From Christmas tree lighting ceremonies to holiday markets, there are plenty of ways to celebrate the season in DC. This is what is happening from December 17 to January 1, 2023.

ZooLights

For the holidays, you can’t go wrong with the National Zoo. As a bonus, it’s free to enter! This is a great option if you’re looking for something fun to do in Washington DC during the winter months.

Join the thousands of visitors who make ZooLights, powered by Pepco, a part of their annual holiday tradition. A free, ticketed, event, ZooLights includes live music performances, tasty winter treats and plenty of opportunities for holiday shopping.  Environmentally friendly LED lights and dozens of glowing animal lanterns transform the Zoo into a winter wonderland!  

New this year: Admission to ZooLights is free, but a special entry pass separate from a daily Zoo pass will be required for all attendees, including Zoo Members. There is a flat-rate parking fee of $30. Daytime parking tickets are not valid for ZooLights parking. Reserve Tickets Here.

National Christmas Tree

The National Park Service and National Park Foundation are celebrating the 100th National Christmas Tree Lighting this year! The National Christmas Tree is located in President’s Park in Washington, D.C. From December 2 through January 1, everyone is invited to visit the National Christmas Tree outside and enjoy this annual holiday tradition in our nation’s capital.

The National Christmas Tree and America Celebrates display is open to the public until January 1! Visitors can walk onto the White House Ellipse and see the tree up close and personal, as well as enjoy the 58 trees decorated with ornaments designed by students from across the U.S. National Park Service.

National Gallery/Chinatown Downtown Holiday Market

The Chinatown Holiday Market is a great place to go if you want to get a feel for the culture of Washington, DC. The market boasts over 100 vendors selling handmade items and traditional foods. You’ll also find concert performances by local musicians and other performers throughout the evening on most days of the week.

The 18th Annual Downtown Holiday Market, Washington D.C.’s outdoor shopping village, kicks off the holiday season Friday, November 18. The beloved outdoor market continues to support small businesses and entrepreneurs across the region, welcoming shoppers for a safe, secure and enhanced shopping experience in the heart of the District this year. Going on now until Friday, December 23, 2022. Downtown Holiday Market.

Enchant DC

Enchant by Hallmark is a place where family, friends, and loved ones come together to celebrate the holidays in a festive, fun and safe way. It’s a place where you can feel the spirit of Christmas in the air and hear it in children’s laughter as they – and you – walk through an incredible light display at Nationals Park in the Navy Yard district of Washington, DC.

Experience a world of adventure with awe-inspiring animated light sculptures. Discover a charming Village offering ice-skating, live entertainment, interactive games, dining, holiday shopping, Santa & Mrs. Claus, and so much more. Open Nov 25 – Jan 1. Enchant DC is Featured in the Lobbyist’s Directory.

Museum of the Bible

Come see an exclusive exhibition featuring bells from the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, listen to daily readings of the Christmas story, enjoy performances by local and national choirs, and see the line up of Christmas concerts, including Point of Grace and the Gettys. The Museum of the Bible also makes Christmas shopping easy with their international Christmas market, and they will have crafts and activities for kids throughout the season. Museum of the Bible.

“Season’s Greenings” Botanical Gardens

Season’s Greenings 2022. Photo from USBG.

The U.S. Botanic Garden (USBG) offers a garden-wide “Season’s Greenings” holiday display this year, running now through Monday, January 2, 2023, closed Dec. 25. As part of the festivities, G-gauge model trains run between 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. each day in the gated outdoor gardens and the Conservatory features poinsettias, holiday decor, and D.C. landmarks made from plants. The train display and Conservatory will have extended hours until 8:00 p.m. on Tuesdays in December. Botanical Gardens

There are many holiday events to do in DC.

Even if you’ve never been to Washington, DC, there’s no shortage of activities. From museums and monuments to the many events that take place throughout the year, including New Year’s Eve celebrations and musical performances — there’s always something fun going on in our nation’s capital.