27 Family-Friendly Spring Events in Washington

Fun, kid-focused ways to get your brood—and you—inspired and out of the house.

Photograph by Kip Dawkins. Image via Shutterstock. Image via Shutterstock. Image via Shutterstock Image via Shutterstock. Image via Shutterstock. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock. Image via Shutterstock. Image via Shutterstock. Photography by Kate Warren Cinnamon Pittman, Scott Nash, and Tracy Bernstein. Photograph by Andrew Propp Image via Shutterstock. Photograph by Shutterstock/Halay Alex. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock | Image via Shutterstock. Illustration By Dan Page Image via Shutterstock. Photograph courtesy of FiLIP Technologies Photographs by Natalie Chitwood, Styling Pascale Lemaire for THE Artist Agency, Makeup/Hair Patti Nelson for THE Artist Agency Illustration by Alex Green/Getty Images. Image via Shutterstock. Photograph by Jeff Elkins Image via Shutterstock/Kzenon Image courtesy of Shutterstock Image via Shutterstock Photograph courtesy of Shutterstock. Photograph of kitchen by Stephen Simpson/Getty Images. Photograph of mudroom by Angie Seckinger; design by Marika Meyer. Photograph by Weikerken Altema Photograph by Fuse/Getty Images Photograph by Julie Fischer McCarter Photography by Kate Warren Courtney Cox, with her kids Carter and Virginia, leads an afternoon of cookie baking in the brightly lit kitchen. Cox had the skylight built to capture even more natural light. Photography by Kip Dawkins Photograph of The Young and the Restless by Monty Brinton/CBS Photograph of The Millionaire Matchmaker’s Patti Stanger by Randee St. Nicholas/TY KU/Bravo Photograph of The Biggest Loser by Trae Patton/NBC Photograph of Orange Is the New Black courtesy of Lionsgate Photograph of Scandal by Richard Cartwright/ABC Photograph of Homeland’s Claire Danes by Jim Fiscus/Showtime Property Brothers by Caitlin Cronenberg/HGTV Photograph of Kim Kardashian by Brian Bowen Smith/E! Entertainment Photograph of Mark Wahlberg at Kids’ Choice Awards by Lester Cohen/WireImage/Nickelodeon Photograph of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills by Joe Pugliese/Bravo Photograph of Shameless courtesy of Showtime Photograph by Kate Warren Image via Shutterstock. Photograph by Gary Houlder/Getty Images Image courtesy of Shutterstock | shutter Photograph by Scott Suchman Image courtesy of Shutterstock | Photograph by Scott Suchman Photograph by Gary Houlder/Getty Images. Photograph by Dan Saelinger/Trunk Archive Photograph by Scott Suchman Photograph by Robert Daly/Getty Images Photograph by Kip Dawkins. Photography by Kip Dawkins; Styling by Marcie Blough Photograph courtesy Bloomingdale’s Photograph by Ray Kachatorian/Getty Images Photograph by Paul Bradbury/Getty Images DC Yoga Week. Photograph of Yoga class by Scott Belton.

1. Nothing but Net

Patriot Center

4500 Patriot Cir., Fairfax

The Harlem Globetrotters face off March 13 against DC’s own Washington Generals in a show filled with ball-handling wizardry, rim-rattling dunks, trick shots, and a megadose of comic fan interaction. Stick around after the game for autographs and selfies. Tickets are $24.50 to $151.50.

2. On Pointe

Robert E. Parilla Performing Arts Center

51 Mannakee St., Rockville

Before there was Elsa, there was Sleeping Beauty. Get reacquainted with her, plus the Lilac Fairy, Prince Desire, and the evil Carabosse in Metropolitan Ballet Theatre’s stage production of Sleeping Beauty on March 14 through 15. Pay close attention to the wedding celebration at the end of the show, which gets a boost with special appearances by Cinderella and Puss in Boots. Tickets are $19 to $26.

3. Going Green

Washington D.C. St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Constitution Ave. between 7th and 17th sts., NW

For more than 40 years, little leprechauns and their parents have lined the mile-long route on Constitution Avenue for the Washington D.C. St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which celebrates all aspects of Irish culture. On March 15, slip into something green and join the ranks. You’ll spot dancers, fire trucks, color guards, and a slew of ginger-bearded faces (faux and real).

4. However You Slice It

Pizza Studio

1333 New Hampshire Ave., NW

What’s better than homemade pizza? Homemade pizza you don’t have to clean up. Pizza Studio—a Southern California–based pizzeria—opens in March, offering diners an array of fresh ingredients for designing their own pie masterpiece. No more disappointed picky palates; there’s meat and veggies galore, plus five crusts to choose among. The Dupont Circle location will showcase local artwork on its signature “starving artist wall.”

5. Under the Sea

Carnegie Institution for Science, Elihu Root Auditorium

1530 P St., NW

More than 60 venues around the city will host the Environmental Film Festival featuring more than 150 films March 17 through 29. Stop by the Elihu Root Auditorium on March 29 for a free screening of City Under the Sea. You and your kids will experience an oceanic ecosystem—from microscopic seahorses to massive sharks—and learn how each creature works to share and maintain the real estate.

6. Spin It Out


1927 Florida Ave., NW

Watch out, SoulCycle lovers—another hot spinning class is headed to DC in March. Flywheel’s location in Dupont Circle is just another stop on its way to boutique fitness domination, as the indoor cycling and barre studio is already in major cities from coast to coast. Tech-saavy moms will love the performance stats that are available for each class so they can track the miles they’ve ridden and count the calories burned. Individual classes are $28.

7. Dance Dance Revolution

Bullis School

10601 Falls Rd., Potomac

The Israeli dance community will be in full force March 21 and 22 at the annual Israeli Dance Festival, featuring performers young and old. From traditional music to modern Israeli pop, families will find it hard not to move and groove. After the performers do their thing, all are invited to participate in a community harkada (dance party) at B’nai Israel Congregation, 6301 Montrose Rd., Rockville. Tickets are $10 to $25.

8. Dog Days

Dulles Expo Center

4320 Chantilly Shopping Center, Chantilly

Pet owners and lovers will meet up at the Super Pet Expo March 27 through 29 in Chantilly. In addition to a menagerie of dogs, cats, and birds on display, there will be pet-supply and accessory exhibitors, a pet fashion show, and animal-adoption opportunities. Bonus: Put Fido on a leash, and he’s welcome to tag along. Tickets are $8 to $20.

9. Let’s Go Fly a Kite

Washington Monument

Constitution Ave. and 17th St., NW

Pack a kite or plan to help your kids make one upon arrival at the National Cherry Blossom Festival’s Blossom Kite Festival on March 28. Master kite flyers will demonstrate their skills in a Hot Tricks Showdown, and kite makers from across the nation will have their artistry on display. Bring your kite to the Family Field, where children can enter a youth competition, get advice from the experts, and practice their new skills.

10. Eggstravagant Entertainment

Tudor Place Historic House & Garden

1644 31st St., NW

An egg hunt, decorating, rolling, and games for kids of all ages will be part of the fun in the eighth annual Eggstravaganza! on the Tudor Place south lawn on March 28, April 3, and April 4. Each child needs to bring her own basket, spoon, and hard-boiled egg, but a visit with the Easter Bunny and a self-guided tour of the estate gardens are included. Tickets are $5 to $10.

11. Get Fit

Washingtonian Fit Fest

Those fitness classes you’ve been meaning to try (but haven’t) and the latest nutritional information you meant to read up on (but didn’t) will be at your fingertips at Washingtonian’s Fit Fest in April. Get some one-on-one time with award-winning local doctors, taste-test healthy foods and snacks, and scoop up some freebies for the healthier, new you. Tickets are $25 to $30.

12. Party Animals

Smithsonian National Zoo

3001 Connecticut Ave., NW

A host of events await you and your child at the National Zoo Kids’ Farm throughout the month of April. Fish feeding and a chance to meet a farm animal occur daily, with story time on Tuesdays, farm keeper meet and greets on Wednesdays, and live music and entertainment on Thursdays. On April 5, Ledo Pizza will give away free samples while kids recycle shipping pallets to create urban gardens with members of the zoo’s horticultural staff.

13. The Wheel Deal

DC Armory

2001 E. Capitol St., SE

Who knew the District was home to one of the most popular roller-derby leagues around? The DC Roller Girls comprise four teams—Majority Whips, Cherry Blossom Bombshells, Scare Force One, and DC Demoncats—which will battle it out April 11 in two family-friendly, action-filled bouts. Children five and under are free; children’s tickets are $6; adult tickets are $15.

14. Teddy Time

Kennedy Center

2700 F St., NW

National Symphony Orchestra violinist Glenn Donnellan and his wife, Jan Chong, team up for a one-of-a-kind duet. On April 11 and 12, children’s songs and the sounds of buzzing bees and sighing lullabies come to life through creative use of the violin. This 45-minute Teddy Bear Concert will introduce your toddler to techniques that the greatest symphonies are built on. Tickets are $20.

15. Child’s Play

DAR Museum

1776 D St., NW

We may think of them as growups, but icons like George Washington, Dolley Madison, Harriet Tubman, and Abraham Lincoln were all once kids. At DAR Museum’s free family-friendly program “Explore the Past: Games They Played” on April 18, kids can try out some active games, games of skill, and strategy games, all of which were once as popular as Apples to Apples is today.

16. Music to Their Ears


5301 Tuckerman Ln., North Bethesda

You’re never too young to appreciate a little Bach or Beethoven. For proof, visit the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s Music Box Series on April 18, where wee ones six months to three years old can hear a half-hour classical music concert, clang on instruments, and learn a few bars of music from a mini-ensemble of musicians. Tickets are $15.

17. Super Sprinters

East Potomac Park

972 Ohio Dr., SW

We all know exercise is good for us, but when it’s also helping kids in DC’s foster care system to get one-on-one mentoring, you don’t have to ask us twice to lace up our running shoes. The Best Kids Superhero 5K and fun run on April 18 will get your kids moving for a cause and give them the chance to play superhero in the lives of the District’s underprivileged children. Registration is $30.

18. Nailing It

Varnish Lane

5236 44th St., NW

Varnish Lane, which opened in February in Friendship Heights, is the area’s only luxe nail salon to offer waterless mani/pedis. Local entrepreneur (and mom) Carrie Dunne is one of the co-owners and she touts the treatments just as fab and relaxing as traditional procedures, only without the risk of infection, which sometimes can occur while soaking in pedicure spa baths. The eco-friendliness of saving water is also a plus. Be one of the first 100 customers to mention Washingtonian MOM, and receive 10 percent off your first pedicure.

19. An Open Book

Downtown Bethesda (multiple locations)

If your child is the type to sneak off at bedtime to read a book (or five), the Bethesda Literary Festival is a can’t-miss. The annual lit fest, this year April 17 through 19, features a youth writing contest, a meet and greet with local children’s authors, and fun, interactive story times.

20. Water Works

Bay Bridge Marina

357 Pier 1 Rd., Stevensville

Take a road trip to Stevensville to see how locals set sail on the open water. The family can enjoy a demo boat ride; the kids can learn about boating safety from the US Power Squadron; moms can take a yoga or paddle-board fitness class. The interactive kids’ area will include face painting and a moon bounce. The Bay Bridge Boat Show on April 17 through 19 kicks off Friday night with a free barbecue dinner hosted by boat show staff. Children 12 and under are free; adult tickets are $12.

21. Giving Back

Howard Theatre

620 T St., NW

Dedicate a night to the District’s homeless youth at Sasha Bruce Youthwork’s benefit concert on April 22. Support the organization’s efforts to overcome the homelessness of 3,000 children at this evening performance by Committed, the a cappella group that won season two of The Sing-Off. Tickets start at $250.

22. Flower Power

National Cathedral

3101 Wisconsin Ave., NW

You don’t need a green thumb to have fun at the National Cathedral’s Flower Mart. More than 50 tents filled with annuals, perennials, and landscape exhibits (read: inspiration galore!) will be set up on the cathedral grounds May 1 and 2. Kid diversions include a climbing wall, moon bounce, and restored mini-Ferris wheel.

23. Travel Light

Embassy Row

Still haven’t booked that trip around the world? During Passport D.C.’s Around the World Embassy Tour on May 2, you can visit six different continents by strolling through selected embassies. You’ll get a free insider look at the food, art, dance, fashion, and music of 50-plus countries, and you won’t even have to check a bag.

24. Strike a Pose

Various locations

Say ommmmm! DC Yoga Week (May 3 through 9) lets you go to the mat without busting your budget. Contact one of dozens of participating yoga studios (Mind the Mat, Yoga District, and Tranquil Spaces are among them) to reserve a spot in a free or reduced-rate class. And that’s something to feel zen about.

25. Cycle Queen

National Geographic

1600 M St., NW

Shannon Galpin has taken a stand for women’s rights in Afghanistan, and she’s done it from the seat of her bicycle. Galpin, the first woman to ride a mountain bike in Afghanistan, shares how she launched Strength in Numbers, a national cycling team that’s encouraging women adventurers across the country. Her Biking Afghanistan lecture is May 5. Tickets are $24.

26. The Godmother

Crime Museum

575 Seventh St., NW

Follow up Mother’s Day brunch with a bit of criminal history. On May 8 through 10, the Crime Museum is celebrating Women in the Mafia and offering half-price tickets to all mothers who take a tour with their child. Brush up on Mob lore, and be one of the first 100 moms through the door to receive a museum gift. Tickets are $9 to $15.

27. What’s on Tap

Kennedy Center

2700 F St., NW

Performance company Rhythmic Circus transforms its tap shoes into instruments by blending dance moves with humor and get-up-and-dance music. The hoofers—all from Minneapolis—present Feet Don’t Fail Me Now! at the Kennedy Center May 15 through 17. “Heatbox” the human beatbox and a seven-piece funk band provide backup. Tickets are $20.

Editor’s Note: In the print edition, the price for a single class at Flywheel was incorrectly listed as $34. The correct price, $28, has been added to this online edition.

Ayren Jackson-Cannady

Ayren Jackson-Cannady (@ayrenjc on Instagram) is a health-and-wellness writer/editor in Arlington whose work has appeared in Prevention and Self.