Photo of Christmas Illuminations at Mount Vernon via

This Week’s Events for the Whole Family

We've compiled your weekly list of family-friendly events in Northern Virginia. Here are our recommendations for everything from campfire hikes to train shows, and STEM workshops to menorah lightings!

Ellen Howes
Ellen Howes

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The holiday festivities are still going strong around Northern Virginia, and we’ve compiled your weekly list of family-friendly activities to check out. Here are our 10 recommendations for what to do now through December 18.  

Keep reading to find everything from campfire hikes to train shows, and STEM workshops to menorah lightings:

Flights of Fancy Drop-In Storytime

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Join the National Air and Space Museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center for a special storytime! This week, join in for a reading of Joyce Lapin’s exuberant story "If You Had Your Birthday Party on the Moon", and consider how a party in space would be different from one on Earth. Stick around after the story for a pretend trip to the Moon to collect rocks and make Moon inspired crafts.

When: Tuesday, 12/13 and Thursday, 12/15 with storytimes beginning at 11 am and 11:30 am
Price: Free
Address: Udvar-Hazy Center (National Air & Space Museum), 14390 Air and Space Museum Pkwy., Chantilly, VA 20151
Find out more here.

Tudor Tots: What Winter Holidays Do You Celebrate?

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The winter season is filled with so many different holidays. Tudor Place invites little ones to learn how different people celebrate during this time of year. This Wednesday, young learners will explore the traditions of Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa. Play games that are associated with the different celebrations, enjoy a group story about winter holidays, create a holiday craft, and sing along to holiday songs!

When: Wednesday, 12/14 between 10 am - 10:45 am
Price: Pre-registration is required. Admission is $5/child and free for accompanying adult.
Address: Tudor Place, 1644 31st St. NW, Washington, DC 20007
Click here to register.

Chanukah on Ice

Photo of ice skating by Maxim Shklyaev via Unsplash

Prepare for Chanukah by joining Chanukah On Ice this Thursday at the Pentagon Row outdoor ice skating rink! Spend the evening skating with family and friends, watch the lighting of a giant 6′ Menorah, and enjoy raffles and delicious food, including hot latkes, kosher hot dogs, and refreshments.

When: Thursday, 12/15 at 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Price: $13/attendee, plus more for food and refreshments.
Address: Pentagon Row Outdoor Ice Skating, 1201 S. Joyce St., Arlington, VA 22202
Purchase tickets here.

Winter Lantern Festival

Photo via

Wander through an immersive light festival, illuminating the night sky in the heart of Northern Virginia! The Winter Lantern Festival creates a dazzling world of light, featuring 1,000 handmade Chinese lanterns. This special wonderland includes lanterns that depict Chinese myths, legends, and zodiacs, as well as the world of ice with displays of mammoths, polar bears, and penguins. Plus, you and your family can enjoy interactive activities like light swings, see-saws, and tunnels.

When: Begins Friday, 12/16 and is open through early February 2023 from 5 pm - 10 pm.
Price: $17.99 + fees for youth (children ages 3-12), $29.99 + fees for adults.
Address: Lerner Town Square at Tysons III, 8025 Galleria Dr., Tysons, VA 22102
Learn more on their website.

Christmas Illuminations at Mount Vernon

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For two days this December, visit Mount Vernon for a family-friendly holiday celebration: Christmas Illuminations. Enjoy stunning fireworks over the Potomac River at night! And soak in the splendor of the house illuminated for the season, with the Mansion aglow in beautiful amber light, the Upper Garden and Greenhouse dazzling in blue and lavender with moving wintry light patterns, and the lantern-lit Historic Area. There will also be mansion tours, a winter market, the opportunity to see a winter encampment, and much more!

When: Friday, 12/16 and Saturday, 12/17 from 5:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Price: Ticket prices vary depending on members vs. non-members. Non-member youth tickets for the illumination show and no tour are $36, adult non-member tickets without a tour are $58. Mansion tour tickets are sold out for both days.
Address: George Washington’s Mount Vernon, 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Hwy., Mount Vernon, VA 22121
Find out more here.

Cocoa & Crafts at the Middleburg Library

Photo of holiday crafts by micheile dot com via Unsplash

Enjoy a day with Santa at the Middleburg Library! Bring your little ones for a picture with St. Nick and some fun winter crafts. Hot cocoa and cookies will be served.

When: Saturday, 12/17 from 10 am - 1 pm
Price: Free
Address: Middleburg Library, 101 Reed St, Middleburg, VA 20117
See the details on the library’s website.

Greenberg’s Great Train & Toy Show

Photo of Greenberg's Great Train & Toy Show via

You and your family can now visit the largest and longest-running train and toy show in the region. This weekend, the Greenberg Train & Toy Show returns to the Dulles Expo Center! This weekend show features trains and collectible toys for sale, merchandising tables, huge operating layouts, free modeling seminars, workshops, and more. Test your own trains on the show’s free test tracks, too!

When: Saturday, 12/17 and Sunday, 12/18 from 10 am - 4 pm
Price: Free for children ages 11 and under. Onsite tickets for adults are $12 for Saturday and $11 on Sunday, and are cash only. Tickets can be purchased online in advance.
Address: Dulles Expo Center, 4320 Chantilly Shopping Ctr., Chantilly, VA 20151
Click here to get your tickets.

Winter Wonder Lab at The Children’s Science Center

Photo via

The Children’s Science Center offers visitors a wide variety of STEM-focused centers, zones, and hands-on fun. This season, bring the family and enjoy all the fun of winter without frostbite! In addition to the Lab being decorated for the season, families can participate in several special activities. Go on an Arctic Animal Expedition, hunting throughout the Lab for animals adapted to cold weather. Get into the winter spirit by making your own snowy slime at the Experiment Bar, and explore how animals stay cozy in the winter by designing your own habitat at the Bio Zone!

When: Saturday, 12/17 from 2 pm - 4 pm
Price: $15/participant
Address: Children’s Science Center, 11948 Fair Oaks Mall, Fairfax, VA 22033
Reserve your lab time here.

Campfire Night Hike at Ellanor C. Lawrence Park

Photo of campfire s'mores by Leon Contreras via Unsplash

Enjoy a night hike to learn about nocturnal hunters! Listen to taped calls of owls and coyotes and possibly catch a glimpse of them in the forest. End the evening enjoying s’mores around a campfire with family and friends. This event is recommended for participants ages 4 and up.

When: Saturday, 12/17 from 4 pm - 5 pm
Price: $8/participant
Address: Ellanor C. Lawrence Park, 5040 Walney Rd., Chantilly, VA 20151
Learn more here.

National Menorah Lighting Ceremony

Photo via

Join prominent guests including the President, Vice President, members of the Cabinet, Congress, and others this Sunday for “the most prominent public Chanukah event in the world”: the annual lighting ceremony of the National Chanukah Menorah, on the Ellipse, just across from the White House.

When: Sunday, 12/18 at 3:45 pm
Price: Free, but tickets are required to help with attendee count.
Address: The Ellipse, Washington, DC 20006
Click here to visit their website.

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Ellen Howes

Ellen is a bookworm, runner, and proud auntie. She makes her home in DC and can usually be found somewhere in Rock Creek Park.