Events For The Family This Holiday Season In The DMV

Jessica Martin December 20, 2018

There are festive lights and mistletoe all around us this time of year. You are wrapping presents, baking cookies, singing along to classic songs, curling up by the fire with a good book… and entertaining your children, grandchildren, parents, in-laws, and the multitude of extended family you might have joining you. How do you fill the down time, in between family meals and those holiday traditions you’ve had for years? Be sure to tune in On 12/23 for The Eric Stewart Show’s Christmas Show on WMAL 105.9 FM at 8AM. 

Here is your DMV Holiday Guide for 2019

Washington, DC

Downtown Holiday Market

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As an avid hockey fan and a part-time employee for the 2018 Stanley Cup Champion Washington Capitals, I’m in Chinatown a lot. The Downtown Holiday Market has become a staple for all of my unique, hand-crafted gifts, due to its location. Do you have a family member who has everything already? This is a rotating market, so it’s worth visiting the market multiple times to taste food from different vendors or to check out the other offerings, to be sure you find the perfect gift for that person who already has everything. The Holiday Market is located on F street, in front of the National Portrait Gallery and Smithsonian American Art Museum and is open every day 12-8 pm until December 23rd.

Washington Harbour Ice Skating

On the topic of ice hockey, while you took part in the Championship festivities last June, sitting on the Portrait Gallery Steps and watching Alex Ovechkin raise the Stanley Cup for the first time, did you get a hankering to try it out for yourself? Consider visiting Georgetown and K street, where you’ll find the largest outdoor skating rink in DC. The rink is open until March, so there’s no rush to get there now!  Their times vary by day, but they do offer specials if you’re a student or if you’d like to learn to skate. 

Georgetown Glow

Screen Shot 2018-12-20 at 10.04.36 AMWhile in Georgetown, be sure to plan your time accordingly. You don’t want to miss the fantastic, immersive light shows through one of DC’s most historic neighborhoods, Local artists converge on the neighborhood to illuminate the scene with festive lights and sounds. It’s a “can’t miss” and “must do” experience for all ages. Learn more about Georgetown Glow here

National Zoo’s ZooLights


The National Zoo’s ZooLights is an annual festival of lights throughout the main walk of the National Zoo. It’s free, and something the entire family can take part in. Concessions include hot chocolate, hot cider, and chocolate covered nuts, just to name a few; for adults, you can partake in a the festive adult beverages, too. Invite friends to join you at a restaurant then you can all walk over casually. Be aware that there are hills and it’s likely to be crowded the closer you are to December 25th, as it is closed on December 24th, 25th, and 31st, but it is open until January 1st. 

National Christmas Tree

The crowning jewel of the DC holiday scene, and the lights that draw in thousands of people each year, the National Christmas Tree is something you can’t miss. Located in the President’s Park of the White House ellipse, the tree is lit every day from 4:30 pm – 10 pm, but it’s open and free to visit from 10 am to 10 pm. Be sure to stop by during the evening hours, not only to see the tree lit, but because there are nightly concerts to set the scene for a perfect night out. 


Garden of Lights

A fabulous light scene in the heart of Maryland located in Brookside Gardens. They’ve transformed the gardens into a walkable, instagram-worthy path of lights. For the kids in the family, there is a model train show in the conservatory. Brookside Gardens is bringing back this Garden of Lights after they had to close last year for renovations. 

Symphony of Lights in Columbia

Named a “must-see” event by the Baltimore Sun, the Symphony of Lights in Columbia, MD is an annual display using more than 300,000 bulbs and 100 light displays. The Symphony of Lights takes over Merriweather Post Pavilion’s Symphony Park, off of Broken Land Parkway and across from Columbia Mall. The course is approximately 1 mile and all proceeds go towards Howard County General Hospital. 

Winter Lights at Seneca Creek State Park

IMG_7239This is an attraction I’ve been going to since I was little – it’s a drive-through light display in the heart of Seneca Creek State Park. This three and a half mile track is complete with over 400 light displays. Turn on your favorite holiday music and take a scenic drive through light-up penguin villages, fantastical trees, and Santa’s workshop. Note that there is a fee for your drive, and the lights are closed on Christmas day. Find out more information here.

Thank you to Christine for allowing me to use her photo!


Bull Run Festival Of Lights

Much like Seneca Creek and the Symphony of Lights, Bull Run hosts their own 2.5 mile drive-through light display. After you drive through the display, you can park and step out to enjoy refreshments and attractions, and take a leisurely stroll through a holiday village complete with coloring and books for the little ones. Did you know there are even camel rides? 

LightUP Fest

24327639_1553058238103216_7987970688965148672_nDaily exhibitions of acrobats and entertainers, Lightup Fest combines artistry and technology to provide an educational, culture-rich display to One Loudoun. Here are the words straight from the State of Virginia’s website: “Lightup Fest: This 8-week exhibition combines the latest lighting technology and artisan crafted lanterns to showcase the rich heritage, tradition and culture of the world.  With 77 stunning displays presented in different themes, the LightUP Fest promises a magical night for everyone that visits.  The 4 major themes are Tour of Fantasy; Freedom America; Mysterious East and Magical World.  One of the featured highlights unique to this exhibit is the display of the US Capitol.” To find out more information, including pricing and times, visit their website right here. Photo used from One Loudoun’s official instagram account.

This is not an exhaustive list – for other events and happenings in your local areas, we suggest looking at your County’s official website. We are your community experts here at the Eric Stewart Group, and we would love to hear your favorite place to go for the holidays. Do you take a yearly drive through Seneca Creek? Do you head out to Mount Vernon for its Lights Display or to the National Christmas Tree? Let us know in the comments. The more we hear from you, the better we can tailor our blogs and newsletters to fit out clients. 

For information on our preferred vendors in the area, check out our Preferred Vendor’s Guide for information on the community’s contractors and mortgage companies we trust for your home sale. Stay tuned for next week’s blog for our 2018 recap!

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