Looking for ways to ring in the holiday season? Dozens of parades, tree lighting, Christmas fairs and visits to Santa Claus are taking place throughout Northern Virginia this season.
Swings around the Boardwalk Holiday Walk of lights
26 Nov to 31 Dec
Neabsco Regional Park, 15125 Blackburn Road, Woodbridge
Prince William Parks and Recreation’s Holiday Walk of Lights at the Neabsco Creek Boardwalk begins November 26 and runs each evening from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Beginning December 10th, the Boardwalk will also feature a unique Christmas tree display.
November 25th to January 1st
Nationals Park, 1500 S Capitol St SE, Washington
Enchant, billed as the world’s largest holiday-themed light event, opens at Nationals Park on Friday. The walk-in light maze, made up of over 4 million lights, features a 100-foot-tall Christmas tree, ice skating rink, live entertainment, visits from Santa, and a village market featuring crafts, gifts, festive culinary treats, and holiday cocktails.
Saturday 26 Nov
Workhouse Arts Center, 9518 Workhouse Way, Lorton
Check out some of the region’s best comics and laugh out the last piece of pumpkin pie you shouldn’t have eaten. November 26 from 7 p.m. Hosted by Patrice DeVeaux and starring Charlie Ross, Prince Arora and Eddie Morrison.
Lighting Ceremony Nov 30; open to the public from December 2nd to January 1st
15th and E Streets NW, Washington, on the Ellipse
The 100th National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony will take place on November 30th, with the site being free to visit and open to the public from December 2nd to January 1st, 10am to 10pm Sunday to Thursday and 10am to 11pm Friday and Saturday . The lights on the National Christmas Tree and the 58 smaller trees surrounding the tree are turned on around sunset each evening.
Friday, December 2 at 5:15 p.m
Santa Lights Manassas, also known as Tree Lights, has been a community fixture for 28 years. It takes place on the Friday evening before the Christmas parade, which starts at 5:15 p.m. Santa arrives in Manassas just after 6:00 p.m. After the tree is lit, Santa and Mrs. Claus greet the children and listen to their holiday wishes near the pavilion. Families can enjoy free wagon rides to get in the holiday spirit. The Harris Pavilion Ice Rink will be open for the season, as will downtown shops and restaurants.
76th Annual Greater Manassas Christmas Parade
Saturday, December 3rd, 10am-12pm
Parade-goers once again line the streets of Manassas for the 76th Annual Greater Manassas Christmas Parade, this year themed “Hometown Christmas: Past, Present and Future.” Marching bands, floats, dancers and more from local schools and groups meander through Old Town to ring in the holiday season and mark the start of Merry Old Town.
Occoquan Holiday Fest
25-27 Nov and 3-4 dec
City of Occoquan
HolidayFest returns to historic Occoquan with Shop Small Weekend November 25-27 and Santa arriving by boat at Mamie Davis Park on December 3 at 10:30 am. Children of all ages are then invited to accompany Santa to River Mill Park. He will be visiting families from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The city also hosts a holiday craft market in the park both days.
Leesburg Christmas tree lights
Friday, December 2, 6 p.m
City Green, 25 West Market St., Leesburg
The City of Leesburg will host this year’s Christmas tree lighting ceremony on the Town Green beginning at 6:00 p.m. There will be lights, live music, holiday figures and community cheering.
Stafford County Public Holiday
2 Dec from 6 p.m
George Gordon Government Center
Greet the holiday season with Stafford County’s annual Tree Lighting Festival taking place on Friday, December 2nd at the George Gordon Government Center. Community celebrations begin at 6:00 p.m. with tree lighting at 7:30 p.m
Christmas in Middleburg
Washington Street, Middleburg
The City of Middleburg is kicking off the season with the annual tree lighting at 5:00 p.m. beginning Friday, December 2nd. On December 3rd, starting at 11:00 am, the Middleburg Hunt Review takes to the streets with 150 horses, riders in hunting clothes and dozens of hounds coming through town. The Middleburg Christmas Parade begins at 2:00 p.m. along Washington Street.
Alexandria Holiday Boat Parade of Lights
December 3, 5:30 p.m
The historic waterfront of Old Town Alexandria will light up for the 22nd annual Alexandria Holiday Boat Parade of Lights, sponsored by Amazon, on Saturday, December 3 at 5:30 p.m. when dozens of brightly lit boats parade a mile along the shoreline of the Potomac River. Enjoy harborside festivities at Waterfront Park from 2pm to 8pm.
Alexandria’s Scottish Christmas Walk
Saturday, December 3, 11 a.m
Old Town of Alexandria
The Scottish Christmas Walk celebrating the 51st anniversary of the Campagna Center with a parade of Scottish clans and Scottie hounds once again hits the streets of Old Town Alexandria.
Santa Claus visits Rippon Lodge
Saturday December 10th
15520 Blackburn Road, Woodbridge
Santa will come to the Rippon Lodge Historic Site in Woodbridge on December 10th from 12pm to 3pm. Bring your camera for photos and dress appropriately for the weather as some activities take place outdoors. This is always a popular event so be sure to register.
and holiday celebration
Saturday December 10th
Haymarket City Hall, 15000 Washington St.
Take part in the town of Haymarket’s annual Christmas and Bank Holiday celebration and tree lighting.
and holiday parade
Saturday, December 10, 6 p.m
Ida Lee Park, 60 Ida Lee Drive NW, Leesburg
On the second Saturday in December, the annual Leesburg Christmas and Holiday Parade brings festive spirit. The parade takes Santa and his friends down King Street through historic downtown Leesburg.
Manassas Ballet Theatre
Hylton Performing Arts Center, Manassas
The Manassas Ballet Theater presents The Nutcracker December 16-23 with the Manassas Ballet Theater Orchestra on the Merchant Stage at the Hylton Performing Arts Center. Tickets are available at www.manassasballet.org or call 703-257-1811. Tickets start at $35. Streaming will be available from December 24th at 7:30pm
National Port Holiday
Until December 31st
National Harbor Waterfront District, Prince George’s, Md.
National Harbor’s new 60-foot RGB tree comes to life each night in the heart of the Waterfront District. The light show dances alongside a holiday medley performed by the United States Air Force Band. The show takes place every half hour from sunset to 9pm, except on Saturday nights until December 17th when the show starts at 5:30pm and is accompanied by a fireworks display.
Illuminations at Mount Vernon
16 and 17 December, 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m
George Washington’s Mount Vernon
See George Washington’s Mount Vernon illuminated with soft lights and holiday patterns as you listen to Christmas carols and visit an 18th-century winter camp and winter market. End the evening with a holiday fireworks display starting at 8:30pm. Mount Vernon is located at 3200 Mount Vernon Highway in Fairfax County.
Santa Claus visits Potomac Mills
Daily until December 24th
Potomac Mills Circle, Woodbridge
Mr. Claus has returned this year for the Santa Photo Experience at Potomac Mills, running daily through Christmas Eve. Reservations are required. Visit simonsanta.com for details.
Bull Run Festival of Lights
Until January 8th. Monday-Thursday evenings, 5:30pm-9:30pm; Friday, Saturday, Sunday and public holidays, 5:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m
Bull Run Regional Park, Centerville
Get your family in the car for one of Northern Virginia’s most popular vacation activities. The route is 2.5 miles long and is illuminated by a wide range of festive light displays.
Warrenton Christmas Parade
Friday, December 2, 6 p.m
Old Town Warrenton
Led by Santa Claus in his horse and sleigh, the annual parade down Main Street features illuminated floats, marching bands and lots of festive cheer. The parade will follow Main Street from 5th Street past the courthouse to Pelham Street. Christmas carols and courthouse tree lighting follow, then fireworks to start the season.
Warrenton’s GumDrop Square
Saturday 3, 10 and 17 December from 11am to 3pm and Sunday 4, 11 and 18 December from 1pm to 4pm and 5pm to 8pm
John Barton Payne Building, 2 Courthouse Square, Warrenton
A long-standing Warrenton holiday tradition, GumDrop Square is a family photo opportunity. The visit offers a personal experience with Santa Claus and a beautifully decorated setting. Another highlight of a visit to GumDrop Square is Santa’s Secret Shop, where kids can purchase $2 tickets to buy gifts for family and friends without parents looking over their shoulders.
Christmas market in the city center
Daily until December 23rd
Penn Quarter, Washington, DC
The Downtown Holiday Market, presented by the DowntownDC Business Improvement District, Diverse Markets Management and Events DC, returns to the nation’s capital for its 18th year. DowntownDC’s open-air village runs through December 23 and fills two full blocks of F Street NW, from 7th to 9th Streets NW, with the main entrance in front of the National Portrait Gallery.
Admission is free and the market is open daily from 12pm to 8pm