Pictured: The National Christmas Tree on the White House Ellipse
The First Family joins a high-profile list of musical entertainers for a nationally broadcast National Christmas tree lighting ceremony. Throughout the month, attend a free daily event that includes musical entertainment, reindeers, and 56 mini-trees representing all 50 states, Washington, DC and U.S. territories! Both are 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.
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Pictured: The National Menorah
The Pageant of Peace on the White House Ellipse also includes the National Menorah. An official lighting ceremony on December 16 signals the start of Chanukah, followed by the lighting of a candle throughout each night of the holiday.
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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 4-28th. – 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 15 (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, a visit with Panda Claws, snow tubing on Lion/Tiger Hill and special after hours keeper talks. Check it all out November 28 through January 1 (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 special performances beginning on Dec. 2 and running through Dec. 28.
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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. 27 though Jan. 4.
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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. 20 through Jan. 1.- Photo by Maxwell MacKenzie
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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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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 Gillian Keith, soprano; Rufus Müller, tenor; and Nathan Berg, bass. This year you can see the performace Dec. 5-7. The Cathedral hosts a number of other Christmas-themed events each year, including a Christmas Pageant and the Bethlehem Prayer Service.
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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 today is a public house museum. During the holidays, they decks 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 spiced ginger punch for the adults! The special holiday events take place from Dec. 2-23.
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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.