For another weekend, I’m keeping it simple as we wind down 2022. This post doesn’t contain the usual round-up of event listings, but these links will still lead you to ideas galore to help fill the next few days with as much (or little) activity as you want. You can also check KFDC on Instagram and Facebook for any updates or extra ideas that might arise.
A daytime balloon drop to ring in the new year, family-style
The countdown to 2023 is on, and if you’re looking for ways to ring it in with young revelers, you have many options! There are a bunch of family-friendly ways to celebrate around the area, from organized events to plan-it-yourself activities. Here are details and inspiration for your gang to get in on the fun — all of them taking place on December 31 unless otherwise noted. Happy New Year!
Rocknoceros New Year’s Eve Party
Where: Jammin Java | Vienna, VA
When: 11am (doors open 10am)
The widely popular band that always gets kids rockin’ will be back at Jammin Java to play a special New Year’s Eve concert. The hour-long program will include live music from the favorite area family-jam band, interactive New Year’s resolutions, the Ball Drop, and a complimentary apple juice toast. Doors open at 10am and general admission seating is on a first come, first served basis.
Noon Yards Eve
Where: The Yards Park | Capitol Riverfront, DC
When: 10am – 1pm
[Note: The event page says tickets are sold out, but @theyardsdc IG post implies that tickets are not needed.] The Yards is once again hosting its annual Noon Yards Eve festival to ring in 2023! The event will transform the park’s Sun Deck into a family-friendly New Year’s Eve celebration with fun for both kids and adults. Free festivities include whimsical train rides, an inflatable slide, glitter tattoos, carnival games, music from DJ Alex Love, crafts, a magician, and more. It all culminates in a big balloon drop at noon!
Family New Year’s Party
Where: metrobar | Northeast DC
Admission: Free, but reserve a spot
Jump aboard the “way-before-midnight” train at metrobar’s family-friendly celebration starting late afternoon, with festive cocktails from the new winter menu and kids activities and games. Don’t worry about the cold…they have fire pits, patio heaters, and plenty of deck heat lamps to go around. That, along with a selection of hot cocktails, will keep you warm as you celebrate 2023.
First Night Alexandria
Where: Old Town | Alexandria, VA
When: Starting at 6pm
Admission: Free – $75
The largest family-focused and alcohol-free New Year’s Eve event in the region. See more than 100 performances on indoor stages throughout Old Town Alexandria. Entertainers include blue grass musicians, honky-tonk bands, clowns, magicians and classical musicians. End the evening with a spectacular fireworks display on the Potomac River at the foot of King Street! See the website for pricing as it varies by age and timing.
Where: NMAAHC | National Mall, DC
When: 11am – 3pm
[Note: Tickets to this event are currently sold out, but there’s a chance more may become available, and you can sign up to be notified if they do.]. The National Museum of African American History & Culture is hosting an afternoon of festivities to honor the day. New Year’s Eve has been a cause for celebration since December 31, 1862, when enslaved people in the Confederate States stayed up until midnight to watch and wait for the freedom granted by the Emancipation Proclamation. Join the museum to celebrat with activities that invite you to consider your hopes and dreams for the future, learn about the past, and dine on foods that will bring luck and good fortune.
New Year’s Eve Around the World
Where: Children’s Science Center Lab | Fairfax, VA
When: 10am, 1pm, & 3:30pm
Admission: $15 (adults, too)
Ring in 2023 STEM-style and enjoy New Year’s Eve fun without the late night! At this activity spot in Fair Oaks Mall known for hands-on, STEM-based activuities, the day’s fun will include kid-engineered sound shakers, sparkly slime, a Ball Drop at ‘Midnight,’ and a sparkling cider toast! Three, two-hour time slots are available, so you can celebrate at the Lab at a time that works for your family. Read more about the LAB in this KFDC post.
Where: Theatres around the DC area
When: Times vary by show
Admission: Ticket prices vary by show
Make the last day of the year special with some live entertainment. Many local stages will be presenting all kinds of shows on New Year’s Eve. See Naked Mole Rate Gets Dressed at Imagination Stage, A Soldier’s Play at the Kennedy Center, Beauty and the Beast at Olney Theatre, Into the Woods at Signature, or a A Christmas Carol at Ford’s Theatre. There are even a (very) few tickets left for Wicked at the Kennedy Center. More details for all of them are in this round-up of local live entertainment.
Watch Night New Year’s Eve Celebration
Where: 100 Block of West Broad Street | Falls Church, VA
When: 7pm – Midnight
Ring in the New Year with free, family-friendly festivities at Falls Church’s annual New Year’s Eve celebration. Enjoy food, music, singing, dancing, entertainment, performances and interactive festivities that appeal to all ages. Highlights include inflatable bouncy fun, a climbing wall, balloon art, karaoke, face painting, puppet shows, and special Watch Night menus at local restaurants. All events take place within a four-block area that begins on the 100 Block of West Broad Street.
Where: Maryland Science Center | Baltimore, MD
When: 10am – 2pm
Admission: $26.95/adult, $20.95/3-12, free/2 & under
Join the MSC for their annual New Year’s Eve celebration, Midnight Noon, where kids can enjoy the ball drop before bedtime. There will be fun New Year’s festivities throughout the day, including a live concert by Marsha and the Pistrons . And, of course, the rest of the museum will be open to explore — read all about here. All activities are free with paid admission (and completely free to members).
Noontime New Year
Where: Port Discovery | Baltimore, MD
When: 10am – 5pm
Admission: $21.95 ages 2+
The children’s museum in Baltimore is hosting its annual New Year’s Eve celebration! The day will feature special hands-on, winter-themed activities such as Snow Fun and a Polar Bear Party. And the multi-level space offers tons of ongoing fun for kids and families. And at 12 noon, Port Discovery’s first ever New Year’s ball will be lowered! Read more about the wonderful spot for kids here.
New Year’s Night Lights
Where: Around the DC area
When: After dark
Admission: Varies by locale
Start your own family New Year’s Eve tradition with a seasonal treat: Bundle up for a stroll or take a drive through one of several spectacular light displays! Most of the light shows that dazzle this time of year are open on New Year’s Eve. If you’re enjoying it from the comfort of a car, pack a thermos of hot chocolate, yummy snacks, and prepare a festive playlist for the ride.
Glide into 2023
Where: Ice rinks around the DC area
When: Throughout the day & evening
Admission: Varies by rink
Skate under the stars to celebrate the start of the new year. Gliding on ice surrounded by twinkling lights, art sculptures, and/or the hubbub of people in festive spirits is a fun, active way to revel. Be sure to check times for each rink, as hours may change for the holiday.
Swoosh into 2023
Where: Ski Liberty | Carroll Valley, PA
When: 9am – 10pm
Admission: Lift tickets start at $80/child
Hit the slopes to ring in the new year! Ski Liberty’s celebration will include food samples, family games in the courtyard, a torchlight parade when the sun goes down, as well as the live music of Mark English in McKee’s Tavern and Freddie Long Band in the Eagle & The Owl! And if you’re not keen on skiing, there’s snow tubing, too, with special NYE festivities from 6-10pm.
Know of any New Year’s Eve events or activities that you don’t see here? Leave a comment and let us know!
We first experienced Enchant, the holiday light extravaganza at Nationals Park, when it debuted in DC in 2019. As I relayed in this review, we all loved it then, finding the 90,000 square foot light maze beautiful, dazzling, and a really fun way to get into the spirit of the season. When we were invited to visit again this year, I was excited to return, though I wondered how my kids would like it now. Three years makes a big difference at their ages, 16 and 13, and what they liked at 13 and 10 could easily change.
I finally found out last night as we spent the early part of Christmas evening there. (I had hoped to get there sooner in the holiday season, but we’ve had a really busy few weeks, then weather thwarted our plans to go last week). Turns out both kids still really enjoyed it, just a bit differently than last time. This year, there was a story book theme that had you searching for stars to put a broken Santa’s Magic Timepiece back together. While Sasha was gungho about the scavenger hunt a few years ago, she wasn’t so interested this time.
But we all had a fantastic time exploring the sprawling maze of illuminated areas on the ballpark field. There’s something about the twinkling scenes, some of them interactive, with delightful music playing, all where the Nats play that really is, well, enchanting.
Along with the maze, there is also ice skating (extra cost), concessions including yummy warm beverages, a “village” with shops to browse, areas for warming up, and plenty of photo ops. There are other experiences like photos with Santa, though they are no longer being offered.
You can get a better idea of what Enchant is all about in my post from a few years ago — I still think it’s a great holiday season activity if you’re up for a splurge. And just because Christmas is over, that doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy some holiday magic.
Where: Nationals Park | Capitol Riverfront, DC
When: Through January 1
Admission: $25+/adult, $23+/age 3-17
Specials to Note: * On Wednesday, admission is FREE for children! * A Family-4 Pack is available that gets you 20% off admission * Night Owl tickets for admission from 8:30pm on start at $25
Every year around this time, I take a little break over the holiday weekends. So, just like the modified title, I’m keeping this round-up simple — but definitely not leaving you hanging. The links below will still lead you to loads of ideas to fill the next few days with as much (or little) activity as you want, including holiday happenings and ongoing and seasonal fun. You can also check KFDC on Instagram and Facebook for any updates or extra ideas that might arise.
Merry Christmas (& Happy Chanukah) to all… and to all a Happy Weekend!
Stay warm and entertained at the American History’s Museum’s new Culture Wing
1. In case you haven’t heard, there’s winter weather on the way — just in time for the official start of winter. You’ll likely be seeking inside things to do and places to go, so keep The Great Indoors list handy. It has over 100 ideas for outings around the area that take place in the warm comfort of, well, the great indoors.
3. I’ve heard and read great things about this game — and finally found it for a reasonable price! (It was sold out for awhile and only available from third party sellers for much more.)
4. Just a reminder about the KFDC Holiday Gift Guide. If you still need ideas for presents, you’ll find plenty that you can buy with the click of a button or a quick trip to a local shop, many of them supporting area businesses and people that help make DC the amazing, dynamic city it is.