The Weekend Round-Up:
December 8-10

Enjoy a family night out at Georgetown GLOW


Happy Weekend!

Find tons of ideas for non-holiday fun in these go-to KFDC posts:
* The Great Indoors
* Best Outdoors in the DC Area
* Off-the-Beaten-Path Museums
Autumn Adventures
* Local Hikes with Kids
* Kid-Friendly Eats
* Bike Rides
* Baltimore with Kids
* Peaceful Places

Holiday Happenings
Where: Around the DC Area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

If you’re looking for holiday activities, you have your pick of them!  There are all kinds of ways to embrace the spirit of the season, and at every price point. Some are listed in this round-up, and details for SO many more in the 2023 KFDC Holiday Guide to the Holiday Season Around DC.

Lights & Ice: Hanukkah Skate Night
Where: Canal Park | Capitol Riverfront, DC
When: December 8
Admission: Free; skating is $15/12+, $12/under 12
The Festival of Lights is back at the Canal Park Ice Rink with Free Skate Rentals for the first 150 attendees to glide around the outdoor menorah. There will also be live music from DJ Ci Ci, free Hannukah-themed donuts, and hot cider from neighborhood confectionary shop Kilwins courtesy of the Capitol Riverfront BID. Plus, enjoy dreidels, glow sticks, gelt, and an exclusive Capitol Riverfront mug & hot cocoa kit for the first 100 attendees! An official menorah lighting will take place at 7pm.

A “Lit” Family Night Out
Where: Around DC
When: Throughout the holiday season
Admission: Free (+ cost of dinner)

The holidays are always a fabulous time of the year in DC, especially in the evenings when twinkling lights make the cityscape sparkle and there is “illuminated” fun to enjoy. Even better, you can make a night of it and experience those lit activities and enjoy a family dinner out, too. This new post has five ideas for doing just that, all of them centered around a main activity with recommendations for places to eat, plus some suggestions for nearby fun to tack on if you want to make a day (or longer night) of it, too.

The Polar Express Pajama Party
Where: Miracle Theater | Capitol Hill, DC
When: Saturday, 11am
Admission: $6

Sip some hot chocolate in your PJ’s while watching the holiday classic, The Polar Express. The film is an inspiring adventure based on the beloved children’s book by Chris Van Allsburg. A young boy embarks on a magical adventure to the North Pole on the Polar Express. During his adventure he learns about friendship, bravery, and the spirit of Christmas.

Disney Encanto x CAMP
Where: Tysons Corner | Tysons, VA
When: Through March
Admission: Starts at $32

The immersive experience inspired by the beloved movie opens at Tysons this weekend.  Tickets are very limited in December, but you might luck out and get them.  If not, then let this be your heads-up to snag them for a 2024 visit — they would make a great holiday gift!

Step Afrika! Magical, Musical Holiday Step Show
Where: Arena Stage | Southwest DC
When: Through December 17
Tickets: $56-95 (look for discount)

Easily one of the best holiday show’s in town, Step Afrika!’s Magical Musical Holiday Step Show is a fantastic, vibrant celebration. (And we know from many years’ experience!) This fun, family-friendly performance will have you stomping your feet and clapping your hands to energetic beats from Step Afrika! and special guest, DJ Frosty the Snowman. The internationally-renowned percussive dance company has created a fantastic, contemporary holiday tradition, featuring friendly, furry characters, fun photo ops, and a festive dance party.

Fiddler on the Roof
Where: Olney Theatre | Olney, MD
When: Throughout the weekend
Tickets: $35-101 (look for discount)

A great show  during Hanukkah…  Tradition! The word itself is synonymous with this most classic of American musicals, set in the tiny shtetl of Anatevka. People all over the world continue to find universal truths in the story of Tevye and his headstrong, tradition-bucking daughters. Now, Olney Theatre creates a rich and re-imagined Fiddler for a new generation to embrace through unforgettable songs like “If I Were a Rich Man,” “To Life,” and “Sunrise, Sunset.” Like Tevye himself, this Fiddler knows the power of its traditional highlights, but like his daughters Tzeitel, Hodel, and Chava – it also may surprise you with new ways of carrying forward its spirit.

Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins
Where: The Puppet Co. | Glen Echo Park, MD
When: Through December 31
Tickets: $15/age 2+

And one for little kids…  It’s Hanukkah on strings once again at The Puppet Co. this year! In this puppet play, Hershel just wants to celebrate Hanukkah with the community, but the Queen and King of the Goblins have forbidden the lighting of the candles. Can Hershel save the day and lift the curse for this shtetl (village)?

More Holiday Entertainment
Where: Local theatres
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by venue

There’s so much holiday-inspired entertainment on local stages to celebrate the season. The Nutcracker at the Warner Theatre is a classic that will enchant audiences of all ages. Or take littles to see a version on strings 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. Go to a Family Edition of Handel’s Messiah at the National Cathedral.  Get details on these shows and see what else is coming up soon in the 2023 Guide to the Holiday Season.

A sculpture from the Simone Leigh exhibit

Art Cart: Who? You? Express Yourself!
Where: Hirshhorn Museum | Naional Mall, DC
When: Saturday 10am – 1pm
Admission: Free

Art Cart days are a great time to bring kiddos to the Hirshhorn because you can enjoy the exhibits, and they have a fun activity to connect to the art. On Saturday, dive into the world of Simone Leigh’s art! Explore her sculptures and make your own one-of-a-kind portraits and sculptures inspired by the things that make you special. Find the Art Cart in the Lerner Room on the Third Level.

Get Out of Dodge DC
Where: Around the region
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by place

Mix it up  with a quick getaway to a festive destination! If you feel like you’ve seen and done it all around DC, or just want to add a little extra magic to the season, road-trip-it to a location less than three hours away from the DC metro area — and maybe make some fun stops on the way. Your kids will love the thrill of it all (and, for overnighters, your heavily-tinseled hotel)! This post has ideas for places to go.

Go-Go Santa Caravan
Where: Sycamore & Oak | Congress Heights, DC
When: Saturday, 12-5pm
Admission: Free

Local business, community leaders, go-go bands, and “Go-Go Santa,” will spread holiday cheer as they travel through Congress Heights to The Retail Village at Sycamore & Oak for a day of holiday-themed activities and celebration. Around 5,000 curated holiday gifts will be distrinuted from eight local lifestyle businesses. Meal tickets and shopping coupons (up to $14 each) will also be given out while supplies last. Households will also receive complimentary tickets from Capital City Go-Go.

Capital Art & Craft Festival
Where: Dulles Expo Center | Chantilly, VA
When: Friday, Saturday, & Sunday
Admission: $10/advance, $12/at door, free/12 & under
Browse the works of over 200 local artisans and crafters and find unique holiday gifts  This festival features art in more than a dozen mediums — jewelry, paintings, prints, glass, leather, photography, pottery, wearable art, and wood, and more.   Visit the website for more details.

Winter’s Eve
Where: Glen Echo Park | Glen Echo, MD
When: Saturday, 3-6pm
Admission: Free
It’s Glen Echo Park’s annual Winter’s Eve celebration, a holiday event designed with all ages in mind. The Park will be abuzz with activity throughout the event:Open studios, artwork sales, refreshments, and the Puppet Co. will present it’s beloved The Nutcracker at 4pm. There will also be free children’s holiday crafts, and many of the Park’s resident arts organizations will offer holiday activities, including performances by Washington Revels, a hands-on blown glass ornament workshop (pre-registration required), Washington Conservatory of Music student performances, holiday portrait photography (pre-registration encouraged), and more!

Holiday Extravaganza
Where: The Boro | Tysons, DC
When: December 9, 11am – 2pm
Admission: Free
Here comes Santa Claus, right down Boro Lane! Get into the holiday spirit with a festive and fun morning in Boro Park to kick off the holiday season! At Santa’s Workshop at The Boro, guests of all ages are invited to enjoy a fun filled morning of holiday kids crafts, a DJ dance party, specialty hot chocolate bar with lots of fun fixings from Bluestone Lane, a holiday themed bounce house, and calligrapher on site to customize ornaments. And don’t forget to stop Santa’s Workshop in Boro Park, where you can take pictures with Santa — he’ll be there from 11:30am to 1pm.

Holiday Lights
Where: Around the DC area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

Parks and gardens around the area are brightening up the season with twinkling holiday light displays. Some you can walk through for an up-close experience, others you tour by car. Whatever you choose, you’re in for a dazzling good time.  See where you can enjoy them in the KFDC Holiday Guide.

Hike & Aprés Hike
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by place

If al the holiday hoopla is getting overwhelming, the get out for a family hike — then extend (and elevate) the day with some some snacks (or a whole meal) and sips after. Find some great combos to do that in this post about place to hike & aprés Hike.

Second Sunday Barn Dance
Where: Glen Echo Park | Glen Echo, MD
When: Sunday, 1-3pm
Admission: $5 ages 4+

Bring the fam to the Barn Dance! The fun-spirited event is for all ages and ability levels, featuring live music and a caller who teaches all the dances and keeps everyone moving to the music. Expect a variety of circles, squares, longways sets, contras, waltzes, and ceilidhs. Families with pre-school kids, tweens and teens, grandparents, and everyone in-between will have a rollicking good time with Glen Echo’s intergenerational community.

Nature Calling
Where: Nature centers around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free

If you’re not feeling outdoorsy, you can still get a dose of the outside world in the comfort of the indoors at a nature center. There are several great ones around the area that with lots of interesting exhibits, including live creatures. Buddie Ford Nature Center in Alexandria, Watkins in Upper Marlboro, Potomac Overlook in Arlington, Long Branch in Falls Church, and Brookside in Silver Spring all make for a great outing.

Day Trip from DC
Where: Around the region
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

Get out of dodge for a day to enjoy some fun in areas that require a bit of a drive, but not an overnight stay (though you could consider it). Explore the spectacular underground world of Luray Caverns. Discover the charm and awesome attractions of Baltimore.  Enjoy hiking and history at Harpers Ferry. Take an ice cream making museum tour at Turkey Hill in Lancaster, PA. Or venture out to the Calvert Marine Museum to experience fascinating exhibits that highlight the history of the Chesapeake Bay.

* There’s a new giveaway for a chance to win a Holiday Stocking filled with a music lessons gift certificate and more from International School of Music!
* It’s peak holiday shopping season, and the KFDC Holiday Gift Guides have loads of ideas for DC-inspired gifts and for specific age groups.
* Looking for an activity especially for little ones on Tuesday morning?  Check out Art in the AM at the American Art Museum!
* National Gallery of Art shares tips for peaceful visits to the museum during the holiday season.
* Aristocrafts, an local mom-owned company that runs after school programs, now has their own studio and will be offering creative workshops for kids and adults.
* Always looking for organizing solutions, and this is a good one. Or this if you have a spare drawer.
* A few sales to check this weekend: Dick’s Sporting Goods, Tea Collection, Bose, Pottery Barn, Anthro,
* Vanity Fair’s Best Movies of 2023.
* This Hanukkah, Light the Candles 💙

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Filed under 2023, DC, Fall, Maryland, Virginia, Weekend

International School of Music: Stuff the Stockings with Music Lessons Giveaway!


Looking for a perfect holiday gift that your child will truly appreciate and benefit from for years to come?
Then, treat them to the gift that truly keeps on giving: Music lessons at International School of Music!

International School of Music is offering a once-a-year special:
They will prepare a holiday stocking for your giftee filled with:
* 2 Music Lessons Certificate in Any Instrument
* Music Notebook
* Music Water Bottle & Sticker
* Music Note Key Chain
* Music Pencil
* Holiday Candy
* Free Registration!

The value is $208, but you can get it now for only for $99!
Offer is for new students only, while supplies last. Pick it up or they will ship it to you for FREE!

It’s easy to redeem!
Call or text: 301-396-7497 or purcahse a holiday stocking here.


What students are saying about the International School of Music…
“We LOVE our music lessons and our teachers make learning fun! Our kids are much more engaged during their lessons and couldn’t wait to start practicing afterwards.” – Marisa L.

“If you live in the DC area, this is one of the most innovative and caring music schools on the East Coast. Best faculty (graduates from Johns Hopkins, Juilliard, NYU, etc.) with top performance opportunities. Truly a gem!” – Amanda K.

For more information about International School of Music and its programs and performances, visit their website.

* * *

GIVEAWAY:  Three KFDC readers can win a holiday stocking from the International School of Music which includes two half-hour music lessons in any instrument or voice, free registration, holiday candy, music notebook, pencil, keychain, water bottle, and more!  For a chance to win, simply leave a comment below telling me your or your child’s favorite holiday song. Contest is open to new students only. This giveaway will run through Sunday, December 17, then a winner will be drawn at random and notified shortly thereafter. Good luck!



International School of Music – North
11325 Seven Locks Rd. #255 Potomac, MD 20854
Tel: 301-365-5888 |

International School of Music – South
4701 Sangamore Rd. LL-03, Bethesda MD 20816
Tel: 301-320-4400


This giveaway is sponsored by International School of Music, however, I only promote programs, places, and businesses that I genuinely believe in and think would appeal to KFDC readers.


Filed under 2023, Class, DC, Giveaway, Holidays, Winter

What to Expect Behind the Doors at Disney Encanto x CAMP D.C.

[Note:  This post was written by KFDC Contributor Emily Moise, a local writer and mom of three young children.  She always has excellent recommendations for kids’ activities around the DC area as well as products for little ones and more — see all of them here.]


The word “immersive” is thrown around often these days, so going into the Disney Encanto x CAMP D.C. experience, I had modest expectations. Those expectations were blown away! It was some kind of Disney World meets Broadway dreamland, and it is the definition of immersive. Here’s what you can expect…


Live musical performances. Forget front row seats at the theater…be a part of the show as you sing and dance along with the cast of characters. Expect to hear all of your favorite Encanto songs, and get reeled into the fun by lively performers and guitarists.


Intricate sets with integrated play structures. You’ll feel transported to the real Madrigal casita with its’ magical doors and vines of roses. Multiple slides, spinning chairs, rocking donkeys, and more are seamlessly incorporated throughout.


A guided tour with Disney-level staff. Arrive ahead of your ticketed time so you don’t miss any of the action. You will be led from room to room, performance to performance. But you are also allowed to roam free, explore, and pretend play with the characters.


Endless photo ops. Forewarning: the lighting is tricky, but you will still get so many great photos. And the performers will help you! There is also a family photo room as you exit the experience—these photos can be printed at an additional cost


A once-in-a-lifetime experience, perhaps. While the new CAMP toy store and party venue is now a fixture at Tysons Corner Mall, the immersive show space is rotating. Expect five months of Encanto before it transitions to one of these: Trolls, Bluey, or Little Mermaid.


You can read more FAQs here, and view more of my experience here.

Disney Encanto x CAMP D.C.
Where: CAMP at Tysons Corner Center | Tysons, VA 22102
When: Grand Opening December 8 with dates through April
Admission: Starts at $32; free/age 1 & under | Purchase tickets in advance

[Note:  You may have seen this included in the KFDC Holiday Gift Guide — surprise the kids with a visit here in 2024, since December is mostly sold out]


Filed under 2023, 2024, Winter

Five Things: December 6, 2023



1. The National Museum of Women in the Arts recently reopened after a two-year renovation.  The redesigned spaces are lovely, more open and light-filled, perfect for showcasing the permanent collection and a fantastic exhibition currently on view. The Sky’s the Limit features large-scale installations that are delightful, thought-provoking, beautiful, and some on display for the first time ever. A great time to visit the museum is on one of their Free Community Days on the first Sunday and second Wednesday of the month, when there is no admission, though you do still need timed tickets. They tend to get snatched up, so find a date that works and reserve yours! Otherwise, admission is $16/adult, $13/DC residents, free for ages 21 and under.  Hours are 10am – 5pm, Tuesday – Sunday.  I’d recommend the museum for older kids, tweens and up.


2. Chanukah begins tomorrow evening, and if you’re looking for ways to celebrate throughout the eights days and nights, the KFDC Holiday Guide has a whole section of things to do, from the National Menorah Lighting to smaller menorah lightings to ice skating parties to theatre productions…and more!


3. I just wrote about  my first taste of Love, Makoto, the Japanese food hall that opened last spring. Have you been?


4. Latest and greatest TV binge: Squid Game: The Challenge, thanks to Darcy’s recommendation (see below).  Anyone else watching it?  Can’t wait for the finale tonight!


5. 10 Happy Things for December 🤗


PS:  In case you missed it yesterday:  5 Ideas for a Family Evening Out in DC During the Holiday Season.

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Filed under 2023, DC, Fall

5 Ideas for a Fun Family Evening Out in DC During the Holiday Season


The holidays are always a fabulous time of the year in DC, especially in the evenings when twinkling lights make the cityscape sparkle and there is “illuminated” fun to enjoy.  Even better, you can make a night of it and experience those lit activities and enjoy a family dinner out, too. Here are five ideas for doing just that, all of them centered around a main activity with recommendations for places to eat, plus some suggestions for nearby fun to tack on if you want to make a day (or longer night) of it, too.  Happy Holiday-ing!



CityCenterDC Winter Wonderland
Where: Around 10th & I NW | Downtown DC
When: Nightly through the holiday season
Admission: FREE!
This isn’t officially called Winter Wonderland, but I’m calling it that, because CityCenterDC’s seasonal decor has the feel of one.  Walk under a canopy of large delicate snowflakes, check out festive window displays, maybe stop in some shops, see 25-foot reindeer in the courtyard area, then head to the plaza along 10th & I Streets showcasing a stunning 75-foot tree with smaller colorful tree installation adjacent and many more real trees lit up with lights.  It’s such a gorgeous and joyful scene!

Get a glimpse here!

Dinner: Tatte Bakery & Cafe, right across I street from the plaza, is casual and cozy and has excellent treats.  Capital City Brewing Company is very family-friendly and right around the corner if you want sit-down service.  If you don’t mind walking a bit, there are many more places in the area great for a meal out with kids.

Tack on more fun: The Downtown Holiday Market (FREE!) is just a few blocks away and worth a stroll, though be aware that it can get crowded.  The National Portrait Gallery and American Art Museum (FREE!) are close by and open until 7pm. MLK Library (FREE!) is also nearby and a great place to go with kids — it has interesting exhibits, a cafe, a lovely rooftop, and an amazing slide!  The Museum of Illusions is a unique experience and right there within CityCenterDC ($23.50/13+, $18.95/age 5-12, free/4 & under).


* * * 


Georgetown GLOW
Where: Commercial District | Georgetown, DC
When: Nightly through January 7, 5-10pm
Admission: FREE!

If your crew doesn’t mind doing some walking, a tour of the installations in this annual outdoor light art exhibition is a must-do during the holiday season. It’s so fun to see the whimsical, beautiful works brighten up different areas of the bustling neighborhood. It makes for great photo ops and is guaranteed to elicit smiles.

Get a glimpse here (and of a previous year here)!

Dinner: Reren Lamen n Bar has ramen, dumplings, and more to satisfy the whole family. Martin’s Tavern is a DC institution with a warm, cozy ambience. Pinstripes has a large, kid-pleasing menu, plus bowling (extra cost). There are many more family-friendly places, too.

Tack on more fun: Roam the enchanting garden at Dumbarton Oaks before seeing the lights — admission is FREE this time of year. Skate under the stars at Washington Harbour Ice Rink ($11/adult, $9/child, $7/skate rental). Go bowling at Pinstripes (and get dinner, too).


* * * 



Holidays on the Ellipse
Where: President’s Park | National Ellipse, DC
When: Nightly through January 1
Admission: Free

The holiday display practically in the White House backyard is a quintessential DC holiday activity. See the National Christmas Tree, the National Menorah (starting December 7), plus smaller trees representing all 50 states as festive music plays. All of it lit up at night with the White House and Washington Monument glowing in the distance makes for a brilliant holiday scene.

Dinner:  Old Ebbit Grill is a DC hot spot and just a few blocks away.  Or try its sister restaurant, The Hamilton, at 14th & F — it’s huge, with a menu to match, and always has an upbeat vibe.  There is also a Cheesecake Factory right across from the White House at 15th & H.

Tack on more fun:  Visit the Renwick Gallery, American History Museum, or African American History & Culture Museum before  — all are a short walk to the Ellipse and open until 5:30pm (all FREE!).  Go up in the Washington Monument for breathtaking views of the city. Walk across 15th Street to the Willard Hotel to see the beautiful seasonal decor (FREE!)…or even go for afternoon tea before the Ellipse.


* * * 


Light Yards
Where: The Yards | Capitol Riverfront, DC
When: Nightly through January 7
Admission: FREE!

Every year, The Yards presents a special light exhibition during the holidays, which always features large-scale illuminations that are interactive and fun.  During this 8th year, Yards Park is merry and bright with Swinging Bells, five, 13-foot tall bells that play a jingle as you swing beneath them.  It’s

Get a glimpse here (and herehere, and here).

Dinner: Lots of options at The Yards!  We love Emmy Squared Pizza. Get a good pasta dinner at Osteri Morini. Blue Jacket is a family crowd pleaser. For fast casual, Takorean and sweetgreen are faves.  If you don’t mind an extra chill, stop at Ice Cream Jubilee for a scoop.  There are even more family-friendly options in the Navy Yard.

Tack on more fun: Glide the night away at Canal ParkIce Rink — get tix in advance online to save ($13/adult, $10/child, $6/rental).  Go big and splurge on a visit to Enchant — read about our experience last year ($32+/adult, $24+/age 3-17).


* * * 


Where: Franklin Park | Downtown DC
When: Through December 17
Admission: FREE!

This may be one to save for the weekend when there is more going on, though parts are lit for photos on weekdays, too…   Franklin Park is transformed into a glistening Frosted wonderland aglow with lights. There will be lots of fun holiday festivities to enjoy — appearances by Santa, The Grinch and Lulu, Ice Sculpture Island, Holiday Lane, the Frosted Maker’s Market, a larger than life Snow Globe Main Stage, and more!  See the website for the schedule.

Dinner: Same suggestions as the Ellipse… Cheesecake Factory at 15th & H is closest. Old Ebbit Grill is a DC hot spot and just a few blocks away.  The Hamilton, at 14th & F, is a little further — it’s huge, with a menu to match, and always has an upbeat vibe.

Tack on more fun: Visit the wonderful Planet Word museum before you go — it’s right across 13th Street and open until 6pm weekends/5pm weekdays (FREE! with tickets).  The National Museum of Women in the Arts is also fairly close, but I’d recommend it more for older kids… open until 5pm ($15/adult, $13/DC residents, FREE for 21 and under).


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Filed under 2023, DC, Holidays