If you are spending Thanksgiving in the Washington, D.C. area, there are plenty of places you can go to enjoy a great meal, a festive event, or even an afternoon of volunteering for a local community this year.
Thanksgiving weekend kicks off the holiday season in the Capital Region with many wonderful seasonal activities and events across Maryland, Northern Virginia, and Washington, D.C. Here are some fun things to do in the capital region during your holiday trip.
- Thanksgiving Dinner at Restaurants in the Washington, DC Area: Let someone else do the cooking this year! Dine out at a nice restaurant that serves Thanksgiving dinner in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Northern Virginia like BLT Steak DC, Georgia Browns, or The Mansion at O and more. Enjoy a festive holiday meal with all the trimmings.
- Thanksgiving Dinner To Go: Pick up delicious dishes professionally prepared and spend the day with your guests, not stuck in the kitchen. There are a multitude of places to find turkey, side dishes and desserts specially prepared to go in the Washington, D.C. area like HoneyBakedHam, Whole Foods, Hill Country BBQ Market, and more.
- Black Friday in the Washington, D.C. Area: On the day after Thanksgiving, many Washington, D.C. area retailers open their doors early to attract shoppers with special deals and bargains for the holiday season like Tanger Outlets at National Harbor, Potomac Mills Mall, and Walmart. Some shopping malls and large retailers even open at midnight, so check their schedule before heading over.
- Volunteer for Thanksgiving: Find a variety of charitable organizations that need volunteers to prepare, serve and clean up holiday meals for the poor. Lend a helping had to your community. The most popular local charities in the D.C. area include Bright Beginnings and DC Care. Note: As many people want to give back at this time of year, contact the charities early to ensure a spot is available around the holiday period.
- Turkey Trots in the Washington, D.C. Area: A variety of organizations sponsor trots, runs and walks for fun or to raise money for the needy. Enjoy an active jaunt before your holiday feast. In the D.C. area, the Thanksgiving Day Trot for Hunger and Cranberry Crawl 5K/10K Run and Race Walk bring out the crowds. Outside of town, try the Alexandria Turkey Trot, Virginia Run Turkey Trot, or Turkey Chase Bethesda–Chevy Chase YMCA.
- Reston Town Center Holiday Parade: The Reston community kicks off the holiday season with a full day celebration including a holiday parade, visits with Santa, a Christmas tree lighting ceremony, and more on the day after Thanksgiving each year.
- Six Flags America - Holiday in the Park: The amusement park offers a holiday celebration featuring millions of glittering lights, holiday entertainment, seasonal treats, Santa’s Village, and many popular rides.
- Holiday Shows in the Washington, D.C. Area: Throughout the holiday season, you will find a wonderful lineup of live performances in D.C., Maryland, and Northern Virginia. Find "A Christmas Carol," "Season's of Light," "'Twas the Night Before Christmas," and a variety of unique holiday shows.
- National Mall: Thanksgiving weekend is a popular time to visit the Smithsonian museums and Washington, D.C.’s famous monuments and memorials.
- Top 10 Places to Visit With out of Town Guests in Washington, D.C.: Chances are that your out of town guests have been to Washington before and have explored the National Mall. There are lots of other interesting places to explore in the nation’s capital.
- Season’s Greenings at the United States Botanic Garden: During the holiday season, the U.S. Botanic Garden presents a unique exhibit featuring model trains and incredible replicas of Washington, D.C.'s most famous buildings and monuments.
- ICE! – Christmas at the Gaylord National Resort: The award-winning holiday attraction is a winter wonderland created entirely of 5,000 blocks of ice weighing 2 MILLION POUNDS! hand-sculpted by 40 international artisans and kept at a chilling nine degrees Fahrenheit.
- Christmas Light Displays in the Washington, D.C. Area: Celebrate the holiday season with a drive or a stroll through one of the Washington, D.C. area's spectacle of lights at a local park in the suburbs of Maryland. These Christmas light displays are beautiful and a great way to share the magic and joy of a winter wonderland.
- Mount Vernon Candlelight Tours: Martha Washington hosts an 18th-century Christmas with candlelit walks, fireside caroling, and festive décor during Mount Vernon by Candlelight.
- Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremonies: See the calendar of community tree lighting events around the capital region. This weekend's events will be held in CityCenter DC, Annapolis, Alexandria, Reston, Leesburg, Tysons, and Fairfax.
- The Nutcracker: The Washington, D.C. area has a wide range of theaters to enjoy the Christmas classic ballet - the Nutcracker. Many performances start on Thanksgiving weekend.
- Maryland Christmas Show at the Frederick Fairgrounds: Enjoy the works of 500 artists and craftsmen offering fine art, pottery, furniture, quilts, jewelry, clothing, wreaths and garlands, toys and Christmas ornaments at the Frederick Fairgrounds in Maryland.
- Cut Your Own Christmas Tree in the Washington, D.C. Area: A great way to start the season is to take the whole family out to a Christmas tree farm and cut your own Christmas tree.
- Presidential Turkey Pardon: The White House tradition of pardoning a live turkey has become of great interest.