Best Activities For Kids In Washington DC Over Thanksgiving Weekend

November 22, 2013 7:00 AM

Don’t let the first extended break from school turn into a nightmare. There are plenty of places to go and fun things to do in DC over the Thanksgiving weekend. Grab the kids and head over to one of these locations before they even think the words, “I’m bored!”

Trot For Hunger 5K
13th St. N.W. and Pennsylvania Ave. N.W.
Washington, DC 20004
(202) 797-8806 ext.1093

Date: Nov. 28, 2013

Thanksgiving is the time to sit back and appreciate all of the good things in your and your kids’ lives. It’s also the perfect time to help those who are less fortunate in your community. The 12th Annual Thanksgiving Day Trot for Hunger 5K is a family-friendly event that helps provide much-needed food, clothes, healthcare and other services for homeless families and single adults, including the elderly and those suffering from mental illness. Children as well as adults can participate in the 5K race. The event also features a kids’ one-mile fun run. Known as the only turkey trot in DC, make this special event a yearly tradition in your family. Registration is required.

The Kennedy Center
2700 F St. N.W.
Washington, DC 20566
(202) 416-8000

Dates: Nov. 27 through Dec. 1, 2013

Kick off the holiday season with a visit to the Kennedy Center where you and your family will enjoy a world-class production of “The Nutcracker.” With larger-than-life scenery, breathtaking costumes and enchanting storytelling, the kids will be swept away by the production of this classic tale. Performed by the Joffrey Ballet, the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra and the Arlington Children’s Chorus, “The Nutcracker” features heroic toy soldiers, sword-fighting mice, a journey to the Kingdom of Sweets and a glittery dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy. The Kennedy Center features a roof terrace restaurant, cafe and gift shop. The performing arts center also provides snacks and drinks during intermission.

Related: Best Mommy And Me Classes In The DC Area

Zoo Lights
National Zoo
3001 Connecticut Ave. N.W.
Washington, DC 2008
(202) 633-2614

Dates: Nov. 29, 2013 through Jan. 1, 2014

Come see the animals and critters at the National Zoo like you’ve never seen them before. Decked out in more than 500,000 environmentally friendly LED lights, the kids will squeal with delight at the beautiful scenery. Zoo Lights features lit animal silhouettes and musical displays throughout the zoo as well as plenty of real-life animals to view and learn about. Visit the Great Ape House, Reptile Discovery Center or Kids Farm for special demonstrations and presentations. The National Zoo also features the National Zoo Choo-Choo, a conservation-focused carousel, two 150-foot snow tubing tracks and a gingerbread house competition. Don’t forget to have your picture taken with Panda Claws, the official Zoo Lights ambassador, or on the holiday sleigh at the Great Meadow.

National Harbor Tree Lighting And Fireworks
National Harbor, MD 20745
(877) 628-5427

Date: Nov. 29, 2013

Begin the countdown to the most wonderful time of the year at the National Harbor Tree Lighting and Fireworks celebration. The event kicks off with a rousing rendition of holiday classics courtesy of the Orchestra at National Harbor featuring the American Military Spouses Choir followed by the lighting of more than 200,000 lights around the Harbor’s 65-foot Christmas tree. Then, sit back and enjoy a spectacular fireworks show. The National Harbor is a great, family-friendly destination full of plenty of places to go and things to do. Stop by the Gaylord Hotel for a spectacular holiday presentation full of lights, snow and life-size ice sculptures, visit the Peeps store for a variety of free holiday activities for you and the kids or go for a ride with Santa around the Carousel at National Harbor.

Related: Best Ways To Take Advantage Of The Last Of Winter In Washington DC

Reston Holiday Parade
Reston Town Center
11900 Market St.
Reston, VA 20190
(703) 579-6720

Date: Nov. 29, 2013

An annual tradition for more than 20 years, the Reston Holiday Parade is the perfect activity for you and your family this Thanksgiving weekend. Come and see Macy’s parade-style balloons, marching bands, dancers, antique cars and more during this one-of-a-kind celebration. The parade also features two special guests—Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus. Upon arrival to the parade, each child will receive a free bell to jingle while they catch the show. The Reston Holiday Parade also features the Gingerbread Man Kids Mile Fun Run, photos with Santa, horse-drawn carriage rides, ice skating, a tree lighting ceremony, sing-a-longs and community performances.

Susan Diranian is a freelance writer living in Ashburn, VA. She is covering Travel & Outdoors. Her work can be found at

Listen Live