Some months ago, I had a reader request on what to do with family on the day after Thanksgiving, or National Throw Your Relatives Out of the House Day, as my associate Lauren Kahn refers to it. I posted a few ideas at the time, and I've since reached out to DC Like a Local's Facebook Fans for some more
But first off, why is this even an issue? I thought you said that Fall was a great time to come? Well, it is, but the Smithsonians, National Zoo, and the other popular sites will be mobbed the day after Thanksgiving. Year after year I fall for it, to the point where I almost want to go visit an actual mall to avoid the crowds. So let's look at a few options. Many of these require a car, but overall traffic should be fairly light as no one will be working. Or almost no one.
- Great Falls - A wonderful place to explore about a half hour drive up the Potomac from Washington, DC. While no Grand Canyon or Niagara Falls, its a great place to bring a picnic and spend some time.
- Theodore Roosevelt Island - In the Potomac between Georgetown and Virginia, Teddy Roosevelt' official memorial in Washington. Fittingly for the man who started the National Park Service, it's an 88 acre island with a couple of miles of walking trails and a statue of TR. This is accessible on foot from the Rosslyn Metro station on the Blue and Orange Lines.
- National Arboreteum - The U.S. National Arboretum is perhaps my favorite off the beaten path place to explore. In Northeast DC, it is accessible by mass transit, but you'll have to take a bus (it's doable, trust me). I know of no greater place to take kids to run off steam.
- Mt. Vernon - If you're looking to do more than just walk around the woods, visit George Washington's home just south of DC. More than just a plantation house, it hosts a top notch museum and educational center as well as a demonstration farm with heirloom animals and period interpreters. Mass tranist options are available, if difficult to use.
There's dozens of more places to visit on Black Friday, feel free to post more in the comments. But whatever you do, stay away from Natural History and Air and Space unless you've lost a bet.