Thanksgiving Day Fun

While Thanksgiving is a time for families and friends, the DMV has many other ways to bring your loved ones together that may, or may not, include a turkey!

Check out the day’s lineup for all kinds of safe, family-friendly happenings, including turkey trotting, winter walking, ice-skating, and more:


Lace up your skates and hit the ice! Ice skating is a great way to burn those Thanksgiving meal calories.

Reston Town Center | Reston, VA
Harris Pavilion | Manassas, VA
Pentagon Row | Arlington, VA
Cameron Run Park | Alexandria, VA
National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden | Washington, DC

Be sure to plan ahead — most destinations now require you pre-purchase admission or reserve your time online. Want even more ice skating links for year-round fun? Check out our guide: Ice Skating Fun in the DMV.


The DMV boasts plenty of ways to get your twinkle-fix from the comfort of your car or by foot under a starlit sky!

Bull Run Festival of Lights | Centreville, VA
Winter Walk of Lights @ Meadowlark Botanical Gardens | Vienna, VA
Ice & Lights: The Winter Village @ Cameron Run | Alexandria, VA
Holiday Road @ Morven Park | Leesburg, VA
Tinsel! — A Winter Lights Festival | Sterling, VA
LuminoCity Festival | Vienna, VA

Be sure to plan ahead — most destinations now require you pre-purchase admission or reserve your time online. Want even more illumination events? Check out Can’t-Miss Holiday Illuminations.


You never know what the weather will bring to the DMV, but if the temperature’s right and you’re up for an adventure, try hitting up one of these parks or trails:

Great Falls Park
Explore one of the nation’s first canals, see the Great Falls of the Potomac (three falls overlooks are located within a five- to ten-minute walk from the visitor center and parking lots), enjoy a hike along Mather Gorge’s dramatic clifftops, and more at this National Park!

NOVA Parks’ Trails
From paved trails to earthen paths, NOVA Parks boasts more than two dozen opportunities throughout Northern Virginia to explore the outdoors!


Start your day with a brisk run, jog, or walk in one of the many opportunities. Check out the shortlist of options below to plan your Thanksgiving cardio:

Arlington Turkey Trot | Arlington, VA
Turkey Day 5K & 1-Mile Walk/Run | Reston, VA
Turkey Trot 4-Miler | Fairfax, VA
Fairfax Turkey Trot 5K | Fairfax, VA
The St. James Turkey Trot | Springfield, VA


If movies are your thing, then you’re in luck! While not the volume of previous years, there are some family-friendly flicks out on the big screen, and Thanksgiving Day is a great time to catch one!

For the family (PG):
Clifford the Big Red Dog | Released: Nov 10, 2021
Home Sweet Home Alone | Released: Nov 12, 2021
Pups Alone | Released: Nov 19, 2021
Encanto | Released: Nov 24, 2021

For the family (PG-13):
Ghostbusters: Afterlife | Released: Nov 19, 2021

For adults (R):
House of Gucci | Released: Nov 24, 2021
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City | Released: Nov 24, 2021
The Unforgivable | Released: Nov 24, 2021
Licorice Pizza | Released: Nov 26, 2021


Visit George Washington’s Mount Vernon
Mount Vernon, VA

Did you know George Washington’s Mount Vernon is open 365 days a year? Open to the public since 1860, Mount Vernon is the former plantation estate and burial location of George Washington, an American political leader, military general, statesman, and Founding Father who served as the first President of the United States from 1789 to 1797.

Please note, that visitors are required to pre-purchase admission online.

Visit a Panda, Crocodile, Monkey, & More!
Washington, DC

Take a walk with some wildlife at Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, DC! Check out the bears, elephants, and tigers, and even meet a monkey or two! Please note, that while admission is free, visitors are required to reserve admission online.

Can’t make it, but still want to see the animals? The Zoo also boasts plenty of fun webcams, including:

Naked Mole-Rat Cam
Giant Panda Cam
Elephant Cam
• and more

Visit a Museum
The DMV is rich in history and culture and has more than ten museums just on the National Mall alone. Thanksgiving Day is a great time to visit some of these local landmarks, as many Smithsonian museums are open on Thanksgiving Day:

Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden | Washington, DC
Walk-ins allowed; view hours here

National Air & Space Museum | Washington, DC
Walk-ins allowed; view hours here

National Air & Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center | Chantilly, VA
Walk-ins allowed; view hours here

National Museum of African American History & Culture | Washington, DC
Timed entry passes are required; learn more and view hours here

National Museum of Natural History | Washington, DC
Walk-ins allowed; view hours here

Admission is free at almost all Smithsonian museums (at some destinations have a parking fee). To see the complete list of Smithsonian museums, click here.

Holiday Light Show @ National Harbor
National Harbor, MD

The Gaylord National at National Harbor goes all out for the holidays! Visitors are welcome to step inside and see their 19-story glass atrium with views of the Potomac River. Upon your visit, discover more than 3 million dazzling Christmas lights around every bend. This includes a Holiday Light Show complete with a suspended 55-foot Starlight Christmas Tree!

There is no charge to see the show or walk around the atrium. Click here to learn more, as well as the Holiday Light showtimes.

Spectacular Musical Tree Shows @ Village at Leesburg
Leesburg, VA

Daily, until January 1, 2022, you’re invited to visit the Village at Leesburg’s unique 5-story-tall Christmas tree with a snowfall topper and more than 15,000 dazzling lights! When visiting this holiday beauty, enjoy daily music and light shows on the hour, 4-10 pm.


Not ready to brave the cold or want to spend the day in your jammies? Once the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is over, there are still plenty of ways to sit back, relax, and get in the holiday spirit from the comfort of your couch!

Freeform’s Countdown Until Christmas
Hallmark Channel’s Countdown to Christmas
Netflix’s November & December Releases


Need we say more? There’s no better time to trade your turkeys for trees or menorahs, and don’t forget to find the elf! Since the family is already together, put those extra hands to good use, and get everyone involved in decorating!

Disclaimer: Events and opportunities on this site are curated from public sources and subject to changes/cancelations that might not be reflected in’s content.