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December 2020 holiday activities were significantly reduced and I was trying to find safe creative ways to enjoy the season while my friend was visiting. This led to us going on an unofficial tour of DC Christmas trees all over the city.

If you are looking for an outdoor activity to enjoy with the family may I suggest a Christmas tree tour led by you! Below is a round-up of some of the best.

Every year since 1964, a tree is chosen from a different national forest to be the official “People’s Tree” on display at the U.S. Capitol’s West Lawn. This year, the tree is from Six Rivers National Forest in California.

To be able to really appreciate this tree it's important to know the whole story of how it made it to the Capitol. This tree began its journey on October 29, 2021 and has been making stops all across the United States, with small celebrations held all along the way. More than 15,000 handmade ornaments were donated to decorate this impressive tree.

After a visit to the tree take a stroll over to the US botanical gardens to enjoy their outdoor train display. The train display can be visited in the gated outdoor gardens until January 2nd, between 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Tickets are not required. Although the building is closed make sure to check out the impressive window display.

Next to the Capitol sits the largest library in the world, where more than 500 miles of bookshelves house books, photos, and maps and it's FREE to visit.

This is a great holiday outing. Step into a historic building to enjoy its stunning architecture, rotating exhibits, and end with a photo op in front of the indoor Christmas tree housed in the most beautiful space in DC. This spectacular tree is decorated with hand-painted wooden books representing every state. You must book a timed reservation ahead of time.


What makes this tree special? It’s a gift from Norway!

As a symbol of friendship and appreciation for the United States’ support during WWII the Embassy of Norway gifts a Christmas tree to Washington, D.C. every year. The annual lighting ceremony is hosted by the Ambassador of Norway and stands glowing at Union Station for travelers to enjoy.


DC’s most historic neighborhood lights up during the holidays in a month-long celebration with outdoor works of art, an ice skating rink by the water, and wreaths hanging on lanterns. Wander around the charming residential streets of this historic neighborhood and peep the decor before making your way down to the waterfront.


City Center really knows how to bring the holiday cheer to DC. This downtown area has seasonal decor year-round but they go all out for the holiday season. This impressive 75-foot tree is one of the largest in the city, decorated with more than 150,000 lights and 4,500 ornaments.

Want to stay for dinner? I recommend Centrolina, Fig and Olive, or recently reopened DBGB for one of the best burgers I've had.

Light Up the Wharf, kicks off the holiday season at The District the Saturday after Thanksgiving. The waterfront transforms into a winter wonderland with thousands of twinkling lights.

Plan an entire evening of holiday fun with a stroll to admire all the holiday decor including Jack Daniel’s twenty-five-foot-tall whiskey barrel tree on Market Pier. Carry on the evening with a visit to the Terrazza at Officina for dinner and drinks and end your evening with a s'more around the campfire with the magnificent Christmas tree in the background.

You can also enjoy the ice rink from November 24, 2021 through February 2022.


Adult: $12

Youth (12 & Under): $9

Skate Rental: $6


The Canadian Embassy brings the holiday cheer to Pennsylvania Avenue with its annual Christmas tree for the public to enjoy. A short walk from the US Capitol you can make a pit stop here for a photo op. This tree is brought in from Nova Scotia!


Many hotels in the district put on a show for the holidays but no one does it quite like this iconic hotel. The Willard goes all out for the holidays and should be at the top of your list.


The tradition of lighting the National Christmas Tree has been going on since 1923. The National Tree is located in President’s Park on the White House Ellipse and is surrounded by smaller trees decorated with handmade ornaments from 56 U.S. states and territories.

This tree is definitely not one of my favorites and can appear a little underwhelming in person. But I would be remiss to not include it on this list. The National Christmas Tree site is free to visit and will be open to the public December 4, 2021, through January 1, 2022.

Hours are:

10 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday

10 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday


You will have to buy tickets to enjoy this tree but you will not be disappointed. For the second year in a row Nationals Park has transformed their stadium into a winter wonderland hosting Enchant.

Filled with an impressive light display, holiday market, ice skating rink and more this is a night of guaranteed fun for kids and adults alike.

Please let me know if you make it to any of these spots this winter. Would love to hear about your visit! Tag me on Instagram @ontheroadwithcinn


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