Guide To Washington DC For The Holidays

December 21, 2013 7:00 AM

Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. (Credit: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

When Washington, DC is your holiday destination, you’re in for a great time in the nation’s capital. There’s plenty to know though before you go. From travel to the latest and greatest things to do, this guide will get you started on the best holiday in the nation.

Getting Here By Air
Baltimore-Washington International Airport
7062 Elm Road
Baltimore, MD 21240
(410) 859-7111

BWI is located neither near Baltimore or Washington. Considered an easy, in-and-out airport, BWI is the choice for a quick, comfortable airport that is never really too busy, but also not very conveniently located to DC. It’ll take at least an hour to get into DC from this airport, but the rates tend to be a bit cheaper than the closer airports.

Dulles International Airport
1 Saarinen Circle
Sterling, VA 20166
(703) 572-2700

Dulles is the closest international airport to Washington, DC. Located in Virginia, the Dulles Airport Access Road will get you to the city quickly. The fastest way into the city is to take a cab or beg your Washingtonian friend to pick you up. Dulles is a large airport that can have very long lines at the TSA checkpoint, so be sure to leave enough time to get through.

Reagan National Airport
2401 S. Smith Blvd.
Arlington, VA 22202
(703) 417-8000

By far the closest airport to the city, Reagan is a thrill to land in with a bird’s eye view of the city on the way in. Serviced by a metro line and plenty of taxis, you’ll be in the city quickly once you hit the gates. It’s a heavily trafficked, popular airport that is small, which means that you can get there and get to your gate in moments. However, this can also cause a backlog when one airline is running late, so expect there to be delays when you’re flying in.

Where to Stay
1401 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W.
Washington, DC 20004
(202) 628-9100

When you want the finest for your holiday stay, the historic Willard is the place to go. With decadent holiday adornments, the Willard is a favorite for Washingtonians and visitors alike. Enjoy its high tea with friends and family. Adjacent to the White House, you’ll be able to see the National Christmas Tree from your doorstep.

What to Do
National Tree Lighting
E St NW & 15th St. NW
Washington, DC 20500
(202) 354-6460

The always popular National Tree Lighting Ceremony is a ticket lottery that draws from across the world. If you don’t get tickets to watch the Obamas light up the National Tree, you can still take part in the fun by visiting the National Tree at night. While the massive lighted tree in the center is the focal point of the installation, it’s the state and territory trees that are the most fascinating and full of artfully crafted ornaments.

Woolly Mammoth Theatre
641 D St. N.W.
Washington, DC 20004
(202) 393-3939

Running December 10 through January 5, Woolly Mammoth Theatre will be featuring the improvisational and always hilarious The Pajama Men’s show “Just The Two Of Each Of Us.” After an acclaimed run last year, The Pajama Men always make a memorable performance of comedic, physical comedy that entertains with multiple stories that converge in the end. Laughter makes the holidays better and shows sell out, so order tickets in advance.

Related: Best Places To Eat Before The Show In Washington DC

What to Eat
1226 36th St. N.W.
Washington, DC 2007
(202) 965-1789

Situated in historic Georgetown, 1789 is one of DC’s finest restaurants in a location that harkens back to the days when Georgetown was born. Purchasing from local purveyors, 1789 prides itself on the finest ingredients in its seasonal, fresh, modern-American menu. Reservations are important and the attentive staff will do its best to make your holiday dinner the best you’ve ever experienced.

Bourbon Steak
2800 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W.
Washington, DC 20007
(202) 944-2026

For a real treat around the holidays, Bourbon Steak will elevate your steakhouse experience to a new level. From seafood to wagyu and all dry-aged meats in between, there’s something for everyone at Bourbon Steak. More than just beef, you’ll find Duroc pork, duck and bison on the menu. With a beautiful ambience from the décor to the plates, Bourbon Steak is a holiday meal to remember.

Related: Best Tableside Restaurant Preparations In Washington DC

Jamie Hardin is the counter-culture Washingtonian in the know. Inspired by food, sustainability issues, and public health, she prides herself on finding DC’s off-the-beaten path treasures. When she isn’t enjoying organic food or reducing her carbon footprint, Jamie’s traveling on her scooter or walking her two pit bulls. Her work can be found at

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