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8 Festivities to Add To Your U.S. Capital Holiday Bucket List

The holidays are a joyous time in the nation's capital. And although things are different this year, you can still get in the holiday spirit at these virtual and socially distant festivities.

1. Visit the National Christmas Tree

December 3rd – 30th, 2020

The 98th National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony happened virtually on December 3rd. It is also available for viewers to stream throughout the holiday season. The display and walkway are open to visitors to enjoy in person. The walkway surrounding the National Christmas tree features 56 state and territory trees decorated with hand-made ornaments that are unique to each tree.

2. Get Your White House Christmas Ornament

Every year since 1981, the White House Historical Association has had the privilege of designing the Official White House Christmas Ornament. These unique collectibles — honoring individual presidents or specific White House anniversaries — have become part of the holiday tradition of millions of American families. Sales of the ornaments support the historical preservation of White House art and artifacts. The 2020 ornament honors President John F. Kennedy and is available for purchase online.

National Christmas Tree by @elliot.dng-IG
The National Christmas Tree 2019 @elliot.dng-IG

3. Experience "A Christmas Carol"

December 14th - December 30th, 2020

This year, the historic Ford’s Theatre will be releasing a radio version of "A Christmas Carol" with Craig Wallace returning as Scrooge. Truly a holiday classic, join the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future as they lead the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge on a journey of transformation and redemption. The radio adaptation will be available for free online from December 14th to 30th.

patrons of A Christmas Carol at Ford's Theatre
A Christmas Carol @tay.j.thomas/Instagram

4. Enjoy "The Nutcracker" Ballet

December 1st – 30th, 2020

Enjoy the joy and magic of the Washington Ballet’s “DC The Nutcracker” from the comfort of your own home. The delightful and family-friendly virtual experience will include behind-the-scenes content, interviews, special performances and more. You can view the virtual Nutcracker on the Washington Ballet’s website at no cost.

Christmas tree at Central Place Plaza in Rosslyn
Christmas tree at Central Place Plaza in Rosslyn

5. Find Holiday Cheer at one of Arlington's Festive Neighborhood Light Displays

Throughout December, you can enjoy the Rosslyn neighborhood’s dazzling Christmas tree at the corner of Wilson Boulevard and North Lynn Street, just steps from the Rosslyn Metro Station. Rosslyn has also set up seven touchless “Wanderland” stations around the neighborhood, each with a magical holiday experience. To access the seasonal surprises, simply scan the QR code at each holiday station for a seasonal surprise.

In the heart of the Ballston neighborhood, the Ballston Quarter shopping and entertainment district is done up in reds, greens, and golds. While you’re there to admire the tree, stop in for some Christmas shopping or a hot cocoa doughnut from District Doughnut. Brighten your day with a stop at Quarter Market for FREE seasonal giveaways (dates and times will be announced on Ballston Quarter’s social media channels).

Ballston Quarter Christmas Tree
Ballston Quarter Christmas Tree via @paulyv93-IG

On the other side of town, The Village at Shirlington always puts on its seasonal best with hanging light ornaments, holiday lights and a Christmas tree. Browse the shops and boutiques for unique holiday gifts, and pop into one of the sidewalk cafes to warm up with a to-go drink.

The Village at Shirlington Christmas tree via @reece.o
The Village at Shirlington Christmas Tree via @reece.o-IG

Market Common Clarendon shines this winter with glowing orbs of holiday cheer. Warm up with hot cocoa at Nicecream and browse for holiday gifts at the outdoor shopping venue's many stores.

6. Visit Fashion Centre at Pentagon City

Fashion Centre at Pentagon City goes all out for the festive season with a Christmas tree, glitzy decorations and a socially distant Santa Photo Experience. Stop into major retailers to do some holiday shopping and pick up a few goodies for yourself.

Pentagon Row holiday decorations
Glowing holiday stars at Pentagon Row via @danielccardoso_

7. Lace up Your Skates at Pentagon Row

Across the way, Pentagon Row brings the Christmas spirit outdoors with a has an ice skating rink adorned with giant glowing stars, a menorah and a Christmas tree. Grab some hot cocoa and hit the ice. Don your ugly Christmas sweaters and festive apparel and set out for the Outdoor Ice Skating Rink at Pentagon Row. The largest outdoor ice-skating rink in Northern Virginia, this rink has a stone fireplace for lounging during skating breaks and is surrounded by dozens of shops and restaurants making this a memorable holiday outing. The rink has implemented social distancing, reduced capacity and other safety measures.

Young woman ice skating at Pentagon Row Outdoor Ice Rink
Pentagon Row Ice Skating

8. Visit Other Holiday Events Around the Region

Celebrate Christmas at Mount Vernon

November 27th – December 30th, 2020
Celebrate the holidays at Mount Vernon starting on November 27th with a sparkling fireworks display. From historical holiday-themed tours to glowing winter lights, Mount Vernon is an enchanting place to spend a day or evening. Please visit their website for specific COVID-19 social distancing and safety measures.

Meadowlark’s Winter Walk of Lights

November 11th – January 3rd, 2020
Prepare to be dazzled by Meadowlark Botanical Garden’s magical Winter Walk of Lights. The beautiful light display is open nightly starting November 11th.


Photo Credit Header Image: @thesoulfulvagabond-instagram