There’s nothing more beautiful than Washington, DC in winter. The nation’s capital is filled with free winter activities and gorgeous holiday displays, serving as a great destination to celebrate any winter holiday. From festive virtual events to holiday markets, Washington, DC features plenty of things to do that are sure to inspire winter whimsy.
Don’t miss your chance to admire the National Christmas Tree
This year, the National Christmas Tree Lighting will take place online, with holiday performances accompanying the ceremony. The site can be visited for free from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily throughout the holiday season; the tree itself is lit from 4:30-10 p.m. each day. The National Christmas Tree is DC’s claim to fame during the holidays, and for good reason. The gorgeous conifer lives in President’s Park on the White House Ellipse, where it's surrounded by trees decorated with handmade ornaments from 56 U.S. states and territories.
Gaze at the majestic U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree
Each year, a tree from a National Forest in the U.S. is brought to the Capitol, where it resides on the West Lawn throughout the season. This year’s tree comes from Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison national forests in Colorado. The tree will be set aglow in early December.
Enjoy ‘A Christmas Carol: The Radio Play’
takes its annual and highly acclaimed performance of Charles Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’ to the airwaves this year. WAMU 88.5 FM will broadcast the play on Christmas Day at 12 p.m., but you can access the one-hour performance, which features Craig Wallace as Scrooge, on the Ford’s Theatre website beginning Dec. 14. The Theatre will also offer a downloadable program featuring photos and holiday-themed content.
Watch Afrika!’s Magical Musical Holiday Step Show
DC’s Step Afrika!
, the first professional company dedicated to the tradition of stepping, puts on a holiday extravaganza every year. The 2020 edition of the family-friendly show, which combines clapping, stomping and stepping for a dazzling array of percussive dance, will be a free, virtual experience. Recorded at the Hylton Performing Arts Center, the show will feature furry friends from the animal kingdom, including Popper the Penguin and polar bear twins, and enough rhythm to have your whole living room rockin’.
Take in the holiday grandeur of the Downtown Holiday Market
This free-to-frequent downtown bazaar has expanded its space this year to account for social distancing. Centrally located in front of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery, the beloved market stretches across two blocks of F Street between 7th and 9th streets. Scope out eclectic wares from dozens of pop-up tents with seasonally flavored music performed live in the background. Locally roasted coffee and crafted-before-your-eyes mini-doughnuts inspire a cold-weather appetite, creating a holiday atmosphere you won’t find anywhere else in DC.