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Celebrating the holidays in D.C.



George Washington University


Celebrating the holidays in D.C.

Events in the District to help you get in the holiday spirit

Stephanie Gemmell


With the end of the semester and final exams quickly approaching, many students are experiencing both academic stress and excitement for the holidays. When you need a study break, these local events and displays provide opportunities to decompress and enjoy the holiday season.

The National Christmas Tree
A tradition since 1923, the National Christmas Tree will be on display in the Ellipse until January 1. This year's 30-foot tree was grown in Virginia and is decorated with approximately 75,000 LED lights. The path surrounding the tree features 56 smaller trees representing U.S. states and territories, each decorated with handmade ornaments.

ZooLights at the Smithsonian
The Smithsonian National Zoo's annual lights display features more than 500,000 LED lights and includes a light show set to music. The display will be open until January 1 along with snow-less tubing and a mobile art gallery. The Smithsonian is also holding an outdoor holiday market at the Zoo's Connecticut Avenue entrance from December 15 to 17 between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m.

Downtown Holiday Market
The 13th annual Downtown Holiday Market will be open from noon to 8 p.m. until December 23 and features more than 150 vendors and live entertainment. The market is located on the F Street sidewalk between 7th Street and 9th Street in front of the American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery.

National Menorah Lighting
The National Menorah lighting ceremony will be held on the Ellipse on December 12 at 4 p.m. and will feature a performance by the U.S. Air Force Band. Admission to the event is free, but attendees are required to order tickets in advance.

Georgetown GLOW
This outdoor lights show will be on display in Georgetown from 5 to 10 p.m. beginning on December 8 and running until January 7. This year's exhibit features a variety of artistic and interactive lights displays.

Wreaths Across America at Arlington
On Saturday, December 16, volunteers will gather to place wreaths at Arlington National Cemetery. An opening ceremony will be held at 8:15 a.m. followed by a wreath placement beginning at 9:15 a.m. Volunteers are not required to register in advance unless they want to receive email notifications about the event.