Racing toy ducks, bluegrass and jazz music, French flair, college and carousel celebrations, the arts, science, history, and so much more can be part of your weekend experience. And for activities beyond the round-up, browse the big list of indoor ideas as well as the best outdoor places to hang with the kids. Happy Weekend!
Bon Jour, Georgetown
Where: Wisconsin Avenue NW, between P St. & Reservoir Rd.
When: Friday/Saturday, 10am – 5pm & Sunday, 12-5pm
The Georgetown French Market returns to the Book Hill neighborhood bringing the signature European open air market back for its 13th year, featuring nearly 40 Georgetown boutiques, antique shops, restaurants and galleries, art, and antique home furnishings. But it’s not all about the shopping; kids will enjoy the strolling mimes, children’s activities, live music, and French cuisine from Georgetown cafes and restaurants. Visit the website to download a schedule of events and list of participating shops.
Duck, Duck… Race!
Where: Yards Park
When: Saturday 10am – 4:30pm
See thousands of environmentally-friendly toy ducks race along the Anacostia River! The first ever DC Duck Race, a fundraiser to benefit more than 30 non-profits executing sustainable service projects in the community, will showcase the flock of sponsored rubber duckies “racing” along a contained course on the water. There will be even more at the community festival, including entertainment, food, music, and a Kids’ Zone.
Where: University of Maryland
When: Saturday, 10am – 4pm
The annual Maryland Day celebration in College Park gets a giant thumbs-up from me, and not just because it’s my alma mater. This is a fantastic event for families, and I know from experience. Every year, the University hosts a huge open house for, well, everybody. “Explore Our Worldof Fearless Ideas” is the theme of this year’s fair, and guests will be able to do that and then some. There will be over 400 activities for varying ages, including learning games; an adventure area; autograph sessions with the basketball teams; musical performances; arts & crafts; farm animal visits; puppet shows and sing-a-longs; face painting; fossil digs; insect and instrument petting zoos; and TONS more. It’s spread out all over campus — and it’s a huge campus, so prepared for lots of walking (worth every step!) and be sure to bring a stroller for little ones.
Glen Echo Family Day
Where: Glen Echo Park
When: Saturday, 11am – 4pm
Celebrate the opening of the park’s beautiful historic Dentzel Carousel for its 96th season! Along with rides on the merry-go-round ($1.25/ride), guests of all ages can enjoy a loads of fun activities: Magic shows, dance performances, arts & crafts, face painting, photo exhibits, and balloon animals are just some of the usual favorites. The full schedule of events is available of the Glen Echo website.
Kingman Island Bluegrass & Folk Festival
Where: Kingman Island
When: Saturday 12-8pm
The 7th Annual Kingman Island Bluegrass and Folk Festival will feature bluegrass entertainment and plenty more revelry. The celebration of local music, food, and culture as well as the revitalization of the Anacostia River includes eight hours of performances by local bluegrass and folk acts on six stages. Fuel up with DC’s favorite food trucks and Sierra Nevada beer. Entertain kiddos in the Living Classrooms family tent with natural-inspired crafts and games for all ages. There will also be motor boat tours, kayaing, a marketplace selling all kinds of wares, and a Jam Tent, where pickers, strummers, and yodelers are welcome to stop in and play. Kingman Island is located on the Anacostia River at 575 Oklahoma Avenue NE (at the entrance to RFK Stadium).
Where: Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
When: Saturday, 10:30am – 4:30pm
Admission: Free (but parking is $15)
Experience the Air & Space Museum’s new Smithsonian TechQuest: Astronaut Academy. The free alternate reality game challenges you to become an astronaut-in-training for a future trip to Mars. Choose what role you will play on the mission; engage in fun interactive activities; and explore the science, technology, engineering, and math skills you will need as a member of the next generation of space travelers. Along the way, you’ll learn about some of the Museum’s fascinating artifacts. Read more about the adventure on the website. Best for upper elementary and middle school visitors and their families.
Spring Arts Fair
When: Saturday, 10am – 2pm
Washington Performing Arts and THEARC invite you to their Spring Arts Fair & Birthday Bash on Saturday to celebrate of DC’s diverse artistic offerings. The event will feature electrifying performances, interactive workshops, a moon bounce, face painting, free food (hot dogs, hamburgers, and Rita’s Italian Ice), and much more! A complimentary shuttle to THEARC will be available from the Southern Avenue Metro. Ample free parking is also available.
Revolutionary War Weekend
Where: Mount Vernon
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: $20 ($17online)/adult, $9/ages 6-11, free 5 and under
Join Mount Vernon for one of the largest Revolutionary War encampments in the area! Step back in time and experience more than 500 Continentals, Redcoats, Hessians, cannon, and cavalry in action at George Washington’s Mount Vernon. Meet hundreds of Revolutionary War military re-enactors, learn more about life in the 18th-century, discuss military techniques, and watch battle re-enactments, and more.
Where: Throughout the city
Take advantage of a fabulous opportunity for kids (and parents) to discover jazz music. International Jazz Day will bring together a hugely diverse group of artists for free shows in every Ward around the city, including major venues like The Kennedy Center, The National Museum of Natural History at The Smithsonian, and a number of great DC Jazz clubs.
Move Me Festival
Where: Kenmore Middle School
When: Saturday, 1-5pm
Bowen McCauley Dance is celebrating 20 years of Creating Community through Dance with the 7th Annual Move Me. The free, family-friendly event celebrates art and culture, promoting healthy lifestyles through movement and the arts. Festivities include performances and interactive activities provided by more than 20 local arts organizations, plus storytelling, arts & crafts, face painting, raffle prizes, food trucks, and more.
Au Pair in American Cultural Fair
Where: Nationals Park
When: Sunday, 1-4pm
Help celebrate 30 years of Au Pair in America and the U.S. Department of State’s au pair program! You’re invited to a fun afternoon of educational country displays, performances by au pairs, photo ops, face painting, and other fun activities for children. Au pairs from over 30 countries will be participating! If you’re curious about au pairs as a childcare option, don’t miss this fun-filled event! Sign up here.
REEP 40th Anniversary Event
Where: Gymnasium at the Arlington Mill Community Center
When: Friday, 6-9pm
Admission: $5/adult, $2/child, free for 2 and under
Start the weekend with the Arlington Education and Employment Program (REEP) for a 40th anniversary community celebration. Festivities will include carnival games, balloon animals, face painting, games, and raffles, live music, a DJ, food and drink, and more! REEP provides much-needed literacy, workforce development, and technology instruction to thousands of limited English proficient adults in Arlington.
Where: Local Theatres
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by venue
* The Emperor’s Nightingale just opened at Adventure Theatre
* Looking for Roberto Clemente is on the Imagination Stage
* And so is Lord of the Flies, just through this weekend
* Join Moona Luna for a Saturday morning concert at Jammin’ Java
* Catch a performance of Boxes, Boxes, Boxes at the Atlas Performing Arts Center
* See a fairy tale on strings as Sleeping Beauty is performed at The Puppet Co.
* And Doggy Doodle’s is the featured Tiny Tots show there
* The Children of the Gospel Choir and Children’s Chorus of Washington will unite for a concert at the Lincoln Theatre
Where: Brookside Gardens
When: Through September 25, 10am – 4pm
Admission: $8/ages 13 and up, $5/3-12, free ages 0-2
Walk amid a garden of butterflies as Brookside Garden’s amazing Wings of Fancy exhibit opens for it’s annual run. The display featuring live butterflies and caterpillars from all over the world is sure to delight! Plan to tour the rest of Brookside’s lovely grounds while you’re there and see if there are any other special kids’ programs to enjoy. Read about one of our experiences at the exhibit and rest of Brookside.
Experience the WONDER of Art
Where: Renwick Gallery
When: Throughout the weekend
The Renwick’s extraordinary exhibition will only be there in full for another a couple of weeks, so go see it while you can (or go for a repeat visit if you’ve already been). The aptly named WONDER features a major art installation in each gallery. And the works aren’t just beautiful, they’re breathtaking. Be sure to experience it with the kids — they’ll love it, too.
Where: Eastern Market
When: Sunday, 11am – 3pm
Join Capitol Hill neighbors in supporting the community’s own literary festival! The annual Literary Hill BookFest attracts thousands of visitors to meet and greet local authors, buy books, and learn about book-related resources and services on the Hill. Over 30 local writers from Capitol Hill will display, discuss, and sign their books. The Hill’s newest bookseller will sell books on-site. Select authors will give brief talks or readings. And children’s corner will offer story times and activities.
Art and Me: Become a Conservator!
Where: Sackler Gallery
When: Sunday, 11:30am – 1pm & 3-4:30pm
Visit the museum’s immersive installation Filthy Lucre and explore how art and science collide when conservators preserve precious works of art. Then, return to the ImaginAsia classroom and work with a Freer | Sackler conservator to learn about the process of repairing a work of art. This program is designed for children ages 3–5 with adult participation. Registration is required.
Tiptoe Through the Tulips
Where: Burnside Farm
When: Friday – Sunday, 9am – 6pm
Experience Holland in Haymarket, VA! Burnside Farm’s annual Festival of Spring showcasing the season’s flowers is open and blooming. Stroll through the giant fields that contain over 50 different varieties of flowers in a rainbow of colors and pick your own to enjoy at home: $1 for 2 daffodils, $1 per tulip.) Be sure to have your camera handy.
Where: Dupont Underground
When: Through June 1
If you were wondering what happened to all the balls from last summer’s BEACH exhibition at the National Building Museum, well, this is it! Over 650,000 of the translucent spheres have been re-purposed into a reconfigurable block system in Dupont Underground’s first-ever installation. (Note: I was actually hesitant to even post this, since tickets have already sold out, but I figure it’s worth letting readers know about it if they want to try to score tickets elsewhere — I’ve seen them for sale on Craig’s List).