Category Archives: Parade

Activities & Events for Families During Cherry Blossom Season (2020)


UPDATE: Due to the coronavirus, the National Cherry Blossom Festival and just about all other events have been canceled. You can still try view them, but use good judgement doing so.

Cherry blossom season is almost upon us, and it’s time to start getting ready for it! Because not only is the city at its prettiest when the beloved flowers are in bloom, there also are loads of special events and activities to celebrate it all. The National Cherry Blossom Festival, running March 20 – April 12 this year, presents all kinds of fun and enriching activities over a few weeks, plus there are even more blossom-inspired happenings that aren’t part of the official festivities. I’ve picked the best of them for families to help you plan for a peak experience. Happy Spring!

Cherry Blossom Viewing
Where: Around the DMV
When: Late March
Admission: Free

Viewing the cherry blossoms may just be the top thing to do during the season — and lots of people agree. The scenery really can’t get more iconic DC than the flowering trees around the Tidal Basin at their peak pink and white brilliance with our grand memorials in the background. However, viewing the famous blooms can be a bit challenging without being aware of a few things, so be sure to check out these KFDC tips before you go to see them. And view scenes from last year’s bloom here.

STORYTIME: Under the Cherry Blossom Tree CANCELLED!
Where: Hirshhorn Museum | National Mall, DC
When: March 11, 10-11am & March 15 & 22, 11am – 12pm
Admission: Free

In celebration of cherry blossoms, join the Hirhshorn for a read aloud of Under the Cherry Blossom Tree by Allen Say. Take a close look at the museum’s lobby’s tables, created by artist Hiroshi Sugimoto using a 700-year-old nutmeg tree, then create your own tree- and blossom-inspired works.

Hanami: Beyond the Blooms
Where: ARTECHOUSE | Southwest DC
When: March 13 – May 25
Admission: $16-20/adult, $8-10/child

ARTECHOUSE introduces a new exhibit every season, and it’s only apropos that its spring offering highlights the cherry blossoms. Hanami: Beyond the Blooms “pushes the limits of the cherry blossom experience, inviting visitors to enter an immersive world of spring re-imagined. Now an annual tradition, ARTECHOUSE’s cherry blossom-inspired installation continues to celebrate springtime and women in the arts and tech.” Look for a KFDC review of it soon!

Cultural Performances CANCELLED!
Where: Tidal Basin Welcome Area
When: Weekends, March 21 – April 12
Admission: Free

Catch live entertainment as you take in views of the blossoms! On weekends during the National Cherry Blossom Festival, there will be music and dance performances on a special stage set up at the Tidal Basin Welcome Area. A highlight will be the Miyako Takio Takeover Saturday on March 28 from 11am to 6pm.

Cherry Blossom Celebration CANCELLED!
Where: American Art Museum | Penn Quarter, DC
When: March 21, 11:30am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Join SAAM and the National Cherry Blossom Festival for a celebration of Japanese culture. A taiko drumming performance kicks off the day, followed by Les The DJ spinning Japanese pop, funk, and boogie beats and the Koto Ensemble performing traditional Japanese dance. Enjoy face painting, make cherry blossom crafts, and go on an art scavenger hunt throughout the exhibition Chiura Obata: American Modern in the first-floor galleries. 

Japanese Fashion Family Day CANCELLED!
Where: GWU & Textile Museum | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: March 21, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate Japanese fashion during cherry blossom season this spring. Join the Textile Museum & George Washington University museum for a family day featuring kimono, happi coats, accessories, and the creative shapes of contemporary Japanese fashion designers. Enjoy dance performances of Eisaa and Ryubu traditional dances from Okinawa. See a demonstration for how to dress in a kimono and take the opportunity to design one of your own. Make a cherry blossom pendant to take home. And enjoy family-friendly tours of the Japanese artwork on display in Delight in Discovery: The Global Collections of Lloyd Cotsen. This is a fantastic opportunity to experience a museum that usually may be a bit sophisticated for little ones!

Go with the Flow
Where: Local waterways
When: Starting mid-March
Admission: Rates vary

Get a new perspective of the blossom and enjoy a fun activity on a paddling excursion. Many boathouses will open around the same time the National Cherry Blossom Festival begins, offering canoe, kayak, and other rentals to take you out on the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers and Tidal Bason, where you can see the blooming cherry trees from the water. This KFDC post has more information on where to go with the flow around DC.

River Cruisin’
Where: Local waterways
When: Ongoing
Admission: Varies by tour operator

Enjoy blossom filled scenery from the comfort of a cruise on the Potomac. Several companies offer boat rides along the river, many of them specifically for the season when the cherry trees are in bloom. Right now you can find great deals with Washington Marina National Ferry Corp, Boomerang Boat Tours, and Capitol River Cruises. Potomac Riverboat Company and DC Water Taxi are a couple more to check out.

Last year’s cherry blossom inspired exhibit at ARTECHOUSE

STORYTIME: The Tiny Seed CANCELLED!
Where: Hirshhorn Museum | National Mall, DC
When: March 25, 10-11am
Admission: Free

Join the Hirshhorn for a special STORYTIME, their regular program for littles, and join them to celebrate spring with the journey of a tiny seed. Take a close look at the round bronze sculptures of Spatial Concept: Nature by Lucio Fontana, and read-aloud The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle. Then, explore how plants move and change throughout their life cycle. Following the story, children will participate in a hands-on art activity.

Cherry Blossom Night with the Washington Wizards CANCELLED!
Where: Capitol One Arena | Penn Quarter, DC
When: March 25, 7pm
Admission: Tickets start at $19

Celebrate the cherry blossom season with the Wizards and some basketball as they take on the Phoenix Suns! Each ticket purchased through this link comes with a limited edition Wizards Cherry Blossom t-shirt. In addition first 10,000 fans entering the arena will receive a Rui Hachimura Cherry Blossom inspired bobblehead!

Blossom Kite Festival CANCELLED!
Where: Washington Monument Grounds | National Mall, DC
When: March 28, 10am – 4:30pm
Admission: Free

The annual Blossom Kite Festival is a favorite for many during the blossom season. The sight of thousands of kites in all colors, shapes, and sizes soaring around the Washington Monument truly is a sight to behold. The sails you see flying at the Festival each spring range from simple to pretty darn creative. Dragons, sharks, butterflies, giant soccer balls, even some that look like big, beautiful origami works way outnumber your basic diamond. And anyone can go fly their kites, so BYO or make one there at an activity station. There’s a competition aspect to the event, too; expert kite enthusiasts will wow crowds with cool stunts, and prizes will be awarded to winners of various categories such as most beautiful, funniest, and aerodynamics.

Cherry Blossom Celebration CANCELLED!
Where: Freer|Sackler Gallery | National Mall, DC
When: March 28, 12-4pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate the season at the museum dedicated to Asian art! At this special event, explore Japanese art and culture through musical performances, making art, and taking a tour of Hokusai: Mad about Painting and Meeting Tessai. Try Japanese bookmaking, listen to taiko drumming, and then join the kite festival right outside on the National Mall. Japanese-inspired food and drink will be available for purchase.

Into the Woods
Where: Frying Pan Farm Park | Centreville, VA
When: March 28, 11am – 1:30pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate the cherry blossoms at the farm park! Hike the nature trail to experience the changes of spring. Visit stations peppered throughout the trail to build a fairy house, help tally migratory and year round resident birds, and search for critters in the soil and water. Enjoy Japanese teas at the historic Frying Pan Meeting House, too. Stop by the Indoor Arena first for a map and instructions.

Cherry Blossom STEM Day
Where: Children’s Science Center Lab | Fairfax, VA
When: March 29, 10am – 6pm
Admission: $13

Celebrate the Cherry Blossom Festival with a twist of STEM! Visitors can learn more about the special flower and festival through hands-on activities and experiments inspired by the cherry blossom throughout the entire Lab. Read more about the Children’s Science Center Lab in this KFDC post.

Cuenta-Cuentos: STORYTIME in Spanish CANCELLED!
Where: Hirshhorn Museum | National Mall, DC
When: March 29, 11am – 12pm
Admission: Free

Join a special STORYTIME in Spanish and inspired the season! Celebrate spring with a close look at the round bronze sculptures Spatial Concept: Nature by Lucio Fontana, and a reading of The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle. Then, explore how plants move and change throughout their life cycle. Following the story, children will participate in a hands-on art activity.

Cherry Blossom Night at DC United
Where: Audi Field | Southwest DC
When: April 3, 7pm
Admission: Ticket prices vary

Support local sports and be a part of the Cherry Blossom Festival at once! DC United’s home match against New York City FC will include cherry blossom-themed activations, activities, and celebrations for fans along with the action on the pitch. Score tickets here.

National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade CANCELLED!
Where: Constitution Avenue, 7th – 17th St NW | Downtown DC
When: April 4, 10am – 12pm
Admission: Free

The pinnacle of cherry blossom festivities just might be the parade. Thousands of people line Constitution Avenue every year to watch the procession of lavish floats, giant helium balloons, marching bands, and a variety of performers roll through the city. Tickets for grandstand seats are available for $20, but you can stake out a spot along the curb for free. Plan to arrive early to get a good view — the crowds come out for this one, especially if it’s a pretty spring day.

See Racing Presidents rolling down Constitution Ave at the annual parade

Sakura Matsuri
Where: Pennsylvania Ave, 3rd-7th St NW | Downtown DC
When: April 4, 10:30am – 6pm
Admission: $10/ages 13+, free/12 & under

Following the Cherry Blossom parade, many folks head over to Sakura Matsuri, the Japanese Street Festival that is America’s largest one-day exhibition of Japanese culture. The 60th annual event will feature live music and dance performances, all kinds of Asian and Western foods, martial arts demos, Japanese art, and more. Be prepared for a crowd.

Bloomaroo
Where: The Wharf | Southwest DC
When: April 4, 2-9pm
Admission: Free

Join The Wharf for Bloomaroo, their local version of Bonaroo, where they’ll be celebrating the cherry blossoms with a full day of art, music, and family-friendly fun along the waterfront! If you want to make this a special adult experience with food and drinks included, VIP tickets are available for $55. Read more about The Wharf in this KFDC post.

Art Blooms at Mosaic
Where: Mosaic District | McLean, VA
When: April 4 & 5, 11am – 5pm
Admission: Free

The 2nd annual Art Blooms at Mosaic is celebratory weekend with fun for all ages. Do some shopping at the market, catch live entertainment and art exhibits, do some kids activities, enjoy a pop-up beer garden & wine patio, snap pics at selfie stations, join a free yoga session, and much more!

Sakura Sunday
Where: National Harbor | Oxon Hill, MD
When: April 5, 11am – 8pm
Admission: Free

National Harbor’s Sakura Sunday is an official event of the 2020 National Cherry Blossom Festival — and a taste of the traditional Cherry Blossom Festival in Japan! The day’s activities include a traditional Japanese picnic, unique Japanese market, foods of Japan, Japanese music & entertainment, and a sake, beer & rose garden!

Anacostia River Festival
Where: Anacostia Park | Southeast DC
When: April 5, 1-5pm
Admission: Free

The 6th annual Anacostia River Festival is a premier event of the 2020 National Cherry Blossom Festival. This year will feature an artist market, special performances, and activities that include boating, hands-on art projects, musical performances, and other unique programs engaging families with the river, its history, and ecology.

Blossoms & Baseball
Where: Nationals Park | Capitol Riverfront, DC
When: April 6
Admission: Ticket price vary

The Nats are getting in on the Cherry Blossom festivities again this year with a petal-packed, pink takeover of Nationals Park as they host the Marlins. A portion of ticket proceeds from the game will also benefit the National Cherry Blossom Festival.

Japanese Culture Day
Where: Library of Congress | Capitol Hill, DC
When: April 11, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Children of all ages and their families can learn about Japanese culture through reading, writing, and craft-making with Japanese cultural and linguistic professionals. Japanese-related books will be on display, and a special highlight of the day is “Japan-In-A-Suitcase,” an inspiring program about Japanese life and culture. Other activities include Japanese drum music and dance performances, instructions on the art of tiara-making by former Cherry Blossom princesses, origami artwork lessons, decorative Konobori coloring, and the kimono dress-up experience. Children can also explore the Library’s Young Readers Center, which is full of current and classic children’s literature — read more about it here.

Petalpalooza
Where: The Yards | Capitol Riverfront, DC
When: April 11, 12-9:30pm
Admission: Free

Join the Capitol Riverfront community for Petalpalooza! It’s the first time the event will be held in neighborhood, and it should be a blast. The event will celebrate the National Cherry Blossom Festival with live music, art installations, a beer garden, and lots of family-friendly activities. Plan to go for awhile, or just stop by for a bit. The day will cap off with a fireworks show over the Anacostia River.

Ikebana Demonstrations
Where: National Arboretum | Northeast DC
When: April 11 & 12, 10am – 1:30pm
Admission: Free

Enjoy spring flowers with a Japanese twist! The Washington DC Chapter of Ikebana International is co-hosting four different Ikebana masters. Each master represents a different school and and will highlight the characteristics of their school. Demonstrations will be held in the Auditorium of the Visitor Center and are free to attend.


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The Weekend Round-Up:
February 14-17

What better place to be than Washington, DC, on Presidents’ Day weekend?


Happy Valentine’s Day! ❤️ Happy Presidents’ Day! 🇺🇸 Happy Weekend! 😎

Family Social Time
Where: The Lane | Ivy City, DC
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: $20/child

The newest play space/family social club on the scene opens this weekend — plan to check it out! It’s got both super cool play elements and lots of thoughtful details (get a glimpse here) to make it a place where kids and parents alike will enjoy hanging out. Let the kiddos romp while you grab a coffee (or get into the fun with them), play board games or make crafts together, explore the lovely space… and make new friends along the way. Register for a time slot to ensure admission!

Presidential Family Fun Day
Where: National Portrait Gallery | Penn Quarter, DC
When: Saturday, 11:30am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Every year the NPG kicks off Presidents’ Day weekend with a presidential party loaded with crafts, music, dancing, games and special tours of “America’s Presidents.” Celebrate the presidents with the Portrait Gallery, President Lincoln’s Cottage, the DC Public Library, the Washington Nationals’ Racing Presidents, artists, and experts from the Bureau of Engraving and Printing!

Washington Dollar Days
Where: Tudor Place | Georgetown, DC
When: Throughout February, 10am – 3pm
Admission: $1

Practice frugality our founding father would approve of: Pay just $1 per person for any regular tour in February, the month of George Washington’s birth. Tudor Place is the only historic house museum in the District with family ties to Martha and George Washington. Highlights of the Washington Collection will be on display as part of all house tours. See it all for one “Washington dollar!” Tours begin hourly, and it’s recommended you book ahead.

The Snowy Day & Other Stories by Ezra Jack Keats
Where: Adventure Theatre | Glen Echo, MD
When: Throughout the weekend
Tickets: $20.50

Ezra Jack Keats’ was a pioneer in children’s literature as his stories were the first to break racial barriers, and his stories are perfectly timed to come to life on stage at Adventure Theatre starting this month. This beautiful show follows the character of Peter and his friend Archie around the neighborhood in four of Keats’ beloved tales, The Snowy Day, Whistle for Willie, Goggles!, and A Letter to Amy. Renowned for his tender personality, the character of Peter faces relatable everyday challenges to which children of all ages will find delightfully entertaining.

Disney on Ice: Celebrate Memories
Where: Capitol One Arena | Penn Quarter, DC
When: Through Monday
Tickets: Start at $15 (find discount)

Your favorite Disney stories come to life at Disney On Ice presents Celebrate Memories. Sail along with Moana on her high-seas adventure and dance with Woody, Buzz and all the Toy Story friends. Feel inspired when love wins in Frozen and dreams come true for the Disney Princesses. Share the excitement and make new memories the whole family will treasure forever!

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

* Enjoy the NSO Family Concert: Girl Power! at the Kennedy Center (find discount)
* Zomo the Rabbit: A Hip-Hop Creation Myth is on the Imagination Stage on Saturday (read a KFDC review)
* Spend Saturday morning with The Great Zucchini at Jammin Java
* See Rapunzel let down her hair for one last weekend at The Puppet Co.
* And really little ones will enjoy Baby Bear’s Birthday Sunday’s Tiny Tots performance there
* Take teens to The King’s Speech at National Theatre (find discount)
* Make it a date night for Synetic Theatre’s production of Phantom of the Opera

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

Drop in at the National Portrait Gallery to listen to a story about Barack Obama and complete a hands-on activity. When you’re done there, pick up a Portrait Discovery Kit to explore the museum. For more about the program and museum, go here and here.

Valentine’s Day Cookie Decorating Class for Kids
Where: Willard Continental | Downtown DC
When: Saturday, 11am – 2pm
Admission: $45/child

Sweeten your Valentine’s Day weekend for your littlest ones at the Willard InterContinental. Led by Executive Pastry Chef Jason Jimenez, junior bakers will receive hands-on instruction to cookie decorating using a variety of techniques and decorating tools. Ideal for children ages 4-12 years old, and they must be accompanied by a parent or guardian (2 parents or guardians max per ticketed child).

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

Catch a Sensory-Friendly Screening of Sonic the Hedgehog 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.

HBD, Frederick Douglass!
Where: Various locations | Anacostia, DC
When: Saturday
Admission: Free

Join the National Park Service as they celebrate the 202nd anniversary of the birth of Frederick Douglass as well as the Centennial of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution. Following the Opening Ceremony at Anacostia High School Auditorium (1601 16th Street SE), there will be special themed house tours at Cedar Hill and an art program in the visitor center. There will also be programming at the Anacostia Arts Center and Anacostia High School that will include guest lectures, an exhibit by the DC League of Women Voters, and performances in the lobby.

Black History Month Celebrations
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

February is Black History Month, and there are events and activities throughout the DC area to celebrate it. Museum programs (including an entire museum!), special tours and exhibits, story time sessions, and more will be enlightening and fun for all ages. See where they’re all happening here.

Model Trains and Thomas
Where: Historic Vienna Train Station | Vienna, VA
When: Saturday, 1-5pm
Admission: Free (donations accepted)

Chug on down to the Historic Vienna Train Station where you can see and hear HO scale model trolleys and trains, including Thomas and some of his friends on display and in operation. It’s a great family fun and activity for the young and young at heart. The Station is at 231 Dominion Road NE, Vienna, VA along the W&OD trail just past the Caboose.

Obata Teen Arts Workshop 
Where: American Art Museum | Penn Quarter, DC
When: Saturday, 1-3pm
Admission: Free

In this hands-on workshop, kids ages 12-16 are invited to learn about teacher and modernist artist Chiura Obata, who, as a Japanese American, played an important role in creating a cross-cultural dialogue despite widespread prejudice against Asian Americans. During World War II, Obata and more than one hundred thousand West Coast Japanese Americans were forced into incarceration camps. After touring the exhibition Chiura Obata: American Modern, participate in activities that examine how these experiences changed Obata’s art and connect to the struggles and dreams of America’s minority and immigrant communities today. This is free, but registration is required.

Wild Love
Where: City Wildlife | Northeast DC
When: Sunday, 12-5pm
Admission: Suggested donation $20/person, $40/family

Take advantage of this rare occasion to visit City Wildlife, the animal rescue and rehabilitation center, as it’s the only time of the year they open their doors to the public. At the 6th Annual Valentine’s Day Open House, get a behind-the-scenes tour of the rehabilitation facility, enjoy some goodies, and get a gift for your Valentine. Free-will donations are collected to ensure that the Center can help its animal patients.

Rumpus Room Family Valentine’s Day Dance Party
Where: Black Cat | 14th Street NW, DC
When: Sunday, 2-4:30
Admission: $12

They choo choo choose you…to join them with your entire family on the dance floor! (They get all the credit for the great Simpsons reference.) DC’s only family dance party is back with a special groove session to celebrate the holiday on Valentine’s Day weekend. Practice those sweet moves and get ready to have fun!

A rare opportunity to hang out in the Library of Congress Main Reading Room this weekend

Main Reading Room Open House
Where: Library of Congress | Capitol Hill, DC
When: Monday, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Where you can usually only glimpse from a window above, you can visit on one of just two days per year it’s open to the public! The beautiful Main Reading Room of the Library of Congress is holding its semi-annual Open House on Presidents’ Day. Marvel at the magnificent architecture and design from within, check out the old card catalogs (remember those?), and see what the Library is highlighting at the event — African American history and culture, children’s books by and about Supreme Court Justices, the Blackwell Family tree (family of Arthur Ashe, Jr.) tracing family lineage back to 1735, and more. Be sure to stop by the Young Readers Center where there will be activity stations young visitors. This is a really neat event for all ages — I highly recommend it! Read more about the LOC in this KFDC post.

Party at George’s Place
Where: Mount Vernon Estate | Mount Vernon, VA
When: Monday, 9am – 5pm
Admission: $20/adult, $11/age 6-11, free/5 & under

Every Presidents’ Day weekend, George Washington’s former estate hosts special festivities in celebration of the first POTUS’ big day. Sample syrups, enjoy a musical to the President, and hear stories about his past birthday celebrations. Of course, take time to explore the grounds, mansion, and Education Center exhibits, including Be Washington, a great interactive experience that lets you step into his boots and make the tough decisions he faced. There will also be a special marching drill and dance demos along with ceremonial wreathlayings to honor Washington. Be prepared for a crowd — I can tell you from experience that a lot of folks show up to take advantage of the complimentary entry.

Presidential Urban Hike
Where: Various sites, DC
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free

If there’s any place to make a big deal out of Presidents’ Day, certainly it’s here in the nation’s capitol. And perhaps one of the best, fun, and active ways to celebrate it is on a tour of the memorials dedicated to the honorees. Walk the National Mall from the Lincoln Memorial to the Washington Monument (or vice versa). You can even go up in the Monument for a tour and a bird’s eye view of DC. From there, head over to Ford’s Theatre to learn about the life (and death of Abe Lincoln). For even more, stop by Madame Tussauds to see the US Presidents in wax.

George Washington Birthday Parade
Where: Throughout Old Town Alexandria, VA
When: Monday, 1-3pm
Admission: Free

Alexandria hosts the largest parade in the country celebrating George Washington’s birthday with marching bands, historic re-enactment troops, and more. Bundle up to watch the procession as it travels through Old Town. See the website for more info and route details.

Cool Hikes
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

Enjoy the sunshine and winter beauty with some time on the trail. Enjoy the beauty of nature in winter, tramp in places with scenic views, hike and explore history at interesting locales, and savor a sunny day outdoors. This post has a a bunch of recommendations for places to walk in the woods with the kids (and it’s recently been enhanced with photos from some of our walks in the woods).

Rock the Rink
Where: The Wharf | Southwest DC
When: Monday, 1-4pm
Admission: $12/adult, $9/child

It’s ALL CAPS at The Wharf this winter. Through February, make Caps s’mores at the Capitals Campfire at The Wharf and check out the Washington Capitals décor and ice resurfacer at The Wharf Ice Rink. Join fellow hockey fans at The Wharf to show your Caps pride. From 1-4pm, skate at the Wharf Ice Rink with a DJ, Caps trivia and gear giveaways, a visit from Slapshot, and special Caps-themed drinks from Cantina Bambina. At 6:00pm, we’ll also broadcast the Capitals’ away game against the Vegas Golden Knights on a jumbotron at the Capitals Campfire. Throughout the day, fans wearing Capitals gear receive $5 off admission to the Wharf Ice Rink.

Ice It
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by rink

There are many more places to skate under. the sky, and with sunshine skies and cool temps throughout the weekend, it’s a great way enjoy some seasonal fun. Take in art as you skate at the Sculpture Garden; circle around Washington Harbour as you enjoy river views; meander along the Figure 8 path at Canal Park; or do some 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.

***MORE GOOD STUFF***
* The Washington Wizards have fan clubs especially for kids that come with cool gear and fun perks, plus they offer camps and clinics, too!
* On March 11 at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, enjoy Cultural Capital: Motherhood Redux, an evening of poetry about motherhood.
* THiNK OUTSiDE is a monthly subscription box full of outdoor gear and resources that will get your kids away from a screen and outside exploring nature.
* This is true compassion.
* I want to see JoJo Rabbit and 1917.
* One of the best things I read last week.

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Filed under 2020, All ages, Annual, Art, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Free, Indoor Play, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Music, Parade, Seasonal, Special Event, Theatre, Virginia, Weekend, Winter

Where to Celebrate MLK Day Around the DC Area

Visiting the memorials is one way to celebrate MLK


Whether you’re looking for ways to teach kids about MLK, want to give back on the Day of Service, enjoy live entertainment that pays tribute to his legacy, or hope to join a special event to observe the occasion, these recommendations will have you covered.

Day of Service
Where: Various locations around the DMV
When: January 20
Admission: Just your time

If you want to volunteer on the MLK, Jr. Day of Service, there are many ways and places you can do so around the area. Start here to find opportunities that suit your family.

More Family Volunteer Ops
Where: Various locations around the DMV
When: Ongoing
Admission: Just your time

For more places to volunteer as a family that aren’t included in the official MLK Day of Service database, this KFDC post has suggestions. All of the organizations listed welcome kids to help out, though some have age requirements, so be sure to note them.

MLK Jr. Family Program
Where: Anacostia Community Museum | Anacostia, DC
When: January 18
Admission: Free

Celebrate the Birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with the whole family at the Anacostia Community Museum! Inspired by Stevie Wonder’s Happy Birthday song, guests can create art using King’s familiar theme of the “Beloved Community” in a workshop led by art educator, Alma Robinson. Participants can also take part in a second workshop with art educator, Rain Young to create original balloon art of a peace medal or a “I Have a Dream” hat to take home. Both workshops include a guided tour of the exhibition “A Right to the City” with an emphasis on Dr. King’s visit to DC’s Shaw neighborhood. All materials will be provided. Register in advance!

The Kevin Durant MLK Classic
Where: The St. James | Springfield, VA
When: January 18, 11am – 6pm & January 20, 10am – 6:45pm
Admission: $20 per day

The Kevin Durant MLK Classic is an elite high school basketball showcase celebrating the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Top high school players will include freshman Elijah Fisher from Crestwood Prep, JT Thor from Norcross High School, and Mady Sissoko from Wasatch Academy. Local DMV highlight players include Cory Barnes Jr. and Tegra Izay from Archbishop Carroll High School, Erik Reynolds and Rodney Rice Jr. from Bullis School and more. All games will be played at The St. James in Springfield, VA — the state-of-the-art 450,000 square foot complex is home to more than 30 sports, including Team Durant at The St. James, Kevin Durant’s youth basketball organization. Read about what else is at The St. James in this KFDC post.

Portrait Story Days
Where: National Portrait Gallery | Penn Quarter, DC
When: January 18-19, 1-4pm
Admission: Free

Drop in to the National Portrait Gallery to listen to a story about Martin Luther King, Jr. and complete a hands-on art project. Read (and see) more about the program and museum here and here. And note this takes place both Saturday and Sunday afternoons.

MLK at the Library
Where: Libraries around the DMV
When: Through January 20
Admission: Free

Many public libraries are hosting MLK-inspired events and activities geared especially toward children. Learn to recite the famous “I Have a Dream” speech at Bellevue Library, join a “Social Justice” Family Story Time at Woodridge Library, celebrate MLK’s Legacy with Author Amy Nathan at Mount Pleasant Library. There are just a few activities in DC. For quick links to see what’s happening at other libraries around the area, see this KFDC post (scroll all the way down for library links).

Be the Light — Celebrating the Legacy of MLK Jr.
Where: Port Discovery | Baltimore, MD
When: January 18-20
Admission: $17.95/ages 1+, free for members

If you can dream it you can change it! Join Port Discovery in celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy during this “Be the Light” event. Experience the strength of celebrating differences in our community and learn how you, too, can become a Change Maker. Take part in interactive programs and performances designed to educate, inspire, and help children understand the positive impact that their actions can have, inspired by Dr. King’s message of promoting fairness. Activities are planned daily throughout the entire weekend — check the website for a daily schedule.

Artsy MLK Days
Where: Annmarie Sculpture Garden | Dowell, MD
When: January 18-20, 11am – 4pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King with community art activities. Each year on this weekend, Annmarie Sculpture Garden invites guests of all ages to help create a community art installation in honor of a dream. Baltimore artist Gary Webb leads the 20120 MLK Days project titled, “Faces of a Dream.” Guests of all ages can create a wire mask using using his “webbing technique” of twisting and bending different kinds of wire into a self-portrait mask, which will be added to an ever growing wall of faces, celebrating the diversity and beauty of the community. Read more about the wonderful Annmarie Sculpture Garden here.

KanKouran West African Dance Company
Where: Dance Place | Brookland, DC
When: January 18, 8pm & January 19, 4pm
Admission: $15-30 (1 child free with adult paid ticket*)

KanKouran West African Dance Company returns to Dance Place for their annual celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Introducing the essence of traditional African dancing and drumming to audiences, KanKouran enriches American cultural heritage through the integration of authentic West African arts and promotes intercultural understanding. The annual MLK Day concert celebrates over 35 years of fulfilling their mission of “giving back that which was lost.” The Sunday 4pm performance is part of the Family Series – Get 1 free ticket for a child 12 & under with paying adult.

Paint for Peace
Where: Art Jamz | Dupont Circle, DC
When: January 18 & 19
Admission: $12-20

Bring the whole family Art Jamz for their Painting for Peace Weekend. In honor of MLK Day, they are donating $5 per canvas order to DC Central Kitchen, a local organization that helps combat hunger and poverty. During the event, they encourage the creation of original art under the guidance of local artists and with inspiration from their jamming social art studio and lounge. There will be plenty of images and quotes inspired by Martin Luther King Jr. plus stencils to help you create a unique masterpiece! Book your session in advance here.

Free Parking
Where: National Parks
When: Jauray 20
Admission: Free!

In honor of MLK Day, it’s the first fee free day of the year for national parks, which means there’s no cost for entry where they usually charge to get in. Take advantage of complimentary admission and the day off from school. Some ideas: Hit the trail at Shenandoah or Great Falls, explore Prince William Forest Park, go to Fort McHenry, or visit Harpers Ferry.

Visit Memorials
Where: National Mall & Tidal Basin, DC
When: January 20 (and ongoing)
Admission: Free

Pay tribute to Dr. King at places that honor his legacy. Visit the MLK Memorial, a powerful and poignant site along the Tidal Basin. From 9-10am, there will be a special ceremony honoring Dr. King with speakers, the placing of a wreath on the memorial, and a song. Later, you can take a tour with a Park Ranger — they will be offered at 2pm & 6pm. From there, you can head to the Lincoln Memorial, where Dr. King gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech and see if you can find his words etched in the stone there at the top of the steps. And for a longer guided walking tour that includes those locations, check out DC by Foot, which offers name-your-own-price tour options.

MLK Dare to Dream Day
Where: American Visionary Art Museum | Baltimore, MD
When: January 20, 10am -6pm
Admission: Free

The American Visionary Art Museum will pay lively tribute to one of the world’s greatest visionaries, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with its annual, all-ages-welcome event. The intergenerational community party honors the great Dr. King’s legacy and vision with birthday cake, a Power Patch printmaking workshop, an artist talk by exhibiting artist Kyle Yearwood, a poetry slam and open mic, and more — all of it free for everyone! Read more about the wonderful AVAM here.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Tribute & Celebration
Where: Strathmore | Bethesda, MD
When: January 20, 4pm
Admission: Free, but tickets are required

Montgomery County celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King’s life through dramatic readings, and musical and dance performances with the theme, “Children of the Dream.” In addition, there will be the presentation of the Humanitarian Award, Children of the Dream Awards as well as a visual arts display honoring Dr. King. Free tickets are required for this event and will be distributed on-site on the day of the performance starting at 3pm.

MLK Parade, Peace Walk, & Fair
Where: Throughout SE, DC
When: January 20
Admission: Free

Commemorate the life of MLK, Jr. on a peace walk and parade along Martin Luther King, Jr. Ave. The Peace Walk begins at 11am and the Parade will commence at 11:30am from Good Hope Road near the Anacostia Park entrance and continue up MLK Avenue, concluding at the campus of St. Elizabeth’s East with a Health and Community Fair at the Gateway Pavillon located at 2700 Martin Luther King Jr Ave SE. All ages are welcome to join.

Rockville Celebrates MLK
Where: Montgomery High School | Rockville, MD
When: January 20, 11am – 1pm
Admission: Free

Rockville’s 48th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration will include multicultural performances, awards, and a keynote speech a keynote speech focused on the theme “Light in the Midst of Darkness.” The celebration is free and open to all ages. Free refreshments, information booths, and community service projects will also be part of the festivities.

Let Freedom Ring!
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom
When: January 20, 6pm
Admission: Free

At this annual performance in honor of MLK Day, the Kennedy Center and Georgetown University host a musical celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy. This year, the musical tribute features ten-time Grammy Award winner Chaka Khan with the Let Freedom Ring Choir led by Music Director Rev. Nolan Williams Jr. Georgetown University will also present the 18th Annual John Thompson Jr. Legacy of a Dream Award to Sandra Jackson, executive director of House of Ruth. Free tickets will be given away, up to two per person in line in the Hall of Nations starting at 4:30pm on a first-come, first-served basis.


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Info and Tips for the Nationals World Series Victory Parade on Saturday


Fight Finished. Now it’s time to celebrate our Washington Nationals!!!

Mayor Bowser announced that a victory parade and rally will take place this Saturday, November 2, from 2pm to 5pm. The parade will begin at Constitution Avenue & 15th Street NW, then proceed down Constitution to Pennsylvania Avenue & 3rd Street NW. That’s just past the large intersection near the National Gallery of Art, DC Courthouse, and Capitol grounds.

Getting There
Obviously, streets will be closed off, and lots of people will be coming into the District, so parking and getting around by car will be very difficult. I recommend getting there by public transportation, bike, scooter, or the shoe leather express.

The closest Metro stops to the parade route and rally are Archives/Navy Memorial on the Yellow/Green line and Gallery Place on the Red/Yellow/Green lines, Metro Center on the Red/Blue/Orange lines, and Federal Triangle on the Blue/Orange line, Farragut North on the Red line, and Smithsonian on Blue/Orange. A bit farther and possibly less crowded are L’Enfant Plaza on Yellow/Green/Blue/Orange, Judiciary Square on Red, and Federal Center SW on Blue/Orange. It’ll be a nice day, perfect for some extra walking.

Metrobus is also a great option. The A30’s all service that general area, and the D-6 goes right through Penn Quarter. And keep in mind that some buses will be rerouted due to street closures, so be sure to check on that.

It’s a good time to take advantage of Capital Bikeshare, Jump Bikes, and scooters (for kids who are big enough) — see this Curbed DC article for info.

Being There
It’s always tricky to figure out the best place to stake out a spot for an event like this. (I remember our crew trying to be strategic about the Caps celebration and realizing when we got there lots of other people had the same idea we did!)

Generally, if you want to catch the parade, definitely line up on Constitution Ave. And if you care more about the rally, go straight to the ending point around Pennsylvania & 3rd. Of course, you can do both and start on Constitution, then head to the rally area, but there likely will be a crush of people doing the same. Either way, get there early if you want a good spot. I’d say at least an hour ahead. There are always big screens set up, so you should be able to see what’s going on from wherever you are, though sometimes you need to get a good spot for a good view of those, too.

Gear Up
Wear your Nats best! Modell’s and Dick’s have World Series commemorative gear, but I hear it’s selling fast! Of course, you can also purchase at the Nationals Team Stores at Nationals Park. Surely, there will be vendors selling items at the event on Saturday, too.

Fuel Up
Celebrating will make you hungry, so plan to have a meal before or after the parade and rally. There are loads of great, family-friendly places not too far from the event area. Here are some recommendations: Jaleo, Teasim, Hill Country Barbeque, Pi Pizzeria, Carmine’s, District Chophouse, Protein Bar, and Pret a Manger. Find even more on Open Table.

More Info
You can get alerts about the event by texting “NATS” to 888-777 or visit the District government’s event page for the parade to stay up to date on details (though right now there aren’t any there).

* If I hear further information and think of any other important tips, I’ll add them here, so check back before Saturday.

* For more to do while you’re downtown, be sure to check the Weekend Round-Up and, of course, the rest of the blog to find nearby activities.

* And because I am so, so, SO excited for our Nats and it’s #TBT as I post this and I’m a total sap and can’t pick just a few, here are a bunch of photos of our Nats fandom over the years. 🙂
















































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