Christmas at the Capitol

While many tourists visit Washington, D.C. for the Cherry Blossom Festival during springtime, I think December is also a great time to enjoy the U.S. capital. There are plenty of free Christmas activities to do and walking around the beautifully decorated city at this time of the year makes a good Christmas tradition.


Downtown Holiday Market

If you love Christmas markets, D.C. has its very own Downton Holiday Market. You can find locally produced products from artisans and crafters as well as food stalls and live entertainment. It is a great place for Christmas shopping!


It is located in the Penn Quarter neighborhood in front of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery. The closest metro station is Gallery Place/Chinatown.

Dates and Times:

November 27 – December 23, 2015
Noon to 8:00 p.m.


The National Christmas Tree and the Pathway of Peace


The White House and the monuments are one of the top things people want to see during their visit. In December, not only will you see these landmarks but you will also see the festive lights of the National Christmas Tree and the Pathway of Peace. It is located at The Ellipse which is part of the President’s Park.

Tickets are only required for the lighting ceremony but the park is free and open to the public for the rest of the season. Parking is extremely limited around the area and can be expensive. I suggested taking the metro.The closest stops are Metro Center, Federal Triangle, and McPherson Square.


Museums, Zoos and Parks

These are free any time of year but in December, these transform into a festive holiday destination with giant Christmas trees and fun-filled events for the family.


The National Zoo is brightly decorated with thousands of lights for ZooLight, which transforms the place into a wonderland. Hundreds of people make this as part of their annual holiday tradition.

Dates and Times:

November 27 – January 2, 2015; 5-9pm
(Except 24, 25, 31)


If you’ve never been to D.C., December is the perfect time to visit for the first time. Fun-filled, family- friendly and most importantly FREE activities. It is one of my favorite cities!

Book your holiday getaway now!

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Jen is a Chicago-based traveler and a full-time Director of Development for an arts & culture organization. Originally from Connecticut, she created JetsettingJen as a place to share her travel stories and photos with friends and family. Now, it is a place for adventurers, explorers and dreamers. Its purpose is to inspire and encourage people to see the world and achieve a better work-life balance.