Things to Do

2014 Mother’s Day Art and Culture Events

High tea, arts festivals, tours of historic homes, and more.

Celebrate Mom with high tea, a trip to an arts festival, and other culture-focused events. Image via Shutterstock.

Bethesda Fine Arts Festival

Peruse paintings, ceramics, photography, jewelry, and more by local artists at this two-day festival at Bethesda’s Fine Arts Festival. You can also catch live jazz, reggae, and rock from bands throughout the day, and there’ll be a kids’ activity area for youngsters. Free; Saturday 10 to 6 and Sunday 10 to 5. 

History and Fashion

Novelist Nicole Mary Kelby heads to Politics & Prose to read from The Pink Suit, her new novel based on the true story of the Irish immigrant who created the iconic pink suit Jackie O. was wearing on the day President Kennedy was assassinated. Free; 5 PM.

High Teas

Tudor Place’s annual Mother’s Day tea is sold out, but you can head to other local spots for some quality pinkies-up time with Mom. The Grille at Morrison House in Alexandria offers a high-tea menu for $44, featuring Champagne cocktails, teas, and snacks such as house-made scones with jam and smoked Scottish salmon. The Greenhouse at the Jefferson offers a tea either with Champagne ($55) or without ($39). The Mandarin Oriental’s Empress Lounge hosts tea Friday through Sunday from 2:30 to 4:30; the Willard InterContinental’s runs the same days from 1 to 4 ($59 with Champagne, $45 without); and the Park Hyatt in DC’s West End offers tea and sweet or savory snacks on weekends from 2:30 to 4 ($40 per person). 

Garden Tours

To celebrate National Public Gardens Day on Friday, May 9, Alexandria’s River Farm has a coupon for $10 off an American Horticultural Society membership and a free children’s potting party from 10 to noon. Tudor Place offers free admission to the gardens and 10 percent off merchandise from the museum’s shop (good through May 11). Hillwood Estate opens its gardens for tours on May 11 from 1 to 5 (reservations can be made online for a suggested donation of $15). Coupons for both are available online. And, of course, the National Aboretum, the US Botanic Garden, and the Smithsonian Gardens are always free. 

Capitol Hill Tours

The Capitol Hill Restoration Society offers walking tours of homes and gardens in the neighborhood, showcasing how the architecture and decor has evolved throughout the decades. Tours (covering about a mile and a quarter) are available Saturday, May 10, from 4 to 7 and Sunday the 11th from noon to 5. Tickets ($25 in advance, $30 the weekend of) are available online and are valid for both days. 

Gadsby’s Tavern Tours

Treat your mom to lunch at Gadsby’s Tavern in Alexandria, which once hosted such notable dinner guests as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, then take a tour of the tavern’s museum (free for moms, $5 for others) between 1 and 5 on Mother’s Day. 

Brunch at Mount Vernon

Get a taste of history at Mount Vernon, where “Martha Washington” and her granddaughters will reminisce about family memories and share advice with visitors. Mothers can receive a free lavender sachet with their visit; the program is included in the entry fee to Mount Vernon ($17). You can also book a Mother’s Day brunch buffet at the Mount Vernon Inn ($29.84 per person). A sample menu is available online.

Mother’s Day Family Festival

Take the kids to the American Art Museum’s Kogod Courtyard for the Mother’s Day Family Festival, where you can paint portraits inspired by the exhibit “Ralph Fasanella: Lest We Forget,” create bouquets of paper flowers, see a puppet show, and other fun activities for all ages. 11:30 to 3. 

Classical Music

For the music-loving mom, the Mendelssohn Piano Trio presents its annual Mother’s Day performance. This year’s includes Beethoven’s Variations Op. 44 in E-flat Major, Piano Trio in C Minor, Op. 1, No. 3, and the Archduke Piano Trio Op. 97. The free concert starts at 3 PM in the American Art Museum’s Renwick Gallery; tickets will be available in the lobby beginning at 2:30. 

Smithsonian Garden Fest

This annual festival, which began in 2006, this year has the theme Water, Water, Everywhere, and explores the importance of readily available sources of clean water. On the schedule: live music, creation of a “water-themed community art project,” and other nature-focused activities. Free; 10:30 to 3 in the Enid A. Haupt Garden behind the Smithsonian Castle.