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Winter Activities in DC: Here’s What to Do When It Gets Cold

Anyone whose been in DC for any length of time has heard the saying, “If you don’t like DC weather, wait five minutes, and it’ll change.”

While our weather can be unpredictable, the wonderful thing is that we have four distinct seasons to appreciate. Our winter season gets into full swing by December and starts to wane by March.  Not too short, not too long.

Perhaps it’s for this reason that people in DC thoroughly enjoy each season as it arrives, and winter is no exception. While we don’t always get as much snow as we would like, we definitely make the most of the chilly weather and enjoy getting out and about–even when Jack Frost is nipping at our noses.

Here are some of the best winter activities in DC. Start planning early to take advantage of these before the ice thaws.

Ho-Ho-Holiday Festivities

With lights, festivals, tree & menorah lightings, and more, it’s easy to see the DC population really loves celebrating the holidays.

One favorite light festival is ZooLights at the National Zoo. Featuring more than half a million lights, this is a great place to visit whether or not you have children.

The bonus?  Cold weather means the animals are more active and more vocal than they are in the warmer weather, so you may get to see them frolicking more than usual.

Georgetown GLOW offers the ability to walk around and see art installations from both local and international artists. The National Tree and National Menorah are must-dos and a great place to take the family picture for your holiday cards.

Winter Wonderland Markets

If you’d like a fun and festive alternative to crowded malls or online shopping, check out the area’s outdoor winter markets.

The Downtown Holiday Market near the National Portrait Gallery is a must. See arts & crafts, live music, and gorgeous lights and decorations.

Held at The House of Sweden in early December, the Swedish Christmas Market offers glassware, arts, crafts, and great food, plus caroling as part of the St. Lucia processional.

Museum Hopping

Washington, DC is in a league of its own when it comes to world-class museums! Many are free to visit. Explore the halls of the Smithsonian Institution museums, and see the cool off-the-Mall knowledge center.  Discover groundbreaking exhibits and works of art right here in the nation’s capital.

One of the best things about the National Mall area is the proximity to multiple museums, many of which are connected through underground passages or are right next door to each other–making the commute easy in cold weather.

Ice Skating

Ice Skating is a great way to work off some energy and enjoy the winter weather. Be sure to check out the outdoor ice rinks in the area.

The sculpture garden and the National Gallery of Art becomes a spectacular ice rink, allowing you to skate while surrounded by world-class artwork. Stop in at the museum’s Pavilion Cafe to warm up and watch the other skaters glide by.

Canal Park Ice Rink in the Capitol Riverfront area offers skating classes and a venue for an unforgettable birthday party. And Washington Harbour’s Ice Rink offers spectacular Potomac River views while you skate.

Skiing and Snowboarding

If you love skiing and snowboarding, you’re in luck. There are many resorts within a couple of DC hours, whether you want to be out on the slopes or stay warm by the lodge fire. W

Whitetail Ski Resort in Mercersburg, PA, is a family-friendly resort, with nine lifts, two parks, and 100% snow-making coverage throughout the season.

Roundtop near Harrisburg, PA, is good for skiers and snowboards at all levels and offers instruction as well as a Paintball course when you want to take a break from the slopes.

If you want to stay in Virginia, Wintergreen and Bryce are two favorite ski resorts, both of which offer a vast array of recreational activities year-round, aside from skiing and snowboarding.

We’re so lucky to have so many ways to enjoy the winter weather and so many places to go, no matter how chilly it gets. If you’re looking for a place to call home, sign in at our website and let us create your custom search. If you start now, you could be in your new home before the ice thaws.



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One Response to “Winter Activities in DC: Here’s What to Do When It Gets Cold”

  • My husband and I will go to Washington DC this year for a vacation, which is why we’re currently looking for an airport transportation service that may pick and drop us off. Well, I’m glad you shared this; we’ll make sure to check their mall and National galleries. Thank you for suggesting here that we can enjoy the Winter season through Ice skating as well.

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