Your guide to holiday displays and tree lighting ceremonies in greater Washington, D.C.

- The most wonderful time of the year has arrived-- in full sparkle!

It's hard to keep track of all the holiday events happening every week. Not to mention, it might seem impossible finding time to squeeze in between holiday parties and shopping.

Don't stress it! This guide will help you plan a trip to Winter Wonderland, Santa's workshop, and other magical places. 

Here are some of the most beautiful holiday displays and more in the greater Washington, D.C. region: 

District of Colombia 

ZooLights at the National Zoo
When: November 25, 2016 to January 1, 2017 (closed on 12/24, 12/25, and 12/31)
Where: 3001 Connecticut Ave., NW, Washington, D.C.
Cost: FREE to enter
Hours: 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m
Over 500,000 environmentally-friendly LED lights have transformed the National Zoo. Amongst the wild things you'll find choral groups, ice sculpting demonstrations, and of course the sparkling animated lights. If you get cold the Winter Wonderland the Small Mammal House, Reptile Discovery Center, and Think Tank are open every night.

Zoo Lights 2016 with @allisonshearer

A photo posted by joseph neville (@jdneville) on

National Menorah Lighting
When: December 25, 2016, 4 p.m.
Where: 3001 Connecticut Ave., NW, Washington, D.C.
Cost: FREE, tickets are required 
For ticket reservations click here
Gates open at 3:15 p.m. and the "President's Own" United States Marine Band is helping to kick off the lighting ceremony of the National Chanukah Menorah. In case you get hungry, hot latkes and donuts will be served. 


National Christmas Tree Lighting
When: December 1, 2016, 4 p.m.
Where:15 and 17 Street NW, Washington, D.C.
Cost: Tickets required for Ceremony, FREE for the remainder of the season
Chance the Rapper, Marc Anthony, Yolanda Adams, and many more A-list celebrities will be at this year's National Christmas Tree Lighting. If you weren't able to get tickets you can watch the ceremony on television. After the night of the ceremony you have until January 1, 2017 to see the magnificent tree in person. 


Georgetown Glow Light Art Exhibition 
When: December 2, 2016 to January 1, 2017, 6:00 p.m. to 10 p.m. nightly
Where: Georgetown Commerical District
Cost: Free
Experience the sparkle of the season with a more modern artsy take. The third annual Georgetown GLOW is a Light Art Exhibition where local, regional, and international light artists have come together to display their work throughout the commercial district. Click here to read more.


Winter Lights Festival, Seneca State Park
When: November 25, 2016 to December 31, 2016 (closed on 12/25)
Where: 11950 Clopper Road, Gaithersburg, MD 20878
Hours and prices vary, click here for more info
"Teddy Bear Land" and "Winter Woods" are a few of the displays you'll see in the 3.5 mile drive through Seneca State Park. There are 350 illuminated vignettes and 65 animated displays. Take your time and drive safely!


A photo posted by Weili Shi (@shiwl) on


The Garden of Lights, Brookside Gardens
When: November 25, 2016 to January 1, 2017 (closed 12/24 and 12/25)
Where: 1800 Glenallan Ave, Wheaton, Maryland
Hours and prices vary, click here for more info
What do you do with over 700,000 colorful lights? You bring all four seasons to life! Take your family and be wowed at the giant summer sunflowers, falling autumn leaves, winter snowflakes, rain showers, and more. 


Winter Festival of Lights, Watkins Regional Park
When: November 25 to January 1, 2017, 5:00 pm to 9:30 pm
Where: 301 Watkins Park Dr, Upper Marlboro, MD
Cost: *CASH ONLY* $5 per car, $15 for mini-buses and limos, $25 for buses (Christmas Day is Free)
Take in the joy of the season with over one million lights displayed throughout the park. If you're able to, bring a canned or nonperishable good which will be donated to a local food bank. 

A preview of the 30th Annual Winter Festival of Lights at Watkins Regional Park in Upper Marlboro, MD. #holidays #LiveMore #PlayMore

A photo posted by Dept. of Parks & Recreation (@pgparksandrec) on


Symphony of Lights, Merriweather Post Pavilion
When: November 23 to January 1, 2017 (closed 12/31), 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm
Where: Merriweather Park at Symphony Woods, Columbia, MD 
Cost: *CASH ONLY* Saturday $25, Wednesday - Friday and Sunday $20 
This year, the annual event is showcasing a laser light show! All proceeds from the Symphony of Lights benefit the services of Howard County General Hospital.

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas 🎄

A photo posted by Reena (@malibublueice) on


Festival of Lights at the Mormon Temple
When: December 3 to December 31, 2016, from dusk to 10 p.m.
Where: 9900 Stoneybrook Dr, Kensington, MD
Cost: Free
Not only is the impressive church and its grounds covered in Christmas lights but every night a different local musical group performs live concerts. 

#ChristmasLights #MormonTemple #Kensington

A photo posted by mstanton29 (@mstanton29) on


Eastport Yacht Club Parade of Lights
When: December 10, 2016, from 6:00 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Where: Annapolis City Harbor
Cost: Free
More than 70 power and sailboats are displaying their dazzling holiday decorations. Click here for more info.


Meadowlark's Winter Walk of Lights, Meadowlark Botanical Garden
When: November 18 to January 3, 2017
Where: 9750 Meadowlark Gardens Court, Vienna, VA 
Prices and hours vary by day, click here for more info
The beautiful half-mile garden is transformed into an animated walk of lights. 

Loved walking through the lights; it was magical. #winterwalkoflights #meadowlarkbotanicalgardens

A photo posted by LaClaire (@khaleesi_claire_79) on


Bull Run Festival of Lights, Bull Run Regional Park
When: November 23 to January 8, 2017
Where: 7700 Bull Run Drive, Centreville, VA
Prices and hours vary by day, click here for info
It's 2.5 miles of Oh's and Ah's that feature penguins, jumping deers, and of course the big man himself, Santa! Afterwards you can visit the Winter Wonderland Holiday Village that includes amusement rides, ice skating, food, and more. 

Snippets of our drive 🚗

A video posted by Nuzhat Fabiha Majid (@snooruuruu) on


Alexandria Boat Parade of Lights
When: December 3, 5:30 p.m.
Where: Old Town Alexandria waterfront
Price: Free
The Potomac River comes to life with sparkling boats traveling along the river. Judges will be awarding prizes to the Best in Show. Click here for more info.


Christmas Tree and Menorah Lighting
When: December 2, 6:00 p.m.
Where: Town Green, Leesburg, VA
Cost: Free
Enjoy the most wonderful time of the year in Historic Downtown Leesburg on the Town Green for the annual Christmas Tree and Menorah Lighting Ceremony. There will performances from local schools and crow sing-a-longs. Click here for a list of upcoming holiday events.
Merry Old Town Christmas Tree Lighting, Manassas Museum
When: December 2, 5:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Where: Manassas Museum Lawn, 9101 Prince William St, Manassas, VA
Price: Free

Grab family and head to Manassas Museum Lawn for an evening of festivities and the arrival of Santa! A special performance by Jason Paul Curtis will surly get you into the holiday spirit. Click here for more information. 

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