Top 12 Holiday Lighting Displays in the DC Area

Looking for a little sparkle this holiday season? Check out these D.C.-area winter lights displays, parades and more.

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Daniel Traub
Telemundo San Antonio
When: Now through Jan. 1 (except Dec. 24, 25 and 31)
nWhere: Smithsonian's National Zoo (3001 Connecticut Ave. NW)
nPrice: Free admission
nMake your visit to the zoo a little bit brighter by going during its annual holiday light event, ZooLights. You'll find live music, winter treats and holiday shopping opportunities, plus the chance to walk through the illuminated wonderland of more than 500,000 environmentally friendly LED lights. Worried about getting cold? The Small Mammal House, Reptile Discovery Center, Think Tank and Great Cats exhibit will be open each night.
Visit Baltimore
When: Now through Dec. 31
nWhere: 34th Street, Baltimore
nPrice: Free
nTake part in the long-time tradition of brightening up Baltimore during the Miracle on 34th Street light display. Located in Baltimore's Hampden neighborhood, 34th Street turned on the lights Nov. 25 and will keep them lit through New Year's Eve with jaw-dropping displays outside these private homes.
When: Nov. 30 through Jan. 1
nWhere: Washington, D.C., Temple (9900 Stoneybrook Drive, Kensington, Maryland)
nPrice: Free
nThe Washington, D.C., Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints hosts its spectacular Festival of Lights each year, when temple grounds are covered with 650,000 lights. A life-sized nativity scene will also be on display. Nightly performances include solo artists, groups, bell ensembles, choirs and orchestras. Free tickets are available at the visitor's center an hour before performances or on Eventbrite.
Georgetown BID
When: Dec. 8 through Jan. 1, 5-10 p.m.
nWhere: Georgetown
nAdmission: Free
nGeorgetown GLOW, an outdoor light exhibition, features dazzling displays throughout the neighborhood. Bundle up and take a walk through the night. See a list of all the displays here & check out 10 more photos here.
City of Gaithersburg
When: Now through Dec. 31 (closed Dec. 25)
nWhere: Seneca Creek State Park (11950 Clopper Road, Gaithersburg, Maryland)
nPrice: Tickets range from $12 to $70, depending on size of vehicle and day of the week
nCelebrate the 22nd year of Gaithersburg's Winter Lights Festival by driving along the 3.5-mile illuminated light show, which features more than 380 illuminated displays and 65 animated vignettes that "light up the night."
Montgomery Parks
When: Now through Jan. 1 (closed Dec. 24 and 25)
nWhere: Brookside Gardens (1800 Glenallan Ave., Wheaton, Maryland)
nPrice: $25 per vehicle Sun.-Thurs.; $30 per vehicle Fri.-Sat.
nThis holiday exhibit in Montgomery County features more than a million (yes, you right that right) colorful lights. After strolling through the gardens, visitors can warm up with hot cocoa in the garden's visitor center, watch model trains wind through the landscape or enjoy live musical performances.
When: Dec. 12 at 4 p.m.
nWhere: The Ellipse
nPrice: Free, but tickets are required
nCelebrate the start of the Festival of Lights with the National Chanukah Menorah lighting on Dec. 12. The menorah sits on the White House Ellipse; tickets to the lighting ceremony are free. The annual ceremony features hot latkes, donuts and music from The Maccabees and the United States Air Force Band.
Daniel Traub
When: Now through Jan. 7
nWhere: Longwood Gardens ( 1001 Longwood Road, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania)
nPrice: Tickets prices vary; see website for details.
nChristmas is in the air at this French-inspired Christmas display,A Longwood Christmas, at Longwood Gardens this holiday season. The Conservatory and its four acres of gardens will be transformed into holiday horticulture hot spots, with dozens of sparking Christmas trees and intricate French garden displays. Arrive by 2 p.m. to beat the crowds, organizers say.
NOVA Parks
When: Now through Jan. 8
nWhere: Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna, Virginia
nPrice: Tickets prices vary; see website for details.
nIn addition to hundreds of thousands of lights along a half-mile path, the Winter Walk of Lights also features many animals who actually live in the garden. Stop by the gardens' fire pit to warm up and buy a hot chocolate (with marshmallows, of course).
Howard Hospital Foundation
When: Now through Jan. 1; 5:30-10 p.m.
nWhere: Merriweather Park at Symphony Woods, Columbia, Maryland
nPrice: Wed.-Fri. and Sun. $20, Sat. $25 (cash only)
nMore than 100 light displays use color, design and animation to enchant guests on their trips through the Symphony of Lights. Proceeds from the event benefit Howard County General Hospital. Be sure to bring cash, and be warned there's no ATM at the entrance. However, groups can prepay. There are also several special events; check the website all for the details.
M-NCPPC, Department of Parks and Recreation
When: Now through Jan. 1
nWhere: Watkins Regional Park (301 Watkins Park Drive, Upper Marlboro, Maryland)
nPrice: Tickets range from $10 per car or van to $30 per bus, see website for details.
nBrighten up winter nights at Watkins Park's Winter Festival of Lights by driving along a holiday display of more than one million lights and one of the tallest tree displays in the state. Participants are encouraged to bring a canned or nonperishable good to be donated to a local food bank.
NOVA Parks
Where: Bull Run Drive, Centreville, Virginia
nWhen: Now through Jan. 8
nPrice: $20-25 per car; prices vary; see website for details and a coupon
nDrive 2.5 miles through displays featuring 40,000 lights, and see Santa Claus, Frosty the Snowman, elves, penguins and more at the Bull Run Festival of Lights. When you're done with your drive, stop in at the Winter Wonderland Holiday Village, which features entertainment, bonfires, s'mores and more.
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