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Winter in Washington’s on-again off-again polar vortex is not for the faint of heart. Commuting in finger-numbing weather, shoveling snow covered pathways and cars, and rediscovering your routine after the holiday break– all things that make you want to enable your out-of-office email and start daydreaming about a tropical get-away.

As a child, my attitude toward this season was far more upbeat. I begged for snow-days, pajamas, and to sled down the steep hills of my suburban backyard.

Can a city winter ever rival the simple glory of my snow-covered suburban childhood?

If you’re binge-watching Netflix episodes all winter long wrapped in a warm blanket, I don’t blame you, but you’re missing out on adventures that may not be around when cold temperatures fade.  Dive into these District activities before the Cherry Blossoms bloom.

Eat All the Things During DC Restaurant Week

Now is your chance to get your hands on the deal of the season at some of DC’s finest dining venues. During the week of Jan. 30-Feb. 5, dozens of restaurants throughout the District will be offering prix-fixe meals for $22 at brunch and lunch, and $35 for dinner.  Do some research on your favorite neighborhoods and cuisines- or take this opportunity to venture out of your comfort zone to make the most of your three-course meal!

See a Show

Grab a ticket and remember to silence your cell because you’re not going to want to miss out on one of these limited time shows in DC’s finest theaters this season. One of Shakespeare’s best romantic comedies, As You Like It, will be performed at Folger Theatre starting January 24 through March 5.  American theatrical classic, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, will be available at Ford’s Theatre from January 21 until February 19.  Discover a variety of performances at Warner Theatre and Kennedy Center as well to maximize your indoor entertainment options this winter.

Skate at the National Gallery of Art

Surrounded by grand sculptures and historical architecture, the Sculpture Garden at the National Gallery of Art is one of the best locations for the season’s outdoor activities.  The rink at Sculpture Garden is open through March 12.  While you’re there, you might as well take advantage of the great range of art on display inside of the museum.  Be sure to stop by Rineke Dijktra’s photography exhibit that is on display now through July 16.

Grab a Drink and Warm Up Outside

DC restaurants and bars take their happy hour game to the next level when the temps drop. Outdoor heat lamps and patio fireplaces are all the hype for spots like Barcelona, Biergarten Haus, and Proof. Others like Hazel and Bluejacket offer spiked hot cocoa and other boozy, hot drinks for that necessary extra layer of insulation this season.

Immerse Yourself in Art

New exhibits throughout the District’s diverse museums opened in January 2019 and many of them will be on display until mid-year. That means winter months are the perfect time to visit.  The Newseum and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame joined forces to create “Louder Than Words: Rock, Power, and Politics” to highlight some of the most notable musicians of the later half of the 20th century and their influence on First Amendment rights.  Other noteworthy exhibits include “From the Desk of Simone de Beauvoir,” containing the philosophical works of Simone de Beauvoir at The National Museum of Women in the Arts, and “Patriot Nations: Native Americans in Our Nation’s Armed Forces” at the National Museum of the American Indian.

You can also catch the end of the exhibit at Smithsonian American Art Museum that opened in August in honor of the grand opening of the National Museum of African-American History and Culture.  The display, “Harlem Heroes,” showcases some of Carl Van Vechten’s most famous photographs of critical African American figures like Langston Hughes and W.E.B. DuBois. The exhibit is open through April 2.

Treat Yourself to Free S’mores at the Ritz-Carlton, Georgetown

After a long day of work or shopping through Georgetown’s boutiques, there is no better way to cap off the day than with a cocktail and complimentary snack.  The Ritz-Carlton is the place to be from 5:30-6:30 p.m. on weekdays, when place complimentary s’mores in the lobby of the hotel.

Workout for Free at DC Landmarks

No gym bag and no wallet necessary- just bring you’re A-game.  The November Project is a fitness community that hosts outdoor workout sessions in dozens of cities across the country during the less-motivating winter months.  Get moving with this no-excuse, outdoor group exercise class at the Lincoln Memorial steps, Meridian Hill Park and other locations depending on when you’re looking to get fit. Check out for a complete schedule.