* Along with these daily recommendations, don’t forget to check the Winter Break Guide, which contains a great mix of ideas for activities and adventures with the kids during the winter break from school.
Monday – Make your way up to Baltimore to visit the Maryland Science Center, which is open this Monday during Winter Break (regularly only open Tuesday – Sunday). You can easily make a whole day of it exploring the variety of neat hands-on exhibits, playing in the Kids Room, and so much more. Hours are 10am – 5pm. Admission is $25.95/adults, $19.95/ages 3+, free for 2 and under. (I suggest checking out their membership options — if your family of 4 goes just twice in a year, it’s worth it. Plus, there’s reciprocity with other museums around the country.) Read more about the museum in this KFDC post.
For something local and easier on the wallet, visit the largest library in the world, the Library of Congress, to explore children’s books, see interesting exhibits, and marvel at one of DC’s most beautiful buildings. The Young Readers Center is open 9am – 4pm and welcomes visitors to read books and hang out in the cozy space. And be sure to spend time checking out the rest of the LOC, too — it’s truly magnificent and a must-see for both locals and visitors to DC. Hours are 8:30am – 4:30pm. Admission is free.
Tuesday – Celebrate New Year’s Eve at one of many events around town that not only welcome kids, but in most cases center around them. See this post for a list of family-friendly options to ring in 2020. 🎉Happy New Year! 🎉
Wednesday – A couple of suggestions: Take a New Year’s Day hike — this post has details on a bunch of great places to hit the trail with the kids. Or, go out for a fun family meal. All Purpose Pizza at the Capitol Riverfront is doing a special New Year’s Day brunch. Pinstripes in Georgetown has a bistro, plus bowling and bocce. Jaleo, located in Penn Quarter, Bethesda, and Crystal City, has tapas to please everyone — and they might seat you at a Foosball table. Carmine’s serves food family-style and is very family-friendly. Ted’s Bulletin is always a hit with kids.
Thursday – Go ice skating! It’s always a fun, active way to take advantage of the season, especially when you glide under the sky at one of the many outdoors rinks in the area. Several offer push aids to help newbie skaters, and most are located in places with even more to do beyond the ice. This post has all the details on all of them.
Friday – Experience AURORA: The Spirit of Northern Lights before it closes after this coming weekend! The art installation at ARTECHOUSE is beautiful, enchanting, and interactive with a little bit of magic that both kids and adults will love. Family-friendly hours are 10am – 5pm (21+ 5:30-10pm), and admission is timed entry. Tickets are $16-20/adult, $8-10/child, and they are offering a 20% discount package for 2 adults + 2 children, Sundays through Thursdays (the deal will auto-populate when tickets are requested online).
Exploring Patrick Doherty’s amazing Stickwork Sculpture Installation at the US Botanic Garden
This is the one weekend each year that I take a break — from compiling a regular Weekend Round-Up, that is. Just like the modified title, I’m keeping it simple, though definitely not leaving you hanging. The links below will still lead you to tons of info and inspo to fill the next few days with as much (or little) activity as you want. You can also check KFDC on Facebook and Instagram for any updates or extra ideas. Happy Last Weekend of 2019!
The year is winding down, and the countdown to 2020 is on! If you’re looking for ways to ring in the new decade with young revelers, you have some great options! There are a bunch of family-friendly ways to celebrate around the area, from organized events to plan-it-yourself activities. Here are details and inspiration for your crew to get in on the fun. Happy New Year!
Rumpus Room (Almost) NYE Family Dance Party
Where: Black Cat | 14th Street NW, DC
When: December 29, 2-4:30pm
Celebrate a trip around the sun in style with DC’s best (and only) family dance party! Get the fun started early (and practice your moves for the actual day) at this event that caters to tiny dancers and their fams. Tunes are played at a kid-friendly volume and all ages are welcome to groove on the dance floor together. Rumpus Room is designed for kids 10 and under and their caregivers, but older siblings are welcome.
Family Paint Countdown Party
Where: ArtJamz | Dupont Circle, DC
When: December 29, 11:30am – 1pm
Start the countdown a couple of days early at ArtJamz with creative and kid-friendly afternoon New Year’s celebration. Admission includes 1.5 hours of studio time, plus access to paints, brushes, art tools, pens, glitter and more to decorate and paint the jamming studio walls with resolutions and goals. Kids can enjoy festive decorations, a noon countdown and non-alcoholic toast, family-friendly party tunes, and tips, guidance and encouragement from jamming local artists. For adults, the bar will be open! While kids paint downstairs, the lounge upstairs will be serving creative cocktails, wine, mimosas, and beer.
Noon Yards Eve
Where: The Yards Park | Capitol Riverfront, DC
When: December 31, 10am – 1pm
The Yards is once again hosting its Noon Yards Eve festival to ring in 2020! The seventh annual event will transform the park into a family-friendly New Year’s Eve celebration with fun for both kids and adults. Activities will include trackless train rides through the park, inflatable moon bounces, glitter tattoo artists, balloon artistry, music, and a countdown and big balloon drop at noon.
First Night Alexandria
Where: Old Town | Alexandria, VA
When: December 31, 6pm – 1am
Admission: $30-35/adult, free/age 12 & under
It’s the 25th anniversary of the area’s largest family-friendly New Year’s Eve celebration, so the fun and entertainment will be in abundance. Enjoy Kids Karnivals in four locations, with loads of activities for young revelers — face painting, story time, balloon sculptures, interactive games, and much more ($5). And numerous performances on multiple indoor stages throughout Old Town Alexandria will feature live entertainment from a wide variety of genres. The evening will conclude with a spectacular fireworks display on the Potomac River at the foot of King Street. For details on where shows will take place, see the schedule on the website.
Rocknoceros New Year’s Eve Party
Where: Jammin Java | Vienna, VA
When: December 31, 11am & 2pm
For the 13th straight year, the widely popular band that always gets kids rockin’ will be playing a special New Year’s Eve gig at Jammin Java. Sing along to some of your favorite tunes and enjoy the full menu of food and drinks while you’re there. Opt for the lunchtime show at 11am, or go in the afternoon at 2pm. Doors open half-hour before the show and general admission seating is on a first come, first served basis.
Noon Year’s Eve
Where: Badlands | Rockville, MD
When: December 31, 9am – 2pm
Admission: $20/age 3+, $12.50/2 & under, $5/adult
Dance, play, and craft it up all day with an amazing balloon drop goin’ down at noon. They’ll have their egular Toddler Time but all ages are welcome to join in on the festivities and to run, jump, play, and ring in the new year!
Noon Year’s Eve
Where: The St. James | Springfield, VA
When: December 31, 10:30am – 12:30pm
Admission: $37/non-members, $15/under 4, free/adults
Ring in the new year with a New Year’s Eve kids party in the active entertainment center. Super, Awesome & Amazing will feature a magician, DJ, photo booth, face painting and a balloon drop at noon. We’ll have a few light bites, desserts, snacks and juice and water for the kids in case they get hungry. Parents do not need to purchase tickets but will have access to a cash bar. Tickets are limited and may sell out prior to the event. If available, ticket prices will increase and be available for purchase at the door.
Where: Maryland Science Center | Baltimore, MD
When: December 31, 10am – 2pm
Admission: $24.95/adult, $18.95/3-12, free/2 & under
Join the MSC for their annual New Year’s Eve celebration, Midnight Noon, where children can enjoy the ball drop before bedtime. There will be fun New Year’s festivities throughout the day, including a live concert by popular kids band Milkshake — their Grammy-nominated tunes will keep everyone dancing throughout the day. And, of course, the rest of the museum will be open to explore! All activities are free with paid admission (and completely free to members).
New Years at Noon
Where: Port Discovery | Baltimore, MD
When: December 31, 10am – 5pm
Admission: $15.95 ages 2+
Countdown to the new year at this family-friendly New Year’s Eve celebration! Help Port Discovery welcome 2020 with a celebration that includes a magical noontime countdown, a juice and cookie toast, festive tunes, and more. Other special activities along with the whole multi-level children’s museum include noisemaker and party popper making, a photo ops corner, and a wishing tree to spread your hopes for the new year.
Get Medieval on NYE
Where: Medieval Times | Hanover, MD
When: December 31, 3:30pm (doors open at 2pm)
Admission: $37.95/adult, $30.95/child
Experience an epic afternoon of fun and celebration as you countdown to 2020. Along with a four-course feast and thrilling jousting action, young guests can get free knight training (space limited, arrive early), a free activity book, and story time with Lord Cedric. Be sure to use the code NYE20 for the ticket discount!
Watch Night New Year’s Eve Celebration
Where: Intersection of Broad & Washington St. | Falls Church, VA
When: December 31, 7pm – Midnight
Ring in the New Year with free, family-friendly festivities at Falls Church’s 22nd annual New Year’s Eve celebration. Enjoy food, music, singing, dancing, entertainment, performances and interactive festivities that appeal to all ages. Highlights for kids include an Extreme Air Jumper, rock climbing wall, mechanical bull, obstacle course, inflatable slides, bungee jump, Velcro wall, puppet shows, face painting, caricaturist, balloon sculptor, and more. Plus, restaurants will have special Walking Watch Night Menus at local restaurants. The evening concludes at midnight with the traditional countdown and lowering of the City of Falls Church Star. All events take place around the intersection of Broad and Washington Streets. A free shuttle bus with 11 stops runs from the East Falls Church Metro throughout the evening.
Midnight at 7
Where: Merriweather Post Pavilion | Columbia, MD
When: December 31, 5-7:30
Admission: $15-20, $50/family 4-pack, free/3 & under
Head to the Merriweather in Columbia for early fireworks on New Year’s Eve surrounded by the twinkling Lights. The event will feature food, activities, music, and fireworks at 7pm, as well as the last chance to walk through the lovely Symphony of Lights course.
Swoosh into 2020
Where: Ski Liberty | Carroll Valley, PA
When: 5pm – 1am
Admission: Lift tickets start at $24/child (free/5 & under)
Hit the slopes to ring in the new year! Ski Liberty’s celebration will include late-night skiing and snowboarding until 1am, fireworks at midnight, and a variety of special events happening around the resort. There is also a special, by reservations only, party at Boulder Ridge with Snow Tubing from 10pm to 1am. Find something for everyone and every age!
Glide into 2020
Where: Ice rinks around the DMV
When: Throughout the day & evening
Admission: Varies by rink
Skate under the stars to celebrate the start of the new decade. Gliding on ice surrounded by twinkling lights, art sculptures, and/or the hubbub of people in festive spirits is a fun, active way to revel. Join a special event like Rock & Skate at Washington Harbour or just do your own thang. Be sure to check times for each rink, as hours may change for the holiday.
New Year’s Night Lights
Where: Around the DMV
When: After dark
Admission: Varies by locale
Start your own family New Year’s Eve tradition with a seasonal treat: Bundle up for a stroll or take a drive through one of several spectacular light displays! Most of the light shows that dazzle this time of year are open on New Year’s Eve. If you’re enjoying it from the comfort of a car, pack a thermos of hot chocolate, yummy snacks, and prepare a festive playlist for the ride.
The National Menorah and Christmas Tree from a past holiday season
Last week I posted the Winter Break Guide, a big mix of ideas for activities and adventures with the kids during the winter break from school, so be sure to check it out! Below is a suggested itinerary that you can easily switch up with the recs from the guide. Have fun & Happy Holidays!
Monday – Bundle up the kids (and yourself) and take advantage of The Beauvoir School’s Winter Break. Their fantastic playground is open to the public when class is not in session. Open all day. Admission is free.
Later on, get into the holiday spirit by viewing some holiday lights! Visit one of the many twinkling displays around the area or go see the National Menorah and Christmas Tree on the Ellipse or the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree. (This is something you can do any evening during the week, though check schedules on Christmas night, as some of them are closed.)
Tuesday – Watch Santa have some fun before his big night out, as he water skis his way up the Potomac along with knee boarding reindeer, flying elves, the jet-skiing Grinch, and Frosty the Snowman in a dinghy! You can view it all for free from the waterfront in Old Town Alexandria starting at 1pm sharp — the best viewing spots will be from the Torpedo Factory to Point Lumley Park.
In the afternoon, enjoy a performance of The Velveteen Rabbit at Adventure Theatre. They are offering a special promo for select dates and time, including shows on Christmas Eve at 2pm and 4:30pm — use the code 5OFF to save! (Note: This is also good for shows on December 28 at 2pm, December 29 at 4:30pm, December 31 at 4:30pm, and January 1 at 4:30pm.)
Wednesday – Have a very Merry Christmas! And enjoy some activities out of the house, too! The U.S. Botanic Garden and Mount Vernon are open. You can bundle up and get out for a hike. Or do what’s a tradition for many who don’t celebrate Christmas and go out for Chinese food and a movie.
And one more idea: Fill your morning with Chanukah excitement! With 4 different live shows plus crafts, food activities, and more, Chanukah Wonderland, hosted by Chabad DC at TheSHUL, is a great way for kids of all ages and their families to celebrate. Food and snacks will be available for purchase and free raffles will take place every 30 minutes! Get your tickets by signing up at ChanukahFun.com. It takes place 9:30am – 1pm, and admission is $10/child or $35/max per family.
Thursday – Get Q?rius at the National Museum of Natural History. Visitors can view up close — and in many cases handle — real artifacts and specimens from the museum’s collections. It’s recommended for ages 11 and up, but some younger ages could also enjoy it. For really little ones, there is Q?rius Jr: A Discovery Room for more age-appropriate exploring. And, of course, there’s the whole rest of the museum — including the much loved Fossil Hall — for everyone. Hours are 10am – 5:30pm. Admission is free.
When the sun goes down, go ice skating! There’s something kind of magical about skating under the stars, and there are several rinks around the area where you can glide on ice at night.
Friday – Go bowling! Take advantage of Kids Club bowling at Pinstripes in Georgetown and North Bethesda. From 11am – 1pm Monday – Thursday, kids can bowl for $6/hour and parents are free (limit 4 kids per adult). Eat while you bowl or stay after for lunch — they have a good kids menu and a pretty extensive main menu, too. Read more about it in this KFDC post.
If you’re with really little ones, catch a performance of Squeakers & Mr. Gumdrop, running at the Atlas Performing Arts Center December 27-31. Showtimes are 10am and 11:30am (varies other days, so check the schedule), and tickets are $12.
In the evening, experience Georgetown GLOW, the annual exhibition of outdoor public light art installations that makes the neighborhood sparkle. Plan on dinner while you’re there — you’ve got your pick of places in the bustling community.