The holidays are a time for celebration and this season we hope that everyone continues to follow safe practices while enjoying this time of year. While some annual events and programs have been canceled due to concerns about the spread of COVID-19, there are still many family friendly activities to enjoy this winter. All the attractions below have instituted safety policies so that everyone can enjoy themselves while minimizing the risk of transmitting illness; please check their websites for their specific requirements.
HOLIDAY LIGHT DISPLAYS
The National Christmas Tree. Bring the family to the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol for the annual holiday light display featuring the National Christmas Tree and the Pathway to Peace, a walkway with 56 trees decorated with handmade ornaments from each U.S. state and territory. You can also watch the annual tree lighting ceremony, which was recorded for later viewing, at the nationaltree.org/lighting-ceremony.
Ice & Lights Winter Village at Cameron Run. Capture holiday memories with the family at this popular Alexandria park transformed into a sparkling village with lots of photo ops including a giant wreath and walk-through tree and photo frame. Skating is also available, and must be purchased separately online. Go to www.novaparks.com/events/ice-lights for more information and to buy tickets, which must be purchased in advance.
Meadowlark Winter Walk of Lights. Stroll along a .6 mile outdoor trail lit by more than 500,000 lights and displays, and enjoy s’mores and hot chocolate by the fireside. All tickets must be purchased online in advance – go to www.novaparks.com/events/winter-walk-of-lights to buy them.
Bull Run Festival of Lights. Don’t feel like walking? You and the family can enjoy a magical 2.5 mile display of holiday lights from the safety and comfort of your car. Unfortunately, the annual carnival and Holiday Village are not open this year due to the pandemic. Purchase tickets online at www.novaparks.com/events/bull-run-festival-of-lights.
OTHER HOLIDAY FUN
Cox Farms Self-Driven Holiday Hayride and Market. If you haven’t gotten your Christmas tree yet, you can buy your tree and get free admission to the farm’s famous hayride attraction. While you’re there, you can stock up on holiday decorations and traditional seasonal treats like apple cider donuts, kettle corn, apple cider, and more. You must make all purchases in advance online at coxfarms.com.
Christmas Village at Leesburg Animal Park. Head out to Leesburg for a weekend of family fun, including pony rides, Candy Cane Express, holiday photos with the animals, and more. Buy tickets online before you go at www.leesburganimalpark.com/christmas/.
Wolf Trap Holiday Sing-A-Long From Home. Make some hot cocoa and cookies to enjoy while joining this free streaming event featuring the U.S. Marine Band and other vocal groups performing holiday favorites that you can all sing along to. For details including the streaming link, go to www.wolftrap.org/calendar/performance/holiday-sing.aspx.
First Night Alexandria. Welcome the new year in Old Town, where you can pile everyone into the car for a drive-in concert experience at two different times – an early show for little ones and a later show when you can dance into the new year. If you‘d prefer to stay home and enjoy the show, you can also purchase tickets to get it livestreamed to you. For details and to buy tickets, go to firstnightalexandria.org.
First Day Hikes. Get the family outdoors on New Year’s Day, when Virginia State Parks are offering free entry and guided hikes. Find a park near you at www.dcr.virginia.gov/state-parks/find-a-park. For more information about First Hikes in Fairfax County, go to www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/first-hike.
As you enjoy celebrations with your family this winter, we hope you remain safe and healthy to enjoy the new year. We wish you all a very Happy Holidays!