4 must-dos in DC to celebrate the holidays

December 01, 2018
Miller Cornelius

If you’ve been to Washington, DC, you know the city does the holidays up right. We’re known for the massive trees in front of the White House and Capitol Building and you’ve probably seen at least 15 Instagram photos of the giant wreaths hanging in the entrance of Union Station. But there are also so many other ways to get into the holiday spirit in DC. Here are four of our local Washington DC tour guides‘ favourites:

Enjoy all of the markets

From holiday shopping to cultural extravaganzas, DC has a bit of everything. We love sipping on hot cocoa while browsing for locally sourced presents in the Downtown Holiday Market outside the Smithsonian American Art Museum, but if you’re looking for something a bit more cultural then you should head to Georgetown. Every year the House of Sweden puts on a Swedish Christmas Bazaar where you can shop ‘til you drop or try some delicious Swedish cuisine. A lesser known, but equally cool, market is housed in Dupont at the Heurich House Museum, home of the original brewer in DC, where they host a Christkindlmarkt featuring multiple vendors and showing off the mansion’s gorgeous holiday decorations.

person skating in DC

A skate at the National Mall is a must | Photo by Washington DC Urban Adventures

Get blinded by all the lights

Looking for something to do after all the museums close? ZooLights is always a good choice for beautiful holiday light show that just oozes family fun. If after-hours at a zoo isn’t your thing then head to Georgetown were you’ll be dazzled by GLOW, a unique collection of illuminated artworks from both local and globally renowned light artists.

Put your skates on!

There’s nothing quite like outdoor ice-skating in the winter, and DC agrees. With multiple rinks across the city there’s no excuse not to indulge your inner child and test your skills before heading to the Capital One Arena to watch the Washington Capitals show you how the pros do it. We recommend checking out the rink at the Wharf where you can enjoy a beautiful city and water view while gliding in circles, but our favourite is at the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden located in the heart of the National Mall.

hot chocolate with whipped cream

#localsknow where to get the best hot chocolate | Photo by Washington DC Urban Adventures

Warm up with some cocoa

Is it really the holiday season if you haven’t indulged in a mouth-wateringly toasty chocolate drink? We don’t think so. The hot chocolate at Bakers and Baristas is divine, especially when paired with a fresh brown butter and chocolate chunk cookie, and the huge dark mocha with sprinkles at Bourbon Coffee on Capitol Hill is like heaven in a cup. But the true hidden gem is underneath the National Gallery of Art. Head downstairs into the concourse to the museum’s Espresso & Gelato Bar, order up a steaming hot chocolate, and get whisked away into the East Wing by travelling on a moving light sculpture, Multiverse.

Headed to DC? Hop on one of our Washington DC city tours to see the city sights with local insights.