Category Archives: Indoor Play

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

Where to Play on the Weekdays: December 19-23

Dumbarton Oaks Gardens are free to roam from November to March

Dumbarton Oaks Gardens are free to roam from November to March



Monday – Experiment with hands-on fun at the Children’s Science Center Lab at Fair Oaks Mall in Fairfax. Kids of all ages can explore a variety of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) concepts through fun, engaging interactive exhibits and activities. Hours are 10am – 6pm. Admission is $12 (under 2 are free).

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. And admission is free to both — there’s never an entry fee at Montrose, and Dumbarton waives it from November 1 – mid-March.

Wednesday – Welcome winter with a walk in the woods (and some alliteration) at Great Falls. Whether you opt for the Maryland or Virginia side, you 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.

Thursday – Go bowling. It’s a perfect activity for what’s forecast to be a rainy day. Take advantage of Kids Bowling at Pinstripes in Georgetown. From 10am – 12pm Monday – Thursday, ALL kids can bowl for $3 ($3/shoe rental) 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.

Friday – Get hyped for the holiday weekend! Pick one of many activities that happen this time of year: Check out a train display, catch a holiday show, ride trolleys, meet Santa, see an evening light display, and enjoy loads of other seasonal delights. The KFDC Holiday Guide has all the details on where to go and what to do.

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Filed under All ages, Annual, Chanukah, Christmas, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Free, Holidays, Indoor Play, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Music, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Virginia, Weekdays, Winter

The Weekend Round-Up: December 16-18

A close look at the Capitol tree

A close look at the Capitol tree



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This round-up is heavy on holiday events, but you’ll find a few other activities and events sprinkled in, too. For even more, the Everyday Play page is loaded with all kinds of ideas for getting out and about around the DMV. Happy Weekend!

Season’s Greenings
Where: US Botanic Garden
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free

The Botanic Garden’s annual holiday attraction never disappoints. The conservatory exhibit features Washington landmarks constructed from plant materials and one of the city’s largest Christmas trees. But the highlight, hands-down, is the garden railway, which never fails to impress and enchant with intricate, imaginative designs — this year’s National Parks and Historic Sites theme is especially great. A heads-up that it’ll probably be crowded, but the line usually moves quickly, and it really is a beautiful, fun, unique display to see! And if you go in the late afternoon, plan to stop and see the Capitol Christmas Tree after as it’s lit every evening at sundown.

Wreaths Across America
Where: Arlington National Cemetery
When: Saturday, 9:30am – 2pm
Admission: Free

A chance for the whole family to volunteer! Help place Veterans’ Remembrance Wreaths on the graves of American heroes buried at Arlington National Cemetery. There is no sign-up or age requirement — families are encouraged to volunteer together. Be sure to visit the website for details, including schedule and meeting location. Read about more family-friendly volunteer opportunities around the DC area.

Cookies & Cocoa with Santa
Where: Topgolf Alexandria
When: Saturday, 9-11am
Admission: Free

Santa Claus is coming to town and this year he’s bringing Cookies & Cocoa! This free event for families with children 12 and under will feature cookies to snack on, a hot chocolate bar, a holiday-themed gift, and kids’ activities. Santa will be there for complimentary photos, and all pictures taken will be available for download on the Topgolf Alexandria Facebook page after the event.

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

Get into the holiday spirit the area in all kinds of ways at every price point. Take the Magical Holiday Express at the B&O Railroad Museum. Enjoy an atrium full of activities for little ones at Christmas on the Potomac. View holiday planes and trains at the Aviation Museum. Take a street car ride with Santa at the Holly Trolley Fest. Find details on all of these events and more are in the 2016 Holiday Guide.

A Solstice Circus
Where: Atlas Performing Arts Center
When: Saturday & Sunday
Tickets: $25/adult, $15/ages 11 and under

In the darkest winter days, one young man discovers that he has the power to bring light and inspire joy in even the most surprising places. This holiday show is an uplifting, delightful spectacle that will amaze the whole family. Featuring acrobats, aerialists, jugglers, and other dazzling performances – the spirit is sure to be contagious! Start a new and unique holiday tradition by coming to the circus! Appropriate for all ages.

Jazz Hip Hop Nutcracker
Where: Woodrow Wilson High School
When: Saturday, 5pm & Sunday, 3pm
Admission: $23-30/adults, $20-24 seniors/10+, $14-18/under 10

Check out a unique, high-energy twist to the typical Nutcracker featuring lots of local kids as Capitol Hill’s Momentum Dance Theatre presents its 18th annual Jazz Hip Hop Nutcracker. We caught a show last week and loved watching students as young as 5 years perform along with the professional dancers! The show is set to music from Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker Suite plus hip hop, pop, funk, and more — you’ll be dancing in your seats along with the performers. (And look out for Owen’s best buddy showing off his sweet pop & lock moves!)

More Holiday Entertainment
Where: Local theatres
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by venue

Much of the live entertainment on local stages right now is holiday-inspired.
Stomp over to the Atlas for Step Afrika!’s Magical, Musical Holiday Step Show. See the ultimate holiday classic The Nutcracker performed by the Washington Ballet at the 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 Grinch Who Stole Christmas at the National Theatre. Get details on these shows and others in the 2016 Holiday Guide.

GLOW With It
Where: Georgetown
When: Through January 1, 6-10pm
Admission: Free

See Georgetown in a whole new light — literally. Georgetown GLOW has the neighborhood sparkling with modern light art installations, some of them interactive, on display throughout the bustling community, which is extra lively and festive this time of year. The works are illuminated all around the neighborhood, and finding them is part of the adventure. Take the family to dinner or skating at Washington Harbour, then go for a stroll to check them all out.

Journey to Narnia
Where: Adventure Theatre
When: Throughout the Weekend
Admission” $19.50

Adventure Theatre’s clever and creative production of the classic The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe is a family must-see this season! The two-actor show is exciting and fun, getting the audience in on the adventure, too. All ages will enjoy the journey to Narnia with the Pevensie siblings!

Showtime Beyond the Holidays
Where: Local theatres
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by performance

Want to see a show without all the holiday trimmings? Disney’s Beauty and the Beast is on the Imagination Stage. The Sheakespeare Theatre Company presents The Secret Garden at Sidney Harman Hall. Carousel and Moby Dick are running at Arena Stage. The Kennedy Center has Into the Woods and Wicked among its theatre options. Mary Poppins is at Olney Theatre. And Adventures with Mr. Bear starts at the Atlas on Sunday. Descriptions, ticket info, and links to discounts for all of these are in this new round-up of
winter entertainment
.

Making Stem Magic: Innovation
Where: Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
When: Saturday, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free, but parking is $15

Join the Air & Space Museum for Making STEM Magic, a monthly program that introduces young visitors to engineering in a fun and creative way. In the December challenge, learn about the Wright brothers and test your design skills as you design, create, and test your own paper copter.

Shakespeare Theatre, Family-Style
Where: Sidney Harman Hall
When: Sunday (and through December 18)
Admission: Varies by activity

Shakespeare Theatre Company’s annual Family Week offers free and low-cost programs for all ages celebrating the themes, story, and artists of their current production, The Secret Garden. Workshops, events and conversations run through this weekend. And families can also get a special discount on tickets during this time — see the website for details.

Night Lights
Where: Around the area
When: Friday, Saturday, & Sunday Evenings
Admission: Varies by locale

Twinkling lights forming enchanting displays are easily a holiday season favorite. Visit one of several parks, the National Zoo, or Mormon Temple in the area that has transformed into a sparkling wonderland. Some you can walk through for an up-close experience, others you tour by car. Either way, get ready to be dazzled.

Children’s Holiday Celebration
Where: MLK Library
When: Saturday, 2-4pm
Admission: Free

Join MLK Library staff in the Children’s Room for a festive holiday program. Celebrate the season with crafts, stories, games, and lots of fun — including a chance to meet Santa! Recommended for ages 12 and under.

Open Studio & Ceramics Sale
Where: Hollow Works Studio
When: Saturday, 11am –
Admission: Free

Shop for one-of-a-kind ceramics in the artist’s studio! Hollow Works Ceramics, a recent addition to the KFDC Holiday Gift Guide, sells beautiful, unique bowls, mugs, and vases that would make perfect presents. See for yourself here, but plan to shop on Saturday. The studio is located in the alley right off of 7th and H Streets NE.

Winter Solstice in MoCo
Where: Montgomery County Parks
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: $6

Montgomery Parks will host three winter solstice celebrations this year featuring crafts, campfires, treats and more. Roast marshmallows, hear winter tales, and make a lantern at Meadowside Nature Center. Enjoy shadow-puppet theatre, sip cider, and make cultural crafts at Brookside. And have treats by the campfire at Locust Grove. Look for details about all of these celebrations here.

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

If you’re still working through your gift list, there are several special holiday markets around the area, where you can find unique presents by local vendors and then some. Head to Penn Quarter, National Harbor, or Alexandria for great seasonal markets or to Capitol Hill for a weekend institution. More info about all of them is available in the 2016 Holiday Guide. And if you need some gift ideas, be sure check out the KFDC Holiday Gift Guide!

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

So, we’ll be going from an arctic blast to temps in the 60’s by Sunday — but the warmer weather will come with rain. The big list of ideas for outings that take place inside will come in handy. (And secretly hoping that I’ll jinx it by writing this, and the weekend will be gorgeous.)

Here Comes Chanukah!
Where: Edlavitch DCJCC
When: Sunday, 10am – 12pm
Admission: $25/family

Grab your socks and yarmulke, it’s time to bounce for Chanukah. Start celebrating early at this rockin’ Chanukah party, featuring a moon bounce, games, crafts, treats, and plenty of fun for the whole family!

Nutcracker Family Yoga
Where: Capitol Hill Presbyterian Church
When: Sunday, 3pm
Admission: $20/parent & child, $10/additional child

Calling all soldiers and sugar plum fairies! Breathing Space Yoga invites you to enjoy a classic tale in a new way! Families will bring the Nutcracker story to life through yoga, dance, music, and lots of heart. Bring your sense of wonder and magic and join in for a special journey that will get you into the holiday spirit!

Go Rogue
Where: Local movie theaters
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by theater

In case you hadn’t heard, the newest Star Wars film opens in theaters today. If you’re planning to take the kids to see Rogue One this weekend, the Air & Space Museum would be a suitable place to catch a screening. And if you want a little insight on it before, the Washington Post has several reviews.


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Filed under All ages, Animals, Annual, Art, Christmas, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Fall, Free, Holidays, Indoor Play, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Movies, Museums, Music, Outdoor, Seasonal, Theatre, Virginia, Weekend

Where to Play on the Weekdays: December 12-16

usna_house

Monday – Rise + Rhyme at Busboys and Poets in Takoma or Hyattsville, MD. The weekly series welcomes children 5 and under with their caregivers to enjoy a morning of performances and stories from 9:30-11am. Admission is $5. Plan on breakfast, too — full service will be available while the little ones are grooving. (FYI: The series also takes place in Shirlington, VA, the last Tuesday of every month.)

Tuesday – Bundle up for some time outdoors at the U.S. National Arboretum. Explore the plant collections, go for nature walks through the woods, have fun in the natural playground at the Washington Youth Garden, and play among the old Capitol columns. There are so many ways to enjoy one of the loveliest places in the city! Hours are 8am – 5pm, and admission is free.

Tuesday evening, visit Season’s Greenings, the U.S. Botanic Garden’s annual holiday exhibit. On most Tuesdays and Thursdays in December, hours are extended until 8pm for seasonal concerts and after dark touring. It’s a wonderful time to go, both for the music and to walk through the jungle area while the dome is illuminated with colorful lights.

In the jungle, the mighty jungle...

In the jungle, the mighty jungle…

Wednesday – Let little ones bounce, climb, swing, tumble, and slide at the PG Sports & Learning Complex Gymnastics Center. The hour-long open play session begins at 11:30am, and admission is $6/child. (This also takes place on Tuesday at the same time.)

Thursday – Celebrate Bill of Rights Day with the Newseum! On the 225th anniversary of the ratification of the first 10 amendments to the Constitution, enjoy a day of family-oriented programs, tours, and reenactments — see the schedule of the website for specifics. Hours are 9am – 5pm. Admission is $22.95/adult, 13.95/ages 7-18, free for 6 and under. (KFDC Tip: Goldstar has discount tickets, but you need to buy them at least a day in advance.)

Friday – Catch a performance of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe at Adventure Theatre. The holiday classic is brought to life on stage in a fun and clever two-actor show recommended for all ages. Showtimes are 10:30am and 12:30pm. Tickets are $19.50


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Filed under All ages, Annual, Christmas, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Fall, Free, Holidays, Indoor Play, Maryland, Museums, Nature, Outdoor, Seasonal, Theatre

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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