Tag Archives: Washington DC Kids Activities

Walk in the Woods at Woodend Nature Sanctuary

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The second week of summer break was Sasha’s week. Owen had just left for his first sleep away camp adventure (a whole wonderful experience I’ll hopefully touch on more sometime), and I wanted to have a week of quality time with my girl before she started a session of Adventure Theatre’s acting camp (a whole other wonderful experience that I highly recommend).

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It was a nice week of both planned and spontaneous activities, as well as some low key hanging out. We caught a performance of Jumanji, got pedicures, went on bike rides, hit the pool, lunched at Shake Shack, visited the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, popped into the Postal Museum… mostly things we’d done and enjoyed before.

woodend_birdhouse

But one new adventure we had was a trip to Woodend Nature Sanctuary in Chevy Chase. I’d been there for a wedding years ago, but had never visited with the kids. Which is kind of a shame, because it’s a great place to get in touch with nature and do some outdoor exploring close in to the city.

woodend_tallgrass

woodend_bridge

The 40-acre property is home to the Audubon Naturalist Society, a non-profit environmental organization dedicated to conservation and education. The grounds are open to the public and free to roam daily.

woodend_boots

woodend_stumps

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Stop in the gift shop to pick up a map before you begin your hike, or just park in the lot and wander — it’s not so big that you won’t find your way. And if you want to get guided tour, you can join a Family Nature Walk with a Master Naturalist the first Saturday of the month from 9-10am.

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Woodend Nature Sanctuary is located at 8940 Jones Mill Road in Chevy Chase, MD. The grounds are open daily from dawn to dusk, and admission is free.


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Filed under All ages, Animals, Educational, Exhibit, Free, Maryland, Nature, Ongoing, Outdoor, Weekdays, Weekend

Showtime Around DC this Summer

"Jumanji" will play on the Adventure Theatre stage all summer long

“Jumanji” will play on the Adventure Theatre stage all summer long



Summer brings a whole new lineup of shows to local stages. And the timing couldn’t be better — it’s a perfect way to keep cool during long hot days and, at some venues, enjoy the outdoors on nice ones. Here’s where you catch all the live entertainment coming to the area over the next few months.

Outdoor Summer Concert Series
Where: Throughout the area
When: Various day and times
Tickets: Almost always FREE

Free music in the fresh air has become a staple of the season, and there are opportunities to enjoy just about every genre regularly at outdoor venues all around the DC-Metro. From Jazz on the National Mall to riverside entertainment to music amid the nature of local parks to shows in local shopping centers, the 2016 Summer Guide has a round-up of where and when you can enjoy the sounds of summer.

Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods
Where: Wolf Trap
When: June 21 – August 6
Tickets: $8-10

From late June through early August, Wolf Trap presents Children’s Theater-in-the-Woods, over 70 family-friendly performances at 10:30am Tuesdays through Saturdays. Amidst 117 rolling wooded acres and nestled in a shady grove, the stage is set for lively adventures in music, dance, storytelling, puppetry, and theater. The productions welcome all ages, though most are geared toward younger children. The full schedule of shows is available on the Wolf Trap website. And you can read a KFDC review of the series from a previous summer here.

Little Red Riding Hood & the 3 Little Pigs
Where: The Puppet Co.
When: Through July 17
Tickets: $10

What’s so bad about the Big Bad Wolf? At last B.B. (Big Bad) Wolfe tells his side of the story, in rap, no less. Has the notorious pork poacher and grandma impersonator gotten a bum rap, or is he truly deserving of his moniker? You be the judge! This is one of our funniest productions and includes lots of audience participation. Recommended for ages 3 and up.

Jumanji
Where: Adventure Theatre
When: Through August 28
Admission: $19.50 (look for a discount)

When Judy and Peter find a mysterious old board game, they play it, hoping to alleviate their boredom. One live lion, an erupting volcano, and a dozen destructive monkeys later, the children are no longer bored. Will they ever finish this mysterious magic game and claim Jumanji?! Recommended for ages 4 and up.

The Little Mermaid
Where: Imagination Stage
When: June 22 – August 15
Tickets: $17-35

In this faithful re-telling of the Hans Christian Andersen original, the Little Mermaid falls in love with a human Prince, and longs to join him in his world above the waves. Despite the warnings of her Mer-family, the Little Mermaid seeks out the Enchantress who trades her pair of legs for the mermaid’s beautiful singing voice. A follow-up to the highly acclaimed The Lion, The Witch & the Wardrobe(2012), this collaboration between Imagination Stage and The Washington Ballet features dance, puppets, music, and singing in a highly theatrical and epic style of performance. Recommended for ages 5 and up.

Gravedigger’s Tale
Where: Folger Theatre
When: Through June 26
Tickets: Free

Based on Shakespeare’s Hamlet, this one man interactive play is a family friendly production featuring the comedic actor Louis Butelli. Devised by director Robert Richmond (Richard III and Henry V), the Gravedigger, who appears to have much more knowledge about court life in Elsinore than originally thought, arrives with a trunk and a book and responds to questions from the audience using the text from Hamlet.

Riverdance
Where: Wolf Trap
When: June 23-26
Tickets: $20-75 (look for a discount)

The international Irish dance phenomenon is back in Riverdance—The 20th Anniversary World Tour featuring a new number, costumes, and lighting! Drawing on Irish traditions, the combined talents of the performers propel Irish dancing and music into the present day, capturing the imagination of audiences across all ages and cultures in an innovative and exciting blend of dance, music, and song. Of all the performances to emerge from Ireland—in rock, music, theatre, and film—nothing has carried the energy, the sensuality and the spectacle of Riverdance.

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: 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.

The Three Musketeers
Where: PFI Historic Park in Ellicott City, MD
When: June 24 – July 24
Tickets: $38-42/adult, free for kids (2 with paid adult)

All for one, one for all! Swashbuckling heroes seek fortune, love, and danger in Alexandre Dumas’ adventure tale, The Three Musketeers. With its themes of loyalty and honor and its exciting stage combat, this high-energy play is perfect for our summer stage at the PFI Historic Park in Ellicott City. Bring a picnic, your friends, and your whole family. Gates will open 90 minutes before the performance for picnicking.

Inside Out
Where: Imagination Stage
When: June 25 – July 31
Tickets: $14

It’s bedtime! But instead of getting ready, two children use their imaginations to turn their room into a wonderland of mess! While playing dress-up, a glove becomes a dancing fish, a shirt becomes a fantastic creature, and a sock dance rocks the closet. In this interactive show, discover the joy of turning things inside out! Recommended for ages 1-5.

Robert Post Comedy Theatre for Kids
Where: Kennedy Center
When: June 25
Tickets: $20

Robert Post’s one-man variety show serves up a delightful entertainment feast. Hilarious, poignant, and physically dazzling, his meticulously crafted sketches fill the stage with bumblers, dreamers, and cartoonish heroes of every stripe.

American Acoustic: Family Show with Chris Thile
Where: Kennedy Center
When: June 25
Tickets: $20

n a matinee show in the Family Theater geared toward young people, Chris Thile plays a solo set full of traditional and original music while also answering questions from the audience. This is your chance to get up-close-and-personal with the virtuoso musician.

Best of Serenade!
Where: Strathmore
When: June 26
Tickets: $5-10

The largest international choral gathering in Washington, DC, Best of Serenade! is the grand finale of Serenade!, a 5-day summer festival and the largest international choral gathering. Choirs from across the world perform a repertoire that spans the ages and genres in this annual concert.

The Bridges of Madison County
Where: Kennedy Center
When: June 28- July 17
Tickets: $49-129 (look for a discount)

One of the most romantic stories ever written is now an irresistible, two-time Tony Award–winning Broadway musical. Based on the best-selling novel by Robert James Waller, The Bridges of Madison County tells the story of Iowa housewife Francesca Johnson and her life-changing, four-day whirlwind romance with traveling photographer Robert Kincaid. It’s an unforgettable story of two people caught between decision and desire, as a chance encounter becomes a second chance at so much more. Recommended for ages 12 and up.

Rainforest Alive!
Where: Discovery Theater
When: June 29 – July 1
Tickets: $3-8

Discover the dynamic world of tropical rainforests while you meet beautiful jungle animals. Live animals from each layer of the forest will be featured along with stories of survival in this fascinating and endangered environment. Featured animals may include an iguana, boa constrictor, turtle and other rainforest creatures. Recommended for ages 4-12

UniverSoul Circus
Where: National Harbor at the Plateau
When: June 29 – July 31
Tickets: $16

A big top spectacle of global proportions, the 2016 production of UniverSoul Circus takes fans of all ages on an unforgettable journey of light, sound and soul. Get ready for electrifying, edge-of-your-seat performances, including extreme motorsports, back-flipping canines, twirling bicycles, disco-dancing pachyderms, free-flying aerial acts and much much more.

DreamWorks Animation in Concert
Where: Wolf Trap
When: June 30
Tickets: $25-45

Experience the thrilling music from Shrek, Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda, How to Train Your Dragon, and more, as DreamWorks Animation’s great stories and beloved characters inspire and delight audiences of all ages in this world premiere performance! We celebrate 20+ years of visually stunning footage projected in HD onto the big screen while iconic music scores by Hans Zimmer, John Powell, Alexandre Desplat, Alan Silvestri, Danny Elfman, and others are performed live by symphony orchestra.

Born for This: The Bebe Winans Story
Where: Arena Stage
When: July 1 – August 28
Tickets: $50-99

Detroit natives BeBe and CeCe Winans, youngest siblings of the Winans family dynasty, experience the ultimate in culture shocks when invited to join Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker’s Praise the Lord television show. The Winans teenagers have the opportunity to become more than just television celebrities, but to integrate TV evangelism. As BeBe and CeCe encounter fame, fortune and even a young Whitney Houston, BeBe must learn to balance his desire for success with his true calling. Combining classic Winans hits with brand new songs, this inspirational musical features Juan and Deborah Joy Winans in their Arena Stage debuts as BeBe and CeCe Winans.

Justin Roberts & the Not Ready for Naptime Players
Where: BlackRock Center for the Arts
When: July 2, 6pm
Tickets: Free

Toss the blankies, kiddos! Justin Roberts and the Not Ready for Naptime Players return to BlackRock this summer for the Center’s first, free outdoor summer concert designed specifically with little ones and their families in mind. These GRAMMY-nominated all-stars of the indie family music scene will take the stage on BlackRock’s lawn for an hour-long performance that’ll get kids and their parents alike springing to their feet; jumping, dancing and bouncing off each other like bumper cars.

Taratibu Youth Association
Where: Discovery Theater
When: July 6-8
Tickets: $3-8

This sensational ensemble of young artists represents the performing arts of the African diaspora. With eclectic and diverse musical influences, TYA performs percussive dance styles from stepping to traditional South African Gumboot to modern dance and hip hop. Singing in Zulu and Sotho from South Africa, Kiswahili from Tanzania, Creole from Haiti, and Yoruba from Cuba, their performances are educational and inspirational; telling stories of empowerment and cultural history from several different countries. You may learn a song in Zulu, steps from Taratibu; a Pan African drill or learn the history of ‘Ti Zwezo,’ the traditional song of Haiti. Recommended for ages 5-16.

Backyard Theater for Children
Where: Strathmore
When: July 7-28
Tickets: $18, free for under 2

Strathmore’s summer theater series brings live music and fun to kids — all outdoors under a big tent. Weekly performances take place every Thursday at 9:30am and 11:30 from July 7-28.

Capital Fringe Festival
Where: Various DC theatres
When: July 7-31
Tickets: Varies by show

Filling the city with non-stop theater, dance, music, visual art, and everything in-between, the annual Fringe Festival presents an eclectic mix of performances — from all genres, for all ages. Family-friendly shows are always among the lineup; other acts would make for a great date night or adult evening out. Check out the calendar to plan your Fringe experience.

Cirque Italia
Where: Montgomery County Fairgrounds
When: July 8-10
Tickets: $10-50

Dive into the magical world of acrobats, aerialists, contortionists and more exciting acts and experience Cirque Italia! A show like no other, the first traveling water circus in the US features an extraordinary stage that holds 35,000 gallons of water with a dynamic lid that lifts 35 feet into the air, allowing water to fall like rain from above as fountains dazzle below! This incredible show takes place under a majestic white and blue big top tent which came all the way from Italy. Inside is such a theatrical and intimate setup, you just might forget you are under a circus tent!

The Magic of Science
Where: Discovery Theater
When: July 12-15
Tickets: $3-8

Educating entertainer Robert Pirtle is ready to show you the ‘magic of science!’ He’ll use chemistry, mathematics, optical illusions and more to reveal the magical essence behind the science you’ve learned in the classroom. Everyone, both in the audience and on stage, will become a magician! Everything done will look and act like a real magic trick — the real trick being that it’s actually science at work. Come with us on a journey of exploration into the science behind the magic! Recommended for ages 5-12.

Phantom of the Opera
Where: Kennedy Center
When: July 13 – August 20
Tickets: $25-149

This spectacular new production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera comes to DC as part of a brand-new North American tour. Critics are raving that this breathtaking production is “bigger and better than ever before.” The production boasts many exciting special effects including the show’s legendary chandelier. The beloved story and thrilling score, with songs like “Music of the Night,” “All I Ask of You,” and “Masquerade,” is performed by a cast and orchestra of 52, making this Phantom one of the largest productions now on tour. Recommended for ages 6 and up.

Twelfth Night (KidFree Recommendation!)
Where: Synetic Theatre
When: July 13- August 7
Tickets: $20-60

After garnering 11 Helen Hayes Award nominations, Synetic’s 2014 hit is back by popular demand! Set in the Roaring ’20s and inspired by the silent comedy of Keaton and Chaplin, Twelfth Night tells the tale of fraternal twins, Viola and Sebastian, separated in a strange new land. Having survived a shipwreck and believing her brother Sebastian has been lost, Viola falls hopelessly in love with Duke Orsino and disguises herself as a man to enter his services. This production will not have dialogue.

Mary Poppins
Where: Thomas Jefferson Community Theatre
When: July 15-24
Tickets: $15/adult, $12/child (look for a discount)

Encore Stage & Studio presents this classic in their signature by kids, for kids style: Mary Poppins is a practically perfect, spoonful of sugar nanny that unexpectedly arrives in the Banks household one blustery day. Using lessons disguised as games, she helps to teach the Banks children how to be their best selves. But, is Mary Poppins’ magic enough to save this family from drifting apart? Enjoy your favorite Disney melodies and watch Mary Poppins soar across the TJ stage in this Broadway adaptation that won seven TONY awards, including Best Musical. Recommended for ages 6 and older.

Beatboxing with Mr. Max
Where: Discovery Theater
When: July 19-22
Tickets: $3-8

Mr. Max takes us with him as he takes the mike to make some crazy- good mouth music. This astounding human beatbox introduces kids to the most powerful musical instrument ever: their own bodies. With lots of audience participation and exciting on-the-spot improvisations, Max covers themes in hip-hop culture, language, math, and music. Get ready to make some truly hip beats! Recommended for ages 5-12.

Peter and the Wolf
Where: The Puppet Co.
When: July 21 – August 28
Tickets: $10

Staged with half life-size marionettes, Peter and the Wolf is one of the Puppet Co.’s best-loved stories. Over a million children and adults have seen this one-man show, based on Prokofiev’s popular tale of good versus evil, performed by Puppet Master Christopher Piper. An introduction to the instruments in the orchestra precedes this story of Peter and his animal friends, and their attempts to capture wily “Old Lupus.” Recommended for ages 4 and up.

Urban Artistry
Where: Discovery Theater
When: July 26-29
Tickets: $3-8

They are guided by the origins of the drum, the energy of the underground dance movement and the art that documents all of our histories. Urban Artistry illuminates the counterculture styles of urban dance (often referred to as hip-hop), and their calling to create a diverse community of people with whom to share the experience. This award-winning dance troupe will inspire you to get up on your feet! Recommended for ages 5-16.

BSO: Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone
Where: Strathmore
When: August 5
Tickets: $35-65

The Harry Potter™ film series is one of those once-in-a-lifetime cultural phenomena that continues to delight millions of fans around the world. This concert will feature the Baltimore Symphony performing every note from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone™. Audiences will be able to relive the magic of the film in high-definition on a giant screen while hearing the orchestra perform John Williams’ unforgettable score.

Uke Summit Evening Concerts
Where: Strathmore
When: August 13-14
Tickets: $15

Enjoy an evening performance of both professional and amateur ukulele players, starting with an open mic for our Uke & Guitar Summit attendees at 6:30pm and followed by an amazing lineup at 7pm.

The Tempest
Where: Sidney Harman Hall
When: August 16-28
Tickets: Free

The Sheakepeare Theatre Company’s beloved annual Free For All program returns, presenting two weeks of FREE performances of a Shakespearean classic, this year The Tempest. In this glittering production, Prospero’s magical island explodes with life, hosting sprites, goddesses, and fools that hold court and delight all ages. To get tickets: For each performance, a select number of seats are given away to lucky lottery winners. Or, every day STC will make at least 200 tickets available to the public in a ticket line at Sidney Harman Hall beginning two hours prior to curtain – limit is two tickets per person. Get there early, as the line usually starts forming about four hours before curtain up.


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Filed under All ages, Annual, Date Night, DC, Discount, Festival, Free, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Music, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Summer, Theatre, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend

Easter Events Around DC for a Hopping Start to Spring

Easter egg hunting requires fuel

Easter egg hunting requires fuel



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Don’t put your eggs all in one basket when it comes to Easter celebrations. Numerous places around the area are hosting egg hunts, Easter bunny visits, and much more spring fun. 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.

Spring Easter Egg Hunt
Where: Ticonderoga Farm
When: Weekends March 12 – April 3
Admission: $14.95 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.

Bunnyland
Where: Butler’s Orchard
When: March 19, 20, 25, 26, 28 & April 1-3, 9am – 4pm
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!

Egg Hunt
Where: Meadowside Nature Center
When: March 25, 10am – 3pm
Admission: $8

Search for real eggs in othe meadow, then dye and decorate the eggs you find. Enjoy other spring-themed activities throughout the event as well. Fun for the entire family! Don’t forget to bring a basket to collect your eggs. Egg hunts are scheduled for every half-hour throughout the day. Reservations are required.

Easter Egg Decorating
Where: Brentwood Arts Exchange
When: March 26, 1pm
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.

9th Annual Eggstravaganza
Where: Tudor Place
When: March 19 & 26, 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!

Fabergé Egg Family Festival
Where: Hillwood Estate and Gardens
When: March 19-20, 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.

Dinosaur Egg Hunt
Where: Hidden Oaks Nature Center
When: March 19-20 & 26-27
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 Weekend Itinerary
Where: Lansdowne Resort
When: March 25-27
Admission: Varies by activity

The resort, spa, and golf club in Northern Virginia has curated the perfect Easter Weekend Itinerary for local residents, traveling guests, and families alike. Activities include Build-A-Bunny workshops, a Flick & Float screening of the movie Hop while floating in the indoor pool, Easter Day Brunch, and an Eater Egg Hunt. Details and prices are on the website.

Bird Egg-stravaganza
Where: Woodend Nature Sanctuary
When: March 26, 10am – 12pm
Admission: $10/child

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

Easter Eggstravaganzas
Where: Various locations around the DC-Metro
When: March 26
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, Capitol Hill, Springfield, Gainesville, and Alexandria.

5th Annual Easter Egg Hunt
Where: Madame Tussauds
When: March 26, 8am, 8:30am, & 9am
Admission: $25/adult and three children

If your kids are early risers, then keep this event in mind: A fun and educational “eggs-ploration” through American History at the wax museum! Tons of eggs will be hidden throughout the Presidents Gallery, and once children have collected the empty eggs, they can then trade them in at the end of the hunt for an Easter gift bag full of goodies. Guests can also enjoy a meet & greet with the Easter Bunny, an on site petting zoo, plus Easter crafts and face painting! All children must be accompanied by an adult. Tickets can be purchased online.

Falls Church Annual Easter Egg Hunt
Where: Cherry Hill Park
When: March 26, 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 our special guest, the Easter Bunny! BYO basket — they’ll supply the candy, fun, and happy springtime memories. In addition to scrambling for eggs, children ages 11 and younger can participate in a make-your-own-candy-bag craft project and have a chance to meet and take pictures with the Easter Bunny.

Spring Fest
Where: McLean Community Center
When: March 26, 10am – 12pm
Admission: $5, free for 2 and under

Spring Fest is a special event that includes self-guided arts and crafts projects, entertainment and the opportunity for your children to get a professional photo with Bunny. Remember to bring your Easter basket for our parent/child Easter egg hunt. Registration is required for all participants, and sign up soon, as space is limited. Recommended for ages 3-8.

11th Annual Stead Park Easter Egg Hunt
Where: Stead Park
When: March 26, 10am – 12pm
Admission: Free

Hop to it and join Friends of Stead Park and Foundry United Methodist Church for their annual Community Easter Egg Hunt! In addition to the egg hunts, there will be special “golden eggs” filled with a prize for each age group to find; crafts and snacks; selfies with the Easter Bunny, and twice as many eggs as last year. Bring your own basket and register in advance.

Champagne Easter Brunch & Egg Hunt
Where: Mandarin Oriental Washington, DC
When: March 27
Admission: $74/adult, $35/child

If you want to get fancy for the holiday, celebrate Easter with an extravagant Champagne brunch and a waterfront egg hunt on a beautiful sprawling garden, plus visits from the Easter Bunny at one of the city’s swankiest hotels. Enjoy a lavish buffet-style meal at Muze with multiple live cooking stations spread throughout the restaurant. Children can hunt for eggs hidden throughout the hotel’s stunning garden overlooking the Tidal Basin, accompanied by the Easter Bunny. There will also be fun-filled activities in the hotel’s supervised Little Fans Clubroom.

Easter Monday: A Washington Family Tradition
Where: National Zoo
When: March 28
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: March 28, 8am – 5pm
Admission: Free, tickets required

The mac daddy of Easter events in DC, the annual White House Easter Egg Roll requires tickets won through lottery for admission. You should know by now 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 heard from a friend who was lucky enough to go one year that people were giving away extra tickets at the entrance. 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 folks are being so generous. Note that entries are timed, so while it goes all day, guests only stay for their designated amount of time.

Egg Hunt & Marshmallow Harvest
Where: Great Country Farms
When: April 2-3, 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.


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Make Some Family Plans for the 2016 National Cherry Blossom Festival

blossoms_picnic

With the National Park Service’s recent announcement of the predicted cherry blossom peak (March 31 – April 3) and the Capital Weather Gang’s declaration that winter is over and spring is on, it’s time to talk celebration. And the National Cherry Blossom Festival, along with a couple of museums, have it all figured out for us with several weeks of events and activities to enjoy during the prettiest time of year in DC. Here are the best of them for families to help you have a peak blossom experience. Happy spring! (Update: The National Park Service revised their prediction, and the peak is now expected March 18-23.)

Asia Heritage Family Day
Where: National Air & Space Museum
When: March 19, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Get ready for the Blossom Kite Festival and celebrate spring and Asian Heritage! 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! This year’s Kites of Asia Heritage Family Day will have a special focus on Nepal and India.

Make an Okinawan Textile Craft
Where: GW Museum & Textile Museum
When: March 18-20
Admission: Free

Discover Okinawa at this three-day celebration for all ages! Try your hand at origami, traditional bingata painting, and other art activities. Enjoy children’s stories, dance performances, and karate demonstrations. Learn about the geography and natural environment of the island, sample Okinawan treats, and take home a local souvenir. Check the website to see the schedule of events each day.

Family Day at the Building Museum
Where: National Building Museum
When: March 26
Admission: Free

The National Building Museum is hosting their annual event to kick off the cherry blossoms celebration family-style. And they’re doing it with a nod to the National Park Service’s Centennial Anniversary. The day will feature hands-on fun and games focused on parks, planning, landscape design, and architecture. Activities will include folding origami masterpieces, designing a memorial for the National Mall, constructing a tatebanko diorama, meeting DuAro (Kawasaki’s robot), trying on traditional Japanese clothing, and learning more about the National Park Service’s milestone celebration.

Blossom Kite Festival
Where: Washington Monument Grounds
When: April 2, 10am – 4:30pm
Admission: Free

Go fly a kite! Seriously. The Kite Festival is, in my opinion, the best event during cherry blossom season (when the weather cooperates, anyway). 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 absolutely magical for my 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 intricate works of art actually outnumber your basic diamond. And anyone can go fly their kites, so be sure to bring one. 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.

Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival
Where: Southwest Waterfront, 600 Water Street SW
When: April 9, 1-9pm
Admission: Free

A fun family event happening along the water is the annual fireworks show at the Southwest Waterfront. It’s an all-day 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.

Family Workshop: Paper Trails
Where: Sackler Gallery
When: April 10 & 16, 1-4pm
Admission: Free

In celebration of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, explore the importance of paper across Asian artmaking traditions. With educators from the Freer|Sackler and the National Museum of Women in the Arts, use traditional Japanese papers and bookmaking tools and techniques to create your own artist’s book. This program is designed for children ages 6–12 and adults to enjoy together.

National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade
Where: Constitution Avenue, 7th – 17th Streets NW
When: April 16, 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 16, 10:30am – 6pm
Admission: $8/ages 13 and up in advance, free for 12 and under

Following the Cherry Blossom parade, many folks head right 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.


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The KFDC 2015 Guide to the Best of the Holidays in DC

capitol_xmastime

The holiday season is hitting DC! Starting as soon as this weekend, you can embrace the spirit at 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

Model Trains

Special Events

Chanukah

Light Displays

Holiday Markets

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Holiday Shows

nutcracker_warner

 
A Christmas Carol
Where: Ford’s Theatre
When: November 19 – December 31
Tickets: $44-91
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).

A Lump of Coal
Where: Adventure Theatre
When: November 20 – December 31
Tickets: $19.50
It is Christmastime! The hilarious and heartburning, uh, heartwarming holiday adventure of a Lump of Coal who wants to be an artist. Traditionally the dreaded stocking stuffer for children on the Naughty List, this Lump turns one child’s worst nightmare into a dream come true. This stage adaptation by Norman Allen will delight audiences young and old with its story of unlikely friendships and holiday miracles.

A Year with Frog and Toad
Where: Imagination Stage
When: November 24 – January 10
Tickets: $10+

A Year with Frog and Toad: A Holiday Musical Escapade of Friendship Through the Seasons presents the story of two best friends with completely opposite personalities wake up from hibernation, and enjoy hilarious and heartwarming adventures through the seasons. When Frog learns that Toad doesn’t receive mail, he quickly writes him a letter and asks the Snail to deliver it. Several uproarious Vaudeville vignettes ensue in which the friends go swimming, fly a kite, bake cookies, tell scary stories, and go sledding down a steep hill. Will the Snail successfully complete his journey to deliver the letter and a smile to Toad? Recommended for ages 4 and up.

The Nutcracker
Where: The Puppet Co.
When: November 27 – December 30
Tickets: $10

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 27 – 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.

The Washington Ballet: The Nutcracker
Where: THEARC Theater
When: November 28-29
Tickets: $30-50

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.

Seasons of Light
Where: Discovery Theater
When: November 30 – December 17
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.

Snow Day
Where: The Lab at Convergence & Atlas Performing Arts Center
When: December 3-8 & December 12-20
Tickets: $9, 12 months and under are free

Arts on the Horizon presents this winter show at two area theatres! One cold December morning, a young girl named Skip wakes up to find the entire neighborhood covered in a thick, dazzling blanket of white snow. A playful (if not a little mischievous) winter elf takes her on an adventure – showing her just how magical snow can be! Join Skip as she experiences all the excitement, joy, and wonder of her very first snow day. This nonverbal world premiere production features live music and lots of wintertime fun, just in time for the holiday season. Recommended for children ages 2-6.

Septime Weber’s The Nutcracker
Where: Warner Theatre
When: December 3-27
Tickets: $35-101 (look for a ticket discount)


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.)

The Hip Hop Nutcracker
Where: Strathmore
When: December 3
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.

Swing Machine Big Band Christmas Extravaganza
Where: Hylton Performing Arts Center at George Mason
When: December 3
Tickets: $15

Bring in the holiday season…Big Band style! Swing Machine is an 18-piece Big Band with members from the USAF Airmen of Note, Army Blues, Navy Commodores, the Glenn Miller Orchestra, and a Grammy-nominated vocalist. And back by popular demand: The Combined PWC High School Chorus, and Randolph Macon Academy Chorus will join the band for a few songs.

‘Tis the Circus: A Holiday Party on High
Where: Atlas Perfroming Arts Center
When: December 4-6
Tickets: $25/adult, $15/child

The holidays can be a circus – quite literally, at this holiday party! As the guests arrive, one couple’s living room is transformed as acrobats, aerialists, jugglers and other performers dazzle with spectacular routines celebrating the magic of the holiday season. Fun for the whole family – prepare to be delighted, amazed and inspired. A unique and new holiday tradition for all ages.

Holiday Sing-A-Long
Where: Wolf Trap
When: December 5, 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.”

Virginia Ballet Company & School: Selections from The Nutcracker
Where: National Theatre
When: December 5
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.

Fancy Nancy Splendiferous Christmas
Where: BlackRock Center for the Arts
Wen: December 6
Tickets: $15-21

This December celebrate the holiday season with Fancy Nancy in this hour-long musical based on the popular children’s book. In this piece Fancy Nancy learns despite all the presents, decorations, parties, and other fancy holiday things, family and especially her sister Jojo are more important than any fancy stuff that she could buy. Filled with catchy, charming songs, this energetic and colorful holiday indulgence is appropriate for children of all ages.

Step Afrika!’s Magical, Musical Holiday Step Show
Where: Atlas Performing Arts Center
When: December 10-22
Tickets: $15-38

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!

It’s a Wonderful Life
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 It’s a Wonderful Life, the story of George Bailey, the Everyman from the small town of Bedford Falls, whose dreams of escape and adventure have been quashed by family obligation and civic duty. On Christmas Eve, George’s guardian angel, Clarence, shows him what the world would have been like had he never been born, and George is saved from despair by realizing that his has been, after all, a wonderful life.

Holiday Family Opera: Hansel and Gretel
Where: Kennedy Center
When: December 12-20
Tickets: $59-75

Once upon a time, two children found themselves lost in a dark forest, until they happened upon a house made entirely of sweets. What happens next, well that’s the story of Hansel and Gretel! Complete with a cackling witch, enchanted fairies, dancing animals, and an oversized gingerbread oven, the timeless Grimm brothers’ fairy tale returns for the holidays in WNO’s whimsical and neon-colored production. REecommended for ages 9 and up.

A Family Christmas Concert
Where: Kennedy Center
When: December 13
Tickets: $15-45

A holiday treat for even the littlest fan, this one-hour, highly participatory concert delights with songs of Santa, Frosty the Snowman, and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, filling every soul with joy. Perfect for children ages 5 and older … and don’t forget the grandparents!

Dicken’s Tale
Where: National Theatre
When: December 12
Tickets: Free

Saturday Morning at the National presents this free production from Bright Star Theatre. Gather ‘round as Bright Star Theatre recreates Victorian England in this beloved retelling of the Charles Dickens classic, A Christmas Carol. Join Old Scrooge, bumbling Bob Cratchit, one hilarious beggar woman and all the delightful ghostly visitors in this heartwarming tale of friendship and generosity. 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 12
Admission: $25

Join the Cathedral Choral Societyat 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.

The Mini-Nut
Where: Montgomery College Cultural Arts Center
When: December 12-13
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!

10th Annual Holiday Concert & Sing-Along
Where: Atlas Performing Arts Center
When: December 13, 4pm & 7pm
Tickets: $8.50

An H Street holiday tradition is back! 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 celebration continues in the Kogod Lobby with complimentary cookies and good cheer following the performance.

Kwanzaa Celebration – Family Series
Where: Dorothy Betts Marvin Theatre
When: December 13, 4pm
Tickets: $25/adult in advance, $30/at door, $15/ages 17 and under

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 18, 19, 20, 23, 26, 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.

Winter Wonderland Puppet Show
Where: Frying Pan Farm Park
When: December 22
Tickets: $5/county resident, $7/non-resident

Bring your holiday guests and join master puppeteer Bob Brown in a holiday production of Winter Wonderland. Join the lively marionettes as they frolic in a magical winter wonderland of snow. After the show, stroll the Park and visit our animals or shop at the Country Store. Children must be accompanied by a paid, registered adult.

Bone Soup, a Kwanzaa Musical
Where: Anacostia Community Museum
When: December 26
Tickets: Free

Bring the entire family for Day One of the museum’s annual 3-day Kwanzaa celebration. This year, Culture Kingdom Kids presents the original play Bone Soup. This energetic and interactive introduction to Kwanzaa includes dancers, singers, music, colorful costumes, and lively characters.



Model Trains

Trains whiz around the delightful display  - made of plant materials! - at the US Botanic Garden

Trains whiz around the delightful display – made of plant materials! – at the US Botanic Garden



Magical Holiday Express
Where: B&O Railroad Museum
When: November 21-22 & December 1 – January 3
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 sue to look for special events like Santa’s Lego Party, Frosty Fest Weekend, and Breakfast with Santa on the website.

Season’s Greenings

Where:U.S. Botanic Garden
When: November 26 – January 3
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 Pollination Station will feature oversized flowers, bees, and butterflies in a scenic wonderland. 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.

Garden Railway Exhibit
Where: Brookside Garden
When: December 5 – 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 12 – December 19
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

Holidays on the Ellipse

Holidays on the Ellipse

 

Holiday Tours & Shopping
Where: Mansion on O Street
When: November – January
Admission: Starts at $15

Mansion elves begin decking the halls in spectacular mansion style starting in November. Take a holiday tour of one of the most wonderfully outrageous places in DC to infuse you with holiday spirit. Explore themed rooms, search for secret doors, and shop for unique holiday gifts while you celebrate the season with family and friends. Read more about the Manon on O Street in this KFDC post.

Re-Imagining the Holidays
Where: Downtown Silver Spring
When: November 14, 6-8pm
Admission: Free

The 4th Annual “Re-Imagining The Holidays” event is Downtown Silver Spring’s official Tree Lighting and Street Fest. And this year it will include Foodie Festivus, a 35’ holiday tree comprised of recycled glassware and welded food service items including spatula snowflakes, plate and saucer ornaments, takeout containers, utensil tinsel – “utinsel” – and an impressive star topper constructed from blue glass bottles. Other festivities of the evening will include food tastings, live music, ice skating, and more!

Tree Lighting Ceremony
Where: National Harbor
When: November 14, 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, car-making for the Troops, a holiday movie on the Plaza, live entertainment, Santa at the carousel, fireworks, 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 HGTV’s Santa HQ and 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 the big man in red himself!

Christmas on the Potomac
Where: National Harbor
When: November 21 – January 3

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 21 – January 3
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 went a few years ago, and I recommend reading my review before you go. And since it features a new “Learn how Santa Claus started giving toys to good girls and boys in the retelling of the classic television special, Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town, celebrating its 45th anniversary this year. Our ice sculptures and ice slides are fun for the whole family and part of Christmas on the Potomac at our at our National Harbor resort.” 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 21, 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. And new this year is a place to take your family holiday photos. Right next to the ice rink, you can take your photo 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 21-22
Admission: $15 (workshops are extra)

The Junior League of Northern Virginia’s annual Enchanted Forest will features a beautiful ‘forest’ of more than 100 theme-decorated holiday trees for silent auction, live entertainment by several of the area’s most celebrated children’s performers, a model train display, hands-on children’s activities, and a festival holiday marketplace. Proceeds from this event directly support the JLNV’s community initiatives, which are focused on empowering families to make healthy eating and active living a priority, and support 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 27 – January 6
Admission: $17/adults, $9/ages 6-11, free for ages 5 and under


The holidays are full of delight at George Washington’s estate. Join for candlelight tours of the Mansion, a dazzling display of fireworks set to Christmas music, dancing, fire-side caroling, Aladdin the Christmas camel, and so much more! See the website for all of the holiday happenings at the historic home.

Reston Holiday Parade, Tree Lighting, Sing Along
Where: Reston Town Center
When: November 27
Admission: Free

Kicks off the festive season at the 25th 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.

Christmas Town
Where: Busch Gardens
When: November 27 – January 3
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!

Norwegian Christmas Tree Lighting
Where: Union Station
When: December 1, 6pm
Admission: Free

One of the most popular and often first of the major DC tree lighting ceremonies, the 2015 Annual Norwegian Christmas at Union Station will have a theme of music this year. The tree will be decorated with CD’s while streaming music will be featured in the area around the tree at the lighting ceremony.mAlaska Senator Lisa Murkowski will light the tree, and the Norwegian Embassy will provide beverages and light refreshments. Santa will be on hand with presents for the kids and The Carolers of Greater Washington (CGW) will perform.

Capitol Christmas Tree Lighting
Where: West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol
When: December 2, 5pm
Admission: Free

If don’t win lottery tickets to see the National 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 Alaska, where it was harvested, to DC. It’s expected to arrive in a couple of weeks, and the lighting will take place during the first week of December (date still TBD). After the lighting, the tree will be lit every evening for all to enjoy until January 1.

Holidays on the Ellipse
Where: The National Ellipse
When: December 4 – 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 is not back this year (you might recall there was confusion about it last year), but go enjoy everything else.

Christmas in Middleburg
Where: Middleburg, VA
When: December 4-6
Admission:

Christmas in Middleburg is a spectacular community event that includes a Breakfast with Santa and a silent auction event 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.

Christmas on Wheels
Where: Around DC
When: December 4-20 (Friday – Sunday)
Admission: See details below

For the first year ever, Bike and Roll DC will be offering Washington’s first-ever Christmas tour by bike and Segway. Tour highlights will include the Botanical Gardens Holiday Showcase, a hot chocolate stop, the exquisite decorations at the Willard Hotel, and of course, the Capital and National Christmas Trees. Families and children of all ages are welcome on the bike tour — trailer tandems and burleys are available for younger children. Riders must be 16 for the Segway tour. Cost for the bike tour is $39/adults, $34/ages 12 and under and $64/person for the Segway tour.

Smithsonian Holiday Festival
Where: Smithsonian Museums on the National Mall
When: December 5 & 6
Admission: Free

Celebrate the holiday season at the National Air and Space Museum, National Museum of Natural History, National Museum of American History, and Freer-Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian American Art Museum, National Museum of the American Indian, National Museum of African American Art, National Postal Museum, the Hirshhorn, and Smithsonian Castle! Enjoy concerts by the U.S. Air Force’s Max Impact, Silver Wings, and Celtic Aire. The Festival will also include Mars Chocolate demonstrations, a Star Wars C-3PO costume exhibit, the world’s largest LEGO American Flag exhibit, family holiday photo opportunities, free film screenings, trunk shows featuring apparel, jewelry and art, book signings, festive food, and hours of additional family-friendly entertainment.

Scottish Christmas Walk Parade
Where: Old Town Alexandria
When: December 5, 11am
Admission: Free

For the 45th consecutive year, the Scottish Christmas Walk Parade will showcase marching units filled with the magnificent tartans of Scottish Clans, the stirring sound of Scottish bagpipes and drums, Scottish dancers, reenactment groups, Scottie dogs, dignitaries, classic cars, Santa Claus, and more. The parade begins at St. Asaph and Wilkes Streets and concludes at Market Square with a massed band concert – 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 5, 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.

Holidays Through History Open House
Where: Dumbarton House
When: December 5
Admission: $8-20 (details below)

Make your merry way among three historic houses featuring period installations from the Federal period to the 1960s. Dumbarton House, Anderson House, and Woodrow Wilson House all offer a festive evening of elegance, refreshments, and ornaments to make at each site.
Tickets: Museum Members: $8 in advance, $10 at the door; Children: $10; Adults: $16 in advance, $20 at the door.

Holly Trolley Fest
Where: National Capitol Trolley Museum
When: December 5-26, 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 9, 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.

Ugly Sweater Run
Where: National Harbor
When: December 12, 9 am
Admission: $50 (look for a deal here)

Rummage up the Ugliest Sweater you can find and celebrate the holidays in an active way by participating in the Merriest 5K of the year. Join thousands of runners, walkers, and prancers through National Harbor. The start line includes massive inflatables, photo stations, games, and cheerful holiday music. Once on course, you’ll find holiday themed stations at every mile.

Winter’s Eve
Where: Glen Echo Park
When: December 12, 4-7pm
Admission: Free

Get into the holiday spirit at Glen Echo Park’s annual Winter’s Eve celebration. It’s free, open to the public, and visitors of all ages can enjoy performances, arts & crafts open studios, hot chocolate, and a holiday sing-along. Browse and buy fine artworks at the Holiday Art Show and artist studios. Kids and adults can create gifts to share in the holiday-themed craft rooms.

Tea with Santa
Where: Dumbarton House
When: December 12
Admission: $25/adult member, $30/non-member, $20/child

Sit back, relax and let Santa’s helpers serve you during this magical holiday experience. Visit with Santa and hear a special holiday story. Families enjoy a delicious holiday tea complete with special holiday tea blends, hot apple cider, sandwiches and desserts. After taking tea, children decorate their own gingerbread cookies to take home.

Gifts That Give Hope Gift Fair
Where: Key School in Arlington
When: December 5, 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. The Key School is located at 2300 Key Blvd in Arlington.

First Night Alexandria
Where: Old Town Alexandria
When: December 31
Admission: $15 until 12/17, $20 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



National Menorah Lighting
Where: The National Ellipse
When: December 6, 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.

Make Room for Latkes
Where Washington DCJCC
When: December 6, 10:30am – 12:30pm
Admission: $10/family in advance; $15/family at door

Chanukah is coming and with it, eight nights of family fun. Join PJ Library and partners for hands-on Chanukah activities including crafts, cooking, singing, candle lighting, latkes, a mitzvah (good deed) project, and take-home goodies. CityJews programs are designed with interfaith families in mind.

Family Celebration of Hanukkah
Where: Cathedral Commons
When: December 6, 1-3pm
Admission: Free

This Family Celebration of Hanukkah will feature community performances, festive crafts, and kosher food and drink options from the Kosher Pastry Oven. The event will take place at Newark Avenue NW at Cathedral Commons near the Giant Food.

Matisyahu in Concert
Where: Strathmore
When: December 6
Admission: Tickets are $28-48

Reggae, rap, hip-hop, and alt rock — Matisyahu does it all, blending beat-boxing techniques with artful jazz and the ancient traditions of Judaism. This show on the first night of Chanukah will highlight it all. (And I can tell you firsthand that he is amazing to see live!)

Chanukah Festival
Where: Crowne Plaza Hotel in Alexandria
When: December 6, 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 6
Admission:

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.

Spin the Tale: Chanukah Story Hour
Where: Barnes & Noble, 12089 Rockville Pike
When: December 8, 4-5pm
Admission: Free

Warm up your winter with a Chanukah story time at Barnes & Noble. Hear a story, make a unique dreidel with creative materials, and then play dreidel with the staff!

Max’s Lotsa Latkes
Where: Max’s Kosher Café and Marketplace
When: December 9, 5:30-7:30pm
Admission: $15/adult, $7/ages 3-10, free for 2 and under

Join for all-you-can-eat latkes (three delicious kinds!) and sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts) at Max’s Kosher Café and Marketplace (2319 University Blvd. W. in Silver Spring). Enjoy the tasty Chanukah treats as well as children’s activities, dreidel games, recipes, and gelt galore. Regular menu and drinks available a la carte. Kosher dietary laws observed. Space is limited — purchase your ticket early before they sell out.

Chanukah on Ice
Where: Pentagon Row Ice Rink
When: December 8, 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.


Light Displays

Brookside's spectacular Garden of Lights is back after a break last year

Brookside’s spectacular Garden of Lights is back after a break last year



Winter Walk of Lights

Where: Meadowlark Botanical Gardens
When: November 13 – January 3
Admission: $13/adult, $8/ages 3-12 (look for a deal here)

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!

Bull Run Festival of Lights
Where: Bull Run Regional Park
When: November 18 – January 3
Admission: Monday- Thursday $15/car, Friday-Saturday $20/car (look for a deal here)

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 27 – January 3, with noted exceptions
Admission: $20/car Mon-Thurs, $25/car Fri-Sun


This spectatcular, 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 27 – January 2, 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 “Zoo Tubing” on Lion/Tiger Hill (they should just call it Liger Hill) on two 150-foot snow tracks. 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 the Gin-Grrr-Bread Habitat Competition. 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 27 – 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 – 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 27 – December 31
Admission: $12/car Sun-Thurs, $15/car Fri-Sat (loof for a deal here)

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 1
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 ground 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.

Garden in Lights
Where: Annmarie Sculpture Garden
When: December 4 – January 2 (closed 12/7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 24, & 25)
Admission: $6, free for ages 3 and under

The award-winning holiday light show will run twenty-three nights this season. The show features hundreds of handmade light sculptures scattered along a glittering Wooded Path. As guests stroll the protected path, they’ll be surrounded by princesses, mythical beasts, wild animals, dinosaurs, outer space, sea creatures, and more. New this year, the show has been expanded into new areas of the sculpture garden. Explore the moonlit magic of the Council Ring, the Surveyor’s Map, and the Women’s Walk, each lit and decorated for the holidays.

Alexandria Boat Parade of Lights

Where: Alexandria City Marina
When: December 5, 5:30pm
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 12-15
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 14
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.

Harbor Holiday Market
Where: National Harbor
When: Weekends November 14 – December 20
Admission: Free

National Harbor invites you to deck the halls with ideas from their Holiday Market, located on American Way, featuring live trees, handmade holiday ornaments and decorations, tasty holiday treats such as cookies and roasted chestnuts, and much more.

Merry & Bright Shopping Preview
Where: Mosaic District
When: November 14, 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.

Sugar Plum Bazaar
Where: The Washington Ballet Headquarters
When: November 20-22
Admission: Free

The Washington Ballet’s Women’s Committee is hosting a weekend of merriment, food, artisanal shopping, silent auction, and holiday activities. On Saturday, families can enjoy “Cookies and Cocoa,” featuring dancer meet & greets and special treats (tickets for this are $40). Proceeds will benefit The Washington Ballet.

Handmade Holiday Craft Fair
Where: TC Williams High School
When: November 21,10am – 4pm
Admission: Free

A local school fair with a great cause! TC Williams High School will be hosting their 6th Annual Handmade Holiday Craft Fair. Over 50 local vendors will sell items such as handmade soaps, jewelry, stationary, and much more. There will be food sales, baked goods, and live music from the TC jazz band. This free event raises money for Joining Hearts and Hands, an organization that promotes economic and social improvements in Kenya and Tanzania. Over the past five years, students have helped raise enough money to build a fourth grade classroom in Tanzania! You can view our list of vendors here. The high school is located at 3330 King St. in Alexandria.

Downtown Holiday Market
Where: 8th & F Streets NW
When: November 27 – 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. Nearly 200 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).

Alexandria’s Holiday Market
Where: Carlyle District in Alexandria
When: December 4-23 (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.

Gifts That Give Hope Gift Fair
Where: Calvary United Methodist Church
When: December 5, 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.

PARCEL Market
Where: Canal Park
When: December 5-6
Admission: Free

PARCEL Market returns to Canal Park for its 2nd Year! Featuring the 1,000 square-foot Canal Park Ice Rink, the Market urbanizes the holiday market with three city blocks of hand-made modern styling, interactive art, musical talents, activities, and a showcase of emerging independent brands, chefs, and retailers.

Sugarloaf Craft Festival
Where: Dulles Expo Center
When: December 11-13
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.


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