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Holiday Happenings in NOVA

Northern Virginia is for holiday lovers

Crisp air, a festive buzz on the streets and in the stores, the sights and sounds (and yummy smells) of impending celebrations — you’ll find it all in the greater D.C. area. In particular, Fairfax County is a festive destination for anyone looking to home in on the East Coast holiday vibe.

Need to narrow down your holiday happenings list? Archer and his elves have suggestions for some of the best, brightest, most marvelous things to see and do in the area.

While you’re at it, reserve a luxe room or suite at one of Archer’s chic, boutique northern Virginia hotels. Archer Hotel Falls Church is nestled in Mosaic (a walkable retail and entertainment district), just 10 miles from the capital and a short walk to the Dunn Loring-Merrifield Metro stop. And Archer Hotel Tysons, at the foot of the McLean Silver Line Metro station, is just 9 miles from D.C. and close to two shopping meccas: Tysons Corner Center and Tysons Galleria.

And remember: Guests who book directly with Archer get an immediate $25 drink + dine credit that can be used in the hotels’ bars and restaurants and for in-room dining and takeout.

Archie is ready to help raise spirits at Archer Hotel Tysons

Holiday lights

Merry Mosaic District — Help ring in the holiday season at the tree lighting ceremony, watch Santa spread cheer from his firetruck (er, sleigh) and take care of your shopping list at Mosaic’s Holiday Village.

Tysons Corner Center — The holiday tree lighting kicks off the season in the Plaza.

Mount Vernon — Head to George Washington’s estate for two holiday happenings: Christmas Illuminations with wintry lights and sparkling fireworks overlooking the Potomac River, and Mount Vernon by Candlelight.

Meadowlark Botanical Gardens — The Winter Walk of Lights transforms the beautiful Vienna park into an enchanting half-mile route.

Bull Run Festival of Lights — Drive the 2.5 miles of festival route to enjoy the animated light displays in Manassas. Helpful hint: Enjoy the show on the weekdays for a less-crowded experience.

“’Prismatic’ by Hou De Sousa and Kennedy Center Honors Rainbow Lights 6” by Amaury Laporte is licensed under CC BY 4.0.

More holiday lights

Holiday Boat Parade of Lights — The Potomac River reflects the festive lights that adorn the boats that cruise one mile of the shoreline.

Georgetown GLOW — This free, curated light art experience is set against the historic backdrop of the capital’s oldest neighborhood.

National Christmas Tree Lighting — A century-old American tradition, the tree lighting is part of a holiday program with a variety of performers helping to share a message of peace and hope.

Shine Light Show — Thousands of lights are synchronized to a vibrant seasonal soundtrack, along with a centerpiece tree and a curtain of Christmas imagery.

“Holiday Boat Parade of Lights 22 - North Pole” by Amaury Laporte is licensed under CC BY 4.0.

Holiday spirits + eats

AKB, a hotel bar — Archer’s whipped up The Giving Drink — a bourbon cocktail that celebrates all things holiday: apple cider, cinnamon, cloves, star anise, all topped with edible gold flakes. Perhaps the best part? Archer donates $2 from the sale of each drink to No Kid Hungry — a national campaign committed to ending childhood hunger in the U.S. In the NOVA area, visit AKB Falls Church and AKB Tysons.

2941 Restaurant — The celebrated Falls Church restaurant serves inventive cuisine and outstanding service in an impressive atmosphere. For an intimate private event of 100 guests, choose the Waterfall Room; for 60 guests, the Koi Room; or for 30 guests, the exclusive Tasting Room.

Filomena — Over-the-top holiday bling is a sight to behold (the restaurant celebrates different holidays all year long). The highlight of this Georgetown Italian eatery? The just-bigger-than-necessary Christmas tree, bedecked with 10K+ lights, plus thousands of ornaments and little treasures.

Archipelago — Normally a tropical tiki bar, Archipelago becomes Sippin’ Santa in December. Rum drinks spiked with nutmeg and cinnamon arrive in mugs with a surfboard-carrying Kris Kringle, and glowing candy canes add to the festive ambiance.

Garden District — D.C.’s neighborhood German beer garden transforms with loads of tinsel, twinkling lights, holiday music and an expanded beverage menu (plus outdoor heaters). Check out the holiday popup markets on weekends — but do so before December 18, when the beer garden closes for the season.

Captain Gregory’s — This intimate speakeasy tucked inside a donut shop caps reservations at four guests and serves up holiday-themed cocktails and elevated comfort food.

The Giving Drink — a holiday drink special at Archer Hotel

Nifty holiday gifts

Capital One Hall — Give the gift of entertainment. A 6-minute walk from Archer Hotel Tysons, Capital One Hall presents concerts, Broadway theatre, comedy shows and expert speakers in a world-class venue.

Mosaic — Fairfax’s go-to shopping and entertainment district has a select mix of retailers and services to help complete your holiday shopping list. Can’t decide what to get your aunt or best friend who already has everything? A gift card for a mani-pedi or a massage is always a hit.

Eden Center — This Vietnamese center with an exact replica of downtown Saigon’s clock tower has more than 120 stores, restaurants and businesses to explore. While perusing gift shops, jewelers and health stores, stop for a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants and bakeries.

Tysons Galleria — Anchored by Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue, Tysons Galleria is home to upscale retail shops, including 30+ exclusive-to-market designers, along with a bevy of restaurant and dining options.

Tysons Corner Center — The 10th-largest mall in the U.S. is massive, anchored by Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s and Nordstrom. Shop luxury brands, designer apparel, fast fashion, home goods, toys, electronics — you name it.

King Street Mile — Named one of the “Great Streets” in America by the American Planning Association, King Street is home to 100+ charming (and independently owned) boutiques. Don’t miss The Hour Shop specializing in vintage glassware, barware and tools, Red Barn Mercantile offering a curated collection of treasures for the home and The Old Town Shop with gifts that celebrate the local charm and historic heritage.

Photo by Kostiantyn Li on Unsplash

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