The coolest gingerbread house may be located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue but it is not exactly the easiest or toddler-friendly place to visit (White House tour tickets are given out months in advance). But, that doesn’t mean you can’t find some just-as-awesome cookie dough cribs around D.C. Here are the happiest gingerbread places where you can get hands-on or just take in the sweet and spicy view.


Create Your Own

Washington Ferry Farm
Got an ants in their pants preschooler who shouts, “I DO IT!” on a regular basis? Then the Preschool Build a House Workshop at Ferry Farm in Fredericksburg is the place to be. Held on Dec. 14 it is the perfect way to while away a few early holiday break hours with tons of sticky, peppermint-coated fun for everyone!

When to go: Dec. 14; 10 am
Cost: $6/kids

Washington Ferry Farm
268 Kings Hwy. (Fredericksburg, Va)

Landsdowne Resort
Get ready to make some fabulous memories the wee ones aren’t soon to forget when you take them to Landsdowne Resort for some awesome gingerbread house making. Complete with a cookies and hot chocolate station it will keep you pumped up and in full molasses and icing building mode all afternoon. Throw in lunch with the big guy (aka Santa) before you head home.

When to go: Dec. 15; 9 am and 2 pm (reservations required)
Cost: $89/family

Landsdowne Resort
44050 Woodridge Pkwy. (Leesburg, Va)

Gaylord National Hotel
Get ready to get Gingy with it! Share in a Christmas on the Potomac with Dreamworks and Shrek’s beloved and hobbled gingerbread man Gingy. From tiny tots to grandparents everyone can share in the memory-making that decorating a gingerbread house creates while Gingy takes photos with the whole clan. The molasses walls are already glued together so it’s all candy showers and icing spackle at this event. Don’t stop there. Pick from three kits including a tree or cookie family.  Just don’t bite their heads off until after Gingy has left your table.

When to go: Mon.-Thu., 11 am-8 pm; Fri.-Sat., 10 am-9 pm; Sun., 10 am-6 pm (Nov. 15-Jan. 5)
Cost: $39.95-$49.95/gingerbread making kit

Gaylord National Hotel
201 Waterfront St. (National Harbor)


Just for Show

Grrr! It may be too late to enter the National Zoo’s “Ging-grr-bread Habitat” contest for kids and families, but you can totally take part in a night at Zoolights and gape and gaw at the gingerbread lion house that honors the two new cubs, or the deliciously cute tiger den creations on display now through the new year.

When to go: 5 pm-9 pm, Nov. 29-Jan 1 (except for December 24, 25, and 31)
Cost: Free

National Zoo
3001 Connecticut Ave. NW (Woodley Park)

Mount Vernon
Get your historical fix and take in the home of George and Martha Washington at Mount Vernon.  When the garland and baubles get too much, feast your eyes on the delightfully accurate and tasty-looking gingerbread recreation of Mount Vernon. Former White House pastry chef Roland Mesnier makes the cookie house from scratch, yes, you heard us, every year.  Word of warning: chocolatiers using 18th century techniques are also on the Mount Vernon grounds, proving that what’s old is new and still drool-worthy.

When to go: 9 am-6 pm, Nov. 29-Jan. 6
Cost: $22/adults; $15/kids under 11

Mount Vernon
3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Hwy. (Mount Vernon, Va)

Old Town Manassas Gingerbread House
After checking out Historic Manassas’ annual Christmas Parade take in cotton-candy roofs and gumdrop bedecked gingerbread gardens when you and the tots visit “Merry Old Town” Manassas gingerbread houses. The clove-scented homes are on display to the public at the Manassas museum now through Christmas. Just make sure that no one in your party walks off with a candy cane tree (they’re so tempting!).

When to go: 10 am-5 pm, through Christmas
Cost: $15/adults; $7.50/kids under 12

Manassas Museum
9101 Prince William St. (Manassas, Va)

Where will your family flex their gingerbread house-making skills? Tell us in the Comments section below. 

—Veronica Mason

Photos courtesy of Mount Vernon and Washington Ferry Farm

Click here for more family events and activities happening in Washington DC this holiday season!