Dec 22

Holiday Fun – Christmas Light Displays in the DC Area

Image courtesy of Sneakerdog on Flickr

This round-up of Christmas Light Displays is sponsored by Christmas Illuminations, the experts in design, installation and maintenance of holiday lighting for your home or business in the Washington, DC metro area!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year to view some spectacular Christmas lights here in the DC Metro area! Below are some of my favorite places to see colorful and creative Christmas light displays.

THE MOST FRUGAL OPTIONS (aka FREE!):

Over-the-top residential lights:
Check out Holly’s Tacky Christmas Lights which has a listing of over-the-top residential Christmas light displays in Fairfax County, VA. Her site cleverly has a “top 10” voted on by the public and over 40 homes listed, as well as photos, suggested driving routes, and descriptions of each display she has seen. Just jump in your car, this is a FREE activity!

Miracle on 34th Street in Baltimore, MD
Location: 34th Street (700 block of 34th St., between Keswick Rd. and Chestnut St.) in the Hampden neighborhood of Baltimore. For directions, click here.
Dates/Hours: Sat. November 27, 2010 – unsure of ending date, probably sometime beginning of January. Sunset – 11:00 p.m.
Fees: This is a FREE activity!

National Christmas Tree & Pathway of Peace
You can go downtown to Washington, DC and see the National Christmas Tree and the Pathway of Peace which has a decorated tree for each state and US territory. This is a FREE activity!

ZooLights
Location: The National Zoo, 3001 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008. For directions, click here.
Dates/Hours: December 3-12, 2010 (Friday through Sunday nights). December 17, 2010 – January 1, 2011 (Every night except December 24, 25, & 31): 6:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Fees: This is the first year that Zoo Lights is FREE! In previous years you had to purchase tickets.
Parking Fees: $8 per vehicle for FONZ members. $15 per vehicle for non-members. If you can fit a big group in your car, you can split the costs. To save on parking fees, take the Metro.

24th Annual Winter Festival of Lights at Watkins Regional Park
Location: Watkins Regional Park, 301 Watkins Park Drive, Upper Marlboro, MD 20774.
Dates/Hours: December 25, 2010 5:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Fees: The festival is FREE only on December 25. For fees on dates besides Christmas, please see section below.

ADMISSION REQUIRED (Not free):

Bull Run Festival of Lights
Location: Bull Run Regional Park, 7700 Bull Run Drive, Centreville, VA 20121. For directions, click here.
Dates/Hours:  November 24, 2010 – January 9, 2011.
Monday – Thursday: 5:30 pm to 9:30 pm
Fridays – Sunday & holidays*: 5:30 pm to 10 pm (holidays include Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day)
Fees: Monday – Thursday: $15 per car; Friday – Sunday & Holidays: $20 per car.
Money Saving Tip: The entrance fee is per car, so if you can fit a big group in your car, you can split the costs.
Coupon: $3 off coupon good on weekday admission (Monday through Friday) excluding holidays (Dec. 24, 25, 31, and Jan. 1).

Symphony of Lights
Location: In downtown Columbia’s Symphony Woods at Merriweather Post Pavilion, 10475 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia, MD 21044.
Dates/Hours: November 22, 2010 – January 2, 2011. 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm.
Fees: $20 per car.
Money Saving Tip: The entrance fee is per car, so if you can fit a big group in your car, you can split the costs.
Coupon: $5 off coupon good on admission for drive-through Monday through Thursday.

Gaithersburg Winter Lights Festival
Location: Seneca Creek State Park, 11950 Clopper Road, Gaithersburg, MD 20878. For directions, click here.
Dates/Hours: December 3, 2010 – January 1, 2011. Closed all Mondays and December 25th.
Sunday – Thursday: 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm. Closed on Mondays.
Friday – Saturday: 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Fees: Tuesday – Thursday: $12 per car; Friday – Sunday: $15 per car.
Money Saving Tip: The entrance fee is per car, so if you can fit a big group in your car, you can split the costs.
Coupon: $2 off coupons (good on weekday admission) are available at Washingtonian Center Retailers (Washingtonian Center, 211 Rio Boulevard, Gaithersburg, MD 20878). Coupon is only valid for Monday through Thursday admission.

The Garden of Lights
Location: Brookside Gardens, Wheaton Regional Park, 1800 Glenallen Avenue, Wheaton, MD 20902. For directions, click here.
Dates/Hours: November 26, 2010 – January 9, 2011. Closed December 24 & 25, and January 3-6.
Monday – Thursday: 5:30 pm – 9:00 pm
Friday – Sunday: 5:30 pm – 10 pm
Fees: Monday – Thursday: $20 per car (cash only); Friday – Sunday: $25 per car (cash only).
Advance Sale Tickets: $20 (available starting November 1). Tickets are good for any night and may be purchased in advance at the Conservatory or Visitors Center Gift Shops during posted gift shop hours, using cash, check or credit. Advanced ticket holders must enter the gardens after 5:30 p.m. with normal flow of traffic (no early admission.)
Money Saving Tip: Purchase an advance sale ticket if you plan to go Friday-Sunday; this will save you $5 per car. The entrance fee is per car, so if you can fit a big group in your car, you can split the costs.

24th Annual Winter Festival of Lights at Watkins Regional Park
Location: Watkins Regional Park, 301 Watkins Park Drive, Upper Marlboro, MD 20774.
Dates/Hours: November 26, 2010 – January 2, 2011. 5:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Fees: $5 per car. The festival is FREE only on December 25.
Money Saving Tip: Go on Christmas for free admission, or buy a Multi-visit pass (on sale nightly at gate). $10/multi-visit, transferable pass for car and vans (3 visits). The multi-visit pass = 3 visits for the price of 2!
The entrance fee is per car, so if you can fit a big group in your car, you can split the costs.

For a list of even more places you can go to see holiday lights in the Northern VA / DC Metro, check out this post here.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Redemption Unlimited Girls December 22, 2010 at 5:07 pm

Love this post. :)

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AC December 27, 2010 at 3:16 pm

The Frostival is later this week and tons of things to keep the kids busy!

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