Monday, November 26, 2018

5 fun things to do in Washington DC region during the holidays

The holidays are a special time of year and if you're looking to bring a little extra fun or magic into your days this season, there are plenty of things to see and do in the Washington D.C. region. Here are five fun and festive things to do this holiday season.

1. Go see millions of twinkling holiday lights

If Christmas lights and displays are your thing, you'll find plenty of options in the D.C. metro region from drive-through festivals to wandering through pathways in brightly lit parks or at the National Zoo, there is something for everyone at one of the many annual festivals that take place. 

2. See beautifully decorated Christmas trees

The most well-known events in the area are the

White House and Capitol tree lighting ceremonies, which of course, are always an option. However, if you are in the area, there are plenty of other lovely trees to be seen

Check out Union Station, Mount Vernon, Old Town Alexandria, National Harbor, Library of Congress and other festive public spots throughout the region for holiday family fun - also be sure to read the well-rounded list DC Curbed has for local Christmas trees.

3. Watch a Christmas parade

One thing I never experienced when I lived in the Northeast part of the U.S. were Christmas parades. That being said, I have no idea if Christmas parades are a regional thing here in the mid-Atlantic or if they are a newer trend across the U.S. Whatever the case, there are many fun parades that brighten up the holidays each year in the DMV (scroll down to the bottom of this post for a list of winter parades in D.C., Virginia, and Maryland). 

4. Go see a show

Once Halloween passes, many holiday-themed productions have their opening nights and last through the New Year. 

Check out the many holiday shows, Destination DC and Kid-Friendly D.C. has some great roundups of the local shows. We saw "A Christmas Carol" at Ford's Theatre on opening weekend 2018 and it was a wonderful show. We plan to see Encore Theatrical Arts Project's annual show coming up in December (this one has become a family tradition in my house). 

5. Visit a holiday market

Holiday markets can be found all throughout the D.C.

region. From small locally organized festivals to large-scale annual events, there is something for everyone to be found. 

TripSavvy has a pretty comprehensive and updated list of where these can be found. I haven't been able to do an updated post yet, but here is a list of previous holiday and craft festivals in Northern Virginia (please keep in mind dates are from an earlier year and not correct but the events themselves are typically recurring each year). 

One of the great things about the D.C. area is there is never a lack of things to see and do in winter or any of the other three seasons. If you know of any other great things to see in the region, please let me know in the comments!

Happy Holidays!

Friday, November 2, 2018

Weekend holiday trips: Sesame Place - 'A Very Furry Christmas'

If you're looking for family fun as the weather gets
cool and you have little ones, Sesame Place makes for a great overnight or weekend trip. Located in Langhorne, Pa., Sesame Place is a theme park featuring, who else? Those lovable Sesame Street characters.

The park opens up in April and runs through December (with brief breaks in September and October to prepare for the seasonal festivals). During the warmer months, the park is open daily with water rides and summer fun, however, once the temperatures cool, the park transforms itself to reflect the holiday season and is only open on weekends.

Limited days during the fall and winter months does 
not mean the fun has to stop. For instance, once the Halloween events end, the park shuts down for the first two weeks of November during this time Sesame Place transforms into a winter wonderland and holiday celebration. From mid-November through the end of December, the park presents "A Very Furry Christmas".

The official arrival of "A Very Furry Christmas" at Sesame Place typically comes in the second half of November, just before Thanksgiving. While Sesame Place is mostly geared towards the toddler through the early elementary school-aged set, the park is fun for all ages, especially for those who grew up watching "Sesame Street"; a definite feeling nostalgia emerges as one wanders through the park adorned with Christmas cheer. Visitors to "A Very Furry Christmas" are welcomed by multi-colored Christmas trees prior to the ticket entrance, and once inside, the full effect of Christmas on "Sesame Street" comes to life.

Once inside the park, there is plenty for the family to do. However, not so much that it is overwhelming, especially for the little ones. For instance, the park is nowhere near as large as any of the Disney parks.


One of the highlights of "A Very Furry Christmas" is the Christmas-themed shows featuring popular favorites such as Elmo, Big Bird, Bert, Ernie, Cookie Monster, Abby, Zoe, the Count and more. In typical Sesame Street fashion, the show has a teaching angle that relates to the holidays. 

Usually, there are several shows running multiple times during the day, and, from what I can tell, the shows change every year. However, the 1-2-3 Christmas Tree Show, a musical light show displayed on the park's large Christmas tree, and the 'A Very Furry Christmas' Parade seem to be annual staples. 

There are two parades, one in the late afternoon and one nighttime parade. The traditional year-round "Neighborhood Street Party Christmas Parade" celebrates Christmas as holiday-themed songs and winter garb is worn. The evening show is pretty, as "Sesame Street" comes to life all lit up.

'Dry' rides

Throughout the visit, in between shows and character meets, there are plenty of "dry" rides to enjoy. There is "Big Bird’s Balloon Race", "Grover's World Twirl" (this one resembles the teacup ride at the Magic Kingdom), various Elmo-themed rides, a carousel and more.

Other things to do during 'A Very Furry Christmas'

Throughout the day there are numerous opportunities for meet and greets and photo ops with the various "Sesame Street" characters and also, Santa. Additionally, there are playground-like activities where kids can do what they do best - be kids! There are also several snack carts, featuring festive winter snacks, such as cookies and hot chocolate" and a couple of cafes. There are also carnival games (for an additional cost).

"A Very Furry Christmas" is a family-friendly 
event at Sesame Place, highly recommended if you have young children. From the D.C. area it's about a three-hour ride, so you'll probably want to stay overnight. We did it a few years ago and drove home. It was way too long of a day. To see what's offered and dates the festival is open, see the official website for current details.