After Hours Blog > Guides|Nightlife
O Tannenbaum: A Guide to Area Tree Lightings
All across Washington, the boughs of evergreen trees, dressed in ornaments and twinkling lights, will become illuminated. Here’s where you can watch.
Friday, November 27:
Alexandria’s Christmas Tree (Market Square, 301 King St.; 703-838-5005). Explore Old Town’s decorative streets and storefronts before heading to Market Square at 7 for the annual tree lighting. The mayor and St. Nick will be in attendance.
National Harbor’s Christmas Tree (Waterfront Plaza, 137 National Plaza, Oxon Hill; 877-628-5427). Starting at 5, more than 200,000 decorative lights will light up the 65-foot tree at National Harbor, on the banks of the Potomac River. Bundle up, because you won’t want to miss the fireworks immediately after.
Reston Town Center’s Christmas Tree (11900 Market St.; 703-476-9377). Mr. and Mrs. Claus will illuminate the holiday tree at the intersection of Market Street and Fountain Square at 6. Afterward, sing along with the Reston Chorale and brass quintet or ride in a horse-drawn carriage.
Tuesday, December 1:
The Fairmont Hotel’s Holiday Tree (2401 M St., NW; 202-429-2400). Decorate cookies, warm up with hot chocolate or mulled wine, and visit with Santa Claus and his red-nosed sidekick Rudolph at the Fairmont’s lighting at 5. The Georgetown Visitation Madrigals will provide entertainment. Guests are asked to bring a toy for the US Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots Foundation.
Thursday, December 3:
National Christmas Tree and the Pageant of Peace (15th and E sts., NW). All 9,800 free tickets to the 5 PM ceremony have been distributed, but you can visit the tree anytime after it’s lit. The 42-foot Colorado blue spruce will shine December 3 through January 1, dusk until 11. Don’t miss the 56 smaller trees, which represent the 50 states, five territories, and DC.
Norwegian Christmas at Union Station (50 Massachusetts Ave., NE; 202-289-1908). Join Norwegian ambassador Wegger Chr. Strommen at 6 as he lights the 32-foot tree in Union Station’s main hall. The Children’s Chorus of Washington will perform holiday songs. A Norwegian model train exhibit will be in the West Hall.
Friday, December 4:
Holiday on the Avenue (Colosanto Park, 2704 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria). The tree will be lit at 6, and afterward, Santa will lead a procession down the light-lined Mount Vernon Avenue. Along the way, duck into shops for a hot beverage, and at the end of the walk, share your holiday wish list with Santa.
Leesburg’s Christmas Tree (25 W. Market St.; 703-777-1368). The town’s 6 PM lighting ceremony features a loca 16-foot spruce, festooned with ornaments handmade by area fifth-graders. There’ll be a few words from the mayor and members of the town council, and local school choirs will enliven the atmosphere with songs. Downtown shops will offer hot chocolate and apple cider.
Old Town Manassas’s Christmas Tree (9101 Prince William St.; 703-361-6599). Take a hayride through Old Town Manassas or skate around at the Harris Pavilion ice rink during the day, then around 6, head to the Manassas Museum, where Santa Claus and Mayor Parrish will light up the town.
Saturday, December 5:
Gaithersburg’s Jingle Jubilee (City Hall Pavilion, 31 S. Summit Ave.; 301-258-6350). Jingle Jubilee gets started at 6. In addition to the tree lighting, there are holiday sing-alongs and free hot chocolate. You can also buy hot apple cider and kettle corn, with proceeds benefiting Autism Speaks. Santa is expected to roll in on a red fire truck.
Herndon’s Christmas Tree (Town Hall Square, 730 Elden St.; 571-323-5301). Gather for the tree lighting at 5, and sing along to classic holiday songs while you await the arrival of Santa Claus.
Sunday, December 6:
Georgetown’s Holiday Tree (Washington Harbour, 3000 K St., NW; 202-298-9222). Enjoy hot chocolate and roasted chestnuts before Georgetown’s tree lighting at 6:15, followed by the annual Boat Parade of Lights. It’s all part of the Merriment in Georgetown celebration, which mostly takes place earlier in the day—starting at 2—at Wisconsin Avenue and M Street.
Montgomery County Historical Society’s Holiday Tree (12535 Milestone Manor La., Germantown; 301-515-2887). Sip hot apple cider at this open-house celebration, starting at 4:30 at the Waters House History Center. Santa is slated to make an appearance in a horse-drawn wagon. Attendees are encouraged to bring an unwrapped toy for local charities.
Tuesday, December 8:
Capitol Christmas Tree (west lawn of the US Capitol). Donated by the state of Arizona, the 85-foot blue spruce, known as “the people’s tree,” will be garnished with 10,000 lights and 5,000 ornaments. At 5, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi will light up evergreen, and the US Marine Band will play.