2022 January Events in Northern Virginia and Fun Near DC

2022 January events in Northern Virginia include in-person and virtual celebrations plus fun activities to start the new year. Enjoy First Day hikes, the end of holiday light shows, special MLK Day events, restaurant deals, and plenty of winter fun.

Events are listed below in order of start date, with multi-day events listed first. As Virginians know, winter storms can interfere with weekend plans. Be sure to check ahead for inclement weather closures before you head out.

And use these helpful tools for tracking Northern Virginia storms for the latest updates and warnings.

First Night and New Year's Day 2022 in Northern Virginia

Say farewell to 2021 at First Night Alexandria with live entertainment and fireworks. Then, kick off 2022 and work off those holiday treats with a First Day Hike and the chance to win prizes at Fairfax County Parks.

New Year’s Eve at First Night Alexandria, Alexandria, Dec 31 – Jan 1

First Night, one of 12 holiday favorites from Northern Virginia experts that honor the season with festive parades, unique celebrations, light displays, and visits with Santa. Photo: J Clifford for Visit Alexandria
First Night, photo: J Clifford for Visit Alexandria

First Night Alexandria is a spectacular New Year's Eve celebration to welcome the new year. Enjoy special performances and fun throughout Old Town Alexandria then head to the waterfront for the fireworks show. Follow the link for ticket purchase and performance schedule.

Watch Night, Falls Church, Canceled

Watch Night Falls Church is canceled this New Year's Eve. In prior years, the celebration spanned a four-block area of downtown Falls Church that is closed to traffic and open to fun.

First Day Hikes, Virginia State Parks and Fairfax County Parks, Jan 1-2

On January 1st, America’s State Parks encourages everyone to start the new year with a healthy, family-friendly hike. Start your January 2022 with a Virginia First Day Hike and enjoy free entry and parking at all Virginia State Parks.

Many state parks also host special First Day programs. For example, Sky Meadows State Park will open their gates at 5:30 AM so you can hike to the Piedmont Overlook and watch the first sunrise of 2022.

The Fairfax County Park Authority is hosting its own First Hike Fairfax fun to get you outside and on the trail. Take a hike at a Fairfax County park from January 1 to 2. Take a picture during your hike and enter to win prizes that will help you stay active after the hike.

Our First Day Hikes article has all the details and links to participate.

Winter hike at Burke Lake Park in Northern Virginia
Winter hike at Burke Lake Park in Northern Virginia

Final Holiday Light Shows in Northern Virginia

The holiday light show season winds down in early 2022 with a few more days of sparkly fun. Events are listed below in order of the end date.

Garden Lights at Meadowlark
Garden Lights at Meadowlark

Meadowlark Winter Walk of Lights, Vienna, Nov 11 – Jan 3

Over 500,000 lights and displays sparkle along a .6 mile outdoor walking trail. Plus, enjoy hot chocolate by the fire and visit the holiday Snowflake Shoppe. Tickets $9 – $18 depending on age, time, and advance purchase. Open nightly, including holidays, 5:30 – 10:00; last admission at 9:30.

Bull Run Festival of Lights, Bull Run Regional Park, Nov 6 – Jan 2

A dazzling 2.5-mile drive-through display of holiday and fairytale vignettes. Weekday/weekend admission is $20 – $30 per car. 5:30 – 9:30 weekdays, 5:30 – 10:00 weekends. Follow the link for tips and details.


  The lights will sparkle until Jan 2, but the ice rink remains open through February.

GardenFest of Lights, Lewis Ginter Botanic Garden, Richmond, Nov 22 – Jan 9

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden sparkles with more than a million twinkling lights. See hand-crafted botanical decorations, model trains, Christmas trees, firepit with s’mores and hot chocolate (for purchase), and more.

Tickets must be purchased in advance $5 – $18 depending on the date and whether you are a member. 5:00 – 10:00 nightly except for Thanksgiving, Dec 24 + 25.

Extend your holiday fun with a Weekend Getaway to Richmond Virginia.

More January Events in Northern Virginia

Too cold for an outdoor event? Check out our big guide to Indoor Activities in Northern Virginia to Escape Winter Cold or a Rainy Day.

Winter Wonderland, Village at Leesburg, Jan Weekends

Head to the Village at Leesburg every weekend in January to see beautiful ice sculptures displayed throughout the village. Pick up a beverage to go to keep you warm while you wander and visit the shops and restaurants when you want to warm up. The ice sculpture theme changes every week. Sculptures are on display from Friday 6:00 PM to Sunday 6:00 PM. Free.

Make it a Leesburg Weekend Getaway with a stay at nearby Lansdowne Resort and Spa.

National Bird Day, Jan 5

Celebrate National Bird Day and get outdoors with a hike at these wonderful parks and trails. January is a great time for birding in Northern Virginia because the lack of foliage makes it easier to spot our feathered friends.

2022 MLK Celebration, Reston, Jan 15 – 17

Reston Community Center and local faith communities host multiple events celebrating and honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. over the three-day weekend. This inspiring weekend celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. includes special online and in-person performances. In addition, Community Service Projects help the Embry Rucker Community Shelter, Cornerstones, and The Closet. Follow the link for the event schedule and registration details.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington DC
Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington DC

Astronomy Festival, Turner Farm Park, Jan 15

Enjoy winter's early dark with guided stargazing through a telescope at Turner Farm Park in Great Falls. Listen to ancient stories about the constellations around a cozy campfire. There will be games and activities throughout the evening and hot chocolate and snacks available for purchase. $10; 5:30 – 7:30.

Free Entrance to National Parks, Jan 17

The US National Park Service is hosting 6 fee-free days in 2022, and Martin Luther King, Jr Day is the first National Park Free Entrance Day of the year. It’s the perfect time to visit Northern Virginia area parks like Shenandoah National Park and Great Falls Park.

Great Falls Park is beautiful after a winter snowstorm
Great Falls Park in winter

Martin Luther King Jr Celebration, Leesburg, Jan 17

Leesburg's 31st annual Martin Luther King Jr celebration will include in person and virtual events. Join a march followed by speakers and entertainment. The program will be live-streamed beginning at 1:00. Follow the link for the schedule and details.

MLK Day of Service, Arlington, Jan 17

Participate in “A Day On, Not a Day Off” with Volunteer Arlington. Join in a variety of volunteer training and service projects for all ages.

Metropolitan Washington Restaurant Week, Jan 17 – 23

Eat your way through a week of dining deals during Metropolitan Washington Restaurant Week. 250 restaurants, including many in Northern Virginia, offer 3-course brunches and lunches for $25 and dinners for $40 or $55 (per person, beverage, tax, and gratuity not included).

Enjoy your meal at outdoor patios, dine in (where available), or order to go and dine at home. Follow the link to search by cuisine and neighborhood or to check for your favorite dining spot.

Alexandria Winter Restaurant Week, Jan 21 – 30

More than 60 Alexandria restaurants offer a $35 prix fixe dinner for two during Alexandria Winter Restaurant Week. Support local restaurants and enjoy a delicious meal. Many of the restaurants offer outdoor heated dining or take-out. Follow the link for participating restaurant details.

McLean Chocolate Festival, McLean, TBA

The annual McLean Chocolate Festival went virtual in 2021. Visit the website to order chocolates online and support this fundraiser for the McLean Rotary Club. Pick up your order Feb 6 or 7.

Chocolate Lovers Festival, Fairfax, Feb 4 – 6

The annual Chocolate Lovers Festival returns to the City of Fairfax in February 2022.

More January 2022 Winter Fun

There are fewer January events and festivals this year, but you can create your own winter fun. Here are some ideas for winter outings that offer brisk adventures or cozy escapes, depending on your mood and the weather.

Take a Winter Hike, Various Locations

Unless we've had heavy snow or rain, winter is a great time to explore local trails. These winter hikes and strolls are enjoyable except when conditions are especially icy or water-logged. A little snow on the ground is not a problem with most of these destinations but wear good hiking boots. And always check ahead for inclement weather closures.

Great Falls snowy path
Great Falls Park snowy path

Take a Spin at a Local Ice Skating Rink

The return of chilly temps is perfect for a wintery outing to Northern Virginia ice skating rinks. We found healthy winter fun for every age, whether you prefer to skate indoors or out. Each ice skating destination offers smooth ice, happy music, and nearby fun. Why not try them all this winter?

Reston Town Center is just one of the fun ice skating rinks in Northern Virginia for a date night and family-friendly night out.
Skating at Reston Town Center Ice Skating Rink

Support Local Businesses at Quaint Small Towns Near DC

Plan a day trip or a weekend getaway with our list of 15 Fun Northern Virginia Small Towns to Visit. From tiny hamlets to historic Old Towns we've found quaint and interesting places to explore. Visit these towns and you can support local restaurants, shops, wineries, and breweries plus enjoy outdoor activities.

Waterford is one of the historic Virginia small towns near DC
Waterford, historic Virginia small towns

Find a Warm Winter Outing Close to Home

Sometimes the cold weather curtails our desire for outdoor adventures, but cabin fever pushes us to get out of the house. Whether you have kids along or not, we've rounded up warm winter outings that offer a change of scene close to home. Note that closures and reduced capacity may affect indoor venues this year, so check the latest hours before you head out.

Aspen Dale Winery fireplace
Aspen Dale Winery fireplace

Escape on a Weekend Getaway Near Northern VA

We've rounded up a big list of 21 Fantastic Weekend Getaways In and Near Northern Virginia that offer a fun break from the winter doldrums. From historic inns to comfy hotels, to a private mill house, we have options for every taste. Browse our list and plan your perfect winter escape.

Find a Perfect Winter Getaway

Looking for more than a night or two nearby? We've rounded up Favorite Winter Getaways from Northern Virginia by Plane, Train, and Auto to inspire your next trip. Whether you're craving time in the city or toes in the sand, we have tips for trips that are easy to reach from Northern VA, Happy travel!

Winter Getaways from Northern Virginia sunset
US Gulf Coast Sunrise

Sip Wine with a Sensational View

Winter cold puts a dent in our outdoor activities, but we still crave a beautiful view and a chance to commune with nature. One of our favorite options for a winter outing is to visit one of the many excellent Virginia wineries and soak up nature with a glass in hand.

Fox Meadow Winery view
Fox Meadow Winery view

Take a Scenic Drive to Explore Northern VA

Chilly winter days are a perfect time to explore new roads and sites close to home. We've rounded up 6 scenic drives in Northern Virginia where you can explore small towns and history while enjoying country roads.

Horses in Middleburg VA
Scenic Drive in Middleburg VA

Whatever January events are on your list, we hope you'll have plenty of time to explore and enjoy the Northern Virginia area. we wish you a happy, healthy, and fun-filled start to 2022!

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January events and things to do in Northern Virginia include New Year's celebrations, First Day hikes, final holiday season celebrations, and plenty of winter fun near DC.
January Events Northern Virginia

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