Yes, it really is still November. And, no, Thanksgiving hasn’t happened yet. But if you believe the longer you can make this magical season last, the better—you’re in luck! Santa trains are already leaving the station and if you plan to chop-your-own tree, a number of farms are open for tagging. A Nutcracker Tea Party,  a Christmas market bazaar and a seasonally-themed circus act round out a weekend that feels like mid-December. There is also plenty of fun to be had without all the (jingle) bells and whistles of Dec. 25th—travel to Beijing without a passport, learn a new art technique or get a behind-the-scenes look at a theatrical performance. Happy (almost) Thanksgiving!

photo: S&B Vonlanthen via Unsplash 



Opening Day: Becoming Jane
In this hands-on, transportive multimedia exhibition celebrating her extraordinary life and work, you’ll explore Dr. Goodall’s early years through iconic images and a multiscreen experience and venture on a 3D exploration of Tanzania’s Gombe Stream National Park where she did her famous behavioral research on chimps. You’ll also see a life-size hologram of Dr. Goodall, enter a replica of her research tent, and learn about her current role as a leader in community-centered conservation and youth empowerment. Before you leave, you will find out what you can do today to make a positive impact in the world. Fri. Event details. 

A Magical Cirque Christmas
Brought to you by the producers of Broadway’s smash hit The Illusionists, this thrilling, festive, fun-for-the-whole-family event features dazzling performers and breathtaking cirque artists from all corners of the world, accompanied by your favorite holiday music performed live. Fri. Event details.

Beijing Day Cultural Festival. 
Immerse yourself in Chinese culture by experiencing traditional games, Chinese musicians, crafts, face painting, and much more at this annual festival, now in its 35th year. Fri. Event details. 

Foggy Bottom

Family Look-In: the Magic Flute
If you’ve been looking to introduce your kiddos to opera, here’s your chance! This behind-the-scenes performance offers sneak peeks into the hidden aspects of opera such as lighting, costumes, and more. You’ll also see scenes from The Magic Flute. Arrive up to an hour before the performance begins for some hands-on fun with the instruments used. Ages 5 & up. Sat. Event details. 

Music for Young Audiences: Peter & Friend
This toddler concert was inspired by Peter and the Wolf and is guaranteed to get your littles acting like animals! Arrive up to one hour before the performance starts to enjoy a musical instrument petting zoo that will allow your pint-sized music lover to get hands-on with the instruments that will be used in the performance. Ages 5 & under. Sun. Event details. 

National Mall

Make Your Own Japanese Scroll
Experience opening weekend of Hokusai: Mad about Painting with free family-friendly activities. Drop-in anytime to learn the basics of painting on a scroll. A teaching artist then helps you to make your own colorful scroll. Follow a scavenger hunt to explore artworks large and small by Hokusai. All ages are welcome with adult companions. Sat.-Sun. Event details. 



Breakfast and Hot Chocolate 
Bring the kids for 2.5 hours of open play ($15/first kid; $10/second kid) and enjoy a hot breakfast of fresh pancakes and hot chocolate courtesy of Once Upon a Dream. Fill your bellies with delicious food and your kid’s imagination with wild ideas all at once! Sun. Event details. 


Kentlands Mansion Mini Sessions
Come get your family photos done before the holiday rush! Families are invited to participate in a 15 minute mini-session with Heartwing Photography at the historic Kentlands Mansion.  Sessions will begin at 10 a.m. and continue throughout the day until 2 p.m.  Registration is required by calling 301-258-6425. Sun. Event details. 


Mayfield Market
Holy Child’s 16th annual Mayfield Market Christmas Bazaar, always the weekend before Thanksgiving, is a shopping extravaganza you will not want to miss! Start your holiday shopping early in a festive atmosphere with more than 60 vendors selling their jewelry, clothing, home décor, hostess and children’s gifts, personalized items, holiday decorations, and much more to make your shopping the easiest and best ever. This is a social shopping event with something for everyone! Sun. Event details. 

Falls Church

The Nutcracker Tea Party
Experience the “Nutcracker Tea Party,” a magical event that brings this classic tale to life with meet-and-greets with Clara, the Sugarplum Fairy and others from The Nutcracker! There will be delicious treats as well as games and activities. Sat. Event details. 

—Meghan Yudes Meyers