The First Family joins a high-profile list of musical entertainers for a nationally broadcast National Christmas tree lighting ceremony on Dec. 3. The tree is elegantly displayed on the White House Ellipse, which is located just south of the White House and north of the National Mall. Traveling by Metro is the best way to see the tree, which is within walking distance from the following stops: Federal Triangle, Farragut North, McPherson Square and Metro Center. Photo Credit: Anthony Quintano
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The Pageant of Peace on the White House Ellipse also includes the National Menorah. An official lighting ceremony on December 6 signals the start of Chanukah, followed by the lighting of a candle throughout each night of the holiday. Photo Credit: Ted Eytan
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Thanks to a rotating cast of crafters and vendors, hot coffee and sweets and holiday performances, this magical marketplace is worth multiple trips. You’ll find the Downtown Holiday Market on F Street NW, between 7th and 9th streets. Photo Credit: Marquis Perkins
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Pictured: Septime Webre's The Nutcracker at Warner Theatre
It wouldn’t be Christmas without The Nutcracker and in the nation’s capital, audiences will find a decidedly DC-centric version of the holiday ballet. Septime Webre’s The Nutcracker at the historic Warner Theatre is set in 18th century Washington, DC with “George Washington” playing the part of the heroic Nutcracker, waltzing cherry blossoms mingling with dancing sugar plums and sets featuring DC city skylines. Catch the show December 3-27. – Photo by Brianne Bland- Photo by Brianne Bland
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Pictured: Ice Skating at the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden
The National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden transforms into an ice skating rink full of holiday cheer from November 14 though March 13 (weather permitting). Lace up your skates and make your own modern art in the form of fancy figure eights. After you’ve finished your twists and turns, check out the contemporary sculptures and warm up with some hot chocolate in the adjacent Pavilion Café.
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Pictured: ZooLights at the National Zoo
Washington, DC’s National Zoo has the wildest holiday attraction in town! The free ZooLights features environmentally friendly light displays, a merry tour through the grounds on the National Zoo Choo Choo, snow tubing on Lion/Tiger Hill and a special gingerbread house competition. Check it all out November 27 through January 2 (excluding Dec. 24, 25, & 31).
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Pictured: Holidays at the Willard InterContinental
Just steps from the White House and sometimes referred to as the “other Residence of Presidents,” the historical Willard InterContinental Hotel pulls out all the stops for the holiday season. You can view official White House Ornaments on their lobby tree and enjoy afternoon holiday tea in its famous Peacock Alley and a gingerbread house replica of the storied hotel. Make sure to check out holiday carolers performing between Dec. 1 through Dec. 23, from 5:30-7:30 p.m.
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Pictured: "Seasons Greenings" at the U.S. Botanic Gardens
The U.S. Botanic Gardens showcases an environmentally friendly DC with its annual “Seasons Greenings.” The exhibit features model trains running through an imaginative enchanted forest with stops at fanciful fairy dwellings, plant-based models of the city’s iconic landmarks, one of the largest indoor decorated trees in Washington, DC and a decked out conservatory with an expansive collection of poinsettias. See all of the holiday magic from Nov. 26 though Jan. 3.
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Pictured: Christmas Carol at Ford's Theatre
A Christmas Carol at historic Ford’s Theatre is a holiday tradition for many Washingtonians and visitors alike. The timeless Dickens tale follows the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge as he journeys through his life with the Ghosts of Past, Present and Future and ultimately finds redemption. Catch this timeless classic from Nov. 19 through Dec. 31.- Photo by Maxwell MacKenzie
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Union Station is like its own self-contained holiday wonderland in December. Not only will you find everything on your gift list in all the shops, but on the day after Thanksgiving, the train station will unveil an all-new model train display, followed a few days later by the Norwegian Christmas tree lighting on Dec. 1. Photo Credit: Elvert Barnes
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Pictured: 1789 Restaurant decorated for the holidays
1789 Restaurant, made of three Federal-period townhomes with six individual dining rooms, transforms into a Christmas wonderland with six unique settings. In keeping with its 19th century roots, decorations include rustic wreaths and trees, beautiful bows and bright candles.
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Head to The Washington Harbour in historic Georgetown, and admire awe-inspiring views of the Georgetown waterfront and the Kennedy Center. Not only is this the largest ice skating rink in DC, it’s even larger than the rink adorning New York City’s Rockefeller Center. Start stretching now; that’s a lot of ground to cover. Photo Credit: The Washington Harbour
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Pictured: Handel's Messiah at the Washington National Cathedral
The Washington National Cathedral hosts a moving version of Handel’s Messiah, featuring a Baroque-period orchestra with the Cathedral’s combined boy, girl and men’s choirs, with guest soloists Laura Choi Stuart, soprano; Rufus Müller, tenor; and Jesse Blumberg, bass. This year you can see the performace Dec. 5-6, followed by the Joy of Christmas on Dec. 12-13 and The Twelve Days Of Christmas on Dec. 20.
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Pictured: Deck the halls at Tudor Place Historic House & Garden
Built in 1816 for Martha Washington’s granddaughter, Tudor Place Historic House & Garden in Georgetown is a public house museum. During the holidays, they deck the halls and open their doors for special tours, wreath-making workshops, a Nutcracker story and dance class for the kids, and a holiday-themed “Tudor Night” featuring seasonal libations for the adults! The special holiday events take place from Dec. 5-20.
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Pictured: Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception at Christmas
The Basilica of the National Shrine celebrates the Christmas season with 51 trees, 500 poinsettia plants and more than 65,000 brilliant lights inside and out. Plus, the church displays two moving manger scenes during the holiday, one nearly life size.
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CityCenterDC is your new one-stop-shop for all things holiday in downtown DC. With high-end shops like Burberry, Hermes and Kate Spade New York, plus unique dining like Momofuku, DGBG Kitchen and Bar and Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steakhouse, there are plenty of reasons to linger there, besides the arrestingly beautiful tree. Photo Credit: Daniel Swartz via facebook.com/citycenterdc