nutcracker ballet (November 22-26), a Washington Chorus Christmas concert, a jazz New Year’s Eve with Dee Dee Bridgewater, and much more.
Cost: Ticket prices vary
Monday - Thursday
Dec 11-14

Be merry at two big shows at Capital One Arena

Be merry at two big shows at Capital One Arena

The Capital One Arena is hosting the HOT 99.5 Jingle Ball (with Fall Out Boy, Kesha, Logic, and more) and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s Ghost of Christmas Eve.
Cost: Ticket prices vary
Tuesday
Dec 12
The White House Ellipse
This year’s lighting ceremony includes Dreidelman & the Macabees, hot latkes and donuts, free dreidels, and menorah kits.
Cost: Free tickets are required for admission
Wednesday
Dec 13

Celebrate the Festivus for the rest of us

Celebrate the Festivus for the rest of us

Rustico is embracing this classic Seinfeld tradition with 20+ holiday ales, the official Festivus pole, glassware giveaways, and themed bar snacks. Given Rustico's success with previous Festivus events, this year's should be a lot of fun.
Cost: Admission is free, but food and drink prices vary
Wednesday
Dec 13
Billed as the largest Hanukkah happy hour in the area, this year’s event is going back in time at Decades to relive the '80s and '90s. Era-appropriate attire is encouraged. There will be food and drink specials and a winter clothing drive.
Cost: Tickets are $5
Saturday - Sunday
Dec 16-17
Dance Place is celebrating Kwanzaa with a performance by Coyaba Academy, Coyaba Dance Theater, and special guests. You can expect plenty of vibrant dancing and rhythmic African drumming.
Cost: Tickets start at $15
Saturday - Sunday
Dec 16-17
The Cathedral Choir society is spreading Christmas joy with festive tunes and carol sing-alongs during their concert series at the majestic National Cathedral.
Cost: Tickets start at $25
Monday
Dec 18
Commissary is partying with latkes for the fourth year. The star attraction is the bottomless latke and deep-fried donut bar, which includes traditional, sweet potato, and Brussels sprout latkes. In case this sweetens the deal, 10% of the proceeds benefit the Jewish Food Experience.
Cost: Tickets are $22 per person
Sunday
Dec 24
Old Town Alexandria Waterfront
Quite possibly one of the weirdest ways to celebrate the holidays? Water-skiing Santa. Mr. and Mrs. Claus and their motley crew take to the Potomac River to spread holiday cheer.
Cost: Free
Sunday
Dec 24

Have a glorious Feast of the Seven Fishes

Have a glorious Feast of the Seven Fishes

Various locations
Partake in the Italian holiday tradition of the Feast of the Seven Fishes at Masseria, Fiola, G by Mike Isabella, and more. If you want to try to pull off the multi-course meal at home, consider taking a crash course from chef Dylyn Coolidge at Casolare.
Cost: Prices vary
Monday
Dec 25

Enjoy Christmas brunch or dinner at DC restaurants

Enjoy Christmas brunch or dinner at DC restaurants

Various locations
After ripping open that loot under the tree, head out to a local restaurant to enjoy brunch or dinner. Hay Adams, Teddy and the Bully Bar, and Cafe Berlin, are among the establishments opening their doors and serving up decadent holiday fare.
Cost: Prices vary
Sunday
Dec 31

Ring in the New Year any which way you like

Ring in the New Year any which way you like

Various locations
Need somewhere to celebrate the start of 2018? Many bars and restaurants in the area are throwing New Year’s bashes, including Bresca’s Black & Gold Soirée, Captain Gregory’s cocktail pairing dinner, and The Riggsby’s caviar and Champagne affair.
Cost: Ticket prices vary
January
Mon Ami Gabi - Reston
Mon Ami Gabi Reston | Mon Ami Gabi - Reston
January
Monday
Jan 1

Nurse your New Year's hangover with brunch

Nurse your New Year's hangover with brunch

Various locations
When you roll out of bed on New Year’s Day in search of carbs and coffee, look no further than Declaration’s pizza (set to all three Hangover movies), oodles of noodles at Sfoglina, and French fare at Mon Ami Gabi Reston, where you’ll be rewarded with a gift card if you stay in your PJs for brunch.
Cost: Prices vary