The Weekend Round-Up:
December 14-16

Skating under the stars (and over the Potomac) at The Wharf

Happy Weekend!

Wreaths Across America
Where: Arlington National Cemetery | Arlington, VA
When: Saturday, opens 7am, wreath placing 9:15am
Admission: Free

This is a chance for the whole family to volunteer. Help place Veterans’ Remembrance Wreaths on the graves of American heroes buried at Arlington National Cemetery. There is no sign-up or age requirement — families are encouraged to volunteer together. Be sure to visit the website for details, including schedule and meeting location. Read about more family-friendly volunteer opportunities around the DC area.

15th Anniversary Celebration
Where: Udvar-Hazy Center | Chantilly, DC
When: Saturday
Admission: Free (parking is $15)

The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center opened to public on December 15, 2003, and since then have welcomed nearly 20 million people through their doors. Join them to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the Udvar-Hazy Center with a day packed full of everything you know and love about the museum. From talks with curators about your favorite artifacts to concerts, the event will highlight why the northern Virginia community has embraced the Udvar-Hazy Center as a must-visit destination.

Photos with Santa
Where: The Community Center | Capitol Riverfront, DC
When: Friday, 6-9pm
Admission: Free

Join Waterfront Church DC for their annual Pictures with Santa event. Each child will take home 2 free 5×7 photos of themselves with Santa Chuck. Mrs. Claus will also be present reading Christmas stories.

NMAAHC Family Day
Where: African American Museum | National Mall, DC
When: Saturday, 1-4pm
Admission: Free

Join the National Museum of African American History and Culture for this Family Day inspired by James Baldwin’s only children’s book, Little Man, Little Man: A Story of Childhood. Drop-in activities available throughout the afternoon for children ages 0-8 will include collaborative art-making, story times, Little Leaders Library, and hands-on fun. Following the family day activities there will be a panel discussing the book and a book signing.

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 All Aboard-themed exhibit features train stations across the US. Get a glimpse of it before you go in this KFDC post!

Ice It
Where: Ice rinks around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by venue

Enjoy a quintessential winter activity — ice skating! Head outside if weather permits: Glide above the Potomac at The Wharf; enjoy art as you skate at the Sculpture Garden; skim over the meandering paths at Canal Park; circle the rink at Washington Harbour; or do some shopping along with your skating at Pentagon Row, Tyson’s Corner, Veteran’s Plaza, Rockville Town Square, or Reston Town Center. If it’s raining, take it indoors at Fort Dupont Ice Arena in DC, Cabin John or Herbert Wells Ice Rinks in Maryland, or MedStar Ice Arena in Ballston. This post has details on all these ice skating options in the area.

Rocknocerous Holiday Singalong
Where: Jammin Java | Vienna, VA
When: Saturday, 2pm
Admission: $10

Local kids fave Rocknocerous will be playing their annual holiday show on Saturday, and kids (and parents) can jam and sing along with them as they rock the holiday tunes. The early show already sold out, so get your tickets soon! Doors open at 1:30pm, and seating is on a first come, first served basis.

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

* The Lion, the Unicorn, and Me is a family opera at the Kennedy Center this weekend only
* My Father’s Dragon is the newest production at Synetic Theatre
* It’s the final weekend for How to Catch a Star at the Kennedy Center
* Reserve free tickets for Virginia Repertory Theatre’s adaptation of A Christmas Carol this week’s Saturday Morning at the National performance
* See a fairytale come to life with Cinderella at Imagination Stage
* Enjoy a performance of Billy Elliot: The Musical at Signature Theatre
* Anything Goes is on the Arena Stage
* Tween ages up can enjoy Miss Saigon at the Kennedy Center
* Be sure to check for ticket discounts to these and more productions!

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! Tickets are still available for the Friday performance of Step Afrika!’s Magical Musical Holiday Step Show. 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. Celebrate the season with A Candlelight Christmas at the Kennedy Center. Join the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future as they lead Scrooge on A Christmas Carol journey at Ford’s Theatre. Enjoy Madeleine’s Christmas with Creative Cauldron. Get details on these shows and see what else is coming up soon in the 2018 Guide to the Holiday Season.

Maker Morning: Illuminate
Where: Hirshhorn Museum | National Mall, DC
When: Saturday, 10am
Admission: Free

During the darkest month of the year, brighten up your weekends at the Hirshhorn! Every Saturday in December, makers of all ages are welcome to to explore the exhibition Rafael Lozano-Hemmer: Pulse through hands-on activities. Create and take home an illustration of your family’s heartbeat using biometric technology. Play with light and shadows. Make a paper luminary to take home or give as a gift. Explore a library of art-themed books. Read more about the exhibit in this KFDC post.

Night Lights
Where: Around the DMV
When: Friday, Saturday, & Sunday Evenings
Admission: Varies by locale

Twinkling lights forming enchanting displays are easily a holiday season favorite. Visit one of several parks (or the National Zoo, Mormon Temple, or Georgetown) in the area that has transformed into a sparkling wonderland. Some you can walk through for an up-close experience, others you tour by car. Either way, expect to be dazzled.

Holiday Train Rides
Where: Ballston Quarter
When: Saturday, 12-2pm

Take a ride through Ballston Quarter on their holiday trains. Families can also enjoy children’s crafts and activities while riding on the winter train. Plan to grab a bite to eat at one of the restaurants, do some holiday shopping, or even go ice skating at MedStar Ice Rink while you’re there!

Holiday Ornament-Making Workshop
Where: Brentwood Arts Exchange | Brentwood, MD
When: Saturday, 2-4pm
Admission: Free

Take advantage of a fun, free opportunity to create paper ornaments for the holiday season at this family-friendly workshop. All materials are provided, but if you have special paper you’d like to use, feel free to bring it the day of the event.

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

Get into the holiday spirit the area in all kinds of ways at every price point. Enjoy Chiristmas at Mount Vernon with fireworks and more. Ride the Magical Holiday Express at the B&O Railroad Museum. Enjoy an atrium full of activities for little ones at Christmas on the Potomac. View holiday planes and trains at the Aviation Museum. Take a street car ride with Santa at the Holly Trolley Fest. Find details on all of these events and more are in the 2018 Holiday Guide.

Artful Adventures
Where: The Phillips Collection
When: Saturday, 10:30-11am
Admission: $12/adult, $7/child

Every Saturday, the Phillips hosts this family-friendly Artful Adventure, geared toward those with children ages 4-8. Guided by a professional art educator, explore one to two galleries through fun, hands-on activities. Of course, stay longer to enjoy the rest of the museum! See more about the Phillips Collection here and here.

Jazz Hip Hop Nutcracker
Where: Deal Middle School/Wilson High School | Northwest DC
When: Saturday, 3pm & 7:30pm & Sunday, 3pm
Admission: $23/adult, $14/child

Momentum Dance Theatre, a Capitol-Hill based dance studio is presenting its nineteenth annual holiday show – the Jazz Hip Hop Nutcracker.  Momentum’s professional performers are joined by students as young as age 5 for this contemporary interpretation of the classic Nutcracker, set to music from Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker Suite, plus hip hop, contemporary and classic pop, funk, and salsa. Not your mother’s nutcracker! (Note: Shows will take place at Deal Middle School on Saturday and Wilson High School on Sunday.)

Story Time with the Authors
Where: Georgetown Neighborhood Library | Georgetown , DC
When: Saturday, 10:30-11:30am
Admission: Free

Hosted by the DC Public Library Georgetown Branch, brothers and author/illustrator team Mark and David Shannon will offer a reading of their book, The Acrobat and the Angel. This beautifully written and illustrated story will delight young audience members, who will also be able to engage with the Shannons and participate in other fun activities after the reading.

Santa Photo Ops
Where: Top Dollar Pawn & Jewelry | Oxon Hill, MD
When: Saturday, 10am – 4pm
Admission: Free

Take the kiddos to get a photo with Santa — and do some shopping or selling. When you go, plan to bring a donation for Toys for Tots, s the location is a drop site for donations to the charity.

All Aboard for Model Trains
Where: Historic Depot of the W&OD Railroad | Vienna, VA
When: Saturday, 1-5pm
Admission: Free

What would the holiday season be without trains! Stop by the Historic Vienna Train Station where you can see and hear HO scale model trolleys and trains, including Thomas and some of his friends on display and in operation. It’s great family activity for the young and young at heart.  The Vienna Depot is located at 231 Dominion Road NE in Vienna, VA.

Open Studio & Ceramics Sale
Where: Hollow Works Studio
When: Sunday, 11am – 4pm
Admission: Free

Shop for one-of-a-kind ceramics in the artist’s studio! Kate Hardy of Hollow Works Ceramics creates and sells beautiful, unique work — bowls, mugs, vases, and more — that would make perfect holiday presents. In addition to showcasing a lot of new work, she’ll be clearing her studio of a year’s worth of seconds. Seconds are pieces with minor flaws, like glaze imperfections or warping. Seconds are also leftovers from commissions or experiments that just don’t fit in with the rest of her work that she sells for heavily discounted prices. There will be some serious deals to be had! The studio is located in the alley right off of 7th and H Streets NE.

Prelude to the Holidays with the DC Youth Orchestra
Where: Theater of the Arts, UDC | Van Ness, DC
When: Saturday, 4-6:30pm
Admission: Free

Kids can see a concert by their musical peers! The Youth Orchestra will perform works such as Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel Overture and Strauss’s Die Fledermaus Overture, as well as other repertoire by Strauss and the holiday medley A Christmas Festival. Before the show, DCYOP faculty will host a musical instrument petting zoo in the lobby. Prospective young musicians ages 4-18 can try out different orchestral instruments with the help of professional musicians. The concert will begin at 5:00pm and last about an hour. 

Art and Me: Preserving Ancient Cultures
Where: Freer|Sackler Gallery | National Mall, DC
When: Sunday, 10-11:30am
Admission: Free

Bring your little ones ages 3-5 to learn about the preservation of ancient artifacts from South Arabia with Freer|Sackler conservator Ellen Chase. Take a guided tour of A Glimpse of Ancient Yemen and experiment with using professional tools to examine objects. Then, return to the studio to build your own archaeological goody bag to take home.

Brunch and Kids Cooking Class with Santa
Where: SER | Arlington, VA
When: Sunday, 11:30am
Admission: $25/child, $50/adult

SER, a neighborhood restaurant in Ballston, is offering a special holiday brunch the next two Sundays! Enjoy delicious fare starting at 11:30am along with a visit from Santa and a cooking class for kids. At 12:30pm. During this brunch they’ll be offering a prix fix menu.

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

If you’re still working through your gift list, there are several special holiday markets around the area, where you can find unique presents by local vendors and then some. Head to Penn Quarter and Baltimore for great seasonal markets or to Capitol Hill for a weekend institution. More info about all of them is available in the 2018 Holiday Guide. And if you need some gift ideas, be sure check out the KFDC Holiday Gift Guide!

Insider Info
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

Rain is in the weekend forecast, so you might need extra ideas for indoor outings. Burn some energy at an indoor playground, visit a museum, go bowling, check out a nature center… This post has over 100 suggestions for adventures that take place inside, many of them mainstays around DC, and just about all of them tried and tested by Team KFDC.

* is offering KFDC readers 25% off a one-month subscription. Use promo code KIDFRIENDLYDC to save and find your family’s next favorite sitter!
* The Second City’s She the People at Woolly Mammoth is a fantastic, hilarious show! Catch it on a grown-up night out or even with teen kids.
* Save on admission to New Nature at ARETCHOUSE through Certifikid. You can also score a bunch of other great discounts on activities around the area through the deal site.
* The latest book I’m reading is completely absorbing and timely (and included on some lists of the top non-fiction books of 2018).
* Mark your calendar for 2022 — this sounds amazing!


Filed under 2018, All ages, Christmas, DC, Holidays, Maryland, Seasonal, Special Event, Virginia, Weekend, Winter

2 Responses to The Weekend Round-Up:
December 14-16

  1. Em

    I love your lists. Thank you for compiling it. Is it at all possible to have an ongoing calendar, perhaps google. By the time weekend round up comes by, we already have weekend plans and I’m SO VERY SADDENED to miss all the cool events.

    • Linda @ KidFriendly DC

      Hi Em – I had a calendar on the site awhile back, but it was incredibly hard to keep it up and maintain the other features of my site, so I let it go. But I’ll think about other ways to give advance notice of big events. I appreciate the feedback!

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