Category Archives: Outdoor

The Weekend Round-Up: November 27-29

 

Happy Weekend!

 

#OptOutside
Where: Around the DMV
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 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 tons of inspiration for fun in the sun.

Family Bike Ride
Where: National Mall to Kennedy Center
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free

Here’s a nice family bike ride: Head down the National Mall, around the Lincoln Memorial, down Pkwy Drive to the Rock Creek Trail that runs along the Potomac.  You’ll come to a pedestrian bridge that leads to the grounds of The REACH at the Kennedy Center. There, you can explore the beautiful outdoor area with stretches of green grass and pretty plantings, art sculptures, fountains, and the beautifully designed buildings. Plan to shop the Winter Holiday Market at Victura Park and enjoy a bite and drink from the cafe. You can also take a stroll on the Kennedy Center Terrace and through the Grand Foyer inside.

Victura Park Winter Holiday Market
Where: The REACH | Kennedy Center, DC
When: Friday, 4-8pm, Saturday 12–9pm, & Sunday 12-8pm.
Admission: Free

Victura Park, the pop-up wine car on the grounds of The REACH at the Kennedy Center, transforms into a festive Holiday Market starting this weekend. The outdoor market will feature an amazing line up of local artists, craftspersons, and other specialized vendors, including the Kennedy Center Gift Shop pop-up shop. Support small businesses by purchasing gifts, prepackaged treats, and one-of-a-kind artworks for the perfect holiday celebration. Sip on seasonal classics such as spiked cider and hot cocoa or choose from the signature menu of beer and wine, light snacks, and delicious food hot from the grill.

More Two-Wheel Adventures
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free

There are even more great routes to ride all around the area, and this weekend will be a nice one to enjoy them. Take in the fall scenery, get some exercise, and have fun — all while easily social distancing. This post has a bunch of pedal-worthy recs, with something for riders of all levels, and this recently posted route is ideal for the whole crew.

Lighting of the Wharf Tree
Where: The Wharf | Southwest DC
When: Friday, 6-8pm
Admission: Free

Kick off the holiday season at The Wharf as they officially light their Christmas tree and transform the waterfront into a winter wonderland with thousands of twinkling lights. Bring the family for photos by to the 45-foot pine tree on District Pier, then enjoy dinner together at one of the many restaurants. End your evening by roasting s’mores around the firepit at Camp Wharf!

Recreation on Ice
Where: A few locations in the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by rink

With sunny skies and cool temps in the forecast, conditions this weekend should be great for outdoor ice skating. While some places are not opening for the season, the ice rinks at  Pentagon Row and Reston Town Center  are two that are once again welcoming skaters to glide the day — and night — away. And the Color Burst Ice Rink at the Merriweather District in Columbia, MD, just started its inaugural skating season. All rinks have Covid precautions in place for safe, socially distanced skating.

Christmas at Mount Vernon

Where: Mount Vernon Estate, Museum, & Gardens
When: Through December 31, 9am – 4pm
Admission: $20/adult, $12/age 6-11, free/5 & under

Christmas past meets Christmas present at George Washington’s estate. Just as the Washingtons celebrated the holiday with family and friends, visitors can start a new tradition of visiting Mount Vernon this holiday season. The holidays are full of delight at George Washington’s estate. It’s open every day of the year, including Christmas Day and New Years. There are also Candlelight Tours on select dates, plus even more seasonal activities — visit the website for details.

Season’s Greetings
Where: Hillwood Estate | Northwest DC
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Suggested donation $18/adult, $5/child, free/under 6

Hillwood remains a safe way to enjoy the holiday splendor with precautionary measures in place. Enjoy time outside as the gardens reveal another aspect of their ever-changing beauty during the holiday season. The gardens, as revealed in the publication A Garden for All Seasons: Marjorie Merriweather Post’s Hillwood, are the inspiration for glamorous Christmas trees and festive décor across the estate.

Holiday Movies at The Wharf: Home Alone
Where: The Wharf | Southwest DC
When: Friday, Saturday, & Srnday, 2pm & 6pm
Admission: $60

Join The Wharf throughout this holiday season for a pop-up outdoor movie theatre on Transit Pier where you can enjoy all the Christmas classics from your private firepit in front of a 20′ LED screen. They’re showing all the best holiday classics — this weekend it’s Home Alone— at 2pm and 6pm showtimes. In advance of the event, reserve your fire pit, which seats up to four people. Drinks (both hard and soft) and snacks are available throughout the movie from Cantina Bambina. Each seating includes a special stocking stuffed full of great offers and holiday treats from Wharf restaurants, merchants, and partners.

Fallin’
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 DMV.

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.

Fun at Fairfax Parks
Where: Parks around Fairfax County, VA
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

The Fairfax County Park Authority hosts all kinds of events on weekends for guests of all ages. See a snake a and turtle feeding at Hidden Oaks Nature Center. Go on a Turkey Walk at Ellanor C. Lawrence Park. Enjoy a Family Owl Outing at Huntley Meadows. Details and registration for these and many more nature activities this weekend and beyond are available here.

Small Business Saturday
Where: Around the DMV
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.

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.

ZooLights Express
Where: Wards 1 & 2 | WDC
When: Friday & Saturday evenings
Admission: Free

To play it safe this year, ZooLights Express, powered by Pepco, is bringing the colorful glow of DC’s beloved National Zoo holiday tradition into the community. The 24-foot ZooLights Express truck is hitting the road, festively decorated with light displays and featuring “Panda Claws.” It will visit one District ward each Friday and Saturday night from 6-8pm. This weekend it will be in Ward 1 on Friday and Ward 2 on Saturday. (Click links for the mapped route.)

***MORE GOOD STUFF***
* Be sure to check the KFDC holiday season guide to plan for upcoming events — some you need to reserve tickets for in advance.
* Don’t forget about the KFDC Gift Guide to help with holiday shopping.
* DC Water published a children’s book: Where Does Our Wastewater Go? takes complex environmental and engineering themes and makes them accessible to children.
* New movies to watch with the kids.
* What Washingtonians are grateful for.
* The Losses We Share, a beautiful essay by Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex.


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Filed under 2020, All ages, Coronavirus, COVID-19, DC, Fall, Holidays, Maryland, Outdoor, Seasonal, Shop, Social Distancing, Special Event, Virginia, Weekend

Discover DC by Foot this Holiday Season

Holiday lights and history on a tour through Georgetown

[Note: This is a Guest Post contributed by Canden Arciniega from DC By Foot.]

 

Hi! I’m Canden, a tour guide and historian in Washington, DC, and a mom of two. It has been a weird line between getting the kids out of the house and keeping the kids in the house this year, not quite knowing what to do or what’s open and meets the safety standards that we’ve set for our family.  KidFriendly DC has been my go-to in figuring out what is happening [editor’s note: 😊], so I’m excited to share with you what my company is doing this December as a kid-friendly option for something fun, festive, and perfect for these social distancing times.

DC by Foot offers over a dozen walking tours, available each day. Let’s get the safety protocols out there first: All our tours are entirely outdoors, in small groups to allow physical distancing, with mask requirements of all guests and guides.

We offer tours of the National Mall that have a scavenger hunt element for kids, our popular Lincoln’s Assassination tour, family-friendly Ghosts of Georgetown tours, and private neighborhood tours of Georgetown, Eastern Market, Capitol Hill, the Wharf, and more.

 

Creative lights make the season bright

 

For the holiday season, starting December 4, we’re excited to offer a Holiday Lights and History tour of Georgetown daily! This 1.5-hour tour starts at 6pm and explores the holiday windows and light displays. We’ll weave in stories of Georgetown history as we walk — for instance, did you know the Gap in Georgetown used to be a Civil War prison for deserters?

If you’re not interested in Georgetown, we also offer a Downtown History & Lights tour on a private basis that visits the Holiday Market, Macy’s Windows, Willard Hotel, and National Christmas tree display.

Wondering whether our guides will be engaging and fun enough for your kids?  Not to worry!  In the before times, our team of full time guides worked mostly with student groups. We tell jokes so bad they are good and pride ourselves in winning over even the most angsty teen.

 

See festive window displays in local shops

 

Our Georgetown Holiday Lights tours are name-your-own-price from Wednesday to Saturday, and ticketed Sunday to Tuesday. Name-your-own-price tours allow you to take the tour and then decide at the end what you thought it was worth, paying the guide directly when the tour is finished. Guides strive to make the tour such a memorable experience that you’ll want to support them, but if that’s not in your budget, or you didn’t feel like it was worth it… that is your choice.

With the limited number of people and tours right now, many of our tours are ticketed in order to support our guides, but we’re happy to be able to offer select tours on the name-your-own-price basis.

Interested in more information about our Holiday Lights or any other tours?  You can find them all on our website, DC by Foot, or send me a message at [email protected].

I look forward to exploring DC with you!

 

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Filed under 2020, All ages, Christmas, Coronavirus, COVID-19, DC, Holidays, Outdoor, Seasonal, Social Distancing, Weekdays, Weekend, Winter

Scenes from a Lovely Fall Outing to Brookside Gardens

 

Is it just me, or has this fall been especially beautiful?  The scenery seems ablaze with golden yellow, fiery orange, and deep red as the foliage puts on its seasonal performance. Perhaps the general gloom of this past year makes the bright spots that much more vivid, or maybe Mother Nature just knows how much we need it right now.

The fam framed by fall foliage

It’s this autumn luster that brought us to Brookside Gardens this past weekend — well, coupled with a little photography agenda.  We wanted to get out and enjoy the day before the rain came, someplace relaxing that would showcase the season.  So, I checked the round-up of the best outdoor places for ideas (yep, I use my own blog!), and in one glance I knew where we were going: Brookside Gardens, the beautiful public display garden within Wheaton Regional Park in the Montgomery Parks system.

Owen, circa 2010

Owen, circa 2015

The lead image in that post, the one of oh-so-sweet, four-year-old Owen chilling in the tree, was taken at Brookside almost exactly 10 years ago.  We recreated the photo when we happened to be back there five years later, so when I saw it again and did the math, I realized it was time for the next installment.

Paved paths traverse the gardens…

…as do leave strewn dirt trails

As those photos indicate, we’ve been enjoying Brookside Gardens for a long time.  Along with an occasional fall visit, we usually go for the wonderful annual Wings of Fancy butterfly exhibit and Garden of Lights holiday display, however, both were among the many beloved area events cancelled this year.  But this autumn outing was lovely and serene and perfect for right now.  Plus, we got that shot.

Owen at 14

Of course, we had to capture our best girl, too

Brookside Gardens is located at 1800 Glenallan Avenue in Wheaton, MD.  Right now, the grounds are open to wander and enjoy daily from sunrise to sunset, and the Visitor Center 10am – 2pm.   The sweet Children’s Garden is not accessible during Covid.  Along with the links above, read more about Brookside in this KFDC post.

And get more of a glimpse of the gorgeous fall in the pics below…

 

Goose watching

 

And it was all yellow

 

Japanese maple…wowza

 

View from a gazebo

 

Shimmering woods

 

A serene pond scene

 

This pergola turns into a fab pink walkway during Garden of Lights

 

Masks highly encouraged!

 

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Filed under 2020, All ages, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Fall, Free, Maryland, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Social Distancing, Weekdays, Weekend

Five Things for Today: November 4, 2020

An autumn stroll at Huntley Meadows Park

 

1. Take kiddos for a hike — and take your mind off things as you enjoy the superb fall weather and scenery. There are a plenty of great options for walks in the woods with kids around the area. Some specific recs with easy trails and free admission: Huntley Meadows, Potomac Overlook Park, Roosevelt Island, Riverbend Park, and the National Arboretum.

 

2. The North Bethesda location of Pinstripes, the bistro with bowling and bocce, is open and offering $5 kid’s meal and $5 gaming with an adult meal purchase Monday – Thursday.  Book a reservation here.  And read a KFDC write-up about it. (Note: This is at the Georgetown location, which currently is not offering gaming, but essentially the same).

 

3. How to help kids make sense of a divisive election.

 

4. Comfort cooking: Get creative with homemade pizzas.

 

5. A hopeful earworm.

 

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Filed under 2020, All ages, Coronavirus, COVID-19, DC, Fall, Maryland, Outdoor, Virginia