Wed, 20 Dec 2017 19:58:16 +0000
Part of the fun of the holidays is being able to spend it with friends and family. Whether it’s summer or winter, there are always things to do and places to visit across the country. If you have a large family like me, it’s usually less expensive to drive to those destinations, as flying can cost a lot.
This holiday season, I was charged with finding activities to do that are local to the Washington, DC area. A quick google search can pull up tons of things, and so it took a while for me to weed through it all and find a few activities that could be enjoyed by everyone.
Anyone can pull a list together and share it with the world, but where’s the fun in that. I packed up my kids in the Mazda CX9, and we made sure these activities were officially “Lewis Family Approved” before we shared it with the world.
Before I get to the good stuff, I want to make sure that you’ve got everything you need…You’ll be out of the house for a while having a BLAST!
Transportation – make sure you’re gassed up since you’ll be darting around the city. We darted around in this 2018 Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring AWD and it was awesome! If you remember my review of this SUV back in July, you’ll remember how much we LOVED it!! This truck was the perfect vehicle to zip around the city.
Parking fare – a lot of the treasures in the city require you to park at meters. The ParkMobile app is a great way to keep the change in your pocket and pay with a touch of a buttonSnacks – it would make sense to pack a few things to snack on while driving around. Some locations require you to purchase food onsite, meaning you can’t bring any inside.Activity fee – while we all prefer to pay $0 for family activities, sometimes you have to open your wallet to participate. But it’s totally worth it….trust me!Family – don’t forget your kids. I may have gotten a bit excited and put the car in reverse while one of the kids were still trying to get in the car. No worries!! No one was injured and I felt terrible.
Ok, so LET’S GO!!
ZooLights – Washington, DC
We love the zoo. It’s a great free activity for the family to do over the summer. During the colder months, the zoo does a lot to try to attract visitors. In October they have trick or treat themed events. Around the end of November, the zoo does something even more festive! They hold their ZooLights event. Over 500 LED lights glow throughout the zoo, and there’s so much more than just the pretty lights. They have a create your own s’more station!! Yes, CREATE YOUR OWN! There are also kettlecorn stations (they make it fresh, right there!) and tons of hot cocoa. If you want to splurge, you can grab tickets to try their snow-less tubing, carousel, or the trackless choo-choo train. They’ve got live bands on select nights, and you can still see a few of the animals. My family had a blast, and the cool thing is they hold this event through January 1st.
Botanical Garden Roadside Show – Washington, DC
We’ve been to the Botanical Garden a few times. When I found out they offered classes for kids throughout the year, I signed my girls up. If you’re ever feeling melancholy about the cold weather, their tropical garden area is a MUST SEE! They have benches, and you can sit, bask in the warm climate and read a book with the sound of a waterfall in the background. It really is a great treat. What I didn’t know was that this year, Botanical Garden has the roadside show exhibit. Their website boasts about “attractions like Texas’ Cadillac Ranch, Colorado’s hot-dog-shaped Coney Island Hot Dog Stand, South Dakota’s Corn Palace, New Jersey’s Lucy the Elephant, and many more.” This holiday showcase features several toy trains speeding along the attractions. They have tons of poinsettias plants around the conservatory, and Even more exciting is the D.C. landmark exhibit where they’ve recreated numerous landmarks from around the city and made them completely of plant materials. Make sure to check them out before the exhibit closes on January 1st.
Lucky Strike – DC
Bowling can be a lot of fun. My family actually loves it. We usually frequent the local bowling alley. Eat some cheap pizza, have a few cheap beers, and enjoy ourselves. But let’s say you want to take it up a notch. Instead of having to wait in line for 15 minutes for stale pizza, how about having your personal server bring you your food and drinks. Yep, they bring the food to you! Lucky Strike is a real treat for those looking to take their bowling experience up a notch. This place is fun for the whole family, with dedicated staff to help you enjoy your experience. The food is better than your normal bowling alley fare. They’ve got fresh fruit, panko-crusted Wisconsin cheese curds with tomato jam, ahi tuna poke flatbread and breaded chicken breast with salsa verde and chimichurri aioli. It’s kind of like fancy bowling. They have a DJ that actually takes song requests. There is a picture booth area, and you can host parties there as well. It’s a great way to break up the monotony of your holiday break activities. Plus when you’re done, you can explore Chinatown!
Paint Muse – National Harbor
So you’ve got a few guest from out of town this holiday. They aren’t really competitive. They don’t want to walk around museums. They want to have fun, they’re just not sure what they want to do. Well, try Muse PaintBar. I took my mother, mother in law, and oldest daughter. We did an evening session at the National Harbor. I’ve done paint and sip before in downtown D.C. It was an OK experience, but it wasn’t something that I thought I’d do again. It seemed as if paint nights were the new “must do” activity. So I searched online, and found Muse PaintBar. The atmosphere is INSPIRING. They put you right to work and it’s really fun. The host walks you through the steps to making your masterpiece. Our host was great. She didn’t go too fast, her music selection was excellent, and she even walked around during the session to give one on one assistance. She encouraged us to follow her direction, but to also get creative with our masterpiece. I felt like she was our own personal Bob Ross….”We don’t make mistakes, just happy little accidents.” They even offer family sessions. Over the holiday break, they’ll be offering plenty of sessions throughout the week between Christmas and New Year to keep everyone busy.
National Gallery of Art Ice Rink – DC
We’ve done ice skating. We’ve seen art exhibits at the museum. But we’ve never ice skated around ice exhibits in a museum. A twist on the traditional ice skating scene, the National Gallery of Art takes you twirling around great works of arts by artists such as Louise Bourgeois,Sol LeWitt, Roy Lichtenstein, Roxy Paine, and Tony Smith. They’ve got hot cocoa, music and skate rentals! Situated directly across the street from the National Gallery of Art, the ice rink is nestled in their outdoor exhibit. It was really nice to walk through the museum. Snap some pictures, and then run outside to ice skate. The lines weren’t too long (we went on a Saturday) and the experience was definitely one of a kind. It’s a great way to fit in education and fun with the family! The ice rink is open through March 11, 2018.
Ugly Sweater Cookie Kit
So, maybe you’re saying, “Crystal, it’s cold and I don’t want to go outside” or “Crystal, I’ve spent all my money on holiday gifts, I need something closer to my budget”. Well, I’ve got something for you. I was in Trader Joe’s the other day and noticed an ugly sweater cookie kit. I was intrigued. I’ve made enough gingerbread houses to house a small village, so the idea of decorating a cookie shaped like a sweater seemed really fun. What’s best is that my artistic skills SUCK when it comes to decorating cookies, so I could totally win a cookie ugly sweater contest. My gingerbread men were starting to look like zombies. Not festive at all. The kit costs under $20 and the cookies are already included. They give you tons of sprinkles and icing. You can even grab some other colors to have add to the decor. We all did this one night and it was fun seeing everyone try to “out ugly” one another!
Remember how I told you my drawing sucks. Well it’s even worse with pictionary. I mean how can you NOT see that my two circles with lines poking out of them aren’t my depiction of reindeer. Are you blind?! All you need is a few pieces of large white paper or even better, a dry erase board. We decorated a wall in my house with wrapping paper. We then taped some dry erase paper to that paper. Every noted a bunch of holiday songs and folded those pieces of paper up. After placing them in a bowl, we all took turns trying to draw what we selected. We had so much fun playing the holiday version, that we used a random word generator app and continued playing until our hands got tired. I’m super competitive, so even though I suck at drawing, I’ll guess the hell out of everyone else’s drawings!
Do you think I’ve provided you with enough activities to at least jump start your holiday break in the city? I hope so. There are tons of other things to do, and they are all a google search away. Enjoy your time with your family and make some great holiday memories!
Happy Holidays from Mommy Sees You!