November is a time to celebrate the peak of fall and all the good things that the holiday season brings, including precious time with your family. If you are looking for fun things to do in November, here are some amazing family-friendly events happening in our area that are sure to educate, entertain, and enlighten.
Several events listed are related to Veterans Day. There are also opportunities to celebrate Native American Heritage Month, as well as happenings to satisfy your kiddos who love theater, art, or history. We also have put together a number of other guides that will help you plan your family outings during this season of shorter days and sweater weather, including our Guide to Pumpkin Patches and Fall Fun and 80+ Places to Explore Nature with Kids around the DMV. And don’t forget to set your clocks back one hour on November 5th!
DC Area Moms was established to build a sense of community among all moms in the DMV. It is with this care and concern for everyone in our communities that we encourage you to follow the ever-changing COVID protocols of the venues and events you attend. We hope you find many ways to safely enjoy time with your family as we say goodbye to the beauty of fall and begin to welcome in the winter holidays.
Ase: Afro Frequencies
Now – November 13
Visitors to this multi-sensory show will be given the opportunity to celebrate the Black experience. The Immersive Gallery will provide a stunning visual experience. Guests can even virtually “try on” African masks. Adding to the visual exploration are rhythmic drums and the narration of Ursula Rucker, a poet and musician.
Emotions at Play with Pixar’s Inside Out
Now – January 8
National Children’s Museum
Inside Out is a really entertaining animated movie that explores the emotions of a young girl as she navigates moving, growing up, and leaving friends behind. With the aid of hands-on and digital experiences, this exhibit uses the film to help kids recognize emotions and how they are expressed. Activities include exploring the range and intensity of emotions at the Control Panel, creating a glowing Memory Sphere (as depicted in the movie), or creating and performing a story at Dream Productions. This exhibit is recommended for kids ages 2 – 10.
Arlington National Cemetery Fall Colors Tour
Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington National Cemetery is particularly beautiful during autumn. On this tour from 9 am to 11 am, visitors will enjoy the brilliance of over 500 species of trees, shrubs, and perennials as they show off their stuff during the peak of the season. The Cemetery’s horticulturist and urban forester will teach participants about the various landscapes and gardens, including techniques used to create these spaces.
President Lincoln’s Cottage
Inside Out is a family-friendly movie that explores our emotions, particularly as kids age. Attendees are encouraged to dress up as their favorite character from Inside Out. Also, there will be an in-person drawing for four tickets to the Children’s Museum and its exhibit, Emotions at Play with Pixar’s Inside out. The winner will be announced at the end of the movie. This will be the last screening for this season of Movie Night at President Lincoln’s Cottage. You must register online to reserve your space for this free event.
16th Annual Parade of Trabants
International Spy Museum
Once again, the International Spy Museum will celebrate the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall by hosting the Annual Parade of Trabants. These little cars, which have become a symbol of East Germany and the fall of Communism, will be parked around the Museum on L’Enfant Plaza SW along with other vintage Cold War vehicles. Experts will be on hand to answer questions about Trabants, the Cold War, and Communism. Visitors will be able to try their hand at Berlin-style graffiti, enjoy the music of a German band, and even attempt to fit into the tight spaces of a Trabant like people trying to flee East Berlin did. The event is free and no registration is required.
The Big Build
National Building Museum
The Big Build is back from 11 am to 4 pm! This free festival fills the Museum’s Great Hall with fun opportunities to celebrate the world of building and design. All ages are free to participate in hands-on activities with roofers, plumbers, home remodelers, construction workers, carpenters, designers, and artisans. Outside, visitors can climb inside construction equipment. Attendees will even be able to experience an earthquake simulation at a structural engineering station!
Autumn Leaves Hike and Craft
November 5 and 19
Great Falls, VA
During this activity, families will be led on a hike through the fall foliage at this beautiful park in Fairfax County. Participants will find the perfect leaf and then create a craft keepsake. Families must register online (each registration is for a family of up to four people). Each session will last one hour.
Veterans Day Events
We live in an area replete with monuments honoring the men and women who have served in the Armed Forces. As such, there are many opportunities for you to observe the day. Below is a list of several options:
Arlington National Cemetery
Vietnam Veterans Memorial
World War II Memorial
U.S. Navy Memorial
Country Current: Bluegrass Music with the U.S. Navy
Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library
In honor of Veterans Day, join DCPL for a special performance from the United States Navy Band’s premier country and bluegrass band, Country Current. Prior to the performance, representatives from DC’s Mayor’s Office of Veterans Affairs will offer words of welcome. All ages are welcome. The event is free and you can register online.
National Native American Veterans Memorial Dedication Celebration Weekend
November 11 – 13
National Museum of the American Indian
The NMAI has planned an entire weekend of activities to celebrate the Dedication of the National Native American Veterans Memorial. On Friday at 2pm, observers can honor Native veterans who will walk in a procession from the museum to the front of the U.S. Capitol. From 4:30pm to 5pm, you can watch the Dedication Ceremony. The seating area will be for veterans and there is standing room for the public. The celebration continues on Saturday and Sunday at the NMAI. A jam-packed schedule of music, cultural performances, films, and family-friendly hands-on activities has been arranged on both days. Check the website for more details about this free event.
Fort Ward Tour in Honor of Veteran’s Day
Fort Ward Museum & Historic Site
Fort Ward is the best preserved of the system of Union forts and batteries built to protect Washington, DC during the Civil War. Fort Ward Museum will offer a free 90-minute tour of historic Fort Ward in recognition of Veteran’s Day on November 12. Reservations are not required.
Art on the Avenue
Del Ray Neighborhood
This annual multicultural arts and music festival was postponed from its original date in early October. Attendees will enjoy browsing the works from a wide variety of artisans, including ceramics, jewelry, painting, clothing, and much more. Musical performances are scheduled throughout the day on three stages and a large number of food vendors will be on site. The Kids Korner at the Mount Vernon Recreation Center will offer young artists the chance to get creative with activities such as pumpkin painting, tissue paper stained glass, origami, theater, a musical instrument petting zoo, and more.
Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
The Udvar-Hazy Center’s staff are teaming up with members of the Northern Virginia Astronomy Club for an evening of stargazing. Participants will be able to use telescopes provided to view planets, stars, and other landmarks of the night sky. This event is free and weather dependent. Make sure you check online for the latest updates before heading out to the Center.
Holiday Tree Light Show & Fireworks
November 12, 19, and 26
National Harbor, MD
Families can enjoy a custom light show on a 60-foot holiday tree every Saturday night from November 12th through December 17th. The lights will dance to the sounds of a holiday medley performed by the United States Air Force Band. The light show will begin every half hour from sunset until 9pm. The 5:30pm show will be followed by a spectacular fireworks display. While you are at National Harbor, enjoy dinner at one of the many restaurants in the area and perhaps a ride on the ferris wheel.
Montgomery County Thanksgiving Day Parade
Silver Spring, MD
Ring in the holidays with the only Thanksgiving Parade in the DC area. Families will be delighted by the floats, marching bands, and large inflatables. And, of course, Santa and his elves will be there with all of their holiday cheer!
Unicorn Kids Club: Kids Who Are Dyslexic Thinkers
Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum
The Unicorn Kids Club, which meets every third Thursday of the month, gives kids a place to celebrate their uniqueness. Kids from age 5 to 12 will be able to do activities, make some cool stuff, and hear stories while meeting other kids like themselves. Each meeting of the Club has a different focus. The November meeting will focus on “Kids Who Are Dyslexic Thinkers.”
November 24 – January 2
U.S. Botanic Garden
The ever popular holiday display at the United States Botanic Garden is back! Festive decor, poinsettias, and models of DC landmarks with plant materials will delight visitors in the Conservatory. The ever popular train display will be outdoors in the gated gardens. Trains will run from 10am to 5pm daily. Tickets are not required.
The Washington Ballet’s The Nutcracker
November 25 – December 30
This beloved DC holiday tradition transports families to a charming, DC, winter wonderland. This production, set in historic 1882 Georgetown, is set to Tchaikovsky’s time-honored score. Audiences of all ages will enjoy the beautiful set designs, period costumes, and the artistry of over 100 dancers, including students and trainees from The Washington School of Ballet. In addition to the performances at the Warner Theater, there will also be four performances @THEARC. See the event website for more information about signature events: The Nutcracker Tea Party (Dec. 4), Military Appreciation Night (Dec. 7), and Family Day (Dec. 11).
Mount Vernon By Candlelight
November 25 – December 18
Mount Vernon Estate
Mount Vernon, VA
George Washington’s estate is beautiful any time of year, but it is especially lovely during the holiday season and with a candlelit guided tour. Visitors will learn about 18-century holiday traditions and about the build-up to Revolution as the Estate celebrates the 250th anniversary of the year 1772. Interact with Mrs. Washington and other 18-century residents. Enjoy dancing from that time and the cheerful sounds of carolers. Complimentary ginger cookies and spiced cider will be available, as well as light concessions.
Enchant – Christmas
November 25 – January 1
The World’s Largest Christmas Light Maze and Village will return to Nationals Park this winter. The magical World of Enchant is filled with dazzling displays that feel like they come right out of a childhood Christmas dream. Marvel at the 100 ft. animated tree, glide across the glistening Ice Skating Trail, pose for photos with Santa himself, and enjoy delicious festive holiday treats every step of the way. Purchase tickets online. Please note that on select Wednesdays, visitors can get one free kids ticket when you buy an adult, senior, or military ticket.
The Sculpture Garden Ice Rink Re-opening
National Gallery Sculpture Garden
On November 26, the ice rink will open for the 2022-2023 winter season. It will be open 7 days a week. Check out the website for hours of operation and COVID safety protocols. Also, ice skating lessons for individuals and groups are available through Washington Elite Skating School.
We hope you enjoy this guide! If you know of additional family-friendly events in our area this month, please leave it in the comments below. Don’t forget that we also have a community calendar that lists other local events.