When school is out and the winter season is finally in full swing, families can certainly go stir crazy. The good news is that we have the ultimate guide to the best activities and ways to celebrate the holidays in the D.C. area, kid-friendly and all.
THE NATIONAL CHRISTMAS TREE & NATIONAL HANUKKAH MENORAH
During the holidays, the National Christmas Tree lighting and presence on the National Mall is a D.C. icon and a must-see in December. The tree is lit up daily at nightfall until 10PM, and each night in December, local musical groups perform on the Ellipse, just in front of the White House. The nightly events are open to the public and the National Christmas Tree is a great way for the family to get into the holiday spirit in the Nation’s Capital.
During the eight-day-long Jewish holiday, the National Hanukkah Menorah is also lit on the White House grounds at the Ellipse. The first Hanukkah candle is lit on December 12 and an additional candle is lit every night through the remainder of the holiday. Both are beautiful demonstrations of the holiday season!
GAYLORD NATIONAL RESORT’S ICE!
Looking for an interactive holiday day of fun? Look no further than ICE! at the Gaylord National Resort in National Harbor, MD. Open to kids and families of all ages, ICE! is a winter wonderland created from 5,000 hand-sculpted blocks of ice and kept at nine degrees Fahrenheit. Guests are provided with oversized coats to keep them warm as they roam through the 15,000 square foot space filled with holiday scenes.
While you are at the resort, be sure to check out the Starlight Christmas Tree featuring the hotel holiday fountain show, Sounds and Songs of Christmas hourly from 6 – 9PM nightly from November 18 to January 1.
A great way to escape the cold and pass the time during winter break is visiting the theater for an entertaining holiday show. From A Christmas Carol at Ford’s Theater and the Kennedy Center to The Nutcracker at the Warner Theater there are so many ways to get in the holiday spirit through live music, dancing and traditional storylines. Be sure to check the theater websites for showtimes and tickets.
FIRST NIGHT EVENTS
With the New Year just around the corner, there are plenty of family-friendly opportunities to celebrate and make special memories as we ring in 2018. The Midnight at 7 event in Columbia, MD features a Symphony of Lights display on the grounds of Merriweather Post Pavilion. Beginning earlier in the evening, this celebration is a great option for families with young children. Walk through the lights, enjoy music, dancing, and other activities including fireworks.
First Night Alexandria is another great option for families in Virginia or D.C. The Annual Fun Hunt – a scavenger hunt through the streets of Old Town – and free activities including face painting, a moon bounce, interactive games and sing-alongs take place from 2 - 5PM. Live performances take place from 7 – 11:45 PM and the night ends with a wonderful fireworks display at midnight, visible from all along the Potomac.
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