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6 Ways to Beat (or Embrace!) the Chill in Washington, DC This Winter


When faced with winter flurries and lower temps, it’s essential for folks to tweak their itineraries to best enjoy Washington, DC during the winter months. However, that’s not to say everyone should hightail it in indoors. In fact, seasonal revelers often fall into two groups: those who opt for all things warm and cozy, and those who bundle up and welcome the cold. Luckily, both are offered in Washington, DC. Home to a host of quintessentially winter activities (think outdoor ice rinks and fireside beverages), it’s an ideal spot for a weekend getaway. 

Beat the Cold

Can’t fathom spending time in the freezing cold? Warm yourself from the inside out by dining on delicious comfort food and sipping warm cocktails. Housed in a Federal period townhouse, 1789 Restaurant is an ideal pick for fireside fare. Made with local produce, the menu of traditional American eats includes the Forager’s Bounty, a dish comprised of Anson Mills biancoperla polenta, mélange of roasted mushrooms, coddled egg, red pearl onions and Burgundy truffle. For an evening drink, swing by the Ritz Carlton’s Quadrant, a chic-meets-cozy hotel outpost that serves up seasonal cocktails in addition to its host of classic standbys.

Because Washington, DC is home to some of the most impressive museums in the world, there’s no shortage of indoor entertainment. Cluster a few together for a day chock full of historic and culturally significant sites. Or, pick two and explore all afternoon long. The Renwick Gallery, for instance, recently debuted WONDER, an exhibit showcasing nine artists’ large-scale installations made from unexpected materials. Meanwhile, the National Museum of American History has opened a kid-friendly learning space that is perfectly equipped for budding historians.

Embrace the Chill

For those of you who anxiously await the annual snowfall, there are many ways to enjoy Washington, DC outside come winter. Gather your friends and go ice-skating at Canal Park Ice Rink or the National Gallery of Art. Both spots offer expansive sheets of ice so you can practice that arabesque (or, you know, not falling).

For the over-21 set who would like to sample DC’s bar scene, there are Carpe DC Food Tours. Covering 2 to 2.5 miles over 2 to 2 and a half hours, the walking happy hour tours are the best way to try out local brews and wines, eat delicious pairings and learn more about the city. If you’d prefer an entirely outdoor dining experience, check out these 11 awesome bars and restaurants that feature heat lamps.

For more information about planning a weekend getaway to Washington, DC this winter, click here.