This round-up is heavy on holiday events, but if you’re not quite ready to immerse in the spirit of the season just yet, there’s still plenty to do. Check out a special Chalk Art event at Yards Park, see a show, or enjoy one of the many mainstay attractions that makes DC such a great place to be. Happy Weekend!
Smithsonian Holiday Festival
Where: Smithsonian Museums on the Mall
When: Saturday & Sunday
The Smithsonian is hosting a free to attend, two-day festive holiday atmosphere at many of the museums on the National Mall featuring exclusive concerts, seasonal films like Santa vs. the Snowman 3D and The Polar Express 3D, puppet demonstrations, trunk shows, origami ornament making, book signings, food, and hours of other family-friendly entertainment. For full details surrounding each attraction, visit the event webpage.
Chalk It Up
Where: Art Yards
When: Saturday & Sunday, 12-4pm
Renowned chalk muralist Michael Kirby (of Murals of Baltimore) welcomes kids and their parents to join him at Art Yards to interact with his newly completed 3-D mural and to make some art of their own. Have your picture taken within this unique perspective fantasy artwork created on the surface of the parking lot, see large-scale wall murals five stories tall, and get to work on your own chalk masterpiece – each participant will get his or her own square in the parking lot on which to make a mini mural. And Buzz Bakery will be on site with hot chocolate and treats, as well as cookie decorating in their shop! Art Yards is at the former NGA Building at The Yards (M St SE at New Jersey St SE).
Holiday Card Workshop
Where: National Postal Museum
When: Saturday, 1-5:30pm
Celebrate the holiday season by creating one-of-a-kind handmade cards. The National Postal Museum provides beautiful holiday stamps from all over the world, along with a variety of crafts supplies to both inspire your creativity and decorate your cards. We’ve attended this annual event a few times, and its always very well-organized and tons of fun. Plan to stay after to tour the exhibits, many of them interactive and interesting for all ages.
Holly Trolley Fest
Where: National Capitol Trolley Museum
When: Weekends through December 29
Admission: $7/adults, $5/ages 2-17
The Trolley Museum’s annual holiday program opens this weekend. Guests can ride with Santa on the street cars and enjoy the model garden railway and holiday village inside the museum. And the rest of the museum, offering a glimpse into the history of street cars, including a Hall displaying different cars from around the region and Europe. Visit the website for directions to the museum.
‘Tis the Season
Where: Throughout the area
When: All weekend long
Admission: Varies be venue
Most of the area’s big holiday events and activities will be on by this weekend. Holiday on the Ellipse, Season’s Greenings at the U.S. Botanic Garden, Christmas on the Potomac, Christmas at Mount Vernon, train and light displays, and more. Get the full rundown on all of them in the 2013 Guide to the Holidays in DC.
CHAW Holiday Fête
Where: Capitol Hill Arts Workshop
When: Saturday, 12-8pm
The Capitol Hill Arts Workshop is hosting this hosts Arts Showcase and Sale all day Saturday, with activities that include music and dance performances, student art shows, and opportunities to shop the artwork. And from 2-5pm, there will be gingerbread house making and decorating at nearby Eastern Market’s North Hall. The Capitol Hill Arts Workshop is located at 545 7th St SE.
Where: Wolf Trap
When: Saturday, 4pm
Wolf Trap’s Holiday Sing-A-Long is an annual musical celebration hosting a performance by the United States Marine Band and a Sing-A-Long of Christmas carols and Hanukkah songs with choir and vocal groups from the metropolitan Washington area. Admission is free, and no tickets are required. Parking is free, but limited, so please plan on arriving early. Bring along a new, unwrapped toy to donate to Toys for Tots, a bell for a “Jing-A-Long” during the singing of “Jingle Bells,” and a candle to join the tradition of exiting the Filene Center with a candlelight processional during the last verse of “Silent Night.”
Jam with Billy Jonas
Where: Jammin’ Java
When: Saturday, 10:30am
It’s a “neo-tribal hootenanny” — original “voice and percussion”-based songs with a generous dose of audience participation. The music mixes conventional instruments (guitar, bass, marimba) with homemade creations (using buckets and barrels, keys and cans, bells and body percussion). Billy tailors both his song selection and its presentation to uniquely suit each audience. It’s spirited, straightforward music that is accessible to anyone and everyone, regardless of age or cultural background. The big-tent festival quality of Billy’s music facilitates connection and community while fostering inspiration and, most importantly, FUN.
More Holiday Entertainment
Where: Local theatres
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by venue
Much of the live entertainment on area stages right now is holiday-inspired. Enjoy the ultimate holiday classic The Nutcracker performed by the Washington Ballet at Warner Theatre or catch a tot-friendly version at The Puppet Co. Join the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future as they lead Scrooge on A Christmas Carol journey at Ford’s Theatre. Enjoy The Twelve Days of Christmas at Adventure Theatre. Get details on these shows and others in the 2013 Holiday Guide.
Lyle the Crocodile
Where: Imagination Stage
When: Saturday & Sunday
Recommended for ages 4-12, Lyle the Crocodile will run through January 10: When the Primm family moves into their New York City apartment, they are quite surprised to find a crocodile in their bathtub! But Lyle is a rather extraordinary crocodile and quickly becomes part of the family. Unfortunately, a nasty neighbor, Mr. Grumps, has it out for the reptile. He thinks poor Lyle is unfit for the neighborhood simply because he’s different. After a parade, a trip to the department store, and a stint in the zoo, Lyle saves the day and earns his place as a beloved friend and neighbor.
Where: National Gallery of Art
When: Saturday, 1:30pm & 3pm
This dramatic interpretation honors the rich stories behind the people and events remembered in Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ Shaw Memorial. Recommended for ages 8 and up, performances take place in the East Garden Court of the West Building on a first-come, first-served basis.
Where: Stead Park
When: Saturday, 11am – 1pm
On Saturday, bring a clothing donation to brighten up someone’s holiday and have your picture taken with Santa. Friends of Stead Park is collecting men’s clothes for Charlie’s Place, women’s and children’s clothes for N Street Village, or travel-size toiletries for the DCJCC to distribute on December 25th. Santa will be available for photos with your camera or with onsite photographer – photos will be available to download after the event.
Elephant & Piggie’s We Are in a Play
Where: Kennedy Center
When: Saturay, 5pm
Best friends Gerald and Piggie find themselves on an excellent musical adventure in this world premiere stage adaptation of Mo Willems’s award-winning Elephant & Piggie books. Recommended for ages 4 and up.
Winter Fair (Marché d’Hiver)
When: Saturday, 10am – 5pm
Celebrate Winter and join Rochambeau, the French international school in Bethesda MD for a unique shopping experience, delectable foods & drinks, children’s activities, seasonal crafts, music, and entertainment. Go for the festive ambiance, to catch up with friends, or spend a day of fun with your family. All proceeds from the Winter Fair benefit Rochambeau.
Family Day at the Nutcracker
Where: Warner Theatre
When: Sunday, 11:30am
Admission: Free, with ticket to 1pm performance
At The Nutcracker Family Day you will get an opportunity to see Artistic Director Septime Webre on stage rehearsing the Revolutionary War soldiers and Clowns, watch the production staff as they set the stage for the1PM performance, get autographs from professional dancers, and meet your favorite Nutcracker characters. Take home a souvenir activity book, prizes and more. Bring your camera and take photos with Miss Liberty or John Paul Jones!
Holidays in Wax
Where: Madame Tussauds
When: Sunday, 11am – 3pm
Admission: $20/13 and older, 12 and under are free
Celebrate the holidays at the wax museum with festive crafts, stories, and more. Tour Madame Tussauds and meet all 44 presidents, plus your favorite celebrities and sports stars!