Looking for great winter activities for kids in Washington DC this year? Our local editor has rounded up some real crowd pleasers!
1. Downtown Holiday Market, open through December 23, features more than 150 regional artisans, crafters and boutique businesses of ethnically produced goods. Irish step dancers entertain the afternoon of December 21, and a wide variety of musical acts — from rock to jazz, gospel, folk, R&B, classical, blues, and bluegrass keep the shoppers hopping daily.
2. Flight Trampoline Park, in Springfield VA, offers a number of specialized jump sessions for all ages, including Open Jump, Club Flight, Kid Flight, Flight Fit, Special Needs Night, and Family Flight Night. If the polar vortex has the kids all cabin-feverish, a little bouncing might be just the ticket.
3. Visit the Butterfly Pavilion at the National Museum of Natural History and walk among more than 400 tropical butterflies flitting daily (except Dec 25). Feels like spring, doesn’t it? While you’re there, you might also catch a tarantula feeding… What could be more festive?
4. The National Zoo sparkles during the holidays with ZooLights, including live music performances, tasty winter treats, and plenty of opportunities for holiday shopping. A dazzling light show set to music is brand new this year. Zoolights runs through Jan 1, from 5pm-9pm daily. PS: kids in grades K-5 can while away those no-school days at the Snow Safari Day Camp.
5. Visit the national Christmas Tree and the Pathway of Peace in President’s Park/The Ellipse. The Pathway of Peace around the National Christmas Tree is free and open to visitors starting the week of Dec 15 through Jan 1, daily from 10am-10pm. The pathway loops around the National Christmas Tree and features 56 unique Christmas trees to represent each US state, US territory, and the District of Columbia. Music program performances are scheduled Tue-Fri (5pm-8:30pm) and Sat-Sun (1pm-8:30pm).
6. Fly through the air with the greatest of ease — like Santa! — at the Trapeze School New York – Washington, DC. Options include classes for all levels (first-timers and beginners are welcome), as well as intensive multi-session workshops for more advanced flyers. Trampoline classes are available as group sessions of 60 or 90 minutes, with up to four students per class.
7. The United States Botanic Garden creates one of the city’s most festive holiday exhibitions, inviting families to explore the seven seas, guided by the light of 33 lighthouses. Keep an eye out for sea creatures, mermaids and even a pirate ship, all created with plant parts. And don’t miss the model trains!
8. Washington Harbour Ice Rink is DC’s largest outdoor ice skating venue, much bigger than New York City’s Rockefeller Center rink. It’s open for recreational skating daily — including all holidays — from mid-November through March.
9. Don’t miss the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop‘s annual winter performance festival and arts showcase on Dec 13. The all day extravaganza features performances from music, dance, and theatre teachers and students; exhibitions from visual arts, ceramics, and photography classes; gingerbread house making; and an art sale (perfect for holiday gifts). Check out the class line-up while you’re there.
10. Adventure Theatre MTC rolls out a holiday favorite, A Christmas Carol, now through Jan 1 . The one-hour running time makes it a perfect first foray into theater for little ones ages 4 and up. And what would the holidays be without a dose of the Washington Ballet‘s Nutcracker, another seasonal feast for the eyes and ears?