Inside “Enchant”: The Spectacular Holiday Light Maze at the Nationals Park

1

This post is written in partnership with Enchant, but all of the views are our own. 

Enchant DC at Nationals Park
Nationals Park hosts a holiday light maze this month at Enchant DC. Photo: Allison Winter

“I feel like I’m in a Christmas movie!”

This is what I yelped on my first loop around the ice-skating path that has overtaken center field at Nationals Park. The rink is part of Enchant DC, the massive, magical holiday light display at Nationals stadium through December 29.

Minutes before, my family had been standing in line, my sons crying, my husband annoyed, the whole crew on the verge of a breakdown, or at least a departure. We were tired, hungry, cold, and we wanted to go home. But we also wanted to skate. 

Sometimes Christmas magic takes over. Or maybe it was a combination of Christmas magic, World-Series wizardry, and hot chocolate. But once we were skating to the Christmas soundtrack under those holiday lights, wondering if Juan Soto had stood right where we skated, we could not be happier. 

Whether skating or not, an evening at Enchant feels like the culminating scene in a Christmas romantic-comedy. Lights, music, and cheer abound. Sure, if you are there with small children, there may be moments of crying or whining, but at the end of the night you can leave that on the cutting-room floor. Enchant is Christmas magic.  

The Enchant Christmas Light Maze

The main attraction at Enchant is “the world’s largest” Christmas light maze. What started as a backyard light maze in Vancouver has expanded to a corporate offering of light displays at four stadiums across the United States. In DC, the light maze stretches across the entire field at Nationals stadium. This is its first year in DC. Enchant signed a three-year contract with Nationals stadium, so expect them back next November.

When you enter the maze, you’ll receive a postcard instructing you to walk through it and find Santa’s nine lost reindeer. Each reindeer has a station where you can scratch off a spot on the postcard (this activity was key for my kids). Along the way, you can feast your eyes on the never-ending, camera-ready light displays. The installation features giant snowflakes, an enormous diamond engagement ring, a Cinderella-worthy Christmas ornament you can sit inside, and tunnels of lights. Above you, twinkling lights stretch across the baseball stadium’s seats to create a starlit effect.

When you exit the maze, some friendly elves will reward your effort with a chocolate coin. There is also a mailbox where you can mail a postcard to Santa with three Christmas wishes. 

Tickets and Parking 

Since there’s no magic bankroll for Enchant, it does come at a price. Tickets can be purchased online. (Saturdays are close to selling out!) A family four-pack ranges from $75 on a weekday to $100 for a weekend night. Kids up to the age of three are free. You can  reserve parking next to the stadium for $17-$22. Or skip the parking hassle and take Metro (Green Line: Navy Yard-Ballpark). VIP tickets ($60-$90) include free skate rentals and a buffet dinner in the Nationals Diamond Club, overlooking the light maze. 

hot chocolate at Enchant
For $15, you can buy the swanky “Enchant Hot Chocolate” with a gingerbread house. Photo: Allison Winter

Food and Drink at Enchant DC

Those chocolate coins from the elves will only get you so far, so you may want to buy food or drink while there. If so, you might wish the elves were handing out real gold. There are drink stands throughout the stadium, selling hot chocolate, warm apple cider, coffee, and various boozey concoctions.The signature cocktail is a vodka and apple-cider combination that comes in a souvenier flashing lightbulb cup and costs $20.

A regular hot chocolate is $5. Or if your wallet is feeling the holiday magic, go for the “Enchant Hot Chocolate,” a $15 delicacy that comes topped with whipped cream and an adorable tiny gingerbread house.

A few of the Nationals food vendors are open, including Ben’s Chili Bowl and the Gluten-free Grill. Food prices are similar to those at a baseball game: $8 for a Senators sausage or $12 for an “enchant dog” at Ben’s Chili Bowl. Special food booths are also positioned towards right field, including “Santa’s soups,” a waffle stand, and Dog Tag Bakery. You can sit in nearby seats and watch captioned Christmas films on a screen set up as “Enchant cinema.”

The Christmas movie energy is strong on the ice-skating trail at Enchant DC. Photo courtesy of Enchant.

Enchanted Ice-Skating

There are no additional fees for ice time, but you do have to pay for skate rentals. Children’s skates are $5 and adults are $10. There is no time limit on their use. If you bring your own skates, you must put blade guards on them and carry your skates in a clear plastic bag. 

Note for serious (or semi-serious) skaters: They did not bring out the Zamboni the whole night we were there, so the ice can be pretty rough. There were also many beginners or first-time skaters out there, so someone was almost constantly crashing on the ice. Having said that, it was still a really fun place to skate. It is not the place to practice speed-skating or your triple-lutz. But if you want to hold hands with your loved one and skate under an archway of lights, this is your venue. 

Santa lands at Enchant

Ho, ho, ho! Santa is in the building! Santa has an impressive greeting area along the entry-level walkway.  A professional photographer can take your Santa photos, but Enchant also allows you to snap your own photos (for free). Santa is there the whole time Enchant is open, except when taking cookie breaks.  But the line to meet him can get really long, so you might want to put Santa early on your agenda.  

Mrs. Claus is also available most nights in her own nook towards home plate. She often has no line, one employee told me. If the North Pole works like most of our households, we know who is really doing the gift-planning. So if you don’t have the patience to wait in Santa’s line, you can put in a word with Mrs. Claus.

Shopping, bags, and strollers

Holiday shopping: Enchant also hosts a “holiday marketplace,” with dozens of vendors selling gifts and crafts. Vendors will rotate throughout Enchant’s season but currently include DC makers like Cherry Blossom Creative. The Nationals Team Store is also open, if you want to stuff stockings with World Series memorabilia.

Bag-check: Bag restrictions are in place. Backpacks are not allowed. Bags must be no larger than 16”x16”x8”. Enchant says it will “make accomodation” for diaper bags or needed medical bags. You may not bring in any food or beverage except for factory-sealed clear plastic water bottles. You may also bring empty water bottles and fill them, but they need to be clear plastic.

Strollers are allowed in the stadium but not allowed in the maze. There is an easy stroller valet at the top of the stairs.

Enchant is open through December 29. From now through Dec 12., it is open from 4:30 to 10:30 pm Tuesday through Thursday nights, and 4:30 to 11:30 pm Friday-Sunday. It is closed December 9. From Dec. 13-30, it is open from 4:30 to 11:30 every night, Monday through Sunday. 

For more family fun around DC, check out our December event guide. 

The light display at “Enchant” is at Nationals Park through Dec. 29. Photo: Allison Winter
Previous articleHow to Protect Your Child During Flu Season
Next articleDupont Circle/ Logan/ Kalorama Neighborhood Guide
Ali came to DC “for the summer” in 2000 and has been here ever since. She worked for more than a decade as an environment and energy reporter on Capitol Hill. After her second son was born, she took some time off to chase her children instead of lawmakers. She's now juggling both as a freelance reporter and mom of 2 active sons. Ali lives in NW DC with her husband, sons, and a rotating menagerie of foster animals from the Humane Rescue Alliance. She loves reveling in the awe and wonder of the ordinary with young children as a guide for a Montessori-inspired class at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Foggy Bottom. She also loves to explore DC on the family cargo bike. Likes: Long runs, pour-over coffee, theatre, nature, seasonable weather, and DC’s amazing array of free museums. Dislikes: Mosquitoes, mayonnaise, and change.

1 COMMENT

  1. We were just there Saturday. I didnt even realize half if this stuff was there. We missed a lot of it due to the energetic kids I was with and the crowds. We spent over an hour in the maze found all but one reindeer. It was so much fun. This is great information and a nice rundown for those heading there over the next few weeks.

Comments are closed.