Where: The Yards | Capitol Riverfront, DC
When: Friday through January 4, 6-10pm
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
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
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
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
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
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).
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.
Where: Hirshhorn Museum | National Mall, DC
When: Saturday, 10am
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!
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
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
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
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
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.
Where: Glen Echo Park | Glen Echo, MD
When: Saturday, 4-7pm
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
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
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
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
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]
***MORE GOOD STUFF TO KNOW***
* 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! 🙂