The Washington, D.C. area and its surrounding communities in Maryland and Virginia host a full range of annual festivals and special events. You can visit holiday displays well into January, take in a new restaurant during Restaurant Week and, if you dare, join in a Polar Bear Plunge.
Check the official websites or call to confirm information before you go as weather and unforeseen circumstances can cause closures and changes. Most of these events are held each year.
- New Years Day in Washington, D.C. - When you look for something to do on New Year's Day in Washington, D.C. you might encounter closed businesses. Yet, there are still a lot of great ways to spend your day on the first of January. The Smithsonian museums are usually open on New Year's Day as are the monuments and memorials. You can even spend the day at the National Zoo.
- Washington, D.C. Area Christmas Light Displays - Some of the Christmas light displays in the area continue through the first week in January. Enjoy a drive or a stroll through one of the Washington, D.C. area's spectacles of lights at a local park or along the water in Washington, D.C., Maryland, or Virginia. One local favorite is "Seasons Greenings," decorations and train display at The National Botanic Garden.
- Christmas at Mount Vernon - You can learn about the Christmas traditions of George Washington and tour the Mount Vernon Estate. The programs extend through the first week in January.
- ICE! – Christmas at the Gaylord National Resort - Through January 1, 2019. 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.
- Winter Theater in Washington, D.C. - With dozens of performances around the region, the schedule of the top shows for the 2019 season includes some great entertainment for January.
- Bridal Shows and Expos - See everything you need to plan an extraordinary wedding. Bridal shows include exhibits of bridal fashions, invitations, photographers, ceremony sites, music, wedding cakes, decorations, honeymoon travel and much more. See the schedule of shows around the Washington, D.C. area.
- Bethesda Restaurant Week - January 11-20, 2019, enjoy prix-fixe lunch and dinner menus at a variety of restaurants in Bethesda, Maryland.
- Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Events - The national holiday is January 21, 2019. Martin Luther King Jr's Birthday is a day of honor and commemorative events at a variety of sites in Washington, DC. Events honoring the civil rights leader run throughout the month of January.
- Home & Remodeling Show - January 18-20, 2019 at the Dulles Expo Center, 4368 Chantilly Shopping Center, in Chantilly, Virginia is the place to get inspiration for your home. Find out what's new in home decor, gardening, remodeling, and more. Meet hundreds of experts and check out thousands of products and services.
- Roe v. Wade Anniversary Rallies - January 18, 2019. Thousands of Americans will march in Washington, DC on the anniversary of the date of the Supreme Court’s infamous 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. Pro-lifers and pro-choice supporters will march in support of their stand on this controversial issue.
- Washington, DC Restaurant Week - January 14-20, 2019, experience Washington, D.C.'s best restaurants at affordable prices. More than 250 of Washington, DC’s finest restaurants will be offering deals on 3-course lunches and 3-course dinners for this gourmet event.
- Howard County Restaurant Weeks - From January 21- February 4, 2019, participating restaurants in Howard County will offer prix fixe chef’s menus with special pricing. Last year's menus ranged from $15 to $45 and more than 30 restaurants participated.
- Maryland Polar Bear Plunge - January 24-26, 2019, head to Annapolis, Maryland for the chilliest swim event of the year. During the charity event for Special Olympics Maryland, thousands of participants of all ages are daring enough to take a dip in the wintry waters of the Chesapeake Bay. The event includes contests and live entertainment. There are more Polar Plunges in Maryland and Virginia.
- Alexandria Restaurant Week - On January 18 - 27, 2019, more than 45 restaurants will be offering special menus and pricing to entice visitors to dine in Alexandria, Virginia, just five miles south of Washington, D.C. The restaurants are offering either a three-course pre-fixe dinner or dinner for two at $35 per person