Experiencing The Holidays in DC

Washington, DC is among the best destinations to visit in the month of December, as it’s historic landscape welcomes a cheery holiday makeover. Watch the spirit of the holidays wash over our nation’s capital on your next visit to The St. Gregory Hotel, and indulge in some Christmas light-gawking, some festival excitement, and the best Hanukkah parties the city has to offer. 

For specific examples, check out our guide to experiencing the holidays in Washington, DC. 

The District’s Holiday Boat Parade

December 7th

Head out to Wasington, DC’s District Wharf neighborhood to check out this illuminating and beautiful holiday boat parade. Ships decorated in a vibrant blend of colorful Christmas lights will head down the water in a processions for attendees to enjoy. The District’s Holiday Boat Parade will also feature a number of other exciting attractions to accompany the show. 

Throughout the evening, there will be activities on The Wharf, including drinks at the Waterfront Beer and Wine Garden, roasting s’mores over the Camp Wharf fire pit, and some live tunes. This promises to be one of the most original, creative, and joyous holiday events to hit Washington, DC during the 2019 season. 

District Wharf. Washington, DC 

Washington, DC Festival of Christmas Lights Bus Tours

December 15th

For those who miss The District’s Holiday Boat Parade, you can catch an equally breathtaking display of wonder at the Washington, DC Festival of Christmas Lights Bus Tour. Stay warm in the heated locomotive while touring throughout the city and exploring its most well-lit streets. In addition to exploring the city’s streets and its various holiday displays, the tour will also stop by The National Mall, and a series of lesser known attractions. 

Among the many stops on this four-hour guided bus tour, you’ll get to visit the DC Church of Jesus Christ, also known as the Mormon Temple. The church grounds provide a spectacle for all, as each night it turns on a display consisting of nearly a half-million Christmas lights. Every night, a different local musical group comes to perform a live show at the church theatre as well. 

Christmas Lights Bus Tours. Washington, DC  

Holiday Festival at Marvin Gaye Park

December 21st

The Holiday Festival at Marvin Gaye Park is one of the most popular December traditions for Washington, DC locals. The gathering is friendly to all ages and sizes, and it will once again feature an array of attractions such as: crafts activities, holiday shopping opportunities, games, and an appearance from the man himself—Santa Claus. 

All of the food and gift shopping vendors represent local businesses, so travelers checking out the festival can get an experience unique to DC. Also in that vein of supporting local culture, attendees can enjoy DC talent with one of the live holiday music performances scheduled to take place at the upcoming holiday festival. 

Marvin Gaye Park. Washington, DC 

Hanukkah Parties in DC

December 21st-22nd 

We’ve talked so much about lights on this post, and yet we still need to mention that holiday travelers should take time to celebrate the Festival of Lights this December as well. Those looking to spin dreidels, eat latkes, and indulge in some gelt for their Hanukkah celebrations, can find plenty of opportunities around town. 

On December 21st, you can check out an Ugly Sweater Hanukkah Party on the famous U Street. On the 22nd, there will be the National Menorah on the Eclipse event at The Eclipse. On the 26th, The National Museum of Jewish Military History will host the 2019 Annual Hanukkah Party. You can also catch Hanukkah Shows! At Cultural DC’s Source Theatre throughout the month of December. 


Our nation’s capital is one of the world’s leading cultural destinations. Discover more of our favorite recommendations, from dining hotspots to insider museum exhibitions, on the St. Gregory’s blog.