Celebrate the Holidays in the Capital Region

Create holiday memories that will last a lifetime with a trip to Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia. Every year, the Capital Region glows with Christmas lights and holiday spirit from November through early January. From driving light tours to pop-up holiday markets to season-long holiday celebrations, there’s a little holiday magic in every corner of America’s Capital Region.

Washington, DC

The nation’s capital feels more like the North Pole with numerous light displays and seasonal events across the city. Witness the National Christmas Tree Lighting in President’s Park on the White House Ellipse. The spectacular national tree is surrounded by smaller trees decorated with handmade ornaments from 56 US states and territories.

Tour the National Zoo at night as it is lit up with more than 500,000 environmentally friendly LED lights during ZooLights. This free event features live music performances, tasty winter treats, and plenty of opportunities for holiday shopping.

Find the perfect gifts and souvenirs from your trip at the Downtown Holiday Market. This seasonal shopping “village” in the heart of downtown DC offers hundreds of diverse gift items such as jewellery, pottery, paintings, and textiles from numerous exhibitors each day. Afterward, enjoy holiday tea at The Willard Intercontinental Washington, one of the city’s most historic hotels.

Tour the city’s neighbourhoods lit up for the holidays and lively with special events. Transit Pier at The Wharf along the Southwest Waterfront shows holiday movies on a 20-foot LED screen during the season. Reserve a private fire pit to stay cosy throughout the show while you enjoy drinks and snacks from local eateries.

Maryland

Maryland’s small towns and downtown districts transform into winter wonderlands for the holiday season. Experience Midnight Madness, a night when shops stay open late so that visitors may wonder the decorated streets, shop for presents and souvenirs, and enjoy special culinary offerings from local restaurants. Downtown Annapolis, historic Ellicott City, and St. Michaels on Maryland’s Eastern Shore each host Midnight Madness events.

Just 20 miles from DC, iconic theme park Six Flags America’s Holiday in the Park features more than a million glittering lights, live performances, visits with Santa Claus, and theme park rides.

Celebrate African American traditions and heritage during the seven days of Kwanza with events in Baltimore and Annapolis. Kwanza celebrations at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum in Baltimore include African dance, drumming performances, lectures, an African marketplace, and more. Annapolis’ Banneker-Douglass Museum features performers, tours, food, and games.

Virginia

Book a stay at one of Virginia’s boutique hotels, historic inns, or stunning resorts, beautifully decorated for the holidays. Highlights include Salamander Resort & Spa in the heart of Virginia horse country; Primland Resort, an outdoor-lover’s oasis in the Blue Ridge Mountains; and Quirk Hotel, an art-themed boutique property in Richmond, the state’s capital city.

Take a driving tour of the holidays light displays across the region. From the 100 Miles of Lights tour to Holiday Lights at Virginia Beach, Richmond’s Tacky Light Tour, or the Winter Walk of Lights in Roanoke, Virginia glows with holiday spirit all season long. You can also experience the holidays of the past including candlelit tours at historic sites across the state such as Colonial Williamsburg, Mount Vernon, and Monticello.

Get a taste for the season as Virginia’s wineries, breweries, and distilleries add a dash of holiday spirit to their libations and tasting rooms. The state’s more than 200 breweries often brew seasonal beers with flavours of gingerbread and peppermint while the 300+ wineries throughout Virginia light the fireplaces in their tasting rooms and patios, making a perfectly cosy environment to relax after a day of shopping and touring.

Related: 
Attractions & Family Fun
History & Culture
Tours & Trails
City Adventures
Wine & Cuisine
Shopping

Guide Footer Popup