December Holiday Events in Alexandria 2023

October 31, 2023 | Inside Alexandria | By: The Goodhart Group

December brings the most festive time of year to live in Alexandria! Experience the best of the holiday season with some of our favorite local holiday events. From the annual Scottish Walk and Holiday Boat Parade of Lights, to the Del Ray Holiday Tree and Menorah Lighting, as well as various Holiday Markets, and Christmas Illuminations at Mount Vernon these events make Alexandria the perfect home for the holidays. See below for all of the fun events we are looking forward to throughout Alexandria.

Looking to give back this holiday season? Click here to read our blog about Local Opportunities to Feed the Hungry and Volunteer During the Holidays.

Ice and Lights – The Winter Village at Cameron Run    

Nov. 17-Jan. 1; 5 pm-10 pm                                                                                               

4001 Eisenhower Avenue, Cameron Run

Enjoy ice skating while surrounded by a winter wonderland at Cameron Run Regional Park. Ice and Lights offers a fun, outdoor family experience, perfect for snapping family pictures with a variety of displays. Tickets are available for the Village Only or Village and Ice Skating evenings. Evening Outdoor Ice Skating is available nightly December 1 through January 1. All ice skating tickets are only available online. Daytime ice skating is available December 18-30 (and holidays throughout January and February). Prices range $8-20 per person depending on activity and date. Capacity is limited; reservations are required to ensure access on a specific date. Visit the event website here for more info and to purchase tickets.

Joy on the Avenue                                                                                     

Nov. 18-Jan. 1; Monday-Thursday 5 pm-10 pm, Friday-Saturday 5 pm-12 am

2312 Mount Vernon Avenue, Del Ray

The spirit of the holiday is back “on the Avenue” in Del Ray at this holiday pop-up bar! The halls are decked out at Joy on the Avenue. The bar overflows with holiday greenery, twinkling lights, shiny ornaments, Santas, snowmen, and angels. Follow @delrayspopupbar for more!

Holiday Markets at Old Town North                                                                

Various Dates Nov. 21-Dec. 21; 10 am-2 pm

901 North Royal, Old Town 

Celebrate the Christmas season and shop local for gifts with dozens of vendors offering an array of baked goods, specialty food items, fresh produce, seasonal decorations, and vibrant greenery and gifts. Visit the event website here for more info.

Tour Mount Vernon by Candlelight                                                                               

Nov. 24-25, Dec. 1-2, 8-9, 17; 5:30 pm-8:30 pm

3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway, Mount Vernon 

Take a candlelit guided tour of George Washington’s estate while learning about holiday traditions in 18th-century Virginia. Hear stories of Christmases’ past and the build-up to the American Revolution as you visit the slave quarters, outbuildings, and Washington’s Mansion, then enjoy a reception with live music, cider, and cookies. Visit the event website here for more info and to purchase tickets.

Del Ray Artisans 28th Annual Fine Art & Fine Craft Holiday Market          

Weekends, Dec. 1-23; Various times 

2704 Mount Vernon Avenue, Del Ray 

The Market offers unique handmade fine arts and fine crafts from local artists presenting a variety of media, including fiber/textiles, glass, jewelry, mixed media, mosaics, painting, paper crafting, photography, pottery/ceramics, sculpture, watercolor, wood turning, and more! Different artists are featured each weekend!

The Holiday Market is open for the first three weekends in December (Dec 1-3, Dec 8-10, and Dec 15-17), plus this year we will also be open Dec 22-23 (Friday and Saturday only) for last minute shoppers. Holiday Market hours are Fridays 6 – 9 pm, and Saturdays & Sundays 11am – 6 pm; plus open 3 – 9 pm on Friday, December 22. The market is at Del Ray Artisans gallery in the Nicholas A. Colasanto Center. The gallery is free, open to the public and accessible.

Holiday Tours of Pope-Leighey House                                                                                        

Friday-Saturday, Dec. 1-16; 6 pm-8 pm

9000 Richmond Highway, Woodlawn

Take a special evening tour at the Pope-Leighey House to see the home decorated for a mid-century holiday. Tickets are $15 per person. Space is limited so advance registration is recommended.

Breakfast with Santa                                                                                                

Weekends, Dec. 2-24; 8 am-10 am

Various Locations

This year Ada’s on the River, Mia’s Italian Kitchen, and Theismann’s Restaurant are all offering Breakfast with Santa! Families will enjoy a special holiday breakfast menu, mimosas (for adults), takeaway goodies for the kids, and a family photo with Santa Claus. Book tickets online here separately for Ada’s on the River, Mia’s Italian Kitchen and Theismann’s Restaurant.

52nd Annual Alexandria Scottish Christmas Walk Parade                                                  

Dec. 2, 11 am-1 pm

Saint Asaph Street and Wolfe Street, Old Town – Parade Route

Alexandria was founded in 1749 by Scottish merchants and was named after Scotsman John Alexander who owned the land that became Alexandria. Alexandria celebrates its Scottish heritage with the annual Scottish Walk. Join in on the fun of Alexandria’s biggest holiday weekend! The Alexandria Scottish Christmas Walk Parade features pipers, drummers, dancers, terriers and hounds, and more than 35 Scottish clans dressed in traditional tartans, as well as various community groups. Be on the lookout for The Goodhart Group as we march through Old Town! Visit the event website here for more info.

Holiday Festival at Torpedo Factory Art Center                                                                      

Dec. 2, 2 pm-8 pm

105 North Union Street, Old Town 

The Holiday Festival at Torpedo Factory Art Center adds to Alexandria’s most festive weekend of the year. After the Scottish Walk head over to the Torpedo Factory where you can browse three floors of open artists’ studios as music fills the halls. Watch as Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive by fire boat around 3:30 p.m. on the Waterfront. Visit the event website here for more info.

Alexandria Holiday Boat Parade of Lights                                                                                

Dec. 2, 5:30 pm (Dockside Festivities 2 pm-8 pm)

Old Town Waterfront 

Stick around after the Scottish Walk for the Annual Alexandria Holiday Boat Parade of Lights and watch as the festive boats light up the Potomac River. Dockside festivities from 2 pm until 8 pm in Waterfront Park include a pop-up beer garden from Port City Brewing Company, local food, music from 97.1 WASH-FM and activities from various Alexandria boutiques. At 3:30 pm, Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive by fireboat at the Alexandria City Marina before attending the annual Holiday Festival at Torpedo Factory Art Center, which takes place from 2 pm to 8 pm. Meanwhile on the North Waterfront at Canal Center and Oronoco Bay Park from 2 pm to 8 pm enjoy a family friendly event with artist vendors, music, food and drink, interactive kids activities, plus the opportunity to view boats arriving in Alexandria for parade assembly. Visit the event website here for more info. *If you really want to get in on the action, you can take a 1.5 hour Potomac River cruise with music, unlimited hot apple cider and hot toddies, sweet treats, and epic views of the boat parade. Purchase your tickets here

Holiday Candlelight Tours at Lee-Fendell House                                                                   

Dec. 2-16; 5:30 pm-7:30 pm

614 Oronoco Street, Old Town 

During this special evening candlelight tour of the Lee-Fendall House you’ll learn how many of our modern holiday celebrations got their start during the Victorian era. The antique toy exhibit will also be on view. Tours are offered on the half hour starting at 5:30 pm and ending at 7:30 pm. Space is limited to 15 people at a time and advance reservations are required. Visit the event website here for more info and to purchase tickets.

Make a Ship’s Biscuit Ornament at the Alexandria Archeology Museum

Dec. 2, 2 pm-5 pm

105 North Union Street #327, Old Town  

The Alexandria Archaeology Museum is dedicated to preserving and studying Alexandria’s rich archaeological heritage, such as the nearly complete ship’s biscuit from the 18th century that was found in Alexandria. This is your chance to make your own ship’s biscuit ornament in an ode to Alexandria’s waterfront history. Each biscuit ornament will be stamped with the year and then baked at home to track its preservation. Visit the event website here for more info.

Scottish Walk Open House at Carlyle House                                               

Dec. 2, 12 pm-4 pm

121 North Fairfax Street, Old Town 

Another great Scottish Walk tradition is to head to Carlyle House after the parade for a free open house. Carlyle House is Alexandria’s oldest stone building, and one of the nation’s finest examples of Georgian residential architecture. John Carlyle, a wealthy merchant and a founder of Alexandria, built the elegant stone mansion in 1753. As you enter the museum you’ll step back in time and experience the spirit of the holiday season. Visit the event website here for more info.

The Little Theater of Alexandria Presents Tiny Tim’s Christmas Carol

Dec. 2-16; Various Times

600 Wolfe Street, Old Town 

Broadway’s award-winning Ken Ludwig and his son, Jack offer a new take on Charles Dickens’ classic Christmas Carol. Tiny Tim longs to have his father home on Christmas day, but Ebenezer Scrooge won’t give Bob Cratchit the day off. Buckle up for the wildest Christmas ride you’ve ever had and watch as a ghost or two set Scrooge right! Visit the event website here for more info and to purchase tickets.

Holiday Kissing Ball Workshop at Lee-Fendall House             

Dec. 3 & 10; 12 pm-1:30 pm & 2 pm-3:30 pm

614 Oronoco Street, Old Town 

Craft your own boxwood kissing ball using fresh cuttings from the Lee-Fendall garden as you learn the history behind using greenery to decorate homes for the holidays. Workshops will be held outside, please dress appropriately. Tickets must be purchased in advance. Fee includes all materials needed to make your own boxwood kissing ball. Space is limited to 10 participants per workshop. Visit the event website here for more info and to purchase tickets.

Del Ray Holiday Tree and Menorah Lighting                                                                 

Dec. 3, 6 pm

Mount Vernon Avenue and East Oxford Avenue, Del Ray  

The Del Ray neighborhood comes together to sing holiday carols and watch the annual Christmas tree and Menorah lightings. Enjoy hand-painted holiday windows in storefronts and kick-off your holiday shopping with a stroll down Mount Vernon Avenue, which will be illuminated by thousands of luminaries. Visit the event website here for more info.

Family Holiday Magic Show                                                                                                             

Dec. 6, 7 pm-8 pm

201 South Washington Street, Lyceum Old Town 

Experience the enchantment of the season with The Lyceum’s holiday magic show, performed by members of Ring 50, the D.C.-area chapter of the International Brotherhood of Magicians. This family-friendly show is perfect for children ages 5 to 12, but all are welcome.

Attendees are invited to bring new, unwrapped toys to donate to the Fund for Alexandria’s Child Holiday Sharing Program, which aids children who may otherwise go without holiday gifts this year. Reservations are encouraged. Visit the event website here for more info and to purchase tickets.

Shop Del Ray’s Holiday Sip and Shop                                                                                       

Dec. 7, 6 pm-9 pm

Del Ray 

Join the Shops of Del Ray for extended shopping hours to shop sooner and shop local! Enjoy special holiday promotions while you savor complimentary wine and refreshments. Visit the event website here for more info.

Alexandria Christmas Market & Holiday Craft Show

Dec. 9, 11 am-4 pm 

300 John Carlyle Street, Old Town 

Find the perfect holiday gift for your nearest and dearest at the Alexandria Christmas Market and Holiday Craft Show at John Carlyle Square. More than 110 artisans, crafters, independent consultants and other local small businesses will be showcasing their products from arts and crafts to jewelry and baked goods, to body and hair care, these vendors have everything you need for your holiday shopping! Visit the event website here for more info.

Nutcracker a Gift of Imagination

Dec. 9 + 10, 12 pm + 5 pm

4915 East Campus Drive, The Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall and Arts Center 

Enjoy a magical escape into the fairytale world of Ballet as Metropolitan School of the Arts brings you The Nutcracker. Visit the event website here for more info and to purchase tickets.

Colonial Holiday Nights at Carlyle House

Dec. 9, 4 pm-7 pm

121 North Fairfax Street, Old Town 

Learn how the Carlyles and their enslaved workers observed the holidays during the 18th century while you enjoy live music. Tours offered on the first floor with timed entry on the hour and half hour. Space is limited and reservations are required. All participants including those under the age of 5 must be registered. Visit the event website here for more info and to purchase tickets.

7th Annual Candy Cane Bar Crawl

Dec. 9, 1 pm-6 pm

Del Ray 

Enjoy specials at 15+ Del Ray restaurants during this festive neighborhood bar crawl. This good cause will aid Mount Vernon Community School’s Blessings in a Backpack, which assembles communities, individuals, and resources to provide food on the weekends for school-aged children across America who may otherwise go hungry. The first 250 registrants to purchase tickets will earn a swag bag of goodies, including a collectors bar crawl cup. Tickets include food and drink specials, trolley transportation, 50/50 raffles, a grand prize raffle, trivia contests, swag giveaways, a photo booth, and a costume contest (3 awards for best dressed individual, couple, and group). Crawl T-shirts are available for purchase until supplies run out. Visit the event website here for more info and to purchase tickets.

Christmas in Camp at Fort Ward Museum and Historic Site

Dec. 9, 12 pm-4 pm

4301 West Braddock Road, Fort Ward Park

This historical holiday program features a patriotic Union Santa Claus who will welcome children to the Officers’ Hut. View as re-enactors in winter camps decorated for the season, celebrate by opening Christmas boxes from home, singing carols, and preparing holiday meals around the campfire. Suggested donations of $2 per person or $5 for families are welcomed. Masks are required inside the Officers’ Hut. This program is weather dependent. Visit the event website here for more info.

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A Victorian Christmas at Lee-Fendall House

Dec. 9, 10 am-4 pm

614 Oronoco Street, Old Town 

Experience the magic of the season by visiting the Lee-Fendall House for a family-friendly Victorian Christmas! Enjoy traditional décor, music, seasonal crafts, a toy exhibit, and more! Timed tickets on the hour are available through advance registration from 10:00 am until 3:00 pm. Visit the event website here for more info and to purchase tickets.

Christmas Illuminations at Mount Vernon

Dec. 15-16, 5:30 pm-8:30 pm

3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway, Mount Vernon 

Join Mount Vernon for a special evening of family-friendly fun! After being greeted by George Washington himself, take a stroll through the estate while being serenaded by local choirs, visit Aladdin the camel, and chat with re-enactors from the First Virginia Regiment. Colonial artisans demonstrate the 18th-century process of creating chocolate. Warm up by the bonfire while you enjoy hot chocolate or cider, and enjoy as fireworks illuminate the sky choreographed to holiday music for a fabulous finale. Additional food will be available for purchase. Visit the event website here for more info and to purchase tickets.

Celebrate the Season – With a Twist!

Dec. 16, 7:30 pm + Dec. 17, 3 pm

4915 East Campus Drive, The Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall and Arts Center 

Enjoy this celebration of the season with traditional fare mixed with jazz baritone Joshua Banbury and Alexandria resident and world whistling champion Chris Ullman! Visit the event website here for more info and to purchase tickets.

Gingerbread Decorating (Gadsby’s Tavern Museum)

Dec. 17

138 North Royal Street, Gadsbys Tavern

Learn about local architecture as you decorate a gingerbread facade based on historic buildings around Gadsby’s Tavern Museum. Ticket includes one flat gingerbread piece, decoration supplies, and admission to the museum. Inspiring samples highlight architectural details you can recreate in candy and search for in the neighborhoods on your way home. Event ideal for families or adult groups; up to four people welcome per ticket. Hot cider available for purchase during event. $25 per decorating set for up to four people.

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For more on holiday events in Alexandria in November, click here.

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