Get outdoors and enjoy the chill of the air while sipping a good cup of joe or hot cocoa. Here are some festive places to visit all while being outside (and a few from your car).
(Ice Skating in DC photo from Washington DC)
Outdoor Ice Rinks: Most are open Nov-Feb and offer ice skating lessons, check their websites.
Canal Park Ice Rink– 202 M Street, SE Washington, DC 20003
Tyson’s Corner Center Ice Rink– 1961 Chain Bridge Rd., McLean, VA 22102
National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden Ice Rink– National Mall at 7th Street and Constitution Avenue NW
Washington Harbour Ice Rink– 3050 K St NW, Washington, DC 20007
Silver Spring Veteran’s Plaza Ice Rink– 8523 Fenton St., Silver Spring, MD 20910
Rockville Town Square Ice Rink– 131 Gibbs St., Rockville, MD 20850
Wharf Ice Rink– 960 Wharf Street SW, Washington, DC 20024
Pentagon Row– 1201 S Joyce St, Arlington, VA 22202
National Christmas Tree on the Ellipse– The National Mall
The National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony is on Nov. 28, 2018 and is the beginning of three weeks of celebration in holiday music in the nation’s capital. Musical groups from Washington D.C. and across the country provide holiday entertainment to the countless visitors for a one of a kind holiday experience set against the backdrop of the National Christmas Tree. Lighting is on Nov. 28 and will stay up through Jan.1.
Christmas at Mount Vernon– 3200 Mt Vernon Memorial Hwy, Mt Vernon, VA 22121
The holidays are full of delight at George Washington’s estate. Join for candlelight tours of the Mansion, a dazzling display of fireworks set to Christmas music, dancing, fire-side caroling, Aladdin the Christmas camel, and so much more! Nov. 23-Dec. 31.
Holidays on the Harbor– 165 Waterfront St. National Harbor, MD 20745
Holiday tree lighting and fireworks begins is on Nov. 10, 2018 and takes place each Saturday through December. Complete with Santa appearances, holiday movies and fireworks. Be sure and warm up inside the Gaylord Resort, see the hanging tree and Christmas Village and then bundle up to check out ICE!. Get your tickets in advance though.
Holly Trolley Fest at National Capital Trolley Museum– 1313 Bonifant Rd Colesville, MD 20905
Celebrate the season with toy trains and Santa aboard the streetcars from 12:30pm-4:30pm, December 1-2, 8-9, 15-16, & 22-23, 28 and 29.
Seasons Greenings at The U.S. Botanic Gardens– 100 Maryland Ave. SW, Washington, DC 20001
Season’s Greenings opens on Nov. 22- Jan. 1. The best times to visit Season’s Greenings are weekdays early in December or on select Tuesday and Thursday evenings in December when the Conservatory is open until 8 p.m. with live seasonal music. Aside from these extended holiday hours, the Conservatory is open every day of the year, from 10am-5pm, free of charge.
41st Annual Festival of Lights at the Mormon Temple– 9900 Stoneybrook Dr Kensington, MD 20895
As one of the D.C. area’s great community traditions, the Festival features free performances nightly in the comfortable, state-of-the-art theater located in the Visitors’ Center while the Temple grounds glow with 650,000 lights. Begins Nov.29 and lasts through Jan.1.
Zoo Lights at The National Zoo– 3001 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008
Join the thousands of visitors who make ZooLights a part of their annual holiday tradition. ZooLights includes live music performances, tasty winter treats, and plenty of opportunities for holiday shopping. More than 500,000 environmentally-friendly LED lights transform the Zoo into a winter wonderland. New this year will be a Glow Zone in addition to dazzling light shows set to music, snow-less tubing, trackless train and ride the carousel! Nov. 23-Jan. 1 (exception: Dec. 24, 25 and 31) hours are 5:00pm-9:00pm.
Garden of Lights at Brookside Gardens– 1800 Glenallan Ave Wheaton, MD 20902
Step into a magical winter wonderland illuminated with more than one million dazzling colorful lights shaped into hand-crafted, original art forms of flowers, animals and other natural elements. Stroll from garden to garden enjoying twinkling tree forms, fountains, sparkling snowflakes overhead and more. Nov. 16-Jan.1 (closed Dec. 19-22, 24 & 25) Hours and prices vary by night.
Bulls Run Festival of Lights- 7700 Bull Run Dr Centreville, VA 20121
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 out your headlights and just follow the magical glow. After viewing the lights, bring your family and friends to the holiday village to enjoy rides, refreshments, and of course, photos with Santa Claus. The festival happens annually at Bull Run Regional Park in Centreville, Virginia. Nov. 21-Jan. 6 hours and prices vary depending on the day.
Winter Walk of Lights at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens– 9750 Meadowlark Gardens Ct Vienna, VA22182
Bring the family to enjoy the magical Winter Walk of lights in Vienna, Virginia. The garden is transformed into a half-mile, animated walk of lights. Revisit perennial favorites such as the Lakeside Lights, the Fountain of Lights, and the Holiday Nature Walk – and look for new displays each year. Put on your walking shoes and bring the family to experience a Northern Virginia festive tradition. Round out your visit by roasting marshmallows, and sipping on hot beverages by the fire. (Available for purchase at Light Refreshments). Nov. 9-Jan. 7 from 5:30pm-10:00pm.
Festival of Lights at Watkins Regional Park– 301 Watkins Park Drive (Route 193) Upper Marlboro, MD 20774
Bring a little twinkle to your holidays. Don’t miss this spectacular holiday drive-through event featuring more than 2.5 million twinkling lights! This year’s Festival features fun new displays.You won’t want to miss the giant, 54-foot LED musical tree! Nov. 23- Jan. 1 from 5-9:30pm. $10 car/van, free on Christmas.
Winter Lights at Seneca Creek State Park– 11950 Clopper Rd., Gaithersburg, MD.20878
The wondrous display of lights at Seneca Creek State Park will be open nightly Nov. 23 through Dec. 31. (closed on Dec. 25). The 3.5 mile drive through the enchanted setting of Seneca Creek State Park takes you past more than 450 illuminated displays and 65 animated vignettes that light up the night. Themed areas include Winter Woods, Teddy Bear Land, Victorian Village, the North Pole, and much more.
Experience the sparkle of the season at Georgetown GLOW, the region’s only curated exhibition of outdoor public light art installations. Set against the historic backdrop of DC’s oldest neighborhood, it’s a whole new way to shine. Dec. 1- Jan. 6