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Holiday Light Shows in the DMV

Holiday Light Shows in the DMV

It’s the holiday season and what better way to experience the magic than visiting a light show? From Richmond, VA to Maryland, we’ve got you covered! 

Washington D.C. 

Enchant Christmas

The district is home to one of the best up-and-coming light shows in the DMV – Enchant Christmas at Nationals Park. Enter the park and immediately be awe-struck by all the twinkle lights that illuminate your entrance. Walk down to the field and choose from various activities to participate in. If you have children, you can embark on a scavenger hunt or go ice skating. If you are visiting on a date or with friends, you can enjoy adult beverages and food from the concession stands. The light show will be open until January 1. You can purchase tickets on their website! 


Do you love animals AND holiday lights? Then the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in DC is the perfect place for you to visit. ZooLights includes live music performances, tasty winter treats and plenty of opportunities for holiday shopping.  Environmentally friendly LED lights and dozens of glowing animal lanterns transform the Zoo into a winter wonderland! Admission to ZooLights is free, but a special entry pass separate from a daily Zoo pass will be required. There is a flat-rate parking fee.

Enchant Christmas to Transform Nationals Park with its Larger-Than-Life  Holiday Light Display
Enchant Christmas at Nationals Park. Photo from Northern Virginia Magazine.

Northern Virginia  

Bull Run Festival of Lights

If you are a northern Virginia native, you may have visited the Festival of Lights for many years now. The annual event features thousands of lights, animated displays, and holiday decorations stretching over 2.5 miles at Bull Run Regional Park. This popular attraction also includes a Holiday Village which offers bonfires, s’mores, activities for the kids and holiday shopping, plus a Christmas Carnival. For a complete list of activities, dates and times, visit Bull Run Festival of Lights.

Winter Walk of Lights at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens

Vienna, Virginia is home to one of the most beautiful botanical gardens, and in the winter, it transforms into a Christmas wonderland. Meadowlark’s Winter Walk of Lights is an elegant garden trail decorated with thousands of sparkling lights. The half-mile walk through the enchanting botanical gardens features lighted nature themes and animated displays along a paved wheelchair and stroller-accessible trail. Stay warm by sipping on a hot beverage (with or without spirits) as you walk and s’mores to finish out the evening.

Behind the scenes of the Winter Walk of Lights at Meadowlark
Meadowlark’s Winter Walk of Lights. Photo by Northern Virginia Magazine.

Richmond Area 

Dominion Festival of Lights at Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens

Love a botanical garden but aren’t located in Northern Virginia? Experience the sheer magic as soon as you see the main dome lighting up the night sky. Part of the magic of winter nights is how a twinkle of light can transform the darkness. Dominion Energy GardenFest of Lights offers model trains, dinners, hot chocolate, and more. The walk-through experience is designed so you and your loved ones and friends can relax, have fun, and make special memories in a magical outdoor setting.

Illuminate Light Show

Don’t want to walk? Stay in your car! After you see hundreds of thousands of twinkling lights perfectly synchronized to music from your car radio, a large tunnel and massive Christmas trees, you’re going to want to make Illuminate part of your holiday traditions for sure. With dancing snowmen, singing trees, Santas galore and much more, Illuminate is worth the trip. After the lights, visit Santa’s village for pictures with St. Nick himself.

Dinner with Santa at Alturia Farm

If you are looking for an intimate experience the children are sure to love, RUN don’t walk and get tickets to the exclusive dinner with Santa at Alturia Farm. Alturia, a popular wedding venue in Manquin, offers a special dinner with Mr. and Mrs. Claus catered and DJed by some of the best in the business. Following dinner, enjoy a carriage ride, or experience the petting zoo. You will love the opportunity to take photos with Santa on your own time. They have a few spots left for the Christmas experience Wednesday & Friday of this week, so give Heather at Alturia Farm a call at 804-387-8183.


Sailing Through the Winter Solstice

What’s better than Christmas and charity working together? In downtown Frederick, you can experience a winter boat parade. Businesses raise funds by sponsoring and designing a boat to benefit local charities while beautifying Carroll Creek. You have the opportunity to vote for your favorite boat by making a contribution to the affiliated local charity to help determine the winner. The winter light parade starts in November and lasts through early March. Best part? It’s free! And while you’re already Downtown, take the opportunity to finish up your holiday shopping.

Brookside Gardens Garden of Lights

When you’re located near a botanical garden, you usually have instant access to holiday light shows. Brookside Gardens in Montgomery County is no exception. Stroll through the one-half mile, outdoor, walk-through exhibit and enjoy the twinkling lights and glimmering one-of-a-kind displays adorning the flowerbeds and grounds throughout the 50-acre horticultural gem in Wheaton. At the end of  your walk, you can shop for unique seasonal items in the gift shop. 

In its fifth year, Sailing Through the Winter Solstice is bigger than ever  | Lifestyle |
Sailing Through the Winter Solstice. Photo by the Fredericks News-Post.

If you want to spend a whole day at an amusement park, Kings Dominion’s Winterfest and Busch Gardens Christmas Town are always great options. 

We hope you have a great time experiencing the holidays in the DMV. Please tag us in any photos you take on your visits to one of the suggested attractions above! 

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