Tag Archives: Eastern Market

To Market, To Market this Holiday Season

The Downtown Holiday Market in Penn Quarter is open daily through December 23

The Downtown Holiday Market in Penn Quarter is open daily through December 23



How about adding some fun to your holiday shopping? What’s often a stressful activity for many this time of year, can actually be good time for you and the kids — if you know where to go. Here are some local markets that offer more than the standard browse-and-buy, where live entertainment, yummy treats, fun activities, and the chance to shop outdoors in a festive atmosphere will keep your inner-Scrooge at bay as you pick out perfect gifts for all. Happy Shopping!

Downtown Holiday Market
Where: 8th & F Streets NW
When: Daily through 12/23, 12-8pm

This one, to me, is the holiday market in DC. 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 seems feel like a small town. A bonus is the free live entertainment along with treats and coffee drinks available for purchase. And after you’ve done your shopping and enjoyed a snack and music, you can pop into the National Portrait Gallery/American Art Museum that are literally right next to the market.

Eastern Market
Where: 7th Street SE, between South Carolina & Penn Aves.
When: Year-round Saturdays & Sundays

The outdoor flea market at the centerpiece of the Capitol Hill community is practically a year-round weekend institution for locals. And during the holiday season, it’s a go-to for shoppers seeking unique gifts along with a fun outing. Nearly 200 vendors are there, selling everything from original artwork to fun T-shirts, to handmade jewelry and accessories, to colorful Turkish rugs, to home décor to custom-made and used furniture – and much, much more. If you’re cooking up a holiday meal, you can get fresh produce from farmers’ stalls outside and butchered meats, fancy cheeses, baked goods, pasta, fresh produce, and more inside the actual Eastern Market. Even more, there is often live music courtesy of buskers around the area, and if the kids want some play time afterwards, you can hit one of several parks or playgrounds in the neighborhood (Lincoln Park, at 11th and East Capitol, is the largest and most popular among them).

Harbor Holiday Market
Where: National Harbor
When: Saturday & Sunday through January 5

National Harbor invites you to deck the halls with ideas from their Holiday Market, located on American Way, featuring handmade holiday ornaments and decorations, tasty holiday treats such as cookies and roasted chestnuts, and much more. Regional vendors will be offering holiday goods and specialty foods every weekend throughout the holiday season. Kids will love carousel rides with Santa on Saturdays from 12-2pm ($3/ride), and live entertainment by local school choirs will get everyone in a festive mood on Saturdays at 3pm & 6pm (also Fridays at 6pm).

Sugarloaf Craft Festival
Where: Dulles Expo Center
When: December 13-15

This seasonal fair showcases works by more than 300 top artisans. Pottery, sculpture, glass, jewelry, fashion, home and garden décor, furniture and home accessories, and photography will be on display — and for sale. The best part is that the award-winning festival is a family affair. Parents can shop, and children can enjoy an interactive puppet theater and watch live-demonstrations of iron forging, papermaking, stone sculpting, and other media by the master craftspeople themselves. Not to mention, gourmet goodies hand-made by specialty food vendors always leave everyone wanting more. Tickets are $10/adults at the door $8 in advance online (free for children under 12), and are good all three days of the Festival.

Christkindl
Where: Canal Park
When: Through December 22

Head to the small market at the Navy Yard to enjoy the sights, sounds and flavors of the Holiday Season. Enjoy a hot cup of cocoa, go ice skating (when the rink opens – it’s currently still closed for maintenance), buy holiday décor, or pick out a fresh Douglas or Fraser Firs and have it delivered directly to your house!

Gifts That Give Hope
Where: Calvary United Methodist Church
When: December 14, 10am – 2pm

Instead of giving another tie or candle this year, how about boxing up hope and happiness? Gifts That Give Hope Arlington is holding their 3rd annual Gift Fair, capturing the holiday spirit in a way that redefines the notion of meaningful, alternative gift giving. This year’s fair will feature 15 local and global nonprofit organizations, many of them based in Arlington. Shoppers will have the opportunity to peruse the tables hosted by each organization and purchase alternative gifts that will directly benefit the mission of those organizations. There will also be refreshments, face painting, and kids activities.

Holiday Gift Market
Where: National Museum of Women in the Arts
When: December 18-20

So, this market may not be ideal for a family affair, but it sounds like a nice one for moms (or someone looking for a present for mom) to check out. Five fabulous women will be featured at the Holiday Market: Diane Ginsburg, Keithley Pierce, Meena Tharmaratnam, Cindy Hornaman, and Melanie Ferrara. Selling their jewelry, textiles, and home and personal accessories, all of them will attend the trunk show for a meet-and-greet event with shoppers held on Wednesday, December 18, through Friday, December 20, from 10am – 5pm with extended hours on Wednesday until 7pm. Museum members will receive double discounts (20%).

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Where to Play on the Weekdays: July 18-22

The weather factors greatly into this week’s suggested recreation.  With temps in the mid-90’s and 100+ by the end of the week, most of these activities take place indoors. But if you want to savor the sunshine, this list will give you ideas on what to do.  Just be sure to wear a hat and sunscreen when you get out there.

Here’s what’s happening this week, July 18-22:

Monday –  Check out the new Playseum on Capitol Hill.  Open for less than a week, the play space includes two floors of cute, themed rooms for pretend play, opportunities for arts & crafts and cupcake decorating, and lots of books for sale.  Admission is $6/person. For evening fun, it’s Washington Kastles Family Night, which will include extra kids activities along with the matches against Sacramento Capitals.  Get a discount on tickets with the code KIDDC – more details here.

Tuesday – Join a play date at Rockville Town Square.  Their Mommy & Me and Daddies Too series takes place the third Tuesday of every month from 10am – 12pm.  Register here for the free program.

Wednesday – See Imagination Stage’s latest production, The Wind in the Willows.  Tickets ($10-22) are available for both the 10:30am and 1:30pm shows, and you can get a 25% discount by using the code “Willows25”.  Read DC Theater Scene’s review of the play.

Thursday – Boogie down at Eastern Market! John Henry, the Guitar Playing Man is on the line-up for this week’s Boogie Babes show.  The fun starts at 10:30am.  Admission is $5/child, free for siblings 6 months and under.

Friday – The National Museum of Natural History is always a great place to stay cool.  The dinos, insects, butterflies, and mammals are popular permanent exhibits, and I also recommend the Nature’s Best Photography exhibit, which captures some incredible moments from the natural world. You can also watch an IMAX movie at the museum’s Johnson Theater.  Born to Be Wild 3D and Grand Canyon Adventure are two of several films currently playing.

 

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Weekend Plans TBD…

Look for Abe rolling down Constitution Avenue tomorrow. The National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade is ON!

My recommendations for family recreation this weekend hinge on one sort of major detail:  the potential government shutdown.  There is a good chance many scheduled events will be postponed or even canceled altogether because of federal agency furloughs and museum closures.   So, I’m just going to list the events that will definitely be “on” first with the “maybe” picks to follow.  No matter the outcome of today’s talks at the Capitol, you’ll find ways to have a good time with the kids. Happy Weekend!

ON:

National Cherry Blossom Festival ParadeThe mac daddy of cherry blossom festivities is happening on Saturday no matter what, according to the Washington Post Breaking News Blog.  Thousands of people line Constitution Avenue every year to watch the spectacle of lavish floats, giant helium balloons, marching bands, and a variety of performers travel from 7th to 17th Streets. (Note: the route will likely be shortened this year, so I will post an update as soon as I hear more.) The parade begins at 10am and lasts about two hours.  Tickets for grandstand seats are available for $17, but you can stake out a spot along the curb for free.  Plan to arrive early to get a good view.

Sakura Matsuri Immediately following the parade, many folks head right over to Sakura Matsuri, the Japanese Street Festival that is America’s largest one-day exhibition of Japanese culture. Stretching down six city blocks from 9th to 14th Streets on Pennsylvania Avenue NW, there will be live music and dance performances, all kinds of Asian and Western foods, martial arts demos, a Children’s Corner with storytelling, origami, Japanese games, calligraphy, and more.  Festivities go on until 6pm, and there is a $5 charge for adults (free for children under 12).

See a LEGO Master at Work On Saturday and Sunday, the master behind the National Building Museum’s “LEGO® Architecture” exhibit will be in the Great Hall constructing a new piece – the White House! — for the collection. And you’re invited to watch it happen.  See this post from a couple of weeks ago for details.

Boogie Down at Eastern MarketCelebrate the National Cherry Blossom Festival with the Boogie Babes! The Festival’s Music of Spring program includes a Children’s Stage at the Market’s North Hall where some of Boogie Babes’ regular performers will entertain kids throughout the day. On the schedule:  Saturday – 10:30am John Henry, The Guitar Playing Man 1:30pm Crash Chord, 4pm The Singing Lizard.  Sunday -10:30am Bridgette with Dawn on Bongos, 1:30pm Bridgette with Dawn on Bongos, 4pm Groovy Nate. Suggested $10/family for the performer.

Airplanes, soccer, and a little R&R at Gravelly Point

Picnic, Play, & PlanesHave you been to Gravelly Point, the small park along the GW Parkway next to Ronald Reagan Airport?  I just recommended it a few weekends ago, but am bringing it into the mix again because Sunday will be a great day to go.  The beautiful spot along the river is nice place to spread out a picnic, people watch, and kick around a soccer ball  — if you really like airplanes.  I have to warn about this one:  it’s hit or miss with kids (and adults, for that matter).  The park is located just beyond the airport runway, so planes take off or land (depending on which way they are going that day) literally right overhead. That’s the hit or miss part — it’s loud and potentially scary for those who don’t like the looks of a plane coming right at them, but quite exciting for those that love a thrill.

Annual Easter Egg Hunt and Marshmallow HarvestStart your Easter celebration a little early at Great Country Farms. The Loudoun County working farm well known for its u-pick produce and seasonal celebrations its holding is annual Egg Hunt and Marshmallow Harvest this weekend.  Along with the main festivities, admission ($10/kids, $12/adults) grants access to loads of fun on the farm.  For details, see this post from yesterday.

Good News The Newseum is turning 3 and to celebrate, tickets will be buy one, get one free this weekend.  This is a good opportunity to check out the museum dedicated to all things media if you’ve never been, since there’s a good chance most of the city’s other museums will be closed.

Au Pair Cultural FairAre you curious about au pairs as a childcare option? On Saturday, Au Pair in America invites families to their Cultural Fair at Glen Echo Park to learn more about their programs.  It’s a family affair with an afternoon of fun activities for all ages.  For more info, see this post from a few days ago.

See Becks Bend ItPut a little sports action into your weekend at a soccer match on Saturday evening.   The DC United is taking on the LA Galaxy – yes, the David Beckham will be in the house!  Tickets are still available for the 7:30pm game.  Visit the DC United website to purchase online.

Show TimeSeveral productions will be on stages this weekend, including George and Martha – Tons of Fun opening at Imagination Stage tomorrow and Synetic Theater’s The Magic Paintbrush, which has been so successful, they are doing two weeks of encore performances. For info on tickets and more live entertainment in town, see this post on spring shows in the area.

Everyone’s PlaygroundEnjoy one of the best playgrounds in the area. If you have young children, and you haven’t been to Clemyjontri Park, I highly recommend taking them there. Since the park is privately funded, it will be open this weekend. The play possibilities there will seem endless to little ones.  And the beautiful fairytale-themed carousel is now open for the season.  Read more about the Clemyjontri in this post from last summer.

MAYBE:

Blossom Kite FestivalRescheduled for Sunday after being postponed due to inclement weather, this is definitely one of the most anticipated events this weekend.  And to think there is a very good chance it will be canceled again!  If the Festival does, indeed, happen on Sunday, it’s going to be great – the weather forecast is looking ideal for kite-flying, and there is sure to be a celebratory spirit — along with the kites — in the air.

White House Garden ToursThis weekend is your chance to enjoy spring at the White House — and you don’t need to win a lottery to do it.  The annual Spring Garden and Grounds Tours are being held on Saturday and Sunday.  And gaining admission to the event is as easy as picking up tickets the day of.  For more details and info on how to get tickets, see this post from last week.

Born to Be Wild 3DThis heart-warming film about the bond between humans and animals opens at the Johnson IMAX Theater today. Documenting orphaned orangutans and elephants and the extraordinary people who rescue and raise them, this is a movie all ages will adore.  My longer review will come soon, but the short of it is that I highly recommended taking your kids to see it.  For a longer description of the film, see this post from last week (note: the giveaway has ended).  Tickets are $9. You can see the film on Friday, but the Natural History Museum, where the Johnson IMAX is located, might be closed this weekend.

Earth Day Family CelebrationReduce, Reuse, Recycle! On Saturday, the Smithsonian American Art Museum will teach guests how to turn their trash into artwork they’ll treasure. Artist David Edgar will show kids how to make fantastic creatures out of yogurt cartons and musician Billy B. will be on stage to help rock the planet! This free event runs from 11:30am – 3pm.

Super Science Saturday: How Things FlyHead to the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center on Saturday for a day of aero fun. Through demonstrations and hands-on activities, visitors of all ages will become immersed in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics topics related to aviation and space exploration.  The event runs from 10am – 3pm. Parking is $15, but admission is free.

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Tips for Families Viewing the Cherry Blossoms

It's almost peak time in DC!

Taking the family to the National Mall to see some pretty flowers sounds easy enough. If only it actually was.  The cherry blossom peak is one of the best times to visit DC – the city is at it’s most beautiful, and the National Cherry Blossom Festival provides loads of fun activities — but viewing the famous blooms can also be a bit challenging without being aware of a few things. Recently, the blog So You’re New to DC offered a few cherry blossom viewing tips, and I’m piggybacking on it a bit – with kids in mind.  Here are seven recommendations to consider if seeing the cherry blossoms is on your family’s agenda.

1. Don’t drive if you value your sanity. Take the Metro, ride the bus, bike, walk, jet pack.  Get here however you can, just leave the car at home.  Traffic is beyond frustrating during the cherry blossom peak, and your chances of finding decent parking are about as good as hitting the Powerball with Hurley’s numbers (okay, slight exaggeration, but it is hard).  The masses descend on Washington, DC, this time of year, and way too many do so in their vehicles.  Besides, kids love riding the Metro—it’s like an urban version of Hogwarts Express—and the Smithsonian stop on the Blue/Orange Line is mere minutes from all of the blossom action. *If you absolutely must drive and need parking your best bet is to find a garage in the Penn Quarter area then take the Metro from the Metro Center station to the Smithsonian station.

The kids and I enjoyed a picnic under a blossom canopy last year

2. Visit on a weekday if you have the flexibility.  Crowds are significantly smaller from Monday to Friday, so you can stroll around the Tidal Basin at a nice pace, and public transportation won’t be nearly as packed (though it still will be more crowded than usual).  If the kids are in school or daycare during the week, think about going later in the day.  I’ve always thought the National Mall and monuments look beautiful at sunset, and I bet the blossoms are just as sublime.

3. Consider using a child carrier instead of a stroller for little ones.  This is especially applicable if you take the Metro, since elevator lines can be very long and slow-going.  I encountered this last year on a weekday and ended up taking my daughter out of the stroller and carrying both on the escalator, which was probably as unsafe as it was difficult.  Even if you don’t take Metro, a carrier is still a wise option.  Navigating crowded walkways while pushing a pram takes focus, and you could end up spending more time concentrating on not rolling over others’ heels than enjoying the sights you came to see. It’s a bonus for kids, too — perched on your back, your babe will get a better view of the blossoms.

4. Check the National Cherry Blossom Festival schedule, so you can plan your visit accordingly. Some of the city’s most anticipated events are part of the two-week celebration, the Kite Festival, Southwest Waterfront Fireworks, and National Cherry Blossom Parade among them.  And a few new family-friendly events have been added to the program this year: The Yards Park is hosting a Family Fun Day and Eastern Market will have a great line-up of live music on the weekends, including several children’s performances presented by the Boogie Babes.  All events take place close by the blossoms or are an easy Metro ride away.  See this post for dates and details on the best events for families.

Sasha is ready to go fly a kite

5. Bring a kite to the Blossom Kite Festival.  If you don’t, your kid will never forgive you (and you’ll be pretty bummed, too).  When you see the sky flecked with brilliant colors and wild shapes, you’ll want to unravel a spool of string and let a sail fly, too. Even though there is an exhibition and competition aspect to the event, anyone can fly their kite along with even the most hardcore enthusiasts (that’s right, kiters can get hardcore…have you seen some of those stunts?).  If you don’t already have a kite, you can pick one up at Target for about $5.

6. Seek out other spots to see the cherry blossoms if you don’t want to deal with crowds and chaos around the Mall.  Several places around the DC-metro area are well known for their annual cherry blossom displays.  When I worked in Bethesda many years ago, it was an annual tradition for my colleagues and I to take a drive through Kenwood, a lovely neighborhood between Little Falls Parkway and River Road with cherry tree-lined streets. The National Arboretum also has a nice collection of the trees and offers a beautiful, peaceful environment in which to view them in bloom.  For even more suggestions for cherry blossoms minus the crowds, check out this Washingtonian article.

7. Don’t forget your camera to take advantage of some of the best photo ops DC offers.  The peak colors plus the monuments are about as  iconic as you can get when photographing Washington. Get your kids to sit still – or even let them run and play for a fun candid – and you’ve got this year’s holiday card.

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Filed under All ages, DC, Festival, Live Entertainment, Monuments & Memorials, Outdoor, Seasonal, Spring, Weekend