Tag Archives: Washington DC Kids Activities

Easter Celebrations for DC Peeps this Spring

Who says front yard holiday decor is just for Halloween and Christmas?

Who says front yard holiday decor is just for Halloween and Christmas?



Don’t put your eggs all in one basket when it comes to Easter celebrations around the DC area! Numerous places host egg hunts, Easter bunny visits, and much more spring fun this time of year. Even if you’re not big on the holiday, there are attractions and activities beyond bunnies and candy-filled eggs that will have the whole family hopping with joy. Here’s where you can find them, listed in order of start date. (And if I’ve left out any good ones, feel free to let me know in the comments.) Happy Spring!

Spring Easter Egg Hunt
Where: Ticonderoga Farm
When: Through April 23
Admission: $10.95/weekdays, $14.95/weekends ages 2 and up

With giant slides, awesome jumping pillows, playgrounds, animals, mazes, and more, the farm in Chantilly is a blast everyday (it’s open daily), but they take the fun up a notch on weekends in early spring. Along with the permanent amusement, there are egg hunts ( and visits from the Easter Bunny. Be sure to check the website for timing of specific activities. For an idea of what’s there, see this post about their Winter Festival, which is much of the same, but with Easter instead of Christmas festivities. And this post about a class field trip has info and pics, too.

Egg Hunt & Marshmallow Harvest
Where: Great Country Farms
When: April 1-2, 10am – 5pm
Admission: $10/child, $12/adult at the gate

After a long cold winter, nothing chases away the chill like a visit to the farm. Head to Great Country for the first “crop” of the spring– Marshmallow Picking! Do marshmallow peeps grow on trees? Be sure to check it out and harvest a few to roast on the bonfire with Farmer Bob. You can even purchase a s’mores kit to melt away that chocolate craving. Guests can also help find Easter Bunny eggs during egg hunts (by age – see the schedule) with over 18,000 treat-filled eggs. Plan to visit spring chicks and baby animals, check out the spring plantings in the greenhouse, take a hayride and rejoice in the new season. Don’t forget to bring your camera for photo ops with the Easter Bunny. Buy advance tickets online for only $10/adult — visit the website to purchase, and look for the schedule of events there, too.

Bunnyland
Where: Butler’s Orchard
When: Weekends April 8-9, 14-15, 17, 21-23, 10am – 5pm
Admission: $9/child, $7/adult

One of the more popular spring festivals in the area, Butler’s has all the trappings for seasonal fun: bunnies, eggs, and other Easter-related treats to get young guests in the holiday spirit. Attractions include hayrides down the Bunny Trail, egg hunts, the Rubber Ducky Derby, giant slides, and a small petting zoo. Face painting and pony rides are also usually offered for an extra fee. Concessions are available, and there are also plenty of picnic tables if you prefer to pack a lunch.

NoVa Parks Egg Hunts
Where: Parks throughout Northern Virginia
When: Various dates
Admission: $10

Several parks in Northern Virginia are hosting all kinds of Easter fun to celebrate the holiday and the season. Easter bunny visits and photo ops, egg hunts, crafts, and more activities will be part of the festivities. Registration is required. Go here to see where and when you can jump in on the fun!

Easter Photos & Fun
Where: DC Area Simon Centers
When: During the Easter season
Admission: Free (photos cost extra)

To help families hop into the season, DC-area Simon centers are hosting egg-tastic festivities and community events for the entire family. Shoppers around the region are invited to visit Arundel Mills, Clarksburg Premium Outlets, Fashion Centre at Pentagon City, Hagerstown Premium Outlets, Leesburg Corner Premium Outlets, Queenstown Premium Outlets and St. Charles Towne Center to experience a variety of seasonal celebrations, including Easter Bunny photos, egg hunts, and appearances by Peter Cottontail!

Bunny Train Ride
Where: Walkersville Southern Railroad
When: April 8,9, & 15
Admission: $15/adult, $14/seniors, $12/ages 1-12

All aboard for a trip back in time with the Easter Bunny! Travel over track that the Pennsylvania Railroad originally built in 1872. See Walkersville Southern’s turn-of-the- century railroad station and tool house, then visit with the Bunny on the train (who will also give each child an Easter gift!). Ride in vintage 1920s passenger cars or on an open flatcar as your rail excursion runs past a 100-year-old lime kiln, and then out into picturesque Maryland farm country. Enjoy juice and Uncle Ralph’s cookies in the museum after your ride. Reservations Required! Look for a ticket deal through CertifiKID.

2nd Annual Peeps Day
Where: National Harbor
When: April 8, 12pm
Admission: Free

It’s the second annual PEEPS Day, a day to celebrate the spring season and the uniqueness of everyone’s favorite marshmallow treat! The day begins at 12pm and features games and activities, a DJ, a movie, and the National Harbor World PEEPS Eating Championship! Read more about a family day at National Harbor in this KFDC post.

Easter Egg Decorating
Where: Brentwood Arts Exchange
When:April 8, 2pm
Admission: Free

Fun! Glitter! Eggs! The Brentwood Arts Exchange promise all three at this free family-friendly workshop. Create beautiful decorated eggs that will impress friends and even the Easter Bunny. Children will receive their first two eggs for free. Additional eggs will be available to purchase 2 for $1.

10th Annual Eggstravaganza
Where: Tudor Place
When: April 8, 10am – 12pm
Admission: $10/child, $8/child member, $5/adult

Rolling green lawns, bright spring blooms, and the elegant mansion on a hill serve as backdrop for this festive annual attraction. Join the Easter Bunny as children of all ages enjoy an Egg Hunt and thrilling Egg Roll Contest down the grand South Lawn. Crafts include paper chick “pets” and colorful butterflies, plus there will be games for all ages. Plan to take a self-guided tour of Tudor Place’s 5½ acres of glorious gardens, and be sure to bring a camera!

Easter Eggstravaganza and Spring Fashion Show
Where: Lord & Taylor Tyson’s Corner
When: April 8, 9:30-11:30am
Admission: Free

Head to the Easter set in lower level Lord & Taylor Court on by 9:30am* to take part in the Easter Eggstravaganza to “hunt” for fun-filled Easter Eggs. After, stick around to enjoy complimentary face painting, snacks and treats, balloon animals, and a Spring Fashion Show featuring the hippest-hoppiest looks for Spring and Easter. While you are here, don’t miss getting your picture taken with Tysons Corner Center’s Easter Bunny!

Dinosaur Egg Hunt
Where: Hidden Oaks Nature Center
When: April 8-9, 14-16
Admission: $7-9/child

Stomp over to Hidden Oaks, where children ages 2-8 can enjoy a dinosaur-themed program and outdoor egg hunt while visiting dinoland in Nature Playce and make a dino craft. Pre-registration is required. Programs run several time throughout the day for 45-minute sessions.

Easter Eggs-Stravaganza
Where: Roer’s Zoofari
When: April 8-9 & 15-16, 9am – 6pm
Admission: $15 ages 2 and up

Celebrate the arrival of spring at an Easter event that promises to be entertaining for all ages! Safari tours, face painting, a bounce house, kids zone, and hourly Easter egg hunts (BYO basket) will be part of the fun. Visitors are also invited to explore the zoo’s updated animal exhibits, including several endangered species! Animal encounters, animal feed, and camel rides will also be available for a small additional fee. Advance tickets required.

Easter Eggstravaganzas
Where: Various locations around the DC-Metro
When: April 8 & 15
Admission: Free

These festivals held in several neighborhoods around the area offer all kinds of Easter fun – egg hunts, Easter bunny visits, face painting, yummy treats, games, prizes, and more. They’ll take place in Northwest DC, Northeast DC, Capitol Hill, Springfield, Gainesville, and Alexandria.

Fabergé Egg Family Festival
Where: Hillwood Estate and Gardens
When: April 9, 10am – 5pm
Admission: $18/adult, $5/ages 6-18, free for 5 and under

Celebrate spring’s arrival in traditional Russian style! Hillwood’s annual festival has programs, music, art, and activities for all ages. Happenstance Theatre will present stories of Russian Easter traditions in a fun family play. A favorite for all ages is the “Fabergé’s Workshop” to create a Fabergé-inspired egg. Samovar Russian Folk Music Ensemble takes visitors back to Old Russia as they play traditional instruments, and the Kalinka Dance Ensemble performs Russian folk dances. And centuries-old Russian springtime games like egg-rolling and egg and spoon racing will entertain children of all ages.

Easter Egg Hunt
Where: Upton Hill Park
When: April 13, 11am
Admission: $13/advance, $14/day of

Enjoy a fun filled afternoon with the Easter Bunny on a weekday! Activities will include coloring, games, a moon bounce, and pictures with the Easter Bunny. Check-in and activities begin at 11am, and the Egg Hunt begins at 11:30am. Add on a mini-golf and food voucher for $7 more and get a great deal on lunch (pizza, chips, and choice of drink) and two hours of mini-golf from 12-2pm.

Bird Egg-stravaganza
Where: Woodend Nature Sanctuary
When: April 15, 10am – 12pm
Admission: $10/child (adults free)

Join the Audubon Naturalist Society for a nature-themed egg hunt at their Bethesda headquarters. Children can search for eggs along the Woodend Nature Sanctuary trails. Afterwards, they can cash in their eggs for prizes, participate in crafts, and enjoy other nature themed activities. The Big Cheese food truck will be on-site and available for coffee, breakfast, and lunch. Read more about Woodend in this KFDC post.

6th Annual Easter Egg Hunt
Where: Tregaron Conservancy
When: 10am – 12pm
Admission: Free, but donations greatly appreciated

Join staff at 10am sharp by the Lily Pond near the Klingle Entrance for the 6th Annual Easter Egg Hunt! A separate hunting area will be set up for kids under the age of five. RSVPs are encouraged but not required. BYO basket or bag.

Egg Hunt Weekend
Where: Clark’s Elioak Farm
When: April 15-17
Admission: $6

Little ones (ages 1 to 3 and 4 to 6) will have a chance to hunt for eggs throughout the day at this Maryland Farm that looks like something out of a story book! After hunting, they get to turn the eggs in for a goodie bag. The petting farm, rides, and play areas will be open for all to enjoy, too, along with gem mining and geode cracking. Be sure to take a look at the website for a heads-up on how the egg hunts will run, so you can make the most of your day there. Read more about Clarks Elioak in the KFDC post about the best outdoor places in the area.

Falls Church Annual Easter Egg Hunt
Where: Cherry Hill Park
When: April 15, 10am – 12pm
Admission: Free

Join this annual family celebration hosted by the city’s Recreation and Parks Department. Children dressed in their spring finest can hunt for candy and special eggs in Cherry Hill Park and have their photo taken with a special guest, the Easter Bunny! BYO basket — they’ll supply the candy, fun, and happy springtime memories. In addition to scrambling for eggs and photo ops, children ages 11 and younger can participate in a make-your-own-candy-bag craft project.

Storytime, Eggs-ploration, and Egg Dyeing
Where: Black Hills Nature Programs
When: April 15
Admission: $9

Staff will share the beautifully illustrated story An Egg is Quiet by Dianna Aston, then you’ll all explore what makes eggs so extraordinary. Observe how bird, amphibian, and reptile eggs are different and alike! After the eggs-ploration, dye hard-boiled eggs in natural dyes made from turmeric, beets, and cabbage! All materials provided.

12th Annual Stead Park Easter Egg Hunt
Where: Stead Park
When: April 15, 10:30am – 12:30pm
Admission: Free

Hop to it and join Friends of Stead Park for their annual Community Easter Egg Hunt! Enjoy selfies with the Easter Bunny, crafts and snacks after your little ones have filled their baskets with eggs. BYO basket and RSVP to the Friends of Stead Park by April 10.

Easter Buzz
Where: Buzz Bakeshop
When: April 15, 1-4pm
Admission: $20

Go see the Easter Bunny at Buzz Bakeshop, where they will be celebrating the holiday with a cookie decorating party and a visit from its fuzzy honoree. The Easter Bunny will take a polaroid with you and give you a fun treat to take home. You might find some hidden eggs, too, while you are there!

Electronic Eggstravaganza
Where: Maydale Conservation Park
When: April 15, 1:30-2:30pm
Admission: $7

Spring is here and life is blooming. Eggs are everywhere! You’ll use GPS units to search for eggs hidden in Maydale’s different habitats for a truly fun way to learn about spring and be rewarded with a prize at the same time. Bring your own bag or collect your findings – they’ll supply the GPS units.

Kids Easter Egg Hunt
Where: Pinstripes Georgetown
When: April 16, 9:30am
Admission: $5 to hunt (brunch is separate)

Kids can join a hunt around the venue and search for colorful eggs and receive special prizes. Easter baskets are $5 each and include a special treat! All proceeds benefit the American Cancer Society. After the egg hunt, enjoy brunch with the bunny, who will be there for photo ops and to ring in the special holiday. Plus, enjoy a gourmet brunch including an endless spread of Easter favorites, from carved prime rib, fresh seafood, waffles, made-to-order omelets, salad bar, delectable desserts, and more. Register here. (Note that egg hunt registration does not include Easter brunch reservations.) Read more about Pinstripes in this KFDC post.

Easter Monday: A Washington Family Tradition
Where: National Zoo
When: April 17, 10am – 2pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate Easter on Monday at the Zoo! Join them for special family-focused activities and live entertainment. A traditional Easter Egg Hunt and animal demonstrations as well as visits from the Easter Panda will be part of the festivities! This event will be held rain or shine.

White House Easter Egg Roll
Where: White House Lawn
When: April 17
Admission: Free, tickets required

The annual White House Easter Egg Roll requires tickets won through lottery for admission. If you entered, you will find out on March 31 if you were “successful” in scoring them or not; but if you don’t, you can check your status on recreation.gov. Unofficial tip: I’ve heard in the past that people have been at the entrance giving away extra tickets they may have. While I can’t confirm that’s always the case, if you’re going to be in that area and really want to go, it wouldn’t hurt to stop by and see if someone might have tickets for you. Note that entries are timed, so while it goes all day, guests only stay for their designated amount of time.


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Filed under 2017, All ages, Animals, Annual, DC, Educational, Farm, Festival, Free, Holidays, Maryland, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Special Event, Spring, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend

Live Entertainment on Local Stages this Spring

The interactive TreeHouse Shakers: Hatched at BlackRock Center for the Arts

The interactive “TreeHouse Shakers: Hatched” at BlackRock Center for the Arts



With the new season comes a whole new lineup of live entertainment. There are shows for all ages and interests — plays, puppet theatre, musicals, concerts, dance performances, and more to enjoy at venues around the area. Here’s what you and the kids can see on local stages this spring, listed in order of opening date.

Paper Dreams
Where: Imagination Stage
When: Through April 9
Tickets: $14

In a brand-new collaboration with Mons Dansa Dance Company Barcelona, Spain, we bring to life our first DANCE performance based show, perfect for ages 1-5 that explores the many facets of creativity. A fun, interactive production that tells the story of two delightful creatures who live inside a wastepaper basket. Can our greatest mistake actually turn out to be the next greatest innovative idea?

Ragtime
Where: Ford’s Theatre
When: Through May 20
Tickets: $18-64 (look for a discount)

Based on E.L. Doctorow’s celebrated novel, this epic Tony-winning musical depicts three families striving for the American dream at the turn of the 20th century. As the country balances on the cusp of social change, the lives of a wealthy white family, a daring Harlem musician and a determined Jewish immigrant intersect—and their fates are inextricably bound and profoundly changed. With an expansive musical score, striking relevancy and a who’s who of 20th-century historical characters, “Ragtime” confronts both the unbridled optimism and the stark reality of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Recommended for ages 12 and up.

The Select (The Sun Also Rises) (KidFree Suggestion!)
Where: Lansburgh Theatre
When: Through April 2
Tickets: $44-113 (look for a discount)

A stage littered with liquor bottles and café chairs seamlessly transforms itself from the bistros of Paris to the banks of the Irati River; a long bar table roars to life and charges a champion matador; an out-of-control dance party takes off during a night of nonstop revelry. As the story winds its way through France and Spain and lands in Pamplona where bullfighting and the fiesta rage in the streets, Hemingway’s narrator carries the heavy burdens of a war injury and his inability to have the woman he loves; a woman whose amorous escapades he follows with bemused but painful fatalism.

Monica Becomes a Big Sister
Where: Discovery Theater
When: March 23
Tickets: $3-8

Monica can’t wait for the newest member of the family to arrive. But a broken leg sends her to the emergency room with her mom. In a musical medical adventure, Monica discovers that a hospital isn’t such a scary place—and that a baby brother might join you on the trip back home. Recommended for ages 3-7

To Sail Around the Sun
Where: Kennedy Center
When: March 25-26
Tickets: $20

Set to the timeless music of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, this imaginative world premiere co-commission between the NSO and Company | E uses dance, film, storytelling, and musicians to weave together stories about the changing of the seasons. Recommended for ages 4 and up.

Pike St. (KidFree Suggestion!)
Where: Woolly Mammoth
When: March 27 – April 23
Tickets: $39-49 (look for a discount)

On the Lower East Side, a mother works hard to keep the electricity flowing for her daughter’s respirator while a hurricane looms nearby. As she prepares for disaster, a vibrant host of characters—a decorated war veteran, her ne’er-do-well father, her octogenarian downstairs neighbor—bring new meaning to the phrase “it takes a village.”

Mother Earth & Me
Where: Discovery Theater
When: March 28-31
Tickets: $3-8

The magic of earth science takes center stage in this fun, interactive Discovery Theater original as we explore the origins of our planet, the water cycle, and our important role in the ecosystem, as well as folklore about the “big blue marble” we call home. Kick off Earth Month by pledging to become an Earth Warrior—and find out some great ways to start right away!

The Three Billy Goats Gruff
Where: The Puppet Co.
When: March 30 – April 30
Tickets: $12

A marionette romp in which three brothers get the goat of a hen-pecked troll, in their attempts to trip-trap-tromp to where the grass is greener. Three variety numbers precede the performance, demonstrating the making of a simple hand puppet, and manipulation of rod puppets and marionettes, as an introduction to the Art of Puppetry.

A Raisin in the Sun
Where: Arena Stage
When: March 31 – May 7
Tickets: $66-111

Lorraine Hansberry’s groundbreaking masterpiece follows the Younger family yearning for a better life far from the cramped confines of their Chicago tenement. Hope arrives in the form of an unexpected financial windfall, but when they realize they have differing definitions of the American dream, which dreams get realized and which deferred? A Raisin in the Sun paints the African-American experience in brilliant and powerful strokes, as vibrant and vital today as they were in 1959.

Water on Mars
Where: BlackRock Center for the Arts
When: April 1-2
Tickets: $18-24

Water on Mars is virtuoso juggling gone wild. Take three monstrously skillful young jugglers, six hands and thousands of catches. Add flying chocolate and backflips, 400 rolls of tape and magnetic jump-ropes. Result: better than a roller coaster and as good as the 4th of July. When these three work together on a single project it´s like 3 Jackson Pollock´s sword fighting with paint covered brushes. Designed for spaceships and distant planets, Water on Mars is the future of juggling.

Saturday Family Jazz Sessions
Where: Strathmore
When: Several Saturdays in April, May, & June
Tickets: $10/advance, $12/at door

Junior jazz aficionados can spend Saturday mornings singing, playing, and preparing for a lifetime of music appreciation. Strathmore’s fun, creative, kid-friendly series features music by a different performer each session. These will take place during the spring April 1, April 22, May 6, May 20, June 3, and June 17.

Chicago
Where: Kennedy Center
When: April 4-16
Tickets: $50-159 (look for a discount)

With show-stopping numbers, astonishing dancing, and a healthy dose of razzle dazzle, Chicago is a heart-pounding spectacle of everything that makes Broadway great. Foxy Roxie Hart (portrayed by Grammy winner Brandy Norwood) and Velma Kelly bring down the house in this six-time Tony winner! Recommended for ages 13 and up.

Tot Rock: Alphabet Rockers – Hip Hop for Kids
Where: Discovery Theater
When: April 6-7
Tickets: $3-8

Alphabet Rockers is the “modern day De La Soul for the 21st century (all-natural) juice box crowd” (Cooper & Kid). This is an intergenerational dance party where the performers’ infectious energy and hip hop grooves get kids jumping and head nodders rocking out – all set to educational lyrics about complex cultural topics and learning goals. Alphabet Rockers make learning come alive through the beats, rhymes, moves and community of hip hop – and you will have confidence this is adding value to your community and life.

Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp
Where: Adventure Theatre
When: April 7 – May 21
Tickets: $19.50

This is Aladdin as you’ve never seen it before. Aladdin and his love, the princess Adora, must outsmart an evil Magician who wants to use the genie in Aladdin’s lamp for his nefarious schemes! Will he get away with it? Get ready for love, magic, and mystery in this production for all ages.

Cuisine & Confessions
Where: Hylton Performing Arts Center at George Mason
When: April 8-9
Tickets: $30-50, half-price available for ages 12 and under

Dance, acrobatics, and a pinch of theatrics are the essential ingredients in this remarkable show that explores life in the family kitchen where lessons are learned, bonds are forged, and secrets are exchanged. Montreal-based group The 7 Fingers of the Hand interprets relationships and storytelling as they prepare a meal in a unique and playful way, getting right into the heart of the home, using circus acts and acrobatics to depict scenes of family meals and intimate moments. This acclaimed ensemble’s name is a twist on a French idiom, “the five fingers of the hand,” which describes distinct parts moving in coordination toward a common goal. In this case, there are seven artistic collaborators who achieve a common goal in creating an amazing production. The highly skilled artists, with their precisely timed stunts, provide the perfect recipe for an unforgettable theatrical event.

Smart People
Where: Arena Stage
When: April 14 – May 22
Tickets:

Do our belief systems stem from our environment, or are some prejudices hard-wired into us? With barbed wit, Lydia R. Diamond (Stick Fly) explores the unavoidable nature of cultural bias and other sticky subjects in the controversial and fiercely funny new play Smart People. Four intellectuals — a doctor, an actress, a psychologist, and a neurobiologist studying the human brain’s response to race — search for love, acceptance and identity in a complex world where political correctness comes face-to-face with cold hard data.

Fun Home (KidFree Suggestion!)
Where: National Theatre
When: April 18 – May 13
Tickets: $48-98 (look for a discount)

Every once in a while a Broadway musical comes along that surprises, moves and excites audiences in ways only a truly landmark musical can. The groundbreaking, life-affirming and exquisite new musical FUN HOME was the event of the Broadway season, receiving raves from critics and audiences alike, winning five 2015 Tony Awards including BEST MUSICAL and making history along the way. Based on Alison Bechdel’s best-selling graphic memoir, FUN HOME introduces us to Alison at three different ages as she explores and unravels the many mysteries of her childhood. A refreshingly honest musical about seeing your parents through grown-up eyes, FUN HOME is extraordinary, a rare beauty that pumps fresh air into Broadway. (New York Times)

Ecosystems Alive
Where: Discovery Theater
When: April 20-21
Tickets: $3-8

From tropical forests to tundras, deserts to wetlands, our planet’s ecosystems display a rich diversity. Be introduced to live reptiles from a variety of habitats and discover why healthy ecosystems are so important to all life. You might get to meet a boa constrictor, box turtle, bearded dragon, or other creatures from around the world. Recommended for ages 6-11.

In the Heights – En Español!
Where: Gala Hispanic Theatre
When: April 20 – May 21
Tickets: $40-60

New York’s Washington Heights is a vibrant community on the brink of change, where the biggest struggle can be which traditions you take with you and which you leave behind. With its gripping tale of hopes and dreams, this groundbreaking musical is the next chapter in the multicultural American story. Conceived by Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain
Where: Strathmore
When: April 21
Tickets: $20-60

The world-renowned all-singing, all-plucking superstars return with their toe-tapping music, hilarious banter, and sheer superlative entertainment. Last year they celebrated “30 Plucking Years” of ukulele action, this year they will have been active for “One Billion Seconds.” See for yourself why the Ukes of GB (the original Ukulele Orchestra, the oldest and the best) and their entertaining, witty, shopping trolley dash through all genres of music has led to sold-out shows all over the world. Critics, trying to encapsulate the group’s indefinable magic and joy, have heralded the group as “the best musical entertainment.”

The Jungle Book
Where: Imagination Stage
When: April 22 – May 28
Tickets: $15-30

Mowgli is a human child brought up in the jungles of India by a family of wolves. The embittered tiger Shere Kahn may be stalking him, but Mowgli is a quick learner. His friends, Baloo the goofy bear, and Bagheera, the savvy Jaguar, teach him how to gain the trust of the four-footed hunters, the birds, and the snakes so that he will never be friendless. He falls into a bad crowd of silly monkeys who lead him astray and play a mean trick on him. How will Mowgli escape from the deep, dark well? And, how will he save himself when Shere Kahn turns the wolf pack against him? Kipling’s timeless classic deals with very timely issues in this lively new version. Mowgli learns to respect his environment and the wisdom of the animals. And he realizes that, as a grown man, it’s his responsibility to protect them. Recommended for ages 4 and up.

TreeHouse Shakers: Hatched
Where: BlackRock Center for the Arts
When: April 23, 2pm & 4pm
Tickets: $18

After an extraordinarily popular performance at BlackRock in 2014, the TreeHouse Shaker’s Hatched returns to BlackRock. With movement, music, handcrafted puppets, and very little human dialogue, this show is set on a family farm, a newborn chick emerges from her shell at sunrise to a strange and busy world. Audience members interact and play with the characters on stage; they give the chicks their feed, milk bottles to the lamb and are licked by the cow. A beautiful introduction to theater, Hatched will charm and engage babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers.

Macbeth (KidFree Suggestion!)
Where: Sidney Harman Hall
When: April 25 – May 8
Tickets: $44-102 (look for a discount)

In a world beset by civil war and invasion, Macbeth and his artful lady begin a series of murders, plunging us into the darkest night of the soul. Storms rage, fires burn and night blankets the earth in this tale of sound and fury, accompanied by Shakespeare’s richest poetry.

Paper Dreams
Where: Atlas Performing Arts Center
When: April 27-30
Tickets: $6-10

Imagination Stage partners with Mons Dansa from Barcelona, Spain for a delightful movement performance. A fun, interactive production that tells the story of two delightful creatures who live inside a wastepaper basket. Can our greatest mistake actually turn out to be the next greatest innovative idea? Recommended for ages 1-5.

Saturday Morning at the National
Where: National Theatre
When: Most Saturdays
Tickets: FREE!

The free theatre program runs on select Saturdays with performances at 9:30am and 11:30am. Musicals, plays, storytelling, and comedy shows are all part of the live entertainment line-up. See the complete schedule of performances here. Tickets are distributed day of performances on a first-come, first-served basis. Everyone must be in line to receive a ticket.

Tot Rock
Where: Jammin’ Java
When: Ongoing
Tickets: $5/weekdays, $10/weekends

Tot Rock is Jammin’ Java’s super-popular kids music concert series, providing wholesome family entertainment at one of the DC Metro area’s finest music clubs. Local acts perform every Thursday and Friday, and touring performers drop by on many weekends. Check the calendar often to see when your favorite act is performing, and for other calendar updates.

Boogie Babes
Where: Eastern Market
When: Thursdays, 10:30am
Tickets: $5/child, free for sibling 6 months and under

Little ones can boogie along with their favorite local musicians at Eastern Market’s North Hall every Thursday morning. Go for the show, then grab lunch in the market or at one of many nearby eateries after.

Tiny Tots
Where: The Puppet Co.
When: Most Wednesdays, Saturdays, & Sundays at 10am
Tickets: $5

The series presents puppet shows designed for the youngest theater patrons (ages 0-4). They are shorter, the lights stay on, and the doors stay open. They have an arsenal of shows that they switch up every performance, so be sure to check the schedule to see what’s playing when you go.

Millennium Stage
Where: Kennedy Center
When: Ongoing daily, 6pm
Tickets: Free

The Kennedy Center presents these free, no-tickets-required performances every day at 6pm, and the public is welcome to enjoy them. The acts span the genres — you can see everything from contemporary dance to folk music to puppetry to comedy shows to opera scenes. Millennium Stage showcases everyone from local youth choirs to internationally known bands (They Might Be Giants performed there a few years ago). This is a great series to keep in mind for whenever you’re looking for some free, easy entertainment.

Shear Madness
Where: Kennedy Center
When: Ongoing
Tickets: $50-54 (look for a discount)

Set today in the Shear Madness hairstyling salon, this record-breaking comedy is Washington’s hilarious whodunit. After more than 13,000 performances, the show has stayed in great shape. Recommended for kids middle school ages and up.

Peppa Pig Live!
Where: Strathmore
When: May 3
Tickets: $29-59

Peppa Pig’s Big Splash is an action-packed live show featuring your favorite characters as life size puppets and costume characters! Come join Peppa, George, Mummy Pig, Daddy Pig and more in an all singing, all-dancing adventure full of songs, games and muddy puddles!

Cinderella
Where: The Puppet Co.
When: May 4 – June 11
Tickets: $12

The elegance of 17th-century France, combining elaborate costumes of the Comédie-Française and Offenbach’s “Gaiety Parisian” to adorn the tale of the cinder girl who captures the heart of the handsome prince. The production was acclaimed at the 1997 National Puppet Festival, and performed by invitation at the Center for Puppetry Arts, in Atlanta.

Jojo’s Puppy Adventure
Where: Discovery Theater
When: May 4-5
Tickets: $3-8

Jojo has always wanted a pet of his own. But when he discovers an injured puppy, he knows he must reunite it with its owner. Join Jojo on an interactive musical search to find the puppy’s home—and a happy ending for both of them. Recommended for ages 3-7.

Snow White
Where: Hylton Performing Arts Center
When: May 5
Tickets: $17-35

Virginia National Ballet’s Snow White is a charming, family friendly neo-classical ballet with hilarious appearances by the Seven Dwarfs, thrilling, bravura dancing from the Evil Queen, and gorgeous dancing by Snow White and the Prince, supported by students of Gainesville Ballet School as the adorable forest animals. Managing Director Elysabeth Muscat Hegab says that this will be Virginia National Ballet’s first “Fairy Tale” ballet with slapstick comedy, and the first time the company is including younger dancers in a performance. This production is perfect for all age groups, as the story is very easy to follow, the dancing and choreography are brilliant, and the gorgeous sets and costumes include four different scenic backdrops, original sets, and colorful costumes, on stage at the Hylton Performing Arts Cente

The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Where: Synetic Theater
When: May 10 – June 11
Tickets: $20-60

Synetic’s visionary Founding Artistic Director Paata Tsikurishvili brings his mind-bending, cinematic style to Victor Hugo’s gothic, heartbreaking epic of inner beauty and undying loyalty. When the beguiling dancer Esmerelda captures the heart of the deformed bell-ringer Quasimodo, his adoptive father, the priest Frollo, decides he wants her for himself – plunging all of Paris into a spiral of riots, revolution, and murder. This production will not have dialogue. Recommended for ages 13+ for violence.

Nearly Lear
Where: Kennedy Center
When: May 12-14
Tickets: $20

What if King Lear was told by his closest companion? In this one-woman tour-de-force, Susanna Hamnett plays the Fool–and every other character–to tell a very personal and poignant story borrowing from Shakespeare’s words. Recommended for ages 9 and up.

Shakespeare for the Young: Midsummer Magic
Where: Atlas Performing Arts Center
When: May 17-21
Tickets: $6-10

Shakespeare’s delightful story of tricks and magic spells comes to life for the very young through puppets, movement and music. Recommended for ages 2-7.

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra: E.T. The Extraterrestrial In Concert
Where: Strathmore
When: May 18
Tickets: $35-92

Soar through the stars with Steven Spielberg’s masterpiece as you’ve never seen or heard it before! Jack Everly conducts John Williams’ Academy Award-winning score live as the classic film is projected on a giant HD screen. Bring the whole family to experience the magic of Elliott and his friend from far, far away.

Titus
Where: Kennedy Center
When: May 20-21
Tickets: $20

Young Titus is in a situation that seems hopeless… he can either give up or fight. This exciting and challenging journey examines the obstacles faced by young people in our modern world and how we learn to find courage within ourselves as we confront those obstacles. Recommended for ages 13 and up.

Mouth Open, Story Jump Out
Where: Kennedy Center
When: May 20-28
Tickets: $20

Don’t miss a one-man show from Polarbear, one of the UK’s most exciting spoken-word artists. International assassins, secret codes, dog-eating boa constrictors, and more come to life when a boy tries to make sense of his father’s disappearance. Recommended for ages 8 and up.

NSO Family Concert: Peter and the Wolf in Hollywood
Where: Kennedy Center
When: May 21
Tickets: $20

Critically acclaimed Brooklyn-based production company Giants Are Small offers an invigorating new perspective on Prokofiev’s classic, with a narrator and the musicians of the NSO creating all of the sound effects on stage. Recommended for ages 5 and up.

Under the Baobab Tree with Iya
Where: Discovery Theater
When: May 4-5
Tickets: $3-8

Gather beneath the iconic tree of life as master educator Iya Bashea Imana shares captivating folktales. Music and movement, puppets, and eco-friendly crafts combine with timeless stories that offer an introduction to African traditions and wisdom. REcommended for ages 3-7

Hip Hop Culture: /peh-LO-tah/
Where: Kennedy Center
When: June 9-11
Tickets: $20

Marc Bamuthi Joseph explores soccer by layering poetry, movement, visuals, and music into a fresh theatrical form based on Hip Hop aesthetics. This world premiere co-commission features verbally and physically energetic performances.

Strathmore Children’s Chorus: Celtic Sounds
Where: Strathmore
When: June 11
Tickets: $20-25

The Strathmore Children’s Chorus focuses their 5th anniversary spring concert on all things Celtic. Celtic Sounds celebrates the traditional music of Scotland, Ireland, and Wales, bringing to life classics such as “Loch Lomond,” “Danny Boy,” and more. Celtic Sounds also includes a world premiere from composer Mandy Miller, plus guest artists from the Culkin School of Traditional Irish Dance and the A. Mario Loiderman Middle School for the Creative and Performing Arts Choirs.

*Know of a great upcoming production not listed here? Let me know in the comments below!


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Filed under All ages, Date Night, DC, Free, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Music, Seasonal, Spring, Theatre, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend

The Best Events of the 2017 Cherry Blossom Season for Families

blossoms_picnic

There’s much more to cherry blossom season in DC than just the famous flowers. The National Cherry Blossom Festival makes it a great celebration with all kinds of events over several weeks, plus there are even more blossom-inspired happenings that aren’t part of the official festival. Here are the best of them for families to help plan for a peak blossom experience. And be sure to check out this post, too, with tips for cherry blossom viewing. Happy spring!

Cultural Performances
Where: Tidal Basin Welcome Area
When: March 15 – April 2
Admission: Free

Catch live entertainment as you take in views of the blossoms! During the bloom season and most of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, there will be music and dance performances on a special stage set up at the Tidal Basin Welcome Area. Enjoy them daily starting March 15 from 12-6pm.

Cherry Blossom Celebration
Where: Smithsonian American Art Museum
When: March 25
Admission: Free

Celebration of Japanese culture in the beauitful Kogod Courtyard! A taiko drumming performance will kick off the day, followed by Japanese music and dance performances, face painting, and cherry-blossom themed crafts. Make your own tatebanko (a Japanese paper diorama) with friends from the Smithsonian’s Freer|Sackler Gallery, go on a scavenger hunt to find spring themed artworks, and more!

Japanese Culture Day
Where: Library of Congress Young Readers Center
When: March 25
Admission: Free

Learn about Japanese culture as you create origami artwork creation, try on kimonos, and enjoy more other activities. Cherry Blossom princesses from the last few years will instruct children in the art of tiara-making. At 11am and 1:30pm, the Japan-America Society of Washington, DC, will present “Japan-In-A-Suitcase,” a program about Japanese life and culture. Following each of these presentations, there will be a karate demonstration along with other attractions. Children can also explore the Library’s Young Readers Center, which is full of current and classic children’s literature – read more about it here.

Friendship Between Nations Family Day
Where: National Archives
When: March 25, 10am – 4pm
Admission: Free

Join the National Archives for a fun, activity filled day exploring the many ways countries show their friendship, such as the gift of the cherry blossoms from Japan to the US. Investigate treaties, learn about some of the crazy gifts countries have given, and participate in interactive activities designed for the entire family to enjoy.

Kites of Asia Heritage Family Day
Where: National Air & Space Museum
When: March 25, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Get ready for the Blossom Kite Festival and celebrate spring and Asian heritage! At the Air & Space Museum’s annual event, you can talk to kite experts, see pan-Asian kite displays, marvel at indoor kite flying, make your own kite, and maybe even take a dance lesson!

Go fly a kite on the National Mall!

Go fly a kite on the National Mall!

Blossom Kite Festival
Where: Washington Monument Grounds
When: April 1, 10am – 4:30pm
Admission: Free

Go fly a kite! Seriously. The Kite Festival is probably my favorite event of the blossom season. The sight of thousands of kites in all colors, shapes, and sizes soaring around the Washington Monument is truly a sight to behold. It’s magical for kids — and even for me as a jaded adult! The sails you see flying at the Festival each spring range from simple to pretty darn creative. Dragons, sharks, butterflies, giant soccer balls, even some that look like big, beautiful origami works way outnumber your basic diamond. And anyone can go fly their kites, so BYO or make one there at an activity station. There’s a competition aspect to the event, too; expert kite enthusiasts will wow crowds with cool stunts, and prizes will be awarded to winners of various categories such as most beautiful, funniest, and aerodynamics.

National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade
Where: Constitution Avenue, 7th – 17th Streets NW
When: April 8, 10am – 12pm
Admission: Free

The pinnacle of cherry blossom festivities is easily the parade. Thousands of people line Constitution Avenue every year to watch the spectacle of lavish floats, giant helium balloons, marching bands, and a variety of performers travel down Constitution Avenue. Tickets for grandstand seats are available for $20, but you can stake out a spot along the curb for free. Plan to arrive early to get a good view — the crowds come out for this one, especially if it’s a pretty spring day.

Sakura Matsuri
Where: M Street & New Jersey Ave. SE
When: April 8, 10:30am – 6pm
Admission: $8/ages 13 and up in advance, free for 12 and under

Following the Cherry Blossom parade, many folks head over to Sakura Matsuri, the Japanese Street Festival that is America’s largest one-day exhibition of Japanese culture. There will be live music and dance performances, all kinds of Asian and Western foods, martial arts demos, Japanese art, and more. All at a new location in the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood. Be prepared for a crowd.

Family Workshop: Japanese Woodblock Printing
Where: Sackler Gallery
When: April 8-9, 12-4pm
Admission: Free

In celebration of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, join the Sackler for opening weekend of Inventing Utamaro and free family activities! In this Open Studio, witness firsthand the beauty and complexity of Japanese woodblock prints. Take a family-friendly tour (offered at 12:30pm and 2:30pm) of the exhibition, then explore traditional tools and papers. A teaching artist demonstrates transferring designs to a block, carving, and basic printing techniques. Come prepared to get your hands inky. All ages welcome!

Anacostia River Festival
Where: Anacostia Park
When: April 9
Admission: Free

The National Park Service and the 11th Street Bridge Park present the 3rd annual Anacostia River Festival, also a premier event of the 2017 National Cherry Blossom Festival! Celebrate the Anacostia River with some fun outdoor recreation! Explore the river by canoe, ride in a bike parade, play lawn games with your family, and experience Southeast DC’s local arts scene. This year they’re celebrating biking in the District with trail rides, safety classes, quick bike tune ups, and special bike activities for all ages.

Family Afternoon: Design with Nature
Where: National Building Museum
When: April 9, 11am – 2pm
Admission: Free

All ages can drop in for creative hands-on activities, a community garden design project, and opportunities to learn about Japanese art and design. See how nature is intentionally integrated into the built world, different ways people design with nature, and how nature can inspire design in and around built spaces. Learn about symbolism of the natural world across cultures and make connections between springtime symbolism, design, nature, and the built world they live in.

Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival
Where: Southwest Waterfront
When: April 15, 2-9:30pm
Admission: Free

This event that takes place along the District Wharf and the Titanic Memorial on the Southwest Waterfront is one of the last of the festival this year. It’s an afternoon and part-evening affair with free live music and family-friendly festivities, including water-related activities, cultural experiences, and delicious foods. The grand finale will begin at 8:30pm when the National Cherry Blossom Festival Fireworks Show lights up the night sky.


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Warm Up With Some Winter Entertainment

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe brings winter magic to Adventure Theatre

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe brings winter magic to Adventure Theatre



As the mercury drops, stay warm and entertained at a show! Children’s plays, puppet shows, family symphonies, acrobatic hoops, monster trucks, date night options… there’s live entertainment to indulge every interest. Here are details on what you can see on local stages and arenas, listed in order of start date.

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
Where: Adventure Theatre
When: Through December 31
Tickets: $19.50

This snowy, holiday classic features just a two-person cast! Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy are sent to live in the countryside home of professor Digory Kirke. As Lucy explores the house, she discovers a secret portal to a magical world called Narnia. With an evil White Witch ruling the kingdom, can Lucy, her new friend Mr. Tumnus, and her family band together to save Narnia? Recommended for all ages. Read the KFDC review!

The Secret Garden
Where: Sidney Harman Hall
When: Through January 8
Tickets: $44-102 (look for a discount)

When 10-year-old Mary Lennox loses her parents to a cholera epidemic in the British Raj of India, she travels to England to stay with Archibald Craven, her remote and morose uncle, still grieving the death of his wife ten years ago. Terrified of every nook and cranny of the haunted Craven Manor on the Yorkshire Moors, Mary seeks refuge in her late aunt’s mysterious walled garden, where she discovers amazing secrets. KFDC Insight: This is a beautiful, superbly acted production — Sasha and I both enjoyed it!

Carousel
Where: Arena Stage
When: Through December 24
Tickets: $64-109

When Billy Bigelow and Julie Jordan fall in love, little do they realize that his rebellious ways will lead to tragedy. Given a chance to make good, will a lucky star save Billy and those he loves? This Rodgers and Hammerstein classic got a well-deserved standing ovation at the performance Owen and I saw. 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.

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast
Where: Imagination Stage
When: Through January 15
Tickets: $15-30

Once upon a time, in a French provincial town, Belle is the bookish daughter of a hapless inventor. She narrowly avoids the amorous advances of the bully Gaston only to find herself imprisoned in the castle of a terrible Beast. While the servants Cogsworth, Lumiere, Mrs. Potts and Chip conspire to make Belle fall in love with their bewitched master, she gradually wins over his heart by virtue of her kindness and patience. Excitement builds as Gaston gathers a mob to rid the community of the ugly Beast and to claim Belle for himself alone. Needless to say, after much high drama, silly laughter, exuberant singing and dancing, love wins the day! Recommended for ages 4 and up.

Into the Woods
Where: Kennedy Center
When: Through January 8
Tickets: $49-175 (look for a discount)

Venture into the woods with the acclaimed Fiasco Theater’s production that became NYC’s surprise hit of the season. This witty and wildly theatrical re-invention of Sondheim’s Tony Award-winning musical classic is staged like you’ve never seen it before! Recommended for ages 8 an up.

Mary Poppins
Where: Olney Theatre
When: Through January 8
Tickets: $43-90 (look for a discount)

One of the most beloved tales of all time! It’s 1910 and Mr. Banks is looking for a stern nanny for his two wayward children… but fortunately for the family, Mary Poppins comes along, and teaches them all – especially Mr. Banks – some valuable lessons in what family really means. From the magical “Chim Chim Cher-ee” to the iconic “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” you’ll delight to the story of a wizardly, wise nanny, two precious children, and the family she teaches how to love each other.

Wicked
Where: Kennedy Center
When: Through January 8
Tickets: $99-359

Wicked, the Broadway sensation, looks at what happened in the Land of Oz… but from a different angle. Long before Dorothy arrives, there is another young woman, born with emerald-green skin–smart, fiery, misunderstood, and possessing an extraordinary talent. When she meets a bubbly blonde who is exceptionally popular, their initial rivalry turns into the unlikeliest of friendships… until the world decides to call one “good,” and the other one “wicked.” Recommended for ages 8 and up.

Titanic
Where: Signature Theatre
When: Through January 29
Tickets: $40-94

Come aboard the ship of dreams in this Tony Award®-winning Best Musical—a heart-stopping and riveting ride through the final moments of Titanic’s fateful journey. In this stunning, 360-degree production, Artistic Director Eric Schaeffer plunges you into the middle of the glamour, chaos, heroism and, ultimately, in the spirit of the most infamous ship of all time. With a lush, unforgettable score and a cast, orchestra and crew of more than 50 artists, Titanic will be the theatrical event of the season!

Adventures with Mr. Bear
Where: Atlas Performing Arts Center
When: December 18-30
Tickets: $9

The wonder and magic of a child’s imagination are brought to life in this charming world premiere. One cozy winter afternoon, a young girl and her favorite stuffed animal, Mr. Bear, play a game of hide and seek which evolves into a series of exciting adventures. Together, they embark on a journey of endless possibilities – all from the comfort of her playroom! Cuddle up with your favorite stuffed animal friend and join us for a delightful holiday production. Recommended for ages 2-5.

Blue
Where: Imagination Stage
When: January 3 – February 8
Tickets: $14

Imagine a world where the only color is blue. Blue flowers, blue grass, even blue cereal! Inky and Pale live in such a world until they discover something RED!

Tot Rock
Where: Jammin’ Java
When: Ongoing
Tickets: $5/weekdays, $10/weekends

Tot Rock is Jammin’ Java’s super-popular kids music concert series, providing wholesome family entertainment at one of the DC Metro area’s finest music clubs. Local acts perform every Thursday and Friday, and touring performers drop by on many weekends. Check the calendar often to see when your favorite act is performing, and for other calendar updates.

Boogie Babes
Where: Angelika Pop-Up, Eastern Market, & The Atlas
When: Wednesdays & Thursdays, 10:30am
Tickets: $5/child, free for sibling 6 months and under

Little ones can boogie along with their favorite local musicians at the Angelika Pop-Up (behind Union Market) on Wednesdays and in Eastern Market’s North Hall every Thursday over the summer. Go for the show, then grab lunch in the Markets.

Tiny Tots
Where: The Puppet Co.
When: Most Wednesdays, Saturdays, & Sundays at 10am
Tickets: $5

The series presents puppet shows designed for the youngest theater patrons (ages 0-4). They are shorter, the lights stay on, and the doors stay open. They have an arsenal of shows that they switch up every performance, so be sure to check the schedule to see what’s playing when you go.

Millennium Stage
Where: Kennedy Center
When: Ongoing daily, 6pm
Tickets: Free

The Kennedy Center presents these free, no-tickets-required performances every day at 6pm, and the public is welcome to enjoy them. The acts span the genres — you can see everything from contemporary dance to folk music to puppetry to comedy shows to opera scenes. Millennium Stage showcases everyone from local youth choirs to internationally known bands (They Might Be Giants performed there a few years ago). This is a great series to keep in mind for whenever you’re looking for some free, easy entertainment.

Saturday Morning at the National
Where: National Theatre
When: Most Saturdays
Tickets: FREE!

The free theatre program runs on select Saturdays with performances at 9:30am and 11:30am. Musicals, plays, storytelling, and comedy shows are all part of the live entertainment line-up. See the complete schedule of performances here. Tickets are distributed day of performances on a first-come, first-served basis. Everyone must be in line to receive a ticket.

The Little Princess
Where: Thomas Jefferson Community Theatre
When: January 6-11
Tickets: $15/adults, $10/children

It’s Encore Stage & Studio’s theatre by kids for kids! Sara Crewe, a young heiress to a diamond mine fortune, leaves her home and father in India to go to school at Miss Michin’s Select Seminary for Young Ladies in London. When adversity strikes, Sara’s imaginative powers come to the rescue, transforming a drab institution into a place of magic and mystery. Using the grace and virtue of ‘a little princess,’ Sara proves that kindness always wins. Recommended for ages 4 and up.

Jazzy Ash & the Leaping Lizards
Where: AMP
When: January 7, 10:30am
Tickets: $12

join the kids pajama jam party! Ashli Christoval, AKA Jazzy Ash, explores her New Orleans heritage with a vibrant, five-piece band of musician-educators! Each song is lovingly crafted to inspire movement and wonder in audiences of all ages. Your family will be charmed by Ash’s sassy style as she leads you on a musical adventure through gypsy jazz, zydeco, swing, blues, Dixieland, and more.

Professor Wingnut Wants to Fly
Where: Discovery Theater
When: January 11-12
Tickets: $3-8

Join wacky citizen-scientist Professor Wingnut and his friend Seymour Seagull as they explore the amazing science of flight! From birds to airplanes, this pair loves all things airborne, and are in pursuit of the secret to just what makes them fly. Songs, science, and a flight-tastic dance party take off right under the planes in the Air and Space Museum. Tour the museum after the show! Recommended for ages 3-7.

ROE (KidFree Recommendation!)
Where: Arena Stage
When: January 12 – February 19
Tickets: $55-90

The lawyer: a young, brilliant, courageous woman arguing Roe v. Wade before the Supreme Court. The plaintiff: a complex, single woman seeking to end an unwanted pregnancy. The landmark 1973 case legalized abortion, but also began their separate journeys that would come to mirror the polarization in American culture. With shocking turns and surprising humor, Roe illuminates the difficult choices women make and the passion each side has for its cause.

Bud, Not Buddy
Where: Kennedy Center
When: January 12-15
Tickets: $20-50

It’s 1936 in Flint, Michigan, and 10-year-old Bud is sure about two things: he wants to find his father, and he is not called Buddy. Unfortunately, while his mother made his name crystal clear, the whereabouts of his dad are a little unsure. The only clue she left behind is a flyer advertising Herman E. Calloway and his band, the Dusky Devastators of the Depression. With this and his trusty suitcase in tow, Bud sets off on an epic journey of discovery, set to the soulful sounds of jazz. Recommended for ages 9 and up.

The Ugly Duckling
Where: Alden Theatre
When: January 14, 1pm
Tickets: $15, $10/MCC tax district residents

It’s hard being different. When a strange egg shows up in Mama Duck’s nest and hatches, a very ugly duckling is born. After many failed attempts to “fit in,” the ugly duckling sets out on a journey to find his true place in the world. He soon realizes that he must learn to love himself before he can discover who he really is. Recommended for ages 4 and up.

The Giver
Where: Alden Theatre
When: January 14, 4pm
Tickets: $15, $10/MCC tax district residents

Jonas’ world is under control and safe. There is no war or fear or pain. There are also no choices. Every person is assigned a role in the community. But when Jonas turns 12, he is chosen for special training from The Giver—to receive and keep the memories of the community. Now Jonas will learn the truth about life—and the hypocrisy of his safe world. Through this astonishing and moving adaptation, discover what it means to grow up, to grow wise, and to take control of your own destiny.

Goldilocks
Where: The Puppet Co.
When: January 20 – February 19
Tickets: $12

Goldilocks is on trial, and the audience to decides if it was breaking-and-entering or an innocent mistake. This musical romp illustrates that there are two sides to every story, with the same circumstances seen from very different points of view. Told with rod puppets and giant hand puppets, this production keeps the audience guessing while including all the favorite elements of the classic children’s fairytale. Recommended for ages 3.5-9

4×4: Ephemeral Architectures
Where: Strathmore
When: January 22
Tickets: $28-68

What in the world do ballet and juggling have in common? Both are mathematical, architectural, and athletic endeavors based on people tracing pathways in space. Be there as four jugglers and four ballet dancers share a stage in this cross-art-form experience, leaving unseen patterns everywhere, defying the limitations of gravity and inspiring awe in the audience.

As You Like It
Where: Folger Theatre
When: January 24 – March 5
Tickets: $35-75 (look for a discount)

Rosalind is banished from court and flees to the Forest of Arden, where she discovers Orlando and a world of passion and possibility in one of Shakespeare’s most cherished romantic comedies. When she disguises herself as a man, enchantment abounds and blossoms into an exploration of the beauty and complexities of young love. Children under the age of four are not permitted in the theater. Every person entering the theatre must have a ticket.

Night of the Living Dead
Where: West Potomac High School
When: January 26 – February 4
Tickets: $10-12

From the Beyond the Page Theatre Company… Based on George A. Romero’s 1968 original classic masterpiece horror genre film of the same title, Night of the Living Dead pits the dead against the living in a struggle for survival. There is panic throughout the nation as the dead suddenly come back to life. The story follows a group of people who barricade themselves into an old farmhouse in an attempt to remain safe from these flesh eating monsters. This gripping terror-filled play brings all the fright of the cult classic film to life. Its blend of thrilling horror laced with touches of black humor envelops the audience in the action and unfolds into a shocking theatrical ending.

Monster Jam
Where: Verizon Center
When: January 28
Tickets: $15-95 (look for a discount)

The world’s largest and most famous monster truck tour featuring the biggest names in monster trucks will thunder its way into DC. Grave Digger, El Toro Loco, Pirate’s Curse, Shark, Alien Invasion, Zombie, Monster Mutt Rottweiler, and Blue Thunder are among the vehicular beasts you’ll see tearing up the indoor terrain this year.

Hamlette
Where: The Keegan Theatre
When: January 28
Tickets: $15 (look for a discount)

Hamlette takes the classic Shakespeare play, throws it in a blender, and shakes it up into a side-splitting comedy told in under an hour with only five actors. Recommended for young people age 11 and older.

NSO Music for Young Audiences: Catch the Vibe
Where: Kennedy Center
When: January 28-29
Tickets: $20

NSO tuba player Stephen Dumaine and NSO percussionist Eric Shin team up to show you how lively the tuba can be! Along the way, you’ll meet some relatives of the tuba from around the world, and you might even get to see Stephen play while riding his bicycle! Recommended for ages 3 and up.

Ella Enchanted
Where: Adventure Theatre
When: February 3 – March 19
Tickets: $19.50

Based on the Newberry Honor book by Gail Carson Levine. Baby Ella of Frell is given the “gift” of obedience by Lucinda, a misguided fairy, and thus cannot disobey any direct order. Then when tragedy strikes, Ella is reduced to an obedient servant in her new home with Dame Olga. Can Ella find a way to rid herself of the troublesome curse? Recommended for all ages.

Watch on the Rhine (KidFree Recommendation!)
Where: Arena Stage
When: February 3 – March 5
Tickets: $55-100

With America on the brink of entering World War II, Fanny’s daughter escapes to the D.C. suburbs with her German husband, a man deeply involved in anti-fascist movements. But with an Eastern European guest with ulterior motives also living in their midst, tensions rise as it becomes clear that no one’s safety can be guaranteed — at home or abroad.

The Amazing Max
Where: Alden Theatre
When: February 4
Tickets: $15, $10 MCC tax district residents

Don’t miss this wonderfully delightful magic show. Max Darwin combines magic and comedy, making objects appear and disappear and generally defying the laws of physics inches from theatergoer’s faces. This high-energy, interactive and all-around silly show is appropriate for audiences of all ages.

Pokémon: Symphonic Evolutions
Where: Strathmore
When: February 4
Tickets: $49-89 (look for a discount)

Pokémon: Symphonic Evolutions is the must-see video game concert of the year. All-new orchestral arrangements and carefully timed visuals draw from recent and classic Pokémon video games. Gamers of all ages will enjoy the rare opportunity to hear live renditions of the tunes that have soundtracked their favorite Pokémon hunting expeditions and battles through every generation of the beloved Nintendo series—starting with “Red” and “Green” from the original GameBoy and building up to “X” and “Y” for the 3DS. Cartoon fans are also in for a treat, as the performance includes an orchestral arrangement of the Pokémon television show theme song. Gotta hear ‘em all!

Family Matinees
Where: Avalon Theatre
When: February 4 – March 11
Tickets: $8

The theatre in Old Town Alexandria presents Films and live performances that are family-friendly and ridiculously fun. From puppet shows to concerts to movie screenings, these are typically held on Saturday mornings and scheduled periodically throughout the year.

King Charles III
Where: Sidney Harman Hall
When: February 7 – March 12
Tickets: $44-102

The Queen is dead. After a lifetime of waiting, Prince Charles ascends the throne with Camilla by his side. As William, Kate, and Harry look on, Charles prepares for the future of power that lies before him…but how to rule? Written primarily in Shakespearean blank verse, this modern history play explores the people underneath the crowns, the unwritten rules of Britain’s democracy, and the conscience of its most famous family. Recommended for tweens and up.

Kofi’s Drums: The Beat of Life
Where: Discovery Theater
When: February 8-10
Tickets: $3-8

Drummer Kofi Dennis brings the vibrant rhythms of a West African village to life though music, storytelling, and dance. Using authentic instruments, the Ghanaian native leads lively call-and-response songs, games, and movement that gets audiences on their feet in a high-energy exploration of African cultural traditions. Recommended for ages 4-8.

The Freshest Snow Whyte
Where: Imagination Stage
When: February 11 – March 18
Tickets: $12-30

A radical, hip hop update to a fairytale classic. Set in the year 3000, we meet Snow Whyte—a graffiti-artist locked in competition with her arch rival, Kanye East, over which of them makes the “freshest” images in the universe. Both depend on a Simon Cowell-type celebrity called Mira to decide which of them is the best. After her exile to a distant planet, Snow Whyte is sheltered by two rapping alien twins (reminiscent of the Seven Dwarves), and survives two visits from the vengeful Kanye, dressed in crazy disguises. She then uncovers the true secret to talent: that it is shared equally among all people, and not the exclusive property of anyone. Witty raps, cool moves, and a beat that just won’t quit, this show will have you bouncin’ in your seat and shouting “Oh, yeah!” Recommended for ages 5 and up.

NSO Family Concert: Joshua Bell in The Man with the Violin
Where: Kennedy Center
When: February 12
Tickets: $29-49

When the world-renowned violinist played anonymously in DC’s subway, his experience inspired an acclaimed children’s book. Now this world premiere concert brings together sensational music, an engaging narrator, and colorful imagery from the story! Recommended for ages 5 and up.

Step Afrika! Step Xplosion
Where: Strathmore
When: February 12
Tickets: $35-75

Step Afrika!’s third annual showcase at Strathmore is a celebration of Black History Month, and it’s going to be big! Percussive dance styles historically practiced by African American fraternities and sororities plus African traditional dance and art forms from around the world come together as Step Afrika! integrates songs, storytelling, and humor into a highly entertaining, interactive show. Watch as the top step teams from across the country showcase the kind of technique and agility that inspires audiences everywhere, and see how Step Afrika! promotes stepping as an educational tool for young people, promoting teamwork, academic achievement, and cross-cultural understanding.

Signal Songs of the Underground Railroad
Where: Discovery Theater
When: February 14-15
Tickets: $3-8

With the aid of her powerful voice, Phyllis Wade combines acapella spirituals, slave narratives, and stories passed down through generations to pay tribute to one of the move controversial periods of our nation’s history. The music we have come to know as “signal songs” was used by slaves to communicate with one another and to share directions to the Promised Land via the Underground Railroad. These powerful songs and stories will move you to stand up, clap, sing and rejoice for freedom. Recommended for ages 7-14.

Saturday Family Jazz Sessions
Where: Strathmore
When: Saturdays, February 18/March 4/March 18, 11am
Tickets: $10/advance, $12/at door

Junior jazz aficionados can spend Saturday mornings singing, playing, and preparing for a lifetime of music appreciation. Strathmore’s fun, creative, kid-friendly series features music by a different performer each session.

NSO Music for Young Audiences: Follow That Fiddle
Where: Kennedy Center
When: February 18
Tickets: $20

In this home-run performance, NSO musician Glenn Donnellan will introduce you to the Electric Slugger™, an electric violin that he custom made from a baseball bat. You’ll have a ball as he plays a wide range of musical styles on this and a variety of violins from around the world. Recommended for ages 3 and up.

American Boychoir
Where: Church of the Redeemer, Bethesda
When: February 19
Tickets: Free

Dr. Seuss’s beloved poem Oh, the Places You’ll Go tells the tale of a young boy boldly facing his future. The book’s opening lines, “Congratulations! Today is your day” could easily be the slogan of the American Boychoir, the renowned ensemble of the Princeton-based American Boychoir School (ABS), whose members participate in four tours each year, bringing music to the country and the world.

How Old Is a Hero?
Where: Discovery Theater
When: February 21-24
Tickets: $3-8

Everyone can make a difference! In this uplifting play, audiences meet young people who helped change the nation by their heroic actions during the Civil Rights era: Ernest Green of the Little Rock Nine; Claudette Colvin, who stayed seated on a bus before Rosa Parks; and brave 6-year-old Ruby Bridges. Their inspiring stories demonstrate that courage begins with our young.

Jack and the Beanstalk
Where: The Puppet Co.
When: February 23 – March 26
Tickets: $12

Fe-fi-fo-fum. A timely version of the classic children’s tale about the young lad that doesn’t know beans about trading, but still manages to climb his way to the top. Jack finds that happiness lies in helping others rather than mere personal gain. Told with rod puppets and some surprising twists, Jack has long been a favorite of our audiences. Recommended for ages 5-9.

Duke Ellington’s Neighborhood
Where: Atlas Performaing Arts Center
When: March 4
Tickets: $15

Join this interactive journey through Duke Ellington’s DC, from U Street and the Howard Theatre to Anacostia, and groove along with Duke’s jazz piano with a live jazz trio. Join amazing performers, as they discover how a local hero influenced the Harlem Renaissance, helped shape the cultural history of Washington D.C., and became an international star. Featuring DC artists Krislynn Perry, Brian Thorne, and Wes Felton. Presented by the In Series Opera & More, Duke Ellington’s Neighborhood is part of Atlas PAC’s Intersections Festival for 2017.

DRUMline Live
Where: Strathmore
When: March 6
Tickets: $28-68

Dazzling choreography, explosive percussion, and a powerful, positive message about history, unity, and pride: DRUMLine Live is an unforgettable foray into a uniquely American art form. The soulful, high-stepping style of the historically black college and university (HBCU) marching band experience—as captured in the hit movies Drumline and Drumline: A New Beat—is the focus of this interactive, high-energy show. A synchronized musical showcase of the legendary HBCU experience, DRUMLine Live is perfect for families, and appeals to music lovers of all ages with an emotional program that promises to have the audience on its feet!

Nutt & Bolt
Where: The Lab at Convergence
When: March 8-23
Tickets: $9

Nutt and Bolt are robot rivals. They spend their days using the random junkyard objects around them (and on them!) in games of skill and sound, rallying their wee friends, the audience, for support. As the competition builds to a frenzied pinnacle, Nutt and Bolt realize that by working together, they can make something even more wonderful than they could on their own! Together, sounds become stories, notes become music, and the world becomes full of possibility. Recommended for ages 2-6.

From the Mouths of Monsters
Where: Kennedy Center
When: March 10-12
Tickets: $20

Loosely inspired by Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, this contemporary, highly theatrical world premiere commission features two actors who riff on the classic monster tale in unexpected ways, with surprising relevance to today’s audiences. Recommended for ages 12 and up.

Kodo
Where: Strathmore
When: March 15
Tickets: $35-75

Exploring the limitless possibilities of the traditional Japanese drum, the taiko, Kodo is forging new directions for a vibrant living art-form. Led by renowned artistic director Tamasaburo Bando, one of the world’s leading Kabuki masters and a recognized Japanese Living Treasure, the athletic performers of Kodo honor and reimagine centuries-old Japanese musical and theatrical traditions.

All Ireland! with Shannon Dunne and Alex Boatright
Where: Discovery Theater
When: March 17
Tickets: $3-8

Erin go bragh! Celebrate Paddy’s Day with dancer-musician Shannon Dunne and musician Alex Boatright in their joyful show includes old-style sean nós dancing, singing, and the sounds of traditional instruments. Experience a little taste of Ireland as you join the floor-stomping fun!

Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo Live
Where: Strathmore
When: March 17
Tickets: $16-58

Get ready for the ultimate playdate 65 million years in the making! Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo Live takes families on a breathtaking tour of prehistoric Australia. You’ll meet an eye-popping collection of amazingly life-like dinosaurs and other creatures that will thrill and entertain kids while stimulating their imaginations in ways that will forever connect them to their world. The skilled Erth performers and puppeteers, wielding puppets designed with the help of professional paleontologists, create a show that’s fun, unique, and amazingly realistic. Resist the urge to run and hide—the puppets are part of an exciting learning experience that everyone can enjoy.

Harlem Globetrotters
Where: Verizon Center & Eagle Bank Arena
When: March 17-19
Tickets: $25 and up

The iconic Harlem Globetrotters are coming to the Verizon Center in Washington, DC with their unrivaled family show, featuring some of the greatest athletes on the planet. With incredible ball handling wizardry, amazing rim-rattling dunks and trick shots, side-splitting comedy and unequaled on-court fan interaction, this must-see event is guaranteed to entertain the whole family creating memories that will last a lifetime.

Aladdin
Where: THEARC
When: March 18-19
Tickets: $30-50

The Washington Ballet (TWB) presents Aladdin, an original adaptation of the “Arabian Nights” tale about the adventures of a poor yet carefree street urchin named Aladdin who falls in love with a Princess, discovers a magic lamp and escapes the villainous plans of an evil magician who vies to overtake the throne.

Grug and the Rainbow
Where: Kennedy Center
When: March 18-19
Tickets: $20

Based on the much-loved picture book character created by Ted Prior, this brand-new show from Australia’s Windmill Theatre features exquisite puppetry and more. Recommended for ages 2 and up.


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The 2016 KFDC Guide to the Best of the Holidays in DC

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Embrace the holiday spirit at these area events, many that have become family traditions for Washingtonians. Local stages come alive with holiday shows. Model trains wind through miniature Christmas villages. Light displays dazzle visitors as they walk or drive among them. Special markets offer unique gifts along with good time. And all kinds of events and extravaganzas, several at iconic locales, bring holiday cheer and activities that thrill and enchant kids — and the kid in all of us adults. This KFDC Guide to the Best of the Holidays in DC, categorized and listed by starting date, will help you plan for it all.

Holiday Shows

Tree Lightings

Model Trains

Special Events

Chanukah

Light Displays

Holiday Markets

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Holiday Shows

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A Christmas Carol
Where: Ford’s Theatre
When: November 17 – December 31
Tickets: $22-92
Join the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future as they lead the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge on a journey of transformation and redemption. Originally conceived by Michael Baron, this music-infused production captures the magic and joy of Dickens’s Yuletide classic. Acclaimed Washington stage actor Edward Gero returns to play Scrooge. Recommended for ages 5 and up. Performance is two hours (including a 15-minute intermission).

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast
Where: Imagination Stage
When: November 19 – January 15
Tickets: $10+

Celebrate the 25th anniversary of this beloved film by attending the live performance at Imagination Stage this holiday season! Packed with memorable tunes like “Be Our Guest”, “Human Again”, and “Beauty and the Beast”, this holiday musical has something for the entire family! Once upon a time, in a French provincial town, Belle is the bookish daughter of a hapless inventor. She narrowly avoids the amorous advances of the bully Gaston only to find herself imprisoned in the castle of a terrible Beast. While the servants Cogsworth, Lumiere, Mrs. Potts and Chip conspire to make Belle fall in love with their bewitched master, she gradually wins over his heart by virtue of her kindness and patience. Excitement builds as Gaston gathers a mob to rid the community of the ugly Beast and to claim Belle for himself alone. Needless to say, after much high drama, silly laughter, exuberant singing and dancing, love wins the day!

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
Where: Adventure Theatre
When: December 2-31
Tickets: $19.50 (Enter to win a Family 4-Pack!)
Join Adventure Theatre for this snowy, holiday classic featuring just a two-person cast! Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy are sent to live in the countryside home of professor Digory Kirke. As Lucy explores the house, she discovers a secret portal to a magical world called Narnia. With an evil White Witch ruling the kingdom, can Lucy, her new friend Mr. Tumnus, and her family band together to save Narnia?

The Nutcracker
Where: The Puppet Co.
When: November 25 – December 30
Tickets: $10 (look for discount tickets)

The Puppet Co.’s annual holiday treat! The Nutcracker is the festive story of Clara-Marie’s favorite toy and their adventures together in the land of the Sugarplum Fairy. Music from Tchaikovsky’s famous ballet blends with marionettes and costume characters to create this unique production. Don’t miss it! Recommended for children ages 5 and up.

Nutcracker Fantasy
Where: The Puppet Co. Tiny Tots
When: November 25 – December 30
Tickets: $5


This marionette version of the holiday classic is geared toward the smallest of audience members. Tiny Tots shows are designed for theater patrons ages 0-4. They are shorter, the lights stay on, the doors stay open, and the show is set up on the floor.

Virginia National Ballet’s The Nutcracker
Where: The Hylton Performing Arts Center
When: November 25
Tickets: $20-35

Virginia National Ballet/Gainesville Ballet are excited to announce two performances of The Nutcracker this season! The full-length ballet features Virginia National Ballet’s outstanding roster of American and international dancers, special guest Nurlan Abougaliev, and the students of Gainesville Ballet School. This Nutcracker is the first in the region, starting on the Friday after Thanksgiving, and is the perfect way to kick off the holiday season

The Washington Ballet presents: Septime Webre’s The Nutcracker
Where: THEARC Theater
When: November 26-27
Tickets: $30-50, $15/Ward 7 & 8 residents

The Washington Ballet modifies Septime Webre’s critically acclaimed production a bit at the Anacostia theatre, making it more enticing for antsy little theatre-goers. The set is scaled-down, and performances are shorter. This celebrated production has become a DC perennial holiday favorite, set in historic Georgetown with historical figures and whimsical touches. Replete with swirling snowflakes, cherry blossoms and historic characters including George Washington as the Nutcracker and King George III as the menacing Rat King! Join us again with family and friends or start a new holiday tradition with your loved ones.

The Second Shepherds’ Play
Where: Folger Shakespeare Library
When: November 27 – December 21
Tickets: $29-60

This magical retelling of the Nativity story combines beautiful music and a moving story for the holiday season. Revived by Folger Consort from its 2007 production, which the Washington Post called “a lovely seasonal surprise,” this engaging medieval mystery play and its festive English music of the period beautifully weaves together the stories of the shepherds, a sheep thief and his cunning wife, and the miracle in a humble manger in Bethlehem.

Seasons of Light
Where: Discovery Theater
When: November 30 – December 20
Tickets: $3-8


Joy, warmth, and community illuminate seasonal holiday celebrations the world over. Back for its 16th season, this signature Discovery Theater show celebrates the history and customs of Ramadan, Devali, Sankta Lucia, Chanukah, Los Posados, Kwanzaa, Christmas, and the First Nations’ tradition of the Winter Solstice in an interactive event that bridges communities and cultures. This show sells out early, so don’t wait to get your tickets! Recommended for ages 5-10.

Adventures with Mr. Bear
Where: The Lab at Convergence & Atlas Performing Arts Center
When: December 1-17 & December 18-30
Tickets: $9, 12 months and under are free

Arts on the Horizon presents this winter show at two area theatres! The wonder and magic of a child’s imagination are brought to life in this charming world premiere. One cozy winter afternoon, a young girl and her favorite stuffed animal, Mr. Bear, play a game of hide and seek which evolves into a series of exciting adventures. Together, they embark on a journey of endless possibilities – all from the comfort of her playroom! Cuddle up with your favorite stuffed animal friend and join us for a delightful holiday production. Recommended for children ages 2-6.

Septime Weber’s The Nutcracker
Where: Warner Theatre
When: December 1-24
Tickets: $35-101 (look for discount tickets)


Set in 1882 Georgetown, this gorgeous production showcases the grandeur of The Washington Ballet’s international roster of dancers and majesty of Tchaikovsky’s music. Replete with swirling snowflakes, cherry blossoms and historical characters, including George Washington as the heroic nutcracker, TWB’s The Nutcracker has become a tradition for generations of family and friends to celebrate the holidays. Read a KFDC review of the production from a few years ago. (Note: Family Day is December 6, with an hour pre-performance activities before the 1pm show.)

A Christmas Carol Memory
Where: Creative Cauldron
When: December 1-20
Tickets: $15-30

A young orphan girl being raised by a warm but eccentric aunt is spending a tender first Christmas without her parents. While searching the attic for ornaments to decorate her aunt’s tree, she discovers a theatrical trunk once used by her puppeteer grandfather. When the extended family gathers on Christmas Eve, the contents in the trunk reawaken memories and spur the renewal of a long forgotten family tradition—the re-enactment of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. A production that breathes fresh new life into a timeless holiday classic.

A Fairy Tale Christmas Carol
Where: Gunston Arts Center
When: December 2-4
Tickets: $10

In Encore Stage & Studio’s remake of a Christmas classic, your favorite fairy tale characters bring to life the story of Ebeneezer Scrooge’s magical Christmas Eve. Mother Goose lends her talents to narrate the story as the Big Bad Wolf takes on the humbugging lead role. Cinderella, the Three Little Pigs, Old King Cole, and many more help create a new twist on the traditional Dickensian story told every December. Recommended for ages 4 and up.

Holiday Sing-A-Long
Where: Wolf Trap
When: December 3, 4pm
Tickets: Free

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 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.”

Maryland Classic Youth Orchestras of Strathmore: Enchanted Visions
Where: Strathmore
When: December 4, 4:00pm
Tickets: $15-$25

The region’s top young musicians perform classics and holiday music for all to enjoy, featuring the Philharmonic playing Prokofiev’s Cinderella & Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty. Revelers will also enjoy Dvořák plus holiday chorus music with the Symphony, the Chamber Ensemble with Britten’s Simple Symphony, and Young Artists with Gliere and more Tchaikovsky.

Into the Woods
Where: Kennedy Center
When: December 6 – January 8
Tickets: $45-175 (look for discount tickets)

Venture back Into The Woods, a unanimously acclaimed, Tony Award(r)–winning musical classic by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine . This witty and wildly theatrical re-invention is Into The Woods as you’ve never seen it before! Mind the wolf, heed the witch, and honor the giant in the sky in this extraordinary musical about the power of wishes–and what really happens after they come true. Recommended for ages 6 and up.

Strathmore Children’s Chorus: This Shining Night
Where: Strathmore
When: December 6, 7:30pm
Tickets: $16

Make this extraordinary annual event your family’s holiday tradition. Join the astonishingly talented Strathmore Children’s Chorus—the cream of the pre-professional musical crop—in concert with guests the Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School Choirs for a concert that celebrates the joys of the season in song.

Sleeping Beauty
Where: Synetic Theatre
When: December 7 – January 8
Tickets: $15-55

Synetic’s award-winning ensemble takes on the classic tale of a princess, an evil sorceress, and a centuries-long sleeping curse in this darkly elegant adaptation of one of the Grimm Brothers’ most beloved stories. Recommended for ages 7 and up.

The Nutcracker
Where: George Mason University Center for the Arts
When: December 9, 8pm
Tickets: $39-65 (Save 10% with code SAVE10)

Experience the magic of the season as the Fairfax Ballet Company joins forces with the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra to present a special Nutcracker at George Mason University’s Center for the Arts. Tchaikovsky’s timeless masterpiece brings you on a journey through a winter wonderland of dancing snowflakes, sugar plum fairies, and an epic battle between heroic toy soldiers and mischievous mice. It’s the perfect holiday treat for the entire family!

The Second City’s Twist Your Dickens (KidFree Suggestion!))
Where: Kennedy Center
When: Dec 9-31
Tickets: $39-69 (look for a discount tickets)

The Second City parodies Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol for an interactive experience that Scrooge–and the audience!–will never forget. The legendary comedy troupe brings its improvisational skills and sketch comedy mastery to “the night before Christmas.” For ages 16 and up.

Christmas Revels: A Nordic Celebration of the Winter Solstice in Music, Dance & Drama
Where: Lisner Auditorium
When: December 10-18
Admission: $12-60

Join the Washington Revels on a journey into the wonders of Nordic winter traditions! As our families from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden gather to celebrate the season, let the haunting melodies, breathtaking dance, epic folk legends, and joyful carols get you into the holiday spirit! Discover mythic drama from Finland’s epic Kalevala. As the moon lights the snow, watch the spirited Icelandic Vikivaki as a mysterious stag looks on. Celebrate the Swedish “bringing of the light” by Sankta Lucia with her crown of candles. Watch dancers twirl in the hypnotic Telespringar and thrill to the spectacular leaps of Norway’s Tom Løvli in the Halling dance. Be enchanted by the songs and dances of our children, and participate in their retelling of a beloved Norwegian fairy tale. Delight as the tree is decorated with traditional woven hearts and raise your voice in festive Danish toasts and carols. *December 16 is Family Friday — get 25% off youth tickets

The Gift of the Mad Guy
Where: Annapolis Friends Meeting House
When: December 10
Tickets: $8/online, $10/door, free for 2 and under

The Gift of the Mad Guy, the story of a gift-crazed child who believes that Christmas is about giving specifically to HIM until he is promised a REALLY big gift if he gives three of his gifts to others. Will Jack learn that the holidays are about more than getting? Join Building Better People Productions for a day of theater for the whole family and find out!

Virginia Ballet Company & School: Selections from The Nutcracker
Where: National Theatre
When: December 10
Tickets: Free

Saturday Morning at the National presents its annual holiday show, the Virginia Ballet Company and School’s selections from Tchaikovsky’s glittering confection. Visions of snowflakes and sugarplums dance through the air and gingerbread soldiers triumph over the evil Rat King as you follow Clara into the land of sweets and holiday cheer. Performances take place at 9:30am and 11am, and tickets are required for admission. Free tickets are distributed half an hour prior to the start of shows on a first-come first-served basis. Seating is limited, so get there early.

Family Joy!
Where: Washington National Cathedral
When: December 10
Admission: $25/adult, $15/child, $765/family 4-pack

Join the Cathedral Choral Society at the Washington National Cathedral,for a special Christmas Concert. This one-hour program has something for all ages, including a kids-only sing-along. Bring the whole family and get swept up in the sounds of the season. To receive the discount on a Family 4-pack (2 adults and 2 children), use code SAVE at check out.

The Mini-Nut
Where: Montgomery College Cultural Arts Center
When: December 10-11
Tickets: $20/adults, $15/10 and under in advance | $20/at door


Maryland Youth Ballet’s Mini-Nut is a delightful abbreviated version of their classic, award-winning, The Nutcracker, designed to introduce children to the magic of this family favorite. This beloved holiday tradition with soaring music by Tchaikovsky promises to hold the attention of even the youngest theatergoer. Suitable for all ages, this version is less than an hour and performed by cast members from MYB’s full-length production. A perfect holiday mini-treat!

11th Annual Holiday Sing-Along
Where: Atlas Performing Arts Center
When: December 11
Tickets: $8.50

Join in the H Street tradition! Enjoy holiday favorites at the Atlas performed by the Capital City Symphony and sung by the Congressional Chorus and American Youth Chorus. Join in the singing during an audience sing-along.

The Lion, the Witch, the Wardrobe
Where: Dr. A.J. Ferlazzo Building in Woodbridge, VA
When: December 11, 12, 18, & 19
Tickets: $12/adult, $8/4-13, free for 3 and under

Homeschool Theatre Troupe presents this dramatization of C.S. Lewis’ classic. Set in the land of Narnia, the show recreates the magic and mystery of Aslan, his struggle with the White Witch, and the adventures of four children who inadvertently wander from an old wardrobe into the exciting, never-to-be-forgotten Narnia. The supporting characters are also here: Tumnus the faun, Mr. and Mrs. Beaver, the Unicorn, the Centaur and other forest animals, as well as Father Christmas. This is a story of love, faith, courage and a triumph of good over evil.

Candlelight Christmas
Where: Kennedy Center
When: December 11-22 (family show December 17)
Tickets: $18-72

Each year, The Washington Chorus delights DC audiences with its Candlelight Christmas concerts — resplendent affairs comprisin (Family night December 17)g a candlelight processional, brass, organ, and audience sing-alongs. This year’s concerts will feature star tenor and DC native Carl Tanner as soloist. Also joining TWC are the Northwest High School Chamber Singers and the H-B Woodlawn Chamber Singers as part of the Side-by-Side program. *The December 17 concert will be a B.Y.O.Baby Night, with discounted tickets for families, designated seating and baby play areas, a pre-concert backstage tour, and other treats for the whole family.

Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical
Where: National Theatre
When: December 13-31
Tickets: $48-128 (look for discount tickets)

Discover the magic of Dr. Seuss’ classic holiday tale as it comes to life on stage. Featuring the hit songs “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch” and “Welcome Christmas,” The Grinch discovers there’s more to Christmas than he bargained for in this heart-warming holiday classic. Max the Dog narrates as the mean and scheming Grinch, whose heart is “two sizes too small,” decides to steal Christmas away from the Whos, an endlessly cheerful bunch bursting with holiday spirit. Celebrate the holidays with the show The New York Times calls “100 times better than any bedside story!”

Wicked
Where: Kennedy Center
When: December 15 – January 8
Tickets: $99-349

The Broadway sensation looks at what happened in the Land of Oz… but from a different angle. Long before Dorothy arrives, there is another young woman, born with emerald-green skin–smart, fiery, misunderstood, and possessing an extraordinary talent. When she meets a bubbly blonde who is exceptionally popular, their initial rivalry turns into the unlikeliest of friendships… until the world decides to call one “good,” and the other one “wicked.”

Holiday Singalong with Rocknoceros
Where: Discovery Theater
When: December 15-16
Admission: $3-8

Who’s having a holiday party? Coach, Williebob, and Boogie Bennie, that’s who! The area’s favorite kid-rock band has a great big musical present for you. Join them as they lead audiences in seasonal songs and Rockno classics. It’s a bash you just can’t miss!

Step Afrika!’s Magical, Musical Holiday Step Show
Where: Atlas Performing Arts Center
When: December 15-30
Tickets: $18-40

A new take on the holiday season! DC’s internationally-known percussive dance company invites you to celebrate the holidays with clapping, stomping, and all around fun for all ages featuring their furry friends from the Animal Kingdom, and a special dance party with DJ Frosty the Snowman! Taking the whole family to Step Afrika! Magical Musical Holiday Step Show? Get the Family Fun Pack: Four Tickets, Four FREE Snacks, Four FREE non-alcoholic drinks, all for $100!

The Hip Hop Nutcracker
Where: Strathmore
When: December 16
Tickets: $29-54

A holiday mash-up for the whole family, The Hip Hop Nutcracker re-imagines Tchaikovsky’s classic score through explosive hip-hop choreography. A dozen all-star dancers, an on-stage DJ, and an electric violinist bring the traditional Nutcracker story to life in contemporary New York City.

Shine a Light: A Solstice Circus
Where: Atlas Performing Arts Center
When: December 17-18
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.

A Family Christmas Concert
Where: Kennedy Center
When: December 17
Tickets: $20-45

Songs of Santa, Frosty the Snowman, and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer fill the Concert Hall with the joy of the season. This one-hour, highly participatory concert is a holiday treat for the whole family. Perfect for children age 5 and older… and don’t forget the grandparents!

Kwanzaa Celebration – Family Series
Where: Dorothy Betts Marvin Theatre
When: December 18, 4pm
Tickets: $25/adult in advance, $30/at door, kids free with adult

Welcome the holiday season with Dance Place’s annual Kwanzaa Celebration! Gather family and friends to join Coyaba Academy, Coyaba Dance Theater and special guests celebrate the seven principles of Kwanzaa. *During this Family Series, reserve 1 free ticket for a child 12 & under with paying adult!

The Nutcracker
Where: Montgomery College Cultural Arts Center
When: December 16-27
Tickets: $31/adults, $26/children in advance; $36/adults, $31/children at door


This is the 22nd season of the Maryland Youth Ballets beloved, full-length classic. Performances will tale place at the Robert E. Parilla Performing Arts Center of Montgomery College in Rockville.

Annual Kwanzaa Day Celebration: Kujichagulia Live with Culture Queen!
Where: Fort Stanton Recreation Center
When: December 27-28
Admission: Free

Anacostia Community Museum invites you to join Culture Queen (Jessica Smith) as she brings to life the Kwanzaa principle Kujichagulia which means “self determination” through live music, interactive movement and storytelling the whole family will enjoy!



Tree Lightings

The National Tree from a Christmas past.

The National Tree from a Christmas past.

Tree Lighting Ceremony
Where: National Harbor
When: November 13, 12-7pm
Admission: Free

Join National Harbor for a full day of holiday fun, topped off by their annual tree lighting. They’ll have tons of holiday activities, including the opening of the holiday market, card-making for the Troops, a holiday movie on the Plaza, live entertainment, Santa at the carousel, fireworks, and more!

Light Up 2016
Where: Fairfax Corner
When: November 18
Admission: Free

Fairfax Corner is beginning the holiday season at the annual Light Up 2016 celebration. Festival goers will enjoy a Christmas tree lighting ceremony and holiday activities including a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus, cookie decorating with Cupcakes Actually, a performance by The Oaktones, and store giveaways.

Merry & Bright Holiday Tree Lighting
Where: RIO Washingtonian
When: November 18
Admission: Free

Rio Washingtonian will begin the holiday season with their annual Merry & Bright Holiday Tree Lighting celebration. Festival goers will enjoy cheerful activities including a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus (arriving at 6:0pm and leaving promptly at 8pm), strolling holiday entertainment, horse and carriage rides, carousel rides presented by Adventist Health Care Shady Grove Medical Center, and store giveaways.

Reston Holiday Parade, Tree Lighting, Sing Along
Where: Reston Town Center
When: November 25
Admission: Free

Kicks off the festive season at the 26th annual Reston Holiday Parade with Macy’s-style balloons, musicians, dancers, antique cars, characters, community groups, dignitaries, special guest emcees, and much more. The one-of-a-kind, one-hour, half-mile parade also welcomes the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus in a horse-drawn carriage. The day also includes Gingerbread Man Mile races for kids, visits and photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus, mini-train rides, ice skating, and street entertainment. The tree lighting and sing-along is an evening highlight.

Norwegian Christmas Tree Lighting
Where: Union Station
When: November 30, 6pm
Admission: Free

One of the most popular and often first of the major DC tree lighting ceremonies. This year’s tree will be adorned with hundreds of custom made polar bear ornaments and will be lit by the ambassador of Norway. Santa will be on hand with presents for the kids and The Carolers of Greater Washington (CGW) will perform.

National Christmas Tree Lighting
Where: President’s Park, The Ellipse
When: December 1
Admission: Free, but you must win tickets via lottery

This is easily one of the holiday season’s hottest tickets in DC, but you had to have entered the lottery to win admission. If you do, you get to be part of the National Park Foundation and National Park Service’s 95th annual National Christmas Tree Lighting. Popular entertainers and a United States military band add to the celebratory evening when the President of the United States lights the National Christmas Tree and brings a message of peace to the nation and world.

Community Tree Lighting
Where: Monroe Street Market
When: December 2, 6-8pm
Admission: Free

Monroe Street Market will host its inaugural community Tree Lighting event, bringing a Winter Wonderland to Brookland with a flurry of activities sure to ripen your holiday spirit! As sounds of the season fill the air, mingle through a variety of family-friendly activities, including a performance from Only Make Believe at 6pm. Other festivities include performances by Catholic University’s acapella group “Take Note” and DC’s own “Word of Mouth” acapella group, free photos with Santa (pets are welcome, too!), face painting, crafts, and delicious holiday flavors you don’t want to miss. Event will take place on the Cornerstone Plaza, located in front of Busboys & Poets. The countdown to the tree lighting starts at 8pm.

Tree Lighting & Seasonal Fun
Where: Cathedral Commons
When: December 3
Admission: Free

Cathedral Commons, a mixed-use development located on Wisconsin Avenue, will kick off the holiday season with its second annual Holiday Tree Lighting Event. Join Santa along with festive holiday music performed by Lafayette Elementary School children and Thomas Circle Singers. There will be food from the fabulous array of Cathedral Commons restaurants. Santa will be available for free photos with families including the four legged family members (cats and dogs only), and children will receive a FREE festive giveaway. The event will culminate with the official lighting of the 24’ foot holiday tree at 7pm in front of Giant Food.

Capitol Christmas Tree Lighting
Where: West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol
When: December 6
Admission: Free

If you don’t win lottery tickets to see the National Christmas Tree Lighting, consider going to this one at the Capitol. You might not be able to sit close up, but you can view festivities from right across the street, and it’s just as lovely from the area by the Reflecting Pool. For now, follow the tree as it journeys from Idaho, where it was harvested, to DC. It’s expected to arrive in a couple of weeks, and the lighting will take place December 6. After the lighting, the tree will be lit every evening for all to enjoy until January 1.



Model Trains

Season's Greenings

Trains whiz through the always delightful Season’s Greenings display



Season’s Greenings

Where:U.S. Botanic Garden
When: November 24 – January 2
Admission: Free

If my blog stats are any indication, this is easily DC’s most popular holiday attraction; the Botanic Garden’s seasonal exhibit is always among the top searches that lead readers here. And I can’t say I’m surprised. Season’s Greenings is an annual delight for all ages. 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 will feature mini trains chugging through the Grand Canyon, Old Faithful Inn, the Gateway Arch, Mount Vernon, the Statue of Liberty, and many more. And for even more holiday magic at the garden, there are concerts most Tuesday and Thursday evenings in December, when the USBG stays open until 8pm. For more on the seasonal favorite, read this post and this one about some of our Season’s Greenings experiences.

Magical Holiday Express
Where: B&O Railroad Museum
When: December 3-31 & January 2
Admission: $18/adults, $16/seniors (60+), $12/ages 2-12, free for B&O members


This is a venue dedicated to locomotives, so you know the holiday model train exhibit is going to be special. Trains are magical during the holidays, and the museum invites all aboard the B&O’s Magical Holiday Express, a spectacular celebration in the B&O Roundhouse devoted to trains of all sizes and shapes, holiday festivities, and a winter wonderland of family fun and activities. There is something to see and do every day at this annual holiday event! Be sure to look for special events like North Pole Adventures, Winter Royal Adventures, Frosty Fest, and WinterFest Wonderland on the website.

Garden Railway Exhibit
Where: Brookside Garden
When: November 28 – January 3
Admission: Free

Brookside’s South Conservatory will come to life with a landscape in miniature, as trains and trollies wind their way through town and country scenes, past one-of-a kind models of the Brookside Gardens Conservatories, the Dentzel Carousel and the Chautauqua Tower of Glen Echo Park. Colorful plantings will complement it all — winter may rule the outside landscape, but the conservatories will be bright with color and active with sound and motion to match the festive feeling of the season.

Holiday Trains and Planes
Where: College Park Aviation Museum
When: December 17 – December 23
Admission: $4/adults, $3/seniors, $2/ages 2-18, under 2 are free

During the holiday season the College Park Aviation Museum gets ready for the festivities as miniature trains, villages, tunnels, and depots spark the imagination and bring history to life. The National Capital Trackers bring a fascinating and constantly moving display of model railroads.

Holiday Train Show
Where: Union Station
When: TBD
Admission: Free
Every year, DC’s grand train station hosts a wonderful Holiday Train Display, on view in the Main Hall. Featuring a Norwegian landscape, the displays are intricate and fun to stop by and see if you’re at the station during the holiday season.


Special Events

Last year's ICE! exhibit at Christmas on the Potomac

Last year’s ICE! exhibit at Christmas on the Potomac

 

Positivi-Tree Lighting and Street Fest
Where: Downtown Silver Spring
When: November 12, 6-8pm
Admission: Free

The 5th Annual event is Downtown Silver Spring’s official Tree Lighting and Street Fest. And this year it will feature the lighting of Positivi-Tre, an impressive 35-foot-tall public art installation comprised of hundreds of illuminated and multi-colored umbrellas! Other fun festivities of the evening will include food tastings, live entertainment, ice sculpting, and more!

Santa HQ
Where: Tyson’s Corner
When: November 14 – December 24
Admission: Free, but portrait packages start at $30

Discover holiday wonderment in this immersive and innovative experience with visual elements that transport you straight to the North Pole. Enter the HQ to be scanned by the digital Naughty or Nice O’Meter, snap an “Elfie Selfie” in Santa’s workshop and star in your own holiday video. Then onto the North Pole Observatory to experience Elf-Ray Vision in a 3D environment…all before meeting Santa himself!

Christmas on the Potomac
Where: National Harbor
When: November 19 – January 1
Admission: Free, though some activities cost extra

National Harbor goes all out during the holidays. ICE! might be the big attraction, but there’s also plenty to do there to warrant a visit without the frozen entertainment. Most of it takes place in the Gaylord National Resort, which is transformed into a winter wonderland, complete with a spectacular glass Christmas tree, nightly tree lightings, the Potomac Express train offering rides for guests, photo ops with Santa, indoor snowfalls, fountain shows, and more. (Read about a KFDC experience there during a Christmas season past.)

ICE!
Where: National Harbor
When: November 19 – January 1
Admission:
$28-35/adult, $20-28/child, 2 and under are free
Technically, this is part of Christmas on the Potomac, but it’s such a huge spectacle in itself, that it deserves its own write-up. We’ve been a couple of times, and I recommended reading my reviews here and here before you go. This year has a “Christmas Around the World” theme, and you can delight in the celebration of cultures through holiday scenes and travel to the North Pole to see Santa and his elves. Experience the magic of more than TWO MILLION pounds of hand-carved ice sculptures and slide down two-story ice slides — all kept at a chilly 9 degrees! Tickets can be purchased in advance online, and timed entries are every half-hour. Hours vary by day, so be sure to check the schedule when you plan to go.

Montgomery County Thanksgiving Parade
Where: Silver Plaza, Downtown Silver Spring
When: November 19, 10am – 12pm
Admission: Free

The line-up of over 100 parade units features an inflatable penguin and turkey, a massive dinosaur, a portable skating rink, and more colorful dancing groups than you have ever seen. Emcee ABC 7 Meteorologist Brian van de Graaff will introduce glittering floats, a wide variety of high school, college, and professional marching bands; beauty queens; clowns; fire engines; and performing dog and rescue animal groups. As always, the Parade will end with Santa’s float playing holiday music and showing the smiling, rosy cheeked man in a red suit who loves to hang out with elves and give out candy canes. Be sure to get a family photo: 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.

The Enchanted Forest
Where: Westin Tysons Corner
When: November 19-20
Admission: $15/kids, $10/adults (look for a ticket discount)

The Junior League of Northern Virginia’s annual Enchanted Forest returns! Stroll through the whimsical forest of theme decorated trees available for silent auction, while enjoying live entertainment, hands on cooking demonstrations, and 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. By supporting The Enchanted Forest you are helping the JLNV empower families to make healthy eating and active living a priority, and supporting the development of women who will build better communities for years to come.

Christmas at Mount Vernon

Where: Mount Vernon Estate, Museum, & Gardens
When: November 25 – January 6
Admission: Online – $17/adults, $9/ages 6-11, free 5 and under
 (look for discount tickets

The holidays are full of delight at George Washington’s estate. During the day, tour the Mansion, watch historic chocolate-making demonstrations, and meet Aladdin the Camel. Mount Vernon is open every day of the year, including Christmas Day and New Years. So bring the entire family to the home of George and Martha Washington this holiday season.

Festival of Trees
Where: Krieger Institute
When: November 25-27
Admission: $15, adult, $7/child, free for 4 and under

Kick off the holiday season by welcoming Santa Claus to a winter wonderland at the annual Kennedy Krieger Institute’s Festival of Trees! The East Coast’s largest holiday-themed festival will return to the Maryland State Fairgrounds with decorated trees, a gingerbread town, shopping, breakfast with Santa, endless holiday activities, and non-stop entertainment for children of all ages!

Christmas Town
Where: Busch Gardens
When: November 25 – January 2
Admission: $27/ages 3 and up

Go big on a treat for your family at this holiday celebration at the Williamsburg amusement park. Enjoy spectacular light shows, rides, live entertainment, the Mistletoe Marketplace,visits from Santa, live penguins, and more!

Holidays on the Ellipse
Where: The National Ellipse
When: December 1 – January 1
Admission: Free


This has a permanent spot on many a DC holiday repertoire. The National Christmas Tree, the National Menorah, plus trains and displays representing all 50 states are a must-see during the season. And the rest of it lit up at night with the White House and Washington Monument glowing in the distance makes for a brilliant holiday scene. Bonus: there will also be musical performances throughout the season this year. Unfortunately, the adorable Santa’s Workshop once again is not back this year (you might recall there was confusion about it in the past), but go enjoy everything else.

Christmas in Middleburg
Where: Middleburg, VA
When: December 2-4
Admission: Varies by activity

Christmas in Middleburg is a spectacular community event that includes a tree lighting, parade, Breakfast with Santa and Silent Auction, and the Middleburg Hunt Review creating a spectacular sight as 100 horses, riders in pink coats, and dozens of hounds come through the town. Throughout the day there are hayrides, choir performances, the Christmas in Middleburg Craft Show, the Middleburg Garden Club’s Christmas Flower & Greens Show at Emmanuel Episcopal Church, as well as shopping and dining in the town’s shops and restaurants. The Middleburg Christmas Parade begins is a highlight, with a unique assortment of floats, troops, and musical groups marching by. Santa brings up the rear riding on a beautiful horse drawn coach.

Smithsonian Holiday Festival
Where: Smithsonian Museums on the National Mall
When: December 3 & 4
Admission: Free

Celebrate the holiday season at the National Museum of American History, National Air and Space Museum, National Museum of Natural History, Sackler Gallery, National Museum of the American Indian, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, National Museum of African American Art, and The Smithsonian Castle! They’ve got special events galore to help you get in the holiday spirit, including musical performances, book signings, trunk shows, activities for kids, and more!

Deck the Halls: A Family at Christmas
Where: Tudor House
When: December 3, 1-4pm
Admission: $10/child, $5/adult

Bring the family and celebrate the festive season at Tudor Place! Explore the historic mansion as a History Detective, finding decorations and clues to Christmas celebrations past. Nibble on cookies, write a letter to Santa, sing with carolers, make yuletide crafts, and enjoy refreshments throughout an afternoon of warm merriment.

Scottish Christmas Walk Parade
Where: Old Town Alexandria
When: December 3, 11am
Admission: Free

For the 46th 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 – rain or shine. There will also be other festive events throughout the weekend — see the website for details.

Bethesda’s Winter Wonderland
Where: Downtown Bethesda
When: December 3, 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.

Santa Fly-In
Where: College Park Aviation Museum
When: December 3
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.

Frost Fest
Where: Pentagon Row
When: December 3
Admission: Free

Join the holiday celebration featuring an on-ice firework display, live entertainment, music by the popular DJ Saucee, a shopping spree giveaway, food samples, and more. The grand finale fireworks show will take place on the ice at 7:30pm.

Family Gingerbread Workshop
Where: National Building Museum
When: December 3-4
Admission: $75/house

Get in the holiday spirit and construct your own gingerbread house with your family and friends! Turn gingerbread walls and royal icing into a delicious masterpiece. One house is appropriate for a group of 2-4 people. Members can register online beginning November 7 at 10am. General registration opens on November 14, and space is limited, so it may sell out.

Holly Trolley Fest
Where: National Capitol Trolley Museum
When: December 3-18, Saturdays & Sundays only
Admission: $7/adults, $5/ages 2-17 (includes unlimited rides)

Guests can ride with Santa on the street cars and enjoy the model garden railway and holiday village inside the museum. Of course 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. Note: Santa will not be there the last weekend. Visit the website for directions to the museum.

Winternational
Where: Ronald Reagan Building
When: December 7, 11am – 2pm
Admission: Free

Explore the world and do some holiday shopping — all during the lunch hour! This lively midday festival is a celebration of international culture, travel, tourism and trade. It has the atmosphere of an international bazaar with each country showcasing their culture and traditions via visual arts displays, foods, handcrafts, as well as travel and tourism information.

Winter’s Eve
Where: Glen Echo Park
When: December 10, 4-7pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate the holiday season at the Park’s annual Winter’s Eve event. Enjoy free activities including holiday crafts, sing-alongs, story-telling, open studios, and a hot chocolate bar. Browse and buy fine artworks at the Holiday Art Show and artist studios.

Nationals Winterfest
Where: Washington Convention Center
When: December 10
Admission: $33/adult, $23/child, under 2 are free

The annual festival is full of interactive holiday and baseball activities for fans of all ages. Join clinics with Nationals players and coaches, watch a Homerun Derby featuring the Nationals mascots, make a snow fort, take batting practice, hear a winter or baseball themed story read by a Nationals player, ride down The Slider – a giant slide reminiscent of a sledding hill, and more. Guests can also meet and greet their favorite Nationals players and mascots, take a photo with Santa, strike a pose at the life-size snow globe photo station, and donate a toy to a child in need.

Italian Holiday Festival
Where: Smithsonian American Art Museum
When: December 10, 11:30am – 3pm
Admission: Free

There’s no place like SAAM for the holidays. To celebrate the vibrant culture of Italy, Simona Rodano returns as The Italian Fairy to engage kids with the beauty of her native language. Along with Nutcracker ballet and winter-themed crafts, this festival will have all the music and Italian flair you’ll need to get in the spirit of this joyful season.

“Yes, Virginia” Family Day
Where: Newseum
When: Saturday, 1-4pm
Admission: FREE for kids (details below), $19.50/adult

Celebrate the season with the Newseum at its 18th annual “Yes, Virginia” Family Day. Join for a reading of the heart-warming editorial, Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus. Afterward, the One-and-Only Macy’s Santa Claus will make a special guest appearance to read “’Twas the Night Before Christmas” and pose for photos with good boys and girls as Figgy Puddings Holiday Carolers from the Washington National Opera provide entertainment. Kids 18 and younger will receive free admission that day if they bring a letter to put in Macy’s Believe Mailbox. (There will also be a table outside the Newseum where youth can fill out a letter on the spot). Macy’s will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish® for every letter collected. For more about the museum, see this KFDC post.

Gifts That Give Hope Gift Fair
Where: Discovery Elementary School in Arlington
When: December 10, 10am – 2pm
Admission: Free

Instead of giving another tie or candle this year, how about boxing up hope and happiness? At a Gifts That Give Hope event, you can support the community and find unique and meaningful gifts for loved ones, co-workers, teachers and holiday hosts. Learn more about 16 locally based nonprofit organizations, enjoy festive holiday music and refreshments, visits with Santa, face painting, and other children’s activities. Shoppers of all ages are making GTGH an annual tradition, and young shoppers in particular come back each year to learn the true meaning of giving by participating in the Children’s Gift Fair.

Holiday Cookie Decorating
Where: The Watergate
When: December 10 & 17, 11am – 1pm
Admission: $20/child

Chef Celia from Kingbird will demonstrate cookie decorating with the kids and then help them decorate cookies of their own! Each child will also receive their own Toque Blanche or chef’s hat that they will decorate, too. Food and beverages will be offered along with a parent’s buffet. RSVP to dining@thewatergatehotel.com or 202-716-9308.

Winter Festival
Where: Ticonderoga Farm
When: December 11-13 & 18-20
Admission: $9.95

The annual festival includes hayrides to the white pine fields with access to all of the farm attractions — swings, forts, slides, tunnels, and more. Fire pits are inviting to keep you warm and make some s’mores or roast hot dogs. Cut down your Christmas tree while you’re there or buy one from the lot. Read more about the festival in this post about one of our experiences there.

Culinary Kids: Holiday Cookies & Treats
Where: Hill Center
When: December 17
Admission: $49 & $65

Sign the kids up for a cooking class to make some holiday goodies with Jake and Sara Addeo, professional chefs who have worked in renowned restaurants in DC, Hong Kong, New York, San Francisco and Italy. Along with having some holiday fun, they’ll learn some useful kitchen skills! Tho programs are being offered: Cookie Exchange is for ages 6-8, and Holiday Treats for 9-12.

Cookies & Cocoa with Santa
Where: Topgolf Alexandria
When: December 17, 9-11am
Admission: Free

Santa Claus is coming to town and this year he’s bringing Cookies & Cocoa! The 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 present for complimentary photos with the children, and all pictures taken will be available for download on the Topgolf Alexandria Facebook page after the event.

Christmas Eve Breakfast Tour
Where: The Mansion on O Street
When: December 24
Admission: $39

They deck the halls and fill the stockings with seasons greetings and holiday cheer that will create lasting memories for the entire family at the Mansion on O Street! Enjoy a delicious continental breakfast (sweet breads, yogurt, granola, fresh fruit hot coffee, hot tea, hot chocolate) then tour the wonderful themed rooms and search for secret doors. Be sure to bring your own shopping bags — everything is for sale! Read more about the Mansion on O in this KFDC post.

Christmas Eve Service
Where: Waterfront Church
When: December 24, 6-7:15pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate Christmas and sing a few carols as you join with others on Christmas Eve for a candlelight service at 6pm. All are welcome and childcare will be provided for children 3 and under. Waterfront Church is located at 1000 New Jersey Ave. SE.

First Night Alexandria
Where: Old Town Alexandria
When: December 31
Admission: $20 until 12/12, $30 after, kids 12 and under are free
The largest family-focused and alcohol-free New Year’s Eve event in the region. See more than 100 performances on indoor stages throughout Old Town Alexandria. Entertainers include blue grass musicians, honky-tonk bands, clowns, magicians and classical musicians. End the evening with a spectacular fireworks display on the Potomac River at the foot of King Street!


Chanukah

Come light the Menorah on the Ellipse December 6

Come light the Menorah on the Ellipse December 6



Sunday at the Studio: Make Your Own Menorah
Where: Gary Rosenthal Collection
When: November 13
Admission: $22.50/family

Get ready for Chanukah with glass artist Gary Rosenthal! Get a fascinating tour of Gary’s studio (he’ll show how the glass is made!); make your own dreidel, menorah, mezuzah, candlesticks or tzedakah box; learn a bit with PJ Library’s own Sarah Rabin Spira; and enjoy a tasty snack. Gary’s studio is located at 4218 Howard Avenue in Kensington.

Make Room for Latkes!
Where: Edlavitch DCJCC
When: December 4, 10:30am – 12pm
Admission: $10/family in advance, $15 at door

Chanukah is coming and with it, eight nights of family fun! Join PJ Library, the DCJCC, InterfaithFamily/DC, the Jewish Primary Day School, the Jewish Food Experience, the Jewish Social Service Agency, (JSSA) and the interfaith program, Love and Religion, for hands-on Chanukah activities including 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. Cost: $10 per family in advance; $15 at the door.

Chanukah Celebration
Where: Edlavitch DCJCC
When: December 18
Admission: $25/family

Grab your socks and yarmulke, it’s time to bounce for Chanukah. This year’s rockin’ Chanukah party will feature a moon bounce, games, crafts, treats, and plenty of fun for the whole family!

Chanukah on Ice
Where: Pentagon Row Ice Rink
When: December 21, 6-8:30pm
Admission: $10 in advance, $13 at door

Celebrate Chanukah with a giant menorah lighting, holiday treats, raffles, and ice skating! Ice skate rentals are included, but food will be sold separately. Purchase advance tickets online at www.chabadAA.org or call 703-370-2774.

National Menorah Lighting
Where: The National Ellipse
When: December 25, 4pm
Admission: Free, but you must request tickets

This is the Jewish counterpart to the National Christmas Tree Lighting. Every Chanukah, the National Menorah is lit in a ceremony on the Ellipse. Along with the lighting, there will be live entertainment, plus menorah kits and dreidels to take home. And if you don’t mind waiting in line afterward, you can stay for latkes and donuts. Tickets are free, but you need to request them in advance through the website.

Chanukah Festival
Where: Crowne Plaza Hotel in Alexandria
When: December 25, 5pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate Chanukah a day early with a giant menorah lighting, free light stick for every child, latkes, donuts, a raffle, and music! The lighting will take place at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Old Town Alexandria located at 901 N Fairfax Street. For more info, go to www.chabadAA.org or call 703-370-2774.

Family Chanukah Party
Where: Congregation Har Tzeon-Agudath Achim
When: December 25
Admission: Free

Spin a dreidel, eat latkes and applesauce, have your children do arts and crafts, spend time with community and learn how to dance… Israeli style. Whether you are 2 or 92, be a part of this family Chanukah celebration! The Congregation is located at 1840 University Blvd. W. in Silver Spring.

Community Chanukah Candle Lighting
Where: Edlavitch DCJCC
When: December 28
Admission: Free

Come light the Menorah in the EDCJCC’s Jack and Ina Kay Community Hall! Join us as we light the candles, and then celebrate wtih latkes, donuts, dreidel games, music, crafts, and more! Celebrate with all ages, levels of religious observance, sexual orientations/gender identities, and abilities — part of the Inclusion & Disabilities programming at the Edlavitch DCJCC.


Light Displays

A stroll through Brookside's Garden of Lights

A stroll through Brookside’s Garden of Lights



Winter Walk of Lights

Where: Meadowlark Botanical Gardens
When: November 18 – January 8
Admission: $13/adult, $8/ages 3-12

Imagine the beauty of Meadowlark’s renowned gardens as over 500,000 LED lights and displays bring the gardens to life and transform it into a winter wonderland. Marvel at the two-story animated fountain, stroll past the Gingerbread Village, and explore the beauty of nature like you’ve never seen it!

Symphony of Lights
Where: Symphony Woods, Merriweather Post Pavilion
When: November 23 – January 4, 6-10pm Weds-Mon
Admission: $20/car, $25 on Saturdays (look for discount tickets)

Called a “woodland wonderland,” this beautiful display of more than 100 all new larger-than-life, animated and stationary light creations is a local holiday tradition for many. Cruise along the 1.4-mile route through the Symphony Woods in downtown Columbia and enjoy the twinkling lights as you go. And the Symphony of Lights is the largest annual fundraising event benefiting Howard County General Hospital, the only hospital in Howard County. (Note that it’s closed on December 31.)

Bull Run Festival of Lights
Where: Bull Run Regional Park
When: November 23 – January 8
Admission: Monday- Thursday $15/car, Friday-Saturday $20/car (look for discount tickets)

For more than 14 years the Bull Run Festival of Lights has drawn thousands of visitors to the park to delight in its winter wonderland. Get a sneak preview of it on the website, where a video of Santa’s Enchanted Lights, with over 40,000 animated lights set to music, is merely a fraction of what you’ll find there.

Garden of Lights
Where: Brookside Gardens
When: November 25 – January 1, with noted exceptions
Admission: $20/car Mon-Thurs, $25/car Fri-Sun
 (look for discount tickets)

This spectacular, festive light show is back after a break last year. Visualize close to one million twinkling colorful lights shaped in imaginative displays throughout the gardens. Enjoy the four seasons illuminated as giant summer sunflowers, autumn leaves, winter snowflakes, spring flowers, rain showers, and more. Walk along the easily accessible paths and you’ll see what sets this light show apart from others; it’s the hundreds of wrapped trees and shrubs, beautifully lighted gazebos, cascading fountains, and the individually formed displays in the shapes of blooming flowers and wild animals. Look for moving displays such as a flock of geese, or an 11-foot giraffe covered with 9,000 lights. Open Sunday – Thursday 5:30-9pm, with last car admitted at 8:30pm, and Friday/Saturday 5:30-10:30pm, with last car admitted at 9:30pm. View scenes from one of our visits there.

ZooLights
Where: National Zoo
When: November 25 – January 1, 5-9pm (Closed 12/24, 25, 31)
Admission: Free

Every year, thousands of environmentally-friendly light and animal exhibits transform the Zoo into a holiday wonderland. The highlights are dozens of animal light displays, a dazzling light show set to music, and snow-less tubing. Guests can also enjoy live entertainment, a special train ride for children, a whirl on the Conservation Carousel, special talks by animal keepers, Zoo-themed model trains displays, and more “wild” holiday fun. The Small Mammal House, Great Ape House, Reptile Discovery Center, Think Tank, and Kids’ Farm will be open every night. Rides and parking cost extra.

Festival of Lights
Where: Watkins Regional Park
When: November 25 – January 1, 5-9:30pm nightly
Admission: $5/car, FREE on December 25


This spectacular holiday drive-through event of more than one million twinkling lights has been dazzling holiday-goers for over 25 years. This is great way to get into the holiday spirit from the comfort of your car – bring a thermos of hot chocolate, pop some holiday music into the CD player, turn on the seat warmers, and take in the adorably festive illuminated scenes.

Winter Lights Festival

Where: Seneca Creek State Park
When: November 25 – December 31
Admission: $12/car Sun-Thurs, $15/car Fri-Sat

The 19th Annual Winter Lights Festival will feature more than 365 illuminated vignettes and 65 animated displays in a 3.5 mile drive through beautiful Seneca Creek State Park. Theme areas include Winter Woods, Teddy Bear Land, Victorian Village, North Pole, Toyland, and Penguin Cove. Special prism glasses to are available for $2 to heighten the experience. Proceeds Benefit Local Charities. Hours are Sunday – Thursday 6-9pm and Friday-Saturday 6-10pm.

Festival of Lights
Where: Mormon Temple
When: December 3 – January 3
Admission: Free

It’s official name is the Washington DC Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but most Washingtonians know it as the Mormon Temple that you can see driving on the outer loop of the Beltway near Bethesda. During the holiday season the grounds glow with more than 600,000 LED lights that visitors are welcome to enjoy. There are also free nightly performances in an indoor theater, Christmas trees decorated in international themes, an exhibit of crèches from around the world, and a life-sized outdoor nativity.

Georgetown GLOW
Where: Georgetown neighborhood
When: December 2 – January 1
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.

Garden in Lights
Where: Annmarie Sculpture Garden
When: December 2 – January 1 (closed 12/5, 6, 7, 12, 13, 24, 25)
Admission: $6, free for ages 3 and under

This magical tour takes visitors on a beautiful trip through the glittering woods. As you stroll the protected path, you will be transported to a fantastical place of spectacular lights and amazing “light sculptures.” Guests will be surrounded by mythical beasts, wild animals, airplanes, pirates, princesses, circus performers, dinosaurs, and more. Because all the “light sculptures” are made at Annmarie, the designs are one-of-a-kind; nothing in this show is commercially available. It is all made just for visitors to Annmarie Garden In Lights! Enjoy the “Holiday I Spy Game,” nightly entertainment, special discount nights, sweet treats, and other fun activities.

Alexandria Boat Parade of Lights

Where: Alexandria City Marina
When: December 3
Admission: Free

Experience one of the region’s most beloved holiday traditions! At sundown on the day of the Scottish Christmas Walk parade, 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.


Holiday Markets

The Downtown Holiday Market in Penn Quarter

The Downtown Holiday Market in Penn Quarter



Museum Shop Around
Where: Strathmore
When: November 10-13
Admission: $9

This annual market brings the best of the area’s finest museum gift shops all to one place. At Strathmore’s Museum Shop Around you’ll find toys, jewelry, one-of-a-kind gifts — some handmade, all art-inspired — for yourself and everyone on your holiday list.

Bethany House Holiday Bazaar
Where: First Baptist Church Alexandria
When: November 18-19
Admission: $5/suggested donation $10/family

Get an early start on your holiday shopping at this bazaar benefiting Bethany House, a domestic violence shelter in Northern VA that serves women and children survivors of domestic violence. The bazaar features regional artisans, crafters, and unique businesses. Browse international gift items, such as jewelry, paintings, essential oils, home décor, and more.

Merry & Bright Shopping Preview
Where: Mosaic District
When: November 12, 4-9pm
Admission: Free

Get your gift shopping started at the Northern Virginia center. Many stores and restaurants in the Fairfax community are offering discounts and other specials to help patrons ring in the the holiday shopping season.

Downtown Holiday Market
Where: 8th & F Streets NW
When: November 25 – December 23, 12-8pm
Admission: Free

This one, to me, is the holiday market in DC. It’s not even so much about the merchandise for sale (though there’s always a great variety of gift items – I never leave empty handed). There’s something about the usually bustling block in the middle of Penn Quarter transforming into an open air market for a few weeks that is so charming and kind of magical, making our big city feel like a small town. A bonus is the free live entertainment along with treats and coffee drinks available for purchase. And after you’ve done your shopping and enjoyed a snack and music, you can pop into the National Portrait Gallery/American Art Museum that are literally right next to the market.

Eastern Market
Where: 7th Street SE, between South Carolina & Penn Aves.
When: Year-round Saturdays & Sundays
Admission: Free

The outdoor flea market at the centerpiece of the Capitol Hill community is practically a year-round weekend institution for locals. And during the holiday season, it’s a go-to for shoppers seeking unique gifts along with a fun outing. Over 100 vendors are there, selling everything from original artwork to fun T-shirts, to handmade jewelry and accessories, to home décor to custom-made and used furniture – and much, much more. If you’re cooking up a holiday meal, you can get 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).

Christkindlmarkt
Where: Heurich House Museum
When: December 2-4
Admission: $10/ages 13+ and $2/ages 2-12

Do some shopping at Christkindlmarkt, an annual holiday artisan market and festive house tou, honoring the Heurich family’s German heritage by recreating a traditional outdoor German Christmas market in its Castle Garden. Dupont Circle’s only holiday market will feature goods from over 40 local artisans, including jewelers, ceramicists, chocolatiers, and makers of housewares, clothing, and more. Visitors will also have the opportunity to explore the seasonally decorated historic mansion on a self-guided tour.

Alexandria’s Holiday Market
Where: Carlyle District in Alexandria
When: December 3-22 (but not everyday, see the website)
Admission: Free

This annual signature event transforms the Carlyle District into a lively European Festival similar to the infamous Christmas Markets taking place in Germany or France. Shop for unique art and craft items, and enjoy live entertainment, traditional European food and sweets, hot wine, and hot cocoa. Be sure to visit the children’s corner for kid’s activities to learn more about European traditions and culture. The Market is located at 300 John Carlyle Street in Alexandria.

Holiday Bazaar
Where: Children’s Weekday Program
When: December 3, 9am – 12pm
Admission: Free

Enjoy and shop a family-friendly bazaar featuring local craft and gift vendors, a chance for children to visit with Santa, a silent auction, children’s activities, a bake sale, cake walk, and much more. The event is on the second floor in the great hall. New packages of diapers will be collected for the D.C. Diaper Bank. Children’s Weekday Program is located at 716 S. Glebe Road in Arlington.

Holiday Festival & Art Market
Where: Torpedo Factory Art Center
When: December 3, 2 – 6 pm
Admission Free

The Torpedo Factory Artists invite shoppers into their studios to find original gifts of art. Handmade jewelry and ornaments, original ceramics, couture finds, objet d’art, and other fine works will be available to browse and buy. Special holiday promotions and discounts will be available from dozens of artists and galleries. The afternoon will also feature a children’s scavenger hunt, live music with the Alexandria Choral Society and Braddock Brass, and a visit from Santa.

Carpe Noctem
Where: St. Jerome Academy in Hyattsville, MD
When: December 3
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

Gifts That Give Hope Gift Fair
Where: Discovery Elementary School, Arlington
When: December 10, 10am – 2pm
Admission: Free

Instead of giving another tie or candle this year, how about boxing up hope and happiness? At a Gifts That Give Hope event, you can support the community and find unique and meaningful gifts for loved ones, co-workers, teachers and holiday hosts. Learn more about 16 locally based nonprofit organizations, enjoy festive holiday music and refreshments, visits with Santa, face painting, and other children’s activities. Shoppers of all ages are making GTGH an annual tradition, and young shoppers in particular come back each year to learn the true meaning of giving by participating in the Children’s Gift Fair.

Rosslyn Holiday Market
Where: Gateway Park
When: December 9-10
Admission: Free

Hosted by the Rosslyn Business Improvement District, the market will boast more than 25 local boutique vendors selling everything from handmade jewelry and clothing to pottery and chocolate. The Friday schedule is geared towards an adult crowd, and Saturday will feature activities kicking off with the Great Chocolate Race, a 5-mile scenic run through Rosslyn. There will also be storytelling, free pictures with Santa Claus, and gingerbread house workshops for the whole family.

Sugarloaf Craft Festival
Where: Dulles Expo Center
When: December 9-11
Admission: $8/advance, $10/at door, free for 11 and under

This seasonal fair showcases works by more than 300 top artisans. Pottery, sculpture, glass, jewelry, fashion, home and garden décor, furniture and home accessories, and photography will be on display — and for sale. The best part is that the award-winning festival is a family affair. Parents can shop, and children can enjoy an interactive puppet theater and watch live-demonstrations of iron forging, papermaking, stone sculpting, and other media by the master craftspeople themselves. Not to mention, gourmet goodies hand-made by specialty food vendors always leave everyone wanting more. Tickets are good for all three days of the Festival.

How we do the holidays in our house

How we do the holidays in our house



Know of a great DC holiday event that you don’t see here? Let us know in the comments below!


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