Thanksgiving Day Fun

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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!

Ice Skating
Timed-entry passes are required for all locations.

Lace-up your skates and hit the ice! Ice skating is a great way to burn those Thanksgiving meal calories. Plus, you might even pick up a new favorite hobby!

We called the rinks below to confirm they are open on Thanksgiving Day; however, be sure to check each for hours and potential weather-related closings:

Reston Town Center | Reston, VA
Pentagon Row | Arlington, VA
Harris Pavilion | Manassas, VA — Closed
National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden | Washington, DC — Closed

Want even more ice skating links for year-round fun? Check out our Guide: Indoor/Outdoor Ice Skating Fun in the DMV.

Illumination Events
Timed-entry passes are required for all locations.

The DMV boasts plenty of ways to get your twinkle-fix from the comfort of your car or by foot under a starlit sky! We called the destinations below to confirm they are open on Thanksgiving Day; however, be sure to check each for hours and potential weather-related closings.

Meadowlark’s Winter Walk of Lights | Vienna, VA
Bull Run Festival of Lights | Centreville, VA
Ice & Lights — The Winter Village at Cameron Run | Alexandria, VA

Want even more illumination events? Check out Can’t-Miss Holiday Illuminations.

Holiday Light Show at National Harbor
National Harbor is filled with holiday spirit and joy! They invite you to visit them on the waterfront for nightly light shows featuring their 56-foot tree, decked out with two million twinkling lights!

Nightly, until January 3, 2021, the National Harbor Christmas tree comes to life every half hour from sundown to 9 pm. Plus, on weekends (Friday-Sunday), get your cameras out — there will be a special snowfall during the light shows!

Take a Spin on National Harbor’s Capital Wheel
Timed-entry passes are highly recommended.

On your Capital Wheel ride, you’ll soar 180-feet above the Potomac River waterfront in a closed, climate-controlled cab. When the weather cooperates, you might even see the White House, the Capitol, and the National Mall!

Explore the Outdoors
Please note, while these parks and trails are open, amenities like restrooms and visitor centers are closed.

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!

Turkey Trots & Fun Runs
Please note, all 2020 races are virtual

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
Ashburn Farm’s 10K, 5K, & 2K
Fairfax Turkey Trot
Turkey Day 5K
Town of Leesburg’s Freeze Your Gizzard Race
Turkey Leg Trot

Visit George Washington’s Mount Vernon
Timed-entry passes are required

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.

Movie Time
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, new this year, at home), and Thanksgiving Day is a great time to catch one!

In theatres, for the family (rated PG):
The Croods: A New Age | Released: Nov 25, 2020

In theatres, for adults (rated R):
The Last Vermeer | Released: Nov 20, 2020

On Netflix:
Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey | Released: Nov 23, 2020
Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square | Released: Nov 22, 2020
Operation Christmas Drop

On the Hallmark Channel:
Christmas in Vienna
A Timeless Christmas

Snuggle Up at Home
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 (formerly ABC Family) Countdown Until Christmas
Hallmark Channel’s Countdown to Christmas
Netflix’s 2020 November & December releases

Start Decorating for Hanukkah or Christmas
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!

Visit a Panda, Crocodile, Monkey, & More
Temporarily closing/closed due to pandemic restrictions.

Take a walk with some wildlife at Smithsonian’s National Zoo! Check out the bears, elephants, and tigers, and even meet a monkey or two!

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

Naked Mole-Rat Cam
Lion Cam
Giant Panda Cam
Elephant Cam

Visit a Museum
Temporarily closing/closed due to pandemic restrictions, or closed on Thanksgiving.

Washington, DC, 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 Smithsonian museums are open almost every day of the year, including, but not limited to, a few favs like:

• National Museum of African American History & Culture
• National Air & Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
• National Museum of American History
• National Museum of Natural History

Check out all the Smithsonian museums here.

Season’s Greenings at the US Botanic Garden’s Conservatory
Modified with no train display, and many traditional holiday areas will remain gated.

At the Season’s Greenings train display at the US Botanic Garden’s Conservatory, explore iconic gardens like Brooklyn Botanical Garden’s vibrant red Japanese torli gate, Huntsville Botanical Gardens featuring NASA space nodes and rockets, Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens’ flamingo topiaries, and more!

Plus, the Botanical Garden’s collection of Washington, DC, landmarks made from plant materials will also return to fill the Garden Court, while the West Gallery will feature a decorated tree with its own model train. And, in an annual tradition, thousands of blooms will be on display throughout, including a showcase of heirloom and newly developed poinsettia varieties.

Gaylord’s Spectacular Light Shows
Temporarily closed.

Round out your evening with a beautiful tree show at the Gaylord at National Harbor! Each night, the hotel’s atrium comes to life with laser lights, Christmas music, and a dancing fountain! Stick around for the indoor snowfall, too! This holiday happening is free and open to everyone; plan your visit here.

Important Disclaimer: This opportunity is curated from a public source and subject to changes and/or cancelations that might not be reflected above. Always call to confirm before participating.

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