As a child who grew up in the DC area and living here currently with my own family, over the years I’ve had the chance to experience a lot of things to do here in DC for the holidays. It’s particularly interesting if you’ve done something as a child and then take your own kids back to do the same thing and have the same experience but from a different perspective (kind of like going to Disney has a kid and then as a parent, right?).
Anyway, here are 10 Holiday Things To Do in DC, in no particular order:
- Ice! Show at Gaylord National Hotel – This year’s theme is Christmas Around the World.
- Walk-through holiday attraction, kept at a chilly 9 degrees
- Two million pounds of ice sculptures hand-carved by 35 artisans from Harbin, China. Learn more about The Making of ICE!
- Five ice slides
- Celebrates various countries’ holiday celebrations
- The Frostbite Factory – a live carving zone
- Christmas Lights – Brookside Garden’s Garden of Lights, ZooLights at the National Zoo, Festival of Lights at the Mormon Temple, and Winter Lights at Seneca Creek State Park (in Germantown, MD)
- Smithsonian Museums (all kid friendly) – National Museum of the American Indian, Air & Space Museum, and the National History Museum are my favorites. I’ve heard that the recently opened National Museum of African American History & Culture is not to be missed
- Ice Skating (Outdoors) – National Gallery of Art’s The Ice Rink, The Washington Harbour Ice Rink (biggest in the area), Tysons Corner Center Rink, Rockville Town Square Ice Rink, and Reston Town Square. There are also a few indoor rinks as well like the Cabin John Ice Rink
- United States Botanic Gardens – There is an annual holiday show Seasons Greenings, which features a train that weaves through 50 iconic national parks and historic places
- See a Show on Stage – Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas is currently playing at the National Theatre and Beauty and the Beast is at Imagination Stage in Bethesda, Mary Poppins is at Olney Theatre, and Adventure Theatre has The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe
- Walk the Mall and see the National Christmas Tree and Hanukkah Menorah
- National Harbor – Stay the night at the Gaylord or MGM, go to the Ice! Show, take a spin on the Capital Wheel, eat some good food and do a bit of shopping at the outlets. And the casino at the MGM is now open, too.
- National Building Museum – Current exhibits are the Small Stories: At Home in a Dollhouse and the ongoing exhibits House and Home AND (the very popular for kids) the Play, Work, Build exhibit. There is always the Building Zone area, which is perfect for the youngest kids. PSST – This museum is always a favorite of my family!
- Go shopping and eat some good food – Check out this dining guide from The Washington Post and this shopping guide to the best areas in and around DC.
Happy holidays from my family to yours!!!