The holiday season is a wonderful time to visit Washington, DC! Once you’ve gotten to all of our must-see Christmas sites, check out these less touristy Christmas things in DC.

Less Touristy Christmas Ideas in Washington DC

1. Georgetown Glow 

Georgetown Glow is a massive public light exhibition. It highlights artists who create art out of glowing lights. The lights are all over the Georgetown neighborhood and they tend to be a little bit more off the beaten path. It is a great opportunity to explore a historic neighborhood. If you’re a photographer, bring your best camera because the lights here are really rare and unique photo opportunities. Even if you are not a photographer, you can come and take it all in because it is a really cool thing to see. Georgetown Glow runs for about one month starting at the beginning of December.

2. The Wharf 

The Wharf only opened in 2017. So, it is relatively new. It’s a top spot for less touristy Christmas things in DC. Since it is primarily a boat dock, it is fitting that they host the annual holiday boat parade where you can watch boats decked out in holiday lights moving up and down the Washington Channel. Plus you should stick around for a winter fireworks display afterwards. Throughout the month of December the Wharf also has other festive events like Christmas caroling.

3. CityCenterDC

CityCenterDC is an area downtown with a lot of high-end restaurants and high-end shopping. When you go in December, you will see Christmas trees, window displays, and other holiday art. Now, if you have money to spend, this is definitely an area where you can spend it. But, even if you have a light budget, just walking around and taking in the atmosphere can be great less touristy Christmas things to do in DC. 

4. Light Yards

Light Yards is located in the Yards Park, not far from Nationals Park. The first year, they brought in giant bunnies and illuminated them. In the second year, they had glowing orbs set to music. This is not something that you need to necessarily out of the way to see. But, it is the kind of thing that you could come to the neighborhood and make part of a whole evening. After seeing the Light Yards, you can eat dinner at one of the local restaurants and have dessert at Ice Cream Jubilee, a very popular local ice cream spot.

5. Ice Skating

We have ice skating rinks all over the city. If you go skating in December, they will often have Christmas music playing to get you in the mood. When you go in January or February, it is more generic pop music. People will also wear Santa hats, ugly sweaters and generally be out for a festive time.

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