The Weekend Round-Up: December 1-3

Spheres glowing and silhouettes going at Light Yards

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If you’re up for holiday fun, you can find it in abundance this weekend. Winter wonderlands (three of them!), festive boat parades (two of them!), Santa appearances (lots–he’s quite busy!), holiday shows (sooo many), and holiday markets (shop ’til you drop) are just some of the ways to shift into celebratory mode. And if you’re still not quite ready to embrace the spirit of the season, there are plenty of great activities to sate bah-humbuggers, too. 😉 Happy Weekend!

Light Up the Wharf
Where: The District Wharf | Southwest DC
When: Friday, 5-8pm
Admission: Free

The Wharf is kicking off the holiday season along the newly redeveloped waterfront with the official lighting of the Christmas tree. Treat the fam to hot chocolate, go ice skating on the rink’s opening day, enjoy s’mores at the fire pit, do some holiday crafts, and listen to live music for a bright and merry experience to start the weekend.

Tyke Time Family Happy Hour
Where: Mellow Mushroom | Adams Morgan, DC
When: Friday, 5-7pm
Admission: Free (but plan to spend on food & drinks)

Bring the whole crew to Mellow Mushroom for their monthly Tyke Time. The family focused Happy Hour(s) takes place on the second floor and features all night Happy Hour for the adults + $10 large cheese pizzas for kids. Cheers to that!

Watch the Wizards
Where:Capital One Arena | Penn Quarter
When: Friday, 7pm
Admission: Ticket prices vary

The Wizards will be playing the Pistons at home this weekend with a game Friday night. Catch them on the Capital One Arena court against the Pistons. And a heads-up for future games: Look for a ticket deals through Certifikid — along with the discount seats, you’ll also get a Wizards T-shirt.

Smithsonian Holiday Festival
Where: National Museum of American History | National Mall, DC
When: Saturday & Sunday, 10am – 5:30pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate the holiday season with the Smithsonian Museums! This Holiday Festival has a lot going on, something for everyone in your crew — concerts by the U.S. Air Force Band Singing Sargeants, screenings of Polar Express, a jewelry trunk show, book signings, festive treats, classic kids’ TV episodes, and more. See the schedule for more details.

Maker Morning: Trace
Where: Hirshhorn Museum | National Mall, DC
When: Saturday, 10am – 12pm
Admission: Free

In celebration of Ai Weiwei: Trace at Hirshhorn, builders and makers of all ages are welcome to join the Hirshhorn on Saturday mornings in December for hands-on activities related to the exhibit. Check out a kit and create portraits in the Ai Weiwei: Trace at Hirshhorn galleries. Bring your youngest artists for a special Saturday edition of STORYTIME (then stay and play). Complete a 2D portrait of selected subjects featured in Trace using LEGOS® as a medium. Join in a collaborative 3D portrait challenge. And so you don’t go home empty-handed, jump in a photobooth, and create your own portrait to take home!

Sweets with Santa
Where: St. Bartholomew School | Bethesda, MD
When: Saturday, 10am – 12pm
Admission: $10/person or $40/family

The St. Bartholomew Home & School Association invite families to their annual Sweets with Santa celebration. Cozy up to the hot chocolate bar and indulge in an assortment of festive treats! Dress in your best Christmas PJs and enjoy a morning of fellowship and fun for all ages in the Parish Hall, including pictures with Santa & photo booth fun, make-your-own bird feeders & gingerbread houses, STEM challenges, crafting center, story time, and more.

Labyrinth Anniversary
Where: Labyrinth Games & Puzzles | Capitol Hill, DC
When: Saturday, 11am
Admission: Free

Time really does fly when you’re having fun! Join Labyrinth s they celebrate their 7th anniversary with a day of foo, entertainment, and games, of course! They’ll also have Make your own Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty for the kids (and maybe some adults, too). Plan to do some holiday shopping while you’re there — they have an excellent selection of game sand puzzle, plus insightful staff who always have great recommendations for gifts!

Santa Fly-In
Where: College Park Aviation Museum | College Park, MD
When: Saturday, 12-4pm
Admission: $5

Santa is making an early appearance this holiday season. It will be an experience to remember as you watch Santa fly into the historic College Park Airport (it’s the world’s oldest continuously operating airport)! Make some holiday arts and crafts, then have your picture taken with Santa Claus after his big flight.

Deck the Halls: A Family at Christmas
Where: Tudor House | Georgetown, DC
When: Saturday, 1-4pm
Admission: $10/child, $5/adult

Bring the family and celebrate the festive season at Tudor Place! Explore the historic mansion as a History Detective, finding decorations and clues to Christmas celebrations past. Nibble on cookies, write a letter to Santa, sing with carolers, make yuletide crafts, and enjoy refreshments throughout an afternoon of warm merriment.

Holly TrolleyFest
Where: National Capitol Trolley Museum | Colesville, MD
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: $7/adults, $5/ages 2-17 (includes unlimited rides)

The Trolley Museum’s annual holiday fest begins this weekend. Guests can ride with Santa on the street cars and enjoy the model garden railway and holiday village inside the museum. Don’t miss the rest of the exhibits that offer a glimpse into the history of street cars.

Scottish Christmas Walk Parade
Where: Old Town | Alexandria, VA
When: Saturday, 11am
Admission: Free

For the 47th consecutive year, the Scottish Christmas Walk Parade will showcase marching units filled with the magnificent tartans of Scottish Clans, the stirring sound of Scottish bagpipes and drums, Scottish dancers, reenactment groups, Scottie dogs, dignitaries, classic cars, Santa Claus, and more. The parade begins at St. Asaph and Wilkes Streets and concludes at Market Square with a massed band concert – rain or shine. There will also be other festive events throughout the weekend — see the website for details.

Show Time
Where: Theatres around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by venue

*It’s opening weekend for Hansel & Gretel at Synetic Theatre
* Me… Jane: The Dreams & Adventures of Young Jane Goodall is also at the Kennedy Center
* Charlotte’s Web is on the Imagination Stage
* Little ones will enjoy Cajes! Cajes! Cajes! at the Bestheda theatre
* Kids’ fave Annie is at Olney Theatre
* Make it a grown-up night for Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Twelfth Night
* Rainbow Rock is playing a Saturday morning Holiday Show at Jammin Java

Holidays on the Stage
Where: Theatres around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by production

If you’re looking for holiday-inspired entertainment to get into the spirit, it’s starting! Several productions of The Nutcracker will enchant audiences of all ages this weekend. Have some holiday fun with Frosty the Snowman at Adventure Theatre. 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 shows and see what else is coming up soon in the 2017 Holiday Guide.

Nina Simone: Four Women
Where: Arena Stage | Southwest DC
When: Through December 24
Admission: Ticket prices vary

This exceptional show gets a stand out listing here. Powerful and incredibly moving, this portrait of songstress Nina Simone takes place during the aftermath of the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham. With Simone’s songs of protest woven into the stories of four women fighting for social change, the show strikes a heavy, emotional chord in these times. I’d recommend it for teens (or mature tweens) and up.

Burke’s Winter Wonderland
Where: Burke Lake Park | Burke, VA
When: Saturday & Sunday, 10am – 4pm
Admission: $15/advance, $20/at event

Celebrate the season with a train ride on the Holiday Express at Burke Lake’s Winter Wonderland. Enjoy a tour on the U.S.S. Reindeer, then take a spin on the Carolers Carousel, experience the Snowman’s Wagon Ride, play Gingerbread Man’s Golf, or warm yourself by the fire and toast s’mores. Hot chocolate, spiced cider and candy canes will also be available. And don’t miss a visit with Santa!

Bethesda’s Winter Wonderland
Where: Downtown Bethesda, MD
When: Saturday, 1-4pm
Admission: Free, but concerts and events cost extra

Bethesda’s Winter Wonderland is back, turning Bethesda Row into an outdoor street bazaar. The celebration features holiday performances, a live ice sculpting presentation, and a visit from Santa Claus in Veterans Park.

Brambleton’s Winter Wonderland
Where: Brambleton Town Center | Brambleton, VA
When: Saturday, 1-5pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate the beginning of the Holiday season by walking in Brambleton Town Center’s Winter Wonderland. Take a family photo in a giant snow globe, adopt a polar bear, add some sweetness with the Hot Chocolate Bar (free tumblers for adults while supplies last), ride in a Horse-Drawn Carriage and register to win a Yeti Cooler Prize Pack, and enjoy live entertainment by local school groups!

Harry Potter Wizard School Scavenger Hunt
Where: National Gallery of Art | National Mall, DC
When: Saturday, 2-4pm
Admission: $17.50/ages 10-17, $19.50/adult

Join Watson Adventures on a unique Harry Potter-themed scavenger hunt that kids and adults will love! Follow in the footsteps of young wizards on a field trip to the National Gallery in search of art that echoes characters, places and enchanted objects in the famed Harry Potter books and movies. The hunt is not an addition to or variation on Harry’s adventures, but instead references to the books will provide a surprising bridge to many strange and wonderful works of art. This hunt is designed for kids and adults to do together (but all-adult teams are allowed to compete separately) Kids must be accompanied by an adult. Read about this super fun adventure in this KFDC post.

Winter Days and Nights on the Farm
Where: Ticonderoga Farm | Chantilly, VA
When: Friday, Saturday, & Sunday
Admission: $11.95/age 2+

The annual festival includes hayrides to the white pine fields with access to all of the farm attractions — swings, forts, slides, tunnels, and more. Fire pits are inviting to keep you warm and make some s’mores or roast hot dogs. Cut down your Christmas tree while you’re there or buy one from the lot. (Note: No admission fee to purchase trees or greens!) Read more about the winter fun at Ticonderoga in this post about one of our experiences there.

Holiday Sing-A-Long
Where: Wolf Trap | Vienna, VA
When: Saturday, 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.”

More Holiday Happenings
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

There are so many more great activities running through the season to celebrate the holidays in DC. Watch model trains buzz around the Roadside Attractions-themed display at the US Botanic Garden Season’s Greetings exhibit. See the National Christmas Tree on the Ellipse. Enjoy Christmas on the Potomac at National Harbor. Join the Frost Fest at Pentagon Row. Check out the Ice Lounge at CityCenterDC. If you hope to hit ‘em all, you better get on it! A few are highlighted below, but get the complete rundown on all the area’s holiday happenings, see the 2017 KFDC Holiday Guide.

Where: Movie theaters around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by theater

See this movie! Based on the award-winning book, Wonder has allll the feels. Seriously, I sobbed like a baby for two hours straight — happy, sad, angry, inspired, wonder-full tears. It’s a beautiful story about kindness and friendship with so many great lessons for kids (and adults, too). This one yanks hard on the heartstrings in a really gratifying way. I’d recommend for about ages 8 and up.

Elf on the…Big Screen
Where: Uptown Theater | Cleveland Park, DC
When: Saturday & Sunday, 10:30am
Admission: $5.59

Enjoy some holiday cheer in the comfort of a movie theater. (And what’s more cheerful than Will Ferrel as a giant elf?!) The Uptown is screening the funny, heartwarming favorite, Elf, on Saturday and Sunday mornings. If you haven’t seen it and are wondering if your kid should, check out the Common Sense Media review. But I think it’s a great family flick for most ages.

Revolting Rhymes
Where: National Gallery of Art | National Mall, DC
When: Saturday, 10:30am & Sunday, 11:30am
Admission: Free

To celebrate the 100th birthday of beloved children’s author Roald Dahl, directors Jakob Schuh and Jan Lachauer offer a retelling of his 1982 poem collection Revolting Rhymes in this animated movie. While each of the rhymes is based on a classic fairy tale, the stories take unexpected twists and turns that shed new light on the adventures of Red Riding Hood, Snow White, Jack Spriggins, and others. Revolting Rhymes is funny, gory, and honors Dahl’s wondrous imagination as a master storyteller. Recommended for ages 8+.

The District’s Holiday Boat Parade
Where: The Wharf | Southwest DC
When: Saturday, 4-10pm
Admission: Free

Join The Wharf to celebrate the season and see the beautifully decorated boats pass by. Get into the spirit with the guaranteed first snow of the season and decorate your own boat. Sip hot cocoa and make s’mores at the fire pit. Visit the lighted Christmas Tree and enjoy other fun activities, including live music, skating on the new ice rink, and sampling winter drinks at the Waterfront Wine & Beer Garden.

Alexandria Boat Parade of Lights

Where: Alexandria City Marina | Alexandria, VA
When: Saturday, 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 2-6pm to enjoy performances by the Alexandria Choral Society plus gift shopping in open artist studios.

Annapolis Chocolate Binge Festival
Where: Annapolis, MD
When: Sunday, 12-5pm
Admission: $5 suggested donation

A sweet event for Sunday: The third annual Annapolis Chocolate Binge Festival to benefit the Annapolis Arts District and We Care and Friends.  Take a chocolate tour along West Street with two dozen vendors selling chocolate specialties like chocolate caramels, cakes, chocolate bars, truffles, fudge, cookies, candies, hot chocolate, fondue, even martinis. Other family-friendly fun includes a gingerbread house moon bounce, a giant snowball run where you can race your friends, balloon animals, and more. Roast marshmallows and make s’mores with the Annapolis Fire Department at a fire pit in the middle of West Street and sip hot coco with the police department. Santa will also be collecting new toys, coats, and hats for the We Care and Friends Holiday Party for local kids in need.

EAST Workshop: Peace Through the Arts
Where: Hill Center | Capitol Hill, DC
When: Sunday, 3-5pm
Admission: $8/child

Fly By Light Performance Troupe youth will lead a musical workshop for ages 7-12 in this session of the arts series. Participants will learn the parts of creating a hip hop song using percussion, linguistics, rhythmic writing/poetry, theatrical facial expressions and fun body movement. By the end of the workshop, participants will have learned the basic process of creating a group song that they will perform together! Njembe Drums and instruments will be provided. The price of admission will go directly to support the work of these young performers and the OCU program.

Holiday Shop
Where: Markets around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Mostly free

Get through your gift list and have a good time! There are several special holiday markets around the area this weekend, where you can find unique presents and then some. Head to Penn Quarter or Dupont Circle or Alexandria for great seasonal markets or to Capitol Hill for a weekend institution. More info about them all is available in the 2017 KFDC Holiday Guide.

Chill Out(side)
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

Take advantage of the mild (for this time of year) temps and sunshine and get outdoors for some fun! Explore a historic site like Fort McHenry, Harpers Ferry, or Fort Washington. Hike the trails at Riverbend, Cunningham Falls, Rock Creek, or other nature packed spots. Explore the National Arboretum or Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens. Hang out at Hains Point. Hit the playground at Watkins, Cabin John, or Clemyjontri Parks. Find even more ideas in this post about great outdoor pursuits with kids.

Night Lights
Where: Around the DMV
When: Evenings
Admission: Varies by locale

Twinkling lights forming enchanting displays are easily a holiday season favorite. Visit one of several parks or gardens (or the Zoo!) in the area that has transformed into a sparkling wonderland. Some you can walk through for an up-close experience, like Brookside’s Garden of Lights that we just visited. Others you tour by car. If you opt for the latter, dress the kids in PJ’s, turn up the holiday tunes, and bring along a thermos of hot chocolate — it doesn’t get much cozier than that.

Kids & Karoake
Where: Ten Tigers Parlour | Petworth, DC
When: Sunday, 4-7pm
Admission: $10

DC Kids Can! is hosting an awesome afternoon of family fun to benefit Casa Ruby: DC’s only Bilingual Multicultural LGBT Organization providing life saving services and programs to trans, gender queer, and gender non-conforming young people (the most vulnerable in the LGBT community). Join them for family karaoke, games, raffles and contests for kids of all ages, great food, “mocktails” for the under 21 set and cocktails for their adults — all to support Casa Ruby.

Duke Ellington’s Neighborhood
Where: GALA Hispanic Theatre | 3333 14th Street NW, DC
When: December 9, 12:30pm & 2:30pm/December 10am & 1:30pm
Tickets: $25/adult, $15/student, $23/senior
Box office: 202 204-7763

Groove along with the Duke’s jazz combo! Take your kids on an interactive journey through Duke Ellington’s DC and discover how a local hero championed African-American musicians, influenced the Harlem Renaissance, shaped the cultural history of D.C. and became a star. Find secure parking at Giant garage, behind GALA or take Metro to Columbia Heights (Green Line). Mention KidFriendly DC for a SPECIAL FAMILY DEAL – 4 tickets for $50! (Advance sales only while supplies last.)

* The Yards presents the third annual Light Yards nightly 6-10pm, November 30 through December 31. Four very cool, 2-story, glowing, interactive spheres are brightening up the grounds (and, I predict, many an Instagram page).
* ARTECHOUSE will debut a new installation The Imaginary World of The Nutcracker on December 7. Their exhibits so far have been phenomenal, and this one should follow suit. It will run through January 7, 2018, and tickets to their exhibits always sell out, so I recommend reserving yours soon!
* The Block, a relatively new Asian street food hall in Annandale, VA, lives up to the hype.
* Want to take the stress out of holiday shopping for your kiddos? Check out Red Jellies! Founded by DC mom, Kimberly Stephens, it’s a fully independent review service that helps you discover the very best books and toys on the market. They scour major toy conventions and test loads of products so you don’t have to. This holiday, focus on the joy!

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Filed under 2017, All ages, Annual, Christmas, DC, Eats, Educational, Exhibit, Fall, Farm, Free, Holidays, Indoor Play, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Movies, Museums, Music, Nature, Outdoor, Parade, Park, Seasonal, Special Event, Sports, Theatre, Virginia, Weekend

One Response to The Weekend Round-Up: December 1-3

  1. incredible list of ideas for this weekend! Thank you for taking the time to put this together !!!!❤️💯

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