Throughout the holiday season and beyond, DC has can’t-miss things to do this winter.
The nation’s capital is a winter wonderland, whether you are visiting to celebrate the holidays or staying for a winter escape. Read below and plan an excursion in DC.
Go ice skating in DC
DC’s year-round temps are pretty moderate, but during the winter – when cold Canadian winds whistle down the Potomac and Anacostia rivers – Washingtonians bundle up for a day (or a night) on the ice. Public ice skating rinks can be found in multiple neighborhoods in DC proper, so check out the best places to hit the ice in the nation's capital.
Toast to the winter
Savor the season at Urban Roast with different varieties of hot chocolate and s’mores to be enjoyed in a winter wonderland atmosphere. Be transported to the Alps with ski chalet pop-ups at Hook Hall and Dirty Habit and winter igloos at The Next Whisky Bar. Go deeper over on our hot and cozy drinks page.
Escape to a tropical garden
Cold temperatures are here and we can’t help but dream of a tropical island getaway. While you may not be able to hop on a plane this instant, you can check out the tropic house at the U.S. Botanic Garden for a breath of warm air and towering palms or visit the Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens greenhouse, which has one of the most extensive private collection of orchids.
Check out Georgetown GLOW
Stroll through DC’s most historic neighborhood to see jaw-dropping illuminated artworks. Georgetown GLOW (Dec. 1 through Jan. 7, 2024) is always a hit in the District, a pure celebration of holiday-themed artistry. Participants range from locally renowned to internationally celebrated, while their works gorgeously adorn outdoor spaces throughout the neighborhood. Make sure to check out other holiday light displays and events all over the city.
Gather knowledge at a museum
Numerous DC museums offer exciting programming and timely exhibits all winter long. Can’t-miss destinations include the Hirshhorn Museum, the National Gallery of Art, the Phillips Collection, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the National Portrait Gallery, the Library of Congress, the National Air and Space Museum, the National Museum of the American Indian and many more.
Stand beside Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial
Visit this incredible monument on MLK Day (Jan. 15, 2024) or at any other time throughout the winter. The four-acre crescent-shaped site in West Potomac Park on the Tidal Basin was selected for the Martin Luther King Jr., Memorial. President Obama dedicated the memorial on Oct. 16, 2011. The two mountains represent the “Mountain of Despair” reaching for “Hope from Despair,” while the space in the middle symbolizes the distance between them. The memorial is one of the highlights of the National Mall.
Get cozy by a fireplace
As the temps stay low in the early part of the year, many popular DC bars and restaurants stay heated up with fireplaces, outdoor fire pits, themed drinks, small plates and much more.
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