With the holiday season here, the holiday lights are going up and there is so much to see! This guides shares all the light displays and shows around the DC metropolitan area including Northern VA and Maryland.
Map of DC Area Holiday Light Shows & Sightings
Best Holiday Lights in DC
When: December 1 – January 1
Address: The Yards | 1300 First St SE, Washington, DC 20003
This holiday tradition features larger-than-life light installation and 22-feet tall tress decorated from top to bottom. If you’re looking to go out for dinner and a show, this is a great winter time option!
When: December 3, 10 and 17
Address: Union Market | 1309 5the St NE Washington DC 20002
Price: Free, donations requested
Each night you get to see a light and music show for the holidays. You can also decorate ornaments. December 3rd’s theme is Disney, December 10th’s theme is Greatest Hits and December 17th’s theme is Christmas.
When: December 2 – January 1
Address: 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington DC 20500
The National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony will take place December 2. This year there will be no music program.
The Pathway of Peach is free to visit. You can walk around the National Christmas Tree featuring more than 50 state and territory trees, each uniquely decorated.
When: Various dates in December
Address: Tudor Place | 1644 31st St NW, Washington, DC 20007
Price: $25 (for non-members)
Explore Tudor House by candlelight. Take a stroll through the latern-lit gardens on a guided tour and learn about the family’s Christmas traditions. Kids night is on December 16th.
When: November 24 – January 2 (closed 12/25)
Address: 100 Maryland Ave SW, Washington, DC 20001
The garden’s display is outdoors this year with trains, mini farms, holiday decor and lights. Trains are running everyday from 10am to 5pm. This is free to view and no tickets are required.
When: December 4
Address: The Wharf |
This one-day event is a fun way to celebrate the holiday season. This parade features over 60 decorated boats along the Washington Channel.
You’ll also be able to visited the lighted Christmas tree, sit by the fire place, go ice skating and visit Santa.
ZooLights (Canceled 2021)
When: canceled for 2021
Address: The National Zoo | 3001 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008
The National Zoo becomes a walking winter wonderland with over 500,000 holiday lights. Plus come see the animals at night, tubing runs and chop-choo fun.
You’ll also see live musical performances, snacks and shopping. Note: Parking and some activities have a fee.
When: November 19 – January 6
Address: In neighborhoods throughout DC
Participate in a citywide holiday light scavenger hunt! Various participating corridors participate in a dazzling array of lights and decor. And you get to cast your vote for who wins the Best of DC! Each corridor has it’s own unique display so try to check-out as many as you can.
There are 12+ participating corridors with over 270 businesses participating across DC.
Here is where all the light displays can be seen.
When: November 26 – January 2
Where: Nationals Park | 1500 S Capitol St SE, Washington, DC 20003
Price: $20-$34 adults, $17-$27 ages 14-17, $15-$25 ages 4-13, 3 and under free
Nationals Park is transformed into a winter wonderland and even more fun…it has the world’s largest Christmas light maze.
You’ll see giant light sculptures that lead you to find Santa’s missing reindeer. Take the ice skating trail surrounded by lights and explore the Christmas Market with over 60 artisans. Plus live entertainment and of course, Santa and Mrs. Claus.
When: July 16 – November 30
Address: Some alleys in Georgetown, DC
While not technically a holiday light show, Georgetown GLOW is an extension of their summer lights which is why it only goes through the end of November. You’ll be able to see parts of Georgetown will bright new lights. This is a nice way to stroll around the town and check it out. Four local artists create this modern art adventure and this makes for some fun photo ops!
Best Holiday Lights in Northern VA
When: October 15 – January 2
Address: Roer’s Zoofari | 1228 Hunter Mill Rd, Vienna, VA 22182
Price: $22 – $66 (+ $5 for parking)
Lumino City Festival will surely be one of the most amazing light shows you have ever been to. This immersive wonderland of lights is unlike what you have seen before.
When: November 26 – January 9
Address: Prince William County Fairgrounds | 10624 Dumfries Road Manassas, VA 20112
Price: $8 – $12
This is a new light show this year featuring a Drive-thru and walk thru synchronized light show, live entertainment, carnival attractions, concessions and an interactive Christmas village. This is one you don’t want to miss!
When: November 19 – January 22 (closed 11/22 and 11/25)
Address: 45425 Holiday Dr Sterling, VA 20166
Price: $28 – $39
This is a brand new light show for 2021! You can get a season pass to come back all season to enjoy the different events. Tinsel! is an outdoor winter wonderland with lots to see and do. Here are just some of the fun activities:
Amazing light displays, selfies with santa, 18-foot Christmas tree, live music and entertainment, scavenger hunt, family “crafternoons”, heated tents with food, snacks & drinks, Capitals themed igloo experience and a lot more.
Prices vary based on day and month. Early in the holiday season will give you the lower rates.
When: December 24th at 1pm
Address: Old Town Alexandria Waterfront
Water Skiing Santa is the longest-running water ski Christmas show that has been performed since 1986. Definitely a unique Christmas experience!
When: Weekends from November 26 – December 19
Address: Frying Pan Farm Park | 2709 West Ox Road, Herndon, VA 20171
Price: $20 per car online, $25 at the gate
What’s better than holiday lights at a farm? Frying Pan Park is one of the area’s favorite farm’s all year long. And during the winter, come explore the mile long decorative route and live farm animal displays.
When: December 4th from 12-6pm
Address: Old Town Square | 10415 North St., Fairfax, VA
The City of Fairfax holds its annual Festival of Lights & Carols on December 4th. Come see the annual lighting of the Christmas Tree, with live music, hot cider, s’mores and other activities throughout the day.
When: November 20 – December 12
Address: Town of Occoquan
Every year the town of Occoquan is completely decorated for the holidays. During HolidayFest, there are different events on different days. Activities include the tree lighting (11/20), Gingerbread House weekend (12/4) and a visit with Santa (12/4). The Holiday Artisan Market takes place from 12/4-12/5. And finally on 12/11-12/22 there will be a staged reading of The Christmas Carol. Tickets are $5 and free for kids 12 and under.
When: December 4th
Address: Alexandria City Marina
This year is the 21st annual Holiday Boat Parade of Lights which will be held on December 4th.
This is a must see in Alexandria’s harbor where you can watch more than 60 illuminated sailing and power boats cruise along the Potomac River/The Alexandria Waterfront (behind the Torpedo Art Factory).
Festivities begin at 2pm on the docks. Santa and Ms. Claus will arrive by boat at 3:30pm and boat parade is at 5:30pm.
When: November 20th
Address: Market Square | 301 King St Alexandria, VA
At 6pm you can help countdown the Tree Lighting Ceremony to kick off the holiday season. There will be holiday music as Santa rides into town on the King Street Trolley.
The annual tree lighting will take place on Friday, November 28, 2014. Program includes welcome by the Town Crier, the Mayor and City Council, the official City tree is lighted, holiday music and performance, and a visit by Santa.
When: November 19 – Janurary 2
Address: Cameron Run Park | 4001 Eisenhower Ave, Alexandria, VA 22304
Price: $9.19 village or $22.03 village + skating; 2 and under free
This is NOVA Parks newest winter event where you can come out and see the holiday lights and join in some ice skating for even more fun! The waterpark becomes a magical winter wonderland. Stay for food and marshmallow roasting.
When: November 11 – January 2
Address: 7700 Bull Run Drive Centerville VA 20121
Price: $15+ per car
The Bull Run Festival of Lights is celebrating it’s 10th year! This light display drive thru is 2.5 miles long and is a drive-thru display. You’ll be asked to turn off your headlights and follow the path.
When: November 11 – January 2
Address: Meadowlark Botanical Gardens | 9750 Meadowlark Gardens Ct, Vienna, VA 22182
Price: $16 (online) and $18 (at the door) thru 12/9; $18 (online only) thru 1/2
Celebrating it’s 10th year, the Winter Walk of Lights has over 500,000 lights and typically has around 80,000 visitors each year. This is a self-guided 0.6 mile walking display that goes one-way on a asphalt trail. Move at your own pace. Hot cocoa and marshmallows for roasting on site also available for purchase.
When: November 20 – January 2
Address: Kings Dominion | 16000 Theme Park Way, Doswell, VA 23047
WinterFest transforms the amusement park into a winter wonderlight with millions of holiday lights and decord. The park’s Eiffel Tower is turned into a 300-foot Christimas tree.
You’ll be able to participate in a variety of activities including lighting ceremony, live shows, performers, ice skating, snow and of course, lots of family rides.
When: November 26-27, December 3-4, 10-11, 19
Address: 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Hwy, Mt Vernon, VA 22121
Price: $26 adults, $18 youth
On candlelight evenings you’ll find soft lights and holiday patterns around the grounds. Christmas carolers sing and you can get a little history in as well.
When: November 12 – January 2
Address: One Busch Gardens Blvd. Williamsburg VA 23187
Price: $27 / person
Busch Gardens® Christmas Town™ celebrates the most wonderful time of the year. This is one of North America’s largest holiday light displays featured over 10 million lights. The theme park is transformed into a huge light display with holiday shows, rides, treats and more.
Since its debut in 2009, thousands of families have enjoyed Christmas Town’s glittering lights, breathtaking shows and traditional Christmas culinary delights.
Best Holiday Lights in Maryland
When: November 26 – December 31
Address: 201 Waterfront Street National Harbor MD 20745
Price: Free lights, activity prices vary
Come see what 2 million lights looks like! Plus see nightly snowfall, dancing fountains, Christmas movies, 2 million pounds of ice sculptures, 4 ice slides and a whole lot more.
Gaylord has lots of holiday activities available including movies, snow tubing on Snow Flow Mountain, ice bumper cars, snowball build & blast, ice skating, gingerbread decorating corner, scavenger hunt, holiday shows, photos with Santa and plenty more.
When: December 11
Address: Annapolis Harbor
This fun Annapolis tradition begins at 6pm on December 11 where the boats are suddenly illuminated with thousands of colored lights.
When: November 19 – January 2
Address: Brookside Gardens | 1800 Glenallan Ave, Wheaton, MD 20902
Price: $10 per person
This is Garden of Lights 23rd season! Brookside Gardens transforms into a winter wonderland with an outdoor walkthrough of lights over the gardens 50 acres. More than 1 million lights are used to create animals, flowers and other natural elements. You’ll definitely be amazed!
Festival of Lights (Closed 2021)
When: Cancelled this year
Address: 9900 Stoneybrook Drive Kensington MD 20895
An annual tradition, this festival is open daily from 10am to 10pm. You’ll be amazed by over 600,000 lights, an international creche exhibit, life-size nativity and enjoy nightly entertainment. Tickets are required for concerts and are free of charge.
When: November 26 – January 12
Address: Watkins Regional Park | 301 Watkins Park Drive Upper Marlboro MD 20774
Price: $8 online, $10 at the door, Free on 11/29 and 12/25
See more than 1 million twinkling lights in this drive-through exhibit. Kids can also participate in a Festival of Lights I Spy Game
When: November 20 – January 2
Address: 13710 Central Ave, Bowie, MD 20721
It’s the holidays at the par which means there are tons of lights to see, treats and holiday rides. Attractions, rides, shows and of course…Santa photos!
When: November 21 – January 2
Address: Sandy Point State Park | 1100 E College Pkwy, Annapolis, MD 21409
Price: $20 per car, $5 for 3D glasses
You’re going to need 3D glasses for this holiday display to help make the display more special! Ths 2-mile scenic drive follows along the bay with 70 light displays along the road. There is a scavenger hunt for kids to participate in as they watch the lights for a chance to enter to win a prize.
When: November 25 – January 2
Address: Symphony Woods at Merriweather | 10431 Little Patuxent Parkway Columbia, MD 21044
Price: $20 per car
Symphony of Lights offers both a drive through and a walk through trail of lights. This has been called a “woodland wonderland” with 100+ light creations . This is a 1.4 mile route in downtown Columbia.
When: November 26 – December 31
Address: Seneca Creek State Park | 11950 Clopper Rd, Gaithersburg, MD 20878
Price: $15 per car Mon – Thurs; $25 per car Fri – Sun
This holiday light display is a 3.5 mile drive through of Seneca Creek State Park with 450+ illuminated displays and trees. Tickets must be purchased online in advance.
Note: this display is closed on December 25th.
When: November 26 – January 1st (closed 11/29-11/30, 12/6-12/7 and 12/24-12/25)
Address: Annmarie Sculpture Garden | 13470 Dowell Rd, Solomons, MD 20688
Price: $10-$12 per person, ages 2 and under free
Explore the illuminated gardens, light show, holiday pop-up shops and food & drink and more. The gardens are transformed into an outdoor wonderland. Walk through the glowing light sculptures. There are lots of fun photo ops for the whole family!
Annmarie Garden in Lights is a magical tour that takes you on a beautiful trip through the glittering woods. You will be surrounded by mythical beasts, wild animals, airplanes, pirates, princesses, circus performers, superheroes, and more.
Check the schedule for a number of special nights including a holiday train display, holiday character nights, special needs night, live animal photo op, golf car tours and more.
More Places to See Holiday Lights
If you want to see some more holiday lights or just prefer to skip the light shows, here are some more great places to see holiday lights:
- Union Station Annual Tree Lighting
- National Menorah Lighting Ceremony (tickets required) | November 28
- Fairfax Corner
- Tysons Corner Christmas Tree
- Festival of Lights and Carols
- Santa Lights Manassas
- Great Falls Holiday Decorations
- HolidayFest Tree Lighting in Occoquan
- Village at Leesburg Christmas Tree (11/20)
- Reston Town Center Holiday Parade & Tree Lighting (11/26)
- Festival of Lights
- Old Town Alexandria
- Holiday Tree Lighting & Santa Firetruck Parade – Mosaic District Christmas
- Del Ray Holiday Season – Tree and Menorah lighting + carols (12/5)
Neighborhood Christmas Lights
There are lots of festive neighborhoods in the area that are like light shows themselves. Always remember these are private yards so please do not enter the yards or touch the displays. When it rains, most of the lights will be turned off so check the weather before heading out.
To see a full list of the neighborhood lights, please see the map at the top of this page. Zoom into your area to find the local houses and neighborhoods near you.
Here are some of the ‘burbs you may want to check out:
- 10203 Lawyers Road in Vienna (Park across the stree on Galloping Way) – full display of lights including an ocean scene, polar bears and other creatures
- 801 and 802 Cottage Street Southwest, Vienna VA – a yellow light display
- Marshall Pond Christmas Village on Marshall Pond Road Burke, VA – 7 houses creating their own Christmas Village
- 11904 Paradise Lane Herndon has a yard full of fun including an inflated jack-in-the-box and pond with jumping fish
- 12708 Kettering Drive to see a house with several lit holiday boxes including a running model train, singing Santa and more. You can press the button to start the show.
- 21244 Millwood Square Potomac Mills is a house packed with lights and decorations
- 3912 Lincolnshire Street, Annandale – you are allowed to walk up the driveway to the fence to see the backyard displays
- 7302 Rhondda Dr, Lorton
- 5406 Fremont St, Springfield, VA – Looney Tunes characters and Charlie Brown
- 5700 Claret Place, Centreville, VA has an animated display and a 2-story light tree. The family also holds a food drive.
- 11920 Bennett Rd, Herndon, VA is known as the Enchanted Christmas Forest. The display includes a 14-foot tall European pyramid, running toy trains and several homemade animated displays.