Category Archives: Fall

The Weekend Round-Up: December 12-15

The newest exhibit at ARTECHOUSE is one of many cool activities to enjoy this weekend


Happy Weekend!

Holiday Meetup
Where: The Yards | Capitol Riverfront, DC
When: Thursday, 6-8pm
Admission: Free

Join neighbors for an evening at Light Yards made especially for the Capitol Riverfront community! Stroll through the interactive light show, then pick up swag at the Capitol Riverfront BID tent before heading over to Ice Cream Jubilee for complimentary hot cocoa and Steadfast Supply for holiday cookies and a 10% discount on purchases.

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

I love this holiday market. 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. Even better, 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 the backdrop to the market.

Wreaths Across America
Where: Arlington National Cemetery | Arlington, VA
When: Saturday, opens 7am, wreath placing 9:15am
Admission: Free

This is a chance for the whole family to volunteer. Help place Veterans’ Remembrance Wreaths on the graves of American heroes buried at Arlington National Cemetery. There is no sign-up or age requirement — families are encouraged to volunteer together. Be sure to visit the website for details, including schedule and meeting location. Read about more family-friendly volunteer opportunities around the DC area.

EdFEST
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 2019-20 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.

Smithsonian Winter Family Festival
Where: Smithsonian Castle | National Mall, DC
When: Saturday, 10am – 2pm
Admission: Free

Kick off this holiday season with a special Family Day at the Smithsonian Castle, where there will be special holiday-themed activities for visitors of all ages including. Join a Holiday Story Time at 10:30am and 1pm. Create your own air plant seasonal ornaments. Customize a letter to Santa, or a holiday haiku with the help of poets from Ars Poetica. Take a pis at a special photo station with a holiday backdrop and props. Enjoy musical performances by Chord of Appeals A Cappella and the Capitol Hill Chorale, and take a Castle Tour at 11:30am and 1:30pm.

Holiday Movie Classics
Where: Miracle Theater | Capitol Hill, DC
When: Friday, Saturday, & Sunday
Admission:

Celebrate the season at the Miracle Theater as they show holiday classics all weekend. And on Saturday you can join the The Polar Express Pajama Party at 11am, when you can catch a screening of the film (in PJ’s), then enjoy a visit from Santa. Visit the website to see times and titles of the rest of the movies playing there.

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 America’s Gardens-themed exhibit features structures from botanical gardens across the US. Get a glimpse of it before you go in this KFDC post.

Enchant
Where: Nationals Park | Capitol Riverfront, DC
When: Through December 29
Admission: Varies by Date, time, and age

There’s been a lot of buzz about the new holiday attraction at Nationals Park — and I think it’s deserving. The world’s largest Christmas light maze and market is dazzling and delightful and really captures the spirit of the holidays. Purchase tickets here, and read a KFDC review of it, including tips for visiting, if you haven’t already.

Ice Maze
Where: CityCenterDC | Downtown DC
When: Friday, 4-9pm & Saturday/Sunday, 10am – 9pm
Admission: Free

Get lost in the a-MAZE-ing, magic of the holidays with CityCenterDC’s icy tradition. This year, CityCenterDC is building the largest clear ice maze in the United States built with 110,000 pounds of ice. Washingtonians will not want to escape the towering seven foot walls of this chilly challenge.

AURORA: The Spirit of Northern Lights
Where: ARTECHOUSE | Southwest DC
When: Through January 5
Admission: $16-20/adult, $13-15/senior, $8-10/child

The winter exhibit at ARTECHOUSE celebrates the season with digital art installations and activations inspired by the aurora borealis. It consists of one large-scale and several smaller light art installations, all of them interactive and beautiful, the icy blue, purple, green, and occasionally soft yellow colors giving everything an ethereal feel. Guests can grow leafless winter trees, guide snowballs, and make snowflakes with their own movements detected by sensors. As Sasha aid, “It makes me feel like I have powers!” Get 20% off 2 adults + 2 children Sundays through Thursdays within bar hours (it includes hot chocolate).

Young Learner Tour
Where: Museum of Women in the Arts | Downtown DC
When: Saturday, 10-11am
Admission: Free

Children ages 3 to 6 (and their adults) will get their little bodies moving, minds thinking, hands making, and mouths talking about works of art as they go on an adventure through the galleries and look closely at works in the collection. This “Spotting Shapes and Looking for Lines” themed session will incorporate a variety of fun, hands-on activities for children as they also learn about the museum and how to practice museum manners. FYI: Walk-ins are limited, but you can always stay to tour the museum if it’s full.

Open Studio: Wrap It Up: Holiday Gift Giving
Where: Freer|Sackler Gallery | National Mall, DC
When: Saturday & Sunday, 12-4
Admission: Free

While you make a furoshiki wrapping cloth, learn how this Japanese tradition can help save money and the environment. Also, enjoy a scavenger hunt to explore our new exhibition Hokusai: Mad about Painting. In the studio, make your own holiday decorations using cloth and woodblock materials. All ages are welcome with adult companions.

More Show Time
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by show

* Shakespeare Theatre Company’s version of Peter Pan and Wendy is a magical experience (find discounts)
* See The Snow Queen at Synetic Theatre (find discounts)
* Take littles to see Art on the Horizon’s Squeakers and Mr. Gumdrop
* Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! (The Musical) is at the Kennedy Center (review here, look for tickets here)
* Take the fam to a performance of Singin’ in the Rain at Olney Theatre (find discounts)
* Let Newsies entertain you at Arena Stage (find discounts)
* Take t(w)eens and older to see Fiddler on the Roof at National Theatre
* Make it a date night for Dear Jack Dear Louise at Arena Stage (find discounts)

Holidays on the Stage
Where: Around the DMV
When: Through the holiday season
Tickets: Vary by show

If you’re looking for holiday-inspired entertainment to get into the spirit of the season, there’s plenty of it! Stomp along at Step Afrika’s Magical, Musical Holiday Step Show at the Atlas. There are several versions of The Nutcracker, including one on strings. storybook classics like The Velveteen Rabbit at Adventure Theatre and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe at Imagination Stage. Catch An Irish Carol opening this weekend at Keegan Theatre, and enjoy a Candlelight Christmas at the Kennedy Center. Get details on these shows and many, many more in the 2019 Guide to the Holiday Season.

Winter Open House
Where: Excel Prep Preschool Academy | Alexandria, VA
When: Saturday, 10am – 1pm
Admission: Free

Excel Preparatory Preschool Academy, a new STEAM preschool that just opened in Alexandria, is hosting an Open House on Saturday. Along with guided tours of the school, there will be Tunes 4 Tots music sessions, speech screenings, Harambee with Baba Ras D, photos, and more.

Shop the Square Holiday Market
Where: District Square at The Wharf | Southwest DC
When:Saturday & Sunday, 12pm – 6pm
Admission: Free

Sip, shop, and get ready for the holidays. For two days, District Square at is being transformed into a holiday wonderland complete with live music, a hot drinks bar, and a great selection of gifts and goods from the merchants in the square. Admission is free and all are welcome. There will also be special hands-on classes like gingerbread decorating, jewelry making, and a terrarium workshop — details and registration here. 

A Charlie Brown Christmas
Where: Episcopal Church of the Redeemer | Bethesda, MD
When: Saturday, 3:30-5pm
Admission: $25/adult, free for kids

Enjoy the classic Snoopy movie on the big screen with movie food – followed by the Eric Byrd Trio’s own take on the music from the show in a live jazz set. Suitable for all ages. Kids go free.

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

Celebrate the holiday season at the Park’s annual Winter’s Eve event. Enjoy free activities including holiday crafts, sing-alongs, story-telling, open studios, and a hot chocolate bar. Browse and buy fine artworks at the Holiday Art Show and artist studios.

Christmas is Afoot
Where: Christ Crossman | Falls Church, VA
When: Saturday, 4-7pm
Admission: Free

This Christmas season take a walk through historic Bethlehem! On Saturday, December 14 from 4:00-7:00 PM, Christ Crossman United Methodist Church (384 N Washington St, Falls Church) will open its doors to the community. Christmas is Afoot is a family friendly event with a petting zoo and live nativity. Inside, children will enjoy craft stations and can participate in a service project assembling Power Packs for students in need through Food for Others. Live Christmas music and carols from members of the George Mason High School band, warm cider and hot chocolate. This event is free and open to all!

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

Get into the holiday spirit in all kinds of ways at every price point. Enjoy Christmas at Mount Vernon with fireworks and more. Go see the National Christmas Tree and holiday display on the Ellipse. Join the Russian Winter Festival at Hillwood. Enjoy the free WinterFest in Occoquan. Take a street car ride with Santa at the Holly Trolley Fest. Find details on all of these events and more are in the 2019 Holiday Season Guide.

Open Studio & Ceramics Sale
Where: Hollow Works Studio | H Street NE, DC
When: Sunday, 11am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Shop for one-of-a-kind ceramics in the artist’s studio! Kate Hardy of Hollow Works Ceramics creates and sells beautiful, unique work — bowls, mugs, vases, and more — that would make perfect holiday presents. In addition to showcasing a lot of new work, she’ll be clearing her studio of a year’s worth of seconds. Seconds are pieces with minor flaws, like glaze imperfections or warping. Seconds are also leftovers from commissions or experiments that just don’t fit in with the rest of her work that she sells for heavily discounted prices. There will be some serious deals to be had. The studio is located in the alley right off of 7th and H Streets NE (803 7th St NE). Rain or shine, and kids are welcome!

Jumanjii Virtual Experience
Where: The Void | Tysons Corner, VA
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: $34.95/age 10+

The immersive virtual reality experience “Jumanji: Reverse the Curse gives” fans the ability to truly enter another game, taking on the form of its heroes, Dr. Bravestone, Ruby Roundhouse, Professor Oberon and “Mouse” Finbar, to save Jumanji from a new dark and mysterious villain. Fans will be enlisted on a daring quest to rescue the Scepter of Se’payu containing the Red Jewel of Jumanji and return it to the temple from which it was stolen. Pulled into the perils of Jumanji, players face challenges just like those that the avatars face in the movie – evading man-eating wildlife, navigating across treacherous landscape, battling evil henchmen – to survive and return to real life. Watch the trailer and reserve tickets here.

Chalkboard Menorah Workshop
Where: Homedepot
When: Sunday, 1-2pm
Admission: Free

Get into the Chanukah spirit! Join us at the Home Depot for an exciting workshop — make your very own Chalkboard Menorah! You can also play Dreidel and eat some Chanukah gelt. Free and fun for the whole family. Register in advance here.

Men’s World Squash Team Championship
Where: Squash on Fire | Downtown DC
When: Sunday (through December 21)
Admission: Tickets start at $25

The most renowned men’s squash tournament in the world is coming to U.S. December 15-21, for the first time ever in its 50 year history! This event attracts the top talent from around the world to compete on an international stage. All eyes will be on the nation’s capital when 23 countries from nearly every continent descend upon its host facility, Squash On Fire, the first state-of-the art squash facility in Washington, DC, to compete for the ultimate title. This includes Team USA, who will compete in the championship on their home turf for the first time ever. All are welcome to spectate — this is a great opportunity for kids to be exposed to a fun new sport on the highest level.

Night Lights
Where: Around the DMV
When: Friday, Saturday, & Sunday Evenings
Admission: Varies by locale

Twinkling lights forming enchanting displays are easily a holiday season favorite. Visit one of several parks (or the National Zoo, Mormon Temple, or Georgetown) in the area that has transformed into a sparkling wonderland. Some you can walk through for an up-close experience, others you tour by car. Either way, expect to be dazzled.

Kwanzaa Celebration – Family Series
Where: Dorothy Betts Marvin Theatre | Foggy Bottom DC
When: Sunday, 3pm
Tickets: $15-30, kids free with adult

Welcome the holiday season with Dance Place’s annual Kwanzaa Celebration! Gather family and friends to join Coyaba Academy, Coyaba Dance Theater and special guests celebrate the seven principles of Kwanzaa. Note: This takes place on Saturday, too, but during the Family Series on Sunday, you can get 1 free ticket for a child 12 & under with paying adult!

DC, Inside & Out

Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend

Admission: Varies by adventure


There’s both rain and sunshine in this weekend’s forecast, plus more options for fun things to do with the kids are never a bad thing. If you’re looking for activities outdoors or inside, depending on the weather or simply your preference, these posts are chock full of evergreen pursuits:

The Great Indoors
The Best Places in the DC Area to Enjoy a Beautiful Day Outdoors with the Kids


***MORE GOOD STUFF***
* There’s a new round-up of live entertainment on local stages this winter — see what’s coming, and reserve your seats. And, remember, these could make for fantastic holiday gifts!
* There are two KFDC Facebook giveaways running through Friday: Enter to win tickets to The Washington Chorus’ Candlelight Christmas family show and walk-thru admission for 4 to Merriweather’s Symphony of Lights.
* We’ve seen a couple of good PG13 movies recently: Ford v Ferrari is interesting and inspirational. Knives Out is a super fun and quirky murder mystery.
* Both of my kids are getting this super cool, very practical, and fairly inexpensive holiday gift.
* Any guesses why I love this artwork so much?
* Go, Greta and USWNT and Lizzo!
* The year in photos.
* For something feel-good, watch this. Ellen is the absolute best.


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Filed under 2019, All ages, Annual, Chanukah, Christmas, DC, Fall, Holidays, Maryland, Seasonal, Special Event, Virginia, Weekend, Winter

The Weekend Round-Up: December 6-8

Enchant the fam at Nationals Park


Happy Weekend!

Enchant
Where: Nationals Park | Capitol Riverfront, DC
When: Through December 29
Admission: Varies by Date, time, and age

There’s been a lot of buzz about the new holiday attraction at Nationals Park — and I think it’s deserving. The world’s largest Christmas light maze and market is dazzling and delightful and really captures the spirit of the holidays. Purchase tickets here, and read a KFDC review of it, including tips for visiting, if you haven’t already.

Glow with It
Where: Georgetown, DC
When: Through January 5
Admission: Free

See Georgetown in a whole new gorgeous light — literally. Starting Friday, every evening through January 5, the neighborhood will sparkle with modern light art installations on exhibit throughout the bustling community. 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 Glow here.

Museum Story Time
Where: National Gallery of Art | National Mall, DC
When: Friday, 10am
Admission: Free

Join the National Gallery of Art for a morning story time! Together you’ll read a book aloud, move, and play. All ages are welcome, especially the youngest visitors and nursing parents. The featured children’s book will be read in both English and Spanish. Meet in Gallery 39 on the Ground Floor of the West Building. Plan to stay and explore the museum afterward, and while you’re there, check out the museum shop — it’s full of unique items that would make for great holiday gifts!

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

What better place to create one-of-a-kind handmade cards to send than 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.

Philippines Day
Where: KID Museum | Bethesda, MD
When: Saturday, 10am – 5pm
Admission: $12/child (2 adults included)

KID Museum and the Embassy of the Philippines are proud to present the Philippines Day and Ligligan Parul, the Filipino Festival of Light! Bring the entire family to build light-up projects, learn about textiles and woodworking, and enjoy Filipino food and performances. See the website for more details about activities!

Kwaanza Family Day
Where: NMAAHC | National Mall, DC
When: Saturday, 11am – 2pm
Admission: Free, but you must register!

Join the National Museum of African American History & Culture to learn about and celebrate Kwanzaa principles like unity, self-determination and creativity through family art projects, joyful music-making and engaging storytelling.  Kids can enjoy a story time with a museum educator, design and make their own quilt patch to tell a story about your family or community, learn the meaning of adinkra symbols and create a colorful adinkra collage, and enjoy music and movement while learning to play a djembe drum! Pre-registration is mandatory for this program.

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

Celebrate the holidays with Smithsonian’s American Art Museum and the Washington Ballet! Join acclaimed Artistic Director Julie Kent as she shares behind-the-scenes stories about how the ballet company puts on their annual performance of The Nutcracker, then enjoy watching dancers perform highlights from this charming Christmas classic. Blending the magical score of Tchaikovsky with scenery that is unmistakably Washington, DC, the Washington Ballet’s rendition of The Nutcracker has become a must-see tradition. Make a winter-themed craft or go on a scavenger hunt, and indulge in a hot chocolate bar and other tasty treats for purchase from the Courtyard Café. (Note: We attended a similar event a few years ago, and it was such a treat to see the dancers perform literally 10 feet away from us in the beautiful Kogod Courtyard!) See more about the museum here. And after the program, plan to stop by the Downtown Holiday Market for a little browsing and holiday cheer.

Open Studio: Wrap It Up: Holiday Gift Giving
Where: Freer|Sackler Gallery | National Mall, DC
When: Saturday & Sunday, 12-4
Admission: Free

While you make a furoshiki wrapping cloth, learn how this Japanese tradition can help save money and the environment. Also, enjoy a scavenger hunt to explore our new exhibition Hokusai: Mad about Painting. In the studio, make your own holiday decorations using cloth and woodblock materials. All ages are welcome with adult companions.

Gifts That Give Hope Gift Fair
Where: Arlington Science Focus School | Arlington, VA
When: December 7, 10am – 2pm
Admission: Free

This Fair puts a new spin on gift-giving. The concept is simple: Make a donation to a locally-based nonprofits, personalize a Gifts That Give Hope greeting card for a loved one, and give that act of kindness as a gift. Thanks to generous shoppers, Gifts That Give Hope is supporting acts of kindness around our community and the world this holiday season. Kids can enjoy snacks, coloring, music and activities during the fair while you shop, including interactive demos brought to you by Coder Kids and hands-on cooking provided by Tiny Chefs.

AURORA: The Spirit of Northern Lights
Where: ARTECHOUSE | Southwest DC
When: Through January 5
Admission: $16-20/adult, $13-15/senior, $8-10/child

ARTECHOUSE will debut this year’s holiday season exhibit on Saturday. Inspired by nature and powered by creative technology, the immersive installation promises to “transform you into a place where the aurora borealis is within reach and winter powers can be found by those who seek them.” At the gallery known for its beautiful interactive digital exhibts, you can shape frost, move light, and let the swirling colors of the northern lights and icy chill of winter spark your imagination. Family-friendly hours are 10am – 5pm. And, FYI: they are offering a 20% discount package for 2 adults + 2 children, Sundays through Thursdays. You can also get a deal through CertifiKid.

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

Priya and the Lost Girls
Where: Merriweather Arts District | Downtown Columbia, MD
When: Saturday
Admission: Free

Join the Merriweather Arts District for the premiere of Priya and the Lost Girls, the third installment of Priya’s Shakti, a revolutionary interactive comic book series focusing on gender-equality issues.They’ll have tablets available to interact with Priya as she helps the women of Rahu take their power back. See . the website for details about free workshops for the community and more. Register here to take part in it all. Open to all ages.

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! The Nutcracker at Warner Theatre is DC tradition for audiences of all ages. You can also see one for littles on strings at The Puppet Co. Enjoy a classic with The Velveteen Rabbit at Adventure Theatre or The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe at Imagination Stage. 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 2019 Guide to the Holiday Season.

The Illusionists — Magic of the Holidays
Where: National Theatre | Downtown, DC
When: Through Sunday
Tickets: $54-114

Ring in the holidays with the mind-blowing spectacular THE ILLUSIONISTS – MAGIC OF THE HOLIDAYS, showcasing the jaw-dropping talents of the most incredible illusionists on earth. THE ILLUSIONISTS has shattered box office records across the globe and dazzles audiences of all ages with a powerful mix of the most outrageous and astonishing acts ever seen on stage. This nonstop show is packed with thrilling and sophisticated magic of unprecedented proportions. Recommended for ages 6 and up.

More Show Time
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by show

* See Shakespeare Theatre Company’s version of Peter Pan and Wendy (find discounts)
* The Snow Queen is at Synetic Theatre (find discounts)
* Preposterous! A Happenstance Clown Circus leads this installment of InterAct Story Theatre’s Wheaton Family Theatre Series
* Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! (The Musical) is at the Kennedy Center (review here, look for tickets here)
* Take the fam to a performance of Singin’ in the Rain at Olney Theatre (find discounts)
* Let Newsies entertain you at Arena Stage (find discounts)
* Make it a date night for Dear Jack Dear Louise at Arena Stage (find discounts)

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

For the 49th 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.

Santa Fly-In
Where: College Park Aviation Museum | College Park, MD
When: December 7, 12-4pm
Admission: $5

This 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.

Chanukah Havdalah in Pajamas
Where: Berman Hebrew Academy | Rockville, MD
When: December 7, 6:30-7:30pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate Chanukah AND Havdalah in your pajamas with a festive singalong Havdalah service led by Rabbi Uri Topolosky, followed by stories, de-light-ful activities, crafts and snacks. Best for ages 2-8 though all ages are welcome. Please bring good-quality art supplies to be given as holiday gifts to children in shelters. This event is free and brought to you by PJ Library in Greater Washington, Berman Hebrew Academy, Kehilat Pardes and The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington.

More 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. Experience the Magical Holiday Express at the B&O Railroad Museum. Take a street car ride with Santa at the Holly Trolley Fest. Check out Light Yards, the annual illuminated installation at Yards Park. Find details on all of these events and more are in the 2019 Holiday Guide.

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 their annual 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, America Visionary Arts Museum, Christmas Village, and more exciting places will be welcoming guests to take advantage. Go here for the full list of participating venues.

Children’s Holiday Wonderland Concert 
Where: Oakton High | 2900 Sutton Road, Oakton, VA
When: Saturday, 10am & 2pm
Admission: $7/advance, $10/at door

The band students of Oakton High want to share their love of music with children throughout the region. Enjoy an interactive holiday concert, specially crafted to keep kids interested and entertained. Listen, clap, and sing along to favorite holiday tunes. Children can create holiday crafts in the Wonderland Workshop. Adults can relax in the Cocoa Cafe and snap that special pic of their child at the Santa Photo Station. Child tickets include one craft and photo op with Santa. Additional crafts will be available for $2 each.  

Tunes 4 Tots
Where: ANXO Cidery | Brightwood, DC
When: Saturday, 10-10:30am
Admission: $10

Bring the kiddos to ANXO Cidery for some musical fun on Saturday morning. Tunes4Tots will be hosting classes there the first Saturday of the month for the next few months. And the restaurant is open to plan to enjoy some Pinxtos and cider, too!

Holiday Sing-A-Long
Where: Wolf Trap | Vienna, VA
When: Saturday, 4pm (gates open at 3)
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.”

The District’s Holiday Boat Parade
Where: The Wharf | Southwest DC
When: Saturday, 6-9pm
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 20th annual Alexandria Holiday Boat Parade of Lights. Enjoy dockside festivities from 2-8pm in Waterfront Park, including a Letters to Santa postcard station, a holiday craft activity, and a bookmark making station. At 3:30pm, Santa and Mrs. Claus will arrive by fireboat at the Alexandria City Marina to take photos with children and families at the annual Torpedo Factory Art Center Holiday Festival.

Santa Claus is Coming to Town
Where: Framebridge | 14th Street NW, DC
When: Sunday, 11am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Santa Claus is coming to Framebridge! Santa and Mrs. Claus will be at the 14th Street store on Sunday. Join them to get a picture taken with Santa and have it framed for Christmas. Kids, adults, and pups are welcome! Your Santa photo can be framed with the purchase of any Framebridge frame, from Instagram-mini and beyond. Sign up to reserve a spot and make sure that Santa knows what’s on your Christmas list. Photos with Santa will be taken in the order guests arrive.

Storytime with Laura Gehl & An Open Book Foundation
Where: Kramerbooks | Dupont Circle, DC
When: Sunday, 11am
Admission: Free

Author Laura Gehl will read her new picture book Except When They Don’t, as well as the first book in her popular Peep and Egg series, Peep and Egg: I’m Not Hatching. There will be games and crafts for kids, as well as the chance to purchase signed books as holiday gifts, or books to donate to An Open Book Foundation. Afterward, stop by the farmers’ market or take advantage of the Christmas tree sale happening just outside.

Great Latke Cookoff!
Where: Hill Center | Capitol Hill, DC
When: December 8, 2-3pm
Admission: $15/child, $35/family

Join the Hill Center for The Great Latke Cookoff! Mix, peel, cut, and fry (using kid-safe equipment and adult supervision!) to create delicious, sizzling, Chanukah Latkes. Test your cooking skills and have a blast! Space is limited, so make sure to save your spot! For safety, this event is geared for kids ages 6+. Adult admission is included in kid’s ticket.

Kidz Graffiti Party
Where: Art Jamz | Dupont Circle, DC
When: Sunday, 12:30-2pm & 2-3:30pm
Admission: $15

Get messy like a street artist at an Art Jamz Kidz Graffiti Party! Children of all ages are invited to paint their very own masterpieces on the ArtJamz walls. The lounge will be open for accompanying parents and we they’ll be playing jamming tunes to inspire all the little artist. Afterwards, your family can purchase additional studio time and canvas and let your vision come to life off the wall.

Books, Babies and Booze
Where: Pie Shop DC | H Street NE
When: Sunday, 1-4pm
Admission: Free

The First Ever (that they know of) national children’s book tour at kid-friendly breweries will be at Pie Shop!
Alex Kack #greenshirtguy will be the special guest doing an advanced reading of “Mommy Didn’t Say That.” (Their upcoming parody book for parents will be released in 2020. Author Allison McGill will read her book, “The Adventures of Duke, The Therapy Dog: Duke Finds A Home.” They’ll also have a Temporary Tattoo Station, Coloring Station, Play Area, and DIY photo booth for kids.Books are available for purchase and signed by the authors. (Wearing a green shirt and save $1.) And you can get pictures with special guest, Alex Kack!

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.

Nature’s Calling
Where: Nature centers around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free

Get a dose of the outside world in the comfort of the warm indoors at a nature center. There are several great ones around the area that offer lots of cool exhibits along with fun programs. Buddie Ford Nature Center in Alexandria, Rock Creek in Northwest DC, Watkins in Upper Marlboro, MD, Potomac Overlook and Long Branch in Arlington, and Brookside in Wheaton all have live creatures, interesting exhibits, and hands-on activities. Check to see if any special programs are going on, too!

Out & About
Where: Around the DMZ
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

It looks like there will be sunshine to soak up this weekend, so bundle up and get outside! There are loads of ways to enjoy the outdoors around the area, no matter what the temps (and they won’t even by that bad this weekend). See The Best Places in the DC Area to Enjoy a Beautiful Day Outdoors with the Kids for ideas on where to have al fresco adventures.

***MORE GOOD STUFF***
* The 2019 KFDC Holiday Gift Guide has ideas for what to give peops of all ages at all price points (even free!), from theatre tickets to kids’ products to unique experiences to gifts that give back.
* If there’s any great time to start using Rakuten (formerly 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.
* Our whole family loved this dish.
* Not in the gift guide, but this could be ideal for someone who loves to read.
* My latest IG obsession.
* What an incredible treat this was…and this is awesome, too.
* A decade ❤️


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December 5, 2019 · 5:10 pm

Where to Play on the Weekdays: December 2-6

A walk in the woods at Scott’s Run Nature Preserve



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.


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Filed under 2019, All ages, DC, Fall, Maryland, Seasonal, Virginia, Weekdays

Review: Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! (The Musical!) at the Kennedy Center

(Photo credit: The Kennedy Center – Jeremy Daniel)

[Note: This review was written by KFDC contributor Emily Moise, who is helping cover activities geared toward younger children as mine have aged out of them.]

Spoiler alert: the Pigeon may not get to drive the bus, but he does fly to new Kennedy Center-worthy heights. What a treat for Washington, DC, area families and holiday season visitors to experience the world premiere of Mo Willems’ and Mr. Warburton’s Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! (The Musical!), running now through January 5, 2020, at the renowned performing arts center. After that, the Pigeon flies off on tour.

Willems’ simple tale of a tantrum-prone pigeon with a see-it, need-to-have-it affliction is elevated with a thicker plot, toe-tapping musical score, seamlessly choreographed dance and puppetry, and a highly-talented ensemble. Not sure who stole the show more, the personified bus engine getting all the laughs or the surprise tongue-wagging character getting all the wide-eyed stares. And this children’s show is made complete with obligatory, city-themed one-liners for the adults.

If you’re familiar with Willems’ engaging writing style that makes his award-winning books (and readers) come to life, you may be expecting lots of audience interaction. I was anticipating direct solicitation of kids reactions or conversations with the characters — but the Pigeon only veered off-stage once to engage with the audience. Despite this, the one-hour show kept everyone, toddler to adult, captivated. The mostly elementary school-aged audience and their parents were enthralled in the non-stop action, quickly escalating story, and life message-carrying ending.

KFDC Tip: Get some energy out before showtime with a Pigeon-guided, augmented reality tour of The Kennedy Center. You can download the “Tour the Kennedy Center” app on your smartphone, in which you are instructed to scan various kiosks throughout the center. Complete the tour to receive a few cute mementos at the Information Booth. Show memorabilia is also available for purchase in the Family Theater lobby and Gift Shop.

And if your kids are yearning for more, they’ll be happy to learn that Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! (The Musical!) is part of The Kennedy Center’s new Education Artist-in-Residence program, Willems being the very first resident. He has developed a series of multidisciplinary programming that lets kids experience the traditional arts in non-traditional ways. Next up from Willems is “Jazz Doodle Jam!” where kids are actually instructed to doodle during the live jazz concert, the band improvising based on the artwork.

Learn more and find tickets to all of Mo Willems’ upcoming events at the Kennedy Center, including sensory-friendly showings of Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! (The Musical!) here.

Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! (The Musical!)
Where: The Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: Through January 5, 2020
Tickets: $20


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Filed under 2019, All ages, DC, Fall, Live Entertainment, Theatre, Weekdays, Weekend, Winter