Category Archives: Holidays

The Weekend: December 22-25

 

It’s become a KFDC tradition to keep things simple this time of year over the big holiday weekends.  Hence, the simplified title of this post.  But just because you don’t see the detailed listings of weekend happenings, that doesn’t mean you won’t still find plenty of things to do.  The links below include loads of ideas for family activities, both holiday-inspired and just straight-up fun. You can also check KFDC on Instagram and Facebook for any updates or extra recommendations.

Merry Christmas to all…and to all, a Happy Weekend!

The 2023 KFDC Guide to the Holiday Season Around DC

Where to Go and What to Do Around DC During Winter Break 2023

5 Ideas for a Fun Family Evening Out in DC During the Holiday Season

Fun Places to Encounter Santa During the Rest of the Holiday Season

The Great Indoors

Off the Beaten Path Museums Around DC

The Best Places in the DC Area to Spend A Beautiful Day Outdoors with the Kids

Live Entertainment Around the DC Area this Winter

The KFDC Guide to Exploring Baltimore with Kids

Walks in the Woods

Serenity Now: 10 Places to Find Peace and Calm in DC

Ride On: Bike Routes for Everyone Around the DC Area

 

***MORE GOOD STUFF***
* The Essential Chinese Restaurants Around DC (and a tradition for some of us this weekend…IYKYK).
* Washington Post’s 10 best DC-area casual restaurants of 2023.
* A great listen from The Daily.
* Find a perfect holiday family movie to watch!
* Excited for this movie to start streaming this weekend. (Not for kids.)
* Need last minute gift ideas? This for kiddos, this for a cook, this for athletes/fitness buffs, this for snackers, this for readers.
* Christmas breakfast recipes.
* 20 Things That Happened for the First Time in 2023.
* Travel & Leisure’s 50 best places to travel in 2024.

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Filed under 2023, DC, Holidays, Maryland, Virginia, Weekend, Winter

The Weekend Round-Up:
December 15-17

 

Happy Weekend!

Link up to loads of ongoing, non-holiday DC fun:
* The Great Indoors
* Best Outdoors in the DC Area
* Off-the-Beaten-Path Museums
* Local Hikes with Kids
* Kid-Friendly Eats
* Bike Rides
* Baltimore with Kids
* Peaceful Places

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

The Winter Break from school begins for some area kids this 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 annual 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 Spirit
Where: Around the DC Area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

We’re in the thick of the season, so embrace the holiday spirit! There’s festive fun to be had all over the area in all kinds of ways at every price point. Watch model trains buzz around a delightful display at the US Botanic Garden. See pretty Christmas trees and twinkling lights at many spots. Experience Christmas magic at 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 so many more in the 2023 KFDC Holiday Guide.

The Night Market
Where: Eastern Market | Capitol Hill, DC
When: Friday, 5-9pm
Admission: Free

Do some shopping under the stars (and indoors)! Eastern Market will be open Friday evening so you can do some holiday shopping, get some food and treats for the evening and weekend, and pick up a Christmas tree if you still need one. Enjoy music and family fun inside, too!

Santa Encounters
Where: Around the DC area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

If you’re still hoping to hang with Santa around DC, you can find him at many places, often along with extra fun and treats. This post has a round-up of places he’ll be for the rest of the season, from free gatherings to special brunches to holiday shows to train rides to classic photo stops at the mall.

Hot Wheels Champion Experience
Where: Tysons Corner Center | Tysons, VA
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission:

Another exciting immersive experience for kids is opens at Tysons this weekend! The Hot Wheels Champion Experience combines exhilarating digital and hands-on play in a 16,000-square foot interactive environment for all ages. Conquer all kinds of digital challenges, create a car and see in in 3D on a bog screen, immerse in AR fun, and more.  (Look for a review soon!)

Wizards vs Pacers
Where: Capitol One Arena | Penn Quarter, DC
When: Friday, 7pm
Admission: Tickets prices vary (check for discount)

The Wizards are playing at home on Saturday evening — watch them work some on-court magic against the Indiana Pacers. Plan on a pre-game dinner in Penn Quarter — there are plenty of family-friendly places to go in the neighborhood. Some recs: Jaleo, Carmine’s, Daikaya, Shake Shack, and Hill Country BBQ… details on these and more here.

Greenberg’s Great Train & Toy Show
Where: Dulles Expo Center | Chantilly, VA
When: Saturday & Sunday, 10am – 4pm
Admission: $10-12/adults /ages 12+, free/11 & under

Train enthusiasts young and old will have plenty to be excited about at the largest traveling expo in the northeast showcasing model trains. There will be intricately crafted model train displays, hundreds of tables with model train paraphernalia, a mini train for kids to ride, and a variety of workshops and demos, and more.

Hill Family Biking: Tiny Streets Ride
Where: Around Capitol Hill, DC
When: Saturday, 10:30am – 12pm
Admission: Free

Join Hill Family Biking on Saturday for their Tiny Streets Ride. What is a Tiny Street? A street that is only one block long, of course! And Capitol Hill is chalk full of these picturesque streets. Not only are these blocks beautiful, but often a safer route while biking. Hit up eight of these tiny streets on the ride and end at P.S. Mercantile for some hot chocolate, coffee, and tasty treats.

Merry Grinchmas: Photo with the Grinch
Where: Truist Bank Plaza | Adams Morgan, DC
When: Saturday, 10am – 12pm
Admission: Free

The Grinch will be leaving Whoville and visiting Adams Morgan on Saturday. You’re invited to meet him and get your holiday photo taken — people and pets are welcome. Guests can also enjoy face painting while listening to classic holiday music by Dickens carolers!

The Dragon King’s Daughter
Where: Kennedy Center | Fogy Bottom, DC
When: Saturday,1:30 & 4pm & Sunday, 4pm
Admission: $20-25

Chinese dragon mythology, martial arts, and stunning voices combine in this world premiere musical. Twelve-year-old Kenny Li is being bullied at school. When he finds a magical tablet, he is transported to the Jade Kingdom where he meets Xing, the Dragon King’s daughter. Together, they go on a quest to save the world, finding courage and friendship along the way.

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

A Family Christmas
Where: Kennedy Center  | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: Saturday, 11am
Admission: $20-45

Bring the kids for an unforgettable holiday experience as the Choral Arts Chorus fills the concert hall with holiday classics just for them! They’ll take you on a merry tour of Christmas favorites that will have your family singing all the way home. Expect a visit from Santa, Frosty, and Rudolph!

Cirque Dreams Holidaze
Where: MGM National Harbor | Oxon Hill, MD
When: Friday – Sunday
Admission: $32-99

Cirque Dreams Holidaze lights up the stage in this popular and dazzling family holiday spectacular. This annual tradition wraps a whimsical, Broadway-style musical infused with contemporary circus artistry into the ultimate holiday gift for the entire family!

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

There’s so much holiday-inspired entertainment on local stages to celebrate the season. Step Afrika’s Magical, Musical Holiday Step Show is a stomping good time. 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. Go to a Family Edition of Handel’s Messiah at the National Cathedral.  Get details on these shows and see what else is coming up soon in the 2023 Guide to the Holiday Season.

Community Christmas Festival
Where: Foundry UMC | Logan Circle, DC
When: Saturday, 10:30am – 12:30pm
Admission: Free

Join Friends of Stead Park and Foundry fun family gathering at the Community Christmas Festival. There will be crafts, snacks and free photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus.Please bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate to Toys for Tots. If you’d like to purchase a gingerbread house-making kit to make at the event or take home, you can do so here: https://bit.ly/SPgingerbread23

Baby-Wearing Dance Class
Where: Dance Exchange | Takoma Park, MD
When: Sunday, 12:30-1:30pm
Admission: $10 with code BestDancingPartner

Get your jingle on with your little one and enjoy some extra holiday cheer at a holiday-themed baby-wearing dance class! Any aged child in a carrier can dance with their mom/dad/caregiver in this fun, easy-to-follow class. Bring your baby-wearing friends or family members — the more, the merrier!

Procrastinators Market
Where: Kraken Kourts & Skate | Northeast DC
When: Saturday, 11am – 5pm
Admission: Free

Discover a wide array of gifts, crafts, and goodies to delight everyone on your holiday list. From handmade jewelry to artisanal treats this market showcases the talents of local artisans and vendors. Peruse items from 50+ local vendors, plus enjoy family friendly entertainment, free holiday train rides and a special art activation from ARTECHOUSE.

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.

Moonshot Studio
Where: The REACH | Kennedy Center
When: Saturday & Sunday, 11am – 4:30pm
Admission: Free

Get creative at this studio within The REACH at the Kennedy Center, where all are groups are welcome and encouraged to partake in various art projects and activities.  Through December 30, celebrate the world premiere of Marcus Yi’s new musical, The Dragon King’s Daughter — the Moonshot Studio has hands-on projects inspired by the tale. It’s normally open on Saturday and Sunday, but will be closed on both Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.

Mount Pleasant Holiday Market
Where: Mount Pleasant St & Lamont Plaza | Mount Pleasant, DC
When: Sunday, 11am – 5pm
Admission: Free

The Mt. Pleasant neighborhood will become the DC’s Holiday Village in the City on Sunday. More than four dozen local artisans will line Mount Pleasant Street and Lamont Plaza, selling home décor, paintings, pottery, candles, vintage goods and other items. The event also includes a special visit from Santa — he’ll be be available for pictures and to hand out free toys to children. While you’re there, stop to create a free card with We Are Artistic, a group of local high school kids hosting a card-making table for Cards For Hospitalized Kids.

King Bullfrog Concert
Where: Calvary Episcopal Church | Northeast DC
When: Sunday, 4pm
Admission: $5

Mister Mike’s Music is presenting a King Bullfrog concert this Sunday. The high-energy acoustic act plays folk, rock, and original music for kids and their grownups. Did you know that the origins of King Bullfrog are in a Mister Mike’s class? They’ll tell you the story on Sunday. Tickets are available here. The church is located at 820 6th Street NE.

***MORE GOOD STUFF***
If you’re still looking for holiday gifts, the KFDC Gift Guides have loads of ideas!
* How about a festive road trip?  Here are 5 fun ideas.
* Enjoy a free Jingle Jam Holiday Concert at the Capital Turnaround on Monday evening.
* What do you think about the Wizards and Capitals moving to Virginia?
* Apple’s most popular podcasts of 2023.
* Finally watched and loved The Bear.
* And this new family movie is really cute.
* How cute are all of these drink coozies?
* Favorite New Yorker cartoons in 2023.

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Filed under 2023, DC, Holidays, Maryland, Virginia, Weekend

Fun Places to Encounter Santa During the Rest of the Holiday Season

So, not all Santa pics go as planned…

 

A visit or photo with Santa is the thing to make many a kid’s holiday season.  If you’re still looking for the red-robed, white-bearded guy around DC, you can find him at many places — often along with extra fun and treats.  Here’s where he’ll be for the rest of the season, from free gatherings to special brunches to holiday shows to train rides to classic photo stops at the mall.

 

Enchant
Where: Nationals Park | Capitol Riverfront, DC
When: Through December 31
Admission: $32+/adult, $24+/age 3-17

The 90,000-square foot Christmas light maze as Nationals Park offers more than just the dazzling lights show on the field.  Along the concourse above it all, there is live entertainment, food and drink, a Play Place just for little ones, a Christmas market,  and photo ops with Santa and Mrs. Claus.  View scenes from last year’s event and read a KFDC review (from the first season it was here in 2019) of this newer-to-DC holiday attraction.

Christmas at Gaylord National
Where: Gaylord National Resort | National Harbor, MD
When: Through December 24
Admission: Starts at $40

The Gaylord National Hotel at National Harbor goes all out during the holidays, offering all kinds of activities for families, including photos with Santa. You have to sign up for a time and purchase for a package.  Plan to enjoy  more activities while you’re there, like Christmas light shows, ice tubing, gingerbread decorating, and ICE!  (Note that most cost extra.) Read more about Christmas at the Gaylord e in this KFDC post from last year by Emily Moise.

Holiday Tree Lighting
Where: Canal Park Ice Rink | Capitol Riverfront, DC
When: December 14, 6-9pm
Admission: Free (but skating require admission fee)
The holiday party will include the tree lighting, ice skating, live entertainment photo ops and a special appearance by  Washington Capitals mascot Slapshot and a certain other white bearded guests.  There will also be a cozy Holiday Lounge above the rink with mulled wine for adults along with a Hot Chocolate Bar and S’mores Station for all ages (while supplies last). Plus, the first 150 attendees to arrive can get free skate rentals at the ice rink and the first 100 will receive an exclusive Capitol Riverfront mug & hot cocoa kit giveaway.

The B&O Polar Express
Where: B&O Railroad Museum | Baltimore, MD
When: December 15-19
Admission: $47-67

Climb aboard The Polar Express to create a Christmas memory that you and your family will cherish forever! Come in your pajamas as a family to watch the live performance of The Polar Express. Once on the train, the classic Christmas tale will be performed and little ones will have the opportunity to meet Santa and receive their first gift of Christmas! Santa’s helpers will greet you upon arrival to the North Pole, where you can take pictures with Santa and have lots of holiday fun.

Brunch with Santa
Where: Pinstripes | Georgetown, DC
When: December 16 & 17
Admission: Cost of your meal

We took the kids to this wehen they were little, and they loved the brunch buffet almost as much as they loved meeting Santa and getting photos with him. It includes a waffle station, an omelet station, and sweets table, plus maple glazed ham, shrimp cocktail, herb roasted Chicken, a chocolate fountain, and more! Champagne will be flowing with Bottomless Mimosas and Aperol Spritzes for Mom and Dad. There is no photographer, but guests are encouraged to take pics when the man of the hour stops by.

Holly Trolley Fest
Where: National Capitol Trolley Museum | Colesville, MD
When: December 16, 17, & 23
Admission: $10/adults, $8/ages 2-17 (includes unlimited rides)
Explore a unique DC area museum this holiday season. Visit with Santa down our mile-long woodland railroad, featuring a holiday ride on our historic street cars. In addition, enjoy a holiday model railroad display in collaboration with the Washington, Virginia & Maryland Garden Railway Society, crafts for children, photo opportunities, and more.

A Family Christmas
Where: Kennedy Center  | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: December 16 & 24
Tickets: $20-45

This holiday concert by the Choral Arts Chorus is targeted to kids as they perform  holiday classics just for them. A visit from Santa, Frosty, and Rudolph is promised, too!

Frosted
Where: Franklin Park | Downtown DC
When: Through December 17
Admission: Free

Santa and other characters will be making appearances at this winter pop-up at Franklin Park. Other holiday festivities include Ice Sculpture Island, Holiday Lane, the Frosted Maker’s Market, a larger than life Snow Globe Main Stage, and more!  Most of them occur on the weekends — see the website for the schedule.

Mount Pleasant Holiday Market
Where: Mount Pleasant St & Lamont Plaza | Mount Pleasant, DC
When: December 17, 11am – 5pm
Admission: Free

The Mt. Pleasant neighborhood will become the DC’s Holiday Village in the City on Sunday. More than four dozen local artisans will line Mount Pleasant Street and Lamont Plaza, selling home décor, paintings, pottery, candles, vintage goods and other items. The event also includes a special visit from Santa — he’ll be be available for pictures and to hand out free toys to children. While you’re there, stop to create a free card with We Are Artistic, a group of local high school kids hosting a card-making table for Cards For Hospitalized Kids.

Tea, Cookies, and Magic with Santa
Where: Hank’s Old Town | Alexandria, VA
When: December 17 & 23, 11am – 1pm
Admission: $65

Parents and children can gather for a memorable performance by either the hilarious renowned entertainer the Great Zucchini.  Santa Claus himself will make a grand entrance to greet the little ones and spread holiday cheer. After the show, guests will enjoy a holiday spread of tea sandwiches and sweets. Reserve your spot!

Santa Brunch
Where: Surfside | Tenleytown, DC
When: December 23, 11am – 3pm
Admission: Cost of your meal

The Mexican fast casual spot that’s great for a family meal is having a special brunch time with Santa the Saturday before he sets out on his big night. They’ll have hot coco and candy canes for kiddos, and a photographer will be on site to take photos with Santa. Doesn’t hurt to make reservations.

Christmas Market
Where: Schlagel Farm | Waldorf, MD
When: December 23, 9:30-11:30am
Admission: Free

Head to the farm for a visit with Santa and Mrs. They’ll be available for pictures during the Christmas Market, where you cab stock up on all the veggies and centerpieces (rib roasts, briskets, hams, and lamb cuts) you need for a holiday feast. Jams/jellies/ciders will be 10% off to stuff your stockings, too. The market is 9am – 2pm, but Santa will only be there from 9:30-11:30am.

Photos at the Mall
Where: Malls around the DC area
When: Throughout the holiday season
Admission: Varies by place

If you just want to get the classic photo with Santa at a shopping mall, here’s where you can find him:
Pentagon City
Tysons Corner Center
Westfield Montgomery Mall
Westfield Wheaton Mall
Springfield Mall
Prince George’s Mall (w/Black Santa)

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Filed under 2023, DC, Holidays, Maryland, Virginia

Five Things: December 12, 2023

 

1. Have you been to the National Museum of Natural History lately?  It’s always such an interesting museum to explore, and a couple of exhibits have opened in the past year that are neat to check out:  Cellphones: Unseen Connections is all about how cellphones impact our lives in positive ways.  (I especially like the display, pictured above, of what we used before cellphones existed — a good “back in my day” to show the kids.).  Also recent is Lights Out: Recovering Our Night Sky, which explores the effects of light pollution, solutions for it, and why it matters.  Of course, the whole museum is full of fascinating artifacts and history, from dinos to insects to geological wonders to human origins and so much more.  Open daily 10am – 5:30pm, and admission is free.

2. Most public tree lightings have already happened, but one still has yet to take place: The Capitol Riverfront’s Holiday Tree Lighting will be a whole holiday season party this Thursday evening at the Canal Park Ice Rink! Washington Capitals beloved mascot Slapshot will be visiting, a Snow Globe Photobooth will offer instant photos, Crush Funk Brass Band and DJ CiCi will provide holiday music, a cozy Holiday Lounge above the rink will have mulled wine for adults along with a Hot Chocolate Bar and S’mores Station for all ages (while supplies last). Plus, the first 150 attendees to arrive can get free skate rentals at the ice rink and the first 100 will receive an exclusive Capitol Riverfront mug & hot cocoa kit giveaway.  This will all take place December 14, 6-9pm, and admission is free (though you need to purchase tickets to skate).

 

3. Another exciting immersive experience for kids is coming to Tysons!  The Hot Wheels Champion Experience combines exhilarating digital and hands-on play in a 16,000-square foot interactive environment for all ages.  Look for a detailed post about it soon, but get a glimpse on the website for now.  It opens this Friday, December 15, and will be here through late February.

 

4. Sunday pizza, anyone? All Purpose is offering half-off pies every Sunday (and 25% off bottles of wine) when you dine-in at the Riverfront location.  Even better, it’s a short walk from Light Yards, which is one of the activities suggested for a family evening out during the holiday season!

 

5. A friend said this card game is a super fun condensed version of the classic board game. (And perfect stocking stuffer size!)

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Filed under 2023, DC, Fall, Five Things, Holidays, Winter

International School of Music: Stuff the Stockings with Music Lessons Giveaway!

 

Looking for a perfect holiday gift that your child will truly appreciate and benefit from for years to come?
Then, treat them to the gift that truly keeps on giving: Music lessons at International School of Music!

International School of Music is offering a once-a-year special:
They will prepare a holiday stocking for your giftee filled with:
* 2 Music Lessons Certificate in Any Instrument
* Music Notebook
* Music Water Bottle & Sticker
* Music Note Key Chain
* Music Pencil
* Holiday Candy
* Free Registration!

The value is $208, but you can get it now for only for $99!
Offer is for new students only, while supplies last. Pick it up or they will ship it to you for FREE!

It’s easy to redeem!
Call or text: 301-396-7497 or purcahse a holiday stocking here.

 

What students are saying about the International School of Music…
“We LOVE our music lessons and our teachers make learning fun! Our kids are much more engaged during their lessons and couldn’t wait to start practicing afterwards.” – Marisa L.

“If you live in the DC area, this is one of the most innovative and caring music schools on the East Coast. Best faculty (graduates from Johns Hopkins, Juilliard, NYU, etc.) with top performance opportunities. Truly a gem!” – Amanda K.

For more information about International School of Music and its programs and performances, visit their website.

* * *

GIVEAWAY:  Three KFDC readers can win a holiday stocking from the International School of Music which includes two half-hour music lessons in any instrument or voice, free registration, holiday candy, music notebook, pencil, keychain, water bottle, and more!  For a chance to win, simply leave a comment below telling me your or your child’s favorite holiday song. Contest is open to new students only. This giveaway will run through Sunday, December 17, then a winner will be drawn at random and notified shortly thereafter. Good luck!

 

 

International School of Music – North
11325 Seven Locks Rd. #255 Potomac, MD 20854
Tel: 301-365-5888 | info@ismw.org

International School of Music – South
4701 Sangamore Rd. LL-03, Bethesda MD 20816
Tel: 301-320-4400

 

This giveaway is sponsored by International School of Music, however, I only promote programs, places, and businesses that I genuinely believe in and think would appeal to KFDC readers.

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Filed under 2023, Class, DC, Giveaway, Holidays, Winter