Updated July 10, 2020.
Thanksgiving is finished, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are over, and D.C. is in the Christmas mood! I absolutely LOVE Christmas in D.C. It’s a magical time of year, and it is my favorite time of year to call D.C. my home. Check out all the fun things to do here in no particular order:
10. Mount Vernon ($20 regular adult admission, $17 purchased online)
Not only do they have George Washington’s halls decked to the 9’s, they also have a gingerbread Mount Vernon! This is by far my favorite time to visit our first president’s home. They have candlelight tours on the weekends leading up to Christmas, and often there are special things happening like chocolate making! Be aware: Colonial chocolate is not like today’s chocolate!
9. The Christmas Camel (Included in Mount Vernon Admission)
This one is also at Mount Vernon, but he gets his own entry. This is Aladdin, the Christmas Camel! Why does Mount Vernon get a Christmas Camel? Because it’s awesome. And because George Washington was fascinated by all things animal- or plant-related. He was a progressive farmer who wanted to treat visitors to a special visitor at Christmas, so he truly did order a camel to his plantation one Christmas. Isn’t he great?
8. The Nutcracker ($37-$165)
Whether you see this annual event at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts or at the Warner Theatre, it will put you in the Christmas mood! Get your tickets early! Great for a group of girlfriends, or an especially romantic date from the boyfriend or husband who hates to shop!
More here: Date Night in D.C. at the Nutcracker
7. The White House (FREE–apply with your Congressperson)
This one takes some special planning, and you might have to know someone. I’ve been fortunate enough to see take the White House Christmas Tour twice, both times with my Love! It’s really very beautiful, and though you’re rushed along through the tour route, this is the one time of year you can take pictures inside!
Before you go, check out The Best Way to Visit the White House.
6. Ice Skating in the Sculpture Garden, National Gallery of Art ($8.50 for 2 hours; $3 skate rental)
This one is available all winter long, but it’s extra magical at Christmas. Ice skating, Christmas music, hot cocoa, chilly weather, the uniqueness of skating in a sculpture garden. It’s amazing! I took myself out for a date here one day after work a few years ago, and I did not disappoint myself!
5. Botanic Garden (FREE)
This is a sure-fire favorite. It’s a nice warm break from D.C.’s winter weather, and yet it’s always beautifully festive for the season! There are also always models of D.C. landmarks during the holidays here as well, as seen in the pictures below.
More here: The Best FREE Things to Do in D.C.
4. A Christmas Carol (Prices vary)
This is another Christmas performance you don’t want to miss! Every year both Ford’s Theatre (of Lincoln’s death fame) and The Little Theatre of Alexandria give incredible performances. Be ready for a tear-jerker, and again, buy tickets early!
More here: How to Tour Ford’s Theatre
3. Snow (FREE but weather dependent)
D.C. Decembers can be unpredictable–usually chilly, sometimes quite warm, and sometimes cold enough for SNOW! If we get snow before Christmas, you better believe I’m out there taking pictures!
2. Old Town’s Lights (FREE)
I loved living in Old Town Alexandria. The memories I have of living and working there will always stay with me no matter where I go. The best part, though, the way I knew Christmas was upon me, was the Christmas lights! The streets are magical, the Old Town tree at Market Square is special, and people are just a little bit friendlier.
More here: 10 Reasons to Visit Old Town Alexandria
1. The Christmas Trees (FREE)
D.C. has no shortage of fully decorated Christmas trees. They’re just so awe-inspiring. You’ll find my personal favorites at the White House Ellipse, Library of Congress, and the Capitol West Lawn.
More here: Where to Find D.C.’s Best Christmas Trees
Where’s your favorite Christmassy place to be for the holidays? What makes you excited for the season?
Want more about planning your trip? Check out my dedicated Washington, D.C., Page!
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