We may be partial, but at The Wink, we think that Washington DC offers some of the best things to do during the holiday season. So if you’re looking for Christmas lights, you’re in luck. Here are our top five favorite holiday light displays and events in DC.
The National Christmas
Obviously, this one tops our list. With the famed tree lighting ceremony held on November 30th, the Christmas season kicks into gear in Washington DC. The ceremony itself includes A-list performers, but never fear. Even if you miss the initial lighting, you can watch it happen again every evening at 4:30 p.m. – with accompanying musical performances throughout the holiday season. The tree stays lit until 10:00 p.m. each night, but you can visit President’s Park on the White House Ellipse starting at 10:00 a.m. to enjoy the decorations. Don’t forget to take time to take in the surrounding trees, each decorated with handmade ornaments representing all 50 US states and 6 territories.
Even for those who don’t love animals, this free light exhibit powered by Pepco is worth experiencing at least once. The National Zoo offers over 500,000 LEDs, animated light installations, laser light shows, live musical performances, holiday shopping, a Gingerbread Village and much more from November 23rd – January 1st. Of course, if you do love animals the way we do, there’s the added bonus of viewing the zoo’s exceptional collection while they are in nighttime mode – an entirely new set of behaviors for many nocturnal types. The exhibit is closed Dec. 24, 25 & 31 for the holidays
For something a bit different, discover an incredible, curated exhibition of outdoor light-art. The season shines in a truly unique way, set against the impressive and historic backdrop of the oldest neighborhood in Washington DC. The 5th year of this popular holiday event runs from December 1st through January 6th, with the art works sparkling with brilliant lights from 5:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. each night.
Season's Greenings: All Aboard!
The holiday means different things to different folks, and at the US Botanic Garden, this year it means trains! Their popular holiday show, Season's Greetings, showcases recreations of classic train stations from all over the country – made from plant materials. Stations include St. Louis' Union Station, New York City's Grand Central Terminal, Washington, D.C.'s Union Station and more. Lots of blooms are also displayed at the Conservatory, including a special exhibit of both heirloom and new poinsettia varieties. The show runs from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., free of charge, from November 22nd – January 1st. On select Tuesday and Thursday evenings,the Conservatory is open until 8:00 p.m. with live seasonal music.
Christmas Wreaths at Union Station
Speaking of trains, DC’s Union Station is the perfect place to get in some holiday shopping. You’ll be greeted by three colossal Christmas wreaths, along with thousands of twinkling lights, holiday decorations, and music throughout. Festive food, drink, gifts, and their own holiday model train display are highlights here, along with the spectacular Norwegian Christmas Tree – gifted from the people of Norway.
When it comes to lodging in DC during the holiday season, naturally we suggest The Wink.We think it’s the best place to stay in the capitol city, not just for enjoying holiday lights, but for all your business and pleasure travel. Happy Holidays!