Things to Do

Can’t Wait for Christmas? Check Out These Early Holiday Events.

These holiday markets, light displays, and festive performances take place *before* Thanksgiving.

Photograph courtesy Artechouse.

Thanksgiving is next on the holiday calendar, but perhaps you’re ready to swap autumnal pumpkins for festive wreaths and Mariah Carey Christmas tunes. For an extra-early start on the holiday season, these yuletide markets, light displays, and shows are offering Christmas cheer—before the turkey even hits the table.

Czech Christmas Market
3900 Spring of Freedom St., NW
The Embassy of the Czech Republic is hosting a holiday market with carolers on November 5 from 9:30 AM to 6 PM. Sip mulled wine and nosh on Czech pastries while perusing crystals, ornaments, jewelry, and other wares. Free timed-entry passes are required.

Luckett’s Holiday House
42350 Lucketts Rd., Leesburg
The antiques store decks the halls of its holiday house, where visitors can shop the décor from November 10 to December 11 on Thursday through Sunday. Each space is dressed up in a different aesthetic, such as a frosty winter wonderland or a red and green room. Timed-entry tickets cost $25 in November and $20 in December. 

Winter Walk of Lights
9750 Meadowlark Gardens Ct., Vienna
Stroll through Meadowlark Botanical Gardens from November 11 to January 8 for half a mile of holiday lights. If you’re looking for a panorama of the nature-themed illuminations, pop into the gazebo with a hot beverage. Timed-entry tickets start at $16. 

Bull Run Festival of Lights
7700 Bull Run Dr., Centreville
No need to leave the car for this drive-through display, which is open from November 11 to January 8. The two-and-a-half mile jaunt features holiday motifs like Santa Claus, glowing garlands, and a fleet of reindeer. Tickets start at $30 per car. 

A Christmas Carol
511 10th St., NW
Ford’s Theatre will present its 43rd annual production of Charles Dickens’ holiday tale from November 18 to December 31. The ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future will take the stage during the two-hour show.  Tickets start at $26. 

The Downtown Holiday Market. Photo courtesy Downtown Holiday Market.
The Downtown Holiday Market. Photo courtesy Downtown Holiday Market.

Spectacular Factory
1238 Maryland Ave., SW
Trippy nutcrackers, a candy-cane carousel, and massive wreaths are part of the yuletide display at interactive museum Artechouse. Revelers can visit the holiday exhibition from November 19 to January 8Tickets cost $25.

Ice and Lights Winter Village
4001 Eisenhower Ave., Alexandria
A giant wreath and walk-through Christmas tree are among the photo-friendly installations lighting up Cameron Run Regional Park from November 18 to January 1. There’s also a rink with skate rentals for a glide across the ice. Tickets start at $8. 

Maryland Christmas Show
797 E. Patrick St., Frederick
Snap a photo with Mr. and Mrs. Claus at the holiday emporium, which runs from November 18 to November 27 on Friday through Sunday. The Christmas market spans seven buildings, selling stocking stuffers and under-the-tree presents. Tickets are $10 for adults and $4 for children ages ten and under.

Downtown Holiday Market
F St. between Seventh and Ninth sts., NW.
Two blocks in downtown DC transform into an open-air marketplace with more than 75 vendors from November 18 to December 23. Listen to live music while shopping for DC-themed prints, sweet confections, kitchenware, and more. Entry is free. 

A Drag Queen Christmas
1215 U St., NW
Your favorite queens from RuPaul’s Drag Race will perform in this holiday extravaganza at Lincoln Theatre on November 19. MCed by Trinity the Tuck, the 8 PM show will include dramatic lip syncs, death drops, and glittering costumes. Tickets start at $35.

Daniella Byck
Lifestyle Editor

Daniella Byck joined Washingtonian in 2022. She was previously with Outside Magazine and lives in NoMa.