The Best Holiday Events in Alexandria, Virginia
It's an amazing time of year to live in Alexandria! The city is full of fun and vibrance every season, but during the holiday months of November and December, there is so much to do and see to step up the holiday spirit. You’ll find Old Town to be the hub of holiday excitement, but there are definitely other areas throughout the entire city that get in on the festiveness. Grab your coat and gloves, hope for a flurry or two, and head out with coffee in hand!
Market Square 301 King Street
Recurring Saturdays, 7am to 12pm
Year after year, locals and tourists alike rave about the bounty that farmers markets bring all over Alexandria. The location in Old Town has been in operation since 1753 and continues to hold onto the public gathering tradition even into the winter months. Holiday themed gifts and food will be at their best.
Locations in Old Town
November and December
It's a rite of passage to do a least one walking tour through Old Town (especially during the holidays) while living in Alexandria. If you prefer to tour with a warm coat and have a hot cider in hand, check a candlelight tour during the colder months.
One of Fort Belvoir’s favorite traditions starts at 9 am at the Sports and Fitness Facilities. Winners take home turkeys!
What an amazing way to sit down and actually enjoy a Thanksgiving meal! No hot kitchen or overdone turkey this year. This sit-down event is perfect for families who have just arrived in Alexandria and have to unpack. If there are leaves left or the snow has started, the view out of the dining hall’s windows will be extra amazing!
Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling has a Turkey Day Buffet, too.
Photo by Heather Whitfield
Old Town is bursting with small shops and boutiques that sell items to fit each person on your shopping list. Check out the Christmas Attic, Alexandria’s own boutique Christmas store, open year round. Keep an eye out for ornaments or other items that would be perfect for Hail and Farewell Gifts.
Alexandria’s Tree Lighting Ceremony
Market Square 301 King Street
November 23, 6 pm
An old fashioned town crier kicks off the event that includes performances from the Metropolitan Fine Arts Center and a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus.
24th Annual Del Ray Artisans Fine Art & Fine Craft Holiday Market
First 3 Weekends in December: Fridays 6 - 9 pm, Saturdays and Sundays 11 am - 6 pm
Del Ray Artisans Gallery
2704 Mt. Vernon Ave.
The Del Ray Artisans Holiday Market hosts different artists each weekend, so be sure to check the schedule and choose what is near and dear to your heart. Fine arts and crafts will be on hand for purchase from local vendors. You’ll see pottery, ceramics, photography, jewelry, fiber, paper crafts, and glassworks. A unique facet to this market is the donation of a portion of each vendor’s sales to support Del Ray Artisans’ mission to promote art for the benefit of artists and the community.
Fort Belvoir’s Brunch with Santa
December 1 and 15
The Officer’s Club offers two days to meet with Santa and share Christmas wishes. Photo opportunities are available. Don’t forget your camera, and don’t delay; this event sells out quickly!
Parade December 7 at 11 am, route through Old Town
The much beloved Scottish Walk Weekend kicks off a month of fun and sometimes free activities in the city. Alexandria was founded by Scottish merchants; one is the port’s namesake, John Alexander. Scottish traditions have held strong for hundreds of years in the city.
The weekend includes a widely revered parade filled with clans dressed in tartans with bagpipes and drums. Did I mention Scottie dogs by the pack?
- Taste of Scotland Scotch Tasting, December 6, 6:30 pm - 10:00 pm
- Holiday Designer Tour of Homes, December 7,12:30 pm - 4 pm
2019 Alexandria Holiday Boat Parade of Lights
Parade 5:30 pm, Dockside Festivities 2 - 8 pm
Stay in Old Town after the Scottish Christmas Walk, grab some dinner, and linger over the sight of the parade of boats as they cruise down the Potomac. This holiday tradition celebrates its 20th Anniversary and remains a favorite of those who call Alexandria home. Waterfront Park hosts a pop-up beer garden furnished by Port City Brewing, while local radio station 97.1 WASH FM adds holiday music to the festive ambiance. Other vendors on site include Penny Post, AR Workshop, Old Town Books, and Pizzeria Paradiso. Santa and Mrs. Claus will also make an appearance at the City Marina.
Alexandria Holiday Sing-Along
December 13 7:30 pm
Del Ray United Methodist Church
Any event that encourages Santa hats and ugly sweaters as must wear attire is bound to be fun! Join the Alexandria Citizens Band in singing along to Christmas favorites. Last year, The Washington Post proclaimed, "Oh what fun it is to sing together." Brand new song books and candy canes are available for all!
Yuletide by Candlelight
December 14 Ongoing tours 5-9 pm
“Make and Take” activities or festive events are featured at each destination: Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, Carlyle House, Lee-Fendall House, and the Apothecary Museum. A free shuttle takes guests between each site.
Christmas Illuminations at Mount Vernon
George Washington's Mount Vernon
December 20 and 21, 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm
Mount Vernon is on everyone’s must-see list, so maximize the trip to the plantation near Christmas for the chance to see fireworks choreographed to holiday music over the Potomac River. The fireworks are the star on top of the tree, because the entire afternoon and evening can be filled with tours of the mansion, period actors that include George and Martha, and, of course, bonfires and hot chocolate.
During the day, Aladdin the Christmas Camel greets guests with a toothy smile!
First Night Alexandria 25th Anniversary
Old Town, Del Ray, and various locations
Alexandria comes alive with a wide range of performing arts suited for families taking over venues such as retail space, churches, and museums to showcase local and regional performers. A Kids Karnival captures children’s attention with clowns, face painters, and magicians at 6 pm and the Got Talent event starts at 7:30 pm. MGM National Harbor sponsors fireworks and Rockin’ On The River party at 10 pm.
If you’ve tackled Alexandria’s holiday list of events and want to head into the big city, here are a few other options unique to Washington, D.C.
The National Christmas Tree
The White House, ongoing viewing
The Downtown Holiday Market
Friday, November 23 continuously through Sunday, December 23, noon to 8 pm each day.
2019 CityCenter DC Holiday Tree Lighting
Saturday, November 30, 6 pm to 7 pm
The holiday season moves at lightning speed! Plan your activities throughout Alexandria and put one or two of the classic events from Washington, D.C. on the list. You won’t want to miss out!
Want to stay updated on all there is to do in the Alexandria area? Bookmark our Alexandria, Virginia events page which is updated every month!