November is a time to celebrate the peak of fall and all the good things that the holiday season brings, including precious time with your family. If you are looking for fun things to do in November, here are some amazing family-friendly events happening in our area that are sure to educate, entertain, and enlighten.
Several events listed are related to Veterans Day. There are also opportunities to celebrate Native American Heritage Month, as well as happenings to satisfy your kiddos who love theater, food, or history. We also have put together a number of other guides that will help you plan your family outings during this season of shorter days and sweater weather, including our Guide to Pumpkin Patches and Fall Fun and 80+ Places to Explore Nature with Kids around the DMV.
November Events in Washington, DC
DC Area Moms aims to build a sense of community among all moms in the DMV. It is with this care and concern for everyone in our communities that we encourage you to follow the ever-changing COVID protocols of the venues and events you attend as you enjoy these fun Fall days. Also, you can keep up to date on the latest CDC recommendations for fully vaccinated people and those who are unvaccinated. We hope you find many ways to safely enjoy time with your family during this eventful season.
Now – November 28
Walk through a neuron, the “thinking cells” of the brain, and witness first-hand the beauty of one of science’s greatest mysteries: the human brain. Through collaboration with the Society for Neuroscience and the world’s leading scientists and creatives, this immersive exhibit will allow us to experience a neuron from pre-birth to death, providing an experiential view of life at a cellular level. All visitors ages 4 and up need a ticket to enter the space. Artechouse recommends that attendees purchase tickets in advance.
Anacostia Neighborhood Library
Anacostia Library will be hosting a gaming event all day on Sunday November 7 from 1pm to 5pm. Take the whole family to hang out and enjoy games from around the world!
November 7, 14, and 28
Great Falls, VA
Do you harvest and cook your own food? Discover how native people used the resources where they lived to survive and learn some easy recipes. Explore native cooking techniques as you help prepare some native dishes to taste. The program at Riverbend Park runs from 3 to 4:30pm and costs $12 per person.
Arlington National Cemetery
The public is invited to observe a joint service flyover and full honors procession honoring the 100th anniversary of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The procession will take place along a special route inside Arlington National Cemetery. The centennial procession and aerial review is free and open to the public. No tickets are required.
Also, on November 9 and 10, the public is invited to attend the Centennial Commemoration Public Flower Ceremony. This free event will allow visitors to personally pay their respects to the Unknown Soldiers. This is a rare opportunity for the public to walk next to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, a privilege otherwise given only to the Sentinels of the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment, “The Old Guard.” Registration is required for the flower ceremony.
Veterans Day Events
We live in an area replete with monuments honoring the men and women who have served, and sacrificed, in the Armed Forces. As such, there are many opportunities for you to observe the day. Below is a list of several options:
Vietnam Veterans Memorial
World War II Memorial
U.S. Navy Memorial
Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library
In honor of Veterans Day, join DCPL for a special performance from the United States Navy Band’s woodwind quintet. Prior to the performance, representatives from DC’s Mayor’s Office of Veterans Affairs and the National Museum of the US Navy will offer words of welcome. All ages are welcome! The event is free and you can register online.
November 12 – 18
Hosted by the National Museum of the American Indian
NMAI’s Native Cinema Showcase is an annual celebration of the best in Native film. This year focuses on Native people boldly asserting themselves through language, healing, building community, and a continued relationship with the land. The showcase provides a unique forum for engagement with Native filmmakers from Indigenous communities throughout the Western Hemisphere and Arctic. The Future Focused Shorts Program features 14 family-friendly short films, ranging from 1 to 11 minutes, that are fun for kids of all ages.
International Spy Museum
Once again, the International Spy Museum will celebrate the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall by hosting the Annual Parade of Trabants. Despite their questionable performance, the little cars are now affectionately regarded as a symbol of East Germany and the fall of Communism. Drop in to view the famous “cardboard” cars and other vintage Cold War automobiles and scooters and vote on your favorite. Experts will also be there to answer your questions about Trabants, the Cold War, and Communism. The event is free and no registration is required.
This high-energy, interactive stage production brings the culinary hit TV shows MasterChef and MasterChef Junior directly to fans and foodies alike…live on stage! The family-friendly show will feature head-to-head cooking demonstrations and fun (sometimes messy!) challenges with past MasterChef and MasterChef Junior contestants, and an overall immersive audience experience fun for all ages.
Fort Ward Museum & Historic Site
Fort Ward is the best preserved of the system of Union forts and batteries built to protect Washington, DC during the Civil War. Fort Ward Museum will offer soldier-led tours of historic Fort Ward in recognition of Veteran’s Day on November 13. Two 90-minute tours presented by a Union army soldier interpreter will be held at 11am and 2pm. Tours are free. The program is weather dependent.
November 18 -27
New York Times best-selling author Kwame Alexander brings two of his beloved children’s books, Acoustic Rooster and Indigo Blume, to the stage in a world premiere Kennedy Center commission. This is a story about being scared, being brave, and believing in yourself. With special guests like Duck Ellington and Ms. Dairy Parton, this musical adaptation will have children (and families) dancing in their seats. Following the performances on November 18, 19, and 20 at 1:30pm, young audience members can ask questions and hear stories in an up-close-and-personal talk with Kwame Alexander, Mary Rand Hess, and more of the show’s artists. This production is geared for kids five and older.
November 18 – January 2
The Puppet Co.
Glen Echo, MD
In this production, based on the book by Eric Kimmel, Hershel just wants to celebrate Hanukkah with the community, but the Queen and King of the Goblins have forbidden the lighting of the candles. Can Hershel save the day and lift the curse for this shtetl (village)? Join the Puppet Co. during Hanukkah (November 28 – December 5) to take home a special gift. The Puppet Co. is currently operating at 50% capacity.
National Gallery Sculpture Garden
On November 19, the ice rink will open for the 2021-2022 winter season. It will be open 7 days a week, with its only closures scheduled for December 25 and January 1. Check out the website for hours of operation and COVID safety protocols. Also, ice skating lessons for individuals and groups are available through Washington Elite Skating School.
November 19 -21
Smithsonian Arts and Industries Building
To celebrate the Smithsonian’s 175th anniversary in 2021, the AIB will be reopened after being closed for over 15 years. The opening exhibit, FUTURES, is an exploration of the future through interactives, artworks, tech, and ideas that are glimpses into humanity’s next chapter. FUTURES will run from November 20 through July 6, 2022. Opening weekend will include live-streamed and in-person activities such as a first-look at the exhibit hosted by Bill Nye, a conversation with Kal Penn, drag queen and environmental activist Pattie Gonia, and 2021 National Spelling Bee winner Zaila Avant-garde. On November 20, the museum will host a free indoor/outdoor “call-and-response concert” that explores the future of music, featuring performances by go-go artists, SHAED, street drummer Malik Dope, and more. Finally, the re-opening weekend will end with a family day on November 21. Check out the website to register for both online and in-person events.
National Children’s Museum
Join composers Samuli Kosminen & Jarmo Saari on livestream for a musical ride to the fantasy world of Moomins! Hear more about how the heart-warming score music of the award-winning Moominvalley TV series was made. Discover the most bizarre instruments used to create the perfect sound. Use your ears to “watch” scenes, discover the sounds different instruments make, and learn more about the basics of composing. This event will take place both virtually and in person. See website for how to register virtual or in person attendance. Recommended for ages 3 and over.
November 20 – December 18
National Harbor, MD
Enjoy a spectacular fireworks display every Saturday night from November 13 through December 18. The show begins at 5:30pm. While you are at National Harbor, enjoy dinner at one of the many restaurants in the area and perhaps a ride on the ferris wheel.
November 24 – January 2
U.S. Botanic Garden
The holiday display at the United States Botanic Garden is back! Festive adornments, winterberries, lighted trees and shrubs, and conifers and greenery will be placed throughout the Garden. The ever popular train display will be outdoors this year. It can be visited in the gated outdoor gardens from 10am – 5pm daily (closed on Christmas Day). Tickets are not required. The Conservatory and restrooms remain closed.
November 26 – January 2
The World’s Largest Christmas Light Maze and Market will return to Nationals Park this winter. The magical World of Enchant is filled with dazzling displays that feel like they come right out of a childhood Christmas dream. Marvel at the 100 ft. animated tree, glide across the glistening Ice Skating Trail, pose for photos with Santa himself, and sip and savor delicious festive holiday treats every step of the way. Purchase tickets online. Kids up to age 2 are free.
November 27 – December 26
Cinderella is stepping into her own shoes! Led by an all-female team of Syneticons, this innovative take on the classic fairytale is a perfect fit for audiences of all ages.
We hope you enjoy this guide! If you know of additional family-friendly events in our area this month, please leave it in the comments below. Don’t forget that we also have a community calendar that lists other local events.