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!
National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony
When: December 11 at 8 PM ET
Address: 1500 K Street NW, Suite 700 DC 20005
The 100th National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony will feature performances from Shania Twain, the Estefans, Joss Stone, Andy Grammer, and more.
Tudor Place Candlelight Tour
When: Various dates in December
Address: Tudor Place | 1644 31st St NW, Washington, DC 20007
Price: $15 (for members)
Recommended for adults and children ages 10 and up.
US Botanic Garden Holiday Display
When: November 24 – January 2 (closed 12/25)
Address: 100 Maryland Ave SW, Washington, DC 20001
The U.S. Botanic Garden (USBG) will offer an outdoor holiday display this year, running from Wednesday, Nov. 24, through Sunday, Jan. 2, 2022, closed on December 25.
The District’s Holiday Boat Parade
When: December 3
Address: The Wharf | 760 Maine Ave SW, Washington, DC 20024
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.
When: Friday, November 25, 2022 to Friday, December 30, 2022
5:00 pm to 9:00 pm
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.
DC Holiday Lights
When: November 18, 2022 – January 8, 2023
Address: In neighborhoods throughout DC
DC’s Main Streets and commercial corridors have joined together to bring you a spectacular holiday experience.
Between November 18 and January 8, take a stroll down each of the participating corridors below to experience a dazzling array of lights and decor.
Then, cast your vote for the best decorated corridor!
When: November 25 – January 1
Where: Nationals Park|1500 S Capitol St SE, Washington, DC 20003
Price: $35 for adults, From $23 for ages 3 -17, military personnel from $32
On select Wednesday nights throughout the season you’ll get one FREE child’s ticket when you buy any Adult, Senior, or Military admission ticket.
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: November 26 – Jan 22. 2022
Address: Georgetown Commercial District
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!
The 8th edition of GLOW, will feature five commissioned light art works throughout the Georgetown commercial district.
In addition to the light art installations, GLOW programming includes more than 30 walking tours, GLOW-themed yoga and Pilates classes, a silent disco, a special evening of late-night shopping on Friday, Dec. 9, and more.
Festival of Lights at the DC Temple
When: December 1st through January 2nd
Address: 9900 Stoneybrook Dr, Kensington, MD 20895
Come and see beautiful Créche displays featuring nativities from around the world. Enjoy over 400,000 lights, beautifully decorated Christmas Trees, and a wide array of performances.
Best Holiday Lights in Northern VA
Water Skiing Santa
When: Christmas Eve 2022
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!
Holiday on the Farm
When: Weekends from Dec 2nd to 10th
Address: Frying Pan Farm Park | 2709 West Ox Road, Herndon, VA 20171
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.
Festival of Lights and Carols
When: December 3, 2022 from 12 to 6 PM
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 19 – December 11
Address: Town of Occoquan
With the town entirely decorated, the holidays are a special time in Occoquan and HolidayFest is fun for the whole family!
Annual events include:
- Annual Tree Lighting & Shop Late: November 19, 2022 at 6pm
- Shop, Dine & Win Passport Event: November 19-December 4, 2022
- Shop Small Weekend: November 25-27, 2022
- Holiday Artisan Market, December 3-4, 2022
- Visit Santa and Holiday Concerts, December 3-4, 2022
- Gingerbread House Contest, December 3-4, 2022
Alexandria Holiday Boat Parade of Lights
When: December 3rd
Address: Alexandria City Marina
This year is the 22nd annual Holiday Boat Parade of Lights which will be held on December 3rd.
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).
The Boat Parade is part of Alexandria’s Biggest Holiday Weekend and is the same day as the 51st Annual Alexandria Scottish Christmas Walk Parade which starts at 11 a.m. Arrive early to enjoy both parades and enjoy local restaurants and shopping.
Alexandria Tree Lighting Ceremony
When: Sat Nov 19, 2022 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM
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.
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.
Ice & Lights Winter Village
When: November 18, 2022-January 1, 2023
Address: Cameron Run Park | 4001 Eisenhower Ave, Alexandria, VA 22304
Price: From $8 to $20
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.
Bull Run Festival of Lights
When: Open November 11, 2022 through January 8, 2023
Address: 7700 Bull Run Drive Centerville VA 20121
Price: $30+ per car
Every year from November until just after New Year’s Day, you can experience the Bull Run Festival of Lights, 2.5 miles illuminated by holiday light displays. Drive the festival route from the comfort of your car; turn off your headlights and just follow the magical glow.
Winter Walk of Lights
When: November 11 – Jan 8 2022
Address: Meadowlark Botanical Gardens | 9750 Meadowlark Gardens Ct, Vienna, VA 22182
Price: $5 to $18
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.
WinterFest at King’s Dominion
Select dates Nov. 25, 2022 – Jan. 1, 2023
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.
Mount Vernon By Candlelight
When: Nov. 25-26, Dec. 2-3, Dec. 9-10, Dec. 18
Address: 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Hwy, Mt Vernon, VA 22121
Price: Members: $26 adult, $18 youth Non-members: $36 adult, $28 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.
ChristmasTown – A Busch Gardens Celebration
When: November 11 – January 8
Address: One Busch Gardens Blvd. Williamsburg VA 23187
Price: $39.99 onwards
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
Christmas at Gaylord National
When: Nov. 20, 2022 – Dec. 31, 2022
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.
Annapolis Christmas Lights Boat Parade
When: December 10, 2022 from 6 – 8 p.m.
Address: Annapolis Harbor
This fun Annapolis tradition begins at 6pm on December 10 where the boats are suddenly illuminated with thousands of colored lights.
Garden of Lights
When: November 18, 2022 – January 1, 2023*
Closed November 21-24 and December 24-25, 2022.
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
When: From dusk until 9:00 pm every evening December 1st through January 2nd
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.
Festival of Lights
When: Friday, November 25, 2022 – Sunday, January 1, 2023
Address: Watkins Regional Park | 301 Watkins Park Drive Upper Marlboro MD 20774
Price: $10 online, $15 at the door, Free on 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
Lights on the Bay
When: Nov 20th-Jan 1st
Address: 1815 Bay Ridge Avenue Annapolis, MD 21403
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.
Symphony of Lights
When: November 24 – January 1
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.
Winter Lights Festival
When: November 25 – December 31, 2022
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.
Garden in Lights
When: Nov 25 2022 – Jan 1 2023
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) | December 18
- Fairfax Corner
- Tysons Corner Christmas Tree
- Festival of Lights and Carols
- Santa Lights Manassas
- Great Falls Holiday Decorations
- HolidayFest Tree Lighting in Occoquan
- Wish Tree Shows (11/19)
- Reston Town Center Holiday Parade & Tree Lighting (11/26)
- Festival of Lights
- Old Town Alexandria
- Holiday Tree Lighting & Santa Firetruck Parade – Mosaic District Christmas (Nov 25–Dec 24)
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.