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Washington DC Holiday Guide – The 2016 Do DC with Kids Edition


Washington DC Holiday Guide – The 2016 Do DC with Kids Edition

‘Tis the season to be merry and bright! And I’m learning that Washington DC makes that easy by going all out for the season. (If you’re looking for the man in the red suit check out this post I wrote about Santa in the District). So here’s a list of happenings from markets to ice skating, enjoy! Happy Holidays!  


December 2-January 1 The ever beautiful Georgetown Waterfront is lit up thanks to Georgetown Glow, an outdoor light exhibit that is free and open to the public from 6-10pm.

The Conservation Carousel is fun to ride throughout ZooLights at the National Zoo in Washington DC.

November 25- January 1  I wrote an entire post about ZooLights which you can find, here. But the short and sweet synopsis is this, quirky lights that are fun for the entire family.

City Center DC is decorated for the Holidays.

A boy window shops in City Center.

Throughout the holidays CityCenterDC is immaculately decorated. Children also enjoy their large outdoor 180 degree television. And the big kids might want a gelato from Dolcezza or a piece of cake from Rare Sweets. And if you’re looking to have an actual meal I suggest Momofuku which has always accommodated children without fuss.

Thomas the Tank Engine at the United States Botanical Garden.

Thomas at the United States Botanical Garden.

November 25- January 2 The United States Botanical Garden is decorated to the theme ‘National Parks and Historic Places’, in addition to the models they set out of DC’s monuments except to marvel at the national wonders of the US. Their train display is wildly popular on the weekend, but you may skip that line and enter the just as beautifuly decorated conservatory, separately. They also have a concert schedule which I’ve included below in the events section.

Ice Skating 

Ice Skating at the National Gallery of Art.

Ice Skating at the National Gallery of Art.

The National Gallery of Art ice rink is situated right on the National Mall. And with views of historic buildings and sculptures this rink provides a great DC memory. You can warm up with a hot cocoa before or after in their cafe. I talk about their lessons and schedule in my holiday gift guide, here.

The Washington Harbour Ice Rink in Georgetown may give the National Gallery ice rink a run for its money in terms of views. Situated on the Potomac you can see the Kennedy Center as well as the Theodore Roosevelt Island. Themed skating days at the rink include; Cartoon Saturday, Rock N Skate Saturday and Two for Tuesday skate. For more info check their website, here.

The Canal Park Ice Rink  at the Capitol Riverfront is located in an area of DC that’s recently been given a makeover. This hip new area is worth a visit, learn more about the ice rink, here.

Christmas Trees 

The Capitol Christmas tree comes direct from Idaho. Located across from the United States Botanical Garden it’s an easy tree to combine with a greenhouse visit.

The White House Tree is a must visit, of course. For hours and more information see the official website, here.

City Center DC looks beautiful in its holiday decorations and the tree does not disappoint. If it’s cold you can also duck into the Milk Bar Store and admire the tree while having an unsual bakery treat (“crack pie” or cereal milk flavored soft serve)

Union Station DC.

Being in Union Station around the holidays is like going inside a snow globe. The station is festive already but add a beautifully decorated tree and a train set and voila, it’s a winter wonderland. I suggest you visit the store of the National Postal Museum after to buy holiday stamps, when I went for that purpose a few days ago there was NO LINE (a holiday miracle).

Holiday Markets 

The Downtown Holiday Market is directly outside the National Portrait Gallery.

The Downtown Holiday Market is directly outside the National Portrait Gallery.

November 25- December 23 The Downtown Holiday Market provides free smells and lots of gifting options.

December 18 Rock’N’Roll Garage Sale at the Black Cat might be the perfect place for those hard to find gifts.


December 10-11  The Washington Nationals host their annual Winterfest. Kids and adults alike will enjoy meeting their favorite baseball players, making snow forts and “sledding” on an indoor slide.

Live seasonal music at the United States Botanical Garden will occur at 6pm on the following dates December 15, 20 (6:30pm), 22, 27 and 29. See their schedule, here.

December 10 What could be better than a family sing along at the gorgeous Washington National Cathedral? Tickets for Family Joy can be purchased, here.

December 10-11, 16-18 Let the Christmas Revels take you on a Nordic celebration of carols, dance and drama. recommend for ages 8+

December 14 Story time at the National Archives, join them as they talk about the arctic, crafts to follow.

December 17 Warm up the vocal chords and then grab the family for a sing along at the Kennedy Center. A Family Christmas is recommended for ages 5+.

December 17 The Hill Center will teach your kids the art of cooking, including prep and clean up. This holiday edition class is best for ages 9-12. More about the Culinary Kids program, here.

Weekdays through December 20 Take your child on a tour of holidays throughout the world with Seasons of Light  a holiday show put on by Discovery Theater.

December 23 Bring the entire family for this free performance at the Kennedy Center, the Messiah sing along features a 200 voice choir and Handle’s masterful music.

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