There’s a lot to do in and around the Washington, DC area with kids, almost too much to do. So, if you live in the area, or are planning to pay a visit during the winter holidays, here are more than 20 fun things to do with your kids.
1. See Model Trains. Go to the U.S. Botanic Garden for plenty of model trains, which will chug around iconic national parks, like the Grand Canyon, made out of plants as part of the annual Season’s Greenings (runs Nov. 24 – Jan. 2).
3. See the Grinch. Take the kids to see Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical at the National Theatre (runs Dec. 13-31). As a bonus, save 25% through Certifikid.
4. Take the Kids to ZooLights. Head to the National Zoo evenings Nov. 25 – Jan. 1 for ZooLights. Be sure to enjoy the zoo tubing tracks and the National Zoo Choo-Choo.
5. Take a Selfie with the Capitol Christmas Tree. After your visit to the U.S. Botanic Garden, stop across the street for a selfie with the Capitol Christmas Tree. This year’s tree hails from Idaho.
6. Go to a Christmas Market. Head into the city for the Downtown Holiday Market, which runs from Nov. 25 – Dec. 23. Look for handmade gifts, music, hot drinks, even mini donuts and cream-filled Churros.
8. Slide Down an Ice Slide at ICE!. Head to the Gaylord National Resort to slide down ice slides, watch sculptors make ice sculptures and see an ice depiction of Christmas Around the World at ICE! (runs Nov. 19 – Jan. 1).
9. Enjoy Christmas at Mount Vernon. Through Jan. 6, tour the mansion, watch chocolate-making demonstrations and meet Aladdin the Christmas Camel at Mount Vernon.
10. Try a First Day Hike. First Day Hikes are part of a nationwide initiative started by America’s State Parks to encourage families to get outdoors. Look for a New Year’s Day First Day Hike near you.
12. Go on a Mansion Tour at Oatlands. Take a guided mansion tour at Oatlands in Leesburg throughout December to see the mansion all decked out for the holidays. You can also sit for an afternoon tea between 1-3 pm in the historic Carriage House.
13. See a Waterskiing Santa. Bundle up and head to Old Town Alexandria for the longest-running water ski Christmas show featuring a waterskiing Santa. The show takes place on Dec. 24 at 1 pm.
14. Drive Through a Lights Display. Enjoy a festive drive-through lights display. One to check out is the Bull Run Festival of Lights in Centreville (runs Nov. 23 – Jan. 8). Another good one is the Winter Lights Festival in Gaithersburg (runs Nov. 25 – Dec. 31).
16. See the Giant Pandas. Head to the National Zoo to see giant pandas, Tian Tian, Bao Bao and Bei Bei. Bao Bao will be heading back to China in the first few months of the new year, so see him before he departs.
17. Go to a Holiday Parade. Take the kids to see floats, marching bands and dancers at a holiday parade. Two local favorites include the Reston Holiday Parade (Nov. 25) and Manassas Christmas Parade (Dec. 3).
18. Enjoy Afternoon Tea at the Willard InterContinental. Enjoy tea sandwiches, fresh fruits, scones and sweets, as well as a hot cup of tea, of course at the Willard InterContinental. Served throughout December from 1-4 pm.
19. Watch a Boat Parade. Head to Old Town Alexandria for the annual Holiday Boat Parade of Lights that takes place on Dec. 3 at sundown. Watch the harbor light up as colorful boats cruise the Potomac River.
20. See the National & State Christmas Trees. Need more Christmas trees? Head to the Ellipse to see the National Christmas Tree, as well as decorated trees for all 50 states (starting Dec. 1).
Now, here are a few more bonus must-do’s over the holidays for those eager to get out of town:
21. See Miracle on 34th Street. No, not the movie. Head up to Baltimore for Miracle on 34th Street, the annual holiday lights display in Hampden. It’s a real treat for everyone (runs Nov. 26- Jan. 1).
22. Visit Hersheypark. Get out of town and head up to Hershey, PA for Hersheypark Christmas Candylane (runs Nov. 11 – Jan. 1). Don’t forget to drive through Hershey Sweet Lights. My kids and I went last November, so take a look our list of 10 Things to Do at Hersheypark Over the Holidays.
23. Go to Christmas Town. Take the kids to Christmas Town at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg. There’s lots to do, including Rudolph’s Winter Wonderland and Santa’s Workshop at the North Pole. Get discounted tickets now.