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It may not feel like the most wonderful time of the year (see: the wind! the cold!) but the holidays are finally upon us! While we think most of the cheer will come from getting cozy at home with loved ones, we have put together a great selection of 10 different ways for you to get into the holiday spirit.

Grab a mug with your hot drink of choice and come explore the winter wonderland that is the DMV with our Locals Guide: Top Ten Holiday Experiences in D.C.

Locals Guide: Top Ten Holiday Experiences in D.C. is presented in partnership with our friends and partners at Hilton.

1. Zoo Lights
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A chance to see the National Zoo like you’ve never seen it before – and it’s FREE? Come after dark to explore the amazing light displays and discover the new gingerbread village with food and a gingerbread throne (BE THE CANDY MONARCH YOU WERE BORN TO BE!) Bundle up, grab a glass of mulled wine and make sure you catch the two laser shows on the Elephant Community Center.

Washington Hilton Hotel is only 1.2 miles away so be sure to swing by the Sidecar bar to warm up with cocktails, wine, and signature flatbreads!


2. Miracle on 7th Street
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Look. We can’t necessarily explain the pandas, but do you really need us to? Our forever favorites at Drink Company are back with their third annual Christmas/Hanukkah/Whatever-December-Holiday-You-Prefer PUB (pop-up bar,) Miracle on 7th Street. Perfect for gifting yourself a nice, stiff drink and experiencing this new D.C. holiday tradition.

Homewood Suites by Hilton Washington DC Convention Center is only 1.0 mile away, which means you can leave your car at the hotel with the Parking Included package and get home safely at the end of a boozy night!


3. Season’s Greenings

Do you like trains? What about plants? What if we told you that the U.S. Botanic Garden has a huge holiday exhibition featuring model trains called Season’s Greenings? Tour the country with over 31 model train stations made from plant parts! While you’re at the Botanic Garden, be sure to check out their super holiday-ey display of over 3,000 poinsettias.

Canopy by Hilton Washington DC The Wharf is only 1.0 mile away, with an incredible view of the waterfront from the rooftop bar, Whiskey Charlie (don’t worry, there’s a fire-pit to keep you warm)!


4. Holiday Boat Parades
Head to the Old Town Alexandria Waterfront on Dec. 1st for the annual holiday boat parade! If Alexandria is a bit out of the way for you – don’t worry, you can also catch the parade as it flows through the D.C. Wharf! Brightly lit boats with holiday themes and a pop-up beer garden, this is the perfect way to float into the holiday season!

Hilton Garden Inn Alexandria Old Town King St. Metro is only 1.0 mile away, make sure you book your Weekend Like a Local package now and save up to 50% on Sundays!


5. National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden Ice Rink

While staying cozy inside is a GREAT way to spend the winter, there’s something magical about layering up, braving the elements and getting a workout in. The ice rink at the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden is the perfect location to explore the mall and live out your Michelle Kwan fantasy.

Hampton Inn Washington-Downtown-Convention Center is only 1.0 mile away and offers guests a daily free, hot breakfast. Your visiting family from out-of-town will love it.


6. Georgetown Glow
We just LOVE lights, and when you get to explore Georgetown while walking through this glowing art exhibition, it’s a win-win! With guided tours on Fridays and Sundays, experience the art and learn about the history of downtown Georgetown.

Graham Washington DC Georgetown, Tapestry Collection by Hilton is less than 1.0 mile from all the GLOW attractions and is the perfect place to warm up with craft cocktails in their cozy speakeasy after your outdoor adventures!


7. The Gift Collective Pop Up at Tysons Corner
Running up until Christmas Eve, this local business pop up is a one-stop-shop for all of your holiday purchases! Featuring a collection of handmade goods, arts, and crafts, be sure to check out some of our favorites, like Femme Fatale, who sell all-womyn made products.

Hilton McLean Tysons Corner is 0.7 miles away, and with their Holiday Shop & Stay package you can get free shuttle service to the mall, early check-in and other holiday treats!


8. Find the perfect New Year’s Eve Party
If you’re sticking around until the end of the year, make sure you find a great spot to ring in the New Year! Whether you’re interested in a bar, a dinner cruise or more, the DMV has you set. Maybe even rent yourself a hotel room and have a quiet evening in, watching the fireworks and starting on your resolution to sleep more!

With over
50 Hilton hotels in the DMV area, you are sure to find a place to stay, no matter what your NYE plans are!


9. Gay Men’s Chorus DC Holiday Show
Great music and a great cause, the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington D.C. is a can’t-miss show this holiday season! Performed over four dates at the Lincoln Theatre, this year’s show features dancing elves, Santa and – of course – some of the best vocals you’ll find in the DMV!

Homewood Suites by Hilton Washington, D.C. Downtown is only 1.1 miles away, so before calling it a night, walk over to CityCenterDC to see the 75 foot holiday tree and the Dream Closet overhead installation in Palmer Alley!


10. The Nutcracker – Washington Ballet
One of the best renditions of The Nutcracker in the area, the Washington Ballet’s performance at the Warner Theatre is a must-see this year while they celebrate their 15th anniversary. Seeing this ballet every year is a great tradition and it’s never too late to start!Before you head over to the Warner Theatre, make sure to stop at the Hilton Garden Inn Washington DC Downtown (only 0.4 miles away) and get a great meal at the Grist Mill restaurant!

If you’re forgoing the holidays at home to spend it with us in D.C. be sure to check out Hilton’s Weekend Like a Local Package which, with up to 50% off Sunday night plus exclusive dining and drinking discount, , will be sure to get you into the spirit! Book now to receive your limited-edition collectible keycard designed by Riley Sheehey.