Tag Archives: Things to do with Kids in Washington DC

Where to Play on Thanksgiving Day

It's festive and fun at the Pentagon Row Ice Rink

It’s festive and fun at the Pentagon Row Ice Rink



How about a side of fun to go with your Thanksgiving turkey? If you’re going to be in town for the holiday and looking for pre- or post-feast activities, plan ahead with these ideas.

*Visit a Smithsonian museum or the National Zoo. They are all open on Thanksgiving from 10am – 5:30pm, except for the American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery which are open 11:30am – 7pm. (I highly recommend the WONDER exhibit at the Renwick!) The National Gallery of Art is open, too, from 10am – 5pm.

*Experience Season’s Greenings at the U.S. Botanic Garden on opening day! Get an idea of what to expect in this post from a couple of years ago about the annual holiday exhibit.

*Spend Thanksgiving morning with The Great Zucchini at Jammin’ Java. Showtime is 10:30am, general admission is $5.

*Get gliding and enjoy some active fun on what’s forecast to be a beautiful day. You can skate under the sky at one of several ice rinks in the area that are open on the holiday. Find info for them here.

*Go on a holiday hike. Rock Creek, Great Falls, Roosevelt Island, Huntley Meadows, and Turkey Run are all great places to do some pre-feast tramping. This post has even more recs for local walks in the woods.

*Get into the holiday spirit at Christmas on the Potomac, the Gaylord National Resort’s spectacular seasonal attraction.

*Dance off the turkey dinner at the Kennedy Center. The evening’s free Millennium Stage performance features a Thanksgiving Day Swing Dance Party with music by Jive Aces and swing lessons by Jean Veloz. The dancing and show is 7-9pm, but lessons start at 6p.

*Take an evening drive or stroll through a holiday light display – several in the area have started dazzling visitors with twinkling designs.


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Filed under All ages, Annual, Art, Christmas, DC, Free, Holidays, Maryland, Museums, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Virginia, Weekdays

Save Your Seats for Live Entertainment this Spring

Catch Blue at Imagination Stage through April 12

Catch Blue at Imagination Stage through April 12



With the new season comes a whole new crop of shows for young audiences! Here’s a round-up of where you can catch some live entertainment throughout spring, listed in order by start date. Tickets are available for all of them now, so go save your seats!

Blue
Where: Imagination Stage
When: Through April 12
Tickets: $12

Imagine a world where the only color is blue. Blue flowers, blue grass, even blue cereal! Inky and Pale live in such a world until they discover something RED! In this interactive show, two friends find fun in every color of the rainbow!

Jack and the Beanstalk
Where: The Puppet Co.
When: Through May 3
Tickets: $10

Fe-fi-fo-fum. A timely version of the classic children’s tale about the young lad that doesn’t know beans about trading, but still manages to climb his way to the top. Jack finds that happiness lies in helping others rather than mere personal gain. Told with rod puppets and some surprising twists, Jack has long been a favorite of our audiences. Recommended for K – Grade 6.

Tot Rock
Where: Jammin’ Java
When: Ongoing
Tickets: $5/weekdays, $10/weekends

Tot Rock is Jammin’ Java’s super-popular kids music concert series, providing wholesome family entertainment at one of the DC Metro area’s finest music clubs. Local acts perform every Thursday and Friday, and touring performers drop by on many weekends. Check the calendar often to see when your favorite act is performing, and for other calendar updates.

Saturday Morning at the National
Where: National Theatre
When: Saturdays, 9:30am & 11am
Tickets: Free

The free theatre program runs on select Saturdays with performances at 9:30am and 11:30am. Musicals, plays, storytelling, and comedy shows are all part of the live entertainment line-up. See the complete schedule of performances here. Tickets are distributed day of performances on a first-come, first-served basis. Everyone must be in line to receive a ticket.

Tiny Tots
Where: The Puppet Co.
When: Most Wednesdays, Saturdays, & Sundays at 10am
Tickets: $5

The series presents puppet shows designed for the youngest theater patrons (ages 0-4). They are shorter, the lights stay on, and the doors stay open. They have an arsenal of shows that they switch up every performance, so be sure to check the schedule to see what’s playing when you go.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
Where: Adventure Theatre
When: April 3 – May 25
Tickets: $19

Life in Kansas has been a bit boring for Dorothy and her little dog Toto. Until one day, a cyclone swoops in and takes them “over the rainbow” to the wonderful and magical land of Oz. With the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion, Dorothy sets off on the adventure of a lifetime down the yellow brick road to the Emerald City. These new friends brave witches, flying monkeys, and a Haunted Forest all to meet the Wizard of Oz, who promises to make their dreams come true.

Wacky Science with Ken Scott
Where: Discovery Theater
When: April 7
Tickets: $3-6

Whiz, bang, poof, and pop—Dr. Science’s zany show makes science look way cool! With a focus on amazing science experiments that use everyday objects, Scott makes the scientific method easy to understand in a high-energy, hands-on experience.

Sinbad: The Untold Tale
Where: Imagination Stage
When: April 8 – May 31
Tickets: $10-25

Sinbad the Sailor has retired from his notorious adventures. He tries to keep his feisty daughter Ittifaq safe from the sorceress Jan Shah. But when a mysterious cloud descends upon Baghdad putting all of the adults to sleep, proud Ittifaq must enlist the help of Sinbad the Porter, a street orphan whom she despises. A quest full of humor, genies, sword fights, diamonds, magic boats, and flying carpets ensues! The two young explorers cross the chasm of their differences to become fast friends and fellow adventurers for life. Recommended for ages 5-12.

Nature Jam: We Dig Earth
Where: Discovery Theater
When: April 9-10
Tickets: $3-6

The Tot Rock: Jammin’ at the Smithsonian series presents a show with a nature them! From wiggly worms to weather patterns, mud pies to meandering rivers, singer-songwriters Rob and Zach go green (and a little crazy) as they celebrate the wonders of the earth. Featuring call-and-response songs, energetic dance numbers, and an HD video backdrop, this interactive show makes learning how to take good care of our planet easy, fun, and memorable.

Much Ado About Nothing
Where: The Theatre On The Run
When: April 10-12
Tickets: $8

Encore Stage & Studio presents a classic in this “by kids for kids” production: What would a Shakespeare play be without young love, comical family ties, and a super villain to destroy all of the fun? Absolutely nothing! In this Bard in the Box production, Encore brings us to Messina, Italy where love stories intertwine and hilarity ensues. Beatrice and Benedick have vowed never to marry anyone, and Hero and Claudio can’t wait to be united. With two such different couples, and a plot twist which threatens to ruin everyone’s plans, can everyone reach a happy ending? Recommended for ages 8 and older.

NSO Teddy Bear Concert: Imagination Duo
Where: Kennedy Center
When: April 11 – 12
Tickets: $20

Ever hear a violin gallop? Wonder why a lullaby sighs? Curious how a bumblebee takes flight on wings of song? Then join husband-and-wife violin duo–Glenn Donnellan of the NSO and Jan Chong–as they use stories, sound effects, children’s songs, and gems from the classical repertoire to make your imagination come alive! Kids can bring their favorite stuffed animal to these interactive programs and have their teddy bear friend join in all the fun! Lasting approximately 45 minutes, they’re perfect for even the youngest music lovers in your family. Go early for “Musical Playtime,” staring 45 minutes before each Teddy Bear Concert, to enjoy music and movement activities especially designed for small children.

Seussical, Jr.
Where: Family Worship Center in Lorton, Va.
When: April 17, 18, 24, 25
Tickets: $12

Northern Virginia Players’ production will transport audiences from the Jungle of Nool, to Whoville, to the Circus McGurkus, as the Cat in the Hat tells the story of Horton, an elephant who discovers a speck of dust containing tiny people called the Whos. Jojo, a Who child who gets in trouble for thinking too many “thinks” and Horton develop a bond as Horton not only must protect the Whos from a world of naysayers and dangers, but must also guard an abandoned egg that’s been left in his care by Mayzie La Bird. Although Horton faces ridicule, danger, kidnapping, and a trial, the intrepid Gertrude McFuzz never loses faith in him. With the help of Gertrude JoJo, Horton emerges triumphant!

BSO Music Box: On Safari
Where: Strathmore
When: April 18, 10am & 11:30am
Tickets: $15

Adventure awaits as your family is whisked away to enjoy a musical safari full of elephants, giraffes, lions and zebras. The BSO Music Box concert series is created for babies and toddlers 6 months to 3 years and their families. Attendees of all ages are required to have a ticket. Concerts take place in the lobby and seating is unreserved. Limited seating for those unable to sit on the floor for an extended period of time is available.
http://www.strathmore.org/eventstickets/calendar/view.asp?id=11514

Kingman Island Bluegrass Festival
Where: Kingman Island
When: April 25
Tickets: $15

The Sixth Annual Kingman Island Bluegrass and Folk Festival features two main stages of bluegrass and Americana music with co-headliners Cabinet and Larry Keel Experience and more. The festival will celebrate local music, food, and culture as well as the revitalization of the Anacostia River, while supporting hands-on education programming provided by Living Classrooms on Kingman Island. The Festival will include eight hours of performances by local bluegrass, folk and Americana artists, games and outdoor beverages, DC’s favorite food trucks, outdoor bike course, free kayaking courtesy of REI, giveaways and a number of activities for children of all ages including a children’s stage with arts & crafts. Festival sponsor REI will be bringing the REI Village, a touring celebration of the outdoor lifestyle (with special gifts for REI members).

The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Other Eric Carle Favourites
Where: The Alden
When: April 25
Tickets: $15 or $10/McLean district residents

Three beloved stories by Eric Carle, award-winning children’s book illustrator and author, are retold on stage through the magic of black light and fanciful puppets. “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” follows the wonderful adventures of a very tiny and very hungry caterpillar as he eats his way through an amazing variety of foods on his path to becoming a beautiful butterfly. High up in the sky, “Little Cloud” playfully transforms himself into various creatures, including a sheep, an airplane and a shark. “The Mixed-Up Chameleon” is bored with his life, sitting about predictably changing color all day. Following an adventurous trip to the zoo, he attempts to emulate the beautiful animals he sees before coming to the conclusion that there is value in his own unique self. Recommended for ages 4 and up.

TETRISplus
Where: Kennedy Center
When: April 25-26
Tickets: $20

Arch8 dance company from the Netherlands brings together two of their most physically awe-inspiring works–Tetris and No Man is an Island–to explore how we connect, communicate, cooperate, and invite others into our world. Recommended for ages 7 and up.

NSO Family Concert: Gershwin’s Magic Key
Where: Kennedy Center
When: April 26
Tickets: $20

Extra, extra! Read all about it! On the streets of New York, a poor newspaper boy has a chance encounter with a talented musician. Turns out, it’s George Gershwin, one of the greatest American composers of all time! In this entertaining and educational world premiere concert, the NSO magically weaves Gershwin’s greatest hits into the drama, as the master composer shares anecdotes about his life and musical passion. Pretty soon, a friendship develops highlighting the vast melting pot of American music–which ultimately becomes the key to unlocking the boy’s own potential! Go early for the Musical Instrument “Petting Zoo” in the Atrium. Young concertgoers can get up close and hands-on with the instruments they’ll see played on the stage–from violins, trumpets, and oboes to trombones and percussion. Stay after the 4pm concert for a Kids’ Chat, where young audience members can ask questions and hear engaging stories in an up-close-and-personal talk with the concert artists. Recommended for ages 5 and up.

NSO Ensemble Concert: Connections: Science & Math + Music
Where: Kennedy Center
When: May 2
Tickets: $20

Calling all math nerds, science geeks, and music lovers to this world premiere Connections program! This fast-paced multimedia program shows 26 ways (a full alphabet’s worth!) that math and science are related to music. From “a” for accents and “h” for harmonics, to “s” for sine waves and “x” for xylophones, this exciting new concert experience promises to give students a musical AND mental workout!

The Washington Ballet: ALICE (in wonderland)
Where: Kennedy Center
When: May 6-17
Tickets: $46.00 – $135.00

ALICE (in wonderland) is a work of rich and impressive creativity that is full of whimsical charm and a feeling for the absurd, the visual splendor and imaginative choreography of TWB’s production was highly popular with adults as well as children. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is, without a doubt, one of the most famous and enduring of children’s classics. Join Alice as she stumbles into adventure, following a time-obsessed rabbit into a wonderland where everything is illogical. She has a series of marvelous adventures with the White Rabbit, Cheshire Cat, the Mad Hatter, and other strange creatures.

Tigers, Dragons and Other Wise ‘Tails’
Where: Discovery Theater
When: May 5-8 & 12-15
Tickets: $3-8

Folktales are fun when they include dancing dragon puppets, a crazy tiger, and moles that get movin’ to J-pop. Audiences learn a little about each story’s culture, try out Asian languages and enjoy Asian tales both ancient and new in this Discovery Theater original. Folktales include: The Tiger, the Thief, and the Dried Persimmon (Korea), which puts a new spin on mistaken identity with a very silly tiger, a babysitting grandma, and dried fruit; The Wise Mole (Japan), which updates an ancient story of young love (complete with cell phones and iPods) and the mythic Four Dragon Rivers of China, which features beautiful flying dragon puppets. Recommended for ages 5-10.

Once on this Island
Where: Creative Cauldron
When: May 8-
Tickets:

From the Tony Award-winning songwriting team of Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty (Seussical and Ragtime) comes a highly original and rousing calypso-reggae flavored tale of one small girl who finds love in a world of prejudice. Once on This Island garnered eight Tony nominations in its Broadway run, including Best Musical, Book and Score. The folk tale tells the story of Ti Moune, a peasant girl who falls in love with the well-born Daniel and is aided by the gods of earth, water and love in her desire to be with him. Visually splendid, and exploding with music and motion, this enchanting musical parable is a rousing tribute to the resilience of the human spirit.

NSO Kinderclassics: Beethoven at the Ballpark!
Where: Kennedy Center
When: May 9
Tickets: $20

Find out what baseball and music have in common when NSO violinist Glenn Donnellan — famous for his Electric Slugger, a fiddle made out of a baseball bat — joins Washington Nationals ballpark organist Matthew Van Hoose in this zany program that’s sure to entertain as much as it educates! Using musical examples from classical, pop, and baseball-themed works, plus Ernest Thayer’s beloved poem “Casey at the Bat,” this grand slam duo will show how the basics of ball play relate to the fundamentals of fiddling and mastery of music. You’ll see how numbers play their part, how music adds drama to America’s favorite pastime, and how to hit your spot on an instrument, just like players on the field do. So slide into a seat and cheer along as our tuneful team hits this family concert experience right out of the park! Go early for the Musical Instrument “Petting Zoo.” Starting one hour before each Kinderkonzert, this hands-on activity in the Kennedy Center Hall of States gives children a chance to get up close with the instruments they’ll see played on stage, from violins and trumpets to oboes and flutes. Recommended for ages 4 and up.

Cinderella
Where: The Puppet Co
When: May 7 – June 21
Tickets: $10

The elegance of 17th-century France, combining elaborate costumes of the Comedie Francais and Offenbach’s “Gaiety Parisian” to adorn the tale of the cinder girl who captures the heart of the handsome prince. The production was acclaimed at the 1997 National Puppet Festival, and performed by invitation at the Center for Puppetry Arts, in Atlanta. Recommended for K – Grade 6.

Dog Loves Books
Where: Publick Playhouse
When: May 12
Tickets: $8

Based on The New York Times best-selling children’s book, ArtsPower’s new musical is about the irresistible dog who loves books so much that he decides to open his own bookstore. At first, no customers come to his store, but Dog decides that he’s not alone if he’s surrounded by books, and he begins to read everything in his store. When customers finally arrive, he knows exactly which books to recommend. The delightful performance celebrates the power of imagination, encourages self-expression, and helps ignite the desire to read. Recommended for K – Grade 2.

Feet Don’t Fail Me Now!
Where: Kennedy Center
When: May 15-17
Tickets: $20

Known for transforming its tap shoes into new instruments of rhythm, innovative performance company Rhythmic Circus infuses its unpredictable blend of hard-hitting tap, high-spirited humor, and finger-snapping tunes into one amazing show. Recommended for ages 7 and up.

BSO Music Box: In the Treetops
Where: Strathmore
When: May 18, 10am & 11:30am
Tickets: $15

The cacophony of the rainforest comes to life through the sounds of exotic birds, monkeys and more! The BSO Music Box concert series is created for babies and toddlers 6 months to 3 years and their families. Attendees of all ages are required to have a ticket. Concerts take place in the lobby and seating is unreserved. Limited seating for those unable to sit on the floor for an extended period of time is available.

NSO Teddy Bear Concert: Violins and Trombones and Bears, Oh My!
Where: Kennedy Center
When: May 30-31
Tickets: $20

We can be as different as trombones and violins, and still play together in harmony! Kids and stuffed animals alike will hear the unique sounds of a garden hose, funnel horn, a grownup violin and a baby one, and trombones in three sizes! Kids can bring their favorite stuffed animal to these interactive programs and have their teddy bear friend join in all the fun! Lasting approximately 45 minutes, they’re perfect for even the youngest music lovers in your family. Go early for “Musical Playtime,” staring 45 minutes before each Teddy Bear Concert, to enjoy music and movement activities especially designed for small children. Recommended for ages 3-5.

Dreamtime: An Australian Adventure with Barefoot Puppets
Where: Discovery Theater
When: June 4-5
Tickets: $3-6

Emus, crocodiles, and frogs—oh my! Experience the magic of the Land Down Under as a mother platypus tries to lull her young one to sleep by sharing three stories inspired by Aboriginal folktales. In these how-and-why tales, learn how the emu became a flightless bird, why the platypus looks so strange, and meet a giant, bloated, ocean-swallowing frog. Perhaps you’ll even be invited onstage to help. Recommended for ages 4-8.

The Little Prince
Where: Creative Cauldron
When: June 5-21
Tickets:

“All grown-ups were once children…but only a few of them remember it.” Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s poetic tale tells the story of a world-weary aviator who gets stranded in the Sahara Desert. A small boy from another planet arrives and begins to share his stories about his adventures through the galaxy and his relationship with a special flower. By learning that “one sees well only with the heart,” the aviator comes to a new understanding of how to laugh, cry, and love again. This beloved French classic comes to life in an adaptation filled with enchanting music and heartfelt lyrics, with sophisticated appeal to all ages.

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Filed under All ages, DC, Educational, Free, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Music, Seasonal, Spring, Theatre, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend

Hot Tickets for Live Entertainment Through Winter

Catch 101 Dalmations at Imagination Stage through January 4

Catch 101 Dalmations at Imagination Stage through January 4



As the mercury drops, keep the kids warm and entertained at a show! Holiday productions, puppet theater, dramatic and comical plays, live music, basketball thrills, ice dancing, and more fantastic experiences are coming to venues all around the area. Here’s where you can see them, listed in order of opening date. And if you know of a great production that you don’t see here, feel free to mention it in the comments.

Holiday Shows
Where: Local theatres
When: Throughout the holiday season
Tickets: Varies by production

From seasonal traditions to special performances, there are numerous shows that will entertain and capture the holiday spirit on stages around the area. The KFDC 2014 Holiday Guide includes a comprehensive list of them.

101 Dalmations
Where: Imagination Stage
When: Through January 11
Tickets: $17-30

When Mr. and Mrs. Dearly welcome a new litter of Dalmatians to their 1950s London home, Cruella de-Vil is quick to plot their kidnap. Loving puppy parents Pongo and Missis discover their location, and set out on a harrowing adventure through the countryside to rescue their puppies. With the help of several friendly dogs along the way, the family reunites on Christmas Day, and Cruella is defeated. But will the Dearlys take in all 101 dalmatians? Recommended for ages 4-10.

Tiny Tim’s A Christmas Carol
Where: Adventure Theatre
When: Through January 1
Tickets: $19

Tiny Tim longs to have his father home on Christmas day, but mean old Mr. Scrooge won’t give Bob Crachit the day off! There must be a way to change Scrooge’s mind – perhaps a ghost or two will set Scrooge right. Can this clever boy and his best friend Charlotte save Christmas and change the heart of the meanest man in town? This exciting world premiere story of a father and son is adapted by Broadway’s Tony-winning Ken Ludwig (Twas the Night Before Christmas) and his very own son, Jack. Get ready for the wildest ride you’ve ever had at Christmas!

Wake Up, Brother Bear
Where: Imagination Stage
When: Through November 30
Tickets: $12

This audience-favorite show is back from hibernation! Watch as Brother and Sister Bear experience a full year of glorious seasons. Together we see a waterfall melt, meet a butterfly, chase an elusive fish, and skate on an icy pond. Children are invited to join the action with a small bag of props that help create magical moments. Recommended for ages 1-5

The Gift of Nothing
Where: Kennedy Center
When: Through December 28
Tickets: $20

Today is a very, very merry special day! Mooch, a charming and curious cat, wants to get the purr-fect holiday gift for his best friend Earl, a loveable pup. But Earl already seems to have all he needs: a bowl, a bed, and a squeaky chew toy. So what do you get someone who has everything? Well, nothing, of course! Based on characters in the beloved internationally syndicated comic strip MUTTS, this world premiere musical adaptation of Patrick McDonnell’s The Gift of Nothing follows Mooch’s frantic and hilarious search to find Earl absolutely nothing–which always turns out to be something! Join the delightful duo, along with their owners Millie and Ozzie, cantankerous Frank, adorable Doozy, and an onstage pianist for this festive and heartwarming adventure. Recommended for ages 4 and up.

The Nutcracker
Where: The Puppet Co.
When: November 28 – December 30
Tickets: $10

The Puppet Co.’s annual holiday treat! The Nutcracker is the festive story of Clara-Marie’s favorite toy and their adventures together in the land of the Sugarplum Fairy. Music from Tchaikovsky’s famous ballet blends with marionettes and costume characters to create this unique production. Don’t miss it! Recommended for children in Kindergarten and up.

Boogie Babes
Where: Union Market, Eastern Market, & The Atlas
When: Wednesdays, Thursdays, & Fridays, 10:30am
Tickets: $5/child, free for sibling 6 months and under

Little ones can boogie along with their favorite local musicians at Union Market on Wednesdays, in Eastern Market’s North Hall every Thursday, AND at The Atlas Performing Arts Center on Fridays. Go for the show, then grab lunch in the Markets or hit one of the many eateries on the H Street Corridor.

Millennium Stage
Where: Kennedy Center
When: Ongoing daily, 6pm
Admission: Free

The Kennedy Center presents these free, no-tickets-required performances every day at 6pm, and the public is welcome to enjoy them. The acts span the genres — you can see everything from contemporary dance to folk music to puppetry to comedy shows to opera scenes. Millennium Stage showcases everyone from local youth choirs to internationally known bands (They Might Be Giants performed there a few years ago). This is a great series to keep in mind for whenever you’re looking for some free, easy entertainment.

Tot Rock
Where: Jammin’ Java
When: Ongoing
Tickets: $5/weekdays, $10/weekends

Tot Rock is Jammin’ Java’s super-popular kids music concert series, providing wholesome family entertainment at one of the DC Metro area’s finest music clubs. Local acts perform every Thursday and Friday, and touring performers drop by on many weekends. Check the calendar often to see when your favorite act is performing, and for other calendar updates.

Saturday Morning at the National
Where: National Theatre
When: Through December 13
Tickets: Free

The free theatre program runs on select Saturdays with performances at 9:30am and 11:30am. Musicals, plays, storytelling, and comedy shows are all part of the live entertainment line-up. See the complete schedule of performances here. Tickets are distributed day of performances on a first-come, first-served basis. Everyone must be in line to receive a ticket.

Tiny Tots
Where: The Puppet Co.
When: Most Wednesdays, Saturdays, & Sundays at 10am
Tickets: $5

The series presents puppet shows designed for the youngest theater patrons (ages 0-4). They are shorter, the lights stay on, and the doors stay open. They have an arsenal of shows that they switch up every performance, so be sure to check the schedule to see what’s playing when you go.

Fiddler on the Roof
Where: Arena Stage
When: Through January 4
Tickets: Start at $50

Celebrate the 50th anniversary of an American classic! More than just a poor milkman, Tevye is a humble Jewish father who finds his devotion to God severely tested by his headstrong daughters, who want to be their own matchmakers, and the increasingly ruthless government forcing him from his land. With a jubilant and masterful score including “If I Were a Rich Man;” “Sunrise, Sunset;” “Matchmaker, Matchmaker” and “Tradition,” Tony nominee Jonathan Hadary makes his Arena debut as Tevye in this celebration of family, community and life’s unexpected miracles, large and small.

Seasons of Light
Where: Discovery Theater
When: December 1-19
Tickets: $3-8


Joy, warmth, and community illuminate seasonal holiday celebrations the world over. Back for its 16th season, this signature Discovery Theater show celebrates the history and customs of Ramadan, Devali, Sankta Lucia, Chanukah, Los Posados, Kwanzaa, Christmas, and the First Nations’ tradition of the Winter Solstice in an interactive event that bridges communities and cultures. This show sells out early, so don’t wait to get your tickets! Recommended for ages 5-10.

Snow Day
Where: Workhouse Arts Center
When: December 3-14
Tickets:$8

One cold December morning, a young girl named Skip wakes up to find the entire neighborhood covered in a thick, dazzling blanket of white snow. A playful (if not a little mischievous) winter elf takes her on an adventure – showing her just how magical snow can be! Join Skip as she experiences all the excitement, joy, and wonder of her very first snow day. This nonverbal world premiere production features live music and lots of wintertime fun, just in time for the holiday season.

Beauty and the Beast
Where: Synetic Theatre
When: December 3 – January 11
Tickets: $20-95

In this brand-new adaptation, produced by Paata Tsikurishivili, directed by Company Member Ben Cunis and adapted by Ben and Peter Cunis (The Three Musketeers, Genesis Reboot), Synetic draws on the darkness and sensuality of the original French fairy tale to create a passionate and inspiring Gothic romance. Synetic’s athletic actors and innovative theatrical effects will transform this classic story into a visual dream full of wonder, mystery, and redemption. This production will be a primarily movement-based piece with some dialogue. This performance will be family-friendly with some scarier moments. Recommended for children 7 & up.

Disney Junior Live! Pirate & Princess Adventure: Jake & Sofia Live
Where: The Lyric in Baltimore
When: December 5-6
Tickets: $25-95 (look for a deal here)

Grab your tiaras and doubloons and join us for Disney Junior Live On Tour! Pirate & Princess Adventure. Mickey and Minnie are taking their seats too at this never-before-seen live show featuring your favorite characters from Disney Junior’s hit series, Sofia the First and Jake and the Never Land Pirates. Get swept up in the excitement as Sofia and her family prepare for a royal celebration that helps us all learn the true meaning of being a princess with a special appearance by Cinderella. Then it’s off to Never Land where Jake and his swashbuckling friends Izzy and Cubby, with a little help from Peter Pan, battle Captain Hook to unlock treasure hidden inside a mysterious volcano. It’s danger and dueling on the high seas as Jake discovers what it takes to be a true hero. Filled with new music, amazing effects, thrilling action and endless surprises, your family will sing, shout, and soar into the action when Disney Junior Live On Tour! Pirate & Princess Adventure sails into your town.

Sesame Street Live: Make a New Friend
Where: Patriot Center
When: December 12-14
Tickets: $18-30 (look for a deal here)

Chamki is from far away and she’s visiting Sesame Street for just one day! Grover has a long to-do list for his friend, from kayaking to hot yoga, but Chamki is busy enjoying cookies with Cookie Monster, singing with Abby Cadabby, and doing ‘The Elmo Slide.’ Will an appearance from Super Grover get Chamki’s attention? Join the fun and make a memory with your friends and family! No matter where you’re from or where you’ve been, everyone is special – so join in! Elmo, Grover, Abby Cadabby, and their Sesame Street friends welcome Chamki, Grover’s friend from India, to Sesame Street. Together, they explore the universal fun of friendship and celebrate cultural similarities, from singing and dancing, to sharing cookies!

The Tempest Family Week
Where: Sydney Harmon Hall
When: December 12-21
Tickets: Varies by event/performance

If you want to introduce your kids to the work of The Bard, this is a perfect time to do so. From December 12 through 22, during the five-week run of The Tempest, Shakespeare Theatre Company will be hosting a variety of programs and performances geared especially to young theatre-goers. This post has a schedule of ways you and your kids can participate.

Beauty and the Beast
Where: Warner Theatre
When: January 6-11
Tickets: $47-143

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast smash Broadway hit brings to life the classic story of Belle, a young woman in a provincial town, and the Beast, who is really a young prince trapped in a spell placed by an enchantress. If the Beast can learn to love and be loved, the curse will end and he will be transformed to his former self. But time is running out. If the Beast does not learn his lesson soon, he and his household will be doomed for all eternity. Purchase tickets through TicketMaster here.

Cinderella
Where: Thomas Jefferson Community Theatre
When: January 9-18
Tickets: $12/adult, $10/child (look for a deal here)

A young girl, nicknamed Cinderella by her cruel stepsisters, dreams of leaving her work behind and becoming a princess in this classic musical. When the royal family throws a ball, she finally gets her chance… if she can be home before midnight! With a little bit of magical assistance from her fairy godmother, Cinderella just might win the heart of her very own Prince Charming. This timeless fairytale is recommended for ages 4 and up.

Circus!
Where: The Puppet Co.
When: January 16 – February 15
Tickets: $10

In grand circus tradition, the “Grandest Show on Strings” features a collection of clowns, death-defying acrobats, and an amazing menagerie of fauna from the farthest reaches of the globe. Many of the acts were built more than 50 years ago by Christopher’s parents for “Len Piper’s International Marionette Circus.” Recommended for pre-K and up.

Mockingbird
Where: Kennedy Center
When: January 17 – February 1
Tickets: $20

Caitlin’s world has always been black and white. As an 11-year-old on the autism spectrum, she used to rely on her older brother to help make sense of things beyond dictionaries, schedules, and the facial expressions chart at school. But now that he’s gone, she’s all on her own. With the support of her advisor, father, and a new reading buddy, Caitlin begins to understand how to get close to people again, embrace the “messiness” of emotions, and use her burgeoning artistic talents to move on. Hailed as “extraordinary… [a] moving and insightful masterpiece” by Publishers Weekly, Kathryn Erskine’s 2010 National Book Award–winning young adult novel has been adapted for the stage by Julie Jensen, a recipient of the Kennedy Center Award for New American Plays. Directed by Tracy Callahan, this moving, vibrant, and surprisingly humorous world premiere play shows how the perseverance of one girl can change a community–and how black and white can always be complemented by a kaleidoscope of colors. Recommended for age 10 and up.

Jammin’ at the Smithsonian: Karen K & the Jitterbugs
Where: Discovery Theater
When: January 23
Tickets: $3-8

BUG OUT with Karen K & the Jitterbugs! Known for their upbeat, catchy, genre-swirling tunes that parents enjoy as much as their kids, Karen K & her Jitterbugs keep hands clapping and feet jumping at their rockin’, crowd-engaging shows performed across the country. The scene is set in Karen K’s Bug Out, the fort in her back yard where she seeks adventures and makes music with her imaginary friends, the Jitterbugs.

Monster Jam
Where: Verizon Center
When: January 24-25
Tickets:

The world’s largest and most famous monster truck tour featuring the biggest names in monster trucks will thunder its way into the Verizon Center in January. Grave Digger, Backwards Bob, Aftershock, Krazy Train, Crushstation and Stinger are among the vehicular beasts you’ll see tearing up the indoor terrain this year.

Petite Rouge a Cajun Red Riding Hood
Where: Adventure Theatre
When: January 30 – March 8
Tickets: $19

Take a toe-tapping trip to the bayou in this family-friendly, Zydeco-driven musical soaked in N’awlins hot sauce! Based on the classic fairy tale and adapted from the book by Mike Artell and Jim Harris, a red-hooded duckling named Petite Rouge and her sidekick cat lead the Big Bad Gator on a wild “duck” chase through New Orleans and Mardi Gras. Will they make it to Grandmere’s house with a basket full of Cajun goodies? Recommended for ages 4 and up.

Lions of Industry, Mothers of Invention
Where: Discovery Theater
When: February 5-6 & 10-12
Tickets: $3-8

Beauty magnate Madame C.J. Walker, agricultural chemist and “peanut man” George Washington Carver, education giant Booker T. Washington, and even cranky chef George Crum, who accidentally created the potato chip, all take center stage in this vibrant living-history production. Discovery Theater’s original interactive play honors the creativity and genius of African American entrepreneurs and inventors and inspires the achiever in all of us. Recommended for ages 8 and up.

NSO Teddy Bear Concert: Two Divas and a Bear!
Where: Kennedy Center
When: February 7
Tickets:

What happens when you bring together a concert violinist, an opera singer, and everyone’s favorite stuffed animal? You get Two Divas and a Bear! Join NSO violinist Marissa Regni and soprano Kari Paludan as they explore the human voice. As it turns out, the violin has a voice, too! As you listen to Schubert’s The Trout, Rachmaninoff’s Vocalise, and Rossini’s Two Cats, you’ll discover that the strings of the violin are very similar to our very own vocal cords. Recommended for ages 3 to 5, kids can bring their favorite stuffed animal to these interactive programs and have their teddy bear friend join in all the fun! The show lasts approximately 45 minutes, but go early for “Musical Playtime.” Starting 45 minutes before each Teddy Bear Concert, enjoy music and movement activities especially designed for small children.

Imago Theatre: Frogz
Where: Strathmore
When: February 22
Tickets: $25-38

The spellbinding Imago Theatre thrilled Strathmore audiences in 2011 with the “Felliniesque mayhem” (Variety) of its brilliant physical comedy and stunning stagecraft. The company returns with its best-known show, Frogz— a double hit on Broadway in two smash engagements at the New Victory Theatre. Enjoy “familyfriendly entertainment” that’s “lively, inventive, mysterious, thrilling, truly goofy fun” (Boston Globe)!

Black Violin
Where: BlackRock Center for the Arts
When: February 8
Tickets: $26

Virtuoso violinists Kev Marcus and Will B are Black Violin—a dynamic duo of high-energy, classically trained musicians renowned for their ability to meld highbrow and pop culture into a single genre-busting act. Their electrifying style mines the synergy among classical, jazz, blues, R&B and hip-hop. Whether you lean toward Bach or Beyoncé, Black Violin is sure to enthrall… and rock the house.

Disney on Ice: Worlds of Fantasy
Where: Verizon Center
When: February 11-16
Tickets: On sale December 29

Experience a magical Disney fantasy live on ice! Rev up for non-stop fun with four of your favorite Disney stories at Disney On Ice presents Worlds of Fantasy Presented by Stonyfield YoKids Organic Yogurt. Thrill to high-speed stunts as Lightning McQueen, Mater and the crew of Disney•Pixar’s Cars race across the ice like you’ve never seen before! Dive into The Little Mermaid’s enchanting undersea kingdom and enter the mystical world of Pixie Hollow with Tinker Bell and the Disney Fairies as they reveal the magic that lies within! The toys are back in town with heroic action when Buzz Lightyear, Woody, Jessie and the Toy Story gang escape from the rambunctious tots of Sunnyside Daycare and race for home, in their most daring adventure ever! From wheels to waves, playtime to pixie dust, your family’s favorite Disney moments come to life in Worlds of Fantasy.

Jack’s Tale: A Mythic Mountain Musical Adventure
Where: Kennedy Center
When: February 14-15
Tickets: $20

“Pretty is as pretty does,” says young Jack–and that’s just the kind of spunky no-nonsense outlook that sets him apart from his older brothers. So when Old King threatens to kick their mama off her mountaintop farm, fearless Jack sets out on a fantastic journey to talk some sense into the unruly ruler and settle up the deed! Along the way, Blue-Beard Giant and other intriguing characters equip him with a magic gunnysack, a fortune-telling pickle jar, and an enchanted axe. Can Jack chop down Old King’s hackberry tree and win his daughter’s hand in marriage? Or will he lose his head to Raggedy Bones just trying? Bringing together actors with a live, onstage bluegrass band the show taps into the old-time Appalachian “Jack Legends” from the Scots-Irish tradition. Interweaving a clever story with the region’s toe-tapping musical traditions, this warm and delightfully authentic world premiere production is as sweet, dark, and rich as the soil from which it sprang. Recommended for ages 8 and up.

NSO Family Concert: Casey at the Bat
Where: Kennedy Center
When: February 14-15
Tickets: $20

The NSO gears up for Spring Training with this fun program inspired by America’s favorite pastime. Wear your team’s jersey for this thrilling music program about teamwork. The highlight of the concert is a beguiling baseball composition set to the famous poem Casey at the Bat. Also on the program is the zany and virtuosic 4-violin version of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” performed by NSO violinists. Don’t miss an exciting day of sports-themed music, jersey-wearing musicians and conductors, and more! Go early for a Musical Instrument “Petting Zoo” in the lobbies of Opera House and stay after to ask questions and hear engaging stories in an up-close-and-personal talk with the concert artists. Recommended for age 5 and up.

Alladin
Where: The Puppet Co.
When: February 19 – March 16
Tickets: $10

From ancient Persia comes this lavish and entrancing tale, true to the original “One Thousand and One Arabian Nights,” full of genies, wizards, magic caves, exotic princesses, and an elephant! Half life-size rod puppets and exciting special effects make this production exciting and exotic theater. Recommended for K – Grade 6.

Outside the Bachx
Where: Kennedy Center
When: February 20 – March 1
Tickets: $20

Wonder what Beethoven and beatboxing would sound like together? How about a rap-off with Rachmaninoff? Or Debussy on a drum machine? Well, get ready for classical music and hip-hop to collide in full force with the world premiere of Outside the Bachx! Following their white-hot moves in last season’s family production of Fresh Noise: A Mashup of Youth Voices–Game On!, Rokafella, Kwikstep, and the rest of the crew are back with a funky twist on everyone’s favorite “old-school” composers. Recommended for ages 8 and up.

Jammin’ at the Smithsonian: Bari Koral Family Rock Band
Where: Discovery Theatre
When: March 13
Tickets: $3-8

Bari’s show features a creative blend of music and movement that get kids on their feet for plenty of fun! Jam to pop-friendly tunes about disappearing cupcakes, a runaway gingerbread man, and a soaring rocket ship from a performer the New York Post calls “the Sheryl Crow for kids.”

Harlem Globetrotters 2015 “Washington Generals’ Revenge” Tour
Where: Patriot Center & Verizon Center
When: March 13-14
Tickets: $16-150 (look for a deal here)

The world famous Harlem Globetrotters, featuring some of the greatest athletes and entertainers on the planet, are bringing their unrivaled family show to the DC area! The Globetrotters will face a great challenge this year, as the infamous Washington Generals are more determined than ever to match the franchise’s historic last victory over the Globetrotters nearly a half century ago. It has been five years since the Globetrotters and Generals have faced off, as the Generals have been searching far and wide for the best players to retool their roster and have been preparing for one thing: victory over the Globetrotters.

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Filed under All ages, Annual, Date Night, DC, Educational, Fall, Free, Holidays, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Music, Play, Seasonal, Sports, Theatre, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend

The 2014 KFDC Guide to the Best Holiday Events in DC

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DC doesn’t disappoint when it comes to the holidays. There are options galore for celebrating the season here, many of them annual events that are cherished family traditions for both locals and visitors. See the holiday spirit come alive on stage, let model trains entrance as they wind through miniature Christmas villages, drive or walk through dazzling light displays, experience the holidays in extraordinary ways at special events, shop for unique gifts at seasonal markets, and so much more. The 2014 KFDC Guide to the Best Holiday Events in DC, organized by category with events listed by starting date, will help you plan for it all.

Holiday Shows

Model Trains

Special Events

Chanukah

Light Displays

Holiday Markets

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Holiday Shows

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Tiny Tim’s A Christmas Carol
Where: Adventure Theatre
When: November 14 – January 1
Tickets: $19 (look for a deal on select dates here)
Tiny Tim longs to have his father home on Christmas day, but mean old Mr. Scrooge won’t give Bob Crachit the day off! There must be a way to change Scrooge’s mind – perhaps a ghost or two will set Scrooge right. Can this clever boy and his best friend Charlotte save Christmas and change the heart of the meanest man in town? This exciting world premiere story of a father and son is adapted by Broadway’s Tony-winning Ken Ludwig (Twas the Night Before Christmas) and his very own son, Jack. Get ready for the wildest ride you’ve ever had at Christmas!

A Christmas Carol
Where: Ford’s Theatre
When: November 21 – January 1
Tickets: $32-87
Join the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future as they lead the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge on a journey of transformation and redemption. Originally conceived by Michael Baron, this music-infused production captures the magic and joy of Dickens’s Yuletide classic. Acclaimed Washington stage actor Edward Gero returns to play Scrooge. Recommended for ages 5 and up. Performance is two hours (including a 15-minute intermission).

The Nutcracker
Where: RoundHouse Theatre
When: November 26 – December 28
Tickets: $25-50 (look for a discount on tickets)

This captivating musical reinvents E.T.A. Hoffmann’s original tale, turning it into a brand new seasonal classic all ages can enjoy. After the loss of her Marine brother, young Clara’s crusade to save her grieving family (with the help of a remarkable nutcracker) comes alive with dazzling theatricality. It weaves together a delightful original score, riveting dialogue, and astonishing puppetry. Full of magic and hope, this contemporary retelling is a heartwarming yet hilarious story that shows the healing power of the imagination. It’s as tuneful and fun as it is poignant and touching. They provide a guide for parents to help you decide if it’s suitable for your child.

The Joffrey Ballet’s The Nutcracker
Where: Kennedy Center
When: November 27 – December 1
Tickets: $34-155


The Joffrey’s “elegantly unified production” (The Washington Post) brings the magic of the season to life like no other Nutcracker, swirling with heroic toy soldiers, sword-fighting mice, the glittering Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy, a giant Mother Ginger, and a journey to the Kingdom of Sweets. From start to finish, The Joffrey Ballet’s The Nutcracker is one to cherish with the entire family–for the joy of its fairy-tale comforts, and for the excitement in discovering something new, every time.

The Nutcracker
Where: The Puppet Co.
When: November 28 – December 30
Tickets: $10

The Puppet Co.’s annual holiday treat! The Nutcracker is the festive story of Clara-Marie’s favorite toy and their adventures together in the land of the Sugarplum Fairy. Music from Tchaikovsky’s famous ballet blends with marionettes and costume characters to create this unique production. Don’t miss it! Recommended for children and K and up.

Nutcracker Fantasy
Where: The Puppet Co. Tiny Tots
When: November 28 – December 30
Tickets: $5


This marionette version of the holiday classic is geared toward the smallest of audience members. Tiny Tots shows are designed for theater patrons ages 0-4. They are shorter, the lights stay on, the doors stay open, and the show is set up on the floor.

Lightwire Theatre: A Very Electric Christmas
Where: Strathmore
When: November 29
Tickets: $25-42

Follow the story of a young bird named Max and his family, as they embark on their journey south for the winter. When Max gets blown off course and ends up at the North Pole… his adventure begins! Dancing toy soldiers, caroling worms and performing poinsettias, light up the stage in Lightwire Theater’s A Very Electric Christmas. Audiences of all ages will treasure this magical and captivating tale of family, friendship and hope set to timeless holiday hits, including Nat King Cole, Mariah Carey, and Tchaikovsky. Lightwire Theater is internationally recognized for their electroluminescent artistry, poignant storytelling and performs in complete darkness. Brighten your holidays this season with Lightwire Theater’s A Very Electric Christmas.

Angelina Ballerina, The Very Merry Holiday Musical
Where: BlackRock Center for the Arts
When: November 30, 1pm
Tickets: $14

Take a memorable and lively Thanksgiving weekend outing with family and friends! In this charming musical, Angelina and her friends plan an absolutely positively spectacular holiday dance pageant: the best in all of Mouseland! When plans go awry, they work together to save the show and discover the true spirit of the holidays. Recommended for ages 4 and up. Pre-show party before the show, with snacks and arts activities starting at noon. Meet Angelina and her friends after the show!

The Washington Ballet: The Nutcracker
Where: THEARC Theater
When: November 29 – December 30
Tickets: $30-50

The Washington Ballet modifies Septime Webre’s critically acclaimed production a bit at the Anacostia theatre, making it more enticing for antsy little theatre-goers. The set is scaled-down, and performances are shorter. This version of The Nutcracker transports audiences back in time to historic Washington, DC, and stars George Washington as the heroic Nutcracker. Full of swirling snowflakes, magnificent sets and costumes and Tchaikovsky’s beloved score, the curtain rises and the stage bursts with waltzing cherry blossoms, dancing sugar plums and other enchanting adaptations that have made Webre’s Nutcracker a Washington tradition with raves from critics and sold-out crowds. Expect some special surprises during this 10th anniversary of Weber’s production!

Seasons of Light
Where: Discovery Theater
When: December 1-19
Tickets: $3-8


Joy, warmth, and community illuminate seasonal holiday celebrations the world over. Back for its 16th season, this signature Discovery Theater show celebrates the history and customs of Ramadan, Devali, Sankta Lucia, Chanukah, Los Posados, Kwanzaa, Christmas, and the First Nations’ tradition of the Winter Solstice in an interactive event that bridges communities and cultures. This show sells out early, so don’t wait to get your tickets! Recommended for ages 5-10.

Snow Day
Where: Workhouse Arts Center & Atlas Performing Arts Center
When: December 3-14 & December 18-22
Tickets: $8, 12 months and under are free

Arts on the Horizon presents this winter show at two area theatres! One cold December morning, a young girl named Skip wakes up to find the entire neighborhood covered in a thick, dazzling blanket of white snow. A playful (if not a little mischievous) winter elf takes her on an adventure – showing her just how magical snow can be! Join Skip as she experiences all the excitement, joy, and wonder of her very first snow day. This nonverbal world premiere production features live music and lots of wintertime fun, just in time for the holiday season. Recommended for children ages 2-6.

Septime Weber’s The Nutcracker
Where: Warner Theatre
When: December 4-28
Tickets: $35-101


On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of his highly-acclaimed production, Septime Webre is planning some special surprises for his celebrated all-American Nutcracker. Set in 1882 Georgetown, this gorgeous production showcases the grandeur of The Washington Ballet’s international roster of dancers and majesty of Tchaikovsky’s music. Replete with swirling snowflakes, cherry blossoms and historical characters, including George Washington as the heroic nutcracker, TWB’s The Nutcracker has become a tradition for generations of family and friends to celebrate the holidays. Read a KFDC review of the production from a few years ago.

BSO: Music Box – Jingle Bells
Where: Strathmore
When: December 6
Tickets: $15

Join the holiday edition of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s Music Box series at Strathmore! Celebrate the season with songs about winter, bells, and sleigh rides. Ideal for young audiences, the show runs 30 minutes and also includes musical and creative activities for little ones before the show.

It’s a Wonderful Life: Live From WVL Radio Theatre
Where: BlackRock Center for the Arts
When: December 6
Tickets: $32

Inspired by the classic American film of the same name, It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play is performed as a 1940s live radio broadcast in front of a studio audience. Five actors perform the dozens of characters in the radio play as well as produce the sound effects. A wonderful holiday tradition for all ages, It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play premiered in 1996 at Stamford Center for the Arts in Stamford, Connecticut, and has since been produced around the country to critical acclaim.

Holiday Sing-A-Long
Where: Wolf Trap
When: December 6, 4pm
Tickets: Free

Wolf Trap’s Holiday Sing-A-Long is an annual musical celebration hosting a performance by the United States Marine Band and a Sing-A-Long of Christmas carols and Hanukkah songs with choir and vocal groups from the metropolitan Washington area. Admission is free, and no tickets are required. Parking is free, but limited, so plan on arriving early. Bring along a new, unwrapped toy to donate to Toys for Tots, a bell for a “Jing-A-Long” during the singing of “Jingle Bells,” and a candle to join the tradition of exiting the Filene Center with a candlelight processional during the last verse of “Silent Night.”

Virginia Ballet Company & School: Selections from The Nutcracker
Where: National Theatre
When: December 6
Tickets: Free

Saturday Morning at the National presents its annual holiday show, the Virginia Ballet Company and School’s selections from Tchaikovsky’s glittering confection. Visions of snowflakes and sugarplums dance through the air and gingerbread soldiers triumph over the evil Rat King as you follow Clara into the land of sweets and holiday cheer. Performances take place at 9:30am and 11am, and tickets are required for admission. Free tickets are distributed half an hour prior to the start of shows on a first-come first-served basis. Seating is limited, so get there early.

Step Afrika!’s Magical, Musical Holiday Step Show
Where: Atlas Performing Arts Center
When: December 11-22
Tickets: $15-38 (look for a discount on tickets)

Step Afrika! is back to delight audiences young and old with their magical musical holiday step show. Audiences are invited to make music with DC’s internationally-known stepping company and their furry friends from the Animal Kingdom in this annual holiday tradition! Go ready to ring in the festive season with a bang, featuring the electrifying artists from Step Afrika! and special guest DJ Frosty the Snowman. Family Fun Pack are available for $88 and include 4 tickets, 1 snack and 1 drink each; minimum of 2 patrons must be between ages 2 and 16.

The Mini-Nut
Where: Montgomery College Cultural Arts Center
When: December 13-14
Tickets: $20/adults, $15/10 and under in advance | $20/at door


Maryland Youth Ballet’s Mini-Nut is a delightful abbreviated version of their classic, award-winning, The Nutcracker, designed to introduce children to the magic of this family favorite. This beloved holiday tradition with soaring music by Tchaikovsky promises to hold the attention of even the youngest theatergoer. Suitable for all ages, this version is less than an hour and performed by cast members from MYB’s full-length production. A perfect holiday mini-treat!

Bright Star Theatre: Christmas with Santa
Where: National Theatre
When: December 13
Tickets: Free

Saturday Morning at the National presents this free production from Bright Star Theatre. Carols, Santa and musical comedy abound! Two hilarious elves have misplaced some of Santa’s presents and they go through many rollicking adventures to find them. When Santa arrives, he teaches the well-meaning elves that the family and friends we share the holiday with are the greatest gift of all. Performances take place at 9:30am and 11am, and tickets are required for admission. Free tickets are distributed half an hour prior to the start of shows on a first-come first-served basis. Seating is limited, so get there early.

9th Annual Holiday Concert & Sing-Along
Where: Atlas Performing Arts Center
When: December 14, 4pm & 7pm
Tickets: Free, but must be reserved ($4 service fee)

An H Street holiday tradition is back! The Atlas Performing Arts Center is filled with holiday musical favorites performed by the full 50-member Capital City Symphony and sung by over 120 voices of the Congressional Chorus and American Youth Chorus. Not to be left out, audiences participate with a holiday favorites sing-along. The celebration continues with cookies and mingling in the Kogod Lobby following the performance. FYI: The 4pm show is a bit shorter, and geared more to families with younger kids. The 7pm show is a bit longer and includes a Hallelujah Chorus sing-along. Some guy in a red suit comes to both shows!

The Nutcracker
Where: Montgomery College Cultural Arts Center
When: December 20, 21, 23, 26, 27, 28
Tickets: $30/adults, $25/children in advance; $35/adults, $30/children at door


This is the 22nd season of the Maryland Youth Ballets beloved, full-length classic. Performances will tale place at the Robert E. Parilla Performing Arts Center of Montgomery College in Rockville.

Family Joy!
Where: Washington National Cathedral
When: December 13
Admission: $25

Get into the holiday spirit with the Cathedral Choral Society (CCS), as they present The Joy of Christmas at the Washington National Cathedral, a grand tradition of the Choral Society spanning nearly four decades. This special matinee performance is designed for families with children. The 60-minute program includes the procession of the advent wreath, Christmas favorites and a kids-only sing-along.

Kwanzaa Celebration – Family Series
Where: Dorothy Betts Marvin Theatre
When: December 14, 8pm
Tickets: $25/adult in advance, $30/at door, $15/ages 17 and under

Welcome the holiday season with Dance Place’s annual Kwanzaa Celebration! Gather family and friends to watch Coyaba Academy, Coyaba Dance Theater and special guests celebrate the seven principles of Kwanzaa. Experience this community of dancers in an exhilarating and inspiring performance experience for all ages. During this Family Series, reserve 1 free ticket for a child 12 & under with paying adult!

Holiday Family Opera: The Little Prince
Where: Kennedy Center
When: December 19-21
Tickets: $49-75

For its annual family-friendly opera over the winter holidays, WNO brings all the joy and wonder of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s classic illustrated storybook. On his tiny home planet, a young boy spends his days protecting his only friend, a rose, from miniature volcanoes and ravenous baobab trees. When loneliness sets in, he begins a mystical quest across the cosmos to find new companionship. During his journey, he encounters several other intergalactic inhabitants–among them a delusional king, a rich businessman, a dancing kazoo player, and a wearied lamplighter–before meeting a pilot on Earth who has crash-landed in the Sahara. The two become unlikely friends, learning lessons from the desert’s many creatures until the prince realizes just how special his rose really is. Recommended for ages 8 and up.


Trains

Brookside Garden's light display isn't on this year, but the trains are still a delight to see!

Brookside Garden’s light display isn’t on this year, but the trains are still a delight to see!



Magical Holiday Express
Where: B&O Railroad Museum
When: November 22 – January 4
Admission: $16/adults, $14/seniors (60+), $10/ages 2-12, free for B&O members


This is a venue dedicated to locomotives, so you know the holiday model train exhibit is going to be special. The spectacular celebration in the B&O Roundhouse isdevoted to trains of all sizes and shapes, holiday festivities, a winter wonderland of family fun and activities, and a way to help local charities who help those in need this season. There is something to see and do every day at this event with all-new holiday decorations, hands-on crafts and contests, live entertainment, train rides, model train layouts, appearances by Santa, Mrs. Claus, Frosty, and LEGO Man and much more!

Season’s Greenings

Where:U.S. Botanic Garden
When: November 27 – January 4
Admission: Free

If my blog stats are any indication, this is easily DC’s most popular holiday attraction; the Botanic Garden’s seasonal exhibit is always among the top searches that lead readers here. And I can’t say I’m surprised. Season’s Greenings is an annual delight for all ages. The conservatory exhibit features Washington landmarks constructed from plant materials and one of the city’s largest Christmas trees. But the highlight, hands-down, is the garden railway, which never fails to impress and enchant with intricate, imaginative designs. This year’s theme “Exploration Along the Seas” will feature lighthouses to navigate the way through the scenic wonderland. For even more holiday magic at the garden, there are concerts most Tuesday and Thursday evenings in December, when the USBG stays open until 8pm. For more on the seasonal favorite, read this post from last year and this one from the year before about some of our Season’s Greenings experiences.

Garden Railway Exhibit
Where: Brookside Garden
When: November 28 – January 11
Admission: Free

In Brookside’s 10th season of partnership with the Washington, Virginia & Maryland Garden Railway Society, the South Conservatory will come to life with a landscape in miniature, as trains and trollies wind their way through town and country scenes, past one-of-a kind models of the Brookside Gardens Conservatories, the Dentzel Carousel and the Chautauqua Tower of Glen Echo Park. Colorful plantings will complement it all — winter may rule the outside landscape, but the conservatories will be bright with color and active with sound and motion to match the festive feeling of the season.

Holiday Trains and Planes
Where: College Park Aviation Museum
When: December 13 – December 20
Admission: $4/adults, $3/seniors, $2/ages 2-18, under 2 are free

During the holiday season the College Park Aviation Museum gets ready for the festivities as miniature trains, villages, tunnels, and depots spark the imagination and bring history to life. The National Capital Trackers bring a fascinating and constantly moving display of model railroads.

Holiday Train Show
Where: Union Station
When: TBD
Admission: Free
Every year, DC’s grand train station hosts a wonderful Holiday Train Display, on view in the Main Hall. Featuring a Norwegian landscape, the display are intricate and fun to stop by and check out you’re at the station during the holiday season.

Special Events

Season's Greenings at the Botanic Garden is a must-visit during the holidays

Season’s Greenings at the Botanic Garden is a must-visit during the holidays

 

Holidays on the Ellipse
Where: The National Ellipse
When: December 4 – January 1
Admission: Free


This should have a permanent spot on everyone’s DC holiday repertoire. The National Christmas Tree, the National Menorah, Santa’s Workshop, plus trains and displays representing all 50 states are a must-see during the season. Kids will especially love visiting Santa in his adorable little cottage for a peek at his operations and a photo op on his lap (read about one of our experiences there) which is open at select times, through Christmas Eve. And the rest of it lit up at night with the White House and Washington Monument glowing in the distance makes for a brilliant holiday scene. (Note: The National Christmas Tree Lighting is on December 4, but Santa’s Workshop does not open until the December 9, and hours are limited.)

Christmas on the Potomac
Where: National Harbor
When: November 14 – January 5

Admission: Free, though some activities cost extra
National Harbor goes all out during the holidays. ICE! might be the big attraction, but there’s also plenty to do there to warrant a visit without the frozen entertainment. Most of it takes place in the Gaylord National Resort, which is transformed into a winter wonderland, complete with a spectacular glass Christmas tree, nightly tree lightings, the Potomac Express train offering rides for guests, photo ops with Santa, indoor snowfalls, fountain shows, and more. (Read about a KFDC experience there during a Christmas season past.)

ICE!
Where: National Harbor
When: November 14 – January 5
Admission:
$27-34/adult, $20-28/child, $22-30 military, 2 and under are free (look for a deal on admission here)
Technically, this is part of Christmas on the Potomac, but it’s such a huge spectacle in itself, that it deserves its own write-up. We went a couple of years ago, and I recommend reading my review before you go. And since it features a new “Frosty the Snowman” theme this year, here’s the description from the website: “The Region’s must-see holiday attraction ICE! is back with an exciting new theme featuring Frosty the Snowman. Everyone’s favorite snowman is brought to life in more than two million pounds of colorful ice. Walk thru this classic Christmas story, slide down ice slides over two stories high and watch our artisans as they create these frozen marvels in our special bonus area – The Frostbite Factory – a LIVE ice carving zone. It’s all part of Christmas on the Potomac!” Tickets can be purchased in advance online, and timed entries are every half-hour. Hours vary by day, so be sure to check the schedule when you plan to go.

Santa HQ
Where: Tysons Coner
When: November 14 – December 24
Admission: Free, but portrait packages start at $30

A modern twist on the traditional visit to see Santa Claus! Experience the unparalleled wonder of Santa’s world in the modern and digital age. Santa HQ is technology-driven and incorporates fun features that guests can access through apps on their mobile devices. (If visitors don’t have their own device, Tysons Corner Center will provide tablets for them to use through their visit.) GUests can take an ELFIE selfie and star in their own holiday video, explore Santa’s Observatory using ELF-RAY Vision, test out the ‘Naughty O’ Nice Meter,’ and enjoy a memorable photo with Santa. Plan ahead by booking a reservation online.

Re-Imagining the Holidays
Where: Downtown Silver Spring
When: November 15, 6-8pm
Admission: Free

The 3nd Annual “Re-Imagining The Holidays” event is Downtown Silver Spring’s official Tree Lighting and Unveiling of Silver Symphony, an impressive 35-foot-tall public art installation comprised of chimes, bells, pinwheels and ribbons. Other festivities of the evening will include the a capella performances, and interactive music maker station with KID Museum, face painting, balloon artistry, strolling entertainment, giveaways, and more!

Christmas at Mount Vernon

Where: Mount Vernon Estate, Museum, & Gardens
When: November 28 – January 6
Admission: $17/adults, $8/ages 6-11, free for ages 5 and under


The holidays are full of delight at George Washington’s estate. Join for candlelight tours of the Mansion, a dazzling display of fireworks set to Christmas music, dancing, fire-side caroling, Aladdin the Christmas camel, and so much more! See the website for all of the holiday happenings at the historic home.

Capitol Christmas Tree Lighting
Where: West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol
When: December 2, 5pm
Admission: Free

If don’t win lottery tickets to see the National Tree Lighting, consider going to this one at the Capitol. You might not be able to sit close up, but you can view festivities from right across the street, and it’s just as lovely from the area by the Reflecting Pool. For now, track the tree as it journeys from Minnesota, where it was harvested, to DC. It’s expected to arrive on November 21. After the lighting, the tree will be lit every evening for all to enjoy until January 1.

Smithsonian Holiday Festival
Where: Smithsonian Museums on the National Mall
When: December 6 & 7
Admission: Free

Celebrate the holiday season at the National Air and Space Museum, National Museum of Natural History, National Museum of American History, and Smithsonian Castle! The Holiday Festival will include concerts by the U.S. Air Force’s Max Impact, Silver Wings, and Celtic Aire; seasonal films, including The Muppet Christmas Carol; Mars Chocolate demonstrations; family holiday photo opportunities; trunk shows featuring apparel; jewelry and art; book signings; festive food; and hours of additional family-friendly entertainment.

Winter’s Eve
Where: Glen Echo Park
When: December 6, 6-9pm
Admission: Free

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, and a hot chocolate bar before strolling through the Park or joining the swing dance in the Spanish Ballroom. 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.

Bethesda’s Winter Wonderland
Where: Downtown Bethesda
When: December 6
Admission: Free, but concerts and events cost extra

Celebrate the season in downtown Bethesda with a variety of performances, an ice sculpting presentation, a visit from Santa Claus, and more. See the website for the schedule of events during the festival.

Holly Trolley Fest

Where: National Capitol Trolley Museum
When: December 6-28, Saturdays & Sundays only
Admission: $7/adults, $5/ages 2-17 (includes unlimited rides)
Guests can ride with Santa on the street cars and enjoy the model garden railway and holiday village inside the museum. Of course the rest of the museum, offering a glimpse into the history of street cars, including a Hall displaying different cars from around the region and Europe. Note: Santa will not be there the last weekend. Visit the website for directions to the museum.

Gifts That Give Hope Gift Fair
Where: Calvary United Methodist Church
When: December 13, 10am – 2pm
Admission: Free

Instead of giving another tie or candle this year, how about boxing up hope and happiness? Gifts That Give Hope Arlington is holding their 4th 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 Open House
Where: Decatur House
When: December 14, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free

The White House Historical Association opens its doors for a Holiday Open House celebrating the holiday traditions of the White House and President Harding. Hop on board to learn more about President Harding’s love of trains and their significance during the holiday season. The public is welcome to attend this free event that features family-friendly activities, including holiday crafts, story-telling, and self-guided tours of Decatur House.

First Night Alexandria
Where: Old Town Alexandria
When: December 31
Admission: $15 until 12/17, $20 after, kids 12 and under are free
The largest family-focused and alcohol-free New Year’s Eve event in the region. See more than 100 performances on indoor stages throughout Old Town Alexandria. Entertainers include blue grass musicians, honky-tonk bands, clowns, magicians and classical musicians. End the evening with a spectacular fireworks display on the Potomac River at the foot of King Street!

Christmas Town
Where: Busch Gardens
When: November 22-31
Admission: $27/ages 3 and up (look for a deal on Certifikid)

Go big on a treat for your family at this holiday celebration at the Williamsburg amusement park. Enjoy spectacular light shows, rides, live entertainment, the Mistletoe Marketplace,visits from Santa, live penguins, and more!

Chanukah

Come light the Menorah on the Ellipse December 16

Come light the Menorah on the Ellipse December 16



Make Room for Latkes
Where: Washington DCJCC
When: December 7, 10:30am – 12:30pm
Admission: $10/family in advance, $15 at door

Chanukah is coming and with it, eight nights of family fun! Get ready with PJ Library and the DCJCC with a variety of hands-on activities, including arts and crafts to decorate, a delicious cooking project, stories and singing, learning or practicing the blessings over the menorah, and more. It’s a perfect morning for Jewish and interfaith families with children ages 3 and older. Of course, there will be latkes to eat, plus lots of take-home information and recipes to make your Chanukah even happier. Registration fee covers all food, supplies and activities.

Chanukah Lights and Legos!
Where: JCC of Northern Virginia
When: December 7, 1-4pm
Admission: $15/non-members, $10/members

Chanukah is here — it’s time to light up the night! Join the JCC of Northern Virginia to get ready for the holiday by building your very own Lego® menorah to take home and use. SPace is limited,, so register early by emailing or calling: [email protected] | 703-537-3045

National Menorah Lighting
Where: The National Ellipse
When: December 16, 4pm
Admission: Free, but you must request tickets

This is the Jewish counterpart to the National Christmas Tree Lighting. Every Chanukah, the National Menorah is lit in a ceremony on the Ellipse. Along with the lighting, there will be live entertainment, plus menorah kits and dreidels to take home. And if you don’t mind waiting in line afterward, you can stay for latkes and donuts. Tickets are free, but you need to request them in advance through the website.

Chanukah on Ice
Where: Pentagon Row Ice Rink
When: December 18, 6-8:30pm
Admission: $10 in advance, $13 at door

Celebrate Chanukah with a giant menorah lighting, holiday treats, raffles, and ice skating! Ice skate rentals are included, but food will be sold separately. Purchase advance tickets online at www.chabadAA.org or call 703-370-2774.

Chanukah Festival
Where: Crowne Plaza Hotel in Alexandria
When: December 1, 5pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate the third night of Chanukah with a giant menorah lighting, free light stick for every child, latkes, donuts, a raffle, and music! The lighting will take place at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Old Town Alexandria located at 901 N Fairfax Street. For more info, go to www.chabadAA.org or call 703-370-2774.

 

Holiday Lights

Take a drive through the Festival of Lights at Watkins Regional Park

Take a drive through the Festival of Lights at Watkins Regional Park



Winter Walk of Lights

Where: Meadowlark Botanical Gardens
When: November 14 – January 5
Admission: $13/adult, $8/ages 3-12 (look for a deal on Certifikid)

Imagine the beauty of Meadowlark’s renowned gardens as over 500,000 LED lights and displays bring the gardens to life and transform it into a winter wonderland. Marvel at the two-story animated fountain, stroll past the Gingerbread Village, and explore the beauty of nature like you’ve never seen it!

Symphony of Lights
Where: Symphony Woods, Merriweather Post Pavilion
When: November 17 – January 4, 6-10pm Weds-Mon
Admission: $20/car (look for a deal on Certifikid)

Called a “woodland wonderland,” this beautiful display of more than 70 larger-than-life, animated and stationary light creations is a local holiday tradition for many. Cruise along the 1.4-mile route through the Symphony Woods in downtown Columbia and enjoy the twinkling lights as you go. (Note that it’s closed on December 31.)

Bull Run Festival of Lights
Where: Bull Run Regional Park
When: November 19 – January 4
Admission: Monday- Thursday $15/car, Friday-Saturday $20/car (look for a deal on Certifikid)

For more than 13 years the Bull Run Festival of Lights has drawn thousands of visitors to the park to delight in its winter wonderland. Get a sneak preview of it on the website, where a video of Santa’s Enchanted Lights, with over 40,000 animated lights set to music, is merely a fraction of what you’ll find there.

ZooLights
Where: National Zoo
When: November 28 – January 1, 5-9pm (Closed 12/24, 25, 31)
Admission: Free

Every year, thousands of environmentally-friendly light and animal exhibits transform the Zoo into a holiday wonderland. The highlights are dozens of animal light displays, a dazzling light show set to music, and “Zoo Tubing” on Lion/Tiger Hill (they should just call it Liger Hill) on two 150-foot snow tracks. Guests can also enjoy live entertainment, a special train ride for children, a whirl on the Conservation Carousel, special talks by animal keepers, Zoo-themed model trains displays, and the Gin-Grrr-Bread Habitat Competition. The Small Mammal House, Great Ape House, Reptile Discovery Center, Think Tank, and Kids’ Farm will be open every night. Rides and parking cost extra.

Festival of Lights
Where: Watkins Regional Park
When: November 28 – January 1, 5-9:30pm nightly
Admission: $5/car, FREE on December 25


This spectacular holiday drive-through event of more than one million twinkling lights has been dazzling holiday-goers for 25 years. This is great way to get into the holiday spirit from the comfort of your car – pop some holiday music into the CD player, turn on the seat warmers, and take in the adorably festive illuminated scenes.

Winter Lights Festival

Where: Seneca Creek State Park
When: November 28 – December 31
Admission: $12/car Mon-Thurs, $15/car Fri- Sun

The 19th Annual Winter Lights Festival will feature more than 365 illuminated vignettes and 65 animated displays in a 3.5 mile drive through beautiful Seneca Creek State Park. Theme areas include Winter Woods, Teddy Bear Land, Victorian Village, North Pole, Toyland, and Penguin Cove. Special prism glasses to are available for $2 to heighten the experience. Proceeds Benefit Local Charities. Hours are Sunday – Thursday 6-9pm and Friday-Saturday 6-10pm.

Festival of Lights
Where: Mormon Temple
When: December 4 – January 1
Admission: Free

It’s official name is the Washington DC Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but most Washingtonians know it as the Mormon Temple that you can see driving on the outer loop of the Beltway near Bethesda. During the holiday season the ground glow with more than 600,000 LED lights that visitors are welcome to enjoy. There are also free nightly performances in an indoor theater, Christmas trees decorated in international themes, an exhibit of crèches from around the world, and a life-sized outdoor nativity.

Alexandria Boat Parade of Lights

Where: Alexandria City Marina
When: December 6, 5:30pm
Admission: Free

Experience one of the region’s most beloved holiday traditions! At sundown on the day of the Scottish Christmas Walk parade, Alexandria’s harbor lights up when more than 50 illuminated boats cruise the Potomac River at the historic waterfront, led by Alexandria’s fireboat Vigilant and Washington, DC’s fireboat John Glenn. Before and after the parade, stop in to the Torpedo Factory Art Center’s Holiday Open House between 4 and 7 p.m. to enjoy performances by the Alexandria Choral Society plus gift shopping in open artist studios.

Parade of Lighted Boats
Where: Southwest Waterfront
When: December 6, 6-8pm
Admission: Free
On the other end of Alexandria’s boat parade, the Washington Waterfront Association and Old Dominion Boat Club will host the Parade of Lighted Boats along the Southwest Waterfront. (So, it’s actually the same parade, just different festivities on the DC side.) Family activities will include photo with Santa, cookie decorating, a tree lighting, s’mores and hot chocolate, and holiday lighting of the boats docked on the SW Waterfront.

Holiday Markets

The Downtown Holiday Market in Penn Quarter

The Downtown Holiday Market in Penn Quarter



Museum Shop Around
Where: Strathmore
When: November 13-16
Admission: $9

This annual market brings the best of the area’s finest museum gift shops all to one place. At Strathmore’s Museum Shop Around you’ll find toys, jewelry, one-of-a-kind gifts — some handmade, all art-inspired — for yourself and everyone on your holiday list.

Merry & Bright Shopping Night
Where: Mosaic District
When: November 15, 4-9pm
Admission: Free

Start the holidays off right with giveaways, treats, and other Mosaic surprises. Many stores and restaurants in the Fairfax community are offering discounts and other specials to help patrons ring in the the holiday shopping season.

Downtown Holiday Market
Where: 8th & F Streets NW
When: November 28 – December 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 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 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: Weekends November 15 – December 21

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.

Smithsonian Holiday Festival
Where: Smithsonian Museums on the National Mall
When: December 6 & 7
Admission: Free

The Holiday Festival offering a weekend of family fun will include opportunities to shop for holiday gifts with trunk shows featuring apparel, jewelry, art, and more. The bonus is all of the fantastic activities for you and the kids can enjoy. The Festival is taking place at the National Air and Space Museum, National Museum of Natural History, National Museum of American History, and Smithsonian Castle. See the events section of this guide or visit the website for more details.

Parcel Market
Where: Canal Park
When: December 12-14
Admission: Free

Canal Park in the Capitol Riverfront will be transformed into a festive winter wonderland with the best independent retailers, craftsmen, and cuisine in DC. Parcel Market will feature ice skating at the Canal Park Ice Rink and creative retail that showcases local small businesses, artists, and designers. Vendors will include Be Clean, DeNada, Matine, Mutiny, Native Danger, TCI Letter Press, Winthrop Clothing Co. for pets, and more! A dining lounge will feature DC foodie favorites and warm drinks in a relaxed atmosphere complete with fire pits. Live music from local DJS and performers will also fill the air.

Sugarloaf Craft Festival
Where: Dulles Expo Center
When: December 12-14

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.

Gifts That Give Hope Gift Fair
Where: Calvary United Methodist Church
When: December 13, 10am – 2pm
Admission: Free

Instead of giving another tie or candle this year, how about boxing up hope and happiness? Gifts That Give Hope Arlington is holding their 4th 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.


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