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Washington, D.C. in December: A Winter Wonderland of Activities

Washington, D.C. is a city that truly comes alive in December. As the nation's capital, it's a place where history and holiday spirit merge in a beautiful and unique way. With the streets adorned in festive decorations and a multitude of special events, there's no shortage of things to do and see in the capital during the holiday season. Whether you're a local looking for new experiences or a tourist seeking a memorable trip, here's a guide to some of the must-do activities in Washington, D.C. this December.


1. Visit the National Christmas Tree:

One of the most iconic holiday traditions in the city is the lighting of the National Christmas Tree on the White House Ellipse. This event, often attended by the President, marks the official start of the holiday season. Even if you can't attend the lighting ceremony, the tree is beautifully decorated and open to the public throughout the month.


2. Explore the Smithsonian Museums:

Washington, D.C. is home to numerous world-class museums, many of which are located on the National Mall. December is an excellent time to explore these cultural treasures, as they are typically less crowded. Don't miss the National Air and Space Museum, the National Museum of American History, and the National Gallery of Art.


3. Ice Skating:

Lace up your skates and head to one of the city's outdoor ice rinks. The National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden Ice Rink and the Wharf Ice Rink are popular choices, offering a picturesque setting for a fun-filled day or evening of skating.


4. Holiday Markets:

D.C. boasts several holiday markets where you can find unique gifts, handcrafted items, and delicious treats. The Downtown Holiday Market at Penn Quarter and the Christmas Village in Baltimore are just a short drive away and offer a festive shopping experience.


5. Georgetown GLOW:

Each December, Georgetown comes alive with an enchanting light art exhibition known as GLOW. Stroll through the historic streets to admire beautiful and interactive light installations that turn the neighborhood into a winter wonderland.


6. Attend a Holiday Show or Concert:

Washington, D.C. offers a variety of holiday-themed performances, from classic shows like "The Nutcracker" at the Warner Theatre to festive concerts by the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center. Check local listings for schedules and ticket information.


7. Monument and Memorials at Night:

While the monuments and memorials on the National Mall are impressive during the day, they take on a magical quality at night. The softly lit structures against the backdrop of the city skyline make for a beautiful and serene experience.


8. Tour the White House:

If you plan ahead, you may be able to secure a tour of the White House during the holiday season. The historic residence is decorated in its finest holiday attire, and the experience is truly special.


9. New Year's Eve Celebrations:

If you're staying in D.C. for New Year's Eve, you're in for a treat. The city hosts various events, from fireworks over the Potomac River to parties at local hotels and restaurants. It's a fantastic way to welcome the new year in the nation's capital.


Washington, D.C. in December is a destination full of holiday magic, rich history, and unforgettable experiences. Whether you're sipping hot cocoa while admiring the National Christmas Tree, exploring the city's museums, or enjoying the enchanting light displays in Georgetown, D.C. offers a diverse range of activities that will make your December visit truly special. So, bundle up and make the most of this winter wonderland in the heart of the United States.




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