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Things to Do in DC on New Years Eve

Book a Guided Walking Tour

There are lots of ways to ring in the New Year in Washington DC.

Many people ask, where to watch New Year's Even fireworks in DC? There are no official firework displays in Downtown D.C. or on the National Mall. National Harbor and Old Town Alexandria are probably the best places to catch them locally.

But here are our list of top things to do in DC on New Years's Eve


Take a Walking Tour

Before you head out for a celebration party or a night in to watch the countdown on your hotel TV, spend the morning and afternoon exploring Washington DC.

For December 31, 2021, you can join us for tours of Arlington National Cemetery (10am), Historic Georgetown (1030am) or Lincoln's Assassination (2pm).

New Year's Eve Forest Bathing at the U.S. National Arboretum

One of the many amazing things about D.C. is the ability to get away from it all at places like the National Arboretum. On New Year's Eve, you can slow down and enjoy a two hour walk through calming nature.

You will need tickets to enjoy the tour.


First Night Alexandria

The City of Alexandria has a wide variety of activities planned from Noon all the way up to a Midnight fireworks display. There are events for kids, for teens, and for seniors. There will be music and more.

Some events are ticketed, while others are free for all, so make sure to check the website ahead of time.


Big Night D.C. New Year’s Eve Extravaganza at the Gaylord National Hotel & Resort

Food and music are always a great way to ring in the New Year. Join this six-hour party at one of the area’s top spots, then stay in one of their newly renovated rooms.

This is a ticketed event.


A Jazz New Year’s Eve at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

With two performances scheduled, you can get your night rolling with a jazz performance. Dianne Reeves, Chucho Valdés, and Joe Lovano will share their skills and their passion with you at the amazing Kennedy Center.

Check the website for tickets.

Arrive early and enjoy the Reach, the new expansion that features beautiful outdoor space or take our self guided Kennedy Center Tour

Remember, you can skip the traffic by taking the Metro to Foggy Bottom (Orange, Blue, and Silver Line) and take the free shuttle that picks up just outside the station.


Annual Andrew Mellon New Year’s Eve Gala at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium

If you want to celebrate the New Year in style, this black-tie event is the place to be. Multiple party spaces, multiple DJs, multiple bars and free-flowing champagne are just some of the things you’ll experience.

This is probably the biggest New Year’s celebration in D.C.

Tickets and details are available on the website.

Gatsby’s D.C. Fireworks New Year’s Eve Yacht Party 2022 on the Spirit of Washington D.C. by Hornblower

Party like it’s 1922 on this Washington Harbor cruise. A Great Gatsby-inspired party with an open bar, buffet dinner, music, dancing and more, it’s certainly a unique experience. It provides a different angle to view the fireworks display, that’s for sure.

Tickets and details are available on the website.

About The Author

Canden Arciniega

Canden is a historian and tour guide in Washington DC with 4 published books about the city. She has written for HuffPost Travel and has been featured in the Washington Post, WTOP, and numerous other DC papers. She's also been interviewed by the BBC, NPR, Travel Channel and Discovery Family Channel. Canden is the producer of our podcast, Tour Guide Tell All With a M.A. in History from University College London and a B.A. in History from Elon University, she is an authority on D.C. history, and has led tours in the city for over 10 years. She currently resides in DC, but has also lived in London and South Korea, and has travelled to 28 countries. Her two children (both under the age of 4) have their passports and own frequent flier accounts.
Updated: December 8th, 2021
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