The Weekend Round-Up: November 12-14

Model trains at the US Botanic Garden — outdoors this year!



Happy Weekend!

Quick links to KFDC posts filled with family fun ideas:
Best Outdoors in the DC Area
* Local Hikes with Kids
* Autumn Activities
* Indoor Outings
* Bike Rides
* Peaceful Places
* Baltimore with Kids

Trains in the Garden
Where: US Botanic Garden | Capitol Hill, DC
When: Daily through December 31, 10am – 5pm
Admission: Free

The most wonderful holiday train display in DC is back at the Botanic Garden! Different (and perhaps better) this season is that it’s outdoors in the National Garden! The theme this time is “Farming Around the World,” and the trains wind through farming scenes from Mexico to Nepal to Massachusetts to Finland — and more destinations across the globe. Even better, just like previous displays, the scenes are all constructed from plant materials, and the details are so neat to see. There will be more holiday decor coming, and it all officially opens November 24, but the trains are there and viewable now, so go get an early look and enjoy the rest of beautiful garden while you’re there.

Side Yards
Where: Yards Park Sun Deck | Capitol Riverfront, DC
When: Friday, 5:30-8:30pm
Admission: Free

Side Yards, the nighttime circus fit for the entire family, is back at the Yards.  And I can tell you from experience, it’s a super fun event! The evening of eccentric amusement includes magicians, stilt walkers, contortionists, escape artists, arealists, and more offbeat entertainers. You can also enjoy activities like fortune telling, balloon artistry, glitter tattoo, and other carnival-style fun! Food and drinks will be available for purchase, or plan to dine at one of many nearby eateries.

Night Lights
Where: A few Northern Virginia sites
When: Evenings through the weekend
Admission: Vary by places

Holiday happenings have begun… A few light displays in the area — Lumino at Rooer’s Zoofari, Meadowlark Botanical Garden’s Winter Walk of Lights, and the Bull Run Festival of Lights — are already starting to welcome visitors. Get the holiday spirit started early (and get ahead of the crowds) as you see the parks transformed into sparkling wonderlands!

Roam Free
Where: Dumbarton Oaks Gardens | Georgetown, DC
When: Throughout the weekend, 3-5pm
Admission: Free

One of my favorite KFDC Tips to impart because it’s on of my favorite places in DC:  From November through mid-March, there is no fee to roam the beautiful, enchanting gardens at Dumbarton Oaks.  Stroll among the various plats, find lovely tucked away placed to sit, and get ready for delights as you turn every corner. Hours are limited, but you can make a longer day of it with play time at Montrose Park next door or a bite to eat at one of of the many options in Georgetown. This KFDC post about Dumbarton also has some food recs and this one from earlier KFDC days has more info and scenes.

Museum Shop Holiday Market
Where: Strathmore | Bethesda, MD
When: Friday & Saturday, 10am – 6pm
Admission: Suggested donation of $10
Do some holiday gift shopping from DC’s museums. Strathmore’s Museum Shop Holiday Market brings together the area’s best museum and cultural shops for a few festive days.  Every present is part of a larger purpose as your purchase supports nonprofit museums and arts organizations in our community. Find unique gifts from the shops at Strathmore, Brookside Gardens, the Supreme Court Historical Society, Hillwood, The Phillips Collection, GWU Museum & The Textile Museum, Jewish Museum of Maryland, and International Spy Museum.

Cool Hikes
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

Cooler weather is coming, making the air crisp and activity a little more exhilarating, so take advantage with some time on the trail. Peep the autumn leaves, tramp in places with scenic views, hike and explore history at interesting locales, and enjoy a day of active fun. This post has a a bunch of recommendations for good walks in the woods with the kids. Some hikes I particularly recommend right now:  Roosevelt Island, Sky Meadows State Park, Sugarloaf Mountain, and Turkey Run Park.

The Boro’s Gambit
Where: The Boro | Tysons, VA
When: Saturday, 11am – 1pm
Admission: Free to spectate, $20 to play

You and your best (check)mates are invited tp The Boro’s first-ever outdoor chess tournament, The Boro’s Gambit. Catch every move at the Sandlot as Grandmaster Rashad Babaev, an international chess sensation and resident of The Boro, competes in a simultaneous game against 30 players. Spectators of all ages are welcome, and kids can enjoy activities in Boro Park with checkers, outdoor games, and giant chess and checker boards. Plan a full day and check out some of the many shops and restaurants while you’re there or see what’s playing at the ShowPlace ICON Theatre.

(Geo)Cache in on Fun
Where: Around the Area
When: Anytime
Admission: Free

Take kids on a “treasure” hunt and have a little adventure along the way. Geocaching is a perfect way to be active and enjoy a day outdoors. Whether you search in the city or seek out a destination that requires a hike in the woods, locating the hidden cache will be a thrill for everyone. See this post about our first foray into the pursuit awhile back.

Tour the Memorials
Where: National Mall, DC
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free

Veterans Day may have passed but you can observe it through the weekend by visiting the sites that honor those who have served. Make the rounds on the Mall at your leisure — the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, World War II Memorial, and  Korean War Memorial are all within easy walking distance.  And while not on the National Mall, another obvious place for a Veterans Day Weekend outing (or a visit anytime) is Arlington Cemetery.

Aesop’s Fables
Where: Creative Cauldron | Falls Church, VA
When: Through November 21
Tickets: $20/adult, $18/student | Find Discount

The lessons learned in Aesop’s simple fables like The Ant and the GrasshopperThe Tortoise and the Hare, and the The Lion and the Mouse, have weathered the test of time. The Learning Theater crew brings them to life with a 21st century twist and their classic heart. Great for the whole family!

Urban Artistry: Let the Rhythm Hit Em
Where: Highland Elementary | Wheaton, MD
When: Saturday, 11am & Sunday, 2pm
Tickets: Free!

InterAct Story Theatre presents FREE performances and events for kids and families with the Wheaton Family Theatre Series! This session welcomes Urban Artistry: Celebrate the diverse communities and influences that contribute to urban dance culture through music and dance. The emcee, DHG and dancers tell the story of where, when and how these dance styles were developed through storytelling, dance demonstrations, call-and-response games and interactive dance workshops. Recommended for all ages.

Bark in the Park
Where: Victura Park | Kennedy Center, DC
When: Saturday, 11am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Bring your pup to Victura Park on Saturday for a puppy meet-up and to a chance to learn about rescuing pets from ucky Dog Rescue!  There will be  treats for furry guests, and even more human ones, including beer specials, chili dogs, puppicinnos, live music, and more.  FYI: You don’t have to bring a pup to go — Victura Park and the rest of the Kennedy Center’s outdoor areas are a great place to hang anytime!

National Harbor Tree Lighting
Where: National Harbor | Oxon Hill, MD
When: Saturday, sunset
Admission: Free

It’s the first big DC area tree lighting of the season!  Watch National Harbor’s 54-foot tree come to life with a breathtaking light show in the heart of the Waterfront District followed by a festive fireworks display.  (FYI: The lighting will take place nightly through December 31, running on the half an hour from sunset to 9pm and the fireworks will take place every Saturday evening at 5:30pm through December 13.)

Skaters Gonna Skate
Where: Local ice skating rinks
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by rink

Want to glide under the sky? Many outdoor ice skating rinks in the area are welcoming guests to skate the day away. This post has the scoop on which are open now and more details (indoor venues, too), including bonus activities while you’re there.

Awesome Autumn Ideas
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

The fall festival season has wound down, but there are plenty of other fantastic ways to enjoy the season around the area. This KFDC post has 10 suggestions  for great places to go for fall adventures.

Christmas Movie on the Potomac
Where: National Harbor | Oxon Hill, MD
When: Sunday, 2pm
Admission: Free
Enjoy an outdoor holiday movie at National Harbor!  Starting this weekend, every Sunday at 2pm, a free film will be shown on the Plaza’s big screen —  The Muppet Christmas Carol is this week’s flick.  Pack your chairs, grab food from one of the many eateries there, and sit back to enjoy the family-friendly holiday classic.

Spirit Watch Party
Where: Dacha Beer Garden | Capitol Riverfront, DC
When: Sunday, 2pm
Admission: Free

On Semifinal Sunday, cheer on the Washington Spirit with other fans at at the family-friendly Dacha Beer Garden in the Navy Yard. See them take on OL Reign and try to claim their place in the NWSL Championship!

Spectate in Person: All Caps
Where: Capital One Arena | Penn Quarter, DC
When: Sunday, 7pm
Admission: Ticket prices vary

Catch a Capitals game on Sunday evening as they host the Pittsburgh Penguins. See the restaurant recs in the Wizards listing for a fam-friendly bite before the match. Plan on a pre-game dinner in Penn Quarter –there are plenty of family-friendly places to go in the neighborhood. Some recs: Jaleo, Carmine’s, Shake Shack, and Oyamel.

DC, Inside & Out
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by adventure

Want even more options for fun things to do with the kids around the area? If you’re looking for activities outdoors or inside, depending on the weather or simply your preference, these posts are chock full of evergreen pursuits:
The Best Places in the DC Area to Enjoy a Beautiful Day Outdoors with the Kids

Indoor Outings

* Master Silhouette Artist is creating hand cut silhouette portraits for KFDC readers on Friday and Saturday. It originally sold out quickly, but time slots have been added for both days!
* There have been updates to the KFDC Guide to the Holiday Season as more info is announced, so be sure to take a look to help with your planning.
* In case you missed it, I recently updated and (re)shared the KFDC post about local volunteer opportunities for kids.
* Plan for upcoming live entertainment with the round-up of shows coming to local stages late fall through winter.
* 2022 National Cherry Blossom Festival dates have been announced March 20 – April 17 — and it will be back in person this year!
* For other Interfaith families out there… I always get asked about our Christmas tree topper, which is a fun way to bring together our family’s holidays. You can find it here and even more similar (and prettier) toppers here.
* Great sale alert: Anthropologie is offering 30% off all sale items this weekend!
* 2021 Sexiest Man Alive (accompanied by one of the funniest).


Filed under 2021, DC, Fall, Maryland, Virginia, Weekend

3 Responses to The Weekend Round-Up: November 12-14

  1. Thanks for all you do and your wonderful content! Do you have a specific link for the Side Yard event? I’m not able to find one on their page? Thanks in advance.

    • Linda @ KidFriendly DC

      Hi! Click the “Side Yards” link in the listing above – it will take you right to the event page. And thank you for the nice feedback 🙂

    • Linda @ KidFriendly DC

      Just realized you were probably asking about a registration link. Looks like it’s no longer necessary to sign up in advance.

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