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  • Carlotta Rother

How to Explore DC This Winter

While winter may seem like nothing more than a time to hibernate, it is actually one of the busiest and most exciting times of the year in DC. Our city offers so many exciting winter activities, and now is a perfect time to take full advantage of them. This guide will help you explore our city both inside and outside to make the most of the season.

National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden Ice Rink (National Gallery of Art)

One thing to do during winter is visit one of the many ice rinks located in DC. It’s a great way to have fun with friends, while also being COVID friendly, and getting some exercise. There are a lot of local ice rinks to choose from; at the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden Ice Rink, you can not only ice skate, but also enjoy the sculptures featured around the rink and the museum café. Another great place for ice skating is at the Washington Harbor Ice Rink. It is right by Georgetown, so you can get food, do some shopping, and then hit the rink. Going ice skating at night provides a special experience since most locations have beautiful lights surrounding the rink.

DC’s holiday market could easily be mistaken for the set of a Hallmark movie. Located downtown, it is open every day from 12 pm to 8 pm. The market is a great place to go after school—only a 15 minute train ride away from Walls! Since the market is located outside, it is a COVID safe activity and great for groups. Vendors offer art, clothes, jewelry, antiques, soap, candles, and more, making it a great way to support small businesses and get holiday gifts for family and friends.

One of the best artistic winter experiences in DC is the Washington Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker. The Washington Ballet does a beautiful interpretation of the ballet. The story is exciting, the costumes are extravagant, and the ballet is timeless. This is one of the costlier winter activities, with tickets selling upwards of $50, however, if you have a dance background or appreciate the art, it is well worth it.

One of the perks of living in the nation’s capital is having the National Christmas Tree in our backyard. The tree is only a 16-minute walk away from our school, and while the lighting occurred on December 2nd, the tree will still be accessible until January 1st, 2022. If you have a free evening, I would recommend going down to the mall, getting a bite to eat, and then enjoying the tree at night. It’s a great way to bond with either your friends or family while feeling like a DC tourist. Major bonus if you have guests visiting from out of town!

Light Yards, a major light installation, is held every night from 6 PM to 10 PM at the Anacostia River Waterfront. There are huge Christmas trees illuminated in every color, as well as tons of fun activities, including over 20 eateries, shopping, and an ice skating rink. While there, be sure to check out the 106 circular light rings that you can jump on.

This winter, Nationals Park is the place to be. Enchant DC puts on a beautiful event with shops, ice skating, and other winter fun. There are millions of lights placed carefully throughout the park, making it beautiful and a bit mazelike. Vendors sell sweet and savory treats, warm drinks, and presents for your loved ones. Younger ones even have an opportunity to meet Santa!

Finally, if you aren’t in the mood for going out and just want to have a fun night in with friends, get some cute matching pajamas, go home, and make some winter treats while listening to Christmas music. After making treats, sit down, make a fire, and watch as many holiday movies as possible.

Whatever you do this winter, remember that it is the people you surround yourself with and not the activities which are most important. So be sure to spend lots of time with your loved ones, and consider these activities to be an extra boost!


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