Quick clicks to loads of ideas for local activities:
* Best Outdoors in the DC Area
* Off-the-Beaten-Path Museums
* Ice Skating
* The Great Indoors
* Local Hikes with Kids
* Baltimore with Kids
* Peaceful Places
* Stunning Spaces
* Bike Rides
Where: Dulles Expo Center | Chantilly, VA
When: Friday – Sunday
Admission: $19-36 (look for discount)
Walk among prehistoric beasts through the Cretaceous, Jurassic, and Triassic Periods. This huge has true-to-life size dinosaurs, from the very small to the gigantic, each replicated in every detail in collaboration with leading paleontologists. There are also attractions and activities for dino fans — dig up fossils, do some crafts, explore science stations, ride on a dino’s back, and enjoy more dino-themed fun.
Winter Blast: A Weekend of Indigenous Games
Where: American Indian Museum | National Mall, DC
When: Saturday and Sunday, 10am – 4:3pm
The National Museum of the American Indian is hosting a weekend of fun and games — games can be fun as well as teach important life skills. Representatives from the International Traditional Games Society along with members of the Native Hawaiian school Hālau O‘Aulani will share Indigenous games from the Great Plains, Bolivia, and Hawai’i. This will all take place in the beautiful first floor atrium, but plan to explore the rest of the museum as well, especially the imgiNATIONS activity center fo kids and families.
Where: Washington Convention Center | Mt. Vernon Square, DC
When: Through Sunday
Admission: $12/adults, $5/ages 6-12, free/5 & under
The 2023 Washington Auto Show is in its second and final weekend. If there’s any “grown-up” event that is equally fun for all ages, this is it. More than 600 cars and trucks are on display for guests to check out, plus there are more activities like Ride ‘n Drives with Jeep, an Art of Motion exhibit, exotic car display, and Subaru Love Pets area with dogs from local animal shelters will give guests even more to do and see. Get a glimpse and an idea of what to expect in KFDC posts about it here and here. Look for a ticket discount here!
Lunar New Year Family Celebration
Where: National Portrait Gallery | Penn Quarter, DC
When: Saturday, 11:30am – 3pm
Ring in the Lunar New Year at SAAM! Join the annual celebration featuring Chinese and Korean traditions, including performances, crafts, food, and more. Learn about the importance of the Lunar New Year across cultures and explore SAAM’s collections with an art scavenger hunt. A Family Zone with crafts and activities to celebrate the Year of the Rabbit will be fun for kids. And a special menu in honor of Lunar New Year will be offered by the Courtyard Café. Be sure to reserve a spot!
Where: Capitol One Arena | Downtown DC
When: Saturday & Sunday
The world’s largest and most famous monster truck tour featuring the biggest names in monster trucks will thunder its way into DC. Gravedigger, Magolodon, Dragon, Just Get-Er-Done, Terminal Velocity, and Wild Side are among the vehicular beasts that will be tearing up the indoor terrain this year.
Peter and the Wolf
Where: The Puppet Co. | Glen Echo Park, MD
When: Fri, 10:30am | Sat-Sun, 11:30am & 1pm
A Puppet Co. Legacy favorite with a new spin! This English and Russian bilingual production will incorporate the classic music in this two-person small marionette romp of the classic fairytale. Run time approximately 40 minutes. Recommended for ages 4+.
Where: Imagination Stage | Bethesda, MD
When: Through February 12
Take little ones to this show for ages 1-5… Enter a fantastical island world where fish soar through the air, lemons light up the sky, and sheep go parading by. With gentle music, puppets, and props, actors lead children and caregivers in an interactive exploration of a magical place of play. (PS: If shows sell out this weekend — they tend to — grab tickets for an upcoming performance!)
Ride the Cyclone
Where: Arena Stage | Southwest DC
When: Through February 19
And a show for teens and older… Part comedy, part tragedy and wholly unexpected, this wildly imaginative story delivers surprises at every turn. The lives of six teenagers from a Canadian chamber choir are cut short in a freak accident aboard a roller coaster. A mechanical fortuneteller invites each to tell their story of a life interrupted, offering the chance to come to terms with their fates. At once quirky and smart, edgy and beautiful, Ride the Cyclone ultimately reveals the resilience of the human spirit in spite of senseless tragedy.
Where: River Park Nursery School | Capitol Hill, DC
When: Saturday, 10am – 12pm
Are you searching for a preschool for your child for next year? Do you want your child and your family to be part of a small warm welcoming community? River Park Nursery School is the quintessential nursery school experience. It is a part-time program on the Hill for 3 to 5-year-old children with a small teacher to student ratio. Join an open house with your child this weekend to talk with current and alumni families, meet our amazing Lead Teacher and Director, Ms. Erin, and see the learning space. RPNS is located at 212 East Capitol Street NE.
Lunar New Year Celebration
Where: Tysons Corner Center | Tysons, VA
When: Saturday, 1-3pm
The Asian American Chamber of Commerce and Tysons Corner Center are hosting a celebration to ring in the Year of the Rabbit. Festivties will include, the famous lion and dragon dances, Vietnamese song, Chinese music and dance, a magic show, Korean and Indonesia dance performances, aMongolia Fashion Show. This will take place in the Fashion Court on the Lower Level Nordstrom Wing.
Lunar New Year Festival
Where: DAR Museum
When: Saturday, 12-5pm
Here’s another way to ring in the Year of the Rabbit. Join the DAR Museum and the Asian Fusion Gallery for a celebration of Lunar New Year. The free event features games, food, and performances. While the website says registration is closed, you can join the waitlist in case more spots open up.
Winter Lantern Festival
Where: Lerner Town Square | Tysons, VA
When: Friday – Sunday evenings, 5-10pm
Admission: $31.99/age 13+, $19.99/age 3-12 (look for discount)
This event that began during the holiday season continues to glow in Tysons to celebrate the Chinese New Year. The illuminated display transforms Lerner Town Square into a dazzling world of light with over 1000 Chinese lanterns, all handmade by artisans with decades of experience. And you can do more than just look at some of them — interactive elements include light swings, see-saws, and tunnels for added fun.
Weekend Family Matinees
Where: Avalon Theatre | Chevy Chase, DC
When: Saturday & Sunday, 10am
The Avalon Theatre in Chevy Chase, the oldest operating movie house in the area and a non-profit, is re-launching their Weekend Family Matinees this weekend. My Neighbor Tortoro, a classic tale of magic and adventure, will be screened both Saturday and Sunday.
Street Car Saturday
Where: National Capitol Trolley Museum | Colesville, MD
When: Saturday, 12-5pm
Admission: $10/adult, $8/child, $8/senior
The National Capital Trolley Museum is open on Saturdays offering hourly, docent-guided tours, followed by a streetcar ride. See model street cars on display as well as movies from the 1920’s, then board an actual street car for a ride into the woods (and back, obvi). This weekend is a somewhat significant time to go as the last full day that DC passenger street cars were in service was January 27, 1961. Online reservations are strongly recommended; walk-ins will be accommodated if space is available, but not guaranteed.
Where: Smithsonian Castle | National Mall, DC
When: Throughout the weekend
The Smithsonian Institution Building (aka Smithsonian Castle) will close starting Wednesday, February 1, to undergo a five-year renovation. So, if you haven’t yet been or want to see it again before it’s inaccessible, you only few days. What’s in the Castle? It’s home to the Smithsonian Visitor Center, a small cafe, and a sampling of some of the collections you can find in the many museums. It’s not huge, so plan to visit some of the other museums on the Mall, too!
McLean Chocolate Festival
Where: McLean Community Center | McLean, VA
When: Sunday, 11am – 5pm
Admission: $2, free/under 3
If you love chocolate, check out this sweet event: McLean Rotary is hosting its 11th Annual Chocolate Festival on Sunday. Area chocolatiers will present their specialties, plus there will be a game room for kids and live entertainment throughout the day. Proceeds help fund local schools and charitable organizations.
King Bullfrog Concert
Where: Hook Hall | Petworth, DC
When: Sunday, 10am – 12pm
Bring the kiddos to Hook Hall for some dancing and singing with local kids fave King Bullfrog. Parents can purchase coffee and frozen drinks, plus a craft will be available for the kids to enjoy! Proceeds help benefit local organization DC Action. And note that this will take place every Sunday with different performers each week.
National Skating Month Open House
Where: Canal Park | Capitol Riverfront, DC
When: Sunday, 12-5pm
Join Friends of Fort Dupont Ice Arena, District Impact Skating Club, DC-ICE, and Special Olympics of Washington, DC, for a celebration of all things ice skating! Watch local skaters demonstrate figure skating, synchronized skating, speed skating, and hockey skills, then lace up your skates for a free introductory lesson so you can Join in the fun! Free lessons offered at 12:30pm, 1:15pm, and 2:45pm. Register in advance to secure your spot!
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale
I’m a big proponent of getting outdoors, no matter what the weather. And this weekend should actually be decent at least one day, so get out and take advantage. Roam free at Dumbarton Oaks (no admission fee this time of year), the National Arboretum, or Brookside Gardens. Go for a hike at Great Falls, Prince William Forest Park, or even farther out at Harper’s Ferry. Hit the playground at Watkins, Cabin John, or Clemyjontri Parks. Find even more ideas in this post about great outdoor pursuits with kids — there are tons of great al fresco adventures around the area. And this round-up also has lots of suggestions for winterized fun outside.
College Court Dates
Where: Arenas around the DC Area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by game
With so many universities in the area, there’s always some good college basketball going on during the season — and it’s always a fun time for families. Here are some games to catch this weekend:
* Georgetown women vs Creighton on Saturday at 1pm
* GWU women vs Dayton on Saturday at 1:30pm
* Maryland men vs Nebraska on Saturday at 4:30pm (Go, Terps!)
* American women vs Navy on Saturday at 2pm
* George Mason women vs Davidson on Saturday at 3pm
* George Mason men vs St. Joseph’s on Sunday at 12pm
***MORE GOOD STUFF***
* Washingtonian’s 100 very best restaurants in DC. Do you agree?
* Check out these video reviews of local things to do around the area from The Wandering Family!
* Acorns is a neat, easy way to invest and save money, offering bonuses when you buy certain brands and the option to invest “spare change” from credit card purchases — we’ve been signed up for a couple of years now! (Sharing my referral link that offers a little starter gift.)
* How fun is this little gadget? Kind of along the same lines of this guy that we have.
* Headed to Florida for February Break, and eyeing up this top and these bottoms for the beach.
* Love the sentiment expressed in this clip that a childhood besties sent me.
* A fun one for Gen X: Great British Bake-Off or The Cure?