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.
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, 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. Some notable temporary exhibits include “What Absence is Made of” (Hirschhorn Museum – open through June 1), “The Great Ikna Road: Engineering an Empire (American Indian Museum – open through March 21), and “The Face of Battle: Americans at War, 9-11 to Now” (National Portrait Gallery – open through January 28).
Riverfront Resolutions: Start your fitness resolutions off right at the Capitol River Front. VIDA kick starts 2018 with a free fitness class at 11 am on January 6. While you’re there, you can check out the ice rink (Canal Park). Regular admission still applies for ice skating but free lessons will be offered from 11 am to 1 pm.
Travel and Adventure Show: Obsessed with travel? We are! Head to the Walter E Washington Convention Center January 20-21. Find some travel inspiration with speakers as well as music and food from around the world. Plus, snag some advice on packing tips, budget travel, and technology trends.
Winter Restaurant Week: Try some new restaurants this winter at discounted prices during Washington, DC’s Winter Restaurant Week. Restaurant Week runs from January 22-28. Deals are available for both lunch and dinner.
Spy Fest: A Kidspy Family Festival: Get the kids out of the house and join the Spy Museum for an evening of kid friendly secret agent fun. Learn about analyzing documents, speaking code, polygraphs, and lockpicking. Hear from guest speakers and enjoy a martial arts demonstration. Spy Fest takes over the museum on January 26 from 6:00 to 9:00 pm. Tickets are $14 per person and include snacks. This event is for children 5+ and requires 1 adults per 5 children.
Independent Film Festival: Check out film workshops, seminars, and movie screenings during the 2018 DC Independent Film Festival February 14-19. Find tickets and more info on the website.
Chinese New Year Parade: Usher in the Year of the Dog in Chinatown on Sunday, February 18 from 2:00 to 5:30 pm. Enjoy dancers, firecrackers, and music!
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 3-4 for chocolate tasting, chocolate art, and more! Many historic buildings will also be open to the public.
Gray Ghost Vineyards: Celebrate Valentine’s Day weekend with chocolate and wine at Gray Ghost Vineyards. This event is February 10-11 from 11 am to 4 pm. For $25/person, enjoy wine tastings, a full pour, unlimited dessert buffet, and Valentine wine glass. Guests are also welcome to bring a picnic lunch.
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 26 to February 4.
Alexandria President’s Day Parade: Head to Old Town Alexandria on President’s Day (February 19) 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 17-19 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 19), admission is free.
Step Afrika: Discover traditional and contemporary African step dancing at the Strathmore on January 21. 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 must raise at least $75 to plunge. There are four plunge events from January 25-27.
First Saturday – Fire and Ice: Fredrick, Maryland hosts a day of fun on the first Saturday of every month. Join them on Saturday, February 3 for Fire and Ice to discover ice sculptures, carving demos, fire dancers, and an ice bar on the creek.
Maryland Restaurants Weeks: Maryland has you covered this winter as far as restaurants deals are concerned. Check out Bethesda Restaurant Week (January 12-21), National Harbor Restaurant Week (February 4-10), and Annapolis Restaurant Week (February 25-March 3).
Frozen Harbor Music Festival: Who says you have to wait until summer to kick off music festival season? Head to Baltimore February 16-17 for the Frozen Harbor Music Festival. 160 acts will perform on 10 stages during this two day festival. Ticket packages range from $20 to $100.