The 2015 Guide to Holiday Events in Reston, Northern Virginia, and DC

NOTE: This events calendar is from 2015. The guide to 2016 holiday events can be found HERE.

Ready or not, here come the holidays! Here are some of the greatest celebrations of Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa in Reston and the surrounding areas of Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C.

Santa at Jingle on Lake Anne in Reston, Virginia

Santa will greet families at the Lake Anne waterfront on December 5, 2015.


Tysons Corner Center’s 2015 Tree Lighting Ceremony
6pm-8pm: Tysons Corner Center Plaza, Tysons
Tysons Corner Center will host their 2nd annual Tree Lighting, hosted by HGTV’s Alison Victoria, with a concert by American Idol’s Elliot Yamin. Santa and his reindeer will arrive after the concert.


Herndon Turkey Trot
4pm: Herndon Centennial Golf Course, Herndon
This 5K race winds around the beautiful Herndon Centennial Golf Course and on the W&OD Trail. Refreshments, entertainment and door prizes will be available after the race to all runners.


Turkey Day 5K
8am: South Lakes High School, Reston
Earn your Thanksgiving calories with this local Turkey Trot race. Choose 5K or 1 mile, and get the kids involved with the free Tot Trot. Race proceeds will go benefit Reston’s Embry Rucker Community Homeless Shelter and the South Lakes High School track and field team.

Annual Reston Thanksgiving Day Family Bike Ride
8:30am: begins at South Lakes Village Center, Reston
Free, all ages welcome. Meet at the South Lakes Village Center at 8:30 a.m. to ride to Reston Town Center or organize your own neighborhood ride. All rides converge at Starbucks at Reston Town Center at 9 a.m.

Reston Holiday Parade

The Reston Holiday Parade will fill the streets of Reston Town Center on November 27, 2015.


The day after Thanksgiving is one of Reston’s most fun days of the year! Bring the whole family to Reston Town Center for a full day of holiday events, called collectively “The Holidays are Here!” Events include:

Gingerbread Man Mile and Tot Trot
8am: Reston Town Center
Run, run, as fast as you can! Kids can race the gingerbread man around the Town Center. Age divisions are available for toddlers through teens. Register online by Nov. 24.

Reston Holiday Parade
11am: Reston Town Center
This fantastic community event includes music, dancing, giant balloons, and a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus. It’s a must-see! [View our previous article]

Mini Train Rides
12:30-4:30pm: Reston Town Center
Enjoy a ride with the little ones through Reston Town Center in a train. Pick up is in front of Talbots on Market Street. Requested donation benefits Cornerstones charity.

Christmas Tree Lighting and Sing-Along
6pm: Reston Town Center
The evening celebration begins with a performance by the Reston Chorale and a brass quintet, followed by a holiday singalong and the dramatic arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus to light the Christmas tree.

Horse-Drawn Carriage Rides
6:30-10:00pm: Reston Town Center
Enjoy a ride  through the lit streets of Reston Town Center in a horse-drawn carriage. $5 donation per person benefits a local charity (children 5 and under ride free).

Reston Town Center tree lighting

Reston Town Center’s annual Tree Lighting celebration takes place on November 27, 2015.


Small Business Saturday
All day, stores throughout the area
Support small businesses by shopping for holiday gifts at the large variety of local businesses throughout Reston and the DC area.


Annual Church Street Holiday Stroll
6pm-9pm, Church Street between Lawyers Road and Mill Street, Vienna
Church Street will be closed to traffic, and visitors are invited to stroll along the street amid the sights and sounds of the holiday season. Santa Claus greets children at the Freeman House.


Black Nativity by Langston Hughes
8pm: CenterStage at the Reston Community Center at Hunters Woods, Reston
This retelling of the Christmas story from an Afro-centric perspective is infused with rich gospel, blues, funk, jazz, and dance with griot-style storytelling from an ensemble cast. $35, tickets available online.

Reston Christkindlmarkt German Christmas market

The German military hosts a popular Christkindlmarket each December, and donates all proceeds to charity.


German Christkindlmarket
4pm-8pm, German Armed Forces, 11150 Sunrise Valley Drive, Reston
Experience a German Christmas market with beer, mulled wine, bratwurst, and desserts. Shop for German crafts and Christmas decorations. Proceeds benefit Cornerstones. [View our previous article]

5-9pm: National Zoo, Washington D.C.
BrewLights will take place during ZooLights, as a ticketed microbrew and craft beer event. Guests will enjoy beer tastings from a dozen breweries, as well as sample savory foods from top DC restaurants, all under the bright lights of DC’s favorite holiday tradition. All proceeds support the critical work of the National Zoo and the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute – including species preservation and animal care. $55, reserve online.

The Hip Hop Nutcracker
7:30pm: The Strathmore Music Center, Bethesda
The Hip Hop Nutcracker re-imagines Tchaikovsky’s classic score through explosive hip-hop choreography. A dozen all-star dancers, an on-stage DJ, and an electric violinist bring the traditional Nutcracker story to life in contemporary New York City.


Holiday Shop Artist’s Reception
5:30-7:30pm: Reston Museum, Lake Anne Plaza, Reston
Meet the Reston artists whose work is in the museum’s holiday shop. Browse the handmade scarves, hats, glassware, ornaments, jewelry, pottery, and cards. Also available for sale will be a brand new beautifully illustrated book on Reston, martini glasses etched with Bob Simon’s signature, Reston sweatshirts, tee shirts, hats and more. Wine, soft drinks, cheese, and snacks will be served. FREE.

Santa arrives by boat at Jingle on Lake Anne in Reston, Virginia

Santa arrives by boat to cheering crowds at Lake Anne on December 5, 2015.


Jingle on Lake Anne
11am-2pm, Lake Anne Plaza, Reston
Santa arrives by boat to crowds of excited children at this beloved annual event. Kids can visit with Santa, explore a petting zoo, and enjoy Christmas caroling and crafts. [View our previous article]

Gifts from the HeART
11am-4pm, Reston Community Center at Lake Anne Plaza
Sales of original artwork, including watercolor, oil, acrylic, clay, mixed media, photography, and fiber, will benefit Cornerstones.

Alternative Gift Market and Craft Fair
10am-2pm, The Unitarian Universalist Church, 1625 Wiehle Ave, Reston
Support several local charities and people in need by contributing your holiday shopping time and money to this alternative gift market.

Herndon Holiday Homes Tour
10am-4pm, Tickets at the Visitor’s Center at 717 Lynn Street, Herndon
Tour Herndon homes that are beautifully decorated for the holidays.

Winter Wreaths
10:30am or 1:00pm: Walker Nature Center, Reston
Get started on your holiday decorating by making festive wreaths for your home. Listen to seasonal music and enjoy mulled cider and cookies. All supplies provided. $20/$25 per wreath. Reserve in advance.

Scottish Christmas Walk
11am: Old Town Alexandria
Enjoy marching units filled with the magnificent tartans of Scottish Clans, the stirring sound of Scottish bagpipes and drums, Scottish dancers, reenactment groups, Scottie dogs, dignitaries, classic cars, and Santa Claus. FREE.

Pet Photos with Santa
2pm-4pm, PetMAC adoption center, Lake Anne Plaza, Reston
Bring your dog to the newly opened PetMAC, and give him a chance to ask Santa for Greenies and tennis balls.

Wolf Trap Holiday Sing-Along
4pm, The Filene Center at Wolf Trap, Vienna
This free annual musical celebration hosts a performance by the United States Marine Band and a sing-along of Christmas carols and Hanukkah songs with choir and vocal groups from the metropolitan Washington area.

“The Wonder of the Season” by the Reston Chorale
4:30pm and 7pm, Reston Community Center at Hunters Woods
Celebrate the holidays with beloved carols and customs from around the globe, plus Daniel Pinkham’s Christmas Cantata for brass and organ.

Herndon Christmas Tree Lighting and Sing-Along
5pm, Herndon Town Hall Square
Carols, tree lighting, and a visit from Santa.

Alexandria Holiday Boat Parade of Lights
5:30pm: Old Town Alexandria
Alexandria’s harbor lights up as dozens of illuminated boats cruise the Potomac River at the historic waterfront, led by Alexandria’s fireboat The Vigilant, and Washington DC’s fireboat John Glenn.


Run With Santa 5K
8:30am: Reston Town Center
Wear your most festive holiday costume as you run, and bring your kids for the free kids fun run. Register online.

Herndon Holiday Arts and Crafts Show
10am-4pm: Herndon Community Center, Herndon
More than 100 vendors will offer unique gifts, holiday decorations, and handmade items.

Christmas at the Farm
11:30am, 1:30pm, or 3:30pm: Frying Pan Farm Park, Herndon
Enjoy a special holiday visit and take a wagon ride with Santa through the woods and fields.Activities include a holiday craft, cookie decorating and puppet show. Register in advance.

Holiday Open House at Walker Nature Center
1pm-3pm, 11450 Glade Dr, Reston
Tour Reston’s nature center while enjoying holiday refreshments, crafts, live music, and a family sing-along. Meet artist Dana Scheurer and photographer/author Don Chernoff.

McLean Winterfest Parade
3:30-5:30pm: Downtown McLean along Chain Bridge Road
This annual celebration features musical performances, community groups, and the arrival of Santa on an antique fire truck. FREE.

National Menorah Lighting
4pm: National Eclipse, Washington D.C.
The giant National Menorah will be lit, along with musical performances, latkes, donuts, and dreidels. Tickets are FREE, but must be reserved in advance.

Great Falls Celebration of Lights
4:30-6:30pm: Great Falls Village Centre Green, Great Falls
Celebrate with a bonfire, petting zoo, pony rides, and live nativity scene. Santa and Mrs. Claus will arrive at 5pm on an antique fire truck to light the Christmas tree. FREE.

Reston Chanukah celebration at Lake Anne

Celebrate Chanukah with a menorah lighting, latkes, and dreidels at Lake Anne on December 8, 2015.


Chanukah at Lake Anne
5:30pm: Lake Anne Plaza, Reston
A community Menorah will be lit at the waterfront, and then there will be a party in the community center with latkes, donuts, chocolate gelt, dreidels, and musical performances. FREE.


Holiday Centerpiece Craft
1:30pm: Walker Nature Center, Reston
Create a beautiful seasonal decoration, with many options for you to choose from, and an instructor to guide you along the way. $22/$32. Reserve in advance.

Reston Sings! G.F. Handel’s MESSIAH
7:30pm: Chapel of St. John Neumann Catholic Church, 11900 Lawyers Rd, Reston
Join Artistic Director David B. Lang, Associate Director Allan Laino and a talented quartet of guest soloists in singing the glorious Christmas portion of Handel’s masterpiece.


“Home for the Holidays” Photography Exhibit Reception
7pm-9pm: ArtSpace Herndon, 750 Center Street, Herndon
Meet photographer Jim Kirby, whose work has been featured in 20 years of “At Home in Herndon” town calendars. The exhibit will be on display Dec 8-Jan 17. FREE.


Ugly Sweater Run
9am: National Harbor
Rummage up the Ugliest Sweater you can find and celebrate the Holidays by participating in the Merriest 5K of the year. Register online.

Herndon Holiday Train Show
10am-5pm: ArtSpace Herndon, 750-A Center Street, Herndon
Model Train enthusiasts of all ages will enjoy this holiday-themed train show. The W&OD caboose and Herndon Depot Museum will also be open for tours. FREE.

A Storybook Holiday
11am-2pm: Herndon Community Center, Herndon
Bring your child to enjoy holiday fun. Cost includes kiddie open gym, craft projects, a visit with Santa and a reading of a holiday story by a special guest. $9 per child.

Ride the Holiday Train
12pm-6pm, Lake Fairfax Park, Reston
Train rides, crafts, campfires, and holiday decorations add to the fun when kids meet and greet Santa at Lake Fairfax Park. $10 each, register online.

Family Joy
12-1pm: National Cathedral, Washington, DC
This musical celebration includes performances by the Children’s Chorus of Washington and the American Youth Philharmonic Brass Ensemble, as well as a kids-only singalong. Tickets are $25 for adults, $15 for kids, or $75 for a family 4-pack.

Kwanzaa Celebration
2pm or 8pm: Dance Place, Washington, DC
Welcome the holiday season with Dance Place’s annual Kwanzaa Celebration. Gather family and friends to join Coyaba Academy, Coyaba Dance Theater and special guests celebrate the seven principles of Kwanzaa.

Santa at Colvin Run Mill
3pm-6pm, 10017 Colvin Run Road, Great Falls
Visit Santa in the mill and see the Christmas tree trimmed with Victorian decorations. Join the costumed 49th Virginia Volunteer Infantry caroling around a bonfire while roasting marshmallows. $5 per person.

Christmas Concert at Washington Plaza Baptist Church
4pm-5:30pm, Lake Anne Plaza, Reston
The church at Lake Anne Plaza will offer a choir concert and reception.


Herndon Holiday Train Show
11am-4pm: ArtSpace Herndon, 750-A Center Street, Herndon
Model Train enthusiasts of all ages will enjoy this holiday-themed train show. The W&OD caboose and Herndon Depot Museum will also be open for tours. FREE.

Christmas at the Farm
11:30am, 1:30pm, or 3:30pm: Frying Pan Farm Park, Herndon
Enjoy a special holiday visit and take a wagon ride with Santa through the woods and fields.Activities include a holiday craft, cookie decorating and puppet show. Register in advance.

A Family Christmas Concert
2-3pm: Kennedy Center, Washington, DC
A holiday treat for even the littlest fan, this one-hour, highly participatory concert delights with songs of Santa, Frosty the Snowman, and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Recommended for children ages 5 and older.

Kwanzaa Celebration
4pm: Dance Place, Washington, DC
Welcome the holiday season with Dance Place’s annual Kwanzaa Celebration. Gather family and friends to join Coyaba Academy, Coyaba Dance Theater and special guests celebrate the seven principles of Kwanzaa.

Chanukah on Ice
5-7pm: Reston Town Center Ice Skating Pavilion, Reston
This Chanukah celebration includes ice skating, hot latkes and donuts, dreidels and chocolate gelt, and a grand Menorah lighting. Admission is FREE, skate rental is $12.


Toys for Tots Collection Event
11am-2pm: Reston Town Center Pavilion
US Marines will be on site accepting unwrapped toys and cash donations, and helping children’s dreams come true.


Santa’s Workshop
11am-1pm: Herndon Community Center, 814 Ferndale Ave., Herndon
Holiday fun for children ages 3 and up, to include a visit with Santa, holiday tattoos, games and lunch. $7 per child, $3 per adult

Tour de Lights
4:40pm-6:00pm: Lake Anne Plaza, Reston
An evening bike ride to view some of Reston’s best holiday lights, approximately 10 miles. Riders are required to have a front light and red, rear light. Helmet strongly recommended and required if under 15 years old. FREE, but reserve in advance.


Christmas Concert to Benefit Cornerstones
5pm: Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 1133 Reston Avenue, Herndon
Musical works of the season by Rutter, Wilberg, Handel, Mozart, Faure, Susa, Willcocks, Hobby, Rudolph, and more. A reception will follow the concert. FREE, but a donation is requested to benefit Cornerstones.


Winter Wonderland Puppet Show
10am or 11:30am: Frying Pan Farm Park, Herndon
Bring your holiday guests and join master puppeteer Bob Brown in a holiday production of Winter Wonderland. Join the lively marionettes as they frolic in a magical winter wonderland of snow. After the show, stroll the Park and visit our animals or shop at the Country Store. Register in advance.


Water Skiing Santa
1pm, Old Town Alexandria waterfront between King Street and Oronoco Street
Spend Christmas Eve at Alexandria’s waterfront for a spectacular show by the Waterskiing Santa and his wakeboarding reindeer, plus flying elves, the Grinch and his friends, Frosty the Snowman, and Jack Frost.


Kalypso’s Ridiculous Christmas Party
9pm: Kalypso’s Sports Tavern, Lake Anne Plaza, Reston
Dress like a holiday weirdo and get your dance on with DJ John Coulter, a Modern Reston favorite.



For a full list of New Year’s Eve events, refer to this guide:
New Year’s Eve 2015-2016 Events in the Reston Area of Northern Virginia

Reston Hyatt gingerbread village

The lobby of the Reston Town Center Hyatt will host a tremendous gingerbread village throughout December.


Hyatt Gingerbread Village
Daily, December 5 through Christmas: Hyatt lobby at Reston Town Center
A joint effort between the hotel’s engineering and kitchen staffs, this village is created of giant gingerbread sheets, candy, and whipped cream. [View our previous article]

Reston Town Center Holiday Performances
Saturdays and Sundays, Dec 6 – Dec 21: Reston Town Center
Between Market Street and Democracy Drive (across from Starbucks) Come and enjoy holiday songs outside at the Reston Town Center South Market Promenade, by a variety of community performers.

Reston Town Center Horse-Drawn Carriage Rides
Saturdays in December, 4-9pm: Reston Town Center
Departs on Market Street in front of Talbots. Children under 5 ride free. All proceeds benefit local charities.

Reston Town Center Mini Train Rides
Sundays in December, 12-4pm: Reston Town Center
Children’s train departs in front of Talbots on Market Street. Donated proceeds benefit local charities.

Reston Town Center Ice Skating Pavilion
Daily throughout winter: Reston Town Center
The beautifully decorated Christmas season is the perfect time to take a spin around this outdoor ice rink. [View our previous article]

Tysons mall Christmas market

The outdoor Tysons Corner Plaza will host a Christmas market and ice rink throughout December.


Tysons Corner Center Christmas Market and Winterfest
Daily throughout December: Tysons Corner Center Outdoor Plaza, Tysons
This festival at the Tysons Plaza will include art and craft vendors, a Christmas tree, entertainment, and beer garden. [View our previous article]

Meadowlark’s Winter Walk of Lights
Nightly, Nov 13-Jan 3: 9750 Meadowlark Gardens Court, Vienna
Over 500,000 LED lights transform of Meadowlark’s gardens into a winter wonderland. Marvel at the two story animated fountain, stroll past the Gingerbread Village, and explore the beauty of nature like you’ve never seen it. [View our previous article]

Bull Run Festival of Lights
Nov 18 – Jan 3: Bull Run Park, Centreville
Stay warm in your car as you drive through 2.5 miles of beautiful light shows. The driving tour ends at a winter carnival, with rides, bonfires, crafts, and animals.

National Christmas Tree
Daily throughout December: National Ellipse, Washington, DC
This Christmas tree, Menorah, and festival opposite the White House is a beloved annual tradition. The National Christmas tree is surrounded by the Christmas Pathway of Peace, a ring of decorated trees that represent each U.S. state and territory.

ICE! featuring Santa Claus is Coming to Town
Daily throughout December: Gaylord Resort, National Harbor, MD
In this spectacular annual ice show, Santa is brought to life in more than two million pounds of colorful ice. Walk through this classic Christmas story, slide down ice slides, and watch the artisans as they create these frozen marvels.

ZooLights at the National Zoo
Nov 27, 2014 – Jan 2, 2015 (Except Dec 24, 25, 31): National Zoo, Washington, DC
More than 500,000 LED lights that transform the National Zoo into a winter wonderland, including a dazzling light show set to music. FREE.

Season’s Greenings
Nov 26 – Jan 3: United States Botanic Garden, Washington, DC
Despite the cold winter outside, the Conservatory boasts a tropical paradise, one of the largest indoor decorated trees in Washington, D.C., and a showcase of poinsettias. It wouldn’t be the winter holiday season without the train display in the East Gallery, where trains chug along tracks around and above you through imaginative structures created with plant materials. FREE. [View our previous article]

Botanic Gardens Seasons Greenings

See local landmarks and holiday scenes constructed out of plant-based materials at the U.S. Botanic Garden’s Season’s Greenings.


The Nutcracker
Dec 3-27, 2014: Warner Theater, Washington DC
Set in 1882 Georgetown, this gorgeous production showcases the grandeur of The Washington Ballet’s international roster of dancers and majesty of Tchaikovsky’s music. Replete with swirling snowflakes, cherry blossoms and historical characters, including George Washington as the heroic nutcracker, TWB’s The Nutcracker has become a tradition for generations of family and friends to celebrate the holidays.

The Nutcracker
December 9-13: Reston Community Center at Hunters Woods
Reston’s Conservatory Ballet makes holiday magic come to life with its 43rd annual production of The Nutcracker. Young dancers from the Reston area will perform this Christmas classic.

A Christmas Carol
Nov 19 – Dec 31: Ford’s Theater, Washington DC
Join the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future as they lead the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge on a journey of transformation and redemption. Originally conceived by Michael Baron, this music-infused production captures the magic and joy of Dickens’s Yuletide classic.

Step Afrika!’s Magical Musical Holiday Step Show
Dec 10-22: Atlas Performing Arts Center, Washington DC
DC’s internationally-known percussive dance company invites you to celebrate the holidays with clapping, stomping and all around fun for all ages featuring their furry friends from the Animal Kingdom, and a special dance party with DJ Frosty the Snowman!

A Year with Frog and Toad
Nov 24 – Jan 10: Imagination Stage, Bethesda
The hit Broadway and Tony Award-nominated musical inspired by the acclaimed children’s books, Frog and Toad, is a holiday classic. Two best friends with completely opposite personalities wake up from hibernation, and enjoy hilarious and heartwarming adventures through the seasons.

What are your favorite holiday events in the Reston area? Did we miss any great ones? Let us know in the comments!

Related stories:

Reston Holiday Parade 2014: Photo Gallery

Jingle on Lake Anne 2014: Photo Gallery

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christkindlmarkt

Two DC Area Botanic Gardens, Two Very Different Holiday Displays

Ten Fun Facts About Ice Skating at Reston Town Center

The Inside Scoop on the Hyatt Gingerbread Village

Tysons Corner Center’s Christmas Market and Winterfest 2014

A Hanukkah Latke Vodka Party: Get Lit While Lighting the Candles!

Cox Farms at Christmastime: Winter Wonderland and Corner Market

Gift Guide: Holiday Gifts that Celebrate Reston

Shopping Reston’s Small Businesses for Handmade Holiday Decorations

Photo credit: Charlotte Geary

  • Karen Harrison

    Share in the magic of Narnia this weekend, 12/3 – 12/6. Herndon HS Theatre presents “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe” on Thursday, Friday, Saturday at 7:30 pm and Sunday at 2 pm. This family-friendly show has excitement for all ages. Tickets are $12 with a pay what you can performance on Thursday night.