Running the Washington DC Christmas Trees

I had the most fun night last night – my friend Sokphal and I decided to do a running tour of the DC Christmas trees – because what better way to see them than on foot, right?!

washington dc holiday christmas trees

I’ve been wanting to do a Christmas tree run around DC, and great minds think alike because when I was texting with Sokphal earlier this week about having a run date, she suggested an evening run so we could check out the trees/holiday lights. Perfect!

running the DC christmas trees

Last night was the only night that worked this week before the holiday madness began. I asked Sokphal if she thought it was crazy to do a track workout in the morning and a Christmas tree run at night, and, being a crazy runner herself, she said no way. We can go slow, she promised. Deal! I didn’t want to skip my track workout and I don’t think I’ll be running again until the weekend, so sure, why not?!

washington dc christmas trees

I hadn’t done an evening run in FOREVER – I find it much harder to motivate for a workout (unless it’s yoga) after work. We made plans to meet up in Rosslyn at 6:45, and by the time I got home from work I was like ughhhhhhhhhhh can’t I just sit on the couch?! But, I hate when people are flaky and I was like, nope, I said I’d be there, so I will be. And, as expected, I’m SO glad we did this – it ended up being such a blast once we were out there! Sometimes just getting out the door is the hardest part, don’t you think?

It was pitch black but not all that cold (awesome) when we started out a little before 7 p.m. My legs felt surprisingly fresh considering I did a track workout that morning, and it was great to see Sokphal – she was injured for a little while and I’d missed our run dates!

running memorial bridge at night

We ran over Memorial Bridge and past Lincoln, as usual. It was weird but cool to be out there in the dark knowing that the sun wasn’t about to rise!

lincoln memorial nighttime

Our first stop on the DC Christmas tree/lights tour was the Botanic Garden, down by the US Capitol! We assumed it would already be closed by the time we got down there, but to our delight, it was still open for another 15 minutes – perfect! If you’re in the area, this is worth checking out – so cool, especially during the holidays!

us botanic garden

They had all sorts of cool displays set up.

botanic garden dc christmas

I loved the mini replicas of the monuments, too!

botanic garden holiday decorations

But the highlight, of course, was their huge Christmas tree!

botanic garden christmas tree

It had a little Thomas the Train going around on tracks below it which made me think of my nephew. :)

botanic garden dc christmas tree

Our next stop was the nearby tree outside the US Capitol! I loved this one – probably my favorite of the evening. :)

us capitol christmas tree

From there, we ran over to the Canadian Embassy, which had a nice tree set up.

canadian embassy christmas tree


canadian embassy christmas tree

Then it was on to the famous National Christmas Tree, over by the White House! We ran by the Willard hotel on the way – loved their holiday decorations.

willard hotel dc christmas

willard hotel dc christmas decorations

Hello, National Christmas Tree!

dc national christmas tree

Each U.S. state/territory also had their own mini tree circling the big National tree. Beautiful – especially with views of the White House behind them!

national christmas tree dc

We were planning to stop our running tour there, but we spotted another tree nearby at Constitution Hall and couldn’t pass up one last stop. I didn’t want the fun to end – love running dates like this that feel more like an adventure than a workout. :)

constitution hall christmas decorations

constitution hall christmas tree

We ended our adventure over by the White House and hopped in an Uber back to Rosslyn from there. We were hoping they’d have more decorations at the White House, but there were just two trees on the front porch that were a little hard to see from the street. Oh well!

What a fun night! We actually saw a fair amount of other runners out doing the same thing. Perfect way to see the sights without spending a billion dollars on cabs! I might do another night run around the neighborhoods to see some of the Christmas decorations on houses… we’ll see.

We ended up covering almost 6 miles. Wow! (Watch doesn’t include all the stops we made for photos, walking through the Botanic Garden, etc.) Thanks for the great night, Sokphal!


Also amazing: I got home around 8:45 and Matt had dinner waiting (a Blue Apron pork with sweet potatoes and a fun Mexican inspired apple slaw) – what a guy, right?! This HIT. THE. SPOT. after all those miles. It was pretty sweet to be able to eat dinner, relax, and then go to bed a little while after the run… maybe there’s something to this whole evening workout thing!


Are you a morning or evening runner? Why?

Anyone else do a Christmas tree or holiday light run around DC or your town? If not, it might be something fun to consider doing with friends/family! :)


  1. 1

    Oh my gosh what a great idea! I can’t believe I never thought to do an evening Christmas tree run! I’m definitely a morning runner and just want to sit on the couch with my Netflix and wine after work, but on those rare occasions where I have run in the evenings, they’ve always been great! I feel like running in the morning just helps me wake up and sets the tone for the day ahead; otherwise, I feel groggy and crabby.

  2. 3

    What a fun idea – totally going to look for a route to the same!

    Typically, I prefer to morning-run; I like my cardio early, and my weight training after work. And I’ve found during evening races that I must be conditioned better to run in the a/m; evening race finish times are always slower than my morning race times.

    • 4

      That’s interesting! I’ve only done one evening race – the Vegas “Strip at Night” Rock n Roll half marathon. It was super weird to not start the race til it was dark – but fun!

  3. 5

    Wow looks like an awesome run. I’ve considered doing that in NYC but the area where the tree is too crowded to walk passed, so it would be impossible to run over there.

    • 6

      Yeah, we’re lucky that the National Tree has a lot of open space around it! It’s really crowded when they first light it and there were def people there last night, but it was doable. :)

  4. 7

    Omg! All so pretty! What a wonderful way to see it all!

  5. 8

    This looks like such a fun run!!! As I Canadian, I loved your photos of the tree at the Canadian embassy ;) Beautiful trees though!!

  6. 10

    what a fun night! I love DC. I could definitely live there hahah. We used to do a xmas run in Pasadena, well Santa Anita area I think, but there’s christmas tree lane and all sorts of decorations and stuff. very cool to see esp while running!

  7. 12

    So Christmassy!!! I’m on a massive pork kick of late! Dinner perfection right there!

  8. 13

    Right now I’m a mid day walker since that’s when the baby takes her long nap. haha. I just try to get it in whenever I can. Beautiful pictures! I should try to at least get out for a Christmas light drive, but we’ll see.

  9. 15
    Allison Keskimaki says

    Definitely a morning runner when I can make it. I don’t live in a very safe or walkable city, so going out early during the week is not really feasible. I run with a running group on some local trails on Saturday mornings.
    LOVED all the pics of the trees in D.C. I have been to the Botanical Gardens but never during the holiday. How cute! I loved the mini monuments, too. I’m so envious you get to see those gorgeous sites whenever you want. D.C. is my happy place!

  10. 17

    Um that looks amazing and makes me miss DC so much! I can’t believe I have never done that run!

  11. 23

    Looks like fun! I would love to do a tour of the lights on foot. I am an afternoon runner. I have the most energy for workouts around 2 or 3pm. Today I walked over to the downtown Minneapolis Macy’s and went to their Santaland on the 8th floor. It was pretty cool. The whole floor is dedicated to Christmas decorations. I expected it be like in the movie Elf, but it wasn’t quite that extravagant :)

  12. 25

    So pretty! I’m definitely a morning runner, although I sometimes surprise myself with an afternoon run :)

  13. 26

    Looks so fun! Out of curiosity what camera did you take with you? Your phone? The pictures look great, so does the Blue Apron picture! I have such a hard time with night photography pointers would be helpful!

  14. 31

    Such an awesome way to see the Christmas lights, we did a similar bike tour around the London Christmas lights and was so much fun!

  15. 33

    What a great tour — and the best way to do it, too! Well done to you and Sokpal!


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