Okay guys, the lights are down, the festivities are over, and winter has officially set in. How are you going to keep yourself busy until Cherry Blossom season? Well, we’ve got you covered! Here’s a list of 20 winter things to do in Washington, DC. Don’t forget to add any we missed in the comments!
Events are loosely listed in the order they occur, by location. Ongoing events are listed first.
Things to do this Winter in Washington, DC
Ice Skating: One easy way to battle the cold while still enjoying the outdoors is to go ice skating. Find ice skating all winter long at Canal Park, Sculpture Garden(closed during government shut down), and Washington Harbor (Georgetown). Rentals, group rates, and season passes are available.
Go to one of the Smithsonian museums: The cold weather is the perfect excuse to spend some time inside at one of the Smithsonian museums. They are open every day except Christmas and they are free! Check out our round up of all 19 museums and galleries. (Check the websites for news about the government shutdown.)
Curling and Cocktails: Get active at The Warf with a game of curling! This free event is for all levels (ages 8+ – kids and adults welcome). All equipment is provided and “skating” should be done in tennis shoes which players should bring from home. Sign up is on site and is first come, first served. Spectators are also welcome to watch and enjoy while sipping cocktails for purchase. Event runs Monday nights in January from 7:30 to 9:30 pm.
Wunder Garten: This heated outdoor spot is a perfect place to catch up with friends in the fresh air. This winter, they are open Tuesday to Thursday from 4 to 11 pm with happy hour until 6 pm. Plus, Friday from 4 pm to 1 am and Saturday from 2 pm to 1 am. Enjoy theme nights including Tuesday Game Night, Wednesday DC Trivia, and Saturday DJ Night starting at 8 pm.
Work Out Saturdays at Total Source Fitness: Need some work out inspiration after the holidays? Every Saturday from 10 to 11 am through July 6, attend a group fitness class from Total Source Fitness near Union Market. $10 for TSF members, $15 for non-members, or $10 each when you bring a friend. (In my opinion this is a steal for a single class in DC.) Plus, you’re near Union Market, so grab lunch after class!
Winter Restaurant Week: Try some new restaurants this winter at discounted prices during Washington, DC’s Winter Restaurant Week. Restaurant Week runs from January 14-20. Deals are available for both lunch and dinner.
Family Days at the National Building Museum: Bring the kids for free events at the National Building Museum. Most events do not require registration but check the website and get there early as some events are while supplies last only. Notable dates include paper lantern making on January 5, stained glass making on January 12, movement/dance class on January 19, and Engineering Family Day on February 16.
Chinese New Year Parade: Usher in the Year of the Pig in Chinatown on Sunday, February 10 from 2:00 to 4:30 pm. Enjoy dancers, firecrackers, and music!
Things to do this Winter in Virginia
Ice Skating: Virginia is full of places ice skate. Find skates rinks with rentals, lessons, and group events at Reston Towne Center, Ashburn Ice House, Fairfax Ice Arena, and Prince William Ice Center (Woodbridge).
Chocolate Lover’s Festival: Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and that means it’s time to enjoy delicious chocolate. Head to the City of Fairfax February 1-3 for chocolate tasting, chocolate art, and more! Check the website for free and ticketed events.
Gray Ghost Vineyards: Celebrate Valentine’s Day weekend with chocolate and wine at Gray Ghost Vineyards. This event is February 9-10 from 11 am to 4 pm. For $25/person, enjoy wine tastings and chocolate with your favorite wine buddy.
Alexandria Winter Restaurant Week: Stroll the cozy streets of Old Town Alexandria to chase those winter blues away. Then, warm up with restaurant deals from January 18-27.
Alexandria President’s Day Parade: Head to Old Town Alexandria on President’s Day (February 18) to see floats and music from local organizations. Plus, stick around to see which local restaurants came up with the best cherry recipes in honor of George Washington.
Washington’s Birthday Celebration at Mount Vernon: Head to Mount Vernon February 16-18 to celebrate President Washington’s birthday. Enjoy cake, storytelling, dancing, and historical characters. All activities are included in general admission but if you’re off work on President’s Day (February 18), admission is free.
Things to do this Winter in Maryland
Step Afrika: Discover traditional and contemporary African step dancing at the Strathmore on January 20. Tickets range from $35 to $75.
Polar Bear Plunge: Brave enough to take on the Chesapeake Bay in January? If so, take the plunge at Sandy Point State Park near Annapolis to raise money for the Special Olympics Maryland. Participants for the main Polar Bear Plunge must raise at least $75 to plunge but there are other family, police, and student plunges. There are four plunge events from January 24-26.
First Saturday – Fire and Ice: Fredrick, Maryland hosts a day of fun on the first Saturday of every month. Join them on Saturday, February 2 for Fire and Ice to discover ice sculptures, carving demos, fire dancers, and an ice bar on the creek. This event gets super crowded so go early and plan to make dinner reservations or eat away from the main street.
Maryland Restaurants Weeks: Maryland has you covered this winter as far as restaurants deals are concerned. Check out Bethesda Restaurant Week (January 11-20), National Harbor Restaurant Week (January 26-February 1), and Annapolis Restaurant Week (March 2-10).
Frozen Harbor Music Festival: Who says you have to wait until summer to kick off music festival season? Head to Baltimore February 22-23 for the Frozen Harbor Music Festival. 150+ acts will perform on 10 stages during this two day festival. Ticket packages range from $20 to $125.