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Christmas events in DC

Where to see Christmas shows, hear carolers, go holiday shopping and other Christmas events in DC
A Christmas Carol
Photograph: Scott Suchman/Ford's Theater A Christmas Carol
By Holley Simmons |

Looking for things to do in Washington, DC over the holidays? We’ve got you covered with a round-up of the best Christmas events, the best live music clubs in Washington, DC, exciting holiday markets and more. If you’re in the mood for something a bit more energetic, hit the rop ice-skating rinks in DC—or just cocoon on the sofa to binge on the 20 best Christmas movies.

RECOMMENDED: Christmas in Washington, DC guide

Best Christmas events in DC

A Christmas Carol, Ford's Theater
Photograph: Scott Suchman

A Christmas Carol

icon-location-pin Downtown

Ford’s Theatre has produced some version of the Charles Dickens classic for 35 years running. This year, the music-infused performance features new cast members including Craig Wallace as Ebenezer Scrooge. Arrive early to explore the adjoining museum, where you’ll find historical artifacts, including the clothing Abraham Lincoln wore the night he was shot by John Wilkes Booth. November 17 through December 31; $24-$107. Ford's Theatre, 511 Tenth St, NW

Downtown Holiday Market
Photograph: Kevin A. Koski

Downtown Holiday Market

Much like your grandmother’s attic, you never know what you’ll find at the open-air Downtown Holiday Market (translation: Bring a warm coat and some hand sanitizer and expect to stay a while). More than 150 vendors turn F Street (between 7th and 9th) into a retail wonderland with fine art, jewelry, pottery, photography, clothing and much more. November 25 through December 23; daily noon—8 p.m; free. F Street between 7th and 9th Streets NW

The Nutcracker
Photograph: Courtesy The Nutcracker
Theater, Performing arts space

The Nutcracker

icon-location-pin Federal Triangle

For this production of The Nutcracker from the Washington Ballet, performed at the historic Warner Theatre, artistic director Septime Webre has incorporated historical characters like Harriet Tubman, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson into the cast. This all-American version of the classic ballet is set in Georgetown and cherry blossom petals mingle with snowflakes. December 1-24 (except Mondays); 7 p.m.; $33-$133. 513 13th Street, NW

Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington
Photograph: Courtesy Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington
Music, Music venues

Naughty and Nice by the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington

icon-location-pin U Street Corridor

Expect lots of ugly Christmas sweaters, tap dancing and tons of glitter at this highly anticipated event at Lincoln Theatre. The chorus will perform holiday classics like “Sleigh Ride” and “Let it Snow,” as well as modern twists on old standards. December 10, 8pm; December 17, 3 pm and 8pm; December 18 3pm.$25–$65.1215 U Street, NW

Six Flags America
Photograph: Courtesy Six Flags America

Holiday in the Park

For the first time ever, Six Flags America is hosting a Holiday in the Park festival and transforming the park into a holiday-themed playground featuring over one million sparkling lights, interactive holiday shows, photo ops with Santa and spiked eggnog and peppermint-topped funnel cakes. Every weekend and select days November 19-January 2. Starting at $40.99. 13710 Central Ave, Upper Marlboro, Maryland 

National Parks and Historic Places
Photograph: Courtesy United States Botanic Garden
Attractions, Parks and gardens

Season’s Greenings: National Parks and Historic Places

icon-location-pin National Mall

In addition to being decked out with a giant Christmas tree, wreaths, garlands and poinsettias, the US Botanic Garden goes all out for the holidays with a model train show complete with recreations of iconic national parks and historic sites such as the Grand Canyon and the Statue of Liberty—all made from plant materials! To boot, the conservatory will stay open late (8pm) on Tuesdays and Thursdays in December for festive music concerts and after-dark exhibit tours. November 24-January 2; 10am-5pm; free. 100 Maryland Ave. SW

The Washington Chorus
Photograph: Courtesy Kennedy Center
Music, Music venues

The Washington Chorus Presents: A Candlelight Christmas

icon-location-pin Foggy Bottom

Get in the holiday spirit with the Washington Chorus’ holiday show featuring sing-alongs to uplifting holiday tunes such as “The Dream Isaiah Saw” and “Hallelujah Chorus,” as well as composition by music director Julian Wachner. Operatic tenor Carl Tanner will guest star. December 11-22. $18-72. 2700 F St NW

ICE! Featuring Christmas Around the World
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/greyloch
Restaurants, American

ICE! Featuring Christmas Around the World

Dressed up in over two million sparkling lights, the National Harbor shines this time of year. Shop until you drop on the waterfront, then head to see ICE!, an interactive ice attraction at Gaylord National Resort complete with hand-carved ice sculptures and two-story ice slides. In addition, National Harbor will host holiday movie viewings of Jack Frost and How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Saturdays in December, 2pm), festive performances and visits from Santa Claus. November 19-January 1, 2017 (except December 5-7). 165 Waterfront Street, National Harbor, Maryland