Holiday Light Displays in DC, Virginia & Maryland - 2022 Christmas & Hanukkah

Winter Activities

Visiting Holiday Light Displays in the DC Area is our family's favorite tradition! I've updated the list below for 2022, organized by DC, Virginia, and Maryland. And this year I added Parking & Metro information for each location.

holiday light displays in dc

Holiday Light Displays in DC, VA and MD. Photo of Meadowlark Botanic Gardens by

Table of Contents:

  1. DC (8)
  2. Virginia (8)
  3. Maryland (7)
  4. 12/17/22 Ticket Availability Update
  5. What I Bring to Holiday Lights
  6. More DMV Holiday Family Fun Links
  7. Google Map

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light displays near me DC ZooLights

Photo by S Pakhrin under Creative Commons 2.0 license.

Holiday Light Displays in DC & Christmas Lights Washington DC

1. ZooLights at the National Zoo - Free admission!

Hooray, ZooLights returns after 2 years! The National Zoo will be aglow in lights and holiday cheer starting November 25 until December 30th. They will have thousands of lights, live music, and winter treats. The best part is that it is free! Free passes are required specifically for the ZooLights part so check out the link for more. (A Zoo employee told me they are releasing tickets 2 weeks before, 1 week before, 1 day before and day of as they are available so keep checking if you don't see any for your dates!)


  • November 25 - December 11: Fridays to Sundays 5 - 9 PM
  • December 16 - 23: Daily from 5 - 9 PM
  • December 26 - 30: Daily from 5 - 9 PM

Cost: Free! But a "special entry pass separate from a daily Zoo pass will be required."

Parking: Parking fee of $30 to park at the Zoo.

Metro: The Zoo is an equal distance from the Cleveland Park and Woodley Park Metro stops. I recommend Cleveland Park because you have to walk uphill from the Woodley Park Station.

Wheelchair/Stroller/Wagon Friendly? The Zoo is fully accessible however, note that it is a large hill that can get steep at times.

2. US Botanic Garden Holiday Display

christmas lights Washington DC Botanic Garden

Photo by DC Gardens under Creative Commons 2.0 license.

A highlight each year for our family, the US Botanic Garden will once again have its popular light, train, and landmark display up between November 24 and January 2nd.

In 2022, their model trains will be outside in the gated outdoor gardens (like last year) indwell run between 10 AM and 5 PM daily. Please note the train may not run during bad weather. Here's a post with pictures from our visit last year.

This year they will also open the Conservatory with their famous poinsettias and DC landmarks made from plants and trees. (Personally so excited to see this return after a 2-year hiatus as we've been going since I was pregnant with my first! And mom tip: after a visit to the Botanic Garden, walk 5 minutes to the US Capitol's Christmas tree which is stunning!)

Dates: Both the Trains and the Conservatory will be open daily from November 24 to January 2nd from 10 AM to 5 PM.

Cost: Free and no passes are required.

Parking: Parking can be tricky since the Garden is on the US Capitol's grounds but I have had luck with street parking closer to the American Indian Museum or on 2nd St. SW. Also, SpotHero has been helpful in the past for parking downtown (not sponsored!)

Metro: Almost equidistant from Federal Center SW and Capitol South Metro Stations.

Wheelchair/Stroller/Wagon Friendly? Yes! The US Botanic Garden is fully accessible inside the Conservatory and the paths around the trains outside.

3. The National Christmas Tree - The most famous Christmas Lights in Washington, DC!

national Christmas tree in dc

Full review and tips from our 2022 visit here!

The National Christmas Tree will be lit on Wednesday, November 30, 2022 but will be aired on CBS on Sunday, December 11th, 2022 at 8 PM ET.

Full review of our December 2022 Visit to the Tree here!

But don't worry! You can still visit the National Christmas Tree every day between December 2nd through January 1st on the Ellipse.

My favorite part is actually not the tree itself but the 58 trees that surround it from US states, territories and schools managed by the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Education and the Department of Defense Education Activity. (I'm an alumni of the last one!)

Dates: December 2nd through January 1st. The lights will turn on at sunset each evening and turn off at 10 pm Sunday - Thursday and 11 pm on Friday and Saturday.

Cost: FREE

Parking: I like to use the SpotHero App to find parking downtown (not sponsored!)

Metro: Federal Triangle Metro Station is closest to the National Christmas Tree and Ellipse

Wheelchair/Stroller/Wagon Friendly? There is a rubber flooring (see the 3rd photo on the website from 2019) but those who visited last year in 2021 said that it can get pretty crowded.

4. Enchant DC - Stunning Light Display in DC

christmas lights Washington DC Enchant

Photo by FamilyTripGuides.

Enchant DC transforms the Nationals Stadium into a winter wonderland with "the World's Largest Christmas Light Maze and Village," an illuminated ice skating trail, Little One's Play Place, Santa, and more. We all loved the scratch-off Scavenger Hunt inside the magical maze and it actually took longer than I expected to find everything. You use a medallion to scratch off what you find.

Personal opinion: You are definitely paying 'baseball park prices' for everything and there are lots of extras for sale that kids will request (hot chocolate, Santa, Ice Skating, and light wands are all extra.)You can see a reel of our visit here.

Dates: November 25 - January 1

Cost: Adult tickets start at $35, and Children's tickets start at $23.

Money Saving Tip: On Wednesdays December 7 and 14, Kids are FREE with each paid Adult Admission!

Parking: I pre-purchased my parking ticket at the GEICO Garage almost attached to the stadium. You can add on the parking during checkout. They also have pre-purchase parking available at Garage C.

Metro: The closest Metro Station to Enchant is Navy Yard-Ballpark.

Wheelchair/Stroller/Wagon Friendly? Yes, Enchant is accessible. Last year I asked staff about accessibility since I saw a "stroller parking" area and they showed me the elevator to use instead of stairs.

5. National Menorah

National Menorah Light show in DC

Photo by Ted Eytan under Creative Commons 2.0 license.

Chanukah begins on December 18, 2022 which will be the lighting ceremony for "the most prominent public Chanukah event in the world.” The National Chanukah Menorah is located on the Ellipse and will also be broadcast live online.

Dates: Tickets will be available November, 10th at 5 PM on their website.

Cost: Free!

Parking: I like to use the SpotHero App to find parking downtown (not sponsored!)

Metro: Federal Triangle Metro Station is closest to the Ellipse.

Wheelchair/Stroller/Wagon Friendly? I need to check on this for 2022. But in the 3rd photo on the website from 2019 for the Christmas tree which is in the same area, there seems to be rubber flooring around the State and Territories Trees so maybe that extends to the Menorah as well?

6. Tudor Place in Georgetown

Tudor Place will host many historic light tours in December! Their Candlelight Tour is described on their website: "Discover presents, games and food these families enjoyed. Learn how class and ethnicity influenced the ways in which DC residents experienced the holiday season. Partake in light, period-appropriate refreshments and complete a holiday craft. Afterwards, see seasonal decorations and rarely-seen decorative objects inspired by the celebrations of those who lived and worked here during a guided tour of the historic house."

Dates: December 6, 8, 13 and 15. On each date they have 2 time slots either 6 - 7 :30 PM or 6:30 - 8 PM.

Cost: $25 for non-members and $15 for members. Recommended for children ages 10 and up.

Parking: Neighborhood street parking.

Metro: Unfortunately there are no metro stations in Georgetown.

Wheelchair/Stroller/Wagon Friendly? When we visited, I would say not fully accessible for a wheelchair as it is a historic home and the garden is not paved. From their website:

"The garden is accessible from the city sidewalk (without steps). Its surfaces consist of grassy areas and paths laid with pea gravel, flagstone, bricks and stones set in grass.

The first floor of the Historic House can be made accessible for wheelchairs and other needs. Call 202-965-0400 if you have questions or would like assistance in making arrangements, including accessible parking and having ramps in place upon your arrival."

7. DC Holiday Lights on 14 Main Streets in DC!

Back again for 2022! DC Holiday Lights, "Experience the District's Dazzle" returns. From U Street and Logan Circle to Mount Pleasant and Columbia Heights, you can stroll and shop locally on 14 of the city's main streets! From their website:

"DC’s Main Streets and commercial corridors have joined together to bring you a spectacular holiday experience. Between November 18 and January 8, take a stroll down each of the participating corridors below to experience a dazzling array of lights and decor. Then, cast your vote for the best-decorated corridor!"

Dates: November 18 - January 8

Cost: Free!

Parking: Depends on the neighborhood!

Metro: Depends on the neighborhood!

Wheelchair/Stroller/Wagon Friendly? Yes in that these are streets in DC that hopefully have correct curbs etc.

8. Light Yards at The Yards DC

Check out the newest Light Yards installation at the Yards Park in DC! New this year are 5 illuminated bells that are are 13 feet tall! They play songs and light up as you swing! Also great for photos. While you are there, check out the area's restaurants, walk along the river and if not too cold, our family's favorite local ice cream shop, Ice Cream Jubilee.

Dates: December 1 - January 1

Time: 5 - 10 PM daily

Cost: Free!

Parking: We've parked at the parking lot at the end of 4th St. SE. I believe $2 per hour.

Metro: Navy Yard-Ballpark Metro Station

Wheelchair/Stroller/Wagon Friendly? Yes!

DC christmas lights yards park

Photo courtesy of Sara from @LongWalksDC. Thanks so much!

Northern Virginia Holiday Light Displays

light displays near me Virginia Meadowlark

Meadowlark Holiday Light Display. Photo by FamilyTripGuides.

1. Meadowlark Botanical Garden’s Winter Walk of Lights

Located in Vienna, Meadowlark exceeded my expectations! The number of lights and variety were truly amazing! They give kids a scavenger hunt with a pencil and they can get a sticker at the end. There is also an adorable greenhouse to purchase hot chocolate and desserts like a s’more’s bar. The highlight for our family was the timed lights with music by the lake. My kids loved dancing along and we loved watching them from the many benches spread out. I appreciated the social distancing measures, especially the one-way walk path.

My favorite part is that the paved path is stroller and wheelchair accessible! You can see a reel of our visit here.


  • November 11 - December 8, 2022: 5:30 - 10 PM - Online timed tickets are not required but recommended!
  • December 9 - January 8, 2022: 5 - 10 PM - Online timed tickets are required!

PROMO for January 2-8, 2023: See the link for details.

  • Senior Discount Nights: January 2-8 (55+ purchase onsite for $12)
  • Military Appreciation Night: January 2 (One military personnel gets in for free with a paying guest.)
  • Kids with School Spirit Night: January 2 (Children, age 2-12 years, wearing apparel from their school or their favorite college will be admitted for free when accompanied by a paying guest.)
  • Pup Nights: January 3, 6, and 8 ($6 per pup. Service dogs free)
  • Teacher Appreciation Night: January 4 (One teacher is admitted for free when accompanied by a paying guest.)
  • Healthcare Worker Appreciation: January 5 - (One first healthcare worker is admitted for free when accompanied by a paying guest.)
  • First Responder Appreciation Night: January 5 - (One first responder is admitted for free when accompanied by a paying guest.)
  • Scout and Camp Grow Discount Night: January 8 (Children wearing scouts apparel will be admitted for free when accompanied by a paying guest.)
  • Garden Member Discount Nights: January 2-8 ($12 tickets)


  • Off-Peak Dates: Nov 11 – Dec. 8: Online ticket price for ages 2 and older $16 + Eventbrite fee. Onsite $20
  • Prime Nights: Dec. 10 - January 2: Online ticket price for ages 2 and older $18 + Eventbrite fee. No onsite tickets.

Parking: Free parking lot.

Wheelchair/Stroller/Wagon Friendly? Yes! We have gone with a wagon and wheelchair and it is 100% accessible!

2. Bull Run Festival of Lights Drive Thru

The only Drive-Thru on our list is perfect for staying warm and socially distancing! Located in Centreville, VA which is about 30 miles from downtown DC. The drive-through is 2.5 miles of festive light displays. I love this line on their website, "turn off your headlights and just follow the magical glow."


  • November 11 - January 8, 2023
  • Monday - Thursday nights: 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
  • Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Holiday nights: 5:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. (Holidays include November 24, December 24, 25, 31, and January 1).

Cost: $30 per vehicle online, $40 per vehicle at the door.

  • Use promo code early22 to save $10 November 11-20, 2022. Valid every day including weekends.
  • Use promo code lights22 to save $5 November 21- December 15, 2022. Valid Monday- Thursday. No holidays or weekends.

Parking: Drive-thru!

3. Ice and Lights Winter Village at Cameron Run

holiday-light-displays-virginia ice lights

Holiday lights and an outdoor ice rink at this Alexandria water park! Includes fire pits, photo ops, light displays, and more! All tickets must be purchased online ahead of time.

Dates: November 18, 2022 - January 1, 2023 - 5:00 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Cost: $9.19 for Village Admission. $22.03 for Village Admission with Ice Skating.

Parking: Large parking lot.

Wheelchair/Stroller/Wagon Friendly? We have not attended to know if it is accessible but it's on our list this year and will update.

4. Mount Vernon by Candlelight and Christmas Illuminations

If you would like a more historical take on the holidays, check out George Washington’s home in Mount Vernon, VA. The estate will be “illuminated with soft lights and holiday patterns” as well as by candlelight this year for 2 different events.


  • Mount Vernon By Candlelight November 25-26 and December 2-4, 9-10 & 18. "Join us for a candlelit tour of the historic area and learn about holiday traditions in 18th-century Virginia."
  • Christmas Illuminations December 16 ad 17. "Kick-off the holiday season with wintry lights and sparkling fireworks overlooking the Potomac River."

Cost: Ranges from $28-$60, see websites for details.

Parking: Large free parking lots.

Wheelchair/Stroller/Wagon Friendly? I have not been to Mount Vernon at Christmas so I am not sure the accessibility personally. They have a website with a lot of information.

5. Frying Pan Holiday Lights on the Farm

Holiday Lights on the Farm is back at our favorite Virginian farm, Frying Pan! Frying Pan Farm Park will celebrate the holidays "with an evening of wagon rides, indoor activities, food, animal interactions, campfires, and more!"

Dates: December 2 - 10, 2022 on Fridays and Saturdays 5:30 PM to 8:30 PM according to Visit Fairfax website.

Cost: $10 per person and s'mores will be provided to everyone with a ticket.

Parking: Large free parking lot.

Wheelchair/Stroller/Wagon Friendly? Frying Pan Farm is mostly hard packed dirt paths which if there is no rain, would be accessible for wheelchairs, wagons and strollers. I am not sure all the activities for the Lights on the Farm and if they are accessible.

6. Leesburg Christmas Lights

Leesburg Christmas Holiday light displays Virginia

Photo by FamilyTripGuides.

We had the best holiday afternoon in Leesburg, Virginia, so I wanted to share our day! It includes 3 kid-friendly spots (Luckett's Store!) and 1 great restaurant. All recommendations are free including the parking at Leesburg City’s parking garage. The Leesburg Christmas lights are beautiful and unique at the historic courthouse and downtown. Check out the itinerary here.

Dates: Nightly in December. (Also their Christmas & Holiday Parade is on Saturday, December 10, 2022, 6:00 pm. Rain Date: December 11, 2022 6:00pm)

Cost: Free

Parking: Free during the holidays at the City's garage.

Wheelchair/Stroller/Wagon Friendly? Lucketts Store may not have accessible restrooms (I believe they are inside the historic house) but I will reach out and ask! Narrower paths though.

7. 3 Fun & Free Neighborhood Lights in Burke and Springfield

Check out this blog post for 3 unique and fun neighborhood lights including The Elf House, Cul-de-Sac Santa's Village and a Gas Station with musical lights show!

holiday lights in burke virginia

The Elf House Holiday Light Display in Burke, Virginia

8. Claude Moore Park's Lighted Nights

Claude Moore Park has created a self-guided stroll through this Loudoun park with holiday lights and historic buildings. On Friday and Saturday evenings you can also get hot chocolate and roast marshmallows. They even have halal available!

Dates: December 4-24 from 5 PM-7 PM. Please note the park closes promptly at 7 PM.

Cost: Free! No tickets needed.

Parking: Free parking lot.

Wheelchair/Stroller/Wagon Friendly? Yes it looks paved and this reel from @Jules_in_Virignia says it is stroller-friendly!

Brookside Gardens Light Displays Near Me Maryland

Brookside Gardens Holiday Lights. Photo by FamilyTripGuides.

Maryland Holiday Light Displays (near DC)

1. Brookside Gardens - Garden of Lights - Affordable Light Display in Maryland

We loved our first visit to Brookside Gardens last year! Thousands of lights are all around the 50 acres of the garden in Wheaton, Maryland. My kids' favorite part was the Fubbles, fog bubbles that you can hold and pop! (Located right after the caterpillar light tunnel.) You can see a reel of our family's visit here.

Dates: November 18, 2022 to January 1, 2023, except November 21-24 and December 24-25, 2022.

Cost: $10 per person age 5 and older. Please print out your ticket and bring it along.

Parking: Free parking lot!

Wheelchair/Stroller/Wagon Friendly? Brookside is not a 100% wheelchair friendly holiday light display as there are some areas that have a gravel/leaf path and at least two small gardens that had stairs. But you can see all the lights from the main paths. There were lots of strollers but just note some areas have a few stairs to access.

Holiday Tree Light Show at National Harbor

Every evening from November 12 to January 3rd, there will be a short light show on the 60-foot tree with over 2 million lights! The tree is located outside by the Ferris Wheel on Waterfront Street. The light show will take place every half hour from sundown to 9 pm. We went a couple of years ago and it was so much fun! (but no pictures, sorry!)

Also this year from November 12 - December 17 at 5:30 pm there will be a spectacular fireworks display following the tree lighting show!

Cost: Free

Parking: Lots of parking garages and some street parking at National Harbor.

Wheelchair/Stroller/Wagon Friendly? Yes!

3. Christmas at Gaylord National Hotel

Lots of activities this holiday season from shows, Christmas movies, indoor snow tubing, ice bumper cars, and snowball build and blast. For lights, they have 3 million lights inside their resort to check out every night.

Shine Line Show: Free in the atrium. November 25, 2022 - December 31, 2022. Daily: 7:30pm, 8:45pm, 9:15pm

Cost: Depends on activity.

Parking: Paid parking garage.

Wheelchair/Stroller/Wagon Friendly? Yes!

4. Winter Lights Festival at Seneca Creek

Drive through 3.5 miles of more than 450 illuminated displays and lit trees in Gaithersburg! Their tagline made me laugh, “socially distancing since 1995!” Tickets must be purchased in advance.

Dates: November 25 - December 31 (closed Christmas day)

Cost: Tickets must be purchased in advance.

  • Monday - Thursday: $15 per vehicle
  • Friday - Sunday: $25 per vehicle
  • 15+ Passenger Vehicles: $30

Parking: Drive thru!

5. Zoo Lights at the Maryland Zoo - Holiday Light Display in Baltimore

A little further afield in Baltimore, the Maryland Zoo is doing their annual Zoo lights this year with so many fun additions on specific days from Visit from Santa, Hot Apple Cider, Costume Contest, Ice Sculptures and Dinosaurs Included!


  • November 18 - 20, 23, 25-27.
  • December Fridays - Sundays except closed on December 25th.


  • November Admission $36 (Dinosaurs included)
    • Admission for (1) person (Under age 2 is free)
    • A dazzling light display
    • Access to our limited exhibition, DINOSAURS
    • Free train & carousel rides (weather & equipment permitting*)
    • Free parking
    • Snacks (sold separately) & other fun winter activities
    • The joy of knowing you’re supporting the Zoo!
  • December Admission $30.
    • Admission for (1) person (Under age 2 is free)
    • A dazzling light display
    • Free train & carousel rides (weather & equipment permitting*)
    • Free parking
    • Snacks (sold separately) & other fun winter activities
    • The joy of knowing you’re supporting the Zoo!

Parking: Free parking!

Wheelchair/Stroller/Wagon Friendly? Their website on accessibility says yes but I have not personally visited.

6. Watkins Regional Park Festival of Lights

Fun Drive Through Festival of Lights at Watkins Regional Park! Make sure to download the I Spy PDF game on their website for your kids to use as you drive through the festival

Bikes and Lights on Sunday, November 20, 2022, 5 pm-8 pm. $5 per bike. Kids 10yrs and under FREE Registration is required (and was sold out last year!) Register through Parks Direct.

Dates: Friday, November 25, 2022 - Sunday, January 1, 2023. Nightly from 5 to 10 pm.


  • Fees: Cars: $10 online/ $15 at the gate
  • Van/Limo: $20
  • Bus: $30
  • Free Admissions: December 25th in appreciation to the residents of Prince George’s County for their year-round support of the Department of Parks and Recreation programs!

Parking: Drive thru!

7. Frederick, Maryland Sailing Through The Winter Solstice

Our only boat light show on the list! "Every year Carroll Creek Park is filled with individually designed lighted sailboats. This floating light installation sets sail in November and is on display through March."

Dates: November 19, 2022 - March 4, 2023. "You can view the boats anytime day or night. In fact, you may want to take a look while it's light out and again after it gets dark and the lights come on. Lights typically turn on at sunset, so this is a great time to see them both ways." 

Cost: Free!

Parking: Parking garage at Carroll Creek Garage(sometimes free I think!)

Wheelchair/Stroller/Wagon Friendly? Yes!

holiday Christmas lights Frederick maryland

Credit: Jeffrey Socha

12/17/22 Holiday Lights Ticket Availability Update

  1. Red Light - New Info!
    1. DC ZooLights - Tickets avail for tonight 12/17 (a SAT!)
      1. 2 & 1 week out | released at midnight
      2. Day before |released at midnight
      3. Day of | released at 7 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  2. Yellow Light - Early Times Limited
    1. Enchant DC - Some weekends are "selling fast."
    2. Brookside Gardens, Wheaton, MD - Weekend early times slots are sold out. (ex. 12/18 only has 8:30 PM avail.) 12/27 does have 7 PM tickets.
    3. Meadowlark, Vienna - Early times are selling out but I found 5:15 PM tickets for 12/20!
  3. Green Light - Lots of Tickets Available
    1. NEW - Winter Lantern Festival, Tysons, VA Dec 16 - Feb 12. (Prices go up Jan. 2 - Feb 12 for Lunar New Year)
    2. Cameron Run Ice and Lights, Alexandria, VA
    3. Winter Lights Festival Drive-Thru - Gaithersburg, MD
    4. Maryland Zoo, Baltimore - Looks like all dates are available!
    5. Bull Run Drive-Thru - Centreville, VA
    6. Watkins Run Drive Thru - Upper Marlboro MD
  4. Free & No Tickets Needed Events
    1. NEW City Center DC - Tallest tree in DC? Open nightly (pictured)
    2. US Botanic Garden Holiday Display - Open until January 2nd. Conservatory with lit DC landmarks and outdoor model trains are both open until 5 PM daily.
    3. National Christmas Tree & 58 Trees - Open daily until January 1st. Lit Sunset to 10 PM.
    4. National Menorah - Lit Dec 18 on the Eclipse.
    5. DC Holiday Lights on 14 Main Streets
    6. Claude Moore Lighted Nights - Free from 5-7 PM self-guided tour! On Friday and Saturday nights, hot chocolate and roasting marshmallows.
    7. National Harbor 5:30 PM Light show is free!
  5. Sold Out:
    1. Tudor Place Candlelight Tours
    2. Mount Vernon Christmas Illuminations and Candlelight
Christmas Lights Holiday DC Update
Christmas Lights Holiday DC Update

What I Bring to Holiday Light Displays

  1. Hand warmers ($6 for 10 pairs)
  2. Protein in the car for the sugar crash (Snack Mates Mini Meat Sticks are my kids favs)
  3. Glowsticks for fun and to find my kids in the dark! (100 pack for $10)
  4. Took our Wagon to Meadowlark when my son was little and it was great to contain him! (We got ours at Costco years ago but this one has 9k reviews and 5 stars.
light displays near me Virginia Meadowlark

Photo by FamilyTripGuides.

More Holiday Family Fun in the DMV!

  1. Santa Fire Truck Runs in Virginia and Maryland
  2. Top 10 Holiday Spots in DC (great for out-of-town visitors!)
  3. 50 Free Holiday Events in DC, Maryland, and Virginia
  4. 10 Things to Do for New Year's in DMV and at Home
  5. Ice Skating Rinks in DC, Maryland, and Virginia
  6. Kids Experience Gifts in the DMV
  7. 3 Fun & Unique Neighborhood Lights in Burke and Springfield, Virginia

Map of Holiday Light Displays near DC