Make time this holiday season to see the Festival of Lights at the Washington DC Mormon temple. This stunning display of over 600,000 Christmas lights is open every night in December and is free to the public. Plan to take in a free, family-friendly Christmas concert at the Visitor's Center and enjoy the creche display as well as the life-sized outdoor nativity. This very popular holiday event can be crowded, so these tips will help make your trip easy and enjoyable.
1. Attend a free concert.
Each evening, a free 40-minute concert is offered at 7:00 and 8:00 p.m. in the Visitor's Center. Check out the concert schedule here. The state-of-the-art theater is a wonderful venue for musical entertainment and yet is very family friendly. When I visited the Festival of Lights last year, I took all my young children to the concert and was pleasantly surprised to see many families with children attending. The short duration is the perfect amount of time to keep little ones quiet and still introduce them to talented musicians.
Free concert tickets are available in the visitor's center 90 minutes before the concert until they are all given out. Most nights you will be able to get tickets up until the start of the concert, but on occasion they do run out so plan to get there at least a few minutes early.
2. Plan for holiday traffic.
Washington DC traffic is notoriously bad, so if you intend to arrive for a 7:00 p.m. concert, leave plenty of time to deal with traffic on I-495 before parking and arriving for the concert. Consider leaving early and grabbing dinner in nearby Bethesda, Maryland, to avoid rush hour. No food is for sale at or adjacent to the Washington DC temple, so plan where you want to eat in advance.
3. Bundle up to enjoy the Festival of Lights.
There should be plenty of parking at the Visitor's Center or the nearby temple. Either before or after the concert, walk around outside to enjoy the lights, the life-sized outdoor nativity, and walk over to get a close-up view of the Mormon Temple.
4. Learn about the Washington DC Temple in the Visitor's Center.
The Visitor's Center will be crowded in the evenings in December, but take advantage of your time there to see the creche displays and to wander through the Visitor's Center to learn more about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Many visitors are curious about the Mormon temple, what happens inside the temple, and what it looks like. Learn more about Mormon temples here, or at the Visitor's Center visit the display on the right just as you enter the main doors and you will see pictures of the inside of the Washington DC temple along with explanations of what happens inside the temple.
Good to Know
When: The Visitors' Center of the Washington D.C. Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Each performance is presented twice nightly, 7:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.
How Much: Free
Amenities: Theater and displays in the Visitor's Center. Restrooms and drinking fountains. No food for sale.