Tag Archives: Free Things to do in Washington DC

Where to Play on the Weekdays: February 3-7

Enjoy a special story time session at the National Gallery of Art’s East Building on Friday


Monday – Get outside to take advantage of warmer temps! Oxon Hill Farm near National Harbor is an ideal place for it. Visit animals, roam the lovely grounds, check out exhibits of old farm machinery and local history, and enjoy activities in the Visitors Center. Hours are 8am – 4:30pm, and admission is free. And for more places to opt outside on a lovely day, see the round-up of The Best Places in the DC Area to Enjoy a Beautiful Day Outdoors with the Kids.

Tuesday – Watch local kids recite Abraham Lincoln’s speeches at the Lincoln Oratory Festival. The annual event brings together students from the DC area to perform on the Ford’s Theatre stage some of Lincoln’s most important speeches, including both his inaugural addresses and the Gettysburg Address. The public is invited to be part of their audience. Reserve free tickets in advance online or get them at the Box Office. (Note: This also takes place on Wednesday.) Make a day of it and plan to tour the historic site, too — the museum adjacent to the theatre and Petersen House across the street welcome visitors daily, offering a fascinating glimpse into the life and death of Abraham Lincoln. Read a KFDC write-up about it. Tickets are free at the Box Office, $3/online in advance.

Wednesday – Celebrate Black History Month at the National Museum of African American History & Culture. During the off-peak season (September – February), passes are not needed for weekday admission. Be sure to read the KFDC Guide to visiting the museum with kids before you go.

Thursday – Join local children’s entertainer Uncle Devin on a musical journey through the wide, wonderful, and boisterous world of percussion instruments at Discovery Theater. Showtimes are 10:15am and11:30am (on Friday, too), and tickets are $3-6/chid, $8-9/adult.

In the evening, join Green Hedges School in Vienna at 6pm for a free screening of the documentary film Like, an IndieFlix Original that explores the impact of social media on our lives with a goal to to inspire people of all ages, especially kids, to self-regulate. The public is invited, and children are welcome, though the film is intended for students in grades 4-8. RSVP in advance.

Friday – Enjoy a Storytime at the National Gallery of Art. Together with staff, you’ll read a book aloud (in both English and Spanish), move, and play.  All ages are welcome, especially the youngest visitors and nursing parents. The session runs 10-11am and will gather at the East Building entrance. Admission is free. Plan to stay and explore the East Building after — see more about it in this KFDC post.


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Filed under 2020, All ages, Animals, Art, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Free, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Outdoor, Special Event, Story Time, Theatre, Weekdays, Winter

Where to Play on the Weekdays: January 27-31

ET phone ARTECHOUSE? Digital face play at the gallery’s newest exhibit


Monday – Immerse in digital art at Future Sketches, the new exhibit at ARTECHOUSE. Enjoy fun and quirky digital designs, plus neat interactives that focus on faces. Hours are 10am – 6pm. Admission is $16-20/adult, $8-10/child (the lower price if you buy in advance), and you can find a discount here.

Tuesday – Roam the enchanting gardens at Dumbarton Oaks in Georgetown. The grounds don’t open to the public until 2pm, but you can play at nearby Montrose Park or grab a bite to eat on M Street beforehand. I promise, it’s worth waiting for the afternoon visit. Even better, admission is free to both — there’s never an entry fee at Montrose, and Dumbarton waives it from November 1 – mid-March.

Wednesday – Head to the Hirshhorn for their weekly STORYTIME program for little ones. During this session, have fun with brushstrokes! You’ll look at paintings by Pat Steir and explore color, lines, and color mixing. Following a reading of the book Mouse Paint, young artists will create their own colorful compositions and sculpturesThis takes place 10-11am. Admission is free.

Thursday – Explore and play — indoors and outside — at Potomac Overlook Park in Arlington. Visit the nature center where you can see turtles, snakes, and more creatures and learn about the area’s natural environment. Enjoy outdoor time, too… hike the short trails and let the kids romp on the playground. Hours are 10am – 5pm, Tuesday – Sunday. Admission is free.

In the evening, go see The REACH Winter Lanterns at the Kennedy Center, the special display of about 100 dazzling illuminations crafted by Chinese artisans. It’ll be lit up this week Thursday – Sunday starting at 5:30pm with extra activities indoors. It’s really fantastic for all ages! Admission is free.

Friday – Enjoy mountains of indoor adventures at Badlands Play Space. From active fun to creative explorations to learning experiences to relaxation options, including a cafe, the enormous facility in Rockville has it all! Hours are 9am – 6pm (Tuesday – Sunday). Admission is $20/child, $12.50/toddler, $5/adult.


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Filed under 2020, All ages, Art, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Free, Indoor Play, Maryland, Museums, Nature, Outdoor, Special Event, Volunteer, Weekdays

Where to Play on the Weekdays: January 21-24

Bundle up for a day outdoors at Great Falls Park


Tuesday – Locate secret doors, see outrageously fabulous themed rooms, and browse a trove of secondhand treasures on a tour of The Mansion on O Street. The Dupont Circle landmark is a mansion, museum, restaurant, vintage store, and hotel all in one. It’s one of the neatest and most stunning spaces in DC! And visitors are welcome to explore (and shop!) it all. Tours are offered 11am – 3pm. Self-guided tours start at $25 — purchase tickets in advance online.

Wednesday – Get excited for the Lunar New Year at the Freer|Sackler Gallery, where you can view a remarkable collection of Asian art and special exhibits. Ask for activity cards and a family guide at the front desk when you arrive to help with kiddos with their art adventure. Museum hours are 10am – 5:30pm. Admission is free.

Thursday – Bundle up for a hike and some nature fun at Great Falls Park. Whether you opt for the Maryland or Virginia side, you really can’t go wrong. Take in spectacular views of the falls and rapids from several overlooks, hike easy trails along the river or through the woods, and stop in the Visitor Center — there’s one on each side — to learn more about the area’s history and wildlife. Open 7am to 30 minutes after sunset. Admission is $20/vehicle.

Friday – See some entertainment especially for kids at The Puppet Co., where Rapunzel is the current Main Stage production. Showtime is 11am, and tickets are $12.


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Filed under 2020, All ages, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Free, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Theatre, Virginia, Weekdays

Where to Play on the Weekdays: January 13-17

The National Arboetum is a great place to enjoy warmer-than-normal weather


Monday – Go to Story Time at the National Postal Museum. Taking place every Monday, the program includes a book reading and activities for little ones in the museum’s education space. Of course, stay to explore the rest of the museum, which is full of interactive exhibits that appeal to all ages. Story Time is at 10:30am and repeated at 11am. Admission is free. Read more about the museum in this KFDC post.

Tuesday – Take kiddos to bounce, climb, swing, tumble, and slide at the PG Sports & Learning Complex Gymnastics Center in Landover, MD. The hour-long weekly open play workshop is a great way for kiddos to be active indoors (it was a regular outing for us when the kids were younger)! The session begins at 11:30am, and admission is $7/child. This also takes place on Wednesdays at 11:30am and Fridays at 4:30pm. Read more about the open play sessions here.

Wednesday – Spend what’s forecast to be a warmer-than-normal winter day at one of the prettiest places in DC, the U.S. National Arboretum. Explore the plant collections on nature walks, view the bonsai exhibit, visit the Washington Youth Garden and romp on the natural playground, check out the old Capitol columns, picnic in the Grove of State Trees, and so much more. Hours are 8am – 5pm, and admission is free. Read even more about the Arboretum in the round-up of the best places to spend a day outdoors — it tops the list! — as well as this post and this one.

Thursday – Explore the local environment at Buddie Ford Nature Center. The facility in Alexandria houses fascinating exhibits (including live creatures!), hands-on activities, and a staff of friendly and knowledgeable naturalists that all ages will appreciate. Afterwards, take the fun outdoors with a short hike at the adjacent Dora Kelley Nature Park. Buddie Ford hours are 10am – 5pm (Wednesday – Saturday, 1-5pm Sunday). Admission is free.

Friday – Rock out with local kids’ fave Rocknocerous at Jammin’ Java in Vienna, VA. You can also nosh while you’re there — the smoothie, juice, acai bowl, and coffee menu will be available. Showtime is 10:30am, doors open at 10am. Tickets are $5.


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Filed under 2020, All ages, DC, Free, Indoor Play, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Music, Nature, Outdoor, Seasonal, Story Time, Virginia, Weekdays

Where to Play on the Weekdays: January 6-10

Celebrating 11 years of our fiercely loved girl this week. Happy Birthday, sweet Sash 💜💙💚


Monday – Savor the sunshine and some outdoor time at Roosevelt Island, which I just posted a big write-up about! It’s a great place to hike with kids and get a dose of history in one fell swoop. The trails are easy for little legs to tramp, and you can explore the Memorial Plaza to learn about the legacy of President Theodore Roosevelt. The entrance to the park is located right off the GW Parkway, just past the Roosevelt Bridge, and accessible only from the northbound lanes. Hours are 6am – 10pm, and admission is free.

Tuesday – Visit a DC go-to: The National Museum of Natural History, which has exhibits to indulge a variety of interests. View all kinds of mammals, hold live insects, learn about early humans (and see what you’d look like as one), gaze at amazing gemstones, and, of course, check out the dinos and other prehistoric creatures in the Hall of Fossils. KFDC Tip: On Tuesdays, entry to the Butterfly Pavilion is free, and I recommend getting tickets when you arrive, since entry is timed, and yours may not begin right away. Admission to the museum is free, the Butterfly Pavilion is $7.50/adult, $6/child other days. Museum hours are 10am – 5:30pm.

Wednesday – Go to Story Time at Kramerbooks in Dupont Circle. The weekly program features a different children’s book and fun activities for little ones each session. They’ll watch your kids while you grab a coffee (or, if it’s that kind of morning, a mimosa) from the great Afterwords Café. The session starts at 10:30am, and admission is free (but mimosas you have to pay for). All ages welcome.

Thursday – Head north to Charm City for a time trip through Baltimore’s early business days at the Museum of Industry. The Inner Harbor attraction highlights the trades and people that helped build the port city. It’s full of fun and interesting exhibits and installations, many with hands-on elements, that appeal to children and adults alike. Hours are 10am – 4pm (Tuesday – Sunday). Admission is $12/adult, $7/ages 7-12, free for 6 and under. Look for a deal here.

Friday – Join a free workshop for preschoolers (ages 2-5) with the Wolf Trap Foundation. The interactive session at Green Hedges School in Vienna, VA, will include a story dramatization of the book Ask Mr. Bear with the goal of exploring simple math concepts and learning how to bring stories to life. The program takes place 10-11am, and admission is free. Register in advance here.


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Filed under 2020, All ages, DC