Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Family-friendly New Year's Celebrations in Northern Virginia

If you haven't decided how you will spend your last days of the year, there are lots of options in the Washington D.C. 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 with entertainment and fireworks. Visitors will experience live music, comedy, and kid-friendly events. For more details on location, current price (children under 12 are free and, in the past, they've given passes to active duty military), 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 (starts in the afternoon) and is a long-running tradition.

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 the official website.

First Night Vienna

Vienna also holds its annual First Night event. This one is advertised as being fun for all ages. There will be music, food, lots of fun for the kids (check the 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 early January.  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 the 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 also hosts its light festival until just after the New Year. 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 WarrentonArtSpace in Herndon, First Night Winchester, and First Night at the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley 

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.