There’s no better place to be than D.C. during winter. While the crowd may flock to popular destinations, like the museums and monuments, check out this list of the best places for winter outdoor adventures in D.C. and make this winter one to remember.

Canal Park
1100 New Jersey Ave. SE
Washington, DC 20003
(202) 465-7012
www.canalparkdc.org

What better way to enjoy the great outdoors than skating around an ice rink? Located in the Capitol Riverfront, the bustling new neighborhood near Nationals Park, Canal Park offers public ice skating seven days a week. The unique rink features a roundabout around a beautiful garden and water fountain. Ice skating lessons are available on Saturday mornings and Tuesday evenings for ages three and up. Warm up with a bowl of soup at the Park Tavern restaurant. Canal Park also features art and sculptures and a family-friendly area.

National Zoo
3001 Connecticut Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20008
(202) 633-4888
www.nationalzoo.si.edu

While the weather outside might be frightful, winter is a great time to take a trip to the National Zoo. ZooLights at the National Zoo features more than 500,000 environmentally friendly LED lights that transform the zoo into a winter wonderland. Watch wild animals in their natural habitat, hop aboard the Conservation Carousel or take the plunge down the zoo snow tube at Lion/Tiger Hill. Other activities include the National Zoo Choo-Choo, model trains, Legos, a gingerbread habitat competition and plenty of photo ops. Best of all is that admission is free.

Related: Best Getaways for Parents Near Washington, D.C.

National Christmas Tree on the Ellipse
E St. and 15th St. NW
Washington, DC. 20500
(202) 619-7400
www.thenationaltree.org

For an outdoor activity that’s a bit more on the calm end of the spectrum, head towards the White House and visit the National Christmas Tree on the Ellipse. This annual event features plenty of family-friendly activities including nightly musical performances, Santa’s workshop and the Christmas Pathway of Peace, which highlights 56 smaller trees decorated with handmade ornaments from around the country. Don’t forget to check out the large scale model train and other holiday decorations. Admission is free to the public after the lighting ceremony.

Fort Reno Park
3800 Donaldson Pl. NW
Washington, DC 20018
www.fortreno.com

If you’re looking for some wild and crazy fun, make your way to Fort Reno Park where you will find the highest natural point in all of DC. Known as a popular destination during the warmer months for outdoor concerts and events, Fort Reno Park is the perfect place for winter outdoor activities including sledding and snow tubing. The park also features a baseball diamond and tennis courts. Refuel with a juicy burger, milkshake and fries at Z Burger or chow down on a plate of chimichangas at Guapo’s.

Related: Best Camping Sites Near Washington, D.C.

National Harbor
201 Waterfront St.
National Harbor, MD 20745
(301) 965-4000
www.marriott.com

For the ultimate outdoor winter adventure, bring the kids to the National Harbor and purchase tickets for ICE! featuring Frosty the Snowman. Noted as “must-see” attraction in the DC area, this special annual event features more than two million pounds of ice carved into a variety of beautiful sculptures and scenes from your favorite holiday tales. Slide down two-story-tall ice slides, watch artisans create works of art with ice or sign up for the VIP guided tour. Don’t forget to catch the harbor light show, holiday fireworks and ride the carousel.

Susan Diranian is a freelance writer living in Ashburn, VA. She is covering Travel & Outdoors. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.

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