25 Holiday Sightings, Winter Wonders and Festive Celebrations

1. Gaylord National’s ICE!

Marriott Gaylord National Harbor

November 14, 2014 – January 4, 2015


Enjoy a winter wonderland created from 5,000 BLOCKS of ice hand-sculpted by international artisans. The attraction is fully interactive, allowing guests to roam inside, around and on-top of holiday scenes. The theme for 2014 will be Frosty the Snowman.

2. ZooLights

National Zoo in Washington, D.C.

November 28-January 1 (closed Dec. 24, 25 and 31), 5-9 p.m.


The National Zoo sparkles with thousands of lights that create sculptures of many of the Zoo’s most popular animals. You’ll see giant pandas, Asian elephants, an octopus and more! Enjoy winter-themed crafts, ice sculpting demonstrations, choral groups, and storytellers. Holiday treats will be available for sale including hot chocolate, donuts and kettle corn. Families can take a photo with costumed characters and do some holiday shopping at one of the eco-friendly gift shops.

3. Bethesda’s Annual Winter Wonderland

Veterans Park, Woodmont and Norfolk Ave., Bethesda, MD

December 6, 2014, 1 – 4 p.m.


Blocks of ice will be transformed into wintery works of art before your eyes during the live ice sculpting presentation followed by choral performances from local school groups. Santa Claus will make a visit to the park that afternoon, and holiday treats will be provided for children.

4. Manassas Christmas Parade

Old Town Manassas

Saturday, December 6, 2014, 10 a.m.


Come see amazing floats, local celebrities, live performances, marching bands, equestrians, animated characters, giant balloons and Santa! The parade route begins at Mathis Avenue and concludes at the intersection of Center Street and Grant Avenue. After the parade, enjoy enchanted Christmas stories at the Train Depot.

5. The Water Skiing Santa

Old Town Alexandria (prime viewing along the waterfront between King and Oronoco Sts to include Founders Park and the Alexandria City Marina)

December 24, 2014 at 12:30 p.m. Rain, snow or shine.

This unusual but highly entertaining annual event features a water-skiing Santa, flying elves, the Jet-skiing Grinch, and Frosty the Snowman performing sing-alongs on the Potomac River. Your kids will not want to miss this! You’ll be glad you came along…

6. Village at Leesburg Christmas Tree Lighting

1602 Village Market Blvd, Leesburg, VA

November 28, 2014, 3-5 p.m.

Santa arrives by horse-drawn carriage to kick off the biggest holiday season ever by lighting the NEW Spectacular Musical Tree. It’s covered in 15,000 dazzling lights! Festivities include horse-drawn carriage rides, musical performances, caroling, holiday characters, chestnut roasting and more! Attendees are encouraged to bring a toy to be donated to Toys for Tots.

7. Rockville Town Square Holiday Open House

Rockville Town Square, Rockville, MD

December 4, 2014, 6:30-9:30 p.m.

This family-fun event includes Santa’s arrival, holiday tree lighting, free photos with Santa and tons of festive goodies. If you donate to the Montgomery County Housing Opportunities Commission Holiday Toy & Gift Drive, you’ll be rewarded with a free carriage ride!

8. The National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

The White House Ellipse (tickets required)

December 4, 2014, 5 p.m.

Home Page

Nationally known entertainers and a military band perform and the President brings a message of peace to the nation and the world. Events and live entertainment continue at the National Christmas Tree throughout the holiday season. Check the website for events and times.

9. Middleburg Hunt & Christmas Parade

Main Street Middleburg

December 6, 2014


One hundred horses, their riders in red coats and dozens of hounds take to the streets of Middleburg for this annual event. The Middleburg Christmas Parade features a unique assortment of floats, marching bands, local community groups, Santa, antique fire trucks and a variety of animals. Throughout the day there are hayrides, choir performances, and more. A Wine Crawl at the end of the day allows adults to relax and sample wines from area vineyards and foods from local restaurants.

10. McLean Winterfest Parade

McLean, VA – along Chain Bridge Road from Fleetwood Rd. to Elm St.

December 7, 2014, 3:30 p.m.


This holiday community parade is extra special this year, as the parade takes place on Pearl Harbor Day! The parade will include a salute to WWII veterans represented by the American Legion Post 270 as Grand Marshals.

11. Tysons Corner Center Holiday Market

Tysons Corner Center on the grand new Plaza

December 5-24, 2014, Fri. 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Sat./Sun. 10 a.m.-8 p.m.


Come out and enjoy a great German themed Christmas Market. The Market features a variety of vendors. There will be a spectacular Christmas tree, entertainment, and beer garden along with other activities.

12. Santa Fly In

College Park Aviation Museum

December 6, 2014, 12-4 p.m.


Watch Santa fly into the historic College Park Airport and have your picture taken with the aero-Claus. Enjoy holiday arts and crafts in the museum gallery before and after the big arrival.

13. Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker by CityDance

Music Center at Strathmore (5301 Tuckerman Ln., N. Bethesda, MD)

December 14, 2014


More than sixty local youth have been selected to perform alongside the Russian professionals in this Moscow Ballet production of the Nutcracker.

14. Scottish Walk Weekend

The Campagna Center, Alexandria, VA

December 5-6, 2014, 11 a.m.


Come to Old Town Alexandria to watch (and hear) hundreds of Scottish clansmen with their bagpipes at the 44th Annual Scottish Walk Parade. The weekend features tours of historic homes, a Christmas Marketplace and Café.

15. Loudoun Symphony Holiday Concert: Snap, Crackle and Pop

Virginia Academy, Ashburn

December 6, 2014, 7:30 p.m.


Concert features music of the season with Washington Soloist Ensemble, special guests, soprano Lori Hultgren and Loudoun’s Got Talent winner, Jordan Bartel. The Loudoun Symphony is collecting non-perishable food items for the Loudoun Interfaith Relief, so please bring your donations to the concert.

16. National Symphony Orchestra Pops: Happy Holidays

John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

December 11-13, 2014


Featuring Cirque de la Symphonie with Steven Reineke, conductor.

Back by popular demand for the holidays–with new acts and returning favorites! Aerialists, jugglers, illusionists, and more bring the circus to the Concert Hall.

17. National Hanukkah Menorah Lighting Ceremony

The White House Ellipse (at the NW end, near Constitution Ave.)

Tuesday, December 16, 2014, 4 p.m. (rain or shine)

www.nationalmenorah.org (Free, tickets required)

Festivities at the lighting ceremony include musical performances, hot latkes and donuts. This year’s celebration will feature the United States Army Band. The Menorah will be lit each night of Hanukkah.

18. Chanukah on Ice

Pentagon Row Ice Rink, 1201 S. Joyce St., Arlington, Virginia.

December 18, 2014, 6–8:30 p.m.


Event is hosted by Chabad Lubavitch of Alexandria-Arlington. Tickets online for$10 per person, includes skate rental. Features free raffle, lighting a six foot Menorah. Eat dinner there – Hot Latkes, Kosher Hot Dogs and other Refreshments!

19. Mrs. Claus Tea

Strathmore in the Mansion

December 6, 2014 at 10:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.


A holiday favorite! Christmas music, a child-friendly menu and story time with our special guest, Mrs. Claus. A surprise appearance from Santa, too!

20. Make Room for Latkes

JCC, Washington, D.C., 1529 Sixteenth St., NW

December 7, 10:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.


Chanukah is coming and with it, eight nights of family fun! Get ready with PJ Library and the DCJCC with a variety of hands-on activities, including arts and crafts, a delicious cooking project, stories, singing, learning or practicing the blessings over the menorah, and more. It’s a perfect morning for Jewish and interfaith families with children ages 3 and older. Don’t miss the latkes along with lots of take-home information and recipes to make your Chanukah even happier. Registration fee covers all food, supplies and activities.

21. Bull Run Festival of Lights

Bull Run Regional Park, Centreville, VA

Through January 4, 2015


For more than thirteen years, the Bull Run Festival of Lights has drawn thousands of visitors to the park to delight in its winter wonderland. Get a sneak preview of it on the website, where a video of Santa’s Enchanted Lights, with over 40,000 animated lights set to music, is merely a fraction of what you’ll find there!

22. Tiny Tim’s A Christmas Carol

Adventure Theatre

Through January 1


This exciting world premiere story of a father and son is adapted by Broadway’s Tony-winning Ken Ludwig,(‘Twas the Night Before Christmas) and his very own son, Jack. Get ready for the wildest ride you’ve ever had through the classic Scrooge and ghosts story!

23. Snow Day

Workhouse Arts Center & Atlas Performing Arts Center

December 3-14 & December 18-22, 10:30 a.m.


Arts on the Horizon presents this winter show about a young girl named Skip who wakes up to find the entire neighborhood covered in a thick, dazzling blanket of white snow. A playful winter elf takes her on an adventure – experiencing her very first snow day. This nonverbal world premiere production features live music and lots of wintertime fun, just in time for the holiday season. Recommended for children ages 2-6.

24. Holiday Sing-A-Long

Wolf Trap

December 6, 4 p.m.


Wolf Trap’s Holiday Sing-A-Long is an annual musical celebration hosting a performance by the United States Marine Band and a Sing-A-Long of Christmas carols and Hanukkah songs with choir and vocal groups from the area. Free, no tickets required, but parking is limited. Bring along a new, unwrapped toy to donate to Toys for Tots, a bell for a “Jing-A-Long” during the singing of “Jingle Bells,” and a candle to join the tradition of exiting the Filene Center with a candlelight processional during the last verse of “Silent Night.”

25. Kwanzaa Celebration 2014

Watch Coyaba Academy, Coyaba Dance Theater

December 13-14, 2104, Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 4 p.m.


Welcome the holiday season with Dance Place’s annual Kwanzaa Celebration! Gather family and friends to watch and celebrate the seven principles of Kwanzaa.

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