Tag Archives: Holiday Season in DC

Where to Play on the Weekdays: December 31, 2018 – January 4, 2019

Take a New Year’s Day hike at Huntley Meadows Park

A couple things to note as we head into the new week (and year!):
* The government shutdown will affect a lot of popular places after January 1, including Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo, National Parks, and the National Gallery of Art (after January 3). This post from the last shutdown has been updated to reflect the current one, and it offers ideas for things to do around DC while many local go-tos are closed.
* The Winter Break Guide contains a big mix of ideas for activities and adventures with the kids during the winter break from school, so be sure to check it out.

Happy New Year!!

Monday – Celebrate New Year’s Eve at one of several events around town that not only welcome kids, but in most cases center around them. See this post for a list of family-friendly options to ring in 2019.

Tuesday – A couple of suggestions: Take a New Year’s Day hike — this post has details on a bunch of great places to hit the trail with the kids (but note that places within the National Park Service system may not be accessible). Or, go out for a fun family meal. All Purpose Pizza at the Capitol Riverfront is doing a special New Year’s Day brunch. Pinstripes in Georgetown has a bistro, plus bowling and bocce. Jaleo, located in Penn Quarter, Bethesda, and Crystal City, has tapas to please everyone — and they might seat you at a Foosball table. Carmine’s serves food family-style and is very family-friendly. Ted’s Bulletin is always a hit with kids.

Wednesday – Head up to Baltimore for a day at the Maryland Science Center. Explore several levels of fascinating hands-on exhibits, play in the Kids Room, and so much more. Hours are 10am – 5pm. Admission is $24.95/adults, $18.95/ages 3+, free for 2 and under. (I suggest checking out their membership options — if your family of 4 goes just twice in a year, it’s worth it. Plus, there’s reciprocity with other museums around the country.) Read more about the museum in this KFDC post.

Thursday – Visit the largest library in the world, the Library of Congress, to explore children’s books, see interesting exhibits, and marvel at one of DC’s most beautiful buildings. The Young Readers Center is open 9am – 4pm and welcomes visitors to read books and hang out in the cozy space. And be sure to spend time checking out the rest of the LOC, too — it’s truly magnificent and a must-see for both locals and visitors to DC. Hours are 8:30am – 4:30pm. Admission is free.

Friday – Reach new heights of fun at ClimbZone. Kids and adults will have a blast scaling the many colorful, whimsically-themed walls at the indoor climbing center in Laurel, MD. Hours are 10am – 9pm (10am – 8pm other weekdays). Admission is $25/age 6+, $12/5 & under for a three-hour session.


Filed under 2018, 2019, All ages, DC, Holidays, Maryland, Virginia, Weekdays, Winter

The Weekend: December 28-30

Feelin’ the love at Georgetown GLOW

The “Round-Up” part of this post title is missing for a reason, and that’s because this is not a regular Weekend Round-Up. I’m keeping it simple for this last weekend of the year — but I’m definitely not leaving you hanging. The links below will lead you to plenty of info and inspo to fill the next few days with as much (or little) activity as you want. You can also check KFDC on Facebook and Instagram for any updates or extra ideas. Happy Last Weekend of 2018!

Where to Go and What to Do Around DC During Winter Break 2018

The 2018 KFDC Guide to Holiday Season in DC

Winter Entertainment

Everyday Play

The Great Indoors

Indoor Playgrounds

The Best Places in the DC Area to Spend A Beautiful Day Outdoors with the Kids

Ice It at These Skating Rinks Around the DMV

Walks in the Woods

*Be sure to check out the just posted Family New Year’s Eve Celebrations to Ring in 2019 to make your Monday plans!

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Filed under 2018, All ages, DC, Indoor Play, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Outdoor, Seasonal, Special Event, Theatre, Virginia, Weekend, Winter

Where to Play on the Weekdays (& Nights!): December 24-28

Merry Christmas to all!

Last week I posted the Winter Break Guide, a big mix of ideas for activities and adventures with the kids during the winter break from school, so be sure to check it out! Below is a suggested itinerary that you can easily switch up with the recs from the guide. Have fun & Happy Holidays!

Monday – Watch Santa have some fun before his big night out, as he water skis his way up the Potomac along with knee boarding reindeer, flying elves, the jet-skiing Grinch, and Frosty the Snowman in a dinghy! You can view it all for free from the waterfront in Old Town Alexandria starting at 1pm sharp — the best viewing spots will be from the Torpedo Factory to Point Lumley Park.

Later on, celebrate Christmas Eve by viewing some holiday lights! Visit one of the many twinkling displays around the area or go see the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree. (This is something you can do any evening during the week, though check schedules on Christmas night, as some of them are closed.)

Tuesday – Have a very Merry Christmas! And enjoy some activities out of the house, too! The U.S. Botanic Garden and Mount Vernon are open. You can bundle up and get out for a hike (though be aware that National Parks may not be accessible). Or do what’s a tradition for many who don’t celebrate Christmas and go out for Chinese food and a movie.

Wednesday – Get Q?rius at the National Museum of Natural History. Visitors can view up close — and in many cases handle — real artifacts and specimens from the museum’s collections. It’s recommended for ages 11 and up, but some younger ages could also enjoy it. For really little ones, there is Q?rius Jr: A Discovery Room for more age-appropriate exploring. And, of course, there’s the whole rest of the museum for everyone. Hours are 10am – 5:30pm. Admission is free.

When the sun goes down, go ice skating! There’s something kind of magical about skating under the stars, and there are several rinks around the area where you can glide on ice at night.

Thursday – Bundle up the kids (and yourself) and take advantage of The Beauvoir School’s Winter Break. Their fantastic playground is open to the public when class is not in session. Open all day. Admission is free.

In the evening, experience Georgetown GLOW, the annual exhibition of outdoor public light art installations that makes the neighborhood sparkle. Plan on dinner while you’re there — you’ve got your pick of places in the bustling community.

Friday – Visit the National Gallery of Art while it’s still open during the government shutdown. (It’s been reported that the museum will be open through New Year’s Day and Smithsonian Museums through December 31.) The East Building is full of contemporary works with bold colors and captivating designs. Be sure to stop in the Alexander Calder room on the 4th floor, where mobiles of all shapes and sizes will dazzle, and head to the roof to at least have a peek at the giant blue rooster and some great city views. The West Building houses more classical pieces, including collections featuring many of the masters and the only Leonardo da Vinci painting on public view in the U.S. Hours are 10am – 5:30pm. Admission is free. If weather permits, take a stroll through the Sculpture Garden and maybe even go ice skating at the lovely outdoor rink (open 10am – 11pm, admission is $8/child, $9/adult, $4/rental).

The National Gallery of Art will remain open during the shutdown at least through January 1

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Filed under 2018, All ages, DC, Maryland, Seasonal, Virginia, Weekdays, Winter

Scenes from the 2018 Season’s Greening Exhibit at the U.S. Botanic Garden

Every year I say that if my blog stats are any indication, the annual Season’s Greenings exhibit at the U.S. Botanic Garden easily is one of the most popular holiday attractions in DC. And that’s backed up by both the long lines to get in to see it and the joyful responses it elicits from visitors of all ages.

In case you’re new to DC (because that’s the only reason one would have for not knowing about the exhibit), every holiday season the USBG’s conservatory is transformed into a festive oasis featuring Washington landmarks constructed from plant materials as well as poinsettias and other vibrant flora. But the highlight, especially for kids (and the kid in all of us adults), is the garden railway, which is always a lovely, delightful display uniquely crafted from plant materials like the rest of the holiday installations.

This year’s All Aboard theme showcases train stations across the United States, from grand classic structures like New York’s Grand Central Station and Cincinnati’s Union Terminal to smaller, charming venues like Maui’s Lahaina Station and the Gettysburg Lincoln Railroad Station to more unusual sites like Pikes Peak Cog Railway in Colorado and Mississippi’s Vicksburg Depot-Railroad Barge. There are also some “fantasy” stations included just for kids, like a Dino Depot and The North Pole village with sweet details kids will love like Santa’s Workshop, a gang of teddy bears, and cute apple and pear topped structures.

Be sure to get a close look at the details, as it’s fun to try to identify the materials used. You’ll see acorn caps, bamboo, eucalyptus leaves, gourds, pieces of tree bark, driftwood, even shelf fungus among the many plants used in the creation of the stations. And don’t miss the windows in the tunnel with neat little dioramas of scenes glimpsed on a train route, like grain fields in Kansas and orange groves in Florida. And if you’re looking for DC’s own Union Station, you won’t find it in the garden railway; it’s the newest addition to replicas of the city’s most iconic buildings on display in the conservatory.

You can also find a few pieces in other galleries, so plan on walking through the rest of the plant collections. If you’re interested in learning more about the stations on display, there will be binders with interesting facts about them and their locations as well as details on materials used to make the train station models. It’s also available online.

For more holiday magic at the Botanic Garden, there are concerts on select Tuesday and Thursday evenings in December, when hours are extended until 8pm. I highly recommend going to one of these, for both the music and to see the exhibit and plant collections illuminated by colorful lights. It’s a wonderful holiday experience!

Season’s Greenings opens on Thanksgiving Day, November 22, and runs through January 1. Hours are 10am – 5pm daily (and noted 8pm closings on Tuesdays and Thursdays in December). Admission is free.

For now, get a glimpse of it all in the scenes below.


Filed under 2018, All ages, Annual, Christmas, DC, Exhibit, Free, Holidays, Seasonal, Weekdays, Weekend, Winter