Holiday light shows 2017: Dazzling displays and tree lighting ceremonies in DC, VA, MD

Greater Washington, D.C is transforming into the North Pole, Santa himself would mistake it for home!

In efforts to make the holiday season as stress free as possible-- holiday depression is common around this timeframe -- we created this go-to guide to help you enjoy some of most magical places in the area. Best part, most of the attractions are FREE-- how's that for holiday savings!

Here's a list of some of the most enchanting holiday displays and more in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia:

District of Columbia

National Christmas Tree Lighting
When: November 30, 2017, 5 p.m.
Where:15 and 17 Street NW, Washington, D.C.
Cost: Tickets required for Ceremony, FREE for the remainder of the season

The Beach Boys, Wynonna, Craig Campbell, Us The Duo, and many more celebrities will be at the 2017 National Christmas Tree Lighting. The majestic tree is lit each day from 4:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. but opens to visitors from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. through January 1, 2018.

ZooLights at the National Zoo
When: November 24, 2017 to January 1, 2018 (closed 12/24, 12/25, and 12/31)
Where: 3001 Connecticut Ave., NW, Washington, D.C.
Cost: FREE
Hours: 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m

Explore your wild side as 500,000 environmentally-friendly LEDs transform the Zoo! Choral groups roar with holiday tunes, tasty holiday treats will be available, and you'll be able to get some holiday shopping done. If it gets too cold, you can thaw your paws in the Small Mammal House, Reptile Discovery Center and Think Tank.

National Menorah Lighting
When: Tuesday December 12, 2017, 4 p.m.
Where: 3001 Connecticut Ave., NW, Washington, D.C.
Cost: FREE, tickets are required

A special performance by the United States Air Force Band will kick start the lighting ceremony that celebrates heritage and religious freedom in the United States.

United States Botanic Garden; Season's Greetings
When: November 23, 2017 to January 1, 2018 (closed on 12/25)
Where: 100 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20001
Cost: FREE

Take a trip across America in the Botanic Garden's annual holiday show! Cute model trains chug around and through beautifully adorned plant-based recreations of iconic sights from across the country. This years' newest addition is an inspired botanical version of the National Museum of African American History and Culture!

Georgetown Glow Light Art Exhibition
When: December 8, 2017 to January 7, 2018,
Where: Georgetown Commercial District
Cost: FREE

Georgetown will be lit with exhibits from local, regional, and international light artists! The fourth annual Georgetown GLOW adds that extra sparkle your holiday season NEEDS in a uber artistic way.

When: December 1, 2017, 4 p.m.
Where: 10th & H St NW Washington, DC 20001
Cost: FREE

Why travel to the North Pole when you can casually stroll CityCenterDC and venture into a life-size 36,000 pound igloo-- complete with plush interior! All while checking off some Christmas list items, surrounded by holiday decor.

Light Up The Wharf
When: December 1, 2017, 5:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Where: District Square, Washington, DC 20024
Price: FREE

Get into the holiday spirit at The Wharf with the first official lighting of the Christmas tree. There will be hot chocolate, s'mores by the fire pit, holiday crafts, and live music for the perfect holiday feels.


Festival of Lights at the Mormon Temple
When: November 30 to December 31, 2017, from dusk to 10 p.m.
Where: 9900 Stoneybrook Dr, Kensington, MD
Cost: FREE

A sea of holiday lights is covering the grounds the majestic temple. Local musical groups perform throughout the month-long celebration and end with Chinese dancers on December 31.

Symphony of Lights, Merriweather Post Pavilion
When: November 21 to January 1, 2017 (closed 12/31), 5:30 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Where: Merriweather Park at Symphony Woods, Columbia, MD
Cost: *CASH ONLY* Saturday $25, Wednesday - Friday and Sunday $20

Experience the light show from the inside of your heated car, rain or shine! A laser light show, 3-D holiday video, and 100 larger than life holiday light creations dance to holiday tunes. Proceeds from the show benefit Howard County General Hospital.

Winter Festival of Lights, Watkins Regional Park
When: November 24 to January 1, 2018, 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)

Over one million lights are twinkling into the holiday season at the Winter Festival of Lights spectacular drive-through display! Want to make difference this season? Bring a canned or nonperishable good, it will be donated to local food banks in the area.

The Garden of Lights, Brookside Gardens
When: November 24, 2017 to January 1, 2018 (closed 12/24 and 12/25)
Where: 1800 Glenallan Ave, Wheaton, Maryland
Hours and prices vary

Immerse yourself in the unique light display decorating the grounds of Brookside Gardens. More than 1,000,000 colorful lights are shaped into giant animals falling leaves, and whimsical winter scenes.

Winter Lights Festival, Seneca State Park
When: November 24, 2017 to December 31, 2017 (closed on 12/25)
Where: 11950 Clopper Road, Gaithersburg, MD 20878
Hours and prices vary

In a 3.5 mile drive through Seneca State Park you'll venture into Teddy Bear Land, Winter Woods, and so much more! Take your time driving because there 380 illuminated displays and 65 animated vignettes.

Lights on the Bay at Sandy Point State Park
When: November 18, 2017 to January 1, 2018, 5 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Where: 1100 E College Pkwy Annapolis, MD 21409
Cost: $15 per car, $30 for vans and mini-bus, $50 for buses

Enjoy a scenic drive along the Chesapeake Bay shore in 3-D-- get your glasses upon arrival! More than 60 spectacular animated and stationary displays illuminate the roadway.

Holiday Lights Walk to the North Pole
When: November 24, 2017 to December 23, 2017, 4:30 p.m. - 7 p.m.
Where: 1100 E College Pkwy Annapolis, MD 21409
Cost: $7 adults, $5 children

Walk into the North Pole and visit Old Saint Nick in his cabin! The trail is light with Christmas scenes and if you visit the barn you can score some hot chocolate.


Meadowlark's Winter Walk of Lights, Meadowlark Botanical Garden
When: November 10 to January 7, 2018, 5:30 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Where: 9750 Meadowlark Gardens Court, Vienna, VA
Prices vary by hour and day

Experience over 500,000 LED's and displays that have transformed Meadowlark Botanical Gardens into a whimsical winter wonderland.

Bull Run Festival of Lights, Bull Run Regional Park
When: November 23 to January 7, 2018
Where: 7700 Bull Run Drive, Centreville, VA
Prices and hours vary by day

Drive the festival route, 2.5 miles, that features sparkly penguins, candy canes, and of course Santa!

Alexandria Boat Parade of Lights
When: December 8, 2017, 5:30 p.m.
Where: Old Town Alexandria waterfront
Price: Free

The Potomac River will be lit with gliding holiday decorated boats and judges will be awarding prizes to the "Best in Show."

The Festival of Lights Hayride and Walk Nights
Merry 26469 Ticonderoga Road Chantilly, VA 20152
When: November 17, 2017 to January 5, 2018, 5 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.
Where: Manassas Museum Lawn, 9101 Prince William St, Manassas, VA
Price: $11.95 ages 2 and up

If a nighttime hayride adventure isn't your thing, you can always walk the farm that's been transformed into a glowing jungle with swinging monkeys, pirates at sea, and so much more! Get toasty by the fire pit as you roast marshmallows and sip on hot chocolate. The perfect date night!

Merry Old Town Christmas Tree Lighting, Manassas Museum
When: December 1, 2017, 5:15 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Where: Manassas Museum Lawn, 9101 Prince William St, Manassas, VA
Price: Free

Manassas Museum Lawn will be the place to be for an evening of festivities and the arrival of Santa! Enjoy ice skating, free carriage rides, and more.