Washington, D.C. is a beautiful city year-round, but during the winter months, like many cities across the U.S., it transforms into a winter wonderland. With seasonal holiday decorations and music and creative holiday events, cheerful locals welcome the tourists with love and good vibes to a city normally known for its strength and politics. There is something about spending your winter break in the Nation’s Capital that creates an automatic environment of welcome and happiness for visitors that isn’t lost on Washingtonians. Winter break in D.C. has become even more fun and fabulous.
Downtown Holiday Shopping And Exquisite Dining

D.C.’s festive holiday/winter season is full of beauty and lovely decorative shops along the paths to the national monuments and memorials. This is a great time of year to stop by the museum shops for fantastic deals on many discounted items that you will only be able to find in these particular museums. Most people know that picking up gifts at a museum can be very expensive, but during the holidays you can find many of those unique items on sale. Visitors can also enjoy the outdoor Downtown Holiday Market with more than 150 exhibitors and artisan vendors selling everything from unique candy treats to fine art gifts. After the shopping, head down to the White House Ellipse to see the the National Christmas Tree, Menorah Lighting and the Pageant of Peace as they remind us to wish for peace on earth and to treat all mankind with kindness and love.

Washington Winter Photography

As beautiful as D.C. is in the warmer seasons, there is a magical appearance to the city when the snow falls or the trees are covered with icicles. When the sky is white and the air is frosty with nothing more than the steam of the human breath rising from the visitors, the backdrop of the city’s historic architecture gives D.C. a classic feel of the holidays of old. There is a different visual perspective during the winter months that offers up opportunities for crisp beautiful photos in the city. Whether you are downtown at the monuments and memorials or in the inner city enjoying local sites and sounds, capturing the images of the winter season in D.C. is a great activity when visiting the city.

Ice Skating And Hot Chocolate On The National Mall

Finding outdoor activities during your winter break in Washington isn’t impossible. While most people want to stay warm and indoors, getting out into the elements can be a thrill, and what’s more fun than ice skating at The National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden’s ice skating rink on the National Mall? It’s so fun to see everyone, young and old, having fun around the ice skating rink. This is a wonderful time to get to know other tourist and local Washingtonians while on the ice or sitting around the rink taking in the sites, taking pictures, enjoying hot beverages and inhaling the wonderful winter air.

Related:  Guide to Visiting Washington, D.C. For The Holidays

Zoolights At The National Zoo

The Smithsonian National Zoological Park, a.k.a the National Zoo, has been displaying their ZooLights exhibit for several years now, and it’s grown to be one of the most anticipated outdoor winter activities in D.C. The event take place after sundown and is a beautiful and colorful exhibit showcasing over 500,000 environmentally-friendly LED lights. The spectacular light display is set to music. Visitors to the zoo can also enjoy live music performances, holiday shopping and delicious treats. The Conservation Carousel is also open during ZooLights, and with a choice of 58 animal figurines, this is one of only a few solar powered carousels in the world. The carousel ride is only $3.00, so enjoy the your winter break with a trip to the zoo all while supporting the National Zoo’s efforts towards continued energy conservation. See, you would be effortlessly helping the environment all while enjoying your winter break. Kudos, to you!

Bus Tour Of The Washington Monuments And Memorials

One of the greatest aspects of a bus tour of D.C. is that you are outdoors seeing the city, but not out in the cold of D.C.’s sometimes brutal winter air. If you have an opportunity to visit D.C. when there is snow on the ground, this bus tour is perfect. Not only will you not have to endure the journey to the memorials on foot in the snow, but you can sit back and see the sheer beauty of one of the most important cities in the world and take more of the sights than you would if you were walking. There are several companies to choose from like CitySights D.C., Old Town Trolley, Big Bus Washington, D.C. or Doubledecker Tours. Sitting and riding is much less exhausting than walking all over downtown. In the winter, the walk can be intense if the cold is as cold as intense as it can become. Winter break in Washington is looking even better with each year.

Related: Best Places For Winter Outdoor Adventures In Washington, D.C. 

Tara L. Aldridge is a native of Washington, DC, a freelance and published writer, blogger, and photographer. She is a DC Healthy Food Examiner at Examiner.com. In 2013, Tara published her first book of poetry and currently works with young artists to help them develop their creative talents. Read more of her work at Examiner.com.