Anyone who has been in DC for any length of time has heard the saying, “If you don’t like DC weather, wait five minutes and it will change.” While our weather can be unpredictable, the nice thing about it is that we have four distinct seasons, unlike many major metropolitan areas of the US, which either seem to have perpetual winter or perpetual summer.
Perhaps it is 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 weather activities in DC. Start planning to take advantage of these this winter.
Holiday Festivities: With lights festivals, tree lightings, menorah lightings and more, it’s easy to see that DC 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. Bonus? The 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 artists both local and international. The National Tree and National Menorah are must-dos, and a great place to take the family picture for your holiday cards.
Winter Markets: If you’d like a fun and festive alternative to crowded malls or online shopping, check out the outdoor winter markets in the area. Check out the Downtown Holiday Market near the National Portrait Gallery for arts and crafts, live music, and lots of lights and decorations. Held at The House of Sweden on Dec. 2, the Swedish Christmas Market offers glassware, arts, crafts, and great food plus caroling as part of the St. Lucia processional.
Museum Hopping: 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. For example, the National Gallery of Art’s main building is connected to the modern East Building through an underground tunnel. The Air and Space Museum is right across the street from the Museum of the American Indian. The American History Museum is right next to the Natural History Museum. That means planning a day’s worth of fun can happen with only steps from one door to the next and minimal time out in the cold.
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 as well as providing 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 hours of DC, whether you want to be out on the slopes or staying warm by the lodge fire. 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. Just over an hour from DC is Ski Liberty, which also offers 100% coverage. 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 the skiing and snowboarding.
We are so lucky to have so many ways to enjoy the winter weather, and so many places to go no matter what the weather brings. 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 in time for the holidays.