The Weekend Round-Up:
December 11-13

Shopping and a little seasonal magic at the Downtown Holiday Market


Happy Weekend!

Downtown Holiday Market
Where: F Street, 7th-9th NW | Penn Quarter, DC
When: Throughout the weekend, 12-8pm
Admission: Free

The DC holiday market may be even more wonderful this year with extra space and a holiday magic vibe that we probably need more than ever right now. Festive music plays as you stroll and browse the fantastic array of exhibitors and vendors — more than 70 of them, including Black-owned and minority-owned businesses, plus six food vendors providing tasty treats and hot beverages.  For better social distancing, it’s now set up in the middle of F Street between 7th & 9th instead of along the sidewalk. And to ensure safety even more, temperatures are taken at the entrance, and exhibitors are offering contactless and convenient payment methods for purchases.

12 Days of Cap Riv: Holiday Drive-In Movie Series
Where: Buzzards Point | Capitol Riverfront, DC
When: Friday & Saturday
Admission: $20/car

Hop in your car, layer up, and enjoy a holiday film classic. Just like their summer series, it will take place at The Akridge Lot of Buzzards Point.  The series kicks off with National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation on Friday, and The Holiday will be shown on Saturday. All proceeds from these movie nights will be donated to local charities including DC Central Kitchen, World Central Kitchen, Martha’s Table, and Capital Area Food Bank. Reserve a spot and see what other movies are coming to the outdoor screen.

Holiday Movies at The Wharf: How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Where: The Wharf | Southwest DC
When: Friday, Saturday, & Sunday, 2pm & 6pm
Admission: $60

Join The Wharf throughout this holiday season for a pop-up outdoor movie theatre on Transit Pier where you can enjoy all the Christmas classics from your private firepit in front of a 20′ LED screen. They’re showing all the best holiday classics — this weekend it’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas at 2pm and 6pm showtimes. In advance of the event, reserve your fire pit, which seats up to four people. Drinks (both hard and soft) and snacks are available throughout the movie from Cantina Bambina. Each seating includes a special stocking stuffed full of great offers and holiday treats from Wharf restaurants, merchants, and partners.

Recreation on Ice
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by rink

It’s going to be a great weekend to glide under the sky!  Several ice rinks are open for the season with Covid precautions in place for safe, socially distanced skating.  Pentagon RowSilver Spring at Veterans Plaza, Rockville Town Square, and Reston Town Center are once again welcoming guests to skate the day — and night — away. The Color Burst Ice Rink at the Merriweather District in Columbia, MD, just started its inaugural skating season. And the Winter Village at Cameron Run in Arlington also includes the ice skating ops. [Note: You need advanced reservations at just about all of these places, so plan accordingly.]

ZooLights Express
Where: Wards 5 & 6| WDC
When: Friday & Saturday evenings
Admission: Free

To play it safe this year, ZooLights Express, powered by Pepco, is bringing the colorful glow of DC’s beloved National Zoo holiday tradition into the community. The 24-foot ZooLights Express truck is hitting the road, festively decorated with light displays and featuring “Panda Claws.” It will visit one District ward each Friday and Saturday night from 6-8pm. This weekend it will be in Ward 5 on Friday and Ward 6 on Saturday. (Click links for the mapped route.)

See Stars at Light Yards
Where: The Yards | Capitol Riverfront, DC
When: Through January 10
Admission: Free
The Yards’ annual holiday installation returns with “Stars,” larger-than-life illuminated star sculptures constructed from metallic mesh that twinkle with dancing lights and festive music.  There aren’t many of them, and it’s not interactive like most previous installations, but along with the sparkling Sundeck, it’s a nice, easy way to experience some socially-distanced holiday cheer and a bright start to 2021 — it will be lit nightly 6-10pm through January 10.  If it’s not too cold, you can pick up take-out from one of the many eateries at The Yards and enjoy dinner al fresco amid the lights or pair your visit with outdoor dining at one of the nearby restaurants.  A couple of take-out recs:  Takorean and Sweetgreen. Restaurants with heated outdoor seating: Agua 301Blue JacketOsteria MoriniNandos, and All Purpose Pizzeria and Salt Line are a short walk away by Nationals Park.

Georgetown History & Holiday Lights Tour
Where: Around Georgetown, DC
When: Throughout the weekend (register in advance)
Admission: Pay what you want

Join Free Tours by Foot for a special evening Historic Georgetown tour that brings you the history through the holiday window displays of Georgetown businesses and restaurants. It’s a unique way to learn about the art and the neighborhood itself. Explore the industrial and some of the oldest residential parts of the neighborhood by the water and along the canal. Note: All sites and homes will be viewed from the street.

43rd Annual Festival of Lights
Where: Mormon Temple | Kensington, MD
When: December 11-28, 6-9pm
Admission: Free

Its official name is the Washington, DC, Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but most Washingtonians know it as the Mormon Temple that you can see driving on the outer loop of the Beltway near Bethesda. During the holiday season the grounds glow with more than 400,000 lights that visitors are welcome to enjoy, though this year in a modified way that puts safety and health first. The 2020 Festival of Lights will open as a drive-through experience. The tour begins at the entrance of the Temple grounds and ends at the Temple Visitors’ Center with Christmas music transmitted over short-range FM radio.

Let There Be (More) Lights
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

There are many more places to see local sights lit up, and the twinkling lights forming enchanting displays are easily a holiday season favorite.  Parks and gardens in the area have transformed into sparkling wonderlands and city streets are aglow.  Some you can walk through for an up-close experience, others you tour by car. See where you can enjoy them in the KFDC Holiday Guide.

King Bullfrog Kids Concert for Georgia
Where: Online
When: Saturday, 4pm
Admission: Donations start at $25

Join King Bullfrog for a fun way to support Raphael Warnock, Jon Ossoff, and Fair Fight to protect the vote and send both candidates to the Senate. They’ll be livestreaming a roots-and-blues concert for kids and their grownups.  Why are they doing it?  In their words, “Securing a Democratic majority in the Senate in the January 5th Georgia runoff is critical to protecting our children’s future. We need to do all we can to empower the incoming Biden/Harris administration to broaden justice, health, education, and democracy and to protect us all from the pandemic and the climate crisis. The To-Do list is long, and we need the Senate to get it done!”

The U.S. Air Force Band: Season of Hope 
Where: Online
When: Saturday, 4pm
Admission: Free

The US Air Force Band has a special concert in store. In partnership with MGM National Harbor, this show features Broadway superstars Megan Hilty and Christopher Jackson, and GRAMMY nominated hip-hop artist Christylez Bacon alongside The United States Air Force Band and Singing Sergeants. Join them online via on Facebook or YouTube.

Happy 40th, National Building Museum!
Where: Online
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free

The National Building Museum has been celebrating its 40th birthday this week with all kinds of free online programming! This weekend, you can enjoy behind-the-scenes virtual tours of the museum’s collections and the building, and a celebratory video about its illustrious history.  (And, FYI, the Museum Shop has a fantastic inventory of items perfect for holiday gifting.)

Happy Trails
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

Slighter warmer temps make it a perfect time to hit the trail with the fam! Savor the time in nature, tramp in places with scenic views, hike and explore history at interesting locales, and enjoy a day of active fun. This post has a bunch of recommendations for great places to go with kids.  And because it’s so great (and there’s a new post about it), here’s a specific suggestion for Patapsco Valley State Park.

Think Outside
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

For even more ideas for things to do and places to go, The Best Places in the DC Area to Enjoy a Beautiful Day Outdoors with the Kids is chock full of ideas. Between warmer temps this weekend and social distancing criteria, it will be especially handy.

Adventure in the Trees
Where: Adventure Park at Sandy Spring | Sandy Spring, MD
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by age

A specific outdoor recommendation… There are still some spots available this weekend for one of the best local outdoor adventures (and one of our all-time faves).  Kids as young 5 years old can experience thrills on the ropes courses and ziplines in the park’s aerial adventure forest, the largest in North America — children ages 5-6 and an accompanying adult have access to two of the easier courses. Older kids and adults can do much more. It may seem like a pricey venture, but it’s so, so worth it. Trust me. Read more about the park in this KFDC post.

Christmas Village
Where: Leesburg Animal Park | Leesburg, VA
When: Friday, Saturday, & Sunday, 5-9pm
Admission: $10.95 ($12.95 at door)

Celebrate Christmas with the critters at the Animal Park’s evening holiday event! Activities include photos with Santa Claus, themed arts & crafts, live animal encounters + holiday photos with them, a kids’ indoor play zone, bonfire & marshmallow roasting, pony rides, nativity scene, animal petting & feeding, and thousands of holiday lights. Christmas trees & wreaths will be available for purchase at the Farm Market, too.

Lighting of the Menorah
Where: The Wharf | Southwest DC
When: Through December 18, 5-6pm
Admission: Free

The Wharf is continuing their annual tradition of lighting the menorah in District Square for each night of Hanukkah, and all are welcome to join them and celebrate the Festival of Lights. Plan to dine out while you’re there — there’s lots of heated outdoor seating — and enjoy an evening stroll along the beautiful waterfront.

Drive-Thru Chanukah Experience
Where: 6011 Executive Blvd | Rockville, MD
When: December 12-13
Admission: $25/vehicle + $2/person

The Chanukah Story comes to life with an epic audio-visual presentation in a Covid-safe manner. From the safety of their cars, families can literally drive-thru the Chanukah story as multiple illustrations, props, and actors bring the 2500-year-old Chanukah story to life. Guided by a professionally created soundtrack, they will experience the Chanukah events as it would be happening in real-time. Participants will meet, at a distance, the Chanukah characters and pick up souvenirs and treats as they move through the Chanukah story.

Christmas at Mount Vernon

Where: Mount Vernon Estate, Museum, & Gardens
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: $20/adult, $12/age 6-11, free/5 & under

Christmas past meets Christmas present at George Washington’s estate. Just as the Washingtons celebrated the holiday with family and friends, visitors can start a new tradition of visiting Mount Vernon this holiday season. It’s open every day of the year, including Christmas Day and New Years. You can also go in the evening for Winter Glow, when the estate is illuminated with lights and holiday patterns ($25-30/youth, $40-45/adult).

Victura Park Pop-Up & Winter Holiday Market
Where: The REACH | Kennedy Center, DC
When: Saturday 12–9pm & Sunday 12-8pm.
Admission: Free

The grounds of The REACH at the Kennedy Center are great for hanging out on weekends. Victura Park, the pop-up wine bar and cafe that has been running since the summer offers snacks and sips that you can enjoy at socially distanced tables or in other areas.  There’s currently a festive Holiday Market to browse and shop, too.  You can also just roam the gorgeous grounds, including the Kennedy Center Terrace and Plaza, and check out artfully designed buildings and fantastic views – there is plenty of space  for safe social distancing.  Check out this IG post with some pics from one of our recent outings there.

Where: ARTECHOUSE | Southwest DC
When: Through February 28
Admission: $12-17/child, $19-24/adult

ARTECHOUSE, known for its visually stunning digital art, has transformed the gallery into a blue-hued haven intended to evoke calm and peace during a turbulent time. Like all of the exhibitions there, just about all of it is interactive, as the images change with viewers’ motions, encouraging play. Immersing into the depths of the color, even just for a little while, is a dazzling and delightful escape from the bizarre Covid world outside. Note: The exhibit has just been extended through February!

* In case you missed it yesterday, there’s a new bookmark-worthy post full of inspo for activities around DC during the Covid winter.
* Washington Waldorf School recently shared some really great Ideas for At-Home Celebrations of Light in Dark Times.
* A great kids’ holiday gift — one of many recs in the KFDC Holiday Gift Guide!
* Kids letters to Santa look a little different this year.
* The Hanukkah Sessions with Dave Grohl and Greg Kurstin…. 1st night.
* What a heartwarming HONY story.
* Time Magazine’s Person of the Year 💙


Has KidFriendly DC inspired some of your family’s adventures?  If so, let us know.  Tag @kidfriendlydc on Instagram or use #kidfriendlydc.  And don’t forget to share the blog with your friends and family who dig a good adventure, too!


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Filed under 2020, All ages, Coronavirus, COVID-19, DC, Fall, Holidays, Maryland, Outdoor, Seasonal, Virginia, Weekend, Winter

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