The Weekend Round-Up: December 17-19


Happy Weekend!

Easy links to a mix of ongoing and seasonal DC fun:
* KFDC Guide to the Holiday Season
Best Outdoors in the DC Area
* Local Hikes with Kids
* Indoor Outings
* Ice Skating
* Bike Rides
* Peaceful Places
* Baltimore with Kids

Winter Breakin’
Where: Around the DC Area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

For many of us, our kids’ Winter Break from school begins this weekend. If you’re going to be in town and seeking ways to keep the whole gang happy (and that includes us parents), this KFDC guide has you covered. Find recommendations for the best things to do now, from holiday-inspired happenings to special exhibits to live entertainment to outdoor adventures to indoor action to awesome day trips… and even more.

Holiday Happenings
Where: Around the DC Area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

This probably is the weekend to embrace the holiday spirit.  And there’s holiday fun to be had all over the area in all kinds of ways at every price point. See model trains buzz around model farms around the world at the US Botanic Garden. See pretty Christmas trees and enjoy an evening lighting.  Experience Christmas on the Potomac at the National Harbor. Celebrate the season at Mount Vernon. Take a festive train ride at the B&O Railroad Museum. Check out Light Yards, the annual illuminated installation at Yards Park. Find details on all of these events and many more are in the 2021 KFDC Holiday Guide.

Rock the Rink with the Caps
Where: The Wharf | Southwest DC
When: Friday, 7-10pm
Admission: $9/child, $12/adult, $6/skate rental

It’s ALL CAPS at The Wharf! Join fellow hockey fans at The Wharf to show your Caps pride and skate at the ice rink with a DJ, Caps gear giveaways, and a visit from Slapshot. At 8pm, they’ll also broadcast the Capitals’ away game against the Winnipeg Jets on a jumbotron located on the Transit Pier floating stage. Throughout the day, fans wearing Capitals gear will receive $5 off admission to The Wharf Ice Rink. After skating, warm up by the fire pit and make Caps s’mores at the Capitals Campfire. For more places to skate throughout the weekend (and winter), see this round-up of local rinks.

Holly Days After Hours
Where: Eastern Market Area | Capitol Hill, DC
When: Friday, 4-9pm
Admission: Free

Eastern Market Main Street is getting festive after hours with fun activities for the whole family. The Not-So-Silent Night Market will run around the building 12-8pm. And along the C Street Plaza, there will be crafts for kids, complimentary gift wrapping of any corridor purchases, and a holiday photo booth (7pm). Best of all, the Silent Disco is returning (7-9pm), so get ready to boogie!

Holiday Drive-In: Love Actually
Where: Buzzard Point | Capitol Riverfront, DC
When: Friday, 6:30-9pm
Admission: Free ($20/car donation suggested)
Catch a family holiday movie from the comfort of your car! The Capitol Riverfront BID is presenting a festive flick at the drive-in. See Love Actually and enjoy some holiday treats, too. Kilwins, one of the Wharf restaurants, will be onsite selling hot chocolate, popcorn, candy, and other goodies! The drive-in is free to attend with registration, but movie-goers are encouraged to make a $20 donation to DC Central Kitchen.

Holiday Movie Pajama Party
Where: The Boro | Tysons, VA
When: Saturday, 10:15am, 10:30, & 10:45am
Admission: $8

The Boro is teaming up with ShowPlace ICON Theatre for a holiday movie marathon. Grab your coziest pair of pajamas and enjoy your favorite holiday classics. Register in advance to see Elf at 10:15am, The Polar Express at 10:30am, or Dr. Suess’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas at 10:45am. The pajama party continues after the movie with music, crafts, photos, and more in the lobby.

Alif Ba Opening Celebration
Where: National Children’s Museum | Downtown DC
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: $15.95

A new visiting exhibit that explores the Arabic alphabet opens at the Museum on Saturday — and they’re celebrating with special activities. Named for the Arabic term for the “ABCs,” the Alif Ba Exhibition brings the Arabic alphabet and language to life with 28 hands-on letter displays in the Museum’s Creative Corner. At Saturday’s event, there will also be Arabic calligraphy, animal name yoga, story time, an Arba music demonstration, and mosaic tile making. Read more abot the Museum here.

Model Trains & Thomas
Where: Historic Vienna Train Station | 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. The Polar Express will be running, too! A great family activity for the young and young at heart. The Vienna Depot is located at 231 Dominion Road NE in Vienna, VA. Masks required for all visitors age 2 and older regardless of vaccination status. Hand sanitizer will be available.

Where: The REACH | Kennedy Center, DC
When: Saturday, 2pm
Admission: Free

Watch and listen as hundreds of tuba, sousaphone, and euphonium players from around DC play traditional Christmas music at the 48th annual Merry Tubachristmas! The Millennium Stage show will take place outside on The REACH plaza.  Make a day of it and visit the Victura Park Winter Holiday Market while you’re there and enjoy the Kennedy Center’s beautiful outdoor areas.

Search for Santa’s Helpers
Where: Potomac Overlook Park | Arlington, VA
When: Saturday through Tuesday, 11am – 3pm
Admission: $5/child

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.  No reservations are needed, but check in at the Nature Center  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 awhile back — but pretty much still applicable now.

Market Days
Where: Around the DC Area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by market

Add some fun to your holiday shopping! What might be a stressful activity for many this time of year, can actually be good time for you and the kids — if you know where to go. Many local holiday markets offer more than the standard browse-and-buy. Live entertainment, yummy treats, fun activities, and the chance to shop outdoors in a festive atmosphere will keep your inner-Scrooge at bay as you pick out perfect gifts for all. The Downtown Holiday Market, Victura Park Holiday Market,  Eastern Market, and Christmas Village in Baltimore are some running this weekend, and you can find details for all of them in the KFDC Guide to the Holiday Season.

Live Holiday Entertainment
Where: Local theatres
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by venue

If you’re looking for holiday-inspired entertainment to get into the spirit, there is a lot to choose from! Courderoy is on the Imagination Stage.  Adventure Theatre and The Puppet Co. have performances especially for little ones. Washington Ballet’s The Nutcracker will enchant audiences of all ages.  And Cinderella is sweeping across the Synetic Theatre stage. Get details on all of these shows and see what else is coming up soon in the KFDC Guide to the Holiday Season in the DC Area.

Step Afrika’s Magical, Musical Holiday Step Show
Where: Atlas Performing Arts Center | H Street NE, DC
When: Through Sunday
Tickets: $25-45 

This one deserves its own listing because it’s a fave (and it’s run ends this weekend): Step Afrika!’s Magical Musical Holiday Step Show is the most vibrant holiday celebration in town (and we know from many years’ experience!) This fun, family-friendly performance will have you stomping your feet and clapping your hands to energetic beats from Step Afrika! and special guest, DJ Frosty the Snowman. The internationally renowned percussive dance company has created a contemporary holiday tradition at the Atlas, featuring friendly, furry characters, fun photo ops, and a festive dance party.

Once Upon a One More Time
Where: Sidney Harman Hall | Penn Quarter, DC
When: Through January 9
Admission: $82-145 | Find Discount

This fantastic show presented by Shakespeare Theatre Company reimagines classic fairytales as it empowers the princesses in them — all to the tune of Britney Spears’ music! It’s a fun and funny, pop-fueled show with entertaining song and dance numbers, stellar performances, and a great message, to boot. And seeing it on the heels of Britney being freed from her conservatorship adds a little extra something. Its run has just been extended to January 9, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it sells out! I’d recommend the show for tween ages and up.

Holly TrolleyFest
Where: National Capitol Trolley Museum | Colesville, MD
When: Saturday
Admission: $7/adults, $5/ages 2-17 (includes unlimited rides)
Visit a unique DC area museum and enjoy some holiday cheer! Take a ride on a street car; check out Winter in Washington, a special exhibit celebrating the season with street cars in the Nation’s Capital; see the Winter Garden Railway and Street Car Hall… and, who knows, maybe Santa will make an appearance, too.

Christmas Illuminations
Mount Vernon Estate | Mount Vernon, VA
When: Friday & Saturday
Admission: $48-60/adult, $26-38/child

Kick off the holidays with an evening of family-friendly fun and fireworks choreographed to holiday music, with fireworks beginning around 8:30pm. Take a stroll through the estate while being serenaded by local choirs, visit with re-enactors from the First Virginia Regiment, and learn 18th-century dance moves from costumed guides. George and Martha Washington will also be on site to greet Mount Vernon’s holiday guests. Tickets: $35 adult/$25 youth with Mansion tour, $30 adult/$20 youth.

A Family Christmas
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: Saturday, 2pm
Tickets: $20-45 (look for discount)

Bring the kids for an unforgettable holiday experience as the Choral Arts Chorus fills the concert hall with holiday classics just for them!

Jingle Jam
Where: Capital Turnaround | Capitol Riverfront, DC
When: Saturday, 4-7pm
Admission: Free

“Mix and a-mingle” with friends, family, and neighbors at this special Christmas concert in the newly opened Capital Turnaround. See the space decked out for Christmas, and enjoy crafts, holiday portraits, hot beverages, and a special performance by the U.S. Marine Band clarinet ensemble. Tickets are free, but register in advance.

Photos with Santa
Where: The Salt Line | Capitol Riverfront, DC
When: Sunday, 3-5pm
Admission: $10

The Big Man himself is visiting Capitol Riverfront a few days early for Photos with Santa. Kids, kids at heart, and pets are all welcome to register for a photo which comes with a complimentary warm beverage from The Salt Line. All ticket proceeds will be donated to St. Baldrick’s Foundation for Childhood Cancer Research. Get your tickets ASAP — they’re almost sold out!

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:  During this time of year (from November through mid-March), there is no fee to roam the beautiful, enchanting garden at Dumbarton Oaks.  Stroll among the various plats, find lovely tucked away places to sit, and enjoy a delightful, relaxing wander around the grounds. Hours are limited, but you can make a longer day of it with play time at Montrose Park next door, some holiday shopping along M Street, and/or a bite to eat at one of of the many options in Georgetown. This KFDC post about Dumbarton also has some nearby food recs and this one from earlier KFDC days has more info and scenes.

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 many parks or corridors 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.

* In case you missed it earlier this week, KFDC writer Emily shared some excellent stocking stuffer ideas for little ones.
* And if you’re in need of last minute present ideas for all ages, don’t forget about the KFDC Gift Guide.  Many of the suggestions are experiences that can be purchased easily online and emailed or printed to give.
* Another one to note: Arena Stage has a great holiday sale going on — 3 plays for $99!
* Practical gift for your house?  This is the best of its kind that we’ve ever owned, and totally worth it (imo).
* Extra festive restaurants for Christmas dining around DC, from Washingtonian.
* NY Times Cooking’s 50 most popular recipes of the year.
* We hope Teddy the pup will like this gift as much as we will.
* A great round-up of bingeable movies, TV shows, and podcasts.
* Top cartoons on IG in 2021 (New Yorker).
* May the holiday spirit make us all feel like this!


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

2 Responses to The Weekend Round-Up: December 17-19

  1. Shelly McKenzie

    The Yards Park event has been cancelled. I had tickets and got an email.

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