Christmas time and the holiday season in general is a busy time of year for the Nation’s Capital. Many travel far and wide to spend their time at the capital and to soak up all of the beauty the Christmas season brings along with New Years. In this article we will go over the many things you can do during your visit to Washington DC. The great thing about all we are going to discuss today is that all of these activities are FREE, yes you heard me right, FREE! The activities are really great if you have kids and are looking for some fun things for them to do while you are visiting the Capital. Do not worry if you do not have kids there is also plenty to entertain you too! If you have not yet looked into guided tours in Washington DC, be sure to check out Capitol Tours Express. This is a sure set way to be able to get around the city and see and gather all the information for all the fun amazing things to do while you are here! Guided tours are a wise investment during a visit to the capital! Keep in mind that some of these places may be closed since 2020, with all of the covid restrictions, so be sure to check their site so you can gather that information before visiting.
Holiday Activities in DC
In 2021, the Terrace Gardens and Bartholdi Park will be decorated with festive lights and adornments Nov 23 – Jan 10. The conservatory and gated gardens are closed. Free holiday concerts will be live-streamed. This place is a beauty especially with all of the beautiful lights glistening around you. They are also open every day! This includes the major holidays of Christmas and New Years! All of the designs here that you will see built are replicas of familiar places around DC, but have gorgeous poinsettias and topiary that you will find in the garden court. Each year new models are built and placed to keep up with the ever growing city. Here you will always find the largest indoor tree decorated you can see this from 11/28- 01/05! The lines here are not usually that bad and you can get in and around fairly easy!
Capitol Christmas Tree
Directly across from the Botanic Gardens is the well known massive capitol Christmas Tree. Every year around Christmas a very large tree is shipped from the National Forrest and is placed on the lawn of the capitol for all to see. This tree is always decorated with the theme of whatever state it was shipped from. In 2021, the tree travels all the way from the Six Rivers National Forest in California. All of the decorations you see displayed on this tree are handmade!! You can see the tree lit up from sunset to 11:00pm. If you are wanting to be able to really see the decorations you should probably visit the tree in the day time then visit again when is lit up both sightings of the tree are beautiful! Yearly the annual lighting of the tree is done on the 1st of December at approximately 5:00 pm. Do not miss this site of the Nations Christmas tree, it really makes you feel the Christmas Sprit!
Library of Congress Christmas Tree
The Library of Congress is open to visitors with timed entry tickets for the 2021 holiday season. However, The U.S. Capitol is closed. When the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center is open, you can walk to the Thomas Jefferson Building via an underground tunnel; which is a little bit of adventure for the kids. They are closed on Sundays unfortunately. Take your time and soak up all of the history in each place you are able to visit. it is a very empowering feeling to stand where history has been and great minds have stood where you get to stand.
Every December you will be able to see huge wreaths, beautiful garland laid out everywhere, gorgeous lights flickering, and of course the best part, the TREE! This tree is normally decorated by the Norwegian Embassy. You will also find a really neat train display that your kids as well as you will be mesmerized by. Here you can find a warm spot to explore and get some good food and do a little holiday shopping while you relax amongst the Christmas decorations.
National Christmas Tree and Pathway of Peace
This is one of the most creative unique activities you can do while you are in Washington DC. President Calvin Coolidge lit the first National Christmas Tree in 1923, and the tradition continues each year. The beautifully decorated tree can be found on the Ellipse, in front of the White House. All around this tree you will see another 56 trees which represents each state and territory. and are all decorated to represent each one individually. All the ornaments on this tree are also handmade. Have a fun adventure looking for you state and the tree that represents where you are from. The Pathway of Peace and National trees are free and open to the public from 10:00 – 10:00 daily (to 11:00 Friday and Saturday) . Lights turn on nightly at sunset, Nov 25 – Jan 1. Be sure to stop by and see this, it is a sight that not many will ever get a chance to stand in front of in a lifetime.
Capitol Express Tours; Here to get you where you want to be
Planning a visit to an unfamiliar place can be very overwhelming, the fear of not knowing where everything is or not having a set schedule to ensure that you have been able to get the full experience of the Nations Capitol. Booking a guided tour is a guaranteed way to be able to get to see all you want too in a timely manner, and with the added bonus of having locals give you some insight about where you and the history involved. If you have not looked into a guided tour, check it out and book yours today so you can have a peaceful non stressful vacation!