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From celebrating New Year’s Eve with kids to 5K races: What we’re looking forward to this week, Dec. 30-Jan. 5

This week, the Northern Virginia Magazine editorial team is looking forward to ringing in 2020 with family-friendly events, yearly reflections, a murder-mystery dinner and running trails.

hands holding champagne and sparklers
© Pressmaster / stock.adobe.com

This story appears in our weekly Things to Do newsletter, sent to subscribers every Monday. Get it in your inbox by signing up here.

By Katie BiancoJess FeldmanHolly Gambrell and Jennifer Zeleski

New Year’s Eve with little ones
New Year’s Eve, like just about everything else, looks different once you have kids. Pre-kids, my husband and I had a pretty good run of heading into DC on Dec. 31 (and then having the luxury of lounging around the next day). But for the past few years, we’ve hosted a dinner party with all of our parent friends. We eat steak, drink (just a little) Champagne and let the kids go crazy with noisemakers. Since the kids can’t stay up until midnight, we’ll let them experience a countdown earlier in the day at one of these fun events. And, if you don’t have kids to contend with (or had the foresight to get a babysitter), here are some fun, local options to ring in the New Year. Here’s to a fantastic 2020! -Katie Bianco, Editor

New Year’s Nancy Drew
New Year’s Eve is fun … in theory. The days before the holiday, including New Year’s Eve, are spent in the office and, quite frankly, I’m worn out by 9 p.m. every night. So staying up late isn’t easy, and last year I was asleep way before the clock struck midnight (snoring by 10 p.m., to be exact). This year, I’m making an extra effort to stay awake and hoping to do so with entertainment that’s more than just drinks and loud music. Maggiano’s Little Italy is hosting a murder mystery dinner party, where guests can search for clues and pretend to be detectives as they figure out the homicidal conundrum. Hopefully I figure it out before it’s time for the Champagne toast. -Holly Gambrell, Digital Editor // Maggiano’s Little Italy: 2001 International Drive, McLean; Tuesday, Dec. 31, 5:30 p.m.; $100

New year, same pace
I’m a fast-paced person … for the most part. I love mornings, I love walking fast and sometimes I have to remind myself to slow down while explaining things, simply because my mouth is going a bit too fast for others to catch up. So, it’s fitting that when 2020 comes around, I want to do something to propel myself forward, both physically and mentally. Sure, I have a New Year’s resolution to be more active and take care of myself better (who doesn’t?), but the New Year’s Day 5K in Reston will do more than just satisfy my desire to do something fast and rewarding. This last year was a long one, and this race is just enough distance to help me think of my 2019 highlights: College graduation. Moving out-of-state. Building new friendships. Taking on new challenges. I’m hoping a good run on the first day of the decade will lead to another 10 years of happiness, health and new memories. Want to kick off 2020 by running too? Find our roundup of local New Year’s races here. -Jennifer Zeleski, Editorial Assistant // Reston Town Center: 11911 Democracy Drive, Reston; Wednesday, Jan. 1, 10 a.m.; $40

Ringing in the future with the past
For the past 10 years of my life, I’ve celebrated the new year with my family by my side, typically on a beach somewhere. But now that two- to five-week vacations aren’t predetermined in my calendar, it’s time for me to come up with a new way to celebrate. Lucky for me, I have a mini family of my own here in Arlington who will be dancing with me all night long on the night of Dec. 31 in the District. Then come Jan. 1, I am going to skip the recovery period and instead reflect on the past of this incredibly complex, fascinating region I now live in by attending the inaugural National Bell Festival, which invites the community to honor the historic bell towers in DC and Northern Virginia. While there are a series of free events occurring throughout the day at various locations, I plan on witnessing the Korean Bell ringing at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens for the 2 p.m., city-wide ringing, experiencing both the event and the gardens themselves, as I have yet to visit. It’s time to, quite literally, ring in the new year! -Jess Feldman, Editorial Assistant // Locations vary; Wednesday, Jan. 1, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; free

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