This is always a great time of year in DC, and not only because of the warmer weather and colorful hues that come with spring. It’s also when some of the area’s best annual events occur. Say “oui” to a Georgetown outing, celebrate a grand carousel, explore your world at local university, enjoy a day of fun on a dairy farm, experience “shear” joy at one of the best parks around, spend a day with beloved train, and even more. And the compilation of the best outdoor places and the big list of indoor activities have even more ideas for mainstay fun. Happy Weekend!
Bon Jour, Georgetown!
Where: Book Hill Neighborhood | Georgetown, DC
When: Friday/Saturday, 10am – 5pm & Sunday, 12-5pm
The Georgetown French Market returns to the Book Hill neighborhood bringing the signature European open air market back for its 14th year, featuring nearly 40 Georgetown boutiques, antique shops, restaurants and galleries, art, and antique home furnishings. But it’s not all about the shopping; kids will enjoy the strolling mimes, children’s activities, live music, and French cuisine from Georgetown cafes and restaurants. Visit the website to download a schedule of events and list of participating shops.
Where: Glen Echo Park | Glen Echo, MD
When: Saturday, 11am – 4pm
Admission: Free (rides are $1.25)
The park’s annual Family Day may have a new name, but the celebration of the beautiful historic Dentzel Carousel, now open for its 97th season, is the same fantastic event. Along with rides on the merry-go-round, guests of all ages can enjoy a loads of fun activities: Music and dance performances, arts & crafts, face painting, storytelling, and balloon animals are just some of the usual favorites. See the full schedule of events here.
Where: University of Maryland
When: Saturday, 10am – 4pm
The annual Maryland Day celebration in College Park gets a giant thumbs-up from me, and not just because it’s my alma mater. This is a fantastic event for families, and I know from experience. Every year, the University hosts a huge open house for, well, everybody. “Explore Our World of Fearless Ideas” is the theme, and guests will be able to do that and then some. There will be over 400 activities for varying ages, including learning games; an adventure area; autograph sessions with the basketball teams; musical performances; arts & crafts; farm animal visits; puppet shows and sing-a-longs; face painting; fossil digs; insect and instrument petting zoos; and TONS more. It’s spread out all over campus — and it’s a huge campus, so prepared for lots of walking (worth every step!) and be sure to bring a stroller for little ones.
Shearing & Fiber Day
Where: Watkins Regional Park | Upper Marlboro, MD
When: Saturday, 10am – 1pm
Join the workers at the Old Maryland Farm for the annual shearing of the sheep and llama! See firsthand how wool and hair are collected from farms and learn how it will end up in your clothing. Enjoy the wool spinning demonstration and fiber display. Hay rides are also available for $2 per rider. And while you’re there, enjoy the rest of the wonderful offerings at Watkins Regional Park!
Picnic on the Pasture
Where: South Mountain Creamery | Middletown, MD
When: Saturday, 9am – 7:30pm
Admission: $14/adult, $9/child, $40/family
Join South Mountain Creamery for breakfast and plan to stay all day to enjoy wide open country, fresh air, green grass, and wholesome fun for the entire family. Free tours of the farm, petting zoo for the kids, hay rides for everyone, live music, and fun farm exhibits, like ice cream churning and bee keeping, will be going on. Visit our farmers market and meet farm and producer partners. Admission fee includes parking, family activities, and one (adult/child) meal platter good for either breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Additional food and snacks will be available for purchase.
Day Out with Thomas
Where: B&O Railroad Museum
When: Friday – Sunday
All aboard, little engineers! Thomas the Tank Engine™ will be able to talk to his fans when he returns to the B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore! Take a 25-minute train ride behind Thomas the Tank Engine, meet Sir Topham Hatt, and enjoy a full day of live entertainment, activities, and family fun!
Book Shop Birthday Bash
Where: East City Book Shop | Capitol Hill, DC
When: Saturday, 10am – 8pm
Help East City Book Shop celebrate their first birthday as well as Independent Bookstore Day! A daylong lineup of activities will include two storytimes, authors as guest booksellers, an a capella performance, free food throughout the day, plus a free gift to anyone who purchases $50+ at the store (while supplies last). There will be evening fun, too! Visit the website for the day’s schedule and more details.
Where: Local Theatres
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by show
* Your wish for all-ages entertainment has been granted: Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp is at Adventure Theatre
* Enjoy Theatre for the Very Young at a performance of Paper Dreams at the Atlas
* Go wild for The Jungle Book at Imagination Stage
* It’s the last weekend to see The Three Billy Goats Gruff at The Puppet Co.
* And Baby Bear’s Birthday is this week’s featured Tiny Tots show
* A Raisin in the Sun at Arena Stage is outstanding and appropriate for middle school ages an dup
* Gala Hispanic Theatre presents Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights – En Español!
* Ragtime is running at Ford’s Theatre, a historic DC etertainment venue
* Make it a date night at Fun Home running at National Theatre through May 13 (look for a discount)
* Synetic Theatre’s Macbeth would also make for a good KidFree outing (look for a discount)
Nats vs. Mets
Where: Nationals Park
When: Friday, Saturday, & Sunday
Admission: Ticket prices vary
It’s a weekend at home for the Nats as they host the Mets. There are games Friday at 7:05pm, Saturday at 1:05pm, and on Sunday at 1:35pm. Stay after on Sunday for Kids Run the Bases, and be sure to check these KFDC tips for doing a Nats game without breaking the bank.
Root for the Baysox
Where: Prince George’s Stadium | Landover, MD
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Ticket prices vary
The Nats aren’t the only baseball team in town. The Bowie Baysox, one of the local minor league teams, are hosting the Akron Rubber Ducks all weekend, and there’s extra fun and special promos to enjoy, too — post-game fireworks, Purple Rain Night, Read & hit a hoe Run Night, PJ Masks Day and more. Get details on what’s happening when here. And read more about Baysox games in this KFDC post.
Charm City Bluegrass Festival
Where: Druid Hill Park | Baltimore, MD
When: Saturday, 10am – 9:30pm
Admission: $55/advance, $60/day of, free for 10 and under
Music lovers and foodies will be gathering for the fifth annual all-day celebration of bluegrass. Three stages, 14 bands, and 12 hours of family-friendly festivities, will include local food, limited release beer from Union Brewery, artists, kid’s games, crafts, spontaneous jam sessions, and more. New to the festival this year is a third stage, providing festival goers with a more comprehensive musical experience featuring traditional and progressive bluegrass, folk and Americana. Visit the website for the lineup of music and food.
Mother’s Day Fused Glass Pendants
Where: Annmarie Sculpture Garden | Solomons, MD
When: Saturday, 11am – 1pm
Admission: $40/member, $45/non-member (includes parent & child)
Kids ages 10 and up with adults can learn to create a fused glass heart pendant with various bits of colorful mosaic glass. Each parent/child couple will create two hearts to exchange for Mother’s Day. Hearts will need to be fired in a kiln and will be ready for pickup by Mother’s Day. A special gift for the maternal figures in your life!
Catch the Ultimate Breeze
Where: Gallaudet University | Northeast, DC
When: Saturday, 6:30pm
Admission: $10/advance, $12.50/day of
Bring the kids out for fun, fresh air, and Pro Ultimate Frisbee! Not only will you get to see exciting Frisbee action as local team DC Breeze takes on the Ottawa Outlaws, kids can join a free youth clinic (for ages 6-17) before the game at 5pm (FYI: they offer this at every home game.) And while your kids are learning Ultimate out on the field, you can enjoy food and drink specials and listen to a live band to get ready for the game.
KidFree Theatre: Smart People
Where: Arena Stage
When: Through May 21
Admission Tickets start at $41
Oh, this is good! The newest production at Arena Stage is clever and captivating as it deals with race and what shapes our belief systems. The topic is explored through four smart, strong characters, their approaches to their professions, and interactions with each other. While it covers serious subject matter, the show is loaded with laugh-out-loud moments, bringing comic relief to tense situations. In the end, though, it leaves you thinking… and also wistful for a time when we thought, perhaps, we’d crossed some of those bridges.
Family Day: From a Moment to Infinity
Where: Hirshhorn Museum
When: Sunday, 10am – 2pm
The Hirshhorn and Smithsonian Gardens are teaming up for a day of free family friendly activities inspired by Orchids: A Moment and Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors. Visitors of all ages are invited to pot their own orchid, try their hands at botanical sketching, obliterate an orchid with dots, create their own “orchidgami,” explore an infinity play space, and more. And those who dress in the theme “A Moment to Infinity” will be entered in a costume contest to win exciting prizes!
Dog Days Bloom Fest
Where: Great Country Farms | Bluemont, VA
When: Saturday & Sunday, 10am – 4pm
Admission: $8/child, $10/adult
This adventure for dogs and their people has something for every member of the family, but canines especially will have a blast at the day’s festivities. The addition of a Frisbee Competition with the Appalachian Air Canines on Saturday brings a new level of excitement to this year’s event. Professionals will also be providing tips for working with your dog. And the rest of the farm, which is essentially a sprawling playground, is open for all to enjoy. Explore the many acres, and opt for a wagon ride to see the orchards and farm in bloom!
Where: Brookside Gardens
When: Through September 17, 10am – 4pm
Admission: $8/ages 13 and up, $5/3-12, free ages 0-2
Walk amid a garden of butterflies as Brookside Garden’s amazing Wings of Fancy during the first weekend of its annual run. The display featuring live butterflies and caterpillars from all over the world is sure to delight! Plan to tour the rest of Brookside’s lovely grounds while you’re there and see if there are any other special kids’ programs to enjoy. Read about one of our experiences at the exhibit and rest of Brookside.
Where: Shlagel Farms
When: Throughout the weekend
The PYO season has begun as the first farms has opened its strawberry patches to the public, so you can get out there and reap the fruits. See this post for details on Shlagel and other area farms that will open soon where you can gather your own berries, several offering much more than just picking.
Where: Meridian Hill & Marvin Gaye Parks
When: Saturday, 6pm & Sunday, 3pm
Ella Fitzgerald is turning 100, and in the spirit of celebration for her life and legacy, The DC Youth Orchestra Program (DCYOP) and The American Pops Orchestra (APO) are partnering to bring the joy and beauty of music to the DC community with performances this weekend. Open to the public, this tribute to Fitzgerald brings music to local parks in a family-friendly environment and will feature Fitzgerald favorites including “A-Tisket, A-Tasket,” “Just One of Those Things,” and “The Lady is a Tramp” among many others in the setting of two of DC’s iconic parks. Saturday’s show will take place in Meridian Hill Park in Columbia Heights, and Sunday’s will be at Marvin Gaye Park in northeast.
27th Annual Garden Fair and Plant Sale
Where: National Arboretum
The Arboretum’s annual Garden Fair and Plant Sale is a weekend designed for gardeners of all levels searching for their perfect plant, herbs from the Potomac Unit of the National Herb Society, or horticulture guidance from expert horticulturists. Make it a family affair — the event also features food and drink vendors, a performance by the Washington Revels, and a strawberry potting activity for children. Festivities will take place outside the Administration Building and Visitor Center, adjacent to the National Capitol Columns, near the Azalea Collection (which is beautiful now!), and in the Grove of State Trees, so you can enjoy the beautiful grounds, too.
Mother’s Day Tea Party: A Family Clay Workshop
Where: Annmarie Sculpture Garden | Solomons, MD
When: Sunday, 11am – 1pm
Admission: $65/members, $75/non-members (includes parent & child)
Celebrate Mother’s Day by working with Mom to create an entire tea service complete with teapot, creamer, sugar bowl, and teacups. Work together to make your own whimsical set out of clay, then decorate them with colorful underglazes. Create special memories with this great workshop!
* Learn about Flex Academies and their after school enrichment programs.
* Want a fun & educational summer camp? Check out e² Young Engineers.
* You might find a great deal on it (and lots of other camps) on CertifiKID.
* The azaleas in bloom at the National Arboretum is a beautiful!
* The National Air & Space Museum just debuted a new Virtual Reality Motion Ride. Go for a spin in space on the VR Transporter next time you’re there!