The Weekend Round-Up:
November 25-27

The beloved holiday season train display is back at the Botanic Garden


At this time of giving thanks, I have to say a huge THANK YOU to the KFDC community.  Whether you’re a longtime reader or just discovered my blog, follow regularly or just stop by from time to time, I am so grateful for all of you — your interest and support.  I wouldn’t be doing this if it wasn’t for your curiosity, desire for quality family time, and enthusiasm for new adventures around our beloved city. Happy Thanksgiving!  And, as always…

Happy Weekend!

Quick links to go-to posts full of ideas for local fun:
Best Outdoors in the DC Area
 The Great Indoors
 Autumn Adventures
Local Hikes with Kids
Bike Rides
Off-the-Beaten-Path Museums
Peaceful Places
Baltimore with Kids

Thanksgiving Day Play
Where: Around the Dc area
When: Thursday (and beyond)
Admission: Varies by activity

How about a side of recreation to go with your Thanksgiving meal? If you’re looking for pre- or post-feast activities, this post suggests some ways to complement the main event of the day.

Where: Around the DC area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

This initiative started by REI a few years ago was so good it became one of the most popular hashtags… Skip the Black Friday shopping (or do it off-hours online) and get out to enjoy some family QT outdoors. You’ve got your pick of places around the DC-Metro for adventures in the fresh air. Take a hike, hit a playground, explore a garden, or see what else there is to do al fresco in this post with loads of inspiration for fun in the sun.

Season’s Greenings
Where: US Botanic Garden | Capitol Hill, DC
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free

What is easily DC’s most popular holiday attraction is back inside the the Botanic Garden this year! The conservatory exhibit features Washington landmarks constructed from plant materials and one of the city’s largest Christmas trees. But the highlight is the garden railway, which never fails to impress and enchant with intricate, imaginative designs. This year it has a farming theme with agricultural scenes fro around the US. Even better (imo), it’s back outdoors in the National Garden!  For even more holiday magic at the USBG, see it all twinkle as it stays open until 8pm on Tuesday evenings.  Get a glimpse of a past exhibit in this post with scenes from the exhibit. For more on the seasonal favorite, see this post and this one about some of our Season’s Greenings experiences.

Animation Fest
Where: National Gallery of Art | National Mall, DC
When: Friday, 10am – 5pm
Admission: Free

Experience the wonderful world of animation in a daylong program for all ages. Pop into a wide variety of films, make animations of your own, and explore the many connections between animation and artistic expression in a special performance with artist Eric Dyer. No registration required, but all events are first come, first served.

Skate Under the Sky — on the National Mall
Where: National Gallery of Art Ice Rink | National Mall, DC
When: Opens Friday (t
hrough Mid-March)
Admission: $10/age 13+ , $9/under 13 & seniors

It’s opening weekend for the NGA ice rink.  And if there is one quintessential DC ice skating experience, this is it (imo).  I mean, you’re gliding at a locale right on the National Mall surrounded by big, fantastic art installations with iconic sights and places nearby.  How cool is that? Make a day of it with time on the ice, visit a museum (or two…or more), and stop by the US Botanic Garden to see the delightful Season’s Greenings.  And for more area places to skate the day (and night) away, see this post with all the details you need to get gliding.

World Cup Pizza Specials
Where: Pizza Paradiso | Georgetown, DC
When: Friday, 1:30
Admission: The cost of your meal

Pizzeria Paradiso is hosting “Games in the Game Room” for the opening US World Cup games. For $20 get a nine-inch pizza and a draft beer, or take advantage of the $35 “All You Can Eat Pizza” deal that include limitless pizza plus up to 4 select drafts. You can also compete in arcade games, pinball, and more while teams compete. The game room will open 30 minutes before kick-off at 1:30pm as the US vs England game starts at 2pm.

Where: National Building Museum | Judiciary Square, DC
When: Friday – Sunday, 10am – 5pm
Admission: $10/adult, $7/child, free/members

See the results of Canstruction, the creative design-build competition that benefits the Capital Area Food Bank as teams from DC architecture and design firms use their skills to build sculptures out of cans of food; this year, it’s based on the theme “Sports: Score One Against Hunger.” The sculptures are all complete, and you can vote for your favorite with the donation of a canned good. Of course, plan to view the exhibits while you’re there!

Small Business Saturday
Where: Around the DC area
When: Saturday
Admission: Free, but plan to buy & support local

If you’re planning to do some holiday shopping this weekend, make a point of going to local, independent stores, both to score great, unique gifts and to support people and places that help make our communities thrive. The KFDC Holiday Gift Guide has all kinds of suggestions for gifts from many local businesses.

Train Ornament Workshop
Where: Home Depot locations around DC
When: Saturday, 9am – 1pm
Admission: Free

Head to Home Depot for their free monthly workshop that welcomes kids to complete a hands-on project, this weekend a train ornament to hang on your holiday tree. All attendees must be accompanied by a parent or adult at all times. All supplies are provided, including a little apron, and kids get to keep their craft along with a certificate of achievement and collectible pin (while supplies last).  Register in advance!

Where: Nationals Park | Capitol Riverfront, DC
When: Through January 1
Admission: $29-39/adult, $29/child, free 2 & under

The bedazzling holiday attraction is back at Nationals Park starting this weekend!  There was a ton of buzz about it during its inaugural run in 2019, and I thought it was deserving. The sprawling Christmas light maze and market is dazzling and delightful and really captures the spirit of the holidays.  Read a KFDC review of it from back then, including tips for visiting (that still apply this year). Purchase tickets here, and note there are some discounts for seniors, military, and EMS.

The Day You Begin
Where: The Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: $20-25

This new musical is based on the bestselling children’s book by author Jacqueline Woodson. The plot: the first day at a new school with diverse new people; the setting: a familiar, yet more vividly modern elementary school classroom. The message? The day you truly “begin” is when you discover what makes you unique, but also the same as people who may seem so different.  Read a full review of the show by KFDC Contributor Emily Moise.

Holiday Magic at Gaylord National
Where: National Harbor | Oxon Hill, MD
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free, though some activities cost extra

The Gaylord National Hotel at National Harbor goes all out during the holidays. The atrium of the resort is transformed into a winter wonderland, complete with a spectacular glass Christmas tree, nightly tree lightings, the Potomac Express train offering rides for guests, photo ops with Santa, indoor snowfalls, fountain shows, and more. This year there will also be Ice Bumper Cars, a Snow Factory “Snowball Build & Blast,” The Greatest Story Stage Show, Ice Slides, and of course, the popular ICE! exhibition of A Christmas Story themed ice sculptures.

Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed: The Rock Experience
Where: Imagination Stage | Bethesda, MD
When: Through January 8
Admission: $25-39
It’s a new, high-energy musical to rock the holiday season! When clothing suddenly falls from the sky, Wilbur J. Mole Rat stuns the colony with his decision to get dressed! In a community where baring is caring and skin is in, can Wilbur find the courage to rock to the rhythm of his own electric guitar? Based on Mo Willem’s beloved picture book, the show explores what can happen when we have the courage to be ourselves.

Holidays on the Stage
Where: Local theatres
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by venue

If you’re looking for holiday-inspired entertainment to get into the spirit, it’s starting!  The Nutcracker at the Warner Theatre is a classic that will enchant audiences of all ages.  Or take littles to see a version on strings at The Puppet Co.  Join the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future as they lead Scrooge on A Christmas Carol journey at Ford’s Theatre. Get details on these shows and see what else is coming up soon in the 2022 Guide to the Holiday Season.

Holiday Tree Lighting
Where: The Park | CityCenter, DC
When: Saturday, 6pm
Admission: Free

Kick off the holiday season with CityCenter’s annual tree lighting celebration. The 75-foot tree, one of the largest in the city, is decorated with more than 150,000 lights and 4,500 ornaments that will be a brilliant sight when its lit. More festivities face painting and balloon art, sweet and savory treats from CityCenter favorites, and a few surprises will have everyone dreaming of a whimsical snow-filled holiday.

The Queen’s Cartoonists Holiday Hurrah!
Where: George Mason University Center for the Arts
When: Sunday, 4-6 PM
Admission: Tickets 

The Queen’s Cartoonists perform music from cartoons! Pulling from over 100 years of animation, TQC’s performances are perfectly synchronized to the films projected on stage. The band matches the energy of the cartoons, leading the audience through a world of virtuosic musicianship, multi-instrumental mayhem, and comedy. The Holiday Hurrah will feature a vocalist and plenty of silliness.

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

There’s still some autumn splendor left to enjoy. With pleasant temps and foliage still brightening the landscape, this weekend will be a good time to relish in the season. This post has recommendations for where to savor it around the area.

Night Lights
Where: Around the DMV
When: Evenings throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

Twinkling lights forming enchanting displays are easily a holiday season favorite. Several parks and gardens in the area have transformed into sparkling wonderlands. Some you can walk through for an up-close experience, others you tour by car. If you opt for the latter, dress the kids in PJ’s, turn up the holiday tunes, and bring along a thermos of hot chocolate — it doesn’t get much cozier than that.

Where: National Zoo | Woodley Park, DC
When: Friday – Sunday, 5-9pm
Admission: Free, but passes are required

Highlighting this beloved light display because it’s back for the first time since Covid.  Thousands of environmentally-friendly lights and animal lanterns transform the Zoo into a holiday wonderland in the evenings. There are also live music performances, tasty winter treats. and lots of opportunities for holiday shopping. Note that you must have passes to visit, and whl eit looks like they might be  sold out for this weekend, I’m still including this here in case they release more.

Downtown Holiday Market
Where: 8th & F Streets NW | Penn Quarter, DC
When: Through December 23, 12-8pm
Admission: Free

The DC holiday market (to me, anyway) begins today. It’s a bit different this year as new safety measures are implemented, but the few blocks in the middle of Penn Quarter will still transform into a charming open air market with a great variety of art and wares for sale, treats to savor, and entertainment — though that last part will be presented on video screens instead of live on stage.

The Inside Scoop
Where: Around the DC Area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by place

If you’re specifically seeking indoor fun or just want ideas for extra activities, there are plenty of options for things to do inside. This post has over 100 suggestions.  Some specific recs for this weekend: Explore the STEAM inspired exhibits at the National Children’s Museum, wander among the works at the National Gallery of Art, scale the colorful walls at ClimbZone, go bowling and enjoy a family meal at Pinstripes.

* Now that we’ve hit Thanksgiving, the holiday season is really in full swing, so be sure to keep the KFDC Guide to the Holiday Season handy to help make the time merry and bright.
* Chess, anyone? Magnus Chess Academy, which runs chess programs for kids, has a special Cyber Monday offer going on now through November 29!
* There’s going to be a new immersive light display here…learn more about the area’s first Winter Lantern Festival!
* A great (long) list of holiday movies to watch with kids.
* NPR’s 2022 Books We Love.
* Anthro’s Black Friday Sale is so good: 30% off regular priced items, 50% off sale. (Just bought and wore this… it’s so pretty and comfy, but still a little bit sexy with that neckline, and will work for lots of occasions and seasons.)
* At Hanna Andersson, get 50% off sitewide + extra 20% off clearance + free shipping!
* J. Crew is offering a whopping 50% off purchases. (FYI, the kids crewcuts section is adorable.)
* Nordstrom has tons of great deals, too.
* Ha, I remember this phase.
* How awesome is this?
* Happy Thanksgiving! 🙂

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