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Washington D.C. lights up with 3 sparkling Christmas events

Everyone knows the best part about Christmas is the lights. Why not really light ‘em up and spend a white Christmas in D.C.? Washington D.C. gets its glow on with three bedazzling Christmas light events perfect for globetrotting families. Not only will you get to see America’s impressive capital, you’ll also see it dressed to impress in true Christmas spirit.

Washington sparkles in time for Christmas. Credit: Enchant Christmas

ZooLights – 29th November to 1st January

The Smithsonian Museums know how to put on a show for Santa. Involving more than 50,000 environmentally friendly LED lights, the National Zoo’s ZooLights event is not just spectacular, it is also totally free! Witness two laser light shows and wander past the brand new glowing animal lanterns. Take a snap for the photo album beside ‘Entre les Rangs,’ a light field installation resembling wheat rustling in the wind. Then, up the ante with a ride down the ZooTube, a thrilling slide that descends the hill beside the resident lions and tigers. Time your visit to land on the 6th, 7th or 8th of December for the European-style Grump Holiday Market.

Jump on the carousel and other rides at ZooLights – hopefully the closest you’ll get to a tiger! Credit: Gabriele Stonyte

Georgetown Glow – 6th December to 9th January

Art-lovers will relish the chance to combine Santa and sculpture. Washington D.C.’s oldest neighbourhood puts an arty spin on your average Christmas light experience. Walk the neighbourhood for free to see the outdoor public art installations. Or make an event of it, and book into a paid walking tour showing off the district’s historic and modern charms.

Meander through Georgetown and stumble on public sculpture. Credit: Kittner

Enchant Christmas – 22nd November to 29th December

Lose yourself in the magic of the holiday season – literally! Enchant Christmas brings the world’s largest Christmas light maze to Washington. Held in Nationals Park, the maze spans an impressive 90,000 square feet (more than 8000 square metres). Challenge your family to find all nine of Santa’s missing reindeer, before enjoying the light displays, Enchant cinema, carol singers, live entertainment and more. There’s even an ice-skating trail and a 100-foot lighted pine tree. A photo with Santa at Santa’s Landing makes for a memorable keepsake. Tickets are available online, starting at $19.99USD.

The ice-skating trail is just one exciting part of the Enchant experience. Credit: Enchant Christmas

Don’t stop there! Washington D.C. is a fantastic destination for families, purely by virtue of being so jam-packed with exciting things to do. Important monuments such as the White House, Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, Capitol Building and Martin Luther King Memorial are worthy pit stops on your itinerary. The Smithsonian Museums contain hours of interactive learning. Check out the National Zoo during the day to see all the animals.

Go nocturnal and see the zoo light up after dark. Credit: Gabriele Stonyte

Read more to discover the kid-friendly wonder of Washington DC:

Kids’ picks – top Washington DC museums

Why you’ll love a family trip to Washington DC

6 must-see cities in USA

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