Where to Play on Thanksgiving Day (2021)

Work up an appetite for the big feast with some ice skating


How about a side of recreation to go with your Thanksgiving meal? If you’re going to be in town for the holiday and are looking for pre- or post-feast activities, here are some ways to complement the main event of the day. Happy Thanksgiving!


1) Get gliding and enjoy some active fun. You can ice skate under the sky at one of several outdoor rinks in the area that are open on the holiday. Our faves are all DC rinks — National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden, Washington Harbour, and The Wharf  — because you just can’t beat the city locations on the National Mall, next to the Potomac, and right over the river. Find info on those and more here.  And be sure to check ice rink websites for Thanksgiving Day hours!


2) Visit a Smithsonian museum or the National Zoo. They are all open on Thanksgiving from 10am – 5:30pm, except for the American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery which are open 11:30am – 7pm and the National Zoo 8am – 4pm. The National Gallery of Art (which is not part of the Smithsonian, just a neighbor on the Mall) is open, too, from 10am – 5pm.


3) See the Outdoor Holiday Display at the U.S. Botanic Garden. Get a glimpse here of the always delightful model train exhibit, all constructed from plant materials. It’s back this year, but outside in the National Garden.  Open 10am – 5pm. Admission is free.


4) Enjoy a holiday hike.  It looks like it should be a pleasant Turkey Day this year.  In honor of the day, I suggest going to Turkey Run. 🦃😉 But Rock Creek, Great Falls, Roosevelt Island, Huntley Meadows, and Riverbend are all great parks for family tramping. This post has details on all of them along with even more recs for local walks in the woods.


5) Hang out at a playground.  BeauvoirHains PointClemyjontri, Cabin John Regional ParkWheaton Regional Park, plus loads of DC Parks and Rec locations, and many more in the DC Metro are good places to take littles to play while you’re waiting for the feast.


6) Get into the holiday spirit at National Harbor.  There is a nightly tree lighting and light show in the Waterfront District that runs every half hour from sunset until 9pm.


7) Take an evening drive or stroll through a holiday light display— several around the area have started dazzling visitors with twinkling wonderlands.


Leave a Comment

Filed under 2021, DC, Holidays

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *