The Weekend Round-Up:
December 18-20

City lights ✨


Happy Weekend!

Winter Inspo
Where: Around the DMV
When: Ongoing
Admission: Varies by locale

Even though we have a few days until it’s officially winter, this round-up of ideas for activities during the covid cold months are accessible now. From hikes to art experiences to seasonal sports to garden explorations to all-season fun to holiday happenings, there are all kinds of things to do that keep social distancing and safety in mind. All you really need are good layers and maybe a little extra outdoor gear.

Search for Santa’s Helpers
Where: Potomac Overlook | Arlington, VA
When: Through Sunday, 11am – 3pm
Admission: $5/family

Go on a scavenger hunt around Potomac Overlook Park to find Santa’s helpers so they can get back to the North Pole in time for the holidays.  Cost is $5 per family, and no reservations are needed, but check in at the Nature Center from 11am – 3pm to begin.  The park in Arlington is a great place to hike around, even better when there’s an extra holiday adventure!  Get some background on Potomac Overlook in this KFDC post from very pre-Covid times — but all still applicable now.

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 It’s a Wonderful Life  on Friday, and Elf 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:  A Christmas Story
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 A Christmas Story 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.

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

Glide under the sky and stars!  Several ice rinks are open for the season with Covid precautions in place for safe, socially distanced skating.  Pentagon Row,  Silver Spring at Veterans PlazaRockville 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.]

Holiday Lights on the Farm
Where: Frying Pan Farm Park | Herndon, VA
When: Friday, Saturday, & Sunday evenings
Admission: $20

Brighten your season with a driving tour of Holiday Lights on the Farm at Frying Pan Farm Park. Tour the park in the safety and warmth of your vehicle on a one-mile route to see the farm animals, wooded wonders, and luminous lights decorating the pastures and historic buildings. On-line registration required.

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.

Victura Park Pop-Up & Winter Holiday Market
Where: The REACH | Kennedy Center, DC
When: Friday 4-8pm, 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.  It’s the final weekend for the festive Winter 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.

Letter to Santa Watercolor Workshop
Where: Online (Supplies pick Up at The Station in Riverdale, MD)
When: Saturday, 4pm
Admission: Free

Santa is pulling into The Station! Join Santa’s crafting workshop and unleash your inner elf with a Letter to Santa watercolor workshop. Pick up your complimentary crafting kit at The Station PLUS a $10 gift card from participating restaurants at The Station. Pick up your free watercolor kit at The Station on Saturday, December 19 from from 11am – 2pm, then tune in for a workshop at 4pm with local artist and maker. Can’t make the workshop live? They’ll send a recording to all registrants. Santa will be here before you know it, so you can drop off your letter to Santa at participating restaurants at The Station and share on Instagram (tag @thestationrp) to be included in a drawing for a $50 gift card to Burtons Grill at The Station.

ZooLights Express
Where: Wards 7 & 8 | 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 7 on Friday and Ward 8 on Saturday. (Click links for the mapped route.)

DC Holiday Lights
Where: Around DC
When: Evenings throughout the weekend
Admission: Free

Take a stroll down some of the city’s main corridors to experience a dazzling array of lights and decor, enjoy holiday promotions, and shop local. There are 12 areas to visit throughout the District — visit the website to see where corridors are located and what to expect at each of them. You can also take a guided tour of the lights with Free Tours By Foot!

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.

Ice & Lights
Where: Cameron Run Park | Alexandria, VA
When: November 20 – January 3
Admission: See details below(look for discount)

Glide across the ice at Ice & Lights, The Winter Village at Cameron Run in Alexandria, Virginia. The waterpark is transformed into a winter wonderland with an ice rink, beautifully lit photo ops, music and more. Visit Slice n’ Ice for hot chocolate, coffee and cold beverages, pizza, hot dogs, and delicious donut holes. Admission to the village is $7.95, with 1-hour skating and skate rental is $19.43, ice skating & rental only is $12.19. Ice skating tickets are available online only.

Night 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.

Finding Rhythm: A Journey Through The Musical Brain
Where: Online
When: Saturday, 3pm
Admission: Free

This children’s musical fuses brain science with an original score inspired by Washington DC’s Go-Go music. A Growing Brains Production featuring D.C. artists, Finding Rhythm gets children to listen, move their bodies, and sing in call and response. At the same time, the whole family learns how rhythm grows the brain!

Park Up DC Holiday Drive-In
Where: RFK Parking Lot | Southeast DC
When: Saturday & Sunday evenings
Admission: $29-45/car

The drive-in movie series in the RFK parking lot is screening holiday movies this month. This weekend catch The Grinch that Stole Christmas and The Polar Express on Saturday, and Elf and The nightmare Before Christmas on Sunday. See the website for movie times.

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.

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).

Fun at Fairfax Parks
Where: Parks around Fairfax County, VA
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

The Fairfax County Park Authority hosts all kinds of events on weekends for guests of all ages. Tour holiday lights at Frying Pan Farm Park.  Enjoy family explorations at  Ellanor C. Lawrence Park.  Join a winter solstice campfire at Hidden Oaks Nature Center. Details and registration for these and many more nature activities this weekend and beyond are available here.

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.

Free Community Day
Where: National Museum of Women in the Arts | WDC
When: Sunday, 12-5pm
Admission: Free, but must reserve

The first and third Sundays of every month are a great opportunity to explore the National Museum of Women in the Arts when admission is FREE! Works span the centuries, from the 16th to the present in a variety of mediums, highlighting women artists all over the world.

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

Don’t let cold temps stop you from enjoying outdoor adventures, especially during these social distancing times. Find loads of ideas for things to do and places to hang in The Best Places in the DC Area to Enjoy a Beautiful Day Outdoors with the Kids, a perennial go-to post.

Inside Info
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by place

There are some places still welcoming visitors indoors, all of them with extra safety protocols in place. This post listing open venues around the area includes museums that reopened but closed again due to rising covid rates. The current status of of all of them are noted.

Where: Online (Facebook)
When: Saturday, 9:30 AM
Admission: Free 
Saturday Morning Live! At The National is excited to present Gonzo’s Multiverse Episode Three: The Loudest Sound in the Word. Join on Facebook Saturday morning to find out what noise is The Loudest Sound in the World. Later on in the episode, an opinionated deer will let us know why the grass is not always greener. Hip-Hop poet YOH will share his artistic expertise with us. Pianist Frederic Chiu will share with us his rendition of The Swan. Plenty more surprises are in store in Gonzo’s Multiverse! Best ages 4-10, but siblings and friends of other ages are always welcome to join the fun.

Virtual Artful Conversations: Color your Feelings
Where: National Gallery of Art Online
When: Sunday, 10am & 1pm
Admission: Free

During these online sessions, participants will create colorful works of art along with museum staff guiding the workshops.  Have on hand a pencil, tempera or acrylic paints, paintbrush, and a cup of water and paper towel for rinsing your paintbrush. As an alternative to paints, they recommend colored pencils or crayons on paper.  And working with paint, they recommend painting on cardboard. The program is best for ages 7-12 and an adult companion. Free registration is required.

Candlelight Christmas
Where: Online
When: Friday & Saturday 7:30pm, Sunday 3pm
Admission: $15-60

The Washington Chorus is bringing its beloved DC tradition online this season. The annual Candlelight Christmas concert has been reimagined in a beautifully produced show filmed live at the Music Center at Strathmore with socially distanced performances, guest soloists, and carol sing-alongs. Tune in virtually to experience it!

Winter Solstice Livestream
Where: Online from Stonehenge
When: Sunday (to Monday)
Admission: Free

Watch the winter solstice at Stonehenge! Thousands of people usually gather at the the Neolithic monument to celebrate, so English Heritage, which manages the site, is livestreaming the event to encourage social distancing. The December 20 sunset there is at 3:16pm (10:52am EST), and December 21 sunrise at 8:09am (11:09pm EST). Follow the link to View it through their Facebook page.

* You have through Sunday to enter the giveaway for a chance to win a Family 4-Pack of tickets to Crystalline at ARTECHOUSE.
* There’s still time for holiday shopping, and the KFDC Gift Guide has lots of ideas if you need them!
* Washingtonians of the Year.
* NPR staff picks for Best Music of 2020.
* Celebrate the 25th Anniversary of This American Life by listening to some classic episodes.
* All of our kids on Wednesday.


Filed under 2020, All ages, Coronavirus, COVID-19, DC, Holidays, Maryland, Ongoing, Outdoor, Seasonal, Social Distancing, Special Event, Virginia, Weekend, Winter

3 Responses to The Weekend Round-Up:
December 18-20

  1. Nicole

    Love this list – so helpful! However, this weekend the movie at the Wharf is A Christmas Story (not How the Grinch Stole Christmas) at least according to their website. Thanks for putting together a great resource for DC families!

  2. Linda @ KidFriendly DC

    Oops! That was last week. Thanks for catching that… updated now. 🙂

  3. Clamcaseehr

    which is carried out by the printing

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