Thanksgiving Day Fun

<< More Holiday-Inspired 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 family-friendly happenings, including turkey trotting, winter walking, ice-skating, and more!

Ice Skating
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 Ice Skating Pavilion | Reston, VA
Pentagon Row Ice Rink | Arlington, VA
National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden Ice Rink | Washington, DC

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

Illumination Events
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
Spectacular Musical Tree Shows | Leesburg, VA
Spectacular Tree Light Shows | National Harbor, MD

Want even more illumination events? Check out our Guide: Tree Lightings & Illumination Events in the DMV.

Season’s Greenings
At the Season’s Greenings train display at the US Botanic Garden, 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 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.

The Conservatory is open every day of the year, from 10 am to 5 pm, free of charge; learn more.

Movie Time
If movies are your thing, then you’re in luck! Tons of family-friendly flicks are out on the big screen, and Thanksgiving Day is a great time to catch one!

We’ve linked up some best bets below to their Common Sense Media reviews to help you make the best pick for your family:

Frozen II (Opening Nov 22, 2019)
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (Opening Nov 22, 2019)
Maleficent: Mistress Of Evil
Arctic Dogs
Jojo Rabbit

Spectacular Tree Light Shows
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.

Take a Spin
The Capital Wheel at National Harbor is open Thanksgiving Day! On your ride, you’ll soar 180-feet above the Potomac River waterfront. When the weather cooperates, sights visible include the White House, the Capitol, and the National Mall to name a few! Plan your visit here.

Explore the Outdoors
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! Enjoy a walk or hike before you head home for your Thanksgiving meal or dessert!

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
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 10K, 5K, & 2K
Fairfax Turkey Trot
Turkey Day 5K

Visit George Washington’s Mount Vernon
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.

In addition to a 1735 mansion and the tomb of George and Martha Washington, the property includes a memorial dedicated to the enslaved people who lived and worked on the estate. Mount Vernon also has many interpretive spaces, such as the Pioneer Farm and Washington’s Gristmill & Distillery — all to better understand our first President’s ambitious and profitable business ventures.

Enjoy guided and self-guided tours, seasonal and special events, and more. Visit Mount Vernon online today to plan your visit.

Visit a Museum
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:

African American History & Culture Museum
African Art Museum
Air & Space Museum and Hazy Center
American History Museum
American Indian Museum
Natural History Museum

Check them all out here.

Visit a Panda, Crocodile, Monkey, & More
Take a walk with some wildlife at Smithsonian’s National Zoo! Check out the bears, elephants, and tigers, or venture through the primate exhibit. Plan your visit here.

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

Snuggle Up at Home
Not ready to brave the cold, or just 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!

ABC Family’s Countdown Until Christmas
Hallmark Channel’s Countdown to Christmas
Netflix’s 2019 Original Christmas Movies

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!

Disclaimer/Terms: These opportunities are subject to last-minute cancellations; always confirm by calling/clicking.

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Passed: Nov 2019

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