Category Archives: Fall

The Weekend Round-Up: December 7-9

Kick up some some fun with the interactive art installations at Light Yards

Happy Weekend!

Light Yards
Where: The Yards | Capitol Riverfront, DC
When: Friday through January 4, 6-10pm
Admission: Free

The Yards is brightening up the holiday season with innovative light art once again with two fun, interactive installations! The Pool welcomes visitors to hop, skip, and jump across 106 circular pads of light, and as multiple visitors play in it, their movements come together to create a giant canvas of shifting and fading colors in mesmerizing patterns. And Angels of Freedom aims to reveal the inner beauties of everyone by visually turning visitors angels, letting them pose with five giant, neon-colored wings and white halos — and it makes for great photos ops. Plan on dining before and/or after you play with the light at one of the nearby eateries. (I highly recommend Whaley’s, where the seafood towers brings a nice feeling of summer to a cold winter night.)

DIY Holiday Cards
Where: National Postal Museum | Union Station Area, DC
When: Saturday & Sunday, 10am – 4pm
Admission: Free

Create one-of-a-kind handmade cards at the museum all about mail. They provide beautiful holiday stamps from all over the world, along with a variety of crafts supplies to both inspire your creativity and decorate your cards. We’ve been to this event a bunch of times over the years, and it’s always really well-organized and tons of fun. Plan to stay after to tour the exhibits, many of them interactive and interesting for all ages. Read a KFDC write-up about the museum.

Christmas is Afoot
Where: Christ Crossman Church | Falls Church, VA
When: Friday & Saturday, 6-8pm
Admission: Free

This Christmas season take a walk through historic Bethlehem as Christ Crossman United Methodist Church opens its doors to the community. The journey begins with a live nativity and petting zoo.  Once inside, children will enjoy making crafts resembling historical Bethlehem market goods and participate in a service project assembling power pack kits for students in need through Food for Others. Live Christmas music from members of the George Mason High School band, warm cider, and hot chocolate will make it even more festive.

Winter in Washington
Where: CityCenterDC | Downtown DC
When: Friday, Saturday, & Sunday
Admission: Free

CityCenterDC is excited to bring to life the DC landscape in a dreamy winter wonderland! The installation features monuments towering over 12 feet high, built with over 50,000 pounds of ice. Washingtonians can fulfill their subzero dreams for a weekend. Follow along on social media with @CityCenterDC #CCDCHolidays for weather updates and more.

Where: DC Armory| Capitol Hill, DC
When: Saturday, 11am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Explore the city’s many public school PK3-12 options for your child. Representatives from DC public schools (DCPS) and DC public charter schools will showcase their programs, just in time to help you make informed school selections for the 2018-19 school year common lottery. The event will also feature many free services and fun activities for the whole family, including games and entertainment; sports activities; story time; and flu shots, immunizations, and dental services.

Baltimore for a Buck
Where: Around Baltimore, MD
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: $1 or less!

In the spirit of the holidays, the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore presents Dollar or Less Days this weekend when participating attractions will open their doors offering free or $1 admission! The Maryland Science Center, Port Discovery, National Aquarium, Historic Ships of Baltimore, Jewish Museum of Maryland, Christmas Village, and more exciting places will be welcoming guests to take advantage. Go here for the full list of participating venues.

Holiday Family Day
Where: National Air & Space Museum | National Mall, DC
When: Saturday, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Join a festive Holiday Family Day at the National Air and Space Museum. Take a look at the winter night sky for unique constellations you can only see during the winter solstice and learn how air and space technology make holiday travel, communication, and shopping possible. The event will also feature hands-on activities, a scavenger hunt, and special performances.

Winter Wonderland Sing-Along
Where: Balducci’s | Reston, VA 20190
When: Saturday, 11am – 12pm
Admission: Free, but plan to dine there!

Winter Wonderland is a free, fun and interactive sing-along for your 0-6 year olds, sponsored by Balducci’s in Reston. Enjoy live music for kids, a hot chocolate bar, a cookie decorating station, and more! Limited capacity, first come, first serve. Get a coupon here for $10 off your next purchase of $50 or more at Balducci’s in Reston (valid 12/8-12/15).

Holiday Happenings
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

There’s holiday inspired fun to be had all over the area in all kinds of ways at every price point. See model trains buzz around model train stations at the US Botanic Garden’s Season’s Greetings exhibit. Or take the Magical Holiday Express at the B&O Railroad Museum. Enjoy an atrium full of activities for little ones at Christmas on the Potomac. View holiday planes and trains at the Aviation Museum. Take a street car ride with Santa at the Holly Trolley Fest. Go on a holiday scavenger hunt (and shop for gifts) at the Mansion on O Street. Find details on all of these events and more are in the 2018 Holiday Guide.

Maker Morning
Where: Hirshhorn Museum | National Mall, DC
When: Saturday, 10am
Admission: Free

The Hirshhorn’s favorite kids’ series is back and brighter than ever, this time inspired by Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’s use of light and technology in his participatory Pulse installations. MAKER MORNINGS: Illuminate offers fun and festive hands-on activities for curious creators of all ages. It will be offered every Saturday through December!

Show Time
Where: Venues around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by show

* It’s the first weekend of My Father’s Dragon at Synetic Theatre
* Interact with Cri Cri: The Mexican Singing Cricket at Source Theater
* Little ones can find out How to Catch a Star at the Kennedy Center
* Reserve free tickets for Virginia Ballet Company & School’s The Nutcracker, this week’s Saturday Morning at the National performance
* See a fairytale come to life with Cinderella at Imagination Stage
* Enjoy a performance of Billy Elliot: The Musical at Signature Theatre
* Anything Goes is on the Arena Stage
* Tween ages up can enjoy Miss Saigon at the Kennedy Center
* Be sure to check for ticket discounts to these and more productions!

Holidays on the Stage
Where: Local theatres
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by venue

If you’re looking for holiday-inspired entertainment to get into the spirit, it’s starting! Several productions of The Nutcracker will enchant audiences of all ages this weekend. Have some holiday fun at Fancy Nancy’s Splendiferous Christmas at Adventure Theatre or Elf the Musical at Olney Theatre. Celebrate the season with A Candlelight Christmas at the Kennedy Center. Join the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future as they lead Scrooge on A Christmas Carol journey at Ford’s Theatre. Enjoy Madeleine’s Christmas with Creative Cauldron. Get details on these shows and see what else is coming up soon in the 2018 Guide to the Holiday Season.

Holiday Pajama Party
Where: Ballston Quarter | Ballston, VA
When: Saturday, 1-3pm
Admission: Free

Pull out your holiday jammies for a fun afternoon at Ballston Quarter’s Holiday Pajama Party. While the special showing of the Grinch has sold out, there will be an afternoon celebration from 1-3pm with complimentary holiday sips and bites.

Chanukah on Ice
Where: Pentagon Row Ice Rink | Pentagon City, VA
When: December 8, 6-8:30pm
Admission: $10-$13

Celebrate Chanukah with a giant menorah lighting, holiday treats, raffles, and ice skating! Ice skate rentals are included, but food will be sold separately — hot latkes, Kosher hot dogs, and refreshments will be available.

Sock Monkey Saturday
Where: American Visionary Art Museum | Baltimore, MD
When: Saturday, 10am – 2pm
Admission: Free

Don’t let the holidays drive you BANANAS! Relax by making your very own Sock Monkey—a great last-minute gift, and just something fun to do with the family. AVAM’s huge sock monkey making extravaganza is free to attend, but you must bring your own socks: 2 pair, clean & colorful (1 for your monkey and 1 to donate), and scissors to participate. Instructions, stuffing, sewing needles, thread, visionary baubles and camaraderie will be provided. The entire museum is open 10am-6pm — regular admission applies for that. Read more about the AVAM in this KFDC post.

Cirque on Ice
Where: Capitol One Arena, Penn Quarter, DC
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Ticket prices vary

Cirque du Soleil is thrilled to return to the Washington area with its coolest arena show yet – Cirque du Soleil’s CRYSTAL. This unique arena production showcases synchronized, freestyle and extreme skating alongside circus disciplines such as swinging trapeze, aerial straps and hand to hand. Watch world-class ice skaters and acrobats explore their new frozen playground with speed and fluidity as they challenge the laws of gravity with never-before-seen acrobatics. Cirque du Soleil’s CRYSTAL fuses circus arts and the world of ice skating in a stunning new production that will take the audience on a journey into a surreal world where figure skating blends with acrobatics and aerial feats.

Christmas on Wheels
Where: Around DC
When: Friday, Saturday, & Sunday
Admission: $34-64

Enjoy the holidays in DC in a new, active way! Bike and Roll DC is offering ”Christmas on Wheels” Bicycle and Segway Tours. Led by professionally trained guides, these adventures are filled with historical anecdotes, of the festive variety, as riders arrive at each tour stop.Tour highlights include the Holiday Showcase at the U.S. Botanic Garden, the Capitol Christmas tree, hotel and Embassy decorations, a hot chocolate stop, the White House Christmas tree, and more! Families and children of all ages are welcome with special kids equipment for young riders ages 2 and up. Tours are offered Wednesdays through Sundays from through December 22.

Breakfast with Santa
Where: Clyde’s Restaurants around the DMV
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: Cost of your meal

Usher in the holiday season with Breakfast with Santa at Clyde’s! Visit the websites to see when locations are hosting brunch and enjoy a visit with Santa. Reservations are suggested, and the regular a la carte brunch menu and kids menu will be available. Guests are encouraged to bring a new, unwrapped toy for Toys for Tots.

Winter’s Eve
Where: Glen Echo Park | Glen Echo, MD
When: Saturday, 4-7pm
Admission: Free

Get into the holiday spirit at Glen Echo Park’s annual Winter’s Eve celebration. It’s free, open to the public, and visitors of all ages can enjoy performances, arts & crafts open studios, hot chocolate, and a holiday sing-along. Browse and buy fine artworks at the Holiday Art Show and artist studios. Kids and adults can create gifts to share in the holiday-themed craft rooms.

18th Century Christmas in the Country
Where: Claude Moore Colonial Farm | McLean, VA
When: Sunday, 1-4pm
Admission: $3/child, $5/adult

Have you ever wondered how 18th century Virginians celebrated Christmas? Join the colonial farm to find out! Enjoy colonial music, dancing, games, singing, and much merrymaking. Hot spiced apple cider and ginger cookies will be available for you to try. And FYI: This may be the last event conducted by the Claude Moore Colonial Farm unless the Senate introduces legislation to save the living history museum before it recesses for the year. 🙁

Santa on the Firetruck
Where: Whitehall Farm Store | Clifton, VA
When: Sunday, 10am – 2pm
Admission: $10/family

Join Whitehall’s Farm Store to meet Santa and check out a firetruck from the Burke Volunteer Fire and Rescue. This is a FREE family friendly event. Take a wagon ride around the farm (weather permitting) complete with hot coco and apple cider!

Brunch and Kids Cooking Class with Santa
Where: SER | Ballston, VA
When: Sunday, 11:30am
Admission: $25/child, $50/adult

SER, a neighborhood restaurant in Ballston, is offering a special holiday brunch the next two Sundays! Enjoy delicious fare starting at 11:30am along with a visit from Santa and a cooking class for kids. At 12:30pm. During this brunch they’ll be offering a prix fix menu.

Kidz Graffiti Party
Where: Art Jamz | Dupont Circle, DC
When: Sunday, 12:30-2:30pm
Admission: $10
Get messy like a street artist at our Art Jamz! Children of all ages are invited to paint their very own master pieces on the ArtJamz walls.The lounge will be open for accompanying parents, and they’ll be playing jamming tunes to inspire all the little artists. Tickets include 1-hour Graffiti Pass with unlimited access to paints and art materials. Afterwards, families can purchase additional studio time and canvas and let your visions come to life off the wall!

Giant Lego Menorah Build
Where: Northeast Neighborhood Library | Capitol Hill, DC
When: December 9, 3-4pm
Admission: Free

Join American Friends of Lubavitch (Chabad) for some Chanukah fun! Along with helping build a giant Lego menorah, guests can enjoy even more festivities, including Chanukah crafts, a photo booth, hot latkes and doughnuts, and a Lego dreidel to take home. RSVP to let them know you’re coming.

Prospective Families Camp
Where: Capitol Learning Academy | Capitol Hill, DC
When: December 22-23, 9am – 3pm
Admission: $40/day

Capitol Learning Academy, a new elementary school opening on Capitol Hill in fall 2019, is hosting a weekend camp for families who plan to apply, are thinking of applying, or even still undecided but would like to learn more. Kids ages 6-9 can experience a two-day trial of the school, find out what it’s all about, and see if it’s the right fit. The weekend program will include coding, reading, writing, virtual reality, and hands-on leaning, and kids can go for one or both days! RSVP to [email protected]

* The 2018 KFDC Holiday Gift Guide has present suggestions for peops of all ages at all price points (even free!), from kids’ products to theatre tickets to unique experiences to gifts that give back.
* Shakespeare Theatre Company’s annual Family Week is December 10-17. The family-friendly celebration of Twelfth Night is a perfect way to introduce kids to The Bard.
* If there’s any great time to start using eBates, it’s now when you’re likely doing a lot of online shopping — you can get cash back for just about every purchase you make.
* The line-up of local live entertainment this winter was just posted, so you can start saving your seats (and possibly get some holiday gift ideas)!
* You can still get 50-60% off cards + free shipping with code SHIPCARDS at Shutterfly — valid through 12/8.
* I love getting feedback from you guys both about your adventures around DC and my blog in general, and I think other KFDC readers would benefit from it, too — what you especially liked (or didn’t) about a particular place, whether or not you agree with my reviews, tips you might have for others. So, I wanted to take a second to encourage comments on the blog. Leave them on posts about the places you visit, or in the Weekday and Weekend Round-Ups or wherever you see fit. I’m always interested to hear your thoughts! 🙂

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Filed under 2018, All ages, Annual, Chanukah, Christmas, DC, Fall, Free, Holidays, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Seasonal, Special Event, Virginia, Weekend

The Weekend Round-Up:
November 30 – December 2

Play with light in the New Nature exhibit at ARTECHOUSE

Happy Weekend!

Hamilton Sing-Along
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: Friday, 6pm
Admission: Free

Kick off the weekend singing some your favorite show tunes! The evening’s Millennium Stage performance is a Target Family Night: Honors Week Tribute featuring a Hamilton Sing-Along. Join noted DC musical theater performers in saluting the creators of Hamilton. It’s a celebration of the upcoming 41st Kennedy Center Honors, in which the co-creators of Hamilton – writer and actor Lin-Manuel Miranda, director Thomas Kail, choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler, and music director Alex Lacamoire—will receive special recognition for their groundbreaking work.

Nationals Winterfest
Where: Nationals Park | Capitol Riverfront, DC
When: December 1-2
Admission: $23-39/adult (look for a discount)

The annual weekend-long festival featuring Nationals players, coaches, and front office staff returns to Nationals Park as a celebration of baseball and the holidays. Indoor and outdoor activities will include autograph sessions, curling stations, interactive games, clubhouse tours, batting cages, and of course photo opportunities with your favorite Nationals mascots, the Bullpen Cart, and Santa! Enjoy these activities and more with s’mores, adult hot chocolate, and other specialty food items at the home of your Washington Nationals!

Story Time with Santa
Where: Kramerbooks | Dupont Circle, DC
When: Saturday, 10am – 12pm
Admission: $30/child

Make it a storybook holiday season this year and join Kramerbooks for Story Time with Santa! Gather ‘round to hear Santa tell your favorite festive holiday tales AND receive: Two Polaroid Instax mini photos of your child with Santa, a double-sided holiday ornament frame for each child, cider and hot chocolate for the kids (and nice parents), and spiked cider (for the naughty parents). This will take place every Saturday through December, and only 20 children’s tickets are available for each Saturday, so secure your spot soon!

Holiday Ballet Family Day
Where: Smithsonian American Art Museum | Penn Quarter, DC
When: Saturday, 11:30am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate the holidays with SAAM and The Washington Ballet. Acclaimed Artistic Director Julie Kent will give an introduction of how the ballet of the nation’s capital puts on their annual performance of The Nutcracker, then dancers will perform excerpts from the charming holiday classic. You can also enjoy holiday crafts, a scavenger hunt, and tasty winter treats from the Courtyard Cafe. 

Wonder & Wander
Where: Woodend Nature Sanctuary | Chevy Chase, MD
When: Saturday, 9:30-11am
Admission: $10/family

Join Audubon Nature Preschool for story hikes, tours of their classrooms and grounds, and a Q&A with staff. There will also be a bake sale, including your morning coffee and hot cider, and a gently used children’s book sale – every child leaves with a free book!  Register in advance here.

Open Studio: Nature-Inspired Holiday Decorations
Where: Sackler Gallery | National Mall, DC
When: Saturday,12–4 pm
Admission: Free

As the days get shorter and colder, take time to appreciate the beauty of nature in Asian art. Drop by the ImaginAsia Studio in the Sackler for a family-friendly open workshop. Take a tour (offered 12:30pm & 2:30pm) to explore how artists depict the natural world in the permanent collections, then return to the studio to make your own nature-inspired holiday decorations. All ages welcome with adult companions.

Santa Fly-In
Where: College Park Aviation Museum | College Park, MD
When: Saturday, 12-4pm
Admission: $5

Santa is making an early appearance this holiday season. It will be an experience to remember as you watch Santa fly into the historic College Park Airport (it’s the world’s oldest continuously operating airport)! Make some holiday arts and crafts, then have your picture taken with Santa Claus after his big flight.

Scottish Christmas Walk Parade
Where: Old Town | Alexandria, VA
When: Saturday, 11am
Admission: Free

For the 48th consecutive year, the Scottish Christmas Walk Parade will showcase marching units filled with the magnificent tartans of Scottish Clans, the stirring sound of Scottish bagpipes and drums, Scottish dancers, reenactment groups, Scottie dogs, dignitaries, classic cars, Santa Claus, and more. The parade begins at St. Asaph and Wilkes Streets and concludes at Market Square with a massed band concert, rain or shine. There will also be other festive events throughout the weekend — see the website for details.

New Nature
Where: ARTECHOUSE | Southwest DC
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: $15/adult, $8/child

The newest exhibit at ARTECHOUSE invites you to experience nature in a whole new way — through a colorful digital menagerie of nature-inspired creatures and plant life. It’s full of stunning imagery and fun interactives that all ages will find delightful. Even if you don’t plan to go this weekend, plan a visit for later, and snag tickets now. And FYI: IF you go Sunday through Thursday you can get a family package — 20% off an adult and child ticket.

Creativity Workshop
Where: The Phillips Collection | Dupont Circle
When: Saturday, 10:30am – 12:30pm
Admission: $18/adult & child, $15/members ($5/extra person)

Let your creativity fly at the Phillips’ new art-making stations — it’s an art materials “petting zoo” for the whole family! The workshop includes an Artful Wellness Kit for parents and caregivers. Geared toward families with children ages 2 to 8.

Show Time
Where: Venues around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by show

* Little ones can find out How to Catch a Star at the Kennedy Center
* Wheaton Family Theatre Series Saturday presents Happenstance Theater’s Pinot & Augustine on Saturday
* Fairfax City Theatre presents The Little Princess
* See a fairytale come to life with Cinderella at Imagination Stage
* The Nutcracker opens at The Puppet Co., and Nutcracker Fantasy is the featured Tiny Tots show all weekend
* Enjoy a performance of Billy Elliot: The Musical at Signature Theatre
* Anything Goes is on the Arena Stage

Holidays on the Stage
Where: Local theatres
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by venue

If you’re looking for holiday-inspired entertainment to get into the spirit, it’s starting! Several productions of The Nutcracker will enchant audiences of all ages this weekend. Have some holiday fun at Fancy Nancy’s Splendiferous Christmas at Adventure Theatre or Elf the Musical at Olney Theatre. Join the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future as they lead Scrooge on A Christmas Carol journey at Ford’s Theatre. Get details on these shows and see what else is coming up soon in the 2018 Guide to the Holiday Season.

Holly TrolleyFest
Where: National Capitol Trolley Museum | Colesville, MD
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: $7/adults, $5/ages 2-17 (includes unlimited rides)

The Trolley Museum’s annual holiday fest begins this weekend. Guests can ride with Santa on the street cars and enjoy the model garden railway and holiday village inside the museum. Don’t miss the rest of the exhibits that offer a glimpse into the history of street cars.

Photos with Santa
Where: Bean Bar Loudoun | Leesburg, VA
When: Saturday, 2-4pm
Admission: Free

Bring the kids to see Santa, share a Christmas list, and snap a photo for your Christmas cards! Every year, local realtor hosts this free event for clients and the community network. In addition to a professional Santa and photographer, there will also be goody bags for the first 100 attendees and opportunities to
win door prizes, including gift cards to area businesses!

King Bullfrog Concert
Where: BloomBars | Columbia Heights, DC
When: Saturday, 4pm
Admission: Free

Jam out with the local kindie rock fave at BloomBars on Saturday afternoon! Not only will there be great music, the venue has loads of instruments for the kids (and grown-ups!) to groove along with the band.

Holiday Sing-A-Long
Where: Wolf Trap | Vienna, VA
When: Saturday, 4pm
Tickets: Free

Wolf Trap’s Holiday Sing-A-Long is an annual musical celebration hosting a performance by the United States Marine Band and a Sing-A-Long of Christmas carols and Hanukkah songs with choir and vocal groups from the metropolitan Washington area. Admission is free, and no tickets are required. Parking is free, but limited, so plan on arriving early. Bring along a new, unwrapped toy to donate to Toys for Tots, a bell for a “Jing-A-Long” during the singing of “Jingle Bells,” and a candle to join the tradition of exiting the Filene Center with a candlelight processional during the last verse of “Silent Night.”

Holiday Craft Show
Where: Falls Church Community Center | Falls Church, VA
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: See below

Deck the halls during the holiday season with special gifts from the annual Holiday Gift and Craft Show. More than 50 crafters and merchants show their wares selling unique handmade items, baked goods, and more during the first weekend in December. There will also be special activities for kids, including a Children’s Holiday Shoppe, a show by Louis the Magician, and Lunch with Santa. Admission is $1 for the Craft Show, but kids’ activities cost extra — see the website for details.

Wizard School Scavenger Hunt
Where: National Gallery of Art | National Mall, DC
When: Saturday, 2-4pm
Admission: $17.50/ages 10-17, $19.50/adult

Join Watson Adventures on a unique Harry Potter-themed scavenger hunt that kids and adults will love! Follow in the footsteps of young wizards on a field trip to the National Gallery in search of art that echoes characters, places and enchanted objects in the famed Harry Potter books and movies. The hunt is not an addition to or variation on Harry’s adventures, but instead references to the books will provide a surprising bridge to many strange and wonderful works of art. This hunt is designed for kids and adults to do together (but all-adult teams are allowed to compete separately) Kids must be accompanied by an adult. Read about this super fun adventure in this KFDC post.

Healthy First Saturday & Super Sunday
Where: Port Discovery | Baltimore, MD
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: $15.95/age 2+

There’s special fun going on at Port Discovery all weekend. On Saturday, get the wiggles out as you learn about healthy activities and habits for your little one — and your entire family! Dance, sing and get active with Faza Fam Family Jam. Learn about science at our STEM Station, and help Port Discovery kick-off birthday celebrations in birthday-themed Pop-Up Art stations and Mother Goose on the Loose(r) programs. Plus, join in a fun holiday tradition as you decorate gingerbricks with the fantastic chefs from McCormick! On Sunday, experience Port Discovery’s indoor magic designed just for kids.  Explore movement and music together as you bop along to Tiny Tots Music Time.  Join interactive story times, and work together to create art or science projects during Pop-Up Art or at STEM Stations. Plus, build early literacy skills for infants and toddlers in Mother Goose on the Loose(r).

Glow with It
Where: Georgetown, DC
When: Saturday & Sunday (& through January 6)

See Georgetown in a whole new gorgeous light — literally. Every evening through January 6, the neighborhood will sparkle with modern light art installations on exhibit throughout the bustling community, the region’s only curated outdoor public light art experience. Works of local, regional, and international artists will be on display in both public and privately-owned spaces, including M Street, along the C&O Canal, and more nearby places. Take the family to dinner, then go for a stroll to check them all out. Get a glimpse of a past light show here.

Let There Be Lights
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by location

Take a drive or a stroll through one of the many light displays in the area. The twinkling exhibits feature all kinds of delightful, festive scenes –holiday faves, animals, gardens, and the landscape illuminated in brilliant colors. You can find details for all of them in the 2018 Holiday Guide.

The District’s Holiday Boat Parade
Where: The Wharf | Southwest DC
When: Saturday, 5:30pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate the holidays and see the beautifully decorated boats pass by. Get into the spirit as you decorate cookies and craft your own boat. Warm up by the big fire pit and visit the lighted Christmas Tree. Take the kids ice skating, and adults can sample winter drinks at our Waterfront Wine & Beer Garden. Bring the whole fam to meet Santa and make memories during this annual DC tradition!

Alexandria Boat Parade of Lights

Where: Alexandria City Marina | Alexandria, VA
When: Saturday, 5:30pm
Admission: Free

Alexandria’s harbor will shine as dozens of brightly lit boats cruise the Potomac River at the historic waterfront for the 19th annual Alexandria Holiday Boat Parade of Lights. Enjoy festivities out on the dock 4-7pm, including a Letters to Santa postcard pop-up, a DIY holiday wood ornament craft activity from AR Workshop Alexandria, and a hot chocolate bar from Dolci Gelati. Parade-goers are invited to step into the Torpedo Factory Art Center, located at the Alexandria City Marina, for their annual holiday festivities from 2-8pm.

Gingerbread Cookie Decorating
Where: Van Ness Main Street | Van Ness, DC
When: Sunday
Admission: Free

Head to this Holiday Pop-UP and enjoy shopping with local makers, Christmas tree sales from Olde City Farm and on Sunday, a gingerbread cookie decorating event with Bread Furst! Al children will receive one gingerbread cookie, freshly baked by Bread Furst, and a table full of decorative candies and icing. The best part? The kids take home the cookie to hang on the tree (or to eat:). They’ll have tables and about 12 chairs set-up for the kids, rotating spots about every 20 minutes (to give lots of kids a chance to decorate!). For kids 13 and under while supplies last.

More Holiday Happenings
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

There are so many more great activities running through the season to celebrate the holidays in DC. Watch model trains buzz around models of U.S. train stations at the U.S. Botanic Garden Season’s Greetings exhibit. See the National Christmas Tree on the Ellipse. Enjoy Christmas on the Potomac at National Harbor. Deck the Halls at Tudor Place. Join the Frost Fest at Pentagon Row. If you hope to hit ‘em all, you better get on it! A few are highlighted below, but get the complete rundown on all the area’s holiday happenings, see the 2018 KFDC Guide to the Holiday Season.

Make Room for Latkes!
Where: Edlavitch DCJCC | Downtown DC
When: Sunday, 10:30am – 12pm
Admission: $10/family in advance, $15 at door

Chanukah is coming and with it, eight nights of family fun! Join PJ Library, the Edlavitch DCJCC, the Milton Gottesman Jewish Day School of the Nation’s Capital, Federation’s Jewish Food Experience and the interfaith program, Love and Religion, for hands-on Chanukah activities including crafts, cooking, singing, candle lighting, latkes, a mitzvah (good deed) project and take-home goodies. It’s a perfect morning for Jewish and interfaith families with children ages 2 and older.

Come Light the National Menorah
Where: President’s Park | The National Ellipse, DC
When: Sunday, 4pm
Admission: Free, but you must request tickets

This is the Jewish counterpart to the National Christmas Tree Lighting. Every Chanukah, the National Menorah is lit in a ceremony on the Ellipse. Along with the lighting, there will be live entertainment, plus menorah kits and dreidels to take home. And if you don’t mind waiting in line afterward, you can stay for latkes and donuts. Tickets are free, but you need to sign up for them through the website.

More Chanukah Events
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

There are even more ways to celebrate the start of the Chanukah around the area. So if you want to spin the dreidle, enjoy crafts and snacks, and have a fun start to the Festival of Lights, check out the Chanukah section of the KFDC Guide to the Holiday Season in DC.

Chocolate Binge Festival
Where: Downtown Annapolis, MD
When: December 2, 12-5pm
Admission: $5

Everyone loves chocolate and Annapolis will be celebrating by filling West Street with local chocolatiers ready to help chocoholics get through the holiday season. Prepare your sweet tooth with an afternoon of chocolate decadence as over 20 local and regional chocolatiers vend their specialies, plus make s’mores at a bonfire in the street, and enjoy hot cocoa from the popo. The Festival will also feature family friendly entertainment, holiday shopping, and the lighting of West Street’s BGE Holiday Light Canopy.

* There’s a giveaway going on — you can win a Family 4-Pack of tickets to see Elf the Musical at Olney Theatre!
* The Washington Post On Parenting blog has a nice article on raising generous children.
* Union Market will be open on Mondays in December! (That’s the one day of the week it’s usually closed.)
* Need a cocktail party convo starter? See this Instagram post by the National Zoo. 🙂
* A new season of one of the best TV shows (imo) begins this coming week, December 5!


Filed under 2018, All ages, Annual, Chanukah, Christmas, DC, Fall, Free, Holidays, Maryland, Seasonal, Special Event, Virginia, Weekend

Where to Play on the Weekdays: November 26-30

Hands on (or would that be on hands?) at the Natural History Museum

Monday – Let imaginations run wild with pretend play at the Playseum in Bethesda. Little ones can visit the pet shop, shop in the makret, dress up in costumes, enjoy story time, and do some art projects — all possibilities in the many themed rooms and crafts areas. Hours are 10am – 5pm. Admission is $9/person.

Tuesday – Visit one of DC’s most tried and true for kids: The National Museum of Natural History. With exhibits to indulge all kinds of interests, you really can’t go wrong. Gawk at the beasts in the Hall of Mammals, hold live creatures in the Insect Zoo, check out marine life in Sant Ocean Hall, learn about early humans and see what you’d look like as a Neanderthal, get hands on in Q?rius (or Q?rius Jr. for little ones Tues – Fri). KFDC Tip: On Tuesdays, you can get free entry to the Butterfly Pavilion, and I recommend getting tickets for it when you arrive, since entry is timed, and yours may not begin right away. Admission to the museum is free, the Butterfly Pavilion is $7.50/adult, $6/child. Museum hours are 10am – 5:30pm.

And don’t forget to take part in Giving Tuesday! If you want some ideas of where to donate, the GIVE page has a long list of charities and causes, all of them shared by KFDC readers. (And if you have one you’d like to highlight, leave a comment on that page, and I’ll add it.)

Wednesday – Head to the Hirshhorn for STORYTIME from 10-11am. During this session, examine abstract paintings by Charline von Heyl and enjoy a read-aloud of The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. Following the story, stay and play with Snowy Day-inspired materials. Be sure to check out the Pulse while you’re there — the exhibit will capture your heart. Admission to all of it is free.

Thursday – Explore and play, indoors and out, at Potomac Overlook Regional Park in Arlington. Hike the short trails and let the kids romp on the playground. Then visit the nature center where you can see turtles, snakes, and other creatures and learn about the area’s natural environment. Hours are 10am – 5pm, Tuesday – Sunday. Admission is free.

In the evening, attend the annual Norwegian Christmas Tree Lighting at Union Station. The celebration will also feature lots of live entertainment and a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus. Festivities begin at 6pm, and admission is free.

Friday – Catch a perfromance of Arts on the Horizon’s Adventures with Mr. Bear. Showtime is 10:30am at The Lab at Convergence in Alexandria. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased in advance here. (FYI: The show tuns through December 15 at that venue, then at the Atlas Performing Arts Center December 18-22.)

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Filed under 2018, All ages, DC, Fall, Free, Maryland, Virginia, Weekdays

The Weekend Round-Up: November 23-25

‘Tis officially the season in DC!

Happy Weekend!

Season’s Greenings
Where: U.S. Botanic Garden | National Mall area, DC
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free

Easily one of DC’s most popular holiday attractions, Season’s Greenings is an annual delight for all ages. The conservatory exhibit features Washington landmarks constructed from plant materials, including a new botanical inspired National Museum of African American History & Culture. But the highlight, hands-down, is the garden railway, which never fails to impress and enchant with intricate, imaginative designs. This year’s Roadside Attractions-themed exhibit is as pretty and whimsical as it is impressive. Get a glimpse of it before you go in this new post!

Native American Heritage Day: Family Fun & Giving Thanks
Where: American Indian Museum | National Mall, DC
When: Friday, 10am – 4pm
Admission: Free

This celebration of Native American Heritage Day features hands-on activities, “make-and-takes,” and music and interactive dance presentations. See the website for the day’s schedule. Most will take place in the Potomac Atrium, and the ImagiNATIONS activities center on the 3rd level is always fulls of interactive fun and learning for kids.

Where: National Building Museum | Judiciary Square, DC
When: Friday, 10am – 5pm
Admission: $10/adult, $7/child, free/members

View the results of CANstruction, a creative design-build competition that benefits the Capital Area Food Bank as teams from DC architecture and design firms use their skills to build sculptures out of cans of food. You can vote for your favorite with the donation of a canned good. Museum hours are 10am – 5pm. PS: It’s “buy one get one free” admission for the day with the canned good donation! Of course, while you’re there, tour the rest of the exhibits, especially PLAY WORK BUILD for kids!

Where: Throughout the DMV
When: All weekend long
Admission:Varies by Locale

I love this initiative started by REI. Skip the shopping (or do it off hours online) and get out to enjoy some family QT outdoors. You’ve got your pick of places around the DC-Metro for adventures in the fresh air. Take a hike, hit a playground, explore a garden, visit animals, or see what else there is to do al fresco in this post with tons of inspiration for fun in the sun. Be sure to bundle up — it’s going to be cooold.

Where: Adventure Park at Sandy Spring | Sandy Spring, MD
When: Friday, Saturday, & Sunday
Admission: $29-56

After all of that turkey, what’s better than a climb in the trees? Bring out-of-town relatives or just the fam to the Adventure Park for a day of navigating the ropes courses. There are 13 trails, 29 zip lines, 6 difficulty levels, and almost 200 challenge bridges — something for everyone! Thankszipping is officially Friday, but they’re open Saturday and Sunday, too. Read about one of our past experiences at the Adventure Park.

Light Up Old Town
Where: Market Square | Old Town Alexandria, VA
When: Friday, 6-8pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate Alexandria’s official start to the holiday season in Old Town’s Market Square this evening. Along with the tree lighting, entertainment will include a visit from Santa, musical performances, plus caroling and a community sing-a-long.

Light Up Downtown DC
Where: CityCenterDC | Downtown DC
When: Saturday, 6pm
Admission: Free

CityCenterDC will kick off the holiday season with an exciting evening of celebrations! You’ll be treated to a joyful music performance by The Washington Chorus and an official lighting ceremony and countdown emceed by NBC4’s Eun Yang. Families will be entertained with balloon artists, face painters, holiday activities, and more. Enjoy the dazzling 75 foot holiday tree, two resident 25-foot reindeer, and the return of our Palmer Alley overhead holiday display!

Night Lights
Where: Around the DMV
When: Evenings throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

Twinkling lights forming enchanting displays are easily a holiday season favorite. The popular and free ZooLights begins this weekend (FYI: the DC Circulator is offering special weekend shuttle service to ZooLights from the Woodley Park Metro for just $1/ride! Several parks and gardens in the area have also transformed into a sparkling wonderlands. Some you can walk through for an up-close experience, others you tour by car. If you opt for the latter, dress the kids in PJ’s, turn up the holiday tunes, and bring along a thermos of hot chocolate — it doesn’t get much cozier than that. Find out where to see the lights in the holiday guide.

Mount Vernon by Candlelight
Where: Mount Vernon Estate, VA
When: Friday & Saturday
Admission: $25/age 12+, $17/ages 6-11, free/5 & under

Enjoy a festive evening at George Washington’s old digs. Take a guided, lantern-lit tour of the historic estate. Inside the Mansion, Martha Washington and other Mount Vernon residents will welcome you into their home and share stories of past Christmases. After the tour, there will be 18th-century dancing, just as the Washingtons might have done during the holidays. Enjoy cookies while sipping warm cider, listening to fireside caroling, and paying a visit to Aladdin the Christmas camel.

Small Business Saturday
Where: Around the DMV
When: Saturday!
Admission: Free, but plan to buy & support local

If you’re planning to do some holiday shopping this weekend, make a point of going to local, independent stores, both to score great, unique gifts and to support people and places that help make our communities thrive.

Show Time
Where: Venues around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by show

* Get the holiday fun started with Fancy Nancy’s Splendiferous Christmas at Adventure Theatre
*Little ones can find out How to Catch a Star at the Kennedy Center
* See a fairytale come to life with Cinderella at Imagination Stage
* The Nutcracker opens at The Puppet Co., and Nutcracker Fantasy is the featured Tiny Tots show all weekend
* Spend Saturday morning with The Great Zucchini at Jammin Java
* Enjoy a performance of Billy Elliot: The Musical at Signature Theatre
* Anything Goes is on the Arena Stage
* Anastasia is enchanting audiences at the Kennedy Center

Sensory Friendly Screening
Where: Regal Rockville Center Stadium | Rockville, MD
When: Saturday, 10:30am
Admission: $6.50

Catch a Sensory-Friendly Screening of Ralph Breaks the Internet on Saturday morning. The newest My Way Matinee from Regal gives everyone the opportunity to experience a movie once a month with the sound turned down and the lights turned up. Watch the trailer for the movie here.

Portrait Stories & Discoveries
Where: National Portrait Gallery | Penn Quarter, DC
When: Saturday & Sunday, 1-4pm
Admission: Free

Drop in at the Portrait Gallery to listen to a story and create art inspired by someone in the collection — this weekend features Chief Joseph. When you’re done there, pick up a Portrait Discovery Kit to explore the museum (and the American Art Museum housed in the same building). For more about the program and gallery, see this post about a past experience and this one with scenes from a more recent visit.

Weekend Walk-In: Crazy Crown
Where: American Visionary At Museum | Baltimore, MD
When: Saturday, 1-4pm
Admission: $5

Join the museum for this month’s Weekend Walk-in, a hands-on, drop-in, art-making workshop in the AVAM classroom! During this session, create a custom royal headpiece just for YOU using shiny tape, faux flowers & more — because everyone needs a crown. Supplies & boundless inspiration provided. Read more about the wonderful American Visionary Art Museum here.

Watch the Wizards
Where: Capitol One Arena | Penn Quarter, DC
When: Saturday, 8pm
Admission: Ticket prices vary

The Wizards are playing on home court on Saturday evening. See them work their magic on the New Orleans Pelicans. Plan on dinner in Penn Quarter before — there are plenty of family-friendly places to go in the neighborhood. Some recs: Jaleo, Camine’s, Oyamel, Shake Shack, and Pi Pizzeria.

Holidays on the Stage
Where: Local theatres
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by venue

If you’re looking for holiday-inspired entertainment to get into the spirit, it’s starting! Several productions of The Nutcracker will enchant audiences of all ages this weekend. Have some holiday fun at Fancy Nancy’s Splendiferous Christmas at Adventure Theatre or Elf the Musical at Olney Theatre. Join the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future as they lead Scrooge on A Christmas Carol journey at Ford’s Theatre. Get details on these shows and see what else is coming up soon in the 2018 Guide to the Holiday Season.

More Holiday Happenings
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

This weekend is the start of even more big holiday events around DC and the continuation of others. If you hope to hit ‘em all during the season, you should get going now. For the complete rundown on all the area’s holiday happenings, see the 2018 KFDC Guide to the Holiday Season in DC.

Downtown Holiday Market
Where: 8th & F Streets NW | Penn Quarter, DC
When: Through December 23, 12-8pm
Admission: Free

This, to me, is the holiday market in DC, and it opens for the season on Friday. It’s not even so much about the merchandise for sale (though there’s always a great variety of gift items — I never leave empty handed). There’s something about the usually bustling block in the middle of Penn Quarter transforming into an open air market for a few weeks that is so charming and kind of magical, making our big city feel like a small town. A bonus is the free live entertainment along with treats and coffee drinks available for purchase. And after you’ve done your shopping and enjoyed a snack and music, you can pop into the National Portrait Gallery/American Art Museum that are literally right next to the market.

Get Your Skate On
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by rink

It’s ice skating season, and just about all outdoor rinks (and indoor, too) around the area are welcoming folks to glide the day — and night — away! Enjoy art as you skate at the Sculpture Garden; circle the rink with costumed characters at Washington Harbor on Saturday morning or Rock n Skate at night; glide over the Anacostia at The Wharf; or do some holiday shopping then skate at Pentagon Row, Veteran’s Plaza, Rockville Town Square, or Reston Town Center. This post has details on alfresco (and indoor) ice skating options in the area.

Insider Info
Where: Around the DMV
When: All weekend long
Admission: Varies by locale

If you’d prefer to spend the day indoors because of weather, or you just want more options for activities around town, this list has over 100 suggestions for things to do!

* This New York Times article has good suggestions for helping victims of the California wildfires.
* Elena Ferrante’s novel, My Brilliant Friend, has been made into a series on HBO, and the first episode did not disappoint. (The rest is getting rave reviews, too!)
* Milk Bar makes the best birthday cake.
* Stitch Fix now serves kids! And would make a great gift idea for little fashionistas. (Disclosure: That’s my referral link.)
* Perhaps, like me, this will help with your reading list for 2019.

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Filed under 2018, All ages, DC, Fall, Free, Maryland, Seasonal, Special Event, Virginia, Weekend