Holiday Lights Sparkle in Northern Virginia

Take a look at our guide to holiday lights in the D.C. metro area.

Lights of Love Ceremony at Inova Mount Vernon Hospital

  • Where/When: Inova Mount Vernon Hospital (2501 Parkers Ln. Alexandria, VA 22306)
  • Why go: Pay tribute to the memory of a loved one by dedicating a light to him or her. Proceeds from this year’s event will go towards purchasing a “Sara Plus” aid to help standing and raising patients and treatment recliners.
  • Price: The event and reception are free and open to the public. Lights range from $5 to $100 for a light in the Christmas tree star.

Alexandria Boat Parade of Lights

  • Where/When: Alexandria Waterfront, 4 p.m.
  • Why go: The Alexandria Boat Parade of Lights is a huge festival featuring powerboats, sailboats lighting up the Potomac River. The boats are creatively decorated and compete in different categories.
  • Price: Free

Bull Run Festival of Lights

  • Where/When: Bull Run Regional Park, Centreville, now through Jan. 6
  • Why go: The brand-new display Santa's Enchanted Lights has more than 40,000 animated lights set to music.
  • Price: $15-20 per car. The Festival of Lights Carnival has unlimited ride wristbands for an additional $20. 

Meadowlark Winter Walk of Lights

  • Where/When: Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, Vienna, now through Jan. 6
  • Why Go: More than 500,000 LED lights transform Meadowlark Botanical Gardens into a winter wonderland.
  • Price: Visit the Meadowlark Winter Walk of Lights website for more info about fees.

Zoo Lights

  • Where/When: National Zoo (3001 Connecticut Ave., Washington, DC). Nov. 30; Dec. 1-2, 7-9, 14-23, 26-30; and Jan. 1, from 5 to 9 p.m.
  • Why Go: The National Zoo will feature fun, colorful light displays throughout the zoo, holiday music, zoo tubing, hot chocolate, peppermint schnapps and other seasonal drinks and snacks (for purchase), and more.
  • Price: Free to see the lights. (Parking is $9 for FONZ members and $16 for non-members.)

National Hanukkah Menorah

  • Where/When: The northwest end of the Ellipse (near the White House and Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC). The first candle will be lit on Saturday, Dec. 8, at 4 p.m. For the next seven nights, an additional candle will be lit each night.
  • Why Go: See the lighting of the National Hanukkah Menorah on the White House grounds, at the Ellipse, during the eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the Jewish Maccabees' military victory over Syrian oppression more than 2,000 years ago. The holiday is a celebration of religious freedom and hope.
  • Price: Free.

Christmas on the Potomac at Gaylord National Resort

  • Where/When: Gaylord National Resort (201 Waterfront St., National Harbor, MD). through Jan. 6.
  • Nightly Tree Lighting Show: The hotel atrium comes to life each night at 6:30 p.m. with festive holiday music, dancing fountains, indoor snowfall and the lighting of a 60-foot tall Tree of Light.
  • Northern Lights: Each evening, from 6 p.m. to midnight, visitors may gaze up at 150-foot light curtains that recreate the Northern Lights.
  • Price: Some events are free. Visit the Gaylord National website to purchase tickets and learn more about the events.


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