Free Holiday and Christmas Events in DC for Kids and Families

Be dazzled by the Shine Light Show at Gaylord National Resort. Photo courtesy of the resort
Be dazzled by the Shine Light Show at Gaylord National Resort. Photo courtesy of the resort

The holiday season can be an expensive time of year. Luckily, the DC area is full of free holiday activities and Christmas events to get families into the festive spirit. These free holiday events and Christmas activities include tree and menorah lightings such as the National Harbor Tree Light Show and the National Menorah Lighting, Christmas markets like the Downtown Holiday Market, dazzling Christmas light displays such as ZooLights at the National Zoo, and so much more.

Read on for the ultimate list of free holiday and Christmas events in DC, Maryland, and Northern Virginia in 2022. For more ideas for seasonal fun, check out our Christmas Activities and Holiday Guide for DC Kids, which includes our list of the best holiday and Christmas activities and events near DC. Happy holidays!

Places featured in this article:


Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center

F Street sidewalk in front of the Smithsonian American Art Museum & National Portrait Gallery

Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center

Willard InterContinental Washington, DC

Old Town Alexandria Waterfront
Season's Greenings at US Botanic Garden
United States Botanic Garden - 10:00 AM Pick
Georgetown GLOW
Georgetown - 5:00 PM Pick
Snowy Winter Wonderland Festival of Lights
Regency Furniture Stadium - 6:00 PM Pick
The Washington Ballet: The Nutcracker
The Warner Theatre - various times Pick
Reston Town Center Ice Skating Pavilion
Reston Town Center - various times Pick
Neighborhood Guides
Activity Guides