Category Archives: Eats

Where to Play on the Weekdays: January 17-20

Enjoy warmer weather and avoid crowds downtown at the National Zoo this week

Enjoy warmer weather and avoid crowds downtown at the National Zoo this week



Tuesday – Put some color in what’s forecast to be a gray day on a visit to the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore. Housing some of the most wonderful, whimsical art around, the vibrant, quirky collections — including interactive pieces — can be appreciated by art buffs of all ages. Hours are 10am – 6pm Tuesday – Sunday. Admission is $15.95/adults, $13.95/seniors, $9.95/students & ages 7 and up, free for 6 and under.

Later in the day, Whole Foods Market Fair Lakes is celebrating their 10th Anniversary with fun for the whole family from 4-7pm. There will be live music, face painting, raffles, delicious samples from local vendors, and a cake cutting. Plus, you can enjoy exclusive sale items all day and get a free pint glass with any food purchased from the store’s sports bar, seafood shack, or cheese grille.

Wednesday – Have a wild time at the National Zoo, while the weather warms up and the weekday crowds thin out. Check the Daily Events schedule before you go to help plan your outing or pick your animal visits as you go. Grounds are open 8am – 5pm, exhibit building hours are 9am – 4pm, and the Visitor Center 10am – 4pm. Admission is free, though parking in the Zoo lot for non-members is $22 (free for members). You can also try parking on Connecticut Avenue or a side street, or take Metro to Woodley Park or Cleveland Park stations.

Thursday – Enjoy the day at Watkins Regional Park! The adorable Wizard of Oz themed playground will keep little ones frolicking for hours. While you’re there, stop by Old Maryland Farm to visit the animals and the Watkins Nature Center to view some cool creatures and birds. Park hours are dawn to dusk, 9am – 4pm at the Farm, and 8:30am – 5pm at the Nature Center. Admission is free.

Friday – As the 45th president is sworn in on Inauguration Day, head to Alexandria (and avoid the crowds of DC) to visit the home of the nation’s first POTUS, George Washington. Mount Vernon is hosting special activities, including scavenger hunts, exhibits, photo ops, and more, not to mention the ongoing programs and exhibits will be available, too! This program runs January 19-22. Hours are 8am – 5pm. Admission is $20/adult, $10/ages 6-11, free for 5 and under at the door, but $2 less if you purchase tickets online. And if you’re planning to take in the action at the U.S. Capitol, I recommend checking out this guide.


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Filed under All ages, Animals, Art, DC, Eats, Educational, Exhibit, Festival, Free, Maryland, Museums, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Virginia, Weekdays

Ring in the New Year, Family-Style

The 12pm ball drop at Noon Yards Eve

The 12pm ball drop at Noon Yards Eve



If you thought New Year’s Eve celebrations were a thing of the pre-kids past, think again! There are several great ways to ring in 2017 around the area that don’t just welcome, but center around the younger set. Here’s where you and your crew can get in on the fun. Happy New Year!

Noon Yards Eve
Where: The Yards Park
When: 10am – 1pm
Admission: Free

The Yards is once again hosting its Noon Yards Eve festival to ring in 2017! The fourth annual event will transform the park into a family-friendly New Year’s Eve celebration, complete with fun for both kids and adults. Activities will include music and dancing, balloon artists, bouncy inflatables, trackless train rides, face painters, kids crafts, and a big balloon drop at 12pm.

First Night Alexandria
Where: Old Town
When: Starting at 1pm
Admission: $30, kids 12 and under are free

Fun and entertainment will be in abundance at the area’s largest family-friendy New Year’s Eve celebration. There will be more than 100 performances on indoor stages throughout Old Town Alexandria, with entertainment from a variety of genres. Among the many kids activities will be live entertainment, face painting, story time, balloon sculptures, interactive art activities, and much more. 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
When: 11am & 2pm
Admission: $10

For the 10th 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 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.

The Celebration of Centuries
Where: Medieval Times
When: 3:30pm (doors open at 2pm)
Admission: $39.95/adult, $29.95/child (look for discount)

Experience an epic afternoon of fun and celebration as you countdown to 2017. Along with a four-course feast and thrilling jousting action, there will be special activities for the occasion — knight training, face painting, and a princess storytime will make the day extra exciting a for young revelers.

Noontime New Year: Snow Ball!
Where: Port Discovery
When: 9:30am – 5pm
Admission: $13.95

Join the children’s museum in Baltimore for a Snow Ball at its annual Noontime New Year Celebration. Kids are encouraged to dress up in their favorite costumes and count down to the New Year at 12 noon with Eric Energy! Toast 2017 with juice and cookies and enjoy a fun day of programs and performances! Be sure to check the schedule for timing of specific events.

Midnight Noon
Where: Maryland Science Center
When: 10am – 2pm
Admission: $20.95/adult, $16.95/3-12, free for 2 and under

The Maryland Science Center’s New Year’s Eve family extravaganza will transform the midnight tradition into one the kids can enjoy. The 9th annual Midnight Noon will give kids the opportunity to see the ball drop before bedtime. Guests can dance their way into a very happy “Noon” Year — Grammy-nominated Baltimore kids band Milkshake will take to the stage at 11:30am. Visitors can also decorate party hats, construct noise makers, and more. And the rest of the Science Center will be open for exploration, too!

Watch Night New Year’s Eve Celebration
Where: West Broad Street in Falls Church
When: 7pm – Midnight
Admission: Free

Ring in the New Year with free, family-friendly festivities at Falls Church’s annual New Year’s Eve celebration. Enjoy food, music, singing, dancing, entertainment, performances and interactive festivities that appeal to all ages. Highlights include a children’s scavenger hunt, a wide variety of inflatables, free balloons, karaoke, face painting, caricaturist drawings, and restaurants with 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 within a four-block area that begins on the 100 Block of West Broad Street. A free shuttle bus stops at each venue and the East Falls Church Metro throughout the evening, including a shuttle from the East Falls Church Metro station.

Family Game Night at Garden in Lights
Where: Annmarie Sculpture Garden
When: 6-9pm
Admission: $6/ages 5 and up, free for 4 and under

Celebrate the final evening of 2016 in Calvert County! Enjoy Annmarie’s spectacular holiday light show in the gardens, then head inside to play a variety of family-friendly games. Wonderful friends from High Tide Games in Lexington Park, Play-n-Trade Games in Lusby, and PaxSpace in California will all be there with a wide variety of interactive games. Guests can also tour the game exhibit, enjoy a Holiday I Spy game, and a disco ball will be spinning, so you can do some dancing, too! Plus, refreshments will be available from the cafe.

Family Fun Entertainment on the Eastern Shore
Where: Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay
When: Thursday – Friday
Admission: See room rates on website

How about an easy getaway to ring in 2017? The Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay is offering special family-friendly activities to celebrate the new year. An inflatable fun house, arcade games, a kids’ karaoke and dance party, dive-in movie-watching from the comfort of an indoor pool, and an early ball drop are just some of the festivities hotel guests can enjoy. And there’s even more fun for adults — find details here.

Swoosh into 2017
Where: Ski Liberty
When: 5pm – 1am
Admission: Lift tickets start at

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. New for this year, enjoy a decadent fixe prix dinner at Ike’s Chophouse. 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 2017
Where: Local ice rinks
When: Throughout the day & evening
Admission: Varies by rink

Skate under the stars to celebrate the start of the new year. Gliding on ice surrounded by twinkling lights, art sculptures, and 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 Years Night Lights
Where: Around the area
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. Combine an outing to see them with dinner out — this guide from Edible DC has suggestions on where to eat nearby all the holiday lights. If you’re enjoying it from the comfort of a car, pack a thermous of hot chocolate, yummy snacks, and prepare a festive playlist for the ride.

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Filed under All ages, Annual, Art, DC, Eats, Educational, Exhibit, Festival, Free, Holidays, Hotel, Indoor Play, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Music, New Years, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Virginia, Winter

The Weekend Round-Up: December 2-4

Scene from a past (snowy) Boat Parade of Lights

Scene from a past (snowy) Boat Parade of Lights



Holiday cheer is abundant this weekend with all kinds of events and activities that celebrate the season. And if you’re still not quite ready to embrace the spirit, there are plenty of activities to sate the bah-humbuggers, too. Happy Weekend!

Smithsonian Holiday Festival
Where: Smithsonian Museums
When: Saturday & Sunday, 10am – 5:30pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate the holiday season at Smithsonian Museums — the Air & Space Museum, Natural History, American History, Hirshhorn, Sackler Gallery, American Indian, African Art, and Smithsonian Castle! This Holiday Festival has tons going on, something for everyone in your crew — concerts by the U.S. Air Force Band, family holiday photo ops; screenings of The Muppet Christmas Carol; trunk shows featuring apparel, jewelry and art; book signings; festive food; and hours of additional family-friendly entertainment. See the schedule for more details.

Georgetown GLOW
Where: Georgetown neighborhood
When: Friday, Saturday, & Sunday 6-10pm
Admission: Free

See Georgetown in a whole new light – literally. Every evening through January 1, the neighborhood will sparkle with modern light art installations on exhibit throughout the bustling community. Works of local, regional, and international artists will be on display in both public and privately-owned spaces, including M Street, along the C&O Canal, and more nearby places. Take the family dinner, then go for a stroll to check them all out.

Holiday Happenings
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

There are so many great activities running through the season to celebrate the holidays in DC. Watch model trains buzz around the National Parks and Historic Sites-themed display at the Botanic Garden’s Season’s Greetings exhibit. See the National Christmas Tree on the Ellipse. Take a street car ride with Santa at the Holly Trolley Fest. Join the Frost Fest at Pentagon Row. If you hope to hit ‘em all, you better get on it! A few are highlighted below, but get the complete rundown on all the area’s holiday happenings, see the 2016 KFDC Holiday Guide.

Fun for a Buck — or Free
Where: Baltimore
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: Free or $1

In the spirit of the holidays, the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore presents Dollar or Less Days this weekend when participating attractions will open their doors offering free or $1 admission! The Maryland Science Center, Babe Ruth Museum, Port Discovery, National Aquarium, Historic Ships of Baltimore, Christmas Village, and more exciting places will be welcoming guests to take advantage. Go here for the full list of participating venues.

It Takes a Christmas Village
Where: Baltimore Inner Harbor
When: Friday & Saturday, 11am – 8pm & Sunday, 11am – 7pm
Admission: $1 or less this weekend!

West Shore Park in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor has been transformed into a Christmas Village this holiday season, and it’s full of fun for all ages. There’s kids entertainment all day long, photo ops with Santa, gingerbread house making, a bratwurst eating contest, and more. Plus, everyday there are more than 60 booths to browse for gifts, food, entertainment, and lots of holiday fun to celebrate the season. Oh, and this is par of the Dollar or Less Days, so you get in for a buck!

Let There Be Lights
Where: Around the area
When: Evenings
Admission: Varies by locale

Twinkling lights forming enchanting displays are easily a holiday season favorite. Visit one of several parks or gardens (or the Zoo!) that has transformed into a sparkling wonderland. Some you can walk through for an up-close experience, others you tour by car. If you opt for the latter, dress the kids in PJ’s, turn up the holiday tunes, and bring along a thermos of hot chocolate. Either way, be prepared to be dazzled!

Ross Christmas Tree Sale
Where: Ross Elementary School
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free (but plan to buy a tree!)

Ross Elementary School, located at 1730 R St NW, will kick off their 9th Annual Holiday Tree today starting at 4pm. You can pre-order your tree — delivery is available — here or stop by this weekend to pick out your tree or wreath! All proceeds benefit the Ross PTA.

Santa Fly-In
Where: College Park Aviation Museum
When: Saturday, 12-4pm
Admission: $5

This will be an experience to remember as you watch Santa fly into the historic College Park Airport (it’s the world’s oldest continuously operating airport!). Make some holiday arts and crafts, then have your picture taken with Santa Claus after his big flight.

Bethesda’s Winter Wonderland
Where: Downtown Bethesda
When: Saturday, 1-4pm
Admission: Free, but concerts and events cost extra

Bethesda’s Winter Wonderland is back, turning Bethesda Row into an outdoor street bazaar. The celebration features holiday performances, a live ice sculpting presentation, and a visit from Santa Claus in Veterans Park.

Scottish Christmas Walk Parade
Where: Old Town Alexandria
When: Saturday, 11am
Admission: Free

For the 45th consecutive year, the Scottish Christmas Walk Parade will showcase marching units filled with the magnificent tartans of Scottish Clans, the stirring sound of Scottish bagpipes and drums, Scottish dancers, reenactment groups, Scottie dogs, dignitaries, classic cars, Santa Claus, and more. The parade begins at St. Asaph and Wilkes Streets and concludes at Market Square with a massed band concert. There will also be other festive events throughout the weekend — see the website for details.

Holiday Festival & Boat Parade of Lights
Where: Alexandria
When: Saturday, 4-9pm
Admission: Free

Alexandria’s harbor lights up when more than 50 illuminated boats cruise the Potomac River at the historic waterfront, led by Alexandria’s fireboat Vigilant and Washington, DC’s fireboat John Glenn. Before and after the parade, stop in to the Torpedo Factory Art Center’s Holiday Open House between 4-9pm to enjoy performances by the Alexandria Choral Society plus gift shopping in open artist studios.

College Hoops
Where: Local colleges
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Ticket prices vary

It’s college b-ball season, and with so many universities in the area, there’s always some good hoops action going on. Both the GWU and Georgetown men’s team play in the BB&T Classic on Sunday, while the GWU women host Illinois (tickets here). At George Mason, the men match up against Mercer on Saturday evening (tickets here). The AU and Howard men keep it local tomorow, and the AU women host William & Mary (tickets here). And it’s Maryland vs. Oklahoma State for the men, and against UMBC for the women (tickets here). Go, Terps!

Star Wars Days
Where: Garfield High School in Woodbridge
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: $10, 4 and under are free

Star Wars Days is a one of kind place for all things Star Wars, Sci-Fi, Comics, Anime, Cosplay, Scouting, and STEM! Over 20 artists will showcase their crafts and more. And you can browse more than 30 tables of toys, clothing, jewelry, collectibles, lightsabers, comics, glassware, custom products, geek candies, and lots of other great items.

Holiday Book Sale
Where: Silver Spring Library
When: Saturday, 12-4pm
Admission: Free

Browse a great selection of gently used books for children and adults at the Silver Spring Library’s Holiday Book Sale. Stock up with good reads for the winter and find like-new bargains for gift giving! All proceeds will be used to supplement library programming and services at the Silver Spring Library, via Friends of the Library Silver Spring Chapter, organizer of the event.

hiSTORYtime: Numbers
Where: National Museum of American History
When: Saturday, 11am
Admission: Free

Check out the new program for children ages 0 to 6 with various themes, this week numbers. Early learners and their caregivers will have the chance to hear a story and participate in hands-on activities and crafts inspired by objects from the museum’s collection. Children can listen to counting stories, create art with numbers and learn about numbers, colors, and shapes with toy clocks.

Winter Wonderland
Where: Burke Lake Park
When: Saturday & Sunday, 10am – 4pm
Admission: $15/advance, $20/at event

Celebrate the season with a train ride on the Holiday Express at Burke Lake’s Winter Wonderland. Enjoy a tour on the U.S.S. Reindeer, then take a spin on the Carolers Carousel, experience the Snowman’s Wagon Ride, play Gingerbread Man’s Golf, or warm yourself by the fire and toast s’mores. Hot chocolate, spiced cider and candy canes will also be available. And don’t miss a visit with Santa!

A Spin on the Carousel
Where: Arena Stage
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Tickets start at $64

The Rodgers and Hammerstein classic, Carousel, is running at Arena Stage — and it’s wonderful! Owen and I saw the musical a couple of weeks ago, and we were both completely captivated and moved by the show. Brilliant performances by the talented cast, a simple yet beautiful theatre-in-the-round-setting, and a story that is emotional and hopeful make for a superb theatre experience. I recommend it for ages 10 and up, or make it a date night.

The Secret Garden
Where: Sidney Harman Hall
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Tickets start at $44

Shakespeare Theatre Company brings the beloved children’s story to life on stage in a beautiful, enchanting production. When orphaned, 10-year-old Mary Lennox moves to England to stay with her uncle, she seeks refuge in her late aunt’s mysterious walled garden and discovers amazing secrets. The show is getting rave reviews — Sasha and I think they are well-deserved. It’s one that kids and adults can enjoy, though the long running time (2.5 hours with intermission) and somber tone could make some some children antsy.

Holidays on Stage
Where: Local theatres
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by venue

If you’re looking for holiday-inspired entertainment, there’s plenty of that now. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe opens at Adventure Theatre this weekend. 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, or see Disney’s Beauty and the Beast at Imagination Stage. Get details on these shows and see what else is coming up in the 2016 Holiday Guide.

Show Time
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by venue

For shows without the seasonal trimmings, see InterAct Story Treatre’s Cantaré. Reserve free tickets to Music Around the World, this week’s Saturday morning at the National performance. Enjoy Adventures with Mr. Bear at The Lab at Convergence. Or take little ones to Aquarium at Imagination Stage.

Carpe Noctem
Where: St. Jerome Academy in Hyattsville, MD
When: Saturday
Admission: $5/adult, free for kids

Seize the night while you sip and shop, perusing the aisles for beautiful, unique gifts. The event supporting the students of St. Jerome Academy features two levels of shopping fun. In addition to many talented vendors and live music throughout the evening, Carpe Noctem has various dinner options, wine, beer, tasty desserts, and warm drinks for kids available for purchase. Children can enjoy face-painting, a photo op with St. Nicholas, and coloring activities. Customers will receive a complementary drink with their paid admission.

Photos with Santa
Where: Fellowship Hall at Foundry Church
When: Saturday, 10am – 12pm
Admission: Free

Friends of Stead Park and Foundry Church are hosting a Community Christmas Festival in the beautiful, new Fellowship Hall at Foundry. Kids can take a photo with Santa, write a him letter, create an ornament, or make a gingerbread house ($15). To order a gingerbread house in advance visit go here.

Christmas is Afoot
Where: Fall Church, 384 N Washington St.
When: Saturday, 4-8pm,
Admission: Free

Take a walk through Bethlehem! All are welcome to go on historically-themed journey to interact with Bethlehem street vendors and artisans, and explore the booths of potters, scribes, woodworkers, and the like, as Mary and Joseph would have seen in their travels. Head into the marketplace, where you will be able to participate in a service project putting together health kits for unhoused people in the community. End the passage through time outside with warm refreshments and carol singing around fire-pits.

Make Room for Latkes
Where: Edlavitch DCJCC
When: Sunday, 10:30am – 12pm
Admission: $10/family in advance, $15 at door

Get the Chanukah celebration started early with the DCJCC! At this family event, activities include crafts, cooking, singing, candle lighting, latkes, a mitzvah (good deed) project, and take-home goodies. It’s a perfect morning for Jewish and interfaith families with children ages 3 and older.

Holiday Shop
Where: Markets around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Mostly free

Get through your gift list and have a good time! There are several special holiday markets around the area, where you can find unique presents and then some. Head to Penn Quarter or Dupont Circle or Alexandria for great seasonal markets or to Capitol Hill for a weekend institution. More info about them all is available in the 2016 Holiday Guide. And if you need gift ideas — for all ages, interests, and prices (even free!) — be sure to check out the KFDC Gift Guide!

Skaters Gonna Skate
Where: Local ice rinks
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by venue

‘Tis the season for outdoor ice skating, so lace up and get gliding. Enjoy art as you skate at the Sculpture Garden; circle the rink at Washington Harbour on Saturday morning; meander the paths at Canal Park; or do some holiday shopping then skate at Pentagon Row, Veteran’s Plaza, Rockville Town Square, or Reston Town Center. This post has details on alfresco (and indoor) ice skating options in the area. And note Washington Harbor is hosting Cartoon Skate on Saturday morning!

Go East
Where: National Gallery of Art
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free

For some museum-ing on the Mall without festival crowds, head to the National Gallery. The recently reopened East Building is remarkable and will impress all ages. I just posted about it with lots of pics to give you a glimpse, but plan a visit for yourself.

Chill Out(side)
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

I’m a big proponent of getting outdoors, no matter what the weather. So, just because the temps are dropping, that doesn’t mean you can’t spend time outside. Roam free at Dumbarton Oaks (no admission fee this time of year). Hit the trail at Riverbend, Cunningham Falls, Rock Creek, and more. Explore the National Arboretum or Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens. Hang out at Hains Point. Hit the playground at Watkins, Cabin John, or ClemyjontriParks. Find even more ideas in this post about great outdoor pursuits with kids.

The Great Indoors
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

If you’d prefer to spend the day indoors, or just want to see what else there is to do around town, this post has 80+ ideas for activities.


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The Weekend Round-Up: November 19-20

Holiday fun is starting at Christmas on the Potomac

Holiday fun is starting at Christmas on the Potomac





Get into the holiday spirit, rock it at a gem and fossil show, go ice skating, get outdoors, enjoy a stage production… these are just some of the ways you can enjoy the weekend with the kids. And for even more ideas, check out the huge list of Everyday Play. Happy Weekend!

Montgomery County Thanksgiving Parade
Where: Silver Plaza, Downtown Silver Spring
When: Saturday, 10am – 12pm
Admission: Free

Turkey Day celebrations are starting early in Downtown Silver Spring. The line-up of over 100 parade units features a giant inflatable turkey, penguin and dinosaur; colorful dancing groups; glittering floats; marching bands; clowns; performing animals; and, of course, an appearance from Santa at the end. Don’t miss a fun family photo op: Right next to the ice rink, you can take a pic with a Frozen inflatable Elsa, a 10-foot tall turkey, or with Hanukkah or Christmas décor.

A Gem of an Event
Where: George Mason University
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: $6/adult, $3/ages 13-17, free for 12 and under

Kids (and adults!) who like fossils, rocks, and/or gems are in for a treat. Northern Virginia’s 25th Annual Mineral, Gem, & Fossil show will have all that and then some. More than 20 dealers will be selling collectibles, plus there will be demonstrations, exhibits, door prizes & kids activities, including mini-mines and a fossil dig.

The Enchanted Forest
Where: Westin Tysons Corner
When: Saturday, 10am – 5pm & Sunday, 10am – 1pm
Admission: $15 (some activities are extra)

The Junior League of Northern Virginia’s annual holiday event returns. Stroll through the whimsical forest of theme decorated trees available for silent auction, while enjoying live entertainment, hands on cooking demonstrations, Kids in the Holiday Kitchen activities, a visit from Santa, a model train display by Capital Trackers, kids crafts, gifts for purchase, premium events for adults and kids, and much more. Proceeds benefit the JLNV’s community initiatives through the Kids in the Kitchen programming.

Christmas on the Potomac
Where: National Harbor
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

The Gaylord National Resort’s annual holiday extravaganza has festivities galore that capture the spirit of the season. And the best part is that there are activities for all ages at varying price points (even free!), from dancing fountains and indoor snowfalls to a tour of Christmas Around the World-themed ice sculptures. Get an idea of what to expect from this post about our experience there last year.

More Holiday Cheer
Where: Throughout the area
When: All weekend long
Admission: Varies by locale

Shows and special events that embrace — and emit — the holiday spirit are beginning around the area. Attend a tree lighting, start your holiday shopping, stroll through Meadowlark’s Winter Walk of Lights, visit Santa’s HQ at Tyson’s, catch A Christmas Carol at Ford’s Theatre, and much more. The 2016 KFDC Guide to the Best of the Holidays in DC has ALL you need to help make the season bright.

A Spin on the Carousel
Where: Arena Stage
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Tickets start at $64

The Rodgers and Hammerstein classic, Carousel, recently opened at Arena Stage, and it is wonderful! Owen and I saw the musical last week, and we were both completely captivated and moved by the show. Beautiful performances by the talented cast, a simple yet lovely theatre-in-the-round-setting, and a story that is emotional and hopeful make for a an excellent theatre experience. I recommend it for ages 10 and up (or a date night). Watch the stars perform on local news here.

Show Time
Where: Local Theatres
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by venue

* Reserve free tickets for Rainbow Puppets’ The Really Big Dinosaur Show this week’s Saturday Morning at the National performance
*Get in on The Secret Garden presented by Shakespeare Theatre Company at Sydney Harman Hall
* Disney’s Beauty and the Beast opens at Imagination Stage on Saturday
* And little ones will love Aquarium at the Bethesda Theatre
* See Where Words Once Were is at the Kennedy Center (look for discount tickets)
* The Olney Theatre presents Mary Poppins
* Catch a one-time performance of Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters-An African Tale at Alden Theatre
* Mark Jaster: Piccolo’s Trunk is a mime show that will delight children
* You’ll want some more of Oliver Twist at Creative Cauldron
* Enjoy a celebration of religious unity through the arts at the 37th Annual Interfaith Concert on Sunday

Skaters Gonna Skate
Where: Local ice rinks
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by rink

Glide the day away as several area outdoor ice rinks start welcoming skaters for the season. Meander your way around Canal Park Ice Rink. Skate in Georgetown at the Washington Harbour. Do some shopping and snacking along with your skating at Pentagon Row in Arlington. Practice your axles and triple lutzes at Reston Town Center. Or get started on holidays gifts after a skating session at Tysons Corner Ice Rink. This post published last year has been updated to reflect this season’s skating details.

Go Whole Hog!
Where: Claude Moore Colonial Farm
When: Saturday, 1-4pm
Admission: $3/adults, $2/ages 3-12

With the first cold weeks of late fall comes the traditional season of preserving meats for the coming year. Join the Claude Moore Farm Family as they utilize historic methods for curing, salting, and smoking the mainstay of their diet — pork. You can also take part in helping with other farm tasks that involve the use of hog byproducts, such as rendering lard, dipping candles, and making soap. An educational and fun activity for families and small groups!

Wizard School Scavenger Hunt for Harry Potter Fans
Where: National Gallery of Art
When: Saturday, 2pm
Admission: $17.50/ages 10-17, $19.50/18 and up

Join Watson Adventures on a unique Harry Potter-themed scavenger hunt for kids 10 & up! Follow in the footsteps of young wizards on a field trip to the National Gallery in search of art that echoes characters, places and enchanted objects in the famed Harry Potter books and movies. Wizards and muggles alike can play and enjoy this hunt. The hunt is not an addition to or variation on Harry’s adventures, but instead references to the books will provide a surprising bridge to many strange and wonderful works of art. It’s a great way to discover—or rediscover—the museum. This hunt is designed for kids and adults to do together, but all-adult teams will be allowed to compete separately. Kids must be accompanied by an adult. Advance purchase is required.

CityJews PopUp: Havdalah

Where: Stead Park
When: Saturday, November 19, 4:30 p.m.

Admission: Free

Celebrate the end of Shabbat with an outdoor, sensory Havdalah experience with PJ Library and our partners. Together you’ll play, snack, read, do crafts, and enjoy a delightful Havdalah ceremony to welcome the new week. This free program is particularly good for interfaith families. Stead Park is located at 1625 P Street NW.

Tykesgiving
Where: Blue Duck Tavern
When: Sunday, 5:30pm
Admission: $150/child & adult

The successful fine dining club for parents and pipsqueaks, Nibble+squeak, will be hosting its first annual DC “Tykesgiving” event at newly Michelin starred Blue Duck Tavern on Sunday, November 20th. The special pre-Thanksgiving dinner will take over the restaurant’s esteemed Chef’s Table just for infants, toddlers, children and their extended families. Ticket price includes the three-course meal for both adult and child, kid beverages, adult beverages (up to 2 glasses of wine!), gratuity, and tax.

Cool Hikes
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

It’s might be cooling down a bit, but the weather should still be superb, so take advantage with some time on the trail. Peep the last of autumn leaves, tramp in places with scenic views, hike 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 with the kids.

To Market, To Market
Where: Eastern Market
When: Saturday & Sunday, 9am – 5pm
Admission: Free

Whether you want to get your holiday shopping started or just browse around and enjoy the nice vibe, this outdoor flea market on Capitol Hill, is a great place to hang on the weekend. Vendors sell everything from original artwork to fun T-shirts, handmade jewelry to funky accessories, home décor to furniture – and much, much more. Buy fresh produce from farmers’ stalls outside and butchered meats, fancy cheeses, baked goods, pasta, fresh produce, and more inside the actual Eastern Market. Even more, there is often live music courtesy of buskers around the area, and if the kids want some play time afterwards, you can hit one of several parks or playgrounds in the neighborhood (Lincoln Park, at 11th and East Capitol, is the largest and most popular among them).


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Thanksgiving Made Easy and Delicious with Whole Foods Market

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Do you need some help with your Thanksgiving feast? Perhaps you’ve been distracted by recent big events and haven’t even thought about preparing for it yet. Maybe you’re extra busy this time of year because, well, life can get really busy. Or you might just want to focus more on family and friends and have extra time to enjoy the many wonderful activities happening around DC over the holiday season.

Whatever the reason, Whole Foods Market can help make Thanksgiving easier. Offering already-prepped meals with all of the traditional dishes, the bulk of the work is done, so all you have to do is put the food in the oven and anticipate a wonderful feast!

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I know from firsthand experience that it is one delicious dinner. A few evenings ago, I was invited to Whole Foods Market Fair Lakes for a wine tasting and dinner to learn about the market’s packaged meals for the holiday — in the tastiest way possible. After sampling their top reds, whites, and sparklings for the holidays, we feasted on a traditional dinner, which included the turkey, gravy, sage stuffing, homestyle mashed potatoes, organic cranberry orange relish, green beans with shallots, carrots, and sweet potatoes.

The first of my two big plates of the Traditional Turkey Dinner

The first of my two big plates of the Traditional Turkey Dinner

Whole Foods Top 10 Wines for the holidays

Whole Foods Top 10 Wines for the holidays

Even better, the meal is not only scrumptious, it’s also an excellent deal: The Traditional Turkey Dinner serving 6-8 is just $89, and $169 serving 12-16. They also offer an Organic Turkey Dinner serving 6-8 for $99. On top of that, the wines they recommend are reasonably priced, ranging from $11.99 to about $30. (My favorite, the Camino Calixo Cava, was actually the least expensive one.)

The Traditional Turkey Dinner, packed and ready for your oven

The Traditional Turkey Dinner, packed and ready for your oven

Along with the tasting and feasting, there was also a tablescaping show by Williams Sonoma to inspire some Thanksgiving table decorating. This featured their Plymouth Dinnerware Collection with cute ceramic turkey tureens and other festive ware (psst… much of it is on sale right now!).

William Sonoma's festive Thanksgiving table

William Sonoma’s festive Thanksgiving table

Something I should note is that the turkey is not cooked! But it’s all seasoned and rubbed with herb butter on a bed of mirepoix and ready to go; you simply unwrap it and place in the oven for 3 to 4 hours to achieve a perfect, roasted bird.

All carved and ready to savor!

All carved and ready to savor!

And if you’ve got the turkey down, but need some help with the sides, they are all available to order individually. You might even like an alternative to turkey, either to suite your preference or do something different for a holiday meal later in the season — they’ve got options for that, too. And speaking of holiday meals beyond Thanksgiving, if you place an order for one by November 22, you can get $10 off!

Ready to reserve your bird — and the rest of your Thanksgiving meal? Ordering is as simple as the meal prep will be. Go to www.wholefoodsmarket.com/shop, select your store, and place your order.

Easy as pie. (Speaking of, you can add that to your meal, too!)


Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Whole Foods Market, however, all opinions expressed here are entirely my own, and I only promote places, services, and programs that I genuinely believe in and think will appeal to KFDC readers.

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