Fun and Games

Let the (Holiday) Light Shine

Meadowlark Gardens Winter Walk of LightsThis holiday season, I’ll be spending most of my time at the Lake Anne Coffee House finishing the renovations (more to come on that…). So I’m asking you to go out and do something for me — enjoy the amazing light shows we’re lucky to have in our area. There are three in particular that I think are must-dos. Believe me, you will enjoy them. All three run until January 3, 1016.

1.ZooLights

See how more than 500,000 environmentally friendly LED lights transform the National Zoo into a winter wonderland. That’s a lot of lights! ZooLights also includes live music, tasty winter treats, and plenty of opportunities for holiday shopping. New this year is a dazzling light show set to music. Best part: it’s free and open to the public. And for FONZ members, every Saturday night of ZooLights the Elephant Community Center is transformed into The Warm Up and Chill Out Lounge. Celebrity Cruises sponsors this exclusive space, and provides complimentary drinks and themed goodies.

2. Meadowlark’s Winter Walk of Lights

A little closer to home — about a 15 minute drive from Reston in Vienna, VA — we’ve got the Meadowlark Garden’s Winter Walk of Lights. They don’t quite have 500,000 lights, but they’ve got a lot. Visit fairyland, watch the frog jump over the lily pad, and see your favorite woodland creatures frolic among the trees. And at the end of the short walk through the park, enjoy hot chocolate and s’mores around the fire pit (or enjoy watching the children enjoy them… that alone is worth the price of admission). You do need to buy tickets in advance (ages 13 and older: $12 | ages 3-12: $7 | ages 2 and younger: Free).

3. Bull Run Festival of Lights

If you want to enjoy the warmth of your car while looking at the light show, then head out to the Festival of Lights at Bull Run in Manassas. This show is really fun… especially with a car full of children who are captivated by the lights. Unlike the other two, this light show is open on Christmas and New Year’s day. The admission fees are per car, so load up. And the Festival of Lights is more than just a light show — after enjoying the two and a half miles of light displays, stop in at the Holiday Village. Complete with bonfires, s’mores, holiday merchandise, and free children’s activities, the Holiday Village is fun for the whole family. 

Of course, it’s also always fun to wander over to Reston Town Center and Lake Anne Village to enjoy the twinkle lights. Sure they are not as spectacular as the light shows, but they are charming nonetheless. And if you see me working away in the coffee shop, stop by and say hi.

For more ideas on fun things to do this holiday season, visit the Fairfax County website for ideas.

Where to See the Fireworks in Reston Area

Fourth of July in Reston VACan you believe it’s almost July 4? We had such a cool spring, that it doesn’t feel like summer yet. But it is. And it’s time to think about where you want to watch the fireworks this year. Fortunately, we have a ton of options near Reston. Here is a run down:

If you want to take a drive: Everyone should go see the fireworks on the National Mall. And if you want to really feel like a local, you won’t actually go down to the Mall—you’ll watch them from one of several vantage points nearby. The Marine Corps War Memorial (Iwo Jima) in Arlington, Virginia near the Rosslyn Metro station is great, and you can hop on the Metro after to get home with no fuss. There are also areas along the Virginia side of the Potomac River that you can reach from George Washington Memorial Parkway, again allowing for an easy exit to get home. The Gravelly Point parking lot, which is about a quarter mile from the 14th Street Bridge, is also convenient.

If you want to stay local, that works too.

  • The local Reston fireworks are at Lake Fairfax Park. (1400 Lake Fairfax Dr., Reston, Virginia. (703) 471-5415. Fireworks begin around 9:15 p.m.) If that even feels like too much of a drive, the hill by Forrest Edge Elementary School offers a great view.
  • In the Town of Herndon, they’re at Bready Park, Herndon Community Center (814 Ferndale Ave., Herndon, Virginia. (703) 787-7300.) Make an evening of it for the children with face painting, balloon sculpturing, bingo and crafts beginning at 6:30 p.m. There is music at 7 p.m., and the main fireworks event is at 9:30 p.m.
  • Vienna is just a hop, skip and jump—and the July 4 festivities are worth it. Everything happens at the Vienna Community Center (120 Cherry Street Southeast, Vienna, Virginia). Starting at 11:00 a.m. there are arts and crafts, food, live music, vendors, and games. Fireworks are at 9:15 p.m. at Southside Park on Ross Dr.

Whatever you choose to do, have a fun and safe holiday!