Tag Archives: Family Activities in DC

Where to Go & What to Do During Winter Break 2023

 

If you’re going to be in town over the Winter Break from school, you’ll likely be looking for activities to keep the whole gang happy (and that includes us parents)! Hence, I’m bringing back this trusty guide once again, but with updated info and some new inspiration that reflects what’s going on now.

Many of these ideas are already on the blog, but sometimes a little guidance for what’s best at certain times helps. Among the recommendations are holiday activities to get into the spirit, exhibits and shows that are hot tickets right now, outings that take advantage of the season, adventures to keep your gang active no matter what the weather, special weekday programs happening during this time, and places and experiences that kids who are in school all day can’t get to easily.

Of course, the rest of the blog is packed with suggestions if you want even more options. So, whether you’re enjoying a staycation or visiting from out of town, you should have no problem keeping the kids (and yourself!) entertained during the time off — or on, depending how you look at it. 😉  Happy Winter Break!

 

Holiday Happenings

Special Exhibits & Museums

Must-See DC

#OptOutside

Show Time

Indoor Action

Weekday Programs

See Some Sports

Day Trips

Extra Tips

 

Holiday Happenings

The Season’s Greening train at the US Botanic Garden is always a delight

Season’s Greenings
Where: US Botanic Garden | Capitol Hill, DC
When: Through January 1
Admission: Free

Season’s Greenings is a local must-do during the holiday season.  The exhibit in the Botanic Garden’s conservatory features Washington landmarks constructed from plant materials and one of the city’s largest Christmas trees. But the highlight is the model train railway outside, which never fails to impress and enchant with intricate, imaginative designs. This year’s pollinator theme is adorable, and kids will love seeing model trains chug around sculptures of insects, a lemur, and other creatures. For even more holiday magic at the garden, see it all twinkle as the USBG stays open until 8pm on December 21 & 28.  Get a glimpse of the train, and for more on the seasonal favorite, see this post and this one about some of our Season’s Greenings experiences.

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.

Search for Santa’s Critters
Where: Potomac Overlook Park | Arlington, VA
When: December 16-26, 11am – 4pm
Admission: $5/child

Santa’s animal friends are lost in the park and need rescuing! Go on a scavenger hunt to locate the critters so they can help Santa deliver candy and treats for the holidays! Appropriate for families and children of all ages. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Christmas at Mount Vernon
Where: Mount Vernon Estate, Museum, & Gardens
When: Daily through December
Admission: $28/adult, $15/age 6-11, free/5 & under 

Christmas past meets Christmas present at George Washington’s estate, and they celebrate the holidays with a variety of delights.  During the day, tour the Mansion, watch historic chocolate-making demonstrations, and meet Aladdin the Camel. Mount Vernon is open every day of the year, including Christmas Day and New Years. So bring the entire family to the home of George and Martha Washington this holiday season.

Kwanzaa Party with the Culture Queen
Where: Anacostia Community Museum | Anacostia, DC
When: December 27, 1-3pm
Admission: Free

Join Kwanzaa expert Culture Queen as she teaches your royal children super fun and festive ways to celebrate the seven principles of Kwanzaa through interactive music, crafts, storytelling, games, and the world-famous “Kwanzaa Slide” line dance for which she co-created. This joy-filled Culture Kingdom Kids program is appropriate for all ages; and will leave participants feeling more excited to incorporate Kwanzaa into their family traditions for generations to come.

Holiday Festival of Trains
Where: B&O Railroad Museum | Baltimore, MD
When: Through December 31
Admission: $25/adult, $20/senior, $16/age 2-12, free/B&O members

At a venue dedicated to locomotives, you know the holiday model train exhibit is going to be special. The whole Museum has been transformed into a wonderland of festive fun including Reindeer Railway train rides, photos ops with Santa and winter friends, Santa’s Village, live entertainment, and more!  And just opened is  a new Model Train Gallery featuring a specially crafted HO Scale model layout of Baltimore in 1997.

Christmas at Gaylord National
Where: Gaylord National Resort | National Harbor, MD
When: Through December 31
Admission: Free, though some activities cost extra

The Gaylord National Hotel at National Harbor goes all out during the holidays. ICE! is often the big attraction, but there has always been plenty to do there to warrant a visit without the frozen entertainment. The atrium of the resort is transformed into a winter wonderland, complete with a spectacular glass Christmas tree, nightly tree lightings, activities especially for little ones, photo ops with Santa, indoor snowfalls, fountain shows, and more.

Night Lights
Where: Around the DC area
When: Evenings through
Admission: Varies by locale

The many enchanting light displays that are a staple of the season always run through, even beyond, the holidays. And they make for a fun and sweet family activity.  Visit one of many parks or city corridors in the area that has transformed into a sparkling wonderland. Some you can walk through for an up-close experience, others you tour by car. Either way, expect to be dazzled.

 

* Find even more holiday happenings in the KFDC Guide to the Holiday Season in DC!

 

 

Special Exhibits & Museums

A magical Encanto experience for kids

Disney Encanto x CAMP
Where: Tysons Corner | Tysons, VA
When: Through March
Admission: Starts at $32

The immersive experience inspired by the beloved movie is delivers on the magic for kids!   Tickets are very limited in December, but you might luck out and get them.  If not, then let this be your heads-up to snag them for a 2024 visit — they would make a great holiday gift!

Dopamine Land
Where: Friendship Center | Friendship Heights, DC
When: Through February 11
Admission: $22.50/adult, $16.99/child
This brand new multisensory experience combines media, technology, and play in one place. Bring the kids during the day for an interactive experience that wants everyone to embrace their inner child and explore all the colorful installations.

African American History & Culture
Where: National Museum of African American History & Culture
When: Wednesday – Sunday, 10am – 5:30pm
Admission: Free with timed-entry passes

This phenomenal museum is a must-visit on the National Mall, and there are more opportunities to go while kids are off from school.  Timed entry passes are still required, and you can reserve in advance through the website.  Same-day passes are also released beginning at 8:15am daily.  Before you go to the museum, be sure to read the KFDC guide for visiting with kids.

Back to Natural History
Where: Natural History Museum | National Mall
When: Daily, 10am – 5:30pm
Admission: Free

The National Museum of Natural History is one of DC’s most popular museums, and for good reason: There are exhibits galore that fascinate visitors of all ages, from dinos to insects (and more creatures in between) to geological wonders to human origins to oceanic discoveries. Two special exhibitions are also currently on view — one about cell phones and their connection to the natural world and another about the night sky and light pollution.  [PS: Of course, all the Smithsonians are fantastic and worth a visit… find logistics for all of them here.]

Off the Beaten Museum Path
Where: Around DC
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by museum

If you don’t veer from the well trodden path of the National Mall now and then, you could miss out on some amazing museum exhibits and experiences. This round-up of some these places in DC that may not be on your museum radar — but should be. They’ll be great places to stay warm too!

Word Up
Where: Planet Word | Downtown DC
When: Thursday – Sunday, 10am – 5pm
Admission: Free

The museum all about language is full of fun and interesting exhibits, most of them interactive. There definitely are elements that all ages will love, though tweens and older will get the most out of it, having more grammar lessons under their belts and generally better comprehension. Our whole family loves it!  Admission is free, but you need to book tickets in advance. Right now, there are some available for dates over the break. And a limited number of day-of, walk-up passes are available on the half-hour.

Hot Wheels Champion Experience
Where: Tysons Corner Center | Tysons, VA
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: $25-115 (a family pack is also available)

Another exciting immersive experience for kids opens just in time for Winter Break!  The Hot Wheels Champion Experience combines exhilarating digital and hands-on play in a 16,000-square foot interactive environment for all ages. Collect exclusive digital badges, video, and other digital memorabilia across 10 exciting challenges.  Look for a review with more details soon!

Allegre Mente/Happy Brain
Where: National Children’s Museum | Downtown DC
When: December 18 – February 22
Admission: $15.95

The current visiting exhibit at the National Children’s Museum celebrates loving, playful connections through dance, storytelling, and more.  Set in a whimsical forest full of families of all kinds, both human and animal, is in both English/Spanish exhibit. Of course, plan to explore the rest of the Museum’s exhibits, too — read more about them here.

An O-So-Cool Adventure
Where: Mansion on O Street | Dupont Circle
When: Daily, 11am – 4pm
Admission: Starts at $26.50

Locate secret doors, see outrageously fabulous themed rooms, and browse a trove of secondhand treasures on a tour of one of the coolest spots in DC: The Mansion on O Street. The Dupont Circle landmark is a mansion, museum, secondhand store, and hotel all in one — and visitors are welcome to explore it all.  Admission can add up, so Winter Break is a great time to go if you’re looking for something special to do. Plus, it’s a unique adventure in a truly stunning space.

Check It Out
Where: MLK Jr. Memorial Library
When: Mon – Fri, 10am – 8pm | Fri-Sat, 10am – 6pm | Sun, 1-5pm
Admission: Free
So, it’s not a museum (though it does contain great exhibits!), but the MLK Library is so much more than your typical library, it seemed like a good one to feature here.  Along with books to browse and check out for all ages from all genres, there is a cafe, an exhibit space, study and meeting rooms, a large auditorium, a recording studio, a gorgeous rooftop terrace, and what little ones will love most: a SLIDE in the Children’s section to zip down. And there are always special activities for a variety of ages, too.  It’s a great place for the whole family  to visit!

An Art Tour for the T(w)een Scene
Where: Glenstone Museum | Potomac, MD
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free

If you have kids 12 or older, Winter Break is a great time to take advantage of Glenstone’s Guaranteed Entry program, which admits students age 12+ and one accompanying adult without reserving tickets.  It’s an incredible indoor-outdoor art museum — just bundle up for the outside part!  Be sure to note that they don’t allow children under 12 at all, but it’s a wonderful place to visit with tweens and teens.

Mind Tricks
Where: Museum of Illusions | CityCenter, DC
When: Sun – Thurs, 10am – 8pm |Fri – Sat, 10am – 9pm
Admission: $42/adult, $18/age 5-12

This just opened venue sounds like a fun one to explore. It’s a “one-of-a-kind edutainment destination where you can immerse yourself in the wonderful world of illusions! Guests will enjoy more than 50 visual and educational exhibits featuring holograms, stereograms, optical illusions, and immersive rooms that are designed to tease the senses and trick the mind.”

Mission: Fun
Where: International Spy Museum | Penn Quarter, DC
When: Daily, 10am – 6pm
Admission: $26.95/age 13+, $16.95/7-12, free/6 & under

If you haven’t been to the Spy Museum at the L’Enfant Plaza location, no is a good time to check it out! Go undercover to explore the intriguing world of espionage. Discover tricks of the trade, view gadgets used to keep secrets and disguises to hide identities, and learn about some of the most famous spies and their missions.  And don’t miss the super fun museum shop!

 

* Of course, there are the rest of the Smithsonians and National Gallery of Art, which always make for great outings!

 

Must-See DC

Capitol views from the Old Post Office Tower

 

Time for a Tour
Where: Old Post Office Tower | Downtown DC
When: Daily, 9am – 4pm
Admission: Free

See DC from a new vantage point at the Old Post Office Tower. Located within the Waldorf Astoria at 12th & Pennsylvania, NW, it’s free to visit and go up to the observation deck of one of the tallest structures in DC. It’s was kind of a secret for years, but lately has been more on the radar, so there may be a short line to get in, but worth the wait.  This post has info for visiting — be sure to read it for details on accessing the entrance.

A Local & National Treasure
Where: Library of Congress | Capitol Hill, DC
When: Wednesday – Saturday, 11am – 4pm
Admission: Free

Explore the largest library in the world and one of DC’s most iconic attractions. The Library of Congress is a trove of knowledge, art, history, and culture — and the public is welcome to enjoy it all, and for free!  Walk-ins are sometimes welcome, but it’s best to reserve free tickets in advance.

A Monumental Experience
Where: Washington Monument | National Mall, DC
When: Daily, 9am – 5pm
Admission: Free

The Washington Monument is super fun to tour — you can go up inside to check out interesting exhibits and take in DC views. Advance reservation tickets for the next day are available online for a nominal processing fee. Same-day, free tickets are also be available on a first-come, first-served basis daily starting at 8:30am at the Washington Monument Lodge, located on 15th Street NW, between Madison Drive NW and Jefferson Drive SW.  Get a peek of the experience from the inside here.

Abe’s Last Days
Where: Ford’s Theatre | Penn Quarter, DC
When: Daily, 9am – 4:30pm
Admission: Free – $3

Ford’s isn’t just a place to catch live entertainment. The site of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination highlights its historic significance through exhibits about the president, the circumstances surrounding his assassination, and that fateful night at the theatre. The National Historic Site features a museum, theatre walk-throughs and a presentation, and guests are welcome to explore it all. Best for about ages 8 and up. Reserve tickets online in advance for $3 or get them at the Box Office for free.

A Bird’s Eye View
Where: Observation Deck at CEB Tower | Rosslyn, VA
When: Daily, but hours vary (closed 12/25 & 1/1)
Admission: Free

Gaze out of floor-to-ceiling windows that offer a new perspective of DC. The 30+ story high space in Rosslyn offers breathtaking 360-degree panoramic vistas.  Read more about it here, but note that not all of the exhibits and immersive experiences are still there.  However, the spectacular views and the thrill of being up that high make it worth going.  This was only open to Arlington residents for awhile, but they’re once again welcoming the general public.  And even better now, admission is FREE!

Tour the Memorials
Where: National Mall & Tidal Basin, DC
When: Ongoing
Admission: Free

Be a tourist in your hometown (unless you’re visiting, then just be a tourist). Take the opportunity to visit the many memorials on the Mall and around the Tidal Basin. Not only are the structures themselves marvel-worthy, there’s a lot to be gleaned from them, too. Learn about some of our country’s presidents and leaders — George, Abe, Tom, FDR, & MLK — from displays, park rangers, and in the Visitors Centers. And walk or bike among them all to add some exercise (and extra fun) to the venture!

 

 

#OptOutside

The festive skating scene at Washington Harbour

Skate the Day (Or Night) Away
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by rink

Enjoy a quintessential winter activity: Ice skating under the sky! Take in art as you skate at the Sculpture Garden; glide over the Potomac on The Wharf’s awesome rink; circle around Washington Harbour as you enjoy river views; meander along the Figure 8 path at Canal Park; or do some shopping then skate at Pentagon Row, Rockville Town Square, or Reston Town Center. This post has details on alfresco (and indoor) ice skating options in the area. Get a good deal on ice skating at Canal Park here!

Ready, Set…Hike!
Where: Around the DMV
When: Ongoing
Admission: Varies by locale

If you agree with the saying, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing” like I do, there are no excuses for not getting outdoors during winter. And a great, easy way to do so is on a hike. Hit the trail in places with scenic views, tramp 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 and other places with kids.

Fossil Hunting
Where: Calvert & Charles Counties
When: Varies by place
Admission: Varies by place
Just because it takes place along beach areas, that doesn’t mean it’s a warm-weather-only activity. As long as you’re dressed for it — waterproof boots are a must! — searching for millions-of-years-old fossils can be just as fun and compelling in winter as it is in summer. There are several places to go in the region, all about an hour drive from DC. This post has a round-up of spots to check out.

Grounds for Play
Where: Playgrounds around the DMV
When: Daily
Admission: Free

Let the kiddos burn some energy and get some fresh air at one of many awesome area playgrounds. BeauvoirClemyjontriWatkins Regional ParkHains Point, Cabin John Regional ParkWheaton Regional Park, plus loads of DC Parks and Rec locations are great places to swing, climb, run, slide, romp, and even more!

Two-Wheel Time
Where: Around the DC Area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free

There’s a bound to be a few unseasonably warm days to make for good biking conditions (though you can layer up for a cold day ride, too).  Cruise along paths lined with scenic surroundings, ride to destinations that offer even more fun, and get some exercise.  This post has a bunch of pedal-worthy recs, with something for riders of all levels, and this particular route is ideal for the whole crew.

Go Disc Golfin’
Where: Courses around the DC Area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free
Hit the links, the chain links, that is! Disc golf is a great way to enjoy some family time outdoors. Not only is it fun and challenging, many of the courses are set up in scenic places. This post has info about our favorite in College Park, and there are also great courses at Patapsco Valey State Park in MD,  Pohick Bay Regional Park in Lorton, VA,  Seneca Creek State Park in Gaithersburg, MD, Burke Lake Park in Burke, VA.

 

* Find even more places for outdoor adventures.

 

 

Show Time

Adventure Theatre’s The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe will delight!

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?

A Christmas Carol
Where: Ford’s Theatre | Penn Quarter, DC
When: November 18 – December 31
Tickets: $25-104
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).

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.

Disney’s Frozen
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: December 20 – January 21
Tickets: $35-185

From the producer of The Lion King and Aladdin, Frozen, the Tony® Award–nominated Best Musical, is now on tour across North America—and the critics rave, “It’s simply magical!” (LA Daily News). Frozen features the songs you know and love from the original Oscar®-winning film, plus an expanded score with a dozen new numbers by the film’s songwriters, Oscar winner Kristen Anderson-Lopez and EGOT winner Robert Lopez. It’s everything you want in a musical: It’s moving. It’s spectacular. And above all, it’s pure Broadway joy.

The Nutcracker on Strings
Where: The Puppet Co.| Glen Echo, MD
When: Through January 1
Tickets: $15/age 2+

The Puppet Co.’s annual holiday treat and Washington tradition for 30 years is returning! The Nutcracker is the festive story of Clara-Marie’s favorite toy and their adventures together in the land of the Sugarplum Fairy. Music from Tchaikovsky’s famous ballet blends with marionettes and costume characters to create this unique production.

Snow Maiden
Where: Synetic Theater | Crystal City, VA
When: Through January 6
Tickets: $25-35 (look for discount)

In a frozen silver forest high in the mountains, a lonely boy builds a girl from snow. When she mysteriously comes to life, mischief, laughter, and enchantment abound. But what will happen when the ice begins to melt? Told through Synetic’s signature style of dazzling movement, dance, and acrobatics, this magical take on the beloved folktale Snegurochka is a heart-warming story of love, hope, and the transformative powers of awe and wonder. Snow Maiden comes to life in a 45-minute production set to an enchanting score to get us all in the holiday spirit.

Rocknoceros New Year’s Eve Ball
Where: Jammin’ Java
Tickets: December 31, 11am – 12pm
Admission: $10

Rocknoceros is returning to Jammin Java for their 15th New Year’s Eve Ball. The hour-long program will include live music from the area’s favorite family-jam band, interactive New Year’s resolutions, the Ball Drop, and a complimentary apple juice toast.

* See what else is on stages now (or coming soon), and find holiday-themed entertainment here.

 

Indoor Action

Climb the day away at The St. James

 

Super, Awesome, and Amazing Fun
Where: The St. James | Springfield, VA
When: Thurs-Fri, 3-8pm | Sat-Sun, 9am – 8pm
Admission: Starting at $15/hour 

The Super, Awesome, and Amazing (that’s what it’s called) 30,000 square foot activity center in the St. Jame sports complex is filled with all kinds of climbing structures, trampolines, and obstacle courses. Kids can don harnesses and clip onto wires to climb, rappel, and navigate walkways 20 feet above the ground. They can bounce, flip, and execute acrobatic moves. They can swing from bars and on large platforms and crawl through tunnels. Essentially, every element in the space is conducive to active fun, and there is something for kids from toddler to tween ages to enjoy.

Tee Up
Where: Top Golf | National Harbor & Gaithersburg, MD
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Starts at $27/bay
Practice your swing, enjoy a bite, and have some indoor/outdoor fun.  At Top Golf, you drive balls from climate controlled (ie, heated) sheltered bays, so you can still enjoy fresh air and be comfy.   Plus, there ’s a full service restaurant and bar (for parents, obvi) to make a full experience of it.

Reach New Heights
Where: ClimbZone | Laurel, MD
When: Daily, 10am – 8pm
Admission: $27/child, $18/age 2-4

The enormous facility is filled literally floor to ceiling with colorful themed climbing walls and moon bounces. Climbers can ascend Mt. Rushmore, reach the Jolly Roger on a pirate ship, conquer a game of Tetris, shimmy up a giant guitar, scale Jack’s bean stalk, negotiate a rope wall, and experience peak fun on a variety of other climbing areas.

Skate & Swing (and more)
Where: Kraken | Penn Quarter & Bryant Street, DC
When: Ongoing
Admission: Varies by activities
Play some pickleball, go roller skating, maybe do some axe throwing, and more at this one-stop shop for all those activities. Note that kids must be at least 13 to wield axes and go in the rage room. Be sure to make reservations!

Great Escape
Where: Escape the Room | Penn Quarter & Downtown, DC
When: Daily, various times
Admission: $35

Bring the whole crew to enjoy a challenge together! Experience a live-action adventure complete with mystery, hidden clues, and puzzles that help you escape dinosaur clones in DC, a spy situation, the depths of the earth, an Old West bank, a submarine, or a pandemic.

Spring Time
Where: Flight Trampoline Park | Springfield, VA
When: Daily
Admission: Starts at $14

Kids of all ages can jump, play, even flip for joy at Flight Trampoline Park. The huge space resembles a skate park, with an industrial look of exposed pipes and cinder block walls sprayed with graffiti. But where you’d find ramps, rails, and concrete to facilitate skills and tricks, there are trampolines instead. Be sure to check the schedule for any special jumping times, and buy tickets/sign waivers in advance online to avoid a line there.

Movie & a Meal
Where: The Alamo | Northeast DC & Crystal City, VA
When: Ongoing
Admission: $13/adult, $11/child, $12/senior
After 4pm – $15/adult, $13/child, $14/senior

The action here occurs on screen, but catching a flick is a great option during the cold winter break days, even better when you can enjoy a meal with your movie, too. The Alamo is the only theater in the city where you can do that — and it’s a good one! The theaters are nice, the seating is comfortable, and the food is tasty. See , what’s playing there now.

 

Weekday Programs

Investigate insects at the Natural History Museum

Play Date at NMNH: Investigating Insects
Where: Natural History Museum | National Mall, DC
When: December 20, 10:30am – 12pm
Admission: Free

Drop in at the National Museum of Natural History for this special program for families all about insects! Make close observations of select pieces from the insect collection related, learn about what makes an insect an insect, and create your own take-home craft to help remember key physical traits of insects!

Storytime: Rosie Revere, Engineer
Where: Hirshhorn Museum | National Mall, DC
When: December 20, 10-11am
Admission: Free

Put on your red bandana and jointhe Hirshhorn a special Storytime. Look at the installation Belief+Doubt by artist Barbara Kruger, participate in a lively read-aloud of Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty, and engineer your own work of art!

Winter Solstice Celebration
Where: Temporary Takoma Park Library | Takoma Park, MD
When: December 21, 7-8pm
Admission: Free

The  Rock Creek Morris Women Dancers will delight all ages with their annual solstice dancing! Along with performances, enjoy storytelling and a campfire-themed craft. Refreshments will also be served.

Holiday Stop Hop
Where: Across the DC Metrorail system
When: Through December 22
Admission: Free

WMATA is presenting this first-ever scavenger hunt that takes place across the Metrorail system. Parents and kids aged 4-18 are invited to embark on this festive quest. Here’s how it works: Pick up your free passport through December 22 from Metro Headquarters at 300 7th Street SW. Visit the featured festive stations — 20 are included in the passport book — and pick up a sticker for your passport at each location. Go in any order! Look for a designated Holiday Stop Hop sign, where you can grab a sticker from the take-one rack at the kiosk close by. Once your passport is filled, drop it off at the designated dropbox in the Metro HQ lobby December 22-29 and claim your prize! Three grand prize winners, aged 4-18, will be selected at random to receive a prize pack of exclusive Metro swag.

Holiday Family Activity Series
Where: Library of Congress | Capitol Hill, DC
When: December 27-30
Admission: Free

This will be a good one to keep in mind after when you’re looking for activities with the kids during the school break after Christmas… Join the Library’s Informal Learning Office for a crafting activity to celebrate the holiday season and the coming New Year. Learn about the Library’s holiday collections while you make your own crafts including writing cards, creating countdown chains for upcoming celebrations, and learning how to write thank you letters.

Family Card Making with Habeebah Muhammad
Where: Anacostia Community Museum | Anacostia, DC
When: January 1, 1-3pm
Admission: Free

Join for the last day of Kwanzaa to focus on the principle Imani. Habeebah Muhammad will lead a discussion on the importance of faith in the family. Participants will create and design cards to express what they are thankful for in each family member.

Library Activities
Where: Public Libraries in DC
When: Ongoing
Admission: Free

Our local libraries always offer free activities for kids (and adults), including over Winter Break.  Young children can join a music and movement session, teens can create zines, grade schoolers and tweens can do a Lego build, the whole crew can enjoy a family movie. Visit the DCPL events page to see what’s happening when at a library near you!

Fun at Fairfax Park
Where: Parks throughout Fairfax, VA
When: Ongoing
Admission: Varies by activity

The Fairfax County Park Authority hosts all kinds of events for guests of all ages on almost very day of the week. There are nature programs, activities that focus on the history of the area, special holiday celebrations, and more. View the calendar of events to see what is happening over Winter Break!

Park it in MoCo
Where: Parks in Montgomery County, MD
When: Ongoing
Admission: Varies by activity

Montgomery Parks also presents loads of special activities for visitors of all ages, from nature programs to crafts to holiday-inspired fun. Go here for details on what’s happening over the next couple of weeks.

 

 

See Some Sports

See some on-court action!

 

Wizards
Where: Capital One Arena | Penn Quarter, DC
When: December 15, 26, 27, 29, & 31
Admission: Ticket prices vary

The Wizards have a couple of home games over the break, so catch some exciting action on the court. They host the Indiana Pacers on December 15, Orlando Magic on December 26, Toronto Raptors on December 27, Brooklyn Nets on December 29, and Atlanta Hawks on December 31.

Capitals
Where: Capital One Arena | Penn Quarter, DC
When: December 20, 23, & 30
Admission: Ticket prices vary 

Hockey fans can see the Caps play a few games. The NY Islanders will be here on December 20, the Tampa Bay Lightning on December 23,  and Nashville Predators on December 30.

Hoops, NCAA-Style
Where: Universities around the DC Area
When: Throughout the break
Admission: Ticket prices vary

With so many universities in the area, there’s always some good college hoops action going on. Here’s where you can check out schedules and look for tickets:
University of Maryland (Go, Terps!)
George Washington University
Georgetown University
American University
Howard University
George Mason University
Catholic University

 

 

Day Trips

Spend a day on slopes within easy driving distance

 

Hit the Slopes
Where: Around the region
When: Through winter
Admission: Varies

A fun, active way to take advantage of winter: Skiing!  There are a bunch of resorts within a few hours’ drive that are great for young, newbie skiers (and veteran swooshers, too).  Some resorts to check out that are within day trip driving distance: Liberty, Whitetail, Roundtop, and Bryce.

Charm City, Hon!
Where: Baltimore, MD
When: Daily
Admission: Varies by locale

Zip up I-95 for some fun in our sister city, where there are lots of great places to spend a day off. Play the day away at Port Discovery. Explore the exhibits and loads of hands-on activities at the Maryland Science Center. See some of the quirkiest, coolest art around at the American Visionary Art Museum. Get an eyeful of the underwater world at the National Aquarium. Tour the historic ships moored at the Inner Harbor. Or learn about Baltimore’s early business days at the Museum of Industry. The KFDC Guide to Exploring Baltimore with Kids has info for all of these adventures, plus dining recs and more to explore!

Festive Road Trips
Where: Around the region
When: Through the holiday season
Admission: Varies by place
Mix it up with a quick getaway to a festive destination! When you feel like you’ve seen and done it all around DC, or just want to add a little extra magic to the season, road-trip-it to a locations less than three hours away from the DC metro area — and maybe make some fun stops on the way. This post have five suggestions for places to go.

Go Underground
Where: Luray Caverns | Luray, VA
When: Daily, 9am – 7pm
Admission: $32/adult, $16/ages 6-12, free/5 & under  (look for discount)

Behold the spectacular underground world of stalagmites, stalactites, and other amazing limestone formations in the massive cave system at Luray. Afterward, make your way through the Garden Maze or check out vintage rides in the Carriage and Caravan Museum. Admission does not include attractions beyond the cavern. KFDC Tip: Be sure to make a pit stop before going into the caverns, because it can be a long walk out to a restroom, and once you’re out, you may not be able to go back in.

Go East
Where: Annapolis and Eastern Shore, MD
When: Hours vary by place
Admission: Varies by Place

Who says it has be warm to head out toward the Eastern Shore and enjoy adventures by the water? Drive over the Bay Bridge for a great hike at Wye Island Natural Resources Management Area on this side of the bridge at Quiet Waters. And while it’s not the best season for crabs, you can still enjoy yummy meals at places that are known for them. Try Kentmorr or The Jetty after Wye, Cantler’s or Mike’s closer in. Of course, you can also enjoy a day walking around the charming downtown area in Annapolis.

Art & Maritime Explorations
Where: Calvert County, MD
When: Daily, except Christmas
Admission: Varies by locale

Make a day of it in Calvert County, where you can visit a couple of places for fun, fascinating, hands-on adventures. Annmarie Sculpture Garden is full of artistic delights. Tour beautiful works, both indoors and out, play in the Fairy Lolly, and create some of your own art with inspiration from all you see there. Hours are 9am – 5pm in the gardens, and admission is a $5 suggested donation. Also out that way is the Calvert Marine Museum, where you can see interesting exhibits, including display cases full of fossils and artifacts, plus live fish and other creatures. There’s also a play area and a real lighthouse to tour. Hours are 10am – 5pm, and admission is $9/adult, $4/ages 5-12, free/4 & under.  You can enjoy some nature out there at Calvert Cliffs State Park, where you can hike and do a little fossil hunting. Open sunrise to sunset, and admission is $8/car.

 

Extra Tips
* If you’re looking specifically for activities for foul weather days, see The Great Indoors round-up.
* And for where to enjoy time outside, check out The Best Places in the DC Area to Spend a Beautiful Day Outdoors with the Kids
* Created especially for the Covid Winter a few years ago, this post has even more ideas for things to do, all of them outdoors.
* This is a great time to sign up for volunteering opportunities with kids.
* Sometimes you just need a place to hang out for awhile, so why not make it a stunning one?
* And other times you just want a nice, peaceful place to chill out.
* Look for deals and discounts Goldstar.

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DC Scavenger: Decipher These Clues to Explore Dupont Circle!

Dupont Circle Photo: Wikipedia Commons

 

Summer may be winding down, but warm temperatures and days bursting with long-lasting sunlight continue to prevail (at least for now, anyway). Soak up every drop of summer with a fun and unique way to explore our capital city by embarking on a scavenger hunt throughout one of DC’s most popular neighborhoods!

The attractive neighborhood of Dupont Circle was established during the Gilded Age as a home for elite and affluent Washingtonians. Over a century later, it has managed to maintain its polished image with its stately row homes, green spaces, independent bookstores and shops, and eateries and cafes. The area’s epicenter, the energetic circle itself, serves as a popular social gathering spot for locals and visitors alike.

In this sixth guest blog post of her DC Scavenger series, local author JoAnn Hill takes us on an active pursuit throughout the Dupont Circle neighborhood. Embassies, museums and galleries, and grand mansions help define this lovely enclave, further preserving its initial intent as one of the city’s most elegant showpieces. Below are four of 23 clues featured in the Dupont Circle chapter of DC Scavenger, so lace up your walking shoes and get ready to explore this delightful and expansive region. And check out JoAnn’s book to solve and discover more clues and sites around Dupont Circle and throughout the entire city.

JoAnn Hill is also the author of Secret Washington, DC: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful, and Obscure, which goes beyond the typical guidebook; it’s an interactive treasure map spanning seventeen distinct neighborhoods throughout the District. If you think you know everything there is to know about DC ― even the most weird, wonderful, and obscure parts of it ― get ready to embark on an adventurous discovery of DC’s most cherished gems.

 

Dupont Circle Clue #1
A writer whose words echo worldwide,
Hues of mustard and crimson on this wall’s side.
“The Hill We Climb” helped her to shine bright,
This poet works hard for what is right.

Dupont Circle Clue #2
Deep, deep, low, artworks dazzle and glow,
You must descend to witness below.
Here, artists shine in this unique space;
Come and view in this sublevel place.

Dupont Circle Clue #3
Architect of Lincoln, this one more round,
The sea, wind, and stars, where pennies are found.
A spot for friends and neighbors to meet,
The water here welcomes your wading feet.

Dupont Circle Clue #4
This museum will have you screaming OHHHH!
Over one hundred rooms to get to know.
Two roaring statues greet visitors here,
Where Rosa Parks lived in her later years.

 

* * * 

 

JoAnn Hill, author of Secret Washington, DC: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful, and Obscure and DC Scavenger, has affectionately called Washington, DC, home for over 20 years.  She has written extensively about DC living, its food, and her world travels. Through her writing and research, she shares stories and tips that inspire the insatiably curious traveler. When she’s not writing and exploring, you will find her teaching fitness classes and indulging in DC’s culinary and theater scenes with her husband. JoAnn is the co-founder of Capitol Teachers, a full-service tutoring company servicing the greater DC area. She is currently working on her third book, Unique Eats and Eateries of Washington, DC, which is expected to be released in Spring 2024.

 

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DC Scavenger: Explore the Southwest Waterfront with These Fun Clues!

 

Summertime in DC calls for taking advantage of the city’s many spectacular waterfronts. The revitalized Southwest Waterfront is undoubtedly one of the District’s most vibrant areas, hosting a bevy of premiere dining, retail, and nightlife destinations. In addition to boasting an abundance of entertainment attractions, this accessible waterfront also offers countless recreational sports, festivals, and activities.

In this fifth guest blog post of her DC Scavenger series, local author JoAnn Hill takes us on an active pursuit throughout the Southwest Waterfront neighborhood. This highly visited region is largely characterized by The Wharf, as well as the nation’s longest continuously operating open-air fish market and thriving music and performing arts scenes. Below are four of 23 clues featured in the Southwest Waterfront chapter of DC Scavenger. JoAnn’s book that challenges readers to solve clues and discover sites around the Southwest Waterfront and throughout the entire city.

JoAnn Hill is the author of Secret Washington, DC: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful, and Obscure and DC Scavenger , which goes beyond the typical guidebook; it’s an interactive treasure map spanning seventeen distinct neighborhoods throughout the District. If you think you know everything there is to know about DC ― even the most weird, wonderful, and obscure parts of it ― get ready to embark on an adventurous discovery of DC’s most cherished gems.

Southwest Waterfront Clue #1
Come to this stop, a literary scene,
A stunning design surrounded by green,
Haven for books within these pleasing walls,
A redesigned space that welcomes us all.

Southwest Waterfront Clue #2
Find a showpiece quite grand that takes you here;
DC arts lovers hold this place quite dear.
An architectural gem you can’t miss,
Theater lovers bask in show-stopping bliss.

Southwest Waterfront Clue #3
Moove on over to this Vermont-based treat,
Deliciousness to lick, scoop, and eat,
Chunky Monkey and Phish Food are two faves,
So many flavors to savor and crave.

Southwest Waterfront Clue #4
Swing over to this area’s last spot,
The breeze here will cool you down when it’s hot.
Revert to your childhood here in full swing,
Fun way to round out this neighborhood fling!

 

* * * 

 

JoAnnHill, author of DC Scavenger and Secret Washington, DC: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful, and Obscure, has affectionately called Washington, DC, home for over 20 years. She has written extensively about DC living, its food, and her world travels on her blog dcglobejotters.org and other mediums and publications. Through her writing and research, she shares stories and tips that inspire the insatiably curious traveler. When she’s not writing and exploring, you will find her teaching yoga, barre, and group fitness classes, indulging in DC’s culinary and theater scenes, and spending as much time outside as possible being active. JoAnn is the co-founder of Capitol Teachers, a full-service tutoring company servicing the greater DC area. She lives in Washington, DC, with her husband Thalamus and dog Jackson.

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Independence Day Celebrations Around DC in 2023

 

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. Here are details on a bunch of them. Happy Independence Day!

July 3rd Jam
Where: Yards Park | Capitol Riverfront, DC
When: July 3, 5:30-8:30pm
Admission: Free

Join a pre-Independence Day celebration at the waterfront destination! Free and open to the public, the Yards Park boardwalk will host the Capitol Riverfront BID’s first ever July 3rd Jam in conjunction with the National Museum of the United States Navy to honor America’s Birthday. Enjoy outdoor activities and live music leading up to a performance from the U.S. Navy Band Commodores at 7pm. Stick around Yards Park to watch the Washington Nationals Freedom Fireworks following the baseball game. RSVP here.

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).

O Say Can You Play
Where: Tudor Place | Georgetown, DC
When: Saturday, 11am – 1pm
Admission: $10-15/child, $5/adult

This family-friendly outdoor program is perfect for kiddos to celebrate Independence Day a little early. Play traditional outdoor games and make a historic toy to bring home before sneaking a peek at rarely displayed objects from the Tudor Place Collection. Make a day of it and bring a picnic to enjoy in the garden after the program.

1776
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: Through July 17
Admission:$45-139

Perfect timing for this musical at the Kennedy Center that brings a new take on Independence Day… This production of the Tony Award–winning musical reexamines a pivotal moment in American history with a cast that reflects multiple representations of race, gender, and ethnicity.

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 at 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 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 Reds is part of the Patriotic Series, when the Nats wear their red, white, and blue, and there will be a American flag sunglasses giveaway for the first 10,000 fans. And, FYI, the evening of July 3, 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

The annual Independence Day concert at the Capitol airs live on PBS, but you can see the musical pageantry in person. Alfonso Rabiro will be hosting this year’s show, which will include performances by Boyz 2 Men, Chicago, Belinda Carlisle, Babyface, 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.  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, 5-10pm
Admission: Free

Enjoy 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.

Great Meadow Independence Day Celebration
Where: Great Meadow | The Plains, VA
When: July 2, 5pm
Admission: $50/car

Great Meadow, a 74-acre park and home of the Virginia Gold Cup races, is bringing back its famous fireworks show and activities for the 34th year a couple of days ahead of the 4th. Join for family games like cornhole toss, sack races, face painting, tug-of war, and more. The Flying Circus will provide an exciting air show, and there will be polo exhibitions along with hat and tailgate competitions with prizes for the most creative. Bring a picnic or purchase food on site — there will be food trucks and a beer garden. A spectacular fireworks display gets underway at dusk. BYO blankets and chairs for comfortable viewing (no umbrellas or tents, unless in reserved tailgate spaces.)

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 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.
* Eater DC has a round-up of restaurants celebrating July 4th.
* For more activities during the days leading up to the 4th, see the KFDC Summer Guide.

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Juneteenth Celebrations Around DC in 2023

Celebrate Juneteenth with an array of festivities at the NMAAHC

 

Marking the emancipation of enslaved African Americans in Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1965, Juneteenth officially became a federal holiday in 2021 — though it’s been celebrated at some places around the area for many years. While the actual day is June 19, there are events to celebrate it all weekend long leading up to the day.  Here’s a round-up of the best ones for families — both annual commemorations and new events — in 2023.

One Life: Frederick Douglass
Where: National Portrait Gallery | Penn Quarter, DC
When: Opens June 16
Admission: Free

The National Portrait Gallery is opening an exhibit on abolitionist Frederick Douglass during Juneteenth weekend. “One Life: Frederick Douglass” illuminates the legacy of one of the 19th century’s most influential writers, speakers and intellectuals through prints, photographs and ephemera. While there is a not a specific event happening, a visit to see the exhibit is a great way to mark the occasion.

What’s Going On NOW
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: June 16 & 17
Admission: $39-99

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Marvin Gaye’s iconic album What’s Going On at this star-studded, the NSO presents a star-studded concert featuring the Prince of Motown’s greatest hits performed by some of today’s finest artists, including Michelle Williams, Joshua Henry, Cory Henry, Luke James, Emily King, and Bilal.

Juneteenth Community Day
Where: NMAAHC | National Mall, DC
When: June 17
Admission: Free

In celebration of Juneteenth 2023, the NMAAHC returns to its perennial theme, “Senses of Freedom: The Taste, Sound, and Experience of an African American Celebration.” During thisJuneteenth Community Day visitors can explore the gifts of gardening and the culinary arts, hear stories, listen to music, and discover their inner artist with crafts for all ages. The public is invited to visit the Museum’s galleries, grounds, and Sweet Home Cafe to create memories and learn more about this historic holiday both inside and outside the museum. Outdoor festivities do not require tickets, but be sure to reserve free passes to go inside.

Juneteenth Festival
Where: Watkins Regional Park | Upper Marlboro, MD
When: June 17, 12-5pm
Admission: Free

Bring blankets and lawn chairs to hang out and enjoy this joyous day of celebration of African American history and culture. Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. Marking the date that the last enslaved people learned of their freedom, the month of June and the nineteenth day were combined to form the word Juneteenth. This annual countywide festival features live entertainment, food, vendors, arts and history activities, and a wide range of activities for all ages.

Juneteenth Family Day
Where: National Archives | National Mall, DC
When: June 17, 11am – 2:30pm
Admission: Free
Celebrate Juneteenth—the annual holiday commemorating the end of legal slavery in the United States—with family-friendly art-making and activities in the Boeing Learning Center. Come see the official handwritten General Order No. 3 and learn about Arlington’s Freedman’s Village with educators from the National Archives Museum and Arlington National Cemetery. All ages are welcome!

Freedom Before Emancipation: Family Day for Juneteenth
Where: Mount Vernon Estate | Mount Vernon, VA
When: June 17
Admission: $26/age 12+, $13/age 6-11, free/5 & under

This program will be part of a visit to George Washington’s estate this weekend. Learn about Ona Judge, Christopher Sheels, and Mount Vernon’s many enslaved people who resisted enslavement and sought freedom before the Emancipation Proclamation — their characters will be on the grounds to meet visitors. You can also join a special tour about enslaved people and a slave memorial commemoration ceremony. Read more about Mount Vernon here.

Juneteenth Celebration
Where: Frying Pan Farm Park | Centreville, VA
When: June 17, 1pm
Admission: Free

Join Frying Pan to celebrate African American stories, food traditions, music, and contributions to American spiritual life. Activities will include a special guest storyteller, live music, crafts, history, and food trucks offering African American cuisine. Be sure to sign up – space is limited!

Community Festival: Celebrate Juneteenth
Where: Brookland Arts Walk | Brookland, DC
When: June 18, 11am – 5pm
Admission: Free

There will be special activities to celebrate the day at Brookland Arts Walk this weekend. Enjoy cultural performances, browse the market of good from Black-owned businesses, take kiddos to a story time with the author, do some art activities, attend a session with the movement coach and drummer from the Marvel Black Panther films, and more.

Juneteenth for the City
Where: 700 Good Hope Rd SE | Anacosia, DC
When: June 17, 1-5pm
Admission: Free

Join Bread for the City and Mema’s Popups for a Juneteenth celebration featuring music, performances, and presentations. Plus, you can dine and shop at various Black-owned businesses throughout the day.

Scotland Juneteenth Heritage Festival
Where: Various locations in Montgomery County, MD
When: June 17-19
Admission: Varies by event

Celebrate the past and present of the first places African-Americans owned land in Montgomery County. Featuring a children’s carnival and music performance, as well as art exhibitions, food, sports, and presentations on Black history in this region, the events for the federal holiday on Monday, June 19, will be spread across the Cabin John Regional Park, Cabin John Village, and the Scotland community on Seven Locks Road.

Hike the Underground Railroad Experience Trail
Where: Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park | Sandy Spring, MD
When: Daily, sunrise to sunset
Admission: Free

A great outing anytime, but particularly meaningful for Juneteenth, this hike offers insight into the experience of enslaved peoples’ escape to freedom. The walk through woods and along edges of fields (with a map and explanation of the hike) is interesting and enlightening as well as an active way to spend time outdoors.  On February 18, Woodlawn Manor will be hosting a special Black History Month Family Day, when you ca stop in the Visitors Center to pick up take-home activities for kids as well as a trail map (though you can also print that out at home if you go a different day).

Visit BLM Plaza
Where: 16th Street NW | Downtown DC
When: Ongoing
Admission: Free

The two blocks along 16th Street NW, between K Street and Lafayette Park just across from the White House, was emboldened with the giant yellow BLACK LIVES MATTER statement in the summer of 2020 as the BLM movement began to swell after the murder of George Floyd. It’s since been repainted and become permanent. The pedestrian area is now a site of historic significance in DC, a meeting place and focal point of protests and other events, and a place for reflection on the words emblazoned on the street

Juneteenth Freedom Celebration
Where: Anacostia Community Museum | Anacostia, DC
When: June 19, 11am – 4pm
Admission: Free

Join the Anacostia Community Museum for a day-long celebration and gather with family, friends, and neighbors to honor the present and reflect on shared tradition and history. The event will include performances from local musicians, a double dutch contest, and urban gardening workshop.

Freedom Day Celebration
Where: National Harbor | Oxon Hill, MD
When: June 19, 1-7pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate Juneteenth at National Harbor and visit the Freedom Day Black-Owned Marketplace in the Capital Canopy. Support the community and check out a variety of businesses, food vendors and stick around for the cultural performances starting at 5pm on the Plaza Stage.

Step Afrika! Step Xplosion
Where: Strathmore | Bethesda, MD
When: June 19, 7pm
Admission: $35-75

Strathmore is marking Juneteenth with Step Xplosion, a celebration of the art form of stepping by Step Afrika! Honoring its rich roots in the African American fraternity and sorority experience, this show emphasizes the presence of stepping in the daily and future lives of students. This year’s collaborative production will feature the local premiere of The Movement, a new work choreographed by longstanding Step Afrika! performer Conrad Kelly II.

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