Tag Archives: Washington DC holiday events

The Weekend Round-Up: December 16-18

Wandering through ICE!

 

Holiday events are still running strong, and there are special museum programs and children’s shows to round out this weekend’s options for family fun.  And, of course, DC’s tried and true activities are always a good bet — scroll right down the page for a slew of recommendations.  Happy Weekend!

Celebrate the SeasonIf you’re looking for ways to embrace the holiday spirit, you have your pick: visit Santa in his workshop, drive or stroll through holiday lights, view nature and DC-inspired seasonal exhibits, see intricately constructed model train displays, experience the holidays on ICE!  This guide to DC’s best holiday events has details on all of them.

Holidays on StageAll of the classics are at our local theatres. This post has a review of The Nutcracker at the Warner Theatre, and you can read my write-up of Adventure Theatre’s ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. For even more holiday shows, see this post for a listing of the season’s favorites.

Rockin’ Hanukkah ConcertYosi and the Superdads play an interactive and humorous family concert filled with klezmer, rock, ska and rockin’ Hanukkah tunes at the McClean Community Center on Sunday at 3pm. Tickets are $10/McLeanresidents, $15/non-residents. The show is recommended for ages 3 and up.

Elmo Makes Music In Sesame Street Live’s latest production, everyone’s favorite red monster and his friends make their own music with instruments that they never knew existed.  Join them as they share their love of music on the Patriot Center Stage now through Sunday.  Tickets range from $15-50 and can be purchased through Ticketmaster.

Up, Up & Away – The Corcoran is hosting a Family Workshop for children ages 8-12 on Saturday from 10:30am – 12pm.  Guests will discover what the average person would need on a journey to Mars in the NOW exhibition Claire Healy and Sean Cordeiro: Are We There Yet? After that create a personalized jet pack using recycled materials for your own adventure into outer space.

Holidays Around the World: ChristmasDrop in at the National Children’s Museum Launch Zone on Saturday from 11am – 4pm to learn how people all over the world observe Christmas. Through a variety of activities, guests can journey to Colombia, the Philippines, and Croatia for a multi-cultural Christmas celebration.  Admission is free.

Family PortraitsLearn about people who have influenced American history and culture through a variety of ongoing programs and activities offered by the National Portrait Gallery. This weekend’s subject will be Pablo Picasso in two different workshops. On Saturday from 2-4pm, kids ages 5 and up can join Facing History: Be the Artist Youth and Family Program to view portraits, hear stories, and create art. Admission if free, but registration is required.  On Sunday from 2-5pm, guests of all ages can drop in for Portrait Story Days to hear a tale about Picasso and do an art project. For a fun DIY adventure at the Gallery, Portrait Discovery Kits are available on Sunday from 2-5pm. They include “Seek and Find” cards, “Portrait Detective” and “Historian Guides,” and a “Compare and Contrast” activity using a doll. Visitors can check out kits at the education center, room E151, on the first floor. Kits need to be returned prior to 4 p.m. on Saturdays or 5:00 p.m. on Sundays.

American Indian Art – Sculpture artist and painter Gregg Analla will be at the National Museum of the American Indian on Saturday from 10:30am – 12:30pm to lead a workshop on Pueblo pottery and symbolism.  Recommended for kids ages 5-12, the sessions will last about an hour and welcome guests on a first-come, first-served basis.  They will take place in the imagiNATIONs Activity Center, which is also a fantastic place to explore American Indian culture through a variety of interactive exhibits. Admission to both the workshop and museum is free.

And for tried and true DC pursuits, check out these links:

The Best Places in the DC Area to Enjoy a Beautiful Day Outdoors with the Kids

Rainy Day Recreation (ie, Indoor Fun)

 

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Filed under All ages, Annual, Art, Chanukah, Christmas, DC, Educational, Free, Holidays, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Movies, Museums, Music, Seasonal, Theatre, Virginia, Weekend, Winter

Tell Your Friend Veronica, It’s Time to Celebrate Chanukah!

Last year's National Menorah Lighting on the Ellipse

 

You probably wouldn’t guess it from all the Christmas events I keep posting about that I actually do double duty when it comes to the holidays. As an interfaith family, we celebrate both Chanukah and Christmas – I grew up lighting the menorah, while my husband anticipated Santa’s visits. But we’ve embraced each other’s traditions, especially at this time of year, and try to give our kids the best of both.

Last year around the holidays, I discussed how this can pose some challenges for us. Christmas is right in our faces, with tons of activities and events to celebrate it throughout the season. Chanukah…not so much. But it’s not that the events don’t exist at all, you just have to try a little harder to find them. Well, I’ve done the legwork for you, so if your family seeks special events around town that celebrate Chanukah, here’s where you can find them. Chag Sameach!

 

National Menorah Lighting
Where: The National Ellipse
When: December 20, 4pm
Admission: Free, but you must request tickets
This is the Jewish counterpart to the National Christmas Tree Lighting. Every year, the National Menorah is lit in a ceremony on the Ellipse. Along with the lighting, there will be entertainment by the U.S. Marine Band as well as Dreidelman and the Macabees. If you don’t mind waiting in line afterward, stay for latkes and donuts. Tickets are free, but you need to request them in advance. Go here to get yours.

Chanukah on Ice
Where: Pentagon Row Ice Rink
When: December 15, 6-8:30pm
Admission: $10 advance, $12 at the door
Celebrate Chanukah a week early at an ice skating party. Along with fun on the ice, festivities will include a menorah lighting, a raffle for a Flip camera, latkes and other treats, and more. Ice skate rentals are included, but food will be sold separately.

Rockin’ Hannukah Concert
Where: Alden Theatre
When: December 18, 3pm
Tickets: $15, $10/McLean residents
Yosi and the Superdads play an interactive and humorous family concert filled with klezmer, rock, ska and rockin’ Hanukkah tunes. Recommended for ages 3 and up.

Menorah Lighting Celebration
Where: Cabin John Shopping Center
When: December 21, 6-7:30pm
Admission: Free
The highlight of Chabad Shul of Potomac’s Chanukah celebration will be a Juggling Rabbi who has entertained audiences around the world. But there will be even more than that to enjoy – a giant menorah lighting, magic tricks and balloons, music and dancing, latkes and jelly doughnuts, and more.

Chanukah Wonderland
Where: Civic Center, Silver Spring
When: December 18 – 25
Admission: Free
You can find a week’s worth of Chanukah activities in Silver Spring. From candle dipping and jewelry making to story time and sing-a-longs, there will be activities for the whole family to enjoy, thanks to Chabad of Silver Spring. Be sure to check the website for the schedule and more details about the event, which includes its own Chanukah on Ice on the 25th.

Chanukah Candyland Bethesda
Where: Bethesda Row
When: December 22
Admission: Free
Celebrating Chanukah has never been so sweet! Join Chabad of Bethesda as they light a menorah made of jellybeans and present an exciting magic show. Chanukah music, latkes and other treats will also be part of the festivities that are open to everyone. The program will be held at Bethesda Lane on Bethesda Row in downtown Bethesda.

 

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Filed under All ages, Chanukah, DC, Festival, Free, Holidays, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Music, Seasonal, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend, Winter

The Weekend Round-Up: December 2-4

Enjoying last weekend's superb weather at the Capitol Reflecting Pool, post-Botanic Garden visit.

 

Holiday activities dominate this weekend round-up, but there are a few non-seasonal recommendations for all the Scrooge types, too.  See a family-friendly film about Andy Warhol, visit Santa in his workshop, jam to folk music for children, sing along to holiday songs.  That’s just a small sample of all there is to do; read on for the rest.  Happy Weekend!

‘Tis the SeasonThe holiday season is in full swing, and DC is chock full of fun ways to celebrate it. A few special events are mentioned below, and this post listing DC’s best has even more recommendations. Think holiday train displays; festivities at the Botanic Garden, and at the National Harbor; light shows; a boat parade; and even more.

Holidays on StageEnjoy the ultimate holiday classic The Nutcracker performed by the Washington Ballet at Warner Theatre or catch a tot-friendly version at The Puppet Co. Join the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future as they lead Scrooge on A Christmas Carol journey at Ford’s Theatre. Get details on these live shows and others at local theaters this season in this post about holiday entertainment.

Santa on the Ellipse – The  National Christmas Tree was illuminated by the First Family last night, so festivities at President’s Park have officially begun. See the tree, a model train zipping around it, the Yule Log, and holiday displays representing all 50 states. But the biggest thrill for kids, by far, will be Santa’s Workshop, which is an actual little cottage on the Ellipse grounds, just down the path from the tree. There, guests can check out St. Nick’s “operations,” complete with a Naughty & Nice meter, letters to Santa stacked up on desks and posted on walls, sketches of toys, and a conveyor belt loaded with presents to be distributed to kids around the world. This is all there for kids to peep as they wait in line to meet Santa himself and sit on his lap for a photo op. It’s open this Saturday and Sunday from 12:30-4:30pm then again from 5:30-9:30pm. Beware that the line can get long — I’ve heard of waits up to 40 minutes — so plan accordingly. Read about our experience there last year.

Bethesda Winter WonderlandCelebrate the holiday season in downtown Bethesda with a variety of free performances, a live ice sculpting presentation in Bethesda’s Veterans Park, and a visit from Santa Claus. Festivities kick off this evening with a concert at 8pm, and continue tomorrow with ice sculptures in Veterans Park (located at the corner of Woodmont & Norfolk Avenues) from 1-2pm, then a student concert and visit from Santa from 2-4pm. Admission is free.

Scribble, Art, Pop!Kids can explore art through film at The National Gallery of Art’s monthly film program. This weekend they’ll present a series of animated shorts that celebrate the qualities that make artists.  Guests can get a glimpse into the life and art of Andy Warhol in the fun and gentle film Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Artists: Andy Warhol, a family-friendly biography of Warhol and an introduction to pop art, along with a few other animated shorts about art, all of the kid-friendly variety. Sessions are at 10:30am on Saturday and 11:30am on Sunday in the East Building Auditorium. The program is free, and seating is offered on a first-come, first-seated basis. Recommended for ages 4 and up.

Renwick Holiday FestivalCelebrate the holiday season in presidential fashion at the Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery. Go on a scavenger hunt through the exhibit Something of Splendor: Decorative Arts from the White House, where you might spot Grace Coolidge, Dolly Madison, and Teddy Roosevelt; enjoy a family day filled with music, crafts, and activities inspired by the exhibition. Create your own presidential china patterns, make holiday ornaments, and warm up with some hot apple cider. The event takes place on Saturday from 11am – 2pm. Admission is free.

Folk Jam for Kids Boston roots musician and family entertainer Alastair Moock will perform an all–ages concert at Jammin’ Java on Saturday at 10:30am. The concert celebrates the release of Moock’s new CD entitled “These Are My Friends,” which just won a 2011 NAPPA Gold Award. The show is part of the venue’s ongoing family concert series. Tickets are $10 and available online or at the box office.

DIY Holiday CardsKids can exercise their creativity and get into the holiday spirit at a special Holiday Card Workshop hosted by the National Postal Museum on Saturday, from 12 – 3:30pm. Artist Thalia Doukas will provide stamp-centric inspiration and mailable ornaments that guests can use as they create two holiday cards. Be sure to make time before or after to explore the museum, which is full of interesting exhibits, many of them interactive.

Holidays Around the World: KwanzaaThis holiday season, the National Children’s Museum Launch Zone is celebrating winter holidays around the world.  On Saturday from 11am – 4pm, drop in to learn all about Kwanzaa, a holiday focusing on the values of African culture.  Kids can make family tree place mats and mishumaa, traditional Kwanzaa candles. Admission is free. The Museum is located at National Harbor, so you can combine it with a visit to the Gaylord National Resort for Christmas on the Potomac.

Wolf Trap Holiday Sing-A-LongBelt out the season’s most popular tunes at Wolf Trap’s annual gathering on Sunday at 4pm. Along with the opportunity to sing Christmas Carols and Hannukah songs along with choir and vocal groups from the metropolitan Washington area, you can enjoy a performance by the United States Marine Band. While admission to the event if free, Wolf Trap will be participating in Toys for Tots by collecting new, unwrapped toys at the entrance to the Filene Center before the Sing-A-Long. Donations are strictly voluntary and not a requirement. Parking is also free, though limited, so plan on arriving early.

Annual Holiday Sing at the AtlasThe annual free Holiday Concert at the Atlas Performing Arts Center, in collaboration with Capital City Symphony the Congressional Chorus, and the American Youth Chorus, is an H Street holiday tradition. Shows take place on Sunday at 4pm & 7pm. I checked the status of tickets on the website, and while it’s sold out, a note says to “Please come the day of the performance to join the waiting list. In years past, everybody has got in.”  Hey, it’s worth a try. And if you don’t get in, you can grab a bite at one of the many eateries along the corridor or head up the street to Union Station to check out the Holiday Train Show.

Portrait Story Days: Henri MatisseDrop in at the National Portrait Gallery from 2-5pm Sunday to listen to a story about a person who has influenced American history and culture and to create a special piece of art. This weekend, learn about French artist Henri Matisse.

Whether you want to bundle up and enjoy the sunshine or shed your coats and stay comfortable inside, these posts have even more ideas for ventures with the kids indoors and out:

Rainy Day Recreation (ie, Indoor Fun)

The Best Places in the DC Area to Enjoy a Beautiful Day Outdoors with the Kids


REI Outlet Just Reduced!

 

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Filed under Annual, Art, Chanukah, Christmas, DC, Festival, Free, Gradeschoolers, Holidays, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Music, Outdoor, Preschoolers, Preteens, Seasonal, Theatre, Toddlers, Trains, Union Station, Virginia, Weekend, Winter

Where to Play on the Weekdays: November 28 – December 2

All aboard the Play Express at Cabin John Regional Park

 

Monday – Take advantage of this relative heat wave and spend the day outdoors at a playground or park. The Meanest Momma has TONS of reviews of places where kids can climb, run, swing, and slide, mostly in Virginia, but a few in DC and Maryland as well.  And for even more ideas for recreation outdoors, this KFDC post is always a good reference.

Tuesday – Book it to Potomac Yard in Alexandria for Children’s Storytime at Barnes & Noble.  The free, weekly readings start at 11am around the charming little “stage” area in the kids’ section at the back of the store.  Arrive early or linger after for train play on the Thomas table and to browse the books and toys for potential holiday gifts. (Note: Storytime sessions take place at B&N stores all around the DC area on various days of the week.  Find more times and locations here.)

Wednesday – Catch one of the many kids flicks now showing in movie theaters:  The Muppets, Arthur Christmas, Puss in Boots, and Happy Feet Two are all current big screen options for children.

Thursday – Visit Season’s Greenings, the U.S. Botanic Garden’s seasonal exhibit. (I know this is a becoming a repeat recommendation, but it is deserving.) See the Garden Railway, easily one of the best train displays around. Stroll the festively adorned conservatory and admire replicas of DC landmarks built entirely from plant materials. Watch another model train zip around the lofty Christmas tree, one of the tallest indoor trees in the city . And, for some extra holiday magic and free entertainment, go in the evening for the first of many concerts that will take place on most Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout December.  This week, swingin’ jazz quartet Laissez Foure will liven up the Garden Court from 6-8pm.

Friday – Explore the history and customs of holiday traditions around the world through Discovery Theater’s Seasons of Light show. Performances are at 10:15am and 11:30am at the Smithsonian’s Ripley Center, and tickets are $3-9, depending on age and Smithsonian Associate membership. (Note: The show runs Monday-Friday through December 23 and usually sells out, so be sure to reserve your seats soon!)

 

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Filed under All ages, Annual, Christmas, DC, Free, Gradeschoolers, Holidays, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Movies, Music, Outdoor, Park, Play, Preschoolers, Seasonal, Theatre, Toddlers, Virginia, Weekdays, Winter