Tag Archives: Washington DC Kids Activities

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.

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.

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.

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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Filed under All ages, Animals, Annual, Art, Cause, Chanukah, Charity, Christmas, Date Night, DC, Discount, Eats, Educational, Exhibit, Fall, Farm, Festival, Free, Holidays, Hotel, Indoor Play, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Music, Nature, Outdoor, Parade, Park, Seasonal, Shop, Theatre, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend, Winter

Wicked Fun Ways to Celebrate Halloween Around DC

Elsa, Frida, & Oliver ready to hit the Halloween scene last year

Elsa, Frida, & Oliver ready to hit the Halloween scene last year



Why wait until the actual day to celebrate one of the best holidays of the year? Besides the bonus of getting extra mileage out of costumes and having more excuses to indulge in sweets, Halloween festivities are a treat any day. And there are loads of ways to get into the spirit during the days leading up to the grand event. From no-fright fun to cool and creepy thrills, this annual KFDC round-up has all of the details on where and when you and the kids can have a wicked good time around DC and even a bit…beyond. Happy Halloween!

“Eye Spy” Halloween Train
Where: Cabin John Regional Park
When: October 8-9, 14-16, 21-23, & 28-30
Admission: $6 and a can of food

Hop on board the Halloween Train! Cabin John’s “Eye Spy” features just enough “boo” power for kids age 8 and under. Along the ride through the woods on the train, kids can try to find Halloween friends hiding along the way and mark them off their “Eye Spy” game cards that they receive with admission. Guests can also enjoy Halloween movies every night, face painting on Saturdays and Sundays, and light refreshments for sale. The “Eye Spy” train runs 1-6pm on Fridays and 11-6pm on weekends. Purchase tickets online starting October 1 here.

Haunted Train & Creepy Carousel
Where: Wheaton Regional Park
When: October 8-9, 14-16, 21-23, & 28-30
Admission: $6

Wheaton Regional Park’s Haunted Train and Creepy Carousel are back and scarier than ever! This annual Halloween attraction is best for guests ages 8 and up, because they “aim to scare” (and this is part of the website description, so take their word for it). Admission includes one ride each on the train and carousel, plus entrance to the Hall of Jack o’ Lanterns movie theater presenting scary films every night. The train and carousel run 6:30-9:30pm each night. Purchase tickets online starting October 1 here. Plan to bring canned food, too, to help neighbors in need.

Costume Drive to Help Families in Need
Where: Hilton McLean Tyson Corner
When: Through October 14
Admission: n/a

Steph Snaps Photos, Hilton McLean, and Harth have yet again joined forces for their 2nd annual costume drive, aiming to secure gently used or new costume donations for local families. The collected costumes and funds will benefit a diverse number of non-profit organizations in our community that will provide costumes for children and families. New or gently used costumes of any size can be dropped off at Hilton McLean Tysons Corner any day. Cash donations are also accepted at www.gofundme.com/costumedrive2016 — the money collected will help purchase additional costumes with size requirements that have not been fulfilled through the donation process.

Howl-o-Scream Package
Where: Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg, VA
When: Weekends in October
Admission: Rates start at $339/night

Fiery foliage, Halloween-themed spooky events, and mild temperatures will greet you at Kingsmill Resort when you check in this fall. While there are those that believe the waterfront condo-style resort has its share of paranormal activity, there is plenty of room for lively, younger spirits of all ages. (The old spirits are behind the bar.) For those looking to elevate the fear factor, the resort offers the Howl-O-Scream Package, which includes accommodations for two nights, daily breakfast, complimentary parking, Wi-Fi, and shuttle service to Busch Gardens and Colonial Williamsburg. Guests also get access to Busch Gardens with two Fun Cards.

Boostravaganza
Where: Frying Pan Farm Park
When: October 13, 6-7pm & 7-8pm
Admission: $10/child

Children ages 3-8 are invited to come to the Indoor Arena Barn dressed in their favorite costumes anytime between from 6-8pm. Enjoy fun, games, and a wagon ride. Finish the evening with treats and a small pumpkin. Reservations are required, and space is limited, so sign up soon!

Cirque de la Symphonie: Halloween Extravaganza
Where: Kennedy Center
When: October 13-16
Tickets: $24-99

Cirque de la Symphonie brings its trademark brand of awe-inspiring feats and thrills, including jugglers, aerialists, contortionists, strongmen, and more, to a program set to classic spooky music, such as Dukas’s The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Saint-Saëns’s Danse macabre, and Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor, among other familiar tunes. The Sunday matinee performance is part of the NSO Family Concert Series, designed for young audiences. Beginning one hour before the performance, children and families can enjoy the “Haunted Hall” activities, which include games and activities, an instrument petting zoo, and spook-tacular decorations. Audiences are encouraged to come in costume for all for performances.

The Best Haunted House Ever
Where: Thomas Jefferson Community Theatre
When: October 14-23
Tickets: $15/adults, $10/children

Encore Stage & Studio presents a Halloween-inspired show this season: When students from two different high schools sneak into a local haunted house to scare their classmates, utter chaos ensues. At first it seems like the students are just pulling Halloween pranks, but when a spooky zombie and mysterious ghost don’t fit into the students’ haunting plans it can only mean one thing–they are not alone in the house! Happy haunting! Recommended for ages 6 and up.

Spooky SPY Family Night
Where: International Spy Museum
When: October 14, 6-9pm
Admission: $14

Ditch your Halloween costume and change your while identity at the Spy Museum’s annual Halloween event! Has your brother been spying on you? Is grandma really a secret agent? Does dad really have lethal ninja skills? Now’s your chance to find out as your family of spies gains exclusive after-hours access to the Museum. Test your family’s spy skills as you run top secret missions, go deep undercover and transform your appearance with the help of professional make-up artists, challenge yourself in Code Cracker competitions, and enjoy SPY snacks and a chance to explore all forms of spy tradecraft. Go in disguise as your favorite spy! For ages 5 and up, includes exclusive after-hours admission, SPY snacks, scavenger hunt, prize competitions, and more! Space is limited — advance registration required. (One adult required for every five KidSpy agents.)

http://www.atlasarts.org/event/2016-10-17/“>Goulishly Good Music
Where: Atlas Performing Arts Center
When: October 16
Admission:

Capital City Symphony’s Family Concerts are always fun, interactive, and educational. This year’s program is inspired by the spookiness and fantasy of Halloween, so don costumes to join in the fun! Face the ghosts and ghouls of Saint-Saëns’ Danse Macabre and Mussorgsky’s Night on Bald Mountain, or enter the fairy tale world of Stravinsky’s The Firebird. Along the way you’ll learn how the instruments of the orchestra combine to bring these amazing stories to life. Go 30 minutes before show time to meet the musicians at the Instrument Petting Zoo — kids just might discover their new favorite instrument.

Boo at the Zoo
Where: National Zoo
When: October 21-23, 5:30-8:30pm
Admission: $20/members, $30/non-members

Join the National Zoo for their annual not-so-spooky Halloween haunt, one of DC’s most popular events for the kiddie crowd. With more than 40 treat stations, animal demonstrations, keeper chats, live entertainment, and decorated trails, this frightfully fun evening is a treat for the whole family. Costumes encouraged!

Soul Strolls
Where: Congressional Cemetery
When: October 21-22 & 28-29
Admission: $20/adult, $10/child

Congressman, carpenters, suffragists, and bootleggers are among the graveyard residents on Capitol Hill, and they all have a unique tale to tell. Congressional Cemetery’s annual Soul Strolls explore these stories through guided tours and costumed interpreters. Typically only open from dawn to dusk, this special event allows nighttime access to the public. Hour-long walks depart every 15 minutes between 6 -9pm, with beer, wine, and cider will be for sale (to put you at ease among the spirits).

Monster Mash
Where: Center at Leesburg
When: October 22
Admission: Free

Join the the Village at Leesburg for a frighteningly good time the 7th Annual Monster Mash! There will be center-wide trick-or-treating starting while supplies last, live music, street performers, a costume contest for children and pets, a Halloween parade, and as seen on Food Network’s Halloween Wars, Extreme Pumpkin Carving by James Hall, pastry design by Al Dibartolo, and chocolate sculpture with our very own Santosh Tiptur.

Air and Scare
Where: Udvar-Hazy Center of the National Air & Space Museum
When: October 22, 11am – 5pm
Admission: Free, but parking is $15 until 6pm

See the spooky side of air and space at the Udvar-Hazy Center’s 11th Annual Air & Scare! Arrive in costume for safe indoor trick-or-treating. Participate in creepy crafts, spooky science experiments, and other Halloween-themed activities. Bring the tiniest visitors by the Tot Zone to play dress-up and hear a story. Fun for the whole family!

Haunted Museum Historic Ghost Tour
Where: National Building Museum
When: October 23, 29, & 31, 8pm & 9pm
Admission: $22/members, $25/non-members

Ghost tours at the National Building Museum combine history, humor, and several hair-raising tales into a fun evening. The Museum houses many artifacts related to the building — plans, drawings, and tools — as well as some objects that defy easy explanation, including a collection of shoes found underneath the foundation, believed to have been buried to ward off evil spirits, and a plaster mask, thought to be a death mask dated from the late 1800s. The building is spectacular — and eerie — with the lights out! This tour is recommended for ages 10 and up. Tickets are limited.

Harbor Halloween
Where: National Harbor
When: October 23, 12-2:30
Admission: Free

It’s a spooktacular family event that will include activities for everyone. Join the fun at The Black Dog’s Howl-loween. Trick or treat around the shops at the Harbor. Enjoy a showing of Hocus Pocus on the Plaza Big Screen (movie will begin at 12:30am). Watch a chef pumpking carving contest. Plus, enjoy special activities, including pumpkin decorating, a Halloween coloring station, and a fabulous family fall themed photo station.

Falloween
Where: Market Common Clarendon
When: October 22, 11am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Market Common Clarendon’s fourth annual Falloween Festival celebrates the season and the October holiday with a day of delights for the whole fam. Highlights include live children’s entertainment by Rainbow Rock and Mr. Knick Knack, a petting zoo, face painting, pumpkin decorating + crafts for kids, and a trick-or-treat session throughout the property. This follows the annual Howl-O-Ween Dog Walk, in partnership with Homeward Trails and Doorways For Women and Families, which starts and ends on The Loop at Market Common Clarendon beginning at 10am, stopping through local businesses to support both partners with a costume contest taking place at the end of the event.

A Spooktacular Halloween Party
Where: Carluccio’s in Old Town
When: October 27, 6-8pm
Admission: $20

Join Carluccio’s in Old Town Alexandria for a spooktacular evening! The restaurant will be hosting a children’s Halloween party with cookie decorating and a costume contest. Kids ages and up will receive a free pasta meal, with ticket purchase, and accompanying adults can enjoy happy hour specials. Children and accompanying adults encouraged to dress up!

Paranormal Mansion Tours
Where: Oatlands Estate & Gardens
When: October 27-29, 7pm & 8pm
Admission: $30/adult, $12/child

Get a “different” look at Oatlands on this after dark tour of the old mansion. Hear ghost stories and accounts of unexplained occurrences on the property. Advance reservations are required and non-refundable.

Hilloween
Where: 7th Street SE in front of Eastern Market
When: October 28, 5:30-7:30pm
Admission: Free

Capitol Hill’s annual neighborhood event is legendary for little ones. The block of 7th Street SE next to Eastern Market will be closed to traffic for one of the best community Halloween celebrations in the city. Hayrides, moon bounces, goody giveaways, and even a mini carousel add to the excitement. The best part is seeing the masses of jubilant kids in all kinds of costumes indulging in the extravaganza.

Haunted Hangar
Where: College Park Aviation Museum
When: October 28, 7-9pm
Admission: $5

Wear your costume and enjoy fun fall themed activities. Explore the museum’s gallery and all of its hidden haunts. Arts, crafts, hayrides, and spooky fun await kids and families at the museum where old aircraft and other aviation displays wow visitors.

Spirits of the Past
Where: Bradley Farm in Herndon
When: October 28-29
Admission: $5

The Bradley Farm Haunted House promises everyone a ghoulishly fun time, and for a good cause — proceeds from the community fundraising event help Herndon-Reston FISH bring emergency help to folks in our community. This year’s “Spirits of the Past” theme promises fright and fun! On Friday and Saturday evening from 6-10pm, it offers a dark and scary adventure that’s perfect for tweens, teenagers, and adults. For the younger crowd, there’s a kids haunt with a milder scare on Saturday from 1-5pm that includes trick-or-treating inside the haunted house for children 10 and under, as well as face painting, balloon art, carnival-style games, live entertainment, and costumed characters.

Spooktacular Halloween Bash
Where: St. Paul’s Center
When: October 28, 6-8pm
Admission: Free

You’re invited to attend St. Paul’s Rock Creek Parish annual Spooktacular Halloween Bash! Join the fun in the Great Hall at St. Paul’s Center (201 Allison St NW) for an evening filled with treats, spooky crafts, pumpkin decoration, cemetery hayrides, and more! The main entrance is on the corner of Rock Creek Church and Webster St NW. In the spirit of treats, please bring a canned food item for the Capital Area Food Bank.

Mr. Jon & Friends Halloween Party
Where: Jammin Java
When: October 29, 10:30am
Admission: $8

Kids musical performer Mr. Jon and playing a Halloween Party concert at Jammin Java. His silly interactive show includes classics like “Wheels On The Bus” along with originals, and his my puppet friend George the Monkey will join the fun, too. All ages can enjoy it, but the 1-6 crowd will dig it most.

Halloween in the Garden
Where: Annmarie Sculpture Garden
When: October 29, 11am – 4pm
Admission: $1

Dress the whole family and enjoy a day of trick-or-treating, art activities, lunch and more! The 17th Annual Halloween in the Garden will feature more than 70 community organizations and businesses donning costumes and handing out candy and treats to all the children. Free ooky, spooky crafts will be provided and devilishly delicious food vendors will be present. Admission fees will benefit local charities. Don’t forget to bring your camera — there are always unique photo opportunities with the boo-tiful decorations. New this year, purchase a line-hopper pass for $3/person, on sale at the admission gate from 10:30-11am, and jump to the front of the trick-or-treating line!

Trick or Treat at Tudor Place
Where: Tudor Place
When: October 29
Admission: $10/non-member, $5/member, $3/accompanying adult

Halloween is “spooktacular” at Tudor Place! Wear your costumes (optional) and follow meandering paths to find treats (not tricks!) in every corner of the enchanting North Garden. Enjoy pumpkin-decorating and other crafts, face painting, and outdoor games amid lovely autumn color.

Glen Echo Fall Frolic
Where: Glen Echo Park
When: October 29, 1-4pm
Admission: Free, but small cost for some activities

It’s a safe and fun Halloween event with something for everyone! Daytime activities for families will include pumpkin decorating, arts & crafts, face painting, trick-or-treating, and a costume parade around the Park.

Halloween Carnival
Where: Falls Church
When: October 29, 6-8:30pm
Admission: $2/children ages 2 and up (adults free)

The City of Falls Church has been hosting the annual Halloween Carnival for over 30 years! Infants through fifth graders are invited to enjoy carnival games, a moon bounce, face painting, crafts, a haunted house, movies, candy, and a live creepy creature show featuring the spookiest reptiles in nature. The first hour is best for children up to 2nd grade, and 3rd – 6th graders will enjoy the second hour.

Fall-O-Ween Country Fair
Where: Port Discovery
When: October 29, 10am – 3:30pm
Admission: $13.95/ages 2 and up

Dress up the little ones in their favorite costumes and join Port Discovery’s annual festival. Enjoy not-so-scary, family friendly programs and performances including science-themed activities, crafts, live entertainment, arts & crafts, and more!

Spooky Science
Where: Maryland Science Center
When: October 29, 12-4pm
Admission: $20.95/adult, $16.95/ages 3-12

Celebrate the chills and thrills of Halloween at the MSC’s 8th annual event, where creepy chemistry and mysterious science combine to provide a hauntingly good time. Spend the afternoon with making gooey, glowing slime, decorating pumpkins, exploring spooky sensory bins, and even watch pumpkins being launched off of the roof!

Pumpin Rock ‘n Roll
Where: Warner Circle Park in Kensington, MD
When: October 29, 12-4pm
Admission: Free

Join Headfirst Camps this Halloween for a spooky afternoon of music, games, food, and fun at the first ever Pumpkin Rock N’ Roll! Warner Circle Park will be transformed into a full-blown Halloween extravaganza. Kids can participate in a fun costume contest and parade, and enjoy family-friendly attractions including festival-style musical performances, food trucks, inflatable rides and slides, and a rock wall. Don’t miss the main event: The Pumpkin Roll, a derby race of Halloween pumpkins-turned-boxcars.

Halloween-Themed Storytime
Where: Tivoli’s Astounding Magic Supplu
When: October 29, 11am
Admission: Free

Join 826DC at Tivoli’s Astounding Magic Supply Company for a scary (but not too scary) storytime. Join for age-appropriate readings of Poe’s “Tell Tale Heart” or one of their favorites, “The Hairy Toe,” while you shop for last minute Halloween costumes at the store full of magically fun items. Recommended for ages 6-12.

Halloween Scavenger Hunt
Where: Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library
When: October 29, 3pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate Halloween at the library! Join staff at MLK Library in the Children’s Room for a spooky scavenger hunt and see what treats await! Costumes are encouraged. Recommended for ages 5-12.

Halloween Fun in Occoquan
Where: Occoquan, VA
When: October 29
Admission: Free

Join the town of Occoquan for a day of Halloween fun! Enjoy life-size Halloween characters found on shop benches, porches, and doorways. Hunt for six Halloween characters pictured on the entry form (available at any participating shop) and be entered into a drawing to win a life-sized Venetian Victorian Halloween figure!

Halloween Festival at the Market
Where: Glover Park-Burleith Farmers’ Market
When: Saturday, 9m – 1pm
Admission: Free

Join your local farmers for a Halloween celebration! The Glover Park-Burleith farmers’ market, with Ace Hardware of Glover Park, is hosting free pumpking painting (pumpkins provided!) and trick-or-treating around the market! Free popcorn, stickers, arts & crafts and more! All in addition to live music and tons of fresh, local food – eight varieties of heirloom apples, veggies, meats, dairy, baked goods, organic coffee, olive oils + prepared food!

Dia de los Muertos
Where: National Museum of the American Indian
When: October 29-30
Admission: Free

Join the National Museum of the American Indian for its annual Día de los Muertos (“Day of the Dead”), a celebration originating in Latin America, particularly in Mexico and Central America, to commemorate the lives of the dearly departed and welcome the return of their spirits. Learn and take part in this centuries-old tradition, which includes pre-Hispanic and Spanish customs alike.

Trick-or-Treating at Mount Vernon
Where: Mount Vernon Estate & Gardens
When: October 29 & 31, 3:30-6:30pm
Admission: $12/adult, $6/child

Trick-or-treat at Mount Vernon as George Washington’s estate open its gates for Halloween fun and spook-tacular activities. Join a special scavenger hunt, take a wagon ride on the 12-acre field, and create a boo-tiful Halloween craft. Guests can also check out wool carding, spinning, and fish net making in the historic area before greeting “Martha Washington” on the piazza of the Mansion. Historic chocolate-making demos and tastings will take place. Burn off all the extra excitement (and calories!) with 18th-century dancing. A children’s costume parade around the Mansion will begins at 5pm, and prizes will be awarded for most fang-tastic “George” and “Martha” costumes!

Pumpkin Parade Parties
Where: Gymboree of DC
When: October 29 & 31
Admission: $20/non-members, $15/members ($5/sibling)

Dress up and join the Halloween fun at one of two Gymboree parties! Pumpkin activities, seasonal craft projects, music, snacks, dancing, and parades will be part of the festivities. Newborns – 5-year-olds are invited October 29 3:30-5:30pm, and newborns – 2-year-olds can party October 31, 2-3:30pm. Reservations required: Call 202.627.2450 or email wdc@gymboreeclasses.com. Gymboree DC is located at 2639 Connecticut Ave. NW, Suite 113.

Trick or Treat in the Boo-tiques
Where: Old Town Boutique District in Alexandria
When: October 31, 2-6pm
Admission: Free

Bring your little ghosts and goblins to the Old Town Boutique District’s annual event to start their trick-or-treating early. Stop by the dozens of shops, where they’ll be dishing out treats and some maybe some family-friendly tricks. Halloween costumes are encouraged.

Spy Fright
Where: International Spy Museum Store
When: October 31, 2-6pm
Admission: Free

Go deep undercover this Halloween at the Spy Museum where spooks of every kind will be on the prowl. Spend the scariest night of the year at the place where disguises aren’t just for Halloween! Everyone is invited to arrive in disguise in the Spy Museum Store, where acclaimed professional make-up and disguise artist, Roger Riggle, will be on hand to teach the tools-of-the-trade necessary to transform guests in preparation for a night of tricks and treats. Demonstrations are free-of-charge and include quick disguise applications meant to help guests create their own undercover masterpieces.

Halloween Trick or Treating
Where: Fashion Centre at Pentgaon City
When: October 31, 5-7pm
Admission: Free

Pumpkins, superheroes and wizards are invited to showcase this year’s frightfully-festive Halloween ensembles in Pentagon City during mall-wide trick-or-treating on Halloween evening. Spooky characters can find candy treats from participating retailers displaying a sign in the window.

Costume Carnival
Where: Gateway DC
When: October 31, 5-9pm
Admission: Free

Events DC is hosting its first annual Costume Carnival at Gateway DC on Halloween! Local community partners such as Far Southeast Family Strengthening Collaborative and Safer Stronger DC will decorate booths under the Gateway DC pavilion and hand out candy for kids to trick-or-treat. Children and adults who dress up for this event will be automatically entered in a costume contest, and designated judges will select one youth boy, one youth girl, and one adult to each win a Visa gift card! RSVP to the free event here.

Trick-or-Treating & Photo Ops
Where: Leesburg Corner Premium Outlets
When: October 31, 5-7pm
Admission: Free

It’s not a trick, but there will be treats! Little shoppers are encouraged to participate in the Leesburg Outlets’ mall-wide trick-or-treating event this spooky season for a chance to show off costumes and collect tasty snacks from the center’s participating retailers. And Halloween’s favorite black cat, Jinx, will be strolling through the center, available for photo opportunities!

Day of the Dead Art Workshop
Where: Arlington Arts Center
When: November 4
Admission: $25

Get ready for AAC’s annual Day of the Dead Celebration at these sessions where students can create works of art inspired by the Latin American holiday. There are two classes, one for ages 7-10 and one for ages 11-14.

Fall Festivals
Where: Around the area
When: Through early November
Admission: Varies by locale

Many of the fall festivals around the area incorporate Halloween fun into their offerings. Pick out potential jack-o-lanterns, do Halloween-themed crafts, go on rides, and more. See a list of seasonal celebrations here.

Did I leave out any good ones? Let me know in the comments!


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Filed under All ages, Animals, Annual, Art, Class, DC, Eats, Educational, Exhibit, Fall, Farm, Festival, Free, Halloween, Holidays, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Movies, Museums, Music, Nature, Outdoor, Parade, Park, Seasonal, Shop, Theatre, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend

Walk in the Woods at Woodend Nature Sanctuary

woodend_path

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).

woodend_stairs

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.

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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

woodend_compost

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.

woodend_grove

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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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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