For those not familiar with ARTECHOUSE DC, it is a unique experiential (and family-friendly) exhibit space that explores the intersection of art and technology in unexpected and often fun and beautiful ways.
Its current exhibit, Spectacular Factory, explores the “holiday multiverse” and is must-see. Although there are several holiday exhibits to choose from in the Washington, DC area, Spectacular Factory ranks at the top for its completely immersive, and very fun, presentation that offers an experience unlike any other.
The largest room at ARTECHOUSE features several rotating holiday scenes that stretch from floor to ceiling. It has everything from giant snowflakes to enormous ornaments, and a tranquil winter scene provides a rotating backdrop to get visitors into the holiday spirit. Some prefer to grab a spot on the ground and watch the scenes unfold, while others walk around to experience the immersion in different ways.
There are also several smaller rooms to explore with interactive screens that open to reveal gifts inside with the swipe of a hand. Dotted throughout the gallery are life-size presents wrapped festively. Using ARTECHOUSE’s XR app, visitors can reveal what’s inside, from a working train set to robotic ornaments that decorate a Christmas tree on their own.
Another fun feature of ARTECHOUSE is their bar, which has cocktails and mocktails that rotate seasonally along with the exhibits. For the run of Spectacular Factory, there is a new addition of hot chocolate, complete with giant marshmallows.
Not all ARTECHOUSE exhibits are equally family-friendly, but Spectacular Factory is great for kids. It also makes a great date night or Moms Night Out destination.
Good to Know
- If you go, tickets are $20 for adults and $17 for children. Children younger than age 4 can enter for free. There are weekday family four-packs available for $75. We strongly recommend buying tickets in advance, as many sessions sell out.
- Tickets are sold with timed entry to keep the number of visitors at any given time limited. If you are late, you will still be allowed in but will likely need to wait until the next group is admitted.
- Although tickets are timed, you can stay as long as you like. The average visit is about an hour, but there is a lot of variation!
- There is metered parking near Artechouse as well as several garages. It is also within walking distance of the L’Enfant Plaza and Smithsonian metro stations.
- Spectacular Factory is on through January 8, 2023.
- Before you visit, download the Artechouse XR app. The app can be used to create more augmented reality experiences with the Artechouse logo and drinks. The app is needed to participate in the gift hunt, so you may want to have a device for each child, although it’s very easy to share.
- The Wharf DC is a short drive, or about a five-minute walk, from Artechouse. Make a day of it by grabbing lunch or dinner at one of the Wharf’s many restaurants after your visit to Artechouse. There is also a pizza restaurant and Starbucks on the same block as Artechouse.
- Strollers are not permitted on the exhibition floor but there is a coat room with space for stroller storage.
Jamie Davis Smith is a regular contributor to Washington FAMILY magazine. A mother of four, she loves exploring the D.C. area with her family. Reach her at [email protected].