2023 Northern Virginia Christmas Events

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Every year, there are always a large number of Northern Virginia Christmas events.

Whether you are interested in perennial concert favorites like The Nutcracker or Handel’s Messiah, dazzling light displays, historic presentations, or Christmas Tree lighting ceremonies, the area has something to offer for just about everyone!

Below are some of my top recommendations for Christmas events in the Northern Virginia area in 2023!


Where to Stay in Washington, D.C.
The River Inn
Located right near the Kennedy Center, with a fitness center and kitchenette

* * *
Hotel Hive
Chic micro hotel near the Kennedy Center

2023 Northern Virginia Christmas Events

EventEvent TypeDatesTickets
The Washington Ballet Presents The NutcrackerTheaterNovember 25 – December 30, 2023Tickets can be purchased here
Manassas Ballet Theatre Presents The NutcrackerTheaterDecember 14 – December 23, 2023Tickets can be purchased here
Ballet West: The NutcrackerTheaterNovember 22 – November 26, 2023Tickets can be purchased here
Celtic Woman Christmas Symphony TourConcertNovember 24 – 25, 2023Tickets can be purchased here
Dorrance Dance: Nutcracker SuiteDanceNovember 30 -December 2, 2023Tickets can be purchased here
NPR’s a Jazz Piano ChristmasConcertDecember 2, 2023Tickets can be purchased here
NSO at The Anthem: Ugly Sweater Holiday ConcertConcertDecember 6, 2023Tickets can be purchased here
NSO Pops: A Holiday Pops with Norm LewisConcertDecember 8 – 9, 2023Tickets can be purchased here
Handel’s Messiah at the National CathedralConcertDecember 8 -10, 2023Tickets can be purchased here
The National Symphony Orchestra Presents Handel’s MessiahConcertDecember 14 – 17, 2023Tickets can be purchased here
Disney’s FrozenTheaterDecember 20, 2023 – January 21, 2024Tickets can be purchased here.
MeadowlarkLighting DisplaysNovember 10, 2023 – January 7, 2024Tickets can be purchased here
Bull Run Festival of LightsLighting DisplaysNovember 10, 2023 – January 7, 2024Tickets can be purchased here
Fairfax Christmas LightsLighting DisplaysThroughout the Holiday SeasonNot Applicable
National Christmas Tree Lighting 2023Tree Lighting CeremoniesNovember 15, 2023There is a lottery to get tickets
National Harbor Tree LightingTree Lighting CeremoniesNovember 25, 2023Not Applicable
Tysons Corner Tree LightingTree Lighting CeremoniesNovember 17, 2023Not Applicable
Ice at Gaylord National HarborWinter ActivitiesNovember 19 – December 31, 2023Tickets can be purchased here
Mount VernonHistoric SitesNovember 24 – 25,
December 1- 2,
December 8 – 9,
December 17, 2023
Tickets can be purchased here

Concerts

Nutcracker

The Washington Ballet Presents The Nutcracker

Location

THEARC (November 25 and 26) and The Warner Theatre (December 2 to December 30)

Dates

November 25 – December 30, 2023

Tickets

Tickets can be purchased here

Description

The Washington Ballet hosts an annual performance of Tchaikovsky’s timeless, whimsical classic, The Nutcracker. Their version features a Washington, D.C.-inspired take on the tale. 


Manassas Ballet Theatre Presents The Nutcracker

Location

Hylton Performing Arts Center, Manassas, VA. 

Dates

December 14 – December 23, 2023

Tickets

Tickets can be purchased here

Description

Closer to Northern Virginia, the Manassas Ballet Theatre also presents The Nutcracker at the Hylton Performing Arts Center in Manassas, VA. 


Ballet West: The Nutcracker

Location

The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington, D.C.

Dates

November 22 – November 26, 2023

Tickets

Tickets can be purchased here.

Description

For a limited engagement, Ballet West arrives at the Kennedy Center with the first and longest-running Nutcracker production in the country, so this is definitely an event that you don’t want to miss!

Intermountain West presents a visually striking production of the beloved holiday classic, with impressive sets and incredible costumes.


Celtic Woman Christmas Symphony Tour

Location

The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington, D.C.

Dates

November 24 – 25, 2023

Tickets

Tickets can be purchased here.

Description

Celtic Woman features an all-female group of Celtic singers, singing yuletide classics with a unique and beautiful twist. The group is accompanied by the National Symphony Orchestra.


Dorrance Dance: Nutcracker Suite

Location

The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington, D.C.

Dates

November 30 -December 2, 2023

Tickets

Tickets can be purchased here.

Description

For a unique take on the beloved Nutcracker, Dorrance Dance introduces tap dance, jazz, and contemporary dance to the ballet masterpiece.

Duke Ellington and other jazz greats serve as the inspiration for this new version of the classic.


NPR’s a Jazz Piano Christmas

Location

The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington, D.C.

Dates

December 2, 2023

Tickets

Tickets can be purchased here.

Description

For Jazz lovers out there, the Kennedy Center will be hosting a trio of fantastic jazz pianist performing holiday classics. This year’s event features Cuban pianists Melvis Santa, Alfredo Rodriguez, and Hilario Durán.


NSO at The Anthem: Ugly Sweater Holiday Concert

Location

The Anthem, Washington, D.C.

Dates

December 6, 2023

Tickets

Tickets can be purchased here.

Description

The National Symphony Orchestra presents a fun-filled family concert of Christmas and Holiday favorites at The Anthem, the new performance venue at the waterfront in D.C.

And of course, it’s another great excuse to wear your favorite ugly Christmas sweater!


NSO Pops: A Holiday Pops with Norm Lewis

Location

The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington, D.C.

Dates

December 8 – 9, 2023

Tickets

Tickets can be purchased here.

Description

Broadway favorite Norm Lewis presents Holiday hits from his Christmas album. The performance also features the NSO Pops and the Heritage Signature Chorale.


Handel’s Messiah at the National Cathedral

Location

The Washington Cathedral, Washington, D.C.

Dates

December 8 -10, 2023

Tickets

Tickets can be purchased here

Description

Set against the spectacular backdrop of the National Cathedral, the Washington National Cathedral Choir and Washington National Cathedral Baroque Orchestra present Handel’s glorious Messiah. The performance also features world-class soloists. 


The National Symphony Orchestra Presents Handel’s Messiah

Location

The Kennedy Center, Washington, D.C.

Dates

December 14 – 17, 2023

Tickets

Tickets can be purchased here

Description

The National Symphony Orchestra also presents a performance of Handel’s Messiah. This year’s production will be conducted by celebrated choral conductor Laurence Equilbey and it will feature the University of Maryland Concert Choir.


Disney’s Frozen

Location

The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington, D.C.

Dates

December 20, 2023 – January 21, 2024

Tickets

Tickets can be purchased here.

Description

The hit movie naturally became a hit Broadway musical! And the hit musical is now coming to the Kennedy Center, just in time for the holiday season!

The production features favorite songs from the movie like Let it Go and Do You Want to Build a Snowman? It also has 16 additional songs added just for the Broadway show. This makes it a holiday ticket that you don’t want to miss!


Lighting Displays

Meadowlark

Location

Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, Vienna, VA

Dates

November 10, 2023 – January 7, 2024

Tickets

I recommend reserving tickets ahead of time, as the event can sell out. 

Description

Every holiday season, Meadowlark Park, located in Vienna, VA, hosts the Winter Walk of Lights. I have attended numerous years in a row with my family, and we thoroughly enjoy it!

The event features a half-mile walking path outside among dazzling Christmas light displays, and the exhibits feature music, fountains, automated animals, and much more.

There is also a gift shop, plus hot cider, hot chocolate, and other snacks for purchase. 


Bull Run Festival of Lights

Location

Bull Run Regional Park, Centreville, VA

Dates

November 10, 2023 – January 7, 2024

Tickets

Tickets can be purchased online here

Description

Bull Run Regional Park features a 2.5-mile drive-through holiday light display, similar to the display at Meadowlark, only note Meadowlark is a walking light tour, while Bull Run is a driving light tour. 


Fairfax Christmas Lights

Holly’s Tacky Christmas Lights is a fun resource for all of the best local holiday light displays in Northern Virginia.

You can use this guide to find the closest displays to your home, or create your own custom-made driving routes to check out the best local displays. This could be a fun evening and weekend activity for the family!

The website also includes other local holiday events. The site is updated daily in December each year. 


Tree Lighting Ceremonies

National Christmas Tree Lighting 2023

Location

15th St NW &, E St NW, Washington, DC 20500

Dates

November 30, 2023 (TV Broadcast on December 15, 2023)

Tickets

There is a lottery to get tickets to see the live tree lighting ceremony.

Description

The National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony by the White House will be taking place on November 30, 2023. It will also be aired on CBS on December 15, 2023.

Performers for the event include Darren Criss, Dionne Warwick, St.Vincent, Reneé Rapp, Joe Walsh, and more. 


National Harbor Tree Lighting

Location

National Harbor, Maryland

Dates

November 25, 2023

Tickets

Not Applicable

Description

The tree lighting ceremony will take place on November 25, 2023.

The 54-foot tree will be on display and will feature a light show every half hour from sunset to 9 pm. 

On Saturday nights from November 11 – December 30 the show will begin at 5:30 pm and feature fireworks.


Tysons Corner Tree Lighting

Location

Tysons Corner Shopping Center, McLean, VA

Date

November 17, 2023

Tickets

Not Applicable

Description

Tysons Corner Shopping Center will be hosting a tree-lighting event in late November. The event will take place on November 17, 2023 from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm.


Winter Activities

ICE at Gaylord

Ice at Gaylord National Harbor

Location

Gaylord National Resort, National Habor, Maryland

Dates

November 19 – December 31, 2023

Tickets

Tickets can be purchased here.

Description

Ice at Gaylord National Harbor is a really fun event that transforms a large section of the hotel into a winter wonderland of ice. It is a bit like walking through an amusement park ride at Disney World that is made of ice.

You can walk through the incredible ice sculptures, statues, and buildings. This year the ice sculptures are inspired by Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

Note that it is quite cold (as you can imagine) so definitely bring warm clothes.


Historic Sites

Mount Vernon

Location

Mount Vernon, Virginia

Dates

  • November 24 – 25
  • December 1 – 2
  • December 8 – 9
  • December 17, 2023

Tickets

You can purchase tickets here.

Description

The historic home of George Washington hosts a fabulous Christmas tradition every holiday season. The home is decorated with candles, garlands, trees, and ribbons for the holidays.

You can take a 45-minute special guided candlelit tours and learn more about Christmas traditions back in the colonial era. It is a magical and memorable way to experience the historic site.

The festivities feature fireworks on December 15 and 16, 2023.


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