Monday – Indulge in an unseasonal activity: Swimming! There are a bunch of public indoor pools around the area where you can take a dip on a cold day. Wilson Aquatic Center in NW is popular, Rumsey on Capitol Hill and Turkey Thicket in Brookland have kiddie pools, and Deanwood in NE even has a slide. In Maryland, Rollingcrest in PG County has a special preschool area, and there are several indoor aquatic facilities in Montgomery County. In Northern Virginia, Arlington County has a few indoor public pools, and there’s one in Alexandria, too. Be sure to check schedules for open swim hours and make sure there are no random closings, which happen occasionally.
Tuesday – Enjoy a late fall hike at Scott’s Run Nature Preserve. The locale in Great Falls offers a nice dose of nature in a short drive from the city, with trails that meander through the woods, peaceful spots to hang out by the river (including a waterfall), and pretty views of the Potomac. Open from just before sunrise to just after sunset. Admission is free. For a shorter hike with young children, park in the second lot (further away from 495) and follow the fire road next to the creek that leads to the river. The first lot leads to trails that wind through the woods, some that might be tough for little legs to navigate.
Wednesday – Head to a local go-to for fun and educational recreation: The National Air & Space Museum! It’s filled literally floor-to-ceiling with fascinating exhibits and amazing artifacts from of flight and space. Explore the collections, and be sure to stop in the fantastic “How Things Fly” gallery with loads of cool interactive stations that kids always dig. Museum hours are 10am – 5:30pm. Admission is free.
In the evening, attend the Capitol Christmas Tree Lighting! The ceremony will take place on the West Lawn at 5pm as the tree is lit by Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi. It’s fairly short, so arrive on time if you hope to catch it.
Thursday – Explore the world and do some holiday shopping at Winternational. This lively midday festival in the Ronald Reagan Building is a celebration of international culture, travel, tourism and trade. It has the atmosphere of an international bazaar with each country showcasing their culture and traditions via visual arts displays, foods, handcrafts, as well as travel and tourism information. Hours are 11am – 3pm, and admission is free.
Friday – See a performance of The Nutcracker — on strings! The Puppet Co. presents its delightful version of the holiday classic through December 29. Showtime is 11am, and tickets are $12. Plan for some time on the Glen Echo Park playground afterwards and grab lunch at Praline, the café on premises.