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 and Diwali, as well as happenings to satisfy your kiddos who love theater, art, or history.
This guide is updated throughout the month as we learn of additional family-friendly events in the area, so make sure you check it out each week. 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!
Now – November 5
Visitors to this family-friendly immersive art installation will explore how we have experienced light in our scientific discoveries throughout history. In collaboration with NASA scientists, ARTECHOUSE developed this interactive exhibit using data that allows us to ponder the furthest reaches of our universe. Family members of all ages will marvel at the images gathered from space and the possibilities of future exploration.
Now – January 1
National Children’s Museum
This visiting bilingual English / Spanish exhibit is geared for our youngest learners (ages 0-6). It aims to help kids develop motor, cognitive, language, and social-emotional skills. While in a delightful setting, children and their grown-ups will be able to take part in activities such as a tilt-table, storytelling, stacking games, dancing, and much more. Tickets are required for admission.
Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington National Cemetery is particularly beautiful during autumn. On this tour, which begins at 1pm, 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 will teach participants about the wide variety of plants there, as the group enjoys the colors of Fall.
President Lincoln’s Cottage
Enjoy a family-friendly movie under the stars at the Lincoln family’s summer residence. The film starts at 7pm, but attendees can enjoy crafts and STEAM activities from 5:30pm until 7pm. Remember to pack a picnic and a blanket and chairs. This event is FREE, but organizers ask that you reserve your space online.
This family-friendly event is sure to delight and entertain! A number of top-notch performers including, magicians, sword swallowers, contortionists, escape artists, and more will thrill grown-ups and kids of all ages. There will also be tarot card and palm reading, a balloon artist, and other interactive experiences. This event is FREE and no registration is required.
Twenty porches, stoops, parks, and patios in the Adams Morgan neighborhood will turn into concert spaces from 2pm to 6pm. Around 100 bands representing nearly every genre, including rock, classical, go-go, rap, and blue grass, will entertain your family as you wander the tree-lined neighborhood streets and area local businesses. You can get an event map and a free wristband that will give you discounts at a variety of neighborhood businesses at one of two event headquarters. Attendance is FREE.
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 discuss 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. This year, there will even be a Best Dog Disguise contest. The event is FREE and no registration is required.
This family-friendly fall festival takes place on the beautiful grounds of River Farm. Oodles of activities will be available to entertain the kids, including a bounce house, pony rides, a petting zoo, and a performance by The Great Zucchini. A wide variety of food trucks will be onsite. Families can even schedule a mini photo session! Tickets available online.
Smithsonian Asian Art Museum
This family-friendly event will celebrate Diwali (the festival of lights) throughout the evening. Beginning at 3pm, the Museum will host craft stations, special musical performances, and food trucks offering Indian fare. At 5pm, the Freer Plaza and Moongate Garden will be lit up in celebration and there will even be an after hours dance party running from 7:45 to 9:15! This event is FREE but advance registration is recommended.
Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library
In honor of Veterans Day, join DCPL for special performances by the United States Navy Band’s pop music group, Cruisers, and the Concert Band’s 12-member brass ensemble. All ages are welcome. The event is FREE.
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. Some sites will host wreath-laying ceremonies that the public can attend. Below is a list of several options:
November 11 – December 30 (Saturdays)
National Harbor, MD
Families can enjoy a custom light show on a 60-foot holiday tree every night from November 11th through December 30th. The lights will dance to the sounds of a holiday medley recorded by the United States Air Force Band. The light show will begin every half hour from sunset until 9pm. The festivities amp up on Saturdays, however, when 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.
Capital One Arena
For 30 years, WWE’s Monday Night Raw has entertained wrestling fans all over the world. This November, Raw will roll through DC with some of its biggest stars including Cody Rhodes, Rhea Rhodes, Seth Rollins, Dominik Mysterio, and more. Tickets are available online.
This family-friendly live concert will have your kids singing and dancing along with some of today’s biggest pop hits. Tickets are available online. Please note that a variety of VIP packages are being offered that include Meet & Greet opportunities with performers, photo ops, a dance party, and much more.
Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
Explore how artists and art have been inspired by space. This event gives families the opportunity to meet artists whose creations aim to spark wonder. It also provides hands-on activities that allow visitors to create their own art with inspiration from the universe, a scavenger hunt, a community art project, and more. If you can’t attend in person, virtual programming launches on November 17th and will include story time, videos, and hands-on demonstrations of activities that can be done at home. As always, it is FREE to visit the Udvar-Hazy Center, but parking is $15.
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!
November 18 – December 17
The Kennedy Center
This World Premier musical aims to show children that they are stronger and braver than they may know. The story follows the adventures of Kenny Li, a kid who is being bullied but finds himself on a quest to save the world after he finds a magical tablet that transports him to the Jade Kingdom. Chinese dragon mythology and martial arts, as well as music, are used throughout Kenny’s journey. This production is best suited for kids 7 years and older. Tickets are available online.
National Gallery Sculpture Garden
On November 20th, the ice rink will open for the 2023-2024 winter season. It will be open 7 days a week. Check out the website for fees, ticketing options, and hours of operation. Also, ice skating lessons for individuals and groups are available through Washington Elite Skating School.
November 23 – January 1
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 made with plant materials will delight visitors in the Conservatory. The beloved train display will be outdoors in the gated gardens. Trains will run from 10am to 5pm daily, except for three Thursdays in December when they will run until 8pm. This is a FREE family-friendly event and tickets are not required.
National Museum of the American Indian
This FREE event will teach visitors about the Jingle Dress Dance and why the jingle dress is important in Native American cultures. Throughout the day, dancers will perform in the Museum’s first floor atrium.
November 24 – December 17
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 during this family-friendly event will learn about 18-century holiday traditions and about the build-up to Revolution. 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.
November 24 – December 30
ZooLights is a fun, family-friendly way to celebrate the winter season. Attendees will enjoy dazzling light displays and musical performances. Yummy seasonal food and beverages will be available for purchase. New this year, tickets are required and may be purchased online. If driving, attendees must pre-purchase tickets to park in the zoo lots.
November 24 – December 31
The magical World of Enchant is filled with dazzling, twinkling displays that embody winter joyfulness. Marvel at the 100 ft. animated tree, find your way through an all-new light maze, 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 to this family-friendly event online. Please note that kids 2 and under are FREE.
College Park Aviation Museum
College Park, MD
Each month, the Museum hosts Afternoon Aviators, which teaches kids from age 8 to 12 about a particular STEAM topic related to aviation. The session includes a lesson and hands-on experiments or activities. This month, aviation in the military will be discussed and participants will be able to make their own mini paratrooper and watch a short film. Registration is not required, but participants must pay for museum admission.
November 25 – December 30
Warner Theater (11/25 and 11/26 performances at THEARC)
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 two performances @THEARC. See the event website for more information about signature events: The Nutcracker Tea Party (Dec. 3), Military Appreciation Night (Dec. 7), and Family Day (Dec. 10).
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.