Category Archives: All ages

Music & Stamps Family Day at the National Postal Museum this Saturday!

 

Save the date for this coming Saturday, August 6!  The National Postal Museum is hosting its first in-person Family Day in over two years — and if it’s anything like its pre-pandemic events, it’s sure to be a festive, well organized, and super fun time.

The United States Postal Service recently issued a series of five postage stamps depicting mariachi musicians. Designed by the Postal Museum’s Guest Artist, Rafael Lopez, the stamps joyfully celebrate the vibrant colors and sounds of mariachi music and Mexican culture.

This weekend, you can join Rafael for Music & Stamps Family Day, a celebration of Latinx music and the new mariachi stamps.  He’ll be at the museum leading visitors through stories, musical performances, crafts, and games.

Keeping visitor comfort in mind, a Take-A-Break space will be available throughout the program for anyone who needs to step away from the festivities. And, of course, the rest of the museum is fantastic to explore — I’ve always recommended it as an especially great one with young children.

Music & Stamps Family Day
Where: National Postal Museum | 2 Massachusetts Ave. NE, DC
When: Saturday, August 6, 11am – 4pm
Admission: Free

 

This post is sponsored by the Smithsonian National Postal Museum, however, I only promote events, programs, and places that I genuinely believe in and think will appeal to KFDC readers.

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Filed under 2022, All ages, DC, Museums, Special Event, Summer, Weekend

Scenes from a Visit to the Old Post Office Tower

 

We first went up in the Old Post Office Clock Tower almost 10 years ago.  As mentioned in this post about that visit, I learned about it from a now-defunct deal site, but I didn’t know anyone who had yet been, so it was kind of a great discovery then.  We’ve visited many times since — not only did the Tower become a back pocket place to take out-of-town guests for impressive views of the city, it’s also an easy stroll from the National Mall and the downtown area.

However, until this week, it had been a few years since we visited, as the Tower was closed during Covid and just reopened to the public again in early June. Sasha and I had to run an errand nearby downtown, so we decided to pop in (or should I say up?) and enjoy those city vistas and add a little fun to our outing.

Look for this sign on 12th Street NW to find the entrance

Some things have changed since that first visit I wrote about, so I thought a new post would be a good idea.  It is still operated by the National Park Service, but the building it’s within is now a hotel.  It was the Trump Hotel, but it recently changed hands (sigh of relief!), and is now a Waldorf Astoria.  And you used to access the Clock Tower through the front entrance, but it now has its own entrance at the back of the hotel.

Once inside past security, there’s a long walkway with displays about DC history, the building, and the area where it’s located (did you know it was called “Murder Bay” in the 19th century?).  That leads to the National Park Service area, where a ranger greets and guides guests to the elevator that leads up to the Tower.  It was from the ranger that I learned the NPS was ready to welcome visitors back to the Clock Tower last year, but the Trump organization wouldn’t renew the contact for security at the entrance.  It wasn’t until the Waldorf Astoria took over that security was hired again, and the Tower could officially reopen.

The elevator takes you to the 9th floor, where you can peer down to see the hotel lobby far below and get a good view of the gorgeous glass-paned roof.  From there, you take another elevator to the observation deck.  In the middle is a glass case with all the gears and inner workings of the clock.  [Side note: We once happened to be there when it was time to set the clock to fall back, and they let the kids help turn it — how cool is that?!]

Of course, the main features of the observation deck are the sweeping views of the city from every direction.  You can see so many major structures, and there are displays to help you locate them if you’re not familiar with layout of DC.  Get a glimpse of it all in the photos finishing out this post, but I can assure you these scenes are way better in person.

Old Post Office Clock Tower
Where: Within the Waldorf Astoria Hotel | Downtown DC
Access: Enter at 12th & C Streets NW (on 12th between Pennsylvania & Constitution NW).
When: Daily, 9am – 4pm
Admission: Free

 

A view of the Clock Tower on our way downtown (PS: love the Ukrainian flags lining Pennsylvania Ave along with the US & DC flags)

 

The front of the Waldorf Astoria (but not the entrance to the Clock Tower)

 

North view… so neat to see the rooftop patios

 

South view through plexiglass…museums and more

 

East view, with the Capitol in the distance

 

West view (well, slightly southwest) and the Washington Monument

 

Northwest view… the National Cathedral in the distance

 

Snapping city vistas

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Filed under All ages, DC

Come Fourth: Independence Day Celebrations Around the DC Area

The annual July 4th Parade on Capitol Hill

 

What better place to celebrate Independence Day than in our nation’s capital? This is where the actual Declaration of Independence is housed (and will be read!), and celebrations take place among some of the country’s most iconic landmarks. But the excitement doesn’t stop there. From fireworks over the city and concerts at the Capitol to special events at George Washington’s house to neighborhood parades and ballpark fun, there are loads of ways to revel on July 4th (and 2nd & 3rd!). Here are details on a bunch of them. Happy Independence Day!

National Independence Day Parade
Where: Constitution Avenue NW, 7th-17th Streets | DC
When: July 4, 11:45am
Admission: Free

Many national holidays get a parade in DC, and July 4th is no exception. Scores of spectators always line the Constitution Avenue sidewalks to watch the procession celebrating Independence Day as it make its way from 7th to 17th Street. Marching bands, floats, giant balloons, equestrian groups, drill teams, and military units will be among the pageantry. Stake out your spot along the route early, as this event attracts hundreds of thousands of viewers every year.

Fourth of July Celebration on the Mall
Where: National Mall, DC
When: July 4, all day (and evening)
Admission: Free

After the parade (even earlier for some), the National Mall will begin filling up for a day of July 4th festivities — the Smithsonian Folklife Festival from 7th to 12th Streets, Junior Ranger activities, concerts, and more. And the grand finale of it all: Shortly after 9pm, the sky above will explode with color when the amazing iconic fireworks display begins. Fireworks will be launched from the Reflecting Pool area, so stake out a spot to watch them — on or off the Mall (see tips below for a list of places to view them).

Fourth of July at the Archives
Where: National Archives | National Mall, DC
When: July 4, 9am – 4pm
Admission: Free

Catch the annual dramatic reading of the Declaration of Independence on the steps of the National Archives .  It starts at 10am, but doors open an 9am.  Get there early to get a good seat and enjoy entertainment by the Experience Band and Show. After that, celebrate like it’s 1776! There ill be lots of fun family activities,…meet the Founding Mothers and Fathers, design your own buttons, go on a scavenger hunt, help design the National Archives Building, and sign the Declaration of Independence yourself!

America’s Pastime
Where: Nationals Park | Capitol Riverfront, DC
When: July 4, 11:05am (and July 1-3)
Admission: Ticket prices vary

A day at the ballpark is about as all-American as it gets when it comes to sports, and you can experience it and celebrate the holiday at Nationals Park. The July 4th game against the Marlins is part of the Patriotic Series, when the Nats wear their red, white, and blue, and there are other Independence Day themed activities. And, FYI, the series with the Marlins starts July 1, and there will be post-game Freedom Fireworks, plus more promos for the rest of the games.  Before you purchase tickets, be sure to check this post for tips to save on a Nats game.

A Capitol Fourth
Where: West Lawn on the Capitol | Capitol Hill, DC
When: July 4, 8pm; gates open at 3pm
Admission: Free

After two years, A Capitol Fourth, the annual Independence Day concert that airs live on PBS, will once again be open to the public! Grammy nominee Mickey Guyton will be hosting this year’s show, which will include performances by Gloria Gaynor, Andy Grammar, Keb’ Mo’, Daniel Criss, Rachel Platten, the National Symphony Orchestra, the U.S. Army Band, the Joint Armed Forces Chorus, and many more exciting acts. (KFDC Tip: Enjoy the show with less crowds at the dress rehearsal on July 3 – same time and place!)

An American Celebration
Where: Mount Vernon | Mount Vernon, VA
When: July 4, 9am – 5pm
Admission: $26/adult, $13/age 6-11, free/5 & under

The home of George Washington salutes the first commander-in-chief with a dazzling display of made-for-daytime fireworks during its annual Independence Day event. Visitors will be treated to spectacular smoke fireworks in patriotic colors fired over the Potomac River. The event also includes an inspirational naturalization ceremony for new citizens, military reenactments, a special wreathlaying ceremony, a performance by the National concert band and more live entertainment, and a chance to meet General Washington himself.  Get 20% off tickets with the code FBSUMMER.  See the full schedule of events here and read more about Mount Vernon here.

Fourth at the Wharf
Where: The District Wharf | Southwest DC
When: July 4, 7-10pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate the Fourth of July at The Wharf with a free celebration on District Pier. The celebration includes music, a bar for adults, and spectacular views of the annual fireworks launched from the National Mall. They also offer a VIP fireworks viewing experience benefitting the USO that gives you exclusive access to the Dockmaster Building on the tip of District Pie, complete with two complimentary drink tickets (additional beverages for purchase), all-American light fare, DJ, games, photo station, and a raffle. Read more about The Wharf in this KFDC post.

Neighborhood Parades & Celebrations
Where: Throughout the DMV
When: Most on July 4, times vary
Admission: Free

Keep it close to home at a community celebration. You likely are aware of July 4th events taking place in your neighborhood or nearby, but if you’re still looking for a hyperlocal fête, here are some that are known to be good ones:  Capitol Hill (we can vouch it’s great from many years attending), Palisades, Takoma Park, College Park, Great Falls, McLean.

July 4th Celebration
Where: Armed Forces Retirement Home | Petworth, DC
When: July 4, 4-9:30pm
Admission: Free

All are welcome to join the 10th annual July 4th Celebration at the Armed Forces Retirement Home. Enjoy live entertainment, bouncy fun, a kids’ scooter parade and contest, activities for all ages, and views of the evening fireworks on the National Mall. Concessions will also be for sale and plentiful.

Fireworks Watch Party
Where: Victura Park | Kennedy Center, DC
When: July 4, 10am – end of fireworks
Admission: Free

Victura Park, the lovely outdoor area at The REACH at the Kennedy Center, will be open on July 4th to celebrate the day — and offer a great vantage point for watching the fireworks on the National Mall. Food and drinks will be available from the cafe, or you can BYO and enjoy at the picnic tables set up in the wine & beer garden area. Admission if free, and no tickets are necessary.

July 4th Fest
Where: Six Flags | Bowie, MD
When: July 2-4
Admission: Starts at $35

With amusement park fun thrown into the mix, Six Flags’ celebration will be pretty epic for kids. Along with all of the ongoing fun throughout the venue, there will also be fireworks, music, and lots of Coca Cola (sponsors of the event) on Independence Day and two days leading up to the holiday.

More July 4th Tips!
* Find good off-the-Mall suggestions for viewing the fireworks in this Washingtonian article.
* If you’re headed into DC, take public transportation! Cannot stress enough what a bad idea it would be to drive.
* July 4th specials in the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood.
* For more activities during the days leading up to the 4th, see the KFDC Summer Guide.
* For more July 4th events in NoVa, this article lists a bunch.

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Filed under 2022, All ages, DC, Holidays, Maryland, Special Event, Summer, Virginia, Weekend

A Virtual Program for Kids on Diversity Awareness with Guest Artist Rafael Lopez & Guest Author Sonia Sotomayor

 

What does disability mean? Do you or does someone you know have a specific disability? Guest Artist Rafael Lopez will lead elementary school students in a virtual program that discusses the history of disability representation on US postage stamps. From Albert Einstein to Lou Gehrig, children will learn more about the many individuals with disabilities that have been honored on a commemorative stamp, as well as the ways—both positive and negative—disabilities have been portrayed by the United States Postal Service. Participants will get to discuss with Rafael and the author of Just Ask! Be Different, Be Brave, Be You, Sonia Sotomayor, what their personal experiences with disabilities have been.

Learn more and register.

 

This post is paid for by the National Postal Museum, however, I only promote programs, places, and events that I genuinely believe in and think would appeal to KFDC readers.

 

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Tomorrow at the National Museum of Natural History: Pollinator Celebration & Free Family Concert with MISTER G !

 

This post is sponsored by the National Museum of Natural History, however, I only promote places, programs, and events that I genuinely believe in and think will appeal to KFDC readers.

 

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Filed under 2022, All ages, Live Entertainment, Museums, Summer, Weekdays