Best Places to Take Your Holiday Photos in Washington, D.C.

By: Laura Catherine Hermoza

Many folks like to ring in the holiday season by carrying on an annual photo tradition. Those who call Washington, D.C. home already know that there are numerous surrounding venues perfect for taking such photos. From scenic backdrops to holiday exclusive hotspots, you can count on D.C. to find your desired setting for this year’s holiday photo. Here are just a couple places to consider striking a pose at.

National Christmas Tree
15 and 17 Street N.W.
Washington, DC 20500
(202) 208-1631
www.thenationaltree.org

Starting back in 1923 with President Calvin Coolidge, the National Christmas Tree lighting and display in the President’s Park has become a longstanding annual tradition. So why not keep your own annual tradition alive by using this venue backdrop in your holiday photograph display? In addition to posing in front of the iconic adorned evergreen, the surrounding Pathway of Peace presents a stunning footpath display of smaller state and territory trees decorated with handmade ornaments. The Pathway of Peace is freely open to the public between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. during the month of December. The National Christmas Tree lights turn on around dusk and remain lit through 10 p.m. during the holiday season.

National Gallery
6th and Constitution Avenue N.W.
Washington, DC 20565
(202) 737-4215
www.nga.gov

Light up your holiday photo backdrop with a visit to the National Gallery’s Multiverse. Also known as “the tunnel of lights,” the exhibit covers the entire 200-foot-long concourse area connecting the East and West Buildings in a dazzling display of more than 40,000 computer-programmed LED nodes. Created by artist Leo Villareal as one of his largest and most complex works, Multiverse has been a permanent installation since 2008.The radiant background of lights has made for a popular holiday photo site and attraction ever since.

ZooLights
Smithsonian National Zoological Park
3001 Connecticut Ave. N.W.
Washington, DC 20008
(202) 633-4888
www.nationalzoo.si.edu/events/zoolights

Discover a “wild” winter wonderland with ZooLights at the National Zoo. Visit nightly between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. and be tantalized by a spectacular lightshow display of over 500,000 LED lights set to music. Be sure to pack your camera, because these lights make for a remarkable photo opportunity and backdrop for your annual holiday photos. The many scenes and decorations add plenty of photogenic options to choose from. In addition to the lights, plenty of festive activities will take place onsite, including live musical performances, shopping, winter treats and more.

Related:  Best Places to Take Photos with Santa in Washington, D.C.

Union Station
50 Massachusetts Ave. N.E.
Washington, DC 20002
(800) 872-7245
www.unionstationdc.com

Union Station is renowned for being one of D.C.’s primary transit centers while also serving as a popular social and cultural hub for shopping, dining and entertainment. Having opened back in 1907, the building still stands as a marvel in architecture and design—making it the perfect backdrop for any photograph. All the Classical influences, gold, marble, granite and other elements make for many photogenic possibilities all around the station. While visiting around the holidays you’ll even find giant wreaths hanging out along with other jolly décor to reflect the spirit of the season and spruce up your backdrop.

National Harbor
165 Waterfront St.
National Harbor, MD 20745
(877) 628-5427
www.nationalharbor.com

The seasonal spectacles surrounding the National Harbor make for plenty of great photo opportunities. Holiday cheer illuminates the Potomac waterfront with entertainment, firework displays and myriad decorations to set the mood for the perfect picture. Head to Gaylord National Resort and discover dozens of unique holiday décor displays, including the suspended Starlight Christmas Tree, indoor snowflakes, twinkling lights, water fountains and much more to garnish any photograph. Don’t forget to check out the ever-popular annual ICE! display—a winter wonderland venture carved from 5,000 blocks of ice and featuring a different theme each year.

Related: Best Places To Take Family Photos In Washington, D.C.

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