Tag Archives: Free Things to do in Washington DC

Where to Play on the Weekdays: September 16-20

See Wings of Fancy at Brookside Gardens before it closes!


Monday – Summer isn’t quite officially over according to the calendar — or the weather — so savor the last of it at Yards Park. Play in the sprays and wading pool, hang out in the grassy areas, stroll the boardwalk, take in the views, and have a picnic by the water or go for lunch at one of the many nearby eateries.

Tuesday – Check out the new Comic Art exhibit at the Library of Congress. Featuring original drawings and printed pages of some of the most famous and beloved characters to appear in print, its one that will appeal all ages. Plan to roam around the rest of the Thomas Jefferson building while you’re there — it’s one of the most stunning spaces in DC (imo). And make time to hang out in the Young Readers Center, a cozy area especially for kids full of books and occasionally crafts just for them. The Library of Congress is open Monday through Saturday, 8:30am – 4:30pm. Admission is free.

Wednesday – Pick out some new reads at the Beatley Central Library’s Fall Book Sale! Over 20,000 books, plus CDs, DVDs, and audio books will be available for anywhere from $1 to $5. Plan to join a story time session, too — there are several for children throughout the day. The sale is open to the public Wednesday through Sunday, and hours vary by day, so be sure to check the schedule when you plan to go. The Library is located at 5005 Duke Street in Alexandria, VA.

Thursday – Experience Wings of Fancy at Brookside Gardens while you still can! The wonderful exhibit featuring live butterflies and caterpillars from all over the world closes after September 22. Hours are 10am – 5pm. Admission is $8/ages 13 and up, $5/3-12, free ages 0-2. Stay to explore the rest of Brookside’s beautiful grounds! The gardens are open sunrise to sunset, and admission is free. See more about the exhibit and Brookside here and here.

Friday – Go apple picking! There are several places around the area that open their orchards to guests for PYO. This round-up of pick-your-own places has details. I always recommend checking websites or calling ahead to be sure the pickings are good that day.


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

Where to Play on the Weekdays: September 9-13

This week is the last chance to experience “Infinite Space” at ARTECHOUSE




Monday – Check out The REACH, the brand new expansion of arts at the Kennedy Center. The Opening Festival runs through September 22 with all kinds of programs for all ages, including classes and workshops for children and their families by Arts on the Horizon. At Stories on the Horizon: Storybook Adventures (10am & 11am), watch your little one grow and explore in this storybook-inspired class, where music, movement, and puppets will be used to bring stories to life! Best for ages 9 months to 2.5 years. At 2:30pm, take an active role in shaping Arts on the Horizon’s newest show, Off the Page. Families can participate in a series of interactive activities designed to explore how children ages 3-6 want to engage with various objects, images, and stories related to the play’s themes. All programs are free. (And note that there is even more going on every day throughout the festival!)

Tuesday – Hit the playground at Wheaton Regional Park. Two levels of slides, climbing nets, monkey bars, swings, and more fun features will appeal to all ages and abilities. Pack lunch to eat at nearby picnic tables under the lofty trees. Take a ride on the miniature train and carousel if they’re operating. The park is open sunrise to sunset, and admission is free.

Wednesday – Head to the Hirshhorn for their weekly STORYTIME program for little ones. During this session, they’ll read the story A Day With No Crayons by Elizabeth Rusch. Following the story, participants will create their own artwork using unusual materials.. This takes place 10-11am. Admission is free.

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

Friday – Visit Infinite Space at ARTECHOUSE before it closes — the last day for the exhibit is September 15. Six immersive digital art installations will delight and amaze, and some will make you feel like you’re floating in, well, infinite space. Family-friendly hours are 10am -5pm. Admission is $16/adult, $8/age 2+.


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Filed under 2019, All ages, DC, Free, Maryland, Virginia, Weekdays

Where to Play on the Weekdays: September 3-6

Eke out a little more summer fun at The Wharf


Tuesday – Keep the summer vibes going at The Wharf. Let the kids run through the in-ground fountain sprays, play large-scale board games on the Transit Pier, grab lunch at one of the many eateries, rock on swinging benches, and enjoy the waterfront scenery. You can also opt for a paddling excursion if you’re up for it. Just about all of it is accessible all day and evening, and all but paddling are free (though plan to pay for your meals, of course.) KFDC Tip: Park for free at East Potomac Park, then ride the free Jitney over to The Wharf. You get a nice little boat ride and avoid the headache of finding a parking spot.

Wednesday – Explore the local environment at Buddie Ford Nature Center. The facility in Alexandria houses fascinating exhibits (including live creatures!), hands-on activities, and a staff of friendly and knowledgeable naturalists that all ages will appreciate. Afterwards, take the fun outdoors with a short hike at the adjacent Dora Kelley Nature Park. Buddie Ford hours are 10am – 5pm (Wednesday – Saturday, 1-5pm Sunday). Admission is free.

Thursday – Spend a musical morning with Boogie Babes at a new location! They will now be hosting their weekly entertainment for littles at the Miracle Theater on Barracks Row, giving folks plenty of room to sit, dance, and sing along. This first show of the season will feature Kidsinger Jim. The fun starts at 10:30am (doors open at 10am), and admission is $6/child, free for siblings 6 months and under. Plan on lunch after at one of the many nearby eateries or head over to Eastern Market for a bite.

Friday – Join the National Gallery of Art’s new Storytime program for children that takes place on the first Friday of every month. Together with museum staff, participants will read a book aloud, move, and play. All ages are welcome, especially the youngest visitors and nursing parents. Enjoy this in Gallery 39 on the ground floor of the West Building from 10-11am. Plan for time to explore the rest of the museum while you’re there — view classical works by many of the masters in the West Building and venture over to the East Building for contemporary art. Admission to both Storytime and the museum are free.


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Where to Play on the Weekdays: August 26-30

Just one more week to hang out on the LAWN at the National Building Museum


Monday – Experience Wings of Fancy at Brookside Gardens, the wonderful exhibit featuring live caterpillars and butterflies from all over the world. Hours are 10am – 4pm. Admission is $8/ages 13 and up, $5/3-12, free ages 0-2. Stay to explore the rest of Brookside’s beautiful grounds! The gardens are open sunrise to sunset, and admission is free. See more about the exhibit and Brookside here and here.

Tuesday – Head to the Udvar-Hazy Center, the Air & Space Museum arm in Chantilly, VA, to see one of the world’s premier aerobatic display teams. The Royal Air Force’s Red Arrows flying Hawk fast-jets in awe-inspiring formations and stunts. For this event, they will do a flypast of the museum, then three Red Arrows Hawk T1s will be on display on the ramp outside. Visitors can explore the aircraft up close, talk to the ground crew and engineers, hear from the Red Arrows pilots, and more. The museum opens at 9:30am, the flypast is at 10am, and the planes will be on display by 10:30 (departing at 3pm). Admission is free, but parking is $15.

Wednesday – Go to a special summer exhibit or museum program before they come to an end after Labor Day. Hang out on the LAWN at the National Building Museum. Enjoy free admission for kids to the Newseum thanks to the Summer Fun Deal (and get a deal on adult admission here). Look for fairy houses and enjoy more artistic delights at Annmarie Sculpture Garden. Find details on these and even more soon-to-be over activities in the 2019 Summer Guide.

Thursday – Kick start your child’s love of playful learning and find out how to support your baby’s development now and every step of the way at Tinkergarten Babies<. This unique outdoor class is designed to provide a safe, stimulating playscape in which your baby can discover the natural world. If you are close to the Alexandria area and have a 6-18 month old baby, join a free Tinkergarten Babies trial from 10-11am at Belle Haven Park. If you can’t make this one, learn more or find other trial classes here. If you have an older child, trial classes are also available for the core class designed for children 18 months to 8 years old — see the schedule to sign up!

Friday – Catch a lunchtime performance by Step Afrika!, the world’s first professional dance company dedicated to the tradition of stepping, at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. The show is part of the annual Step Xplosion tour of all eight wards in DC, this one celebrating the 25th anniversary season. Enjoy this exciting, interactive experience from 12-1pm, then grab a bite at the museum’s Mezzanine Café. Admission is free.


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