Light Festival Washington DC


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Nothing is more relaxing and fulfilling than spending the Christmas season with your family. Aside from spending some quality time at home during the weekend, level up your experience with the best attractions in Washington DC during the long holiday season.

The Downtown Holiday Market, Smithsonian’s National Zoo, the US Capitol Christmas Tree, the Winter Glow at Mount Vernon, and the National Menorah are the common attractions on every traveler’s bucket list.

If you are looking for a fantastic alternative, you do not have to look further than the light festival in Washington DC. Whether or not you are a fan of the Christmas light show, this annual festival around Washington DC will not be a disappointment.

Light Festival Washington DC
Festival highlights

About the Festival

Washington DC prides itself on many festivals of lights, and this light exhibition around the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints stands out from the rest. During the Christmas season, the Mormon Temple’s surrounding grounds are illuminated with approximately 450,000 varying Christmas lights, turning it into a Winter Wonderland every night.

The locals and other visitors are highly welcome to explore the temple, its visitor center, and other corners around the place, making it a perfect getaway for families out there.

As you see the grounds get lit, you will be mesmerized by the organizer’s creativity and imagination. It is indeed a complete and excellent addition to your Christmas bucket list this year.

Festival Dates

The light festival around the Mormon temple usually takes place in December. It is long and merry, giving everyone the chance to witness the attraction. The organizers, however, are yet to announce the dates for 2023, so stay tuned for the latest updates.

Where it Is Located and How to Get There?

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is known for its majestic architecture and landscape. More than that, it has become a much-awaited Christmas destination. Its grounds are illuminated throughout December. But where is it located?

Well, the Mormon temple is located in Kensington, Maryland, which is north of Washington DC. It is also accessible from the Red Line of the Washington Metro and the Capital Beltway using a free shuttle service. But the shuttle service is limited. You can drive-thru, instead. Your few hours of a car ride are worth it, after all.

If you have not been gone thru the Mormon temple, using Google Maps will be a bright idea. Or you can ask the locals instead for your peace of mind. If you have a friend who have explored the light festival a couple of times already, it is better to ask them for some help.

If you’re in Maryland, you can also check out these other lights festivals:

Festival of Lights Maryland

Symphony of Lights Columbia MD

Festival Hours

In 2022, the light exhibition in the Mormon temple was open to the public from 6 to 9 pm. It is a four-hour light festival in December. For this year’s celebration, there is no final date and time yet. Let us hope it will be the same schedule as last year or might be extended for an hour or more.

Cost to Visit the Festival

It is probably not your first time exploring a light exhibition in the US. Typically, a festival like this comes with a charge. But the festival of lights around the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is free. Yes, there is no fee to pay after a few minutes of exploration. So, enjoy the moment with someone close to you. It could be a friend, a relative, a colleague, or a neighbor.

Weather and What to Wear

The temperature in Maryland gets colder during December. So, when planning to visit the light exhibition in the Mormon temple, make sure to wear thick and comfy clothes. Layering can do the trick for staying warm and comfy.

For your top, it is recommended to pile on a tank, a sweater, and a coat. For your bottom, layer thick leggings and tights under your jeans or pants. Then, do not forget to keep your feet and hands covered. Winter boots and insulated shoes are perfect. Wearing multiple pairs of socks is great.

Where to Sleep?

You can explore the festival of light in Washington DC in a few hours. But if you want to stay longer and like to explore Maryland for another week, you need to find a quality and comfortable place to rest or sleep. Some of the best choices are highlighted below:

Cambria Hotel Rockville
One of the most popular accommodations near Kensington, Maryland, is the Cambria Hotel Rockville. It provides upscale, stylish, and high-end accommodations, which are a ride away from the capital. Located in the Rockville Town Center, the Cambria Hotel Rockville is a pedestrian-friendly neighborhood. It is close to restaurants and shops you can dine in and shop around when you are bored and tired. The hotel has spacious suites, an indoor heated pool, and other modern amenities.

Bethesda Marriott Suites
Are you looking for an all-suite hotel? Bethesda Marriott Suites is a fantastic option. It is packed with high-end amenities, including an on-site restaurant, swimming pool, and fitness center. It also provides a shuttle service to Westfields Montgomery Mall, which is 1.6 km away. Every room is built with a wet bar, coffee-making machines, a flat-screen TV, and a fridge. It is also available with a sofa bed and 300-thread count linens. But wait, there’s more! Bethesda Marriott Suites provides a souvenir shop, ATM machine, and vending machines.

Morrison Clark Hotel
Another excellent accommodation to take advantage of is the Morrison Clark Hotel. It is famous in Maryland for a reason. It offers a fitness center, business center, self-parking area, and other quality amenities available at a competitive rate you can afford. That’s not all! It comes with other high-end features, including concierge services, conference space, premium bedding, LCD TVs, hairdryers, and more. Each room has a strong and stable internet connection, helping everyone stay connected.

Where to Eat?

Do you want to know more about the culture of Washington DC? Of course, you do! Aside from going to historical landmarks like museums, do not miss the chance to try its diverse and delicious cuisines in any of the following:

The Inn at Little Washington
Three-star Michelin restaurant? Great accessibility? Affordable and delicious meals? Name it! The Inn at Little Washington is where the locals and foreigners flock. Good choices include lobster mousse, tuna dishes, and more. That means you have a lot of options that can surely satisfy your cravings and increase your appetite, too.

The Eden Center
Who says you need to go to Vietnam to taste its unique cuisine finally? Even if you are in Washington DC, you can experience Pho, Cha Ca, Banh Xeo, Chao Lau, Rau Muong, Nem Ran, Goi Cuon, Bun Bo Hue, Banh Khot, Ga Tan, and other world-class Vietnamese foods. With approximately 125 Vietnamese vendors in the Eden Center in Falls Church, you can begin your Banh Mi So experience. Its sandwiches are only available at $5. For boba teas and sweets, Huong Binh Bakery and Deli should be your next destination.

Another tourist-recommended dining restaurant in Washington DC is Hi-Lawn. What makes it popular with the rest is that it is located on the rooftop of Union Market. Whether you want some elevated eating experience or a breath of fresh air, remember not to miss the Hi-Lawn. Apart from good food, it provides a park-like space and features a majestic view of the Capitol Building.

More Things to Do in the Area

Maximize your travel experience in Washington DC with any of these attractions!

The United States Capitol & Capitol Hill
Maybe, you are a fan of historical landmarks. Perhaps, you are in Washington DC for travel. If so, be sure to explore the United States Capitol & Capitol Hill. The structure is superb. The interior, for example, is packed with paintings, frescoes, and reliefs that would leave you in amazement and satisfaction.

It also prides itself on the world’s largest library, inspired by the Opera House in Paris. Popular books include Gutenberg Bibles, Jefferson’s personal library, Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence, and more.

National Gallery of Art
Is visiting art museums your biggest dream? The National Gallery of Art should be on top of your bucket list. As one of the premier art museums in the world, the National Gallery of Art has a diverse collection of American paintings and European masterpieces.

It displays Ginevra de Benci, Da Vinci’s painting. Its newer East Wing also features Henry Moore’s sculptures, Alexander Calder’s mobile, and more. Also, its Freer Gallery of Art is home to more than 30,000 pieces of Buddhist sculptures, Persian manuscripts, and other Asian artworks.


1. Is parking available for visitors at the Light Festival in the Washington D.C. Temple?

Answer: Yes, parking is available for attendees of the Light Festival. However, it’s advisable to arrive early, especially on popular nights, to ensure convenient parking.

2. Is smoking or vaping allowed during the Light Festival at the temple?

Answer: No, the Washington D.C. Temple grounds are a smoke-free environment. Smoking and vaping are strictly prohibited.

3. Can I bring my pet to the Light Festival at the temple?

Answer: Pets are not permitted on temple grounds during the Light Festival. Service animals with the necessary identification, however, are welcome.

4. Will there be food vendors or concessions during the festival?

Answer: While the temple grounds themselves might not have food vendors, there are often local vendors or nearby establishments where attendees can purchase food and beverages.

5. Are cameras and photography equipment allowed?

Answer: Yes, visitors are encouraged to capture the beautiful light displays. However, it’s essential to be respectful and avoid obstructing paths or disturbing other visitors.

6. How do I retrieve a lost item I might have left during my visit?

Answer: Lost items can be reported to or found at the Guest Services or Information booth located on the temple grounds.

7. Are there any guidelines or dress codes for attending the Light Festival at the temple?

Answer: While there’s no strict dress code, visitors are encouraged to dress modestly and respectfully given the sacred nature of the temple grounds.

8. How long does the Light Festival usually last each evening?

Answer: Typically, the Light Festival starts at dusk and goes on until a specified time in the evening. It’s best to check the official website or event details for exact timings.


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