Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Family-friendly New Year's Celebrations in Northern Virginia

Can you believe 2014 is almost over? It seems this year just flew by. If you haven't decided how you will spend your last day of 2014, there are lots of options in the DC metro area. 

Many of the regional Christmas and holiday events are still open for seasonal tours, such as ICE!, "Seasons Greetings" at the U.S. Botanic Garden and Mount Vernon, to name a few.

There are also many cool family-friendly things to do to ring in the New Year. Here are some things going on in the area:

First Night Alexandria

Every year the City of Alexandria hosts a big celebration. There's live entertainment and fireworks. To see the entertainment there is a cost of $15 to cover all events (active duty and children under 12 can get a free badge). There is live music, comedy and kid-friendly events. For more details on location, entertainment and event times, check the FAQ page and schedule. The fireworks, which are displayed over the Potomac River, are free. This is an all day event and one that has been running for over 20 years.

City of Falls Church Watch Night Celebration

This annual tradition spans a 4-block area and celebrates the incoming year with live music, interactive fun, inflatables, swing dancing, face painting, karaoke, DJ dancing, puppet shows and more. The party starts at 7 p.m. If you are arriving by Metro, there will be a free shuttle to take you from the East Falls Church station (on the Orange/Silver lines) to the celebration. For more information see official website.

First Night Vienna

Vienna is also holding its annual First Night event. This one is advertised as being for all ages. There will be music, food, lots of fun for the kids (check link for details), moonbounces and more. This event is free and looks to be very family-friendly.

Bull Run Festival of Lights

The Bull Run Festival of Lights also runs through January 4. I went to this one on Dec. 13. It had been a couple of years since we'd last done this, and it looks like there were some new additions of lights. This is a drive through tour. There is also the annual carnival at the end of the 2+ mile drive. This event is held at Bull Run Regional Park in western Fairfax County. (Tip: Car lines here during peak times can get long - I learned last year Christmas is extremely busy - we ended up turning around - so plan well this time of year). The gates open at 5:30 for admission, we lined up this year around 5 p.m. and were maybe 15th car in line, not too long of a wait.

The "Winter Wonderland" segment of the lights was my favorite. This photo doesn't do it justice.

Meadowlark Botanical Gardens' Winter Walk of Lights

Meadowlark Gardens is also hosting its light festival until the 4th. I haven't been to this one yet, but have heard some nice kudos for it. The website notes there are "more than exquisite 500,000 lights and displays" to enjoy. This is a walk, not a drive-through of the lights, so be sure and dress warmly (it's a little over a half mile). Meadowlark recommends purchasing tickets in advance.

There are a number of other family-friendly events, such as First Night Warrenton ArtSpace in Herndon, First Night Winchester and First Night at the Museum of theShenandoah Valley. Also fans of Rocknoceros will be happy to hear the band kids love will once again be playing at Jammin Java on Dec. 31.

Thank you for visiting my blog. Happy New Year!

1 comment:

  1. It always amazes me the number of things going on in Northern Virginia.