The Weekend Round-Up: November 23-25

‘Tis officially the season in DC!

Happy Weekend!

Season’s Greenings
Where: U.S. Botanic Garden | National Mall area, DC
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free

Easily one of DC’s most popular holiday attractions, Season’s Greenings is an annual delight for all ages. The conservatory exhibit features Washington landmarks constructed from plant materials, including a new botanical inspired National Museum of African American History & Culture. But the highlight, hands-down, is the garden railway, which never fails to impress and enchant with intricate, imaginative designs. This year’s Roadside Attractions-themed exhibit is as pretty and whimsical as it is impressive. Get a glimpse of it before you go in this new post!

Native American Heritage Day: Family Fun & Giving Thanks
Where: American Indian Museum | National Mall, DC
When: Friday, 10am – 4pm
Admission: Free

This celebration of Native American Heritage Day features hands-on activities, “make-and-takes,” and music and interactive dance presentations. See the website for the day’s schedule. Most will take place in the Potomac Atrium, and the ImagiNATIONS activities center on the 3rd level is always fulls of interactive fun and learning for kids.

Where: National Building Museum | Judiciary Square, DC
When: Friday, 10am – 5pm
Admission: $10/adult, $7/child, free/members

View the results of CANstruction, a creative design-build competition that benefits the Capital Area Food Bank as teams from DC architecture and design firms use their skills to build sculptures out of cans of food. You can vote for your favorite with the donation of a canned good. Museum hours are 10am – 5pm. PS: It’s “buy one get one free” admission for the day with the canned good donation! Of course, while you’re there, tour the rest of the exhibits, especially PLAY WORK BUILD for kids!

Where: Throughout the DMV
When: All weekend long
Admission:Varies by Locale

I love this initiative started by REI. Skip the shopping (or do it off hours online) and get out to enjoy some family QT outdoors. You’ve got your pick of places around the DC-Metro for adventures in the fresh air. Take a hike, hit a playground, explore a garden, visit animals, or see what else there is to do al fresco in this post with tons of inspiration for fun in the sun. Be sure to bundle up — it’s going to be cooold.

Where: Adventure Park at Sandy Spring | Sandy Spring, MD
When: Friday, Saturday, & Sunday
Admission: $29-56

After all of that turkey, what’s better than a climb in the trees? Bring out-of-town relatives or just the fam to the Adventure Park for a day of navigating the ropes courses. There are 13 trails, 29 zip lines, 6 difficulty levels, and almost 200 challenge bridges — something for everyone! Thankszipping is officially Friday, but they’re open Saturday and Sunday, too. Read about one of our past experiences at the Adventure Park.

Light Up Old Town
Where: Market Square | Old Town Alexandria, VA
When: Friday, 6-8pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate Alexandria’s official start to the holiday season in Old Town’s Market Square this evening. Along with the tree lighting, entertainment will include a visit from Santa, musical performances, plus caroling and a community sing-a-long.

Light Up Downtown DC
Where: CityCenterDC | Downtown DC
When: Saturday, 6pm
Admission: Free

CityCenterDC will kick off the holiday season with an exciting evening of celebrations! You’ll be treated to a joyful music performance by The Washington Chorus and an official lighting ceremony and countdown emceed by NBC4’s Eun Yang. Families will be entertained with balloon artists, face painters, holiday activities, and more. Enjoy the dazzling 75 foot holiday tree, two resident 25-foot reindeer, and the return of our Palmer Alley overhead holiday display!

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

Twinkling lights forming enchanting displays are easily a holiday season favorite. The popular and free ZooLights begins this weekend (FYI: the DC Circulator is offering special weekend shuttle service to ZooLights from the Woodley Park Metro for just $1/ride! Several parks and gardens in the area have also transformed into a sparkling wonderlands. Some you can walk through for an up-close experience, 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. Find out where to see the lights in the holiday guide.

Mount Vernon by Candlelight
Where: Mount Vernon Estate, VA
When: Friday & Saturday
Admission: $25/age 12+, $17/ages 6-11, free/5 & under

Enjoy a festive evening at George Washington’s old digs. Take a guided, lantern-lit tour of the historic estate. Inside the Mansion, Martha Washington and other Mount Vernon residents will welcome you into their home and share stories of past Christmases. After the tour, there will be 18th-century dancing, just as the Washingtons might have done during the holidays. Enjoy cookies while sipping warm cider, listening to fireside caroling, and paying a visit to Aladdin the Christmas camel.

Small Business Saturday
Where: Around the DMV
When: Saturday!
Admission: Free, but plan to buy & support local

If you’re planning to do some holiday shopping this weekend, make a point of going to local, independent stores, both to score great, unique gifts and to support people and places that help make our communities thrive.

Show Time
Where: Venues around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by show

* Get the holiday fun started with Fancy Nancy’s Splendiferous Christmas at Adventure Theatre
*Little ones can find out How to Catch a Star at the Kennedy Center
* See a fairytale come to life with Cinderella at Imagination Stage
* The Nutcracker opens at The Puppet Co., and Nutcracker Fantasy is the featured Tiny Tots show all weekend
* Spend Saturday morning with The Great Zucchini at Jammin Java
* Enjoy a performance of Billy Elliot: The Musical at Signature Theatre
* Anything Goes is on the Arena Stage
* Anastasia is enchanting audiences at the Kennedy Center

Sensory Friendly Screening
Where: Regal Rockville Center Stadium | Rockville, MD
When: Saturday, 10:30am
Admission: $6.50

Catch a Sensory-Friendly Screening of Ralph Breaks the Internet on Saturday morning. The newest My Way Matinee from Regal gives everyone the opportunity to experience a movie once a month with the sound turned down and the lights turned up. Watch the trailer for the movie here.

Portrait Stories & Discoveries
Where: National Portrait Gallery | Penn Quarter, DC
When: Saturday & Sunday, 1-4pm
Admission: Free

Drop in at the Portrait Gallery to listen to a story and create art inspired by someone in the collection — this weekend features Chief Joseph. When you’re done there, pick up a Portrait Discovery Kit to explore the museum (and the American Art Museum housed in the same building). For more about the program and gallery, see this post about a past experience and this one with scenes from a more recent visit.

Weekend Walk-In: Crazy Crown
Where: American Visionary At Museum | Baltimore, MD
When: Saturday, 1-4pm
Admission: $5

Join the museum for this month’s Weekend Walk-in, a hands-on, drop-in, art-making workshop in the AVAM classroom! During this session, create a custom royal headpiece just for YOU using shiny tape, faux flowers & more — because everyone needs a crown. Supplies & boundless inspiration provided. Read more about the wonderful American Visionary Art Museum here.

Watch the Wizards
Where: Capitol One Arena | Penn Quarter, DC
When: Saturday, 8pm
Admission: Ticket prices vary

The Wizards are playing on home court on Saturday evening. See them work their magic on the New Orleans Pelicans. Plan on dinner in Penn Quarter before — there are plenty of family-friendly places to go in the neighborhood. Some recs: Jaleo, Camine’s, Oyamel, Shake Shack, and Pi Pizzeria.

Holidays on the Stage
Where: Local theatres
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by venue

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 at Fancy Nancy’s Splendiferous Christmas at Adventure Theatre or Elf the Musical at Olney 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 2018 Guide to the Holiday Season.

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

This weekend is the start of even more big holiday events around DC and the continuation of others. If you hope to hit ‘em all during the season, you should get going now. For the complete rundown on all the area’s holiday happenings, see the 2018 KFDC Guide to the Holiday Season in DC.

Downtown Holiday Market
Where: 8th & F Streets NW | Penn Quarter, DC
When: Through December 23, 12-8pm
Admission: Free

This, to me, is the holiday market in DC, and it opens for the season on Friday. 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.

Get Your Skate On
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by rink

It’s ice skating season, and just about all outdoor rinks (and indoor, too) around the area are welcoming folks to glide the day — and night — away! Enjoy art as you skate at the Sculpture Garden; circle the rink with costumed characters at Washington Harbor on Saturday morning or Rock n Skate at night; glide over the Anacostia at The Wharf; or do some holiday shopping then skate at Pentagon Row, Veteran’s Plaza, Rockville Town Square, or Reston Town Center. This post has details on alfresco (and indoor) ice skating options in the area.

Insider Info
Where: Around the DMV
When: All weekend long
Admission: Varies by locale

If you’d prefer to spend the day indoors because of weather, or you just want more options for activities around town, this list has over 100 suggestions for things to do!

* This New York Times article has good suggestions for helping victims of the California wildfires.
* Elena Ferrante’s novel, My Brilliant Friend, has been made into a series on HBO, and the first episode did not disappoint. (The rest is getting rave reviews, too!)
* Milk Bar makes the best birthday cake.
* Stitch Fix now serves kids! And would make a great gift idea for little fashionistas. (Disclosure: That’s my referral link.)
* Perhaps, like me, this will help with your reading list for 2019.

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Filed under 2018, All ages, DC, Fall, Free, Maryland, Seasonal, Special Event, Virginia, Weekend

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