12 Winter Family Fun Activities in the Washington, D.C. Area

Sunset on a snowy Washington Monument
John Baggaley / Getty Images
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    Things to Do in Winter in the District, Maryland, and Virginia

    Looking for some ideas for winter family fun in the Washington, D.C. area? Even when the weather is cold and damp, there are plenty of interesting activities in the capital region to keep the whole family entertained. Average temperatures in January and February are usually in the 30s and 40s. The region gets an occasional snowfall, but most of the winter the ground is relatively dry. The winter season is often the best time to visit some of the city's top attractions as they tend to be less crowded than other times of the year. Following are suggestions of winter activities to appeal to all ages.


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  • 02 of 13

    Explore the Museums

    National Air and Space Museum
    Dane Penland / National Air and Space Museum

    The Washington, D.C. area has a wonderful variety of museums. Many of the city's most popular museums are clustered together on the National Mall, so you can easily visit more than one on the same day. The Smithsonian Museums cover a wide range of topics and include a variety of hands-on activities that are especially appealing to kids. Some of the smaller museums across the region offer great programs for the whole family

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  • 03 of 13

    Go Ice Skating

    Ice-skating at National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden
    Jason Colston / Getty Images

    Take the whole family ice skating or roller skating at a rink in Washington, D.C., Maryland, or Virginia. There are even a few special places to ice skate outdoors in the nation's capital. Skating classes and hockey teams will keep kids and adults active throughout the winter season. 


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    Take a Sightseeing Tour

    Tour bus on Pennsylvania Ave.
    Stephen J. Boitano / Getty Images

    During the winter months, take a sightseeing tour of Washington, D.C. and explore the city by bus or trolley. Enjoy the benefits of hopping on and off (stay warm and dry while you ride around) and learn about the district's historic landmarks. 


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  • 05 of 13

    Play Indoors

    Kidville, Bethesda, MD
    Courtesy of Kidville

    On a cold or rainy (or snowy) day, kids in the Washington, D.C. area can have a blast romping around at indoor playgrounds and amusement centers like Kidville in Bethesda, MD. Family fun centers offer attractions like go-karts, mini-golf, laser tag, ropes courses, moon bounces, paintball, arcade games, carousels, and more. These destinations are especially great for young families.


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  • 06 of 13

    Visit a Children's Theater

    Imagination Stage Production
    Scott Suchman

    Take the kids to a play or puppet theatre and enjoy a family show at a children’s theater in the Washington, D.C. area. The capital region is a prime destination for performing, visual, and arts education programs like those at Imagination Stage in Bethesda, MD.


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  • 07 of 13

    Attend a Special Seasonal Event

    Saint Patrick's Day Parade
    flickr Editorial/Getty Images / Getty Images

    Attend the best events of the season with great food, music, and live entertainment for the whole family. December in Washington, D.C. means you'll have your pick of holiday shows and concerts while January brings things like Martin Luther King, Jr. events. In February, experience Washington, D.C.'s Restaurant Week or attend a Wizards basketball game. March brings seasonal events like the St. Patrick Day parade and the National Cherry Blossom Festival. 

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  • 08 of 13

    See a Movie

    Uptown Theater, Washington, D.C.
    Rudy Riet/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 2.0

    Winter is a great time to go to the movies. Find a convenient movie theater in Washington, D.C., Maryland, or Virginia and enjoy the latest films. Or if you're looking for something a little different, consider a visit to the historic, single-screen Uptown Theater in the Cleveland Park neighborhood of the district.

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  • 09 of 13

    Go Skiing, Snowboarding, or Snow Tubing

    Whitetail Ski Resort
    Courtesy of Whitetail Resort

    Take the kids to a ski resort for a day of family fun in the snow. There are several ski areas like the Whitetail Ski Resort in Mercersburg, PA that offer skiing, snowboarding, and snow tubing within a few hours drive from Washington, D.C.  


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    Go Sledding

    Winter Snow Blankets Washington DC
    Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

    On a snowy day, find some great places to go sledding in Washington D.C., Maryland, and Northern Virginia. Just be sure to avoid the Capitol. Sledding on the grounds of the Capitol is prohibited, and U.S. Capitol Police are known for ensuring the rules are followed. 


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  • 11 of 13

    Go Shopping

    Traffic on M Street in Georgetown, Washington DC
    Hisham Ibrahim / Getty Images

    Spend the day shopping in one of the district's best shopping neighborhoods like historic Georgetown or find some bargains at an outlet shopping center. Spend some time browsing in the museum gift shops in Washington, D.C. to find unique items such as books, clothing, jewelry, videos, crafts, decorative arts, toys, and more.


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  • 12 of 13

    Watch the Washington Redskins

    Washington Redskins
    G Fium / Getty Images

    See the Washington Redskins play a football game at FedEx Field. Attend a game and enjoy the region's most beloved sports team. 


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    Visit a Nature Center

    Rock Creek Park Nature Center
    Mr.TinDC / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

    The winter season is a great time to visit a nature center or attend a naturalist guided event. Explore a nature museum like Rock Creek Park Nature Center in Washington, D.C. or get outside and take a short walk in the woods.