Guide to DC’s Best Tree Lighting Ceremonies

A decorated holiday tree. Image credit: Burst from Shopify

Almost nothing inspires wonder and celebrates the spirit of the season like holiday lights — especially those that decorate the region’s best and biggest holiday trees. Crowds gather with excitement to see trees all across the area decorated and lit. It’s one of the season’s most special occasions!

In addition to lighting the night, many of these ceremonies also include family-friendly activities and events. So how can you participate? Here are some of DC region’s best tree-lighting ceremonies to attend this year: 

A decorated holiday tree. Image credit: Burst from Shopify

The Capital Christmas Tree — this year a 78-foot-tall red spruce (Picea rubens) selected in the Pisgah National Forest in North Carolina and nicknamed “Ruby” — will be lit by the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, on Tuesday, November 29, 2022, during a ceremony on the West Front Lawn beginning at 5 pm. The tree will be lit from nightfall until 11 p.m. each evening through January 1, 2023.

Kick off the holiday season with the CityCenterDC Annual Holiday Tree Lighting Celebration on Saturday, November 26 at 6 p.m. in The Park at CityCenter. Visitors will be met by CityCenter’s 75-foot tree, one of the largest in the city, decorated with more than 150,000 lights and 4,500 ornaments. NBC4’s Eun Yang will host festivities, including a special performance by Elan Artists’ seven-piece dance band, The Revels. There will also be face painting and balloon art, sweet and savory treats from CityCenterDC favorites, and other wonderful surprises.

A decorated holiday tree. Image credit: Burst from Shopify

City Ridge, a vibrant neighborhood in DC, invites one and all to its Great Lawn for a Tree Lighting Festival on Saturday, December 3 from 4-8 pm. Not only will NBC4’s Shawn Yancy be on hand to light the tree, but guests will enjoy free seasonal fun including pictures with Santa, caroling and other live performances, ice carving demonstrations, train rides, festive food and drink, and more.

Historic downtown Leesburg will hold a tree lighting ceremony for its giant Christmas tree in Town Square (and historic streetlamps adorned with red ribbons and greenery!) on Friday, December 2 at 6 pm.

In nearby Ashburn, one day later, on December 3rd at 5 pmOne Loudoun will be holding what it calls a “modern twist on the traditional celebration,” with Santa taking photos under the tree, train rides, ice carving demonstrations, and live music.

Image from Bluemont Vineyards’ Lighting of the Vines.
And a particular favorite: Bluemont Vineyards’ popular The Lighting of the Vines starts Nov. 25 (Thursday through Sundays), carpeting the slopes of Blue Ridge in a glorious golden glow. 15,000 holiday lights are strung through 10,000 grape vines at Bluemont Vineyard, lit each Friday-Sunday at 5 p.m. ProTip: While they can be seen from miles away, the best place to enjoy them is at the winery tasting room, the Stables event venue, or the property’s Harvest Room & Kitchen restaurant up the hill.
Happy Holidays! Want more around-town holiday info? Check out our other lists of DC holiday happenings, like the area’s best holiday markets and other unique holiday events to get everyone in the holiday spirit!