Things to Do

Where to Catch an Easter Sunrise Service Around DC

Celebrate Easter morning at one of these outdoor services in the Washington area.

Photograph by Flickr user anokarina.

This article was updated on March 25, 2024.

Whether you’re celebrating out of faith or for tradition’s sake, a sunrise Easter service can be a moving experience. So, before you fill up on hot cross buns or go searching for chocolate-filled eggs, you can catch an early morning service at one of these DC locations. And for those who don’t celebrate the holiday: You can still enjoy your own contemplative sunrise at one of these DC-area parks.

Just a heads up: Metro doesn’t start until 7 AM on Sunday, so early birds will want to drive, walk, bike, or take a ride-share to these services. Sunrise on Sunday, March 31, will be at 6:53 AM in the Washington, DC, area.

The Lincoln Memorial

A tradition in Washington for more than 40 years (and previously on our great Washington bucket list), this Easter sunrise event—considered one of the largest in the nation—attracts thousands to the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, the perfect perch to view a blazing sunrise over DC’s stone-white monuments. This year’s service, which organizers say will be unaffected by the memorial’s underground renovations and starts at 6:30 AM, will be hosted by National Community Church, a Pentecostal congregation with campuses in DC and Virginia. An a capella choir from DC’s Grace Capital City church will also perform. Bring blankets or folding chairs to sit on, as the event’s 1,000+ chairs fill up quickly.

2 Lincoln Memorial Circle, NW, at 6:30 AM.

Alexandria Waterfront Park

Watch the sun’s rays reflect off the waters of the Potomac River with Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, an ELCA congregation, which will host a 6:30 AM service at Alexandria’s Waterfront Park.

1 Prince St., Alexandria, at 6:30 AM.

Old Town Square in Fairfax City

Enjoy your sunrise with free coffee and donuts in hand at this service hosted by Fairfax United Methodist Church. The congregation’s youth will lead the ceremony, which begins at 6 AM in Fairfax’s Old Town Square.

10415 North St., Fairfax, at 6 AM.

Nalls Produce in Alexandria

Enjoy the sunrise while surrounded by fresh flowers (and some friendly farm animals too) at this Alexandria produce market, where you’ll be able to help decorate a cross in buds. The 7 AM service, hosted in coordination with the Kingstowne Communion, a United Methodist Church, will feature a live band as well as complimentary coffee and pastries from Alexandria’s Coffee In. Those who attend are also encouraged to “celebrate new life” by bringing diapers and/or baby wipes for donation to local families in need.

7310 Beulah St., Franconia at 7 AM.

Luther Place near Thomas Circle

Relish in the peace of the morning at Luther Place, an ELCA Lutheran church, which will host a “simple liturgy of music, scripture, and prayer” on its landscaped gothic church grounds near Thomas Circle at 7:30 AM.

1226 Vermont Ave., NW, at 7:30 AM.

Photograph by Flickr user Alan Kotok.

Arlington National Cemetery

This nondenominational sunrise service at the cemetery’s memorial amphitheater officially begins at 6:30, but you’ll want to arrive at least 15 minutes early to catch a morning prelude concert from the US Army Band “Pershing’s Own.” Following the music, Chaplain Maj. Gen. Randall E. Kitchens, the Air Force’s Chief of Chaplains, will deliver the Easter message.

Visitors without a Department of Defense ID should enter the cemetery via Memorial Avenue and park at the Welcome Center parking garage (which is free until 9 AM), where a shuttle will take visitors to the event. Seating is first-come, first-serve.

1 Memorial Ave., Fort Myer (Arlington), at 6:15 AM.

Ida Lee Park in Leesburg

Watch the morning come to life from the fields of Ida Lee Park, where Leesburg United Methodist Church and Mt. Zion United Methodist Church will lead an Easter worship service at 6:30 AM.

60 Ida Lee Dr. NW, Leesburg, at 6:30 AM.

The front lawn at First Presbyterian Arlington

Gather outside First Presbyterian’s sanctuary for a 7:30 AM service on the church’s front lawn, where an Easter egg hunt will later take place at 12:30 PM.

601 N. Vermont St., Arlington, at 7:30 AM.

The churchyard at St. George’s Episcopal Church

Sing hymns and break bread with St. George’s Episcopal Church, which will host a sunrise service in its quiet Bloomingdale churchyard at 6:30 AM.

160 U St., NW, at 6:30 AM.

The front lawn at Rockville Presbyterian Church

Sing a cappella as the sun rises over the spacious front lawn of Rockville Presbyterian Church, located in downtown Rockville’s historic district.

215 W Montgomery Ave, Rockville, at 6:45 AM.

Jessica Ruf
Assistant Editor