Fun holiday things to do tonight and tomorrow

Brrr! It’s pretty cold in the  Washington, DC area today.  The highs are only going to get in the low 40s and there’s a north-westerly wind that makes it seem even colder.  We might even get a few snow flurries tonight!

But if you bundle up (hat, scarves and gloves!), there are two holiday events (one today and one tomorrow) that you might not want to miss…

Holiday Boat Parade of Lights in Old Town Alexandria – 6 p.m. tonight

It does get super cold standing right next to the Potomac but the Parade of Lights gets started around 6 p.m. tonight.  It’s so pretty.  There’s about 50 boats and they have electric lights all over them. The lights reflect on the water…it’s worth the shivering.

Actually, if you are hardy and so inclined, you could spend the whole day in Alexandria because the Scottish Walk Parade kicks off at 11 a.m. (ooh I hate to think of their poor cold legs in those kilts) and then there are children’s activities around 4 pm at the Torpedo Factory and I believe Santa and Mrs Claus are supposed to arrive by boat around 4:30 pm.

Mary’s Tips: But since I don’t have William this weekend and I have a hurt ankle, so I just may go see the boats this time.  Now, traffic at that time of day on the weekend can be really hairy.  So my tip is to budget extra time.  When you are  Route 7 as soon as you get past King Street Metro station, try to go down one of the side streets that parallel King Street, because traffic gets really congested and slows down.  But if you can park pretty close to the water (good luck!) you won’t have far to go.

Now, after the Boat Parade you may get hungry and I’m going to warn  you, the restaurants get pretty full.  If you want to eat at the Chart House tonight, you had better make reservations.  There are a couple of Starbucks nearby, however, and my favorite place to duck in and warm up is La Madeleine on King Street because it’s spacious and affordable, and I like those little mini desserts.

Then I think you should really take a stroll down King Street and peek in all the windows because the Christmas decorations are lovely.  I really like that Christmas shop, too.  Here’s a slide show I took last year.

Sunday, Wolf Trap Sing-a-Long

Oh tomorrow is going to be really cold. The wind is going to pick up.  Still, the Wolf Trap Sing-a-Long would be fun for your family. I’ve done this a few times before, and I’ve always enjoyed it. It’s free, and you will be completely in the holiday spirit by the end of it.

Mary’s tips: Dress warmly!!  Bring blankets.  You can also bring your own food, and they will sell hot chocolate, coffee and cookies, but the lines are long and sometimes they run out.  You do want to get there early.  It starts at 4 pm but people come as early as 2:30. I think that’s a bit early myself. Parking is just going to take some time.  Just know that going to into it that you may have to walk a bit.  If you are have a disability, they do offer handicapped parking and a special seating section, should you need it.

I’m checking now about Metro service to see if it’s being offered.  That would be the way to go, I think, but I don’t know if they’re having it.

Most importantly…it’s going to take time to get out of there.  Just getting out of the parking lot is slooooow.  Everybody, go to the bathroom first.  Don’t lose your Christmas spirit (and people in Northern Virginia do). Turn on 97.1 and just wait it out.

They encourage you to bring bells for the jingle bell portion of the program (it’s fun) and they also say bring a candle, but in my experience in the past, candles were there and just passed around. We always got candles and I know I didn’t bring any.  So I don’t know about the candles.  But bring a bell, anyway.

This video by another YouTuber pretty much captures the experience…



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