Alexandria and D.C. Holiday Boat Parade of Lights 2017

A Christmas Light Display from Old Town Alexandria to Washington, D.C.

Photo © Alexandria Convention & Visitors Association

The Alexandria Holiday Boat Parade of Lights is a favorite holiday celebration in both Old Town Alexandria and Washington, D.C. Festively decorated pleasure boats light up the sky along the Potomac River including dozens of powerboats, sailboats and the District's fireboat, the John Glenn spouting water 70 feet into the air. The brightly lit boats are creatively decorated as they compete in categories such as "Best in Show," "Best Thinking Outside the Christmas Box," and "Hardiest Souls." The Waterskiing Santa will have a boat in the parade, to celebrate his upcoming show in Alexandria on Christmas Eve.

The boat parade is the culmination of a full weekend of holiday festivities throughout Old Town Alexandria.

New this year! The Wharf development is open on the Southwest Waterfront and will be hosting its inaugural holiday events. Check back soon as details are to be announced. 

Holiday Boat Parade Schedule:

Saturday, December 2, 2017 - Held Rain (Snow) or Shine

  • 4 - 9 p.m. Festivities at the Torpedo Factory Art Center’s Holiday Open House
  • 4:15 p.m. - Santa arrives by boat - pictures with Santa for Kids and Canines
  • 5:30 p.m. - Parade starts at the Alexandria Waterfront
  • 6:00 - 7:00 p.m. - Parade at Washington Channel, Washington, D.C.

The best place in Northern Virginia to view the Alexandria Holiday Boat Parade of Lights is the from the docks of the Alexandria marina. Santa will arrive via boat to visit with children dockside at the gazebo and will be available for photos. The Torpedo Factory Art Center will hold its Holiday Open House between 4 and 9 p.m. offering live music and festive activities including gift shopping in open artist studios. Santa is scheduled to arrive on a fireboat around 4:15 p.m. in the water taxi slip near the Chart House restaurant.

Santa will visit each floor of the Torpedo Factory to welcome guests. Throughout the evening the Torpedo Factory will offer free fresh-baked cookies and drinks, a choir singing, a Gourmet Hot Chocolate Bar, along with a full-size re-creation of Santa's fireboat display for selfie picture taking. At 8 p.m., the Braddock Street Brass Quintet will play a selection of holiday classics.

Locations and Transportation

The Alexandria Waterfront is located behind the Torpedo Factory Art Center, which runs north along Union Street, between King and Cameron Streets. See a map of Alexandria. The closest Metro stop is King Street station, which is about 10 blocks to the east of the waterfront. You can walk from there or take the free King Street Trolley. On-street parking and public parking lots are available within walking distance to the waterfront. Read more about parking in Old Town Alexandria.

The Wharf Waterfront is located in Southwest Washington, D.C.  along the Washington Channel, just south of the National Mall. The closest Metro Stations are Waterfront and L’Enfant Plaza.  See a map and directions. On-street parking and public parking lots are available within walking distance to the waterfront.