Best Christmas Events for Kids in Washington D.C., MD and VA

  • 01 of 19

    Christmas Lights, Visits with Santa, Holiday Concerts, Parades and More

    Santa and Kids
    Santa and Kids. Andresr/Getty Images

    Washington, D.C. is a wonderful place to celebrate the Christmas holiday season with kids. The whole family can enjoy a wide selection of Christmas events and activities in Washington, D.C. and the suburbs of Maryland and Virginia. While you are shopping, decorating, cooking and preparing for the holiday, be sure to take some time out to make some special Christmas memories with your kids.


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  • 02 of 19

    The Nutcracker

    Ballet West Nutcracker
    Ballet West Nutcracker - Kennedy Center. Luke-Isley

    The Washington, D.C. area has a wide range of theaters to enjoy the Christmas classic ballet - the Nutcracker. Take the whole family to marvel over Clara’s Christmas fantasy when the wooden toy soldier comes alive and takes her on a magical tour of wonderful holiday adventures. For the younger crowd, check out the Nutcracker Puppet Show at the Puppet Co. See a guide to Nutcracker Tickets in the Washington, D.C. Area.



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  • 03 of 19

    National Christmas Tree and the Pageant of Peace

    2013 National Christmas Tree
    2013 National Christmas Tree. Getty Images

    The Christmas Tree in front of the White House has a special allure to us all, but to kids it’s even more magical. Be sure to get up close and watch the toy train go around the track! There's live entertainment throughout the holiday season and this is one of the most iconic Washington, D.C. holiday experiences you can have.  Read more about the National Christmas Tree.

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  • 04 of 19

    Six Flags America - Holiday in the Park

    Six Flags America Holiday in the Park
    Six Flags America Holiday in the Park. Six Flags America

    The amusement park offers a holiday celebration featuring millions of glittering lights, holiday entertainment, seasonal treats, Santa’s Village, and many popular rides.  Read more about Six Flags America - Holiday in the Park.

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  • 05 of 19

    ICE! Christmas at the Gaylord National Resort

    ICE 2015
    ICE 2015. Rachel Cooper

    The award-winning holiday attraction is a winter wonderland created entirely of 5,000 BLOCKS of ice weighing 1.5 MILLION POUNDS! hand-sculpted by 40 international artisans and kept at a chilling nine degrees Fahrenheit. This is an interactive holiday attraction you won't want to miss. Read more about ICE at the Gaylord National Resort.


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  • 06 of 19

    Alexandria Scottish Christmas Walk and Holiday Boat Parade of Lights

    Parade of Boats
    Alexandria Convention & Visitors Association

    Old Town Alexandria celebrates the holiday season while hundreds of Scottish clansmen with their bagpipes gather for the traditional parade and dozens of festively decorated pleasure boats light up the sky along the Potomac River. Read more about Christmas in Old Town Alexandria.

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  • 07 of 19

    ZooLights at the National Zoo

    ZooLights. FONZ

    Each holiday season, the National Zoo presents a display of thousands of sparkling animated Christmas lights, winter-themed crafts, ice sculpting demonstrations, choral groups, and storytellers. The event is a favorite for kids and adults alike. Read more about ZooLights.

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  • 08 of 19

    Community Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremonies

    Norwegian Christmas Tree
    Miller Taylor

    Dozens of communities around the Washington, D.C. area light a Christmas tree, provide entertainment and invite children to visit with Santa. See the schedule of Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremonies in D.C., Maryland and Virginia.

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  • 09 of 19

    Christmas Town at Busch Gardens

    Christmas Town at Busch Gardens
    Christmas Town at Busch Gardens. Rachel Cooper

    The Williamsburg, Virginia amusement park is transformed into a Christmas wonderland, combining an immersive holiday experience with one-of-a-kind shopping and dining opportunities, all-new holiday shows and a spectacular light-dancing Christmas tree. Read more about Christmas at Busch Gardens.


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  • 10 of 19

    Seasons Greenings at the U.S. Botanic Garden

    Seasons Greenings
    Seasons Greenings. Rachel Cooper

    The exhibit is truly amazing featuring model trains and incredible replicas of Washington, D.C.'s most famous buildings and monuments all made of real plant materials! Adults and children will be fascinated by this special Christmas-time treat in the nation's capital. Read more about the Botanic Garden Holiday Display.

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  • 11 of 19

    Manassas Christmas Parade

    Manassas Christmas Parade
    Manassas Christmas Parade. Photo © Carl Dunn

    Old Town Manassas, Virginia celebrates the Christmas season each year with a weekend of old-fashioned family fun at the "Merry Old Town" celebration. Festivities include a parade, Christmas tree lighting ceremony, visits with Santa, free carriage rides and more. Read more about the Manassas Christmas Parade.

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  • 12 of 19

    Holiday Sing-a-long at Wolf Trap National Park

    Wolf Trap
    Wolf Trap. © Wolf Trap

    Sing Christmas carols and Hanukkah songs with the United States Marine Band and vocal groups from the metropolitan Washington area. Read more about Wolf Trap National Park.

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  • 13 of 19

    Smithsonian Holiday Festival

    Photo courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution

    The holiday event features family-friendly entertainment at several museums including concerts by the U.S. Air Force's Max Impact, Silver Wings, and Celtic Aire, seasonal films such as The Muppet Christmas Carol, Mars Chocolate demonstrations,  trunk shows, and more. Read more about the Smithsonian Holiday Festival.

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  • 14 of 19

    Santa Fly-In at the College Park Aviation Museum

    Santa Fly-In
    Santa Fly-In. Rachel Cooper

    Watch Santa fly into the historic College Park Airport and then have your picture taken with him. Enjoy holiday arts and crafts in the museum gallery as you wait. For more information, visit


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  • 15 of 19

    The Water-Skiing Santa

    This unusual annual event features a water-skiing Santa, flying elves, the Jet-skiing Grinch, and Frosty the Snowman performing on the Potomac River. Read more about the Water-skiing Santa.

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  • 16 of 19

    Christmas Light Displays

    Bull Run Christmas Lights
    Bull Run Christmas Lights. Courtesy of NVRPA

    Throughout the holiday season, Christmas light displays are beautiful and a great way to share the magic and joy of a winter wonderland. Kids will especially like the animated characters. See a guide to Washington DC Area Christmas Light Displays.


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  • 17 of 19

    Discovery Theater’s Seasons of Light

    This seasonal favorite at the Smithsonian’s children’s theater celebrates the warmth of many holidays filled with light. Learn the history and customs of Devali, Ramadan, Sankta Lucia, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, Las Posadas, Christmas, and the First Nations tradition of the Winter Solstice. Read more about the Smithsonian's Discovery Theater

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  • 18 of 19

    Reston Town Center's Holiday Events

    This shopping center in Reston, Virginia celebrates the holidays with a holiday parade, visits with Santa, carriage rides, a Christmas tree lighting and sing-along and more. Read more about the holiday events at Reston Town Center.

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  • 19 of 19

    Leesburg Holiday Parade and Festival

    Catch your Christmas spirit and bring the whole family to see Santa and his friends parade down King Street, through the heart of historic Leesburg. Read more about Christmas in Leesburg.