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December in Washington, D.C.

by Angelique Platas

Dec 12, 2017

© Steveheap | Dreamstime

Destinations / North America

Celebrate the holiday season in the Nation’s capital with a lineup of winter-ready activities and family fun. From holiday shopping in the city to festive dining and decorations, Washington, D.C., is a one-stop shop for all things holiday cheer.


Ice Skating

Skate into the winter season with $5 rentals at the Fairmont Washington, D.C. Georgetown rink. Take a lap around the iceless rink, completely engineered with environmentally friendly materials not requiring water or energy to stay frozen.


Have an adult beverage at the skate-up bar at the Top of the Gate at the Watergate Hotel rooftop lounge. Bring the kids and watch the city light up below you while skating around the swanky rooftop of the famous hotel. The rink may be small, but the view is unbeatable.

Ice skating washington DC

Photo: Richard Gunion | Dreamstime

Take a spin around the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden’s rink. Warm up inside the Pavilion Café with sandwiches, pizza and desserts or sit outside watching skaters whiz by.


Be sure to check out the nearly 12,000 square feet of ice of the Washington Harbour. The Washington Harbour ice skating rink rests alongside the Potomac River along with food and beverage stands. Enjoy a cup of hot chocolate with the family between laps around D.C.’s largest ice-skating rink. The rink stays open until March, but check the online calendar for updated event information.


Holiday Tours

Make time for a free lightshow at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo during the annual winter festival, ZooLights. As half a million LED lights sparkle around the zoo, thousands of visitors enjoy live music, warm drinks and winter treats. This year, ZooLights events include a Glow Zone for kids to play in the glow-in-the-dark park in the Great Meadow, a Grump holiday market including arts and holiday crafts and a mobile art gallery.

Christmas tree in front of Capitol Washington DC

Photo: Steveheap | Dreamstime


Take a guided tour of George Washington’s plantation house, Mount Vernon. Go during the day and watch chocolate making demonstrations and meet Aladdin the camel, or opt for an evening tour and venture through the property with costumed guides by candlelight. Take up some 18th-century dancing and learn all about the history of the property.


Don’t’ forget the National Christmas tree in President’s Park, complete with Santa’s Workshop and musical performances throughout the season.


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