The Weekend Round-Up:
November 17-19

The Downtown Holiday Market brings seasonal magic to the city starting this weekend


Happy Weekend!

Easy links to jump start your local adventures:
* Best Outdoors in the DC Area
* The Great Indoors
* Off-the-Beaten-Path Museums
Autumn Adventures
* Local Hikes with Kids
* Kid-Friendly Eats
* Bike Rides
* Baltimore with Kids
* Peaceful Places

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

This is, to me, the holiday market in DC. It’s not even so much about the merchandise for sale (though there’s always an excellent variety of gift items — I never leave empty handed). There’s something about the city block in the middle of Penn Quarter transforming into an open air market for a few weeks that is so charming and kind of magical. A bonus is the free live entertainment along with treats and coffee drinks available for purchase. And after you’ve done your shopping and enjoyed a snack and music, you can pop into the National Portrait Gallery/American Art Museum that are literally right next to the market.

Roam Free
Where: Dumbarton Oaks Gardens | Georgetown, DC
When: Throughout the weekend, 2-5pm
Admission: Free

One of my favorite KFDC tips to impart because it’s one 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 places 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, a hike at Dumbarton Oaks Park right behind the gardens, 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.

The Lion, the Witch , and the Wardrobe
Where: Adventure Theatre | Glen Echo, MD
When: Through January 7
Tickets: $25

In a two-person version of the classic tale, Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy discover a secret portal to a magical world called Narnia. With an evil White Witch ruling the kingdom, can Lucy, her new friend Mr. Tumnus, and her family band together to save this land from the eternal winter? Read a review of the show from a few years back — the production is the same, just different actors.

Enchanted Pages Community Day
Where: Planet Word
When: Saturday, 10am – 6pm
Admission: Free

In honor of 25 new interactive books being inducted into Planet Word’s magical, interactive Library, the museum is hosting this free, all-day event featuring book-inspired activities for people of all ages. Drop in for a bit or stay all day. Explore all three floors, connect with some of the authors featured in Planet Word’s magical library, and much more! See more event details here and read more about the wonderful Planet Word in this KFDC post.

Watch the Wizards
Where: Capital One Arena | Penn Quarter, DC
When: Friday, 7pm
Admission: Tickets start at $32

The Wizards are playing at home Friday evening. Catch the action on the court as they play the New York Knicks.  Plan on a pre-game meal in Penn Quarter — some family-friendly recs: Jaleo, Carmine’s, Reren, and Shake Shack.

DCPL Book Bike Ride
Where: Libraries around Capitol Hill, DC
When: Saturday, 10:30am – 12:30pm
Admission: Free

Join an extra special edition of Hill Family Biking — the new DC Public Library Book e-Bike will be joining as the honorary grand marshal. Ride around to the libraries on the Hill starting at Eastern Market Metro Plaza to talk about the upcoming SE Library renovations, do a few laps around NE Library, then end at Rosedale Library for story time and letter writing to DDOT to let them know how excited you are for some upcoming street safety projects. Register in advance!

Let There Be Lights
Where: Around the area
When: Evenings
Admission: Varies by locale

Twinkling lights forming enchanting displays are easily a holiday season favorite.  A few opened last weekend, and several more are starting to welcome guests to their sparkling wonderlands.  A few are listed in this round-up, and you can see other locations here.  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. Either way, be prepared to be dazzled!

Montgomery County Thanksgiving Parade
Where: Silver Plaza | Downtown Silver Spring, MD
When: Saturday, 10am – 12pm
Admission: Free

Larger than life inflatable turkeys and penguins, glittering floats, marching bands, dancing groups, and Santa and his elves!  The Montgomery County Thanksgiving Parade is the only one of its kind in the metro DC area.  Held in downtown Silver Spring, it traditionally heralds the start of the holiday season. The parade steps off from Ellsworth Drive and Fenton Street and proceeds south on Georgia Avenue, ending at Silver Spring Avenue.

Kids DIY Workshop
Where: Lowes locations around the DC Area
When: Saturday, 9am – 12pm
Admission: Free

Lowes is hosting their monthly in-person workshop for kids. This Saturday, celebrate Thanksgiving in a unique way with your mini DIYer as you build a Turkey Photo Holder. You’ll leave with a hand-made toy that’s as fun to play with as it is to create. Be sure to register in advance before Saturday!

A Gem of an Event
Where: George Mason University | Fairfax, VA
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: $6/adult, $4/ages 13-17, $3/12 & under

Kids (and adults!) who like fossils, rocks, and/or gems are in for a treat. Northern Virginia’s 30th Annual Mineral, Gem, & Fossil show will have all that and then some. Around 20 dealers will be selling collectibles, plus there will be demonstrations, exhibits, door prizes & kids activities, including mini-mines and a fossil dig. This takes place in Dewberry Hall in the Johnson Center at George Mason University.

Art & Me Preservation Family Workshop
Where: Sackler Gallery | National Mall, DC
When: Saturday, 11am – 12:30pm & 2-4pm
Admission: Free

In this family program, visit the special exhibition Palace Life Unfolds: Conserving a Chinese Lacquer Screen and explore how art and science collide when conservators preserve precious works of art. Then, return to the ImaginAsia studio to learn more about the process of repairing a work of art with Smithsonian conservators and educators and make your own creation to take home.  This program is designed for children ages 3–8 with adult participation.

Celebrate Petworth
Where: 800 block of Upshur St. NW | Petworth, DC
When: Saturday, 11am – 5pm
Admission: Free

This free neighborhood festival is organized by and for the residents of Petworth, but all are welcome to enjoy. Celebrating the creativity, diversity, culture, and people of Petworth and its surrounding neighborhoods, festivities include Petworth history storytelling, live music and performers, kids activities, tasty food, and a dog show. View the schedule here.

Family Fun
Where: Freer Gallery | National Mall, DC
When: Saturday, 2-4pm
Admission: Free

Join museum docents in the Peacock Room and in the Japanese art exhibition Rinpa Screens for engaging and collaborative hands-on activities that are geared toward families with children ages 5 and up. Exciting stories, scavenger hunts, sketching, and other activities will bring the whole family together to imagine, create, and learn.

Garden of Lights
Where: Brookside Gardens | Wheaton, MD
When: Through December 31
Admission: $10/age 5+

One of our faves, Garden of Lights is a magical winter wonderland illuminated with more than one million dazzling colorful lights shaped into hand-crafted, original art forms of flowers, animals, and other natural elements. Stroll from garden to garden enjoying twinkling tree forms, sparkling fountains, and whimsical winter scenes. Afterwards, warm up inside the Visitors Center — sip hot cocoa and listen to one of the nightly musical performances. KFDC Tip: Go on a weekday if you can swing it to avoid crowds. View scenes from one of our past visits there. [Note that it is not open November 20-23 and December 24-25.]

Winter City Lights
Where: 501 Olney Laytonsville Rd | Olney, MD
When: Starting Saturday thru December 30
Admission: Starts at $39/adult, $31/youth, free/4 & under

This magical holiday experience consists of one million twinkling lights spread across 18-acres of an outdoor winter wonderland where it is guaranteed to “snow” every night. The largest light show in the DC area and Baltimore area, Winter City Lights claims to be one of the most technologically advanced Christmas light experiences in the country. Complete with 14 bonfires, it includes an enchanted 1.5-mile long trail of Christmas lights and displays through the woods, a 52-foot high programmable Christmas lights tree and light show, a 200-foot diameter canopy of Christmas lights. There’s also an eight lane Snow Tubing Ride, s’mores, funnel cakes, and more!

ICE, ICE, Baby
Where: National Harbor, MD
When: Starts Sunday thru December 31
Admission: Starts $27.99/child & $36.99/adult, free/under 3 

The popular holiday spectacle, ICE!, begins on Sunday, and tickets are still available for opening day. This year it’s with a “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” theme, and you walk through frozen holiday scenes depicting the story and slide down small ice slides — all kept at a very chilly 9 degrees. Read more about it, plus other National Harbor holiday activities, in this post form last year.

All Caps
Where: Capital One Arena | Penn Quarter, DC
When: Saturday, 7:30pm
Admission: Start at $25 (check for deals)
The Caps are back on. the ice, and you can see them in action on Saturday evening as they host the Columbus Blue Jackets. Plan on a pre-game meal in Penn Quarter — there are plenty of family-friendly places to go in the neighborhood. Some recs: Jaleo, Camine’s, Shake Shack, and Oyamel.

Skaters Gonna Skate
Where: Ice rinks around the DC area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by rink

Glide the day away as several area outdoor ice rinks are welcoming skaters for the season. Meander your way around Canal Park Ice Rink. Skate in Georgetown at the Washington Harbour. Do some shopping and snacking along with your skating at Pentagon Row in Arlington. Practice your axles and triple lutzes at Reston Town Center. Or find another rink where you can skate under the sky (or stars) or indoors. This post has details on this season’s ice skating spots.

A Year with Frog and Toad
Where: Imagination Stage | Bethesda, MD
When: Through January 7
Tickets: $12-44 (look for discount)

A musical celebration of friendship and holiday fun! In this hit Broadway musical, two best friends with opposite personalities wake up from hibernation and enjoy hilarious adventures through the seasons. Light-hearted, with a sprinkle of nostalgia, this show is inspired by the acclaimed children’s books.

The Winter’s Tale
Where: Folger Theatre | Capitol Hill, DC
When: Through December 17
Tickets: $20-58

After being closed for two years for renovations, the Folger Shakespeare Library is beginning its reopening with the theatre and this Shakespeare play… With the magic and fantastical elements of a fairy tale, Shakespeare’s astonishing romance is a thrilling journey filled with emotional depth, extreme behavior, complex relationships—and a bear in pursuit. A tribute to the magic of storytelling, The Winter’s Tale presents a rich tapestry of love, strife, hope, human folly, and resurrection. A wonderful show for the season!

A Christmas Carol
Where: Ford’s Theatre | Penn Quarter, DC
When: Starting Saturday thru December 31
Tickets: $25-104 (look for discount)
Join the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future as they lead the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge on a journey of transformation and redemption. Originally conceived by Michael Baron, this music-infused production captures the magic and joy of Dickens’s Yuletide classic. Acclaimed actor Craig Wallace returns to play Ebenezer Scrooge. Recommended for ages 5 and up. Performance is two hours (including a 15-minute intermission). Read a KFDC review of last year’s show.

Savor Autumn
Where: Around the DC area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

The trees may be starting to lose their leaves, but there’s still plenty of autumn left in the area — and a bunch of great ways to enjoy it. This post has recommendations for where to savor the season around the DMV.

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

Don’t let the cooler temps stop you from getting out.  Bundle up and  enjoy the sunshine with some time on the trail. Peep the last of 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 specific recs for right now:  Scott’s Run Nature Preserve in McLean, Fountainhead Regional Park in Fairfax, Kingman & Heritage Islands in Northeast DC, Quiet Waters Park in Annapolis.

* ‘Tis the season for holiday shopping, and this KFDC Gift Guide is full of DC-inspired ideas.
* And as we had into the season of giving, it’s a good time to check out ways to give back.
* Just tried Love, Makoto, the new(ish) Japanese food hall, and happy to report I love Love, Makoto.
* A great local IG account to follow, but I’m sharing this particular post for the heartwarming message.
* After some trial and error, I finally found sunglasses that I love.
* Great sales this weekend: J. Crew, West Elm, Anthro, Backcountry.
* Whoa, this one really resonates.
* In honor of my birthday this weekend, I’ll conclude with this. 🙂

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