2023 Holiday Events in Alexandria, Virginia
Photo from Pexels
Alexandria has racked up holiday accolades for years, including one of Oprah’s Best Christmas Villages and Towns in the World in 2020 and Southern Magazine's Perfect Southern Town for a Hallmark Christmas Movie. Most recently, in 2023, Good Housekeeping said the city was one of the Best Places to Travel in December.
So, where should you start holiday festivities? Alexandria has plenty to offer in the way of merrymaking, so do yourself a favor and clear your schedule. Scroll and pick an event or two to eagerly anticipate, but be forewarned: there are so many activities to choose from that your holiday calendar will overflow.
Photo from Visit Alexandria.com
6 pm to 8 pm
Join Mayor Justin Wilson and Alexandria’s Town Crier in the market square to count down to the city’s tree lighting. Prepare for a sing-along around the tree and time to meet Santa and Mrs. Claus. The free event draws locals and tourists ready to welcome the holiday season. If you have time, ride on the King Street Trolley to see the city’s streets aglow for the holidays.
Photo from Nova Parks.com
Winter Village open nightly, 5 pm to 10 pm
November 17-January 1
Ice Skating Open
- Nightly December 1-January 1
- Daytime December 18-31
- Weekends and Holidays: January 6-February 25
Fast becoming a new Alexandria holiday tradition, the Winter Village at Cameron Run showcases more than a dozen walkable holiday light displays to evoke oohs and ahhs. Enjoy shopping, food, music, and ice skating if you want more holiday spirit. Keep in mind the skating rink is limited by capacity, and the park encourages prepayment online.
Photo by Heather Whitfield
November 18-December 23
- Annual Old Town Alexandria Cookie Crawl
- Plaid Friday: Alexandria's Small Business Black Friday
- Alexandria's Small Business Saturday
- Holiday Makers’ Market Celebrates Small Business Saturday
- Christmas Market & Holiday Craft Show at John Carlyle Square
- Del Ray Artisans 28th Annual Fine Art & Fine Craft Holiday Market
Head into Old Town, Del Ray, and Alexandria’s Carlyle neighborhoods for the city’s biggest shopping events of the year. This extravaganza is a unique showcase of Alexandria’s small businesses. You’ll find gifts for everyone among hand-crafted and independent store-bought items. The individual events are popular with residents, so make sure to arrive early for the best selections.
Photo via George Washington's Mount Vernon
November through December
Mount Vernon by Candlelight November 24-25, December 1-2, 8-9, 17
Christmas Illuminations, December 15-16
Mount Vernon holds its own when it comes to holiday pageantry. You can easily spend multiple trips experiencing something new on the property. In addition to Mount Vernon’s iconic candlelight tours and illuminations, your family can meet Aladdin the camel, listen to holiday fife music, take a holiday tour of the mansion, and try your hand at chocolate making. Don’t forget to schedule time to dine at the Mount Vernon Inn, which is the perfect way to wrap up a holiday outing.
Updated Daily in December
This list of addresses in Fairfax County has quickly become a local favorite for filling a dull evening over the holidays. The list includes many households from Alexandria who go all out decorating their homes in a tacky/crazy/bedazzling kind of way. The directory shows pictures of the displays and suggests routes to maximize viewing tacky lights to your heart’s content. Holly runs the show alone, so check the website for the most up-to-date display locations.
The holiday season just isn’t complete unless there’s a little bah humbug added in for good measure. The Little Theatre of Alexandria is just the place to uphold the tradition. The production of Dickens’ Christmas classic draws audiences back year after year, so don’t waste time deciding. Tickets sell out fast.
This holiday event is back better than ever, thanks partly to new neighbor Amazon's sponsorship. Alexandria’s historic waterfront packs in the crowds as they line up to watch boats donned with themed holiday lights make a blazing cruise down the Potomac. After the parade, stay awhile and merrymake dockside at Waterfront Park. Enjoy the beer garden, have some dinner, and enjoy riverside family activities.
11 am to 1 pm
Bring on the Scottie dogs! The spirited canines and their families take over Old Town in full holiday garb. The parade celebrates Alexandria’s founding father, Scotsman John Alexander, and the culture he and Scottish merchants brought with them in the mid-1700s. Fans line the streets to watch dozens of Scottish clans dressed in colorful tartans represent their ancestry. Plus, you’ll hear traditional drum bands from the region. Stake your claim early; curbside seating is a premium location.
Photo via Flickr user Cliff
A Very Merry ALX Jazz Fest
7 pm to 9 pm
If you haven’t visited the George Washington Masonic National Memorial, this is your cue to make the trip. The city’s Office of the Arts presents, for the first time, A Very Merry ALX Jazz Fest. The Office of the Arts Jazz Fest activation team chose professional performers from the Smithsonian, NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert Series, and the Levine School of Music. Arrive early at 5 pm to mingle and meet other art and music enthusiasts. Enjoy three art projects displayed courtesy of a grant from the National Endowment of the Arts.
An Alexandria favorite offers residents and visitors time to enjoy family-friendly and culturally diverse art in many forms throughout the city. The city streets are transformed into performance outlets, and experiences typically include sing-alongs, dancing, local food trucks, and fun giveaways. The evening ends with fireworks at midnight.
These are the largest events in Alexandria for the holiday season, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t more. Don’t forget to check area schools and churches for holiday bazaars, Nutcracker productions, festivals, and much more.
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