12 Winter & Holiday Events Around the DC Area You Won’t Want to Miss

Make your holiday season merrier with these local (and not-so-local) parades and events.

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Gaylord National Resort
When: Nov. 18 through Jan. 1
nWhere: Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center (201 Waterfront St., National Harbor, Maryland)
nPrice: Tickets are $24 for children and $32 for adults.
nTwo million pounds of ice create an “indoor winter wonderland” at the resort, featuring ice slides and sculptures that show the story of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and scene of the Nativity. Bring your coats, gloves and scarves as you might feel the freeze from the attraction, which is kept at nine degrees.
Middleburg, VA
When: Dec. 1: tree lighting; Dec. 2: parade; Dec. 3: Foxcroft Pageant
nWhere: Middleburg, Virginia
nPrice: Free
nRing in the Christmas season in Virginia horse country with a mile-long Christmas parade, breakfast with Santa, a craft fair, greens show, wine crawl and more. Special discounts will be available at many Middleburg shops, stores, restaurants.
Steven Shires - Lexington & Rockbridge Area Tourism
When: Dec. 1 at 6 p.m.
nWhere: Main Street, Lexington, Virginia
nPrice: Free admission
nHead out for the annual Lexington Christmas Parade for a holiday celebration with lights, music, dance groups, performances and much more. Stick around after the parade to take pictures with Santa while drinking hot chocolate and snacking on candy canes.
Nick Eckert
When: Dec. 24, 1 p.m.
nWhere: Alexandria Waterfront (between King and Oronoco streets, Alexandria, Virginia)
Price: Free
nHead down to the Alexandria Waterfront for the 32nd annual Water Skiing Santa show. See Santa on water skis with his wake-boarding reindeer, flying elves, the Grinch, Frosty the Snowman and Jack Frost out on the Potomac River. The best spots to see the show are between King and Oronoco streets, at Founders Park or at the Alexandria City marina.
Joy Asico
When: Nov. 24-Dec. 31
nWhere: Pop Up Bar D.C. (1843 7th Street, NW, Washington, D.C.)
nThis list wouldn't be complete without a boozy holiday experience. Goodbye Game of Thrones and Halloween, hello Miracle on 7th Street. The bar will transform after Thanksgiving into a winter wonderland, with everything from dreidel chandeliers to dinosaur nativity scenes. Stella Artois and Budweiser have partnered with the event to create a signature beer cocktail, provide beer swag and more. See more photos from last year's Miracle on 7th Street here.
Larry Albee
Where: Wilmington, Delaware
nWhen: Dates vary depending on event; see website for details.
nPrice: Prices vary
nCelebrate the season in style by visiting the du Pont mansions and gardens in Greater Wilmington and Brandywine Valley as they're decorated for the holidays. Consider including a tour of the Hagley Museum and Library, which are decorated with dried flowers, fruits and more; a trip to the Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library, which has tickets available for Yuletide tours, or a stroll through Longwood Gardens , where thousands of poinsettias, Christmas trees and decorative lights will brighten up the Conservatory and its four surrounding acres.
Downtown Holiday Market
When: Nov. 24-Dec. 23; noon-8 p.m.
nWhere: F Street NW between 7th & 9th
nPrice: Free admission
nThis open-air holiday market takes over F Street in front of the National Portrait Gallery for almost an entire month, bringing together 150+ local vendors, goodies such as hot donuts and cider, and seasonal musical performances.
When: Dec. 1-2
nWhere: Old Town Alexandria
nPrice: Varies by event; parade is free
nCelebrate Scottish heritage in Alexandria with the 47th annual Christmas Walk and Parade weekend. Blend in with the tartan and march to the beat of the pipes during Saturday's parade. The rest of the weekend, take advantage of a Taste of Scotland, a scotch and food tasting event, holiday home tours and more.
Bethesda Urban Partnership
When: Dec. 2, 1-4 p.m.
nWhere: Veterans' Park (Woodmont Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland)
nPrice: Free
nBethesda's Winter Wonderland features live ice sculpting, an appearance by Santa Claus and performances by local school choirs. This year's school participants are Academy of the Holy Cross, Chevy Chase Elementary School, Georgetown Preparatory School, Seneca Valley High Schoo, Our Lady of Lourdes. Washington Episcopal School and Westbrook Elementary School.
Getty Images
When: Nov. 24-Jan. 6; 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
nWhere: George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate & Gardens, Mount Vernon, Virginia
nPrice: Adults $17, children $8
nCelebrate the season at the home of George and Martha Washington by touring the holiday-decorated mansion, watching historic chocolate-making demonstrations and meeting Aladdin the Camel.
When: Dec. 9, 6-8 p.m.
nWhere: Annapolis Harbor and Spa Creek
nPrice: Free
nThis annual event brings families and friends out to watch illuminated boats in the harbor light up the night. Illustrations are created with colored lights depicting various holiday scenes. The parade was nominated as one of USA Today’s Best Holiday Parades.
Telemundo San Antonio
When: Nov. 24 through Jan. 1, except for Dec. 24, 25 and 31
nWhere: The Smithsonian's National Zoo (3001 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington, D.C.)
nPrice: Free!
nStep into the Smithsonian’s winter wonderland with more than half a million LED lights sparkling through the zoo. Along with the light show, the zoo will include live music and winter-inspired snacks.
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