A park tunnel decorated with colorful holiday lights.
Photo of Ice & Lights - The Winter Village at Cameron Run via novaparks.com

What To Do Around NoVa This Week

The holidays are just around the corner! If you’re overwhelmed by the volume of events and activities to choose from, then we’ve got your list of 10 family-friendly things to do around Northern Virginia now through November 20.

Ellen Howes
Ellen Howes

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The holidays are just around the corner! If you’re overwhelmed by the volume of events and activities to choose from, then we’ve got your list of 10 family-friendly things to do around Northern Virginia now through November 20.

Keep reading to find everything from storytimes with the Smithsonian, to holiday light shows, to an afternoon with the Sugar Plum Fairy, and more!

Flights of Fancy Drop-In Storytime

A staff member at the Udvar-Hazy Center reads a story to children.
Photo via airandspace.si.edu

Join the Udvar-Hazy Center for a free storytime! Hear the story of Violet the Pilot by Steve Breen. This storytime favorite tells the tale of Violet who likes to create flying machines out of materials from the junkyard. Guests are invited to stay after the story to create their own flying machine toy out of upcycled materials!

When: Tuesday, 11/15 and Thursday, 11/17 beginning at 11 am and 11:30 am.
Price: Free
Address: Udvar-Hazy Center, 14390 Air and Space Museum Pkwy, Chantilly, VA 20151
Find out more here.

Art Cart at the Hirshhorn Museum

A little girl makes her own art at a museum.
Photo via si.edu

Want to make art inspired by your favorite Hirshhorn works on view? The Art Cart offers young artists a hands-on maker experience during their visit to the Hirshhorn. At Art Cart this Thursday, young artists will look closely at Mark Bradford’s: Pickett’s Charge and explore how stories are remembered. Then, artists can create their own layered works and help make a world we are thankful for together! This program includes an art making activity for kids at the museum, and projects that can be done at home.

When: Thursday, 11/17 from 10 am - 12 pm
Price: Free
Address: 3rd Level, Hirshhorn Museum, Independence Ave SW & 7th St SW, Washington, DC 20560
See more info here.

Santa’s Arrival Party at Potomac Mills

A little boy shares his Christmas list with Santa
Photo by Mark Arney via Unsplash

Come celebrate Santa Claus’s arrival at Potomac Mills! Children and families can enjoy special character appearances, a balloon artist, and fun giveaways (while supplies last).

When: Friday, 11/18 from 10:30 am - 11:30 am
Price: Free
Address: Potomac Mills, 2700 Potomac Mills Cir, Woodbridge, VA 22192
Click here to see the event.

Tyson’s Corner Center Holiday Tree Lighting

Crowds gather for a holiday tree lighting and performances in the Plaza of Tyson's Corner Center.
Photo via tysonscornercenter.com

Tysons Corner Center will bring the community together to join Santa and welcome the 2022 Holiday Season! This event will include Santa lighting the holiday tree, community performances, a complimentary s’mores and hot chocolate bar, a giant snow globe, a pop-up holiday market featuring, custom beverages by Barrel + Bushel, holiday music, giveaways, and more.

When: Friday, 11/18 from 6 pm - 8 pm
Price: Free
Address: Tysons Corner Center, 1961 Chain Bridge Road, Tysons, VA 22102
Learn more here.

Ice & Lights - The Winter Village at Cameron Run

Trees in a local park decorated for the winter holidays.
Photo via novaparks.com

Enjoy the splendor of holiday lights at Alexandria’s local NOVA park! Ice & Lights is a fun, outdoor family-friendly experience where guests view unique holiday light displays. Ice & Lights also features holiday music, yummy treats, and holiday shopping. Cameron Run Regional Park also has a seasonal outdoor ice skating rink. Please note that the skating rink is not included in your Winter Village admission, you’ll have the opportunity to purchase admission for both features when you order your tickets online.

When: Begins Friday, 11/18 and runs through 1/1/2023. Open from 5 pm - 10 pm.
Price: About $10/guest for Ice & Lights (slight price difference between online purchase and at the door). Skating and Ice & Lights is $22.03/guest. All skaters must have a ticket.
Address: Cameron Run Regional Park, 4001 Eisenhower Ave, Alexandria, VA 22304
Learn more and purchase tickets here.

36th Annual Holiday Craft Show

Festive, handmade candles for sale at a holiday craft show.
Photo via fairfaxva.gov

Fairfax City’s Holiday Craft Show is back! Sponsored by Fair City Mall, this 36th annual holiday event brings in 200+ premium artists from all over the United States, including skilled artisans from the area. Support local artisans, enjoy a hot lunch, and get a headstart on your holiday shopping.

When: Saturday, 11/19 from 10 am - 5 pm and Sunday, 11/20 from 10 am - 3 pm
Price: Free for guests under 18 years old. Tickets are $5/guest or $8/guest for both days.
Address: Fairfax High School, 3501 Lion Run, Fairfax, VA 22030
Find out more here.

Raptors of the Potomac

A Nova Parks employee shows off an owl on his wrist and tells visitors about birds of prey.
Photo via novaparks.com

Learn about our local birds of prey and the amazing adaptations they use to hunt. Meet the raptors cared for at the park, and watch a naturalist feed a live bird of prey! All children must be accompanied by an adult, and this program may include indoor components.

When: Saturday, 11/19 from 1 - 2 pm
Price: $7/participant ages 8 and up.
Address: Potomac Overlook Regional Park, 2845 Marcey Rd, Arlington, VA 22207
Purchase tickets here.

Chanukah Mart

A menorah and Chanukah presents.
Photo via Dad Grass on Unsplash

Join Temple Sinai DC for their Chanukah Mart! Shop over 30 vendors and artists, and stock up on delicious foods like latkes, sufganiyot, stuffed cabbage, kugel, spanakopita, bagels, and homemade baked goods (good for Thanksgiving)! Plus, all children accompanied by a parent will receive a free hot dog.

When: Sunday, 11/20 from 9 am - 4 pm
Price: Free
Address: Temple Sinai DC, 3100 Military Rd. NW, Washington, DC 20015
Click here for more info.

Phenomenal Physics at Children’s Science Center

Two young children play and explore in the Children Science Center's physics lab.
Photo via childsci.org

Join Children’s Science Center for their Phenomenal Physics program this Sunday. Included with your timed-ticket entry, Phenomenal Physics is an opportunity for children to learn more about Physics careers through hands-on activities like DIY catapults, and conversations with local experts in the field.

When: Sunday, 11/20 beginning at either 10 am or 2 pm
Price: Free for children ages 2 and under. $15 for all other guests.
Address: Children’s Science Center, 11948 Fair Oaks Mall, Fairfax, VA 22033
Find out more on their website.

The Nutcracker Tea

The Loudoun Ballet Performing Arts Company performs the Nutcracker. A dancer in a white tutu leaps across the stage.
Photo by Chas Sumser for Inside NoVa

Join the Loudoun Ballet Performing Arts Company this Sunday for a magical afternoon with the Sugar Plum Fairy and her friends at the charming Nutcracker Tea Party. The afternoon will feature excerpts from their upcoming full-length ballet, The Nutcracker, plus delicious food and a host of photo opportunities. There will also be holiday-themed gifts available for purchase at the mini Nutcracker boutique, giving you a jump start on your holiday shopping.

When: Sunday, 11/20 at 12 pm or 3 pm
Price: $25 for children under the age of 12, $50 for all attendees ages 12 and up.
Address: Ida Lee Park & Recreation Center, 60 Ida Lee Dr. NW, Leesburg, VA 20176
Learn more and purchase tickets here.


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.