The nation’s capital is a true four-season city. Summer is ideal for outdoor dining at any number of outstanding restaurants. Fall brings a period of vibrant foliage. Blooming flowers dominate the cityscape come spring. But wintertime in Washington, D.C. holds a special place in our hearts, and might just be our favorite time to visit.
If your D.C. trip to coincide with a fresh snowfall, even if it’s only a dusting, then you’re going to want to take a stroll along the capital’s monument-lined walkways. It’s hard to top the serenity commissioned by the US Senate in 1901 as part of the City Beautiful urban design movement, the National Mall offers a roughly two-mile, uninterrupted walk from the Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial. Along the path, you’ll spot the Reflecting Pool, Washington Monument, memorials to the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and WWII, among other beautiful structures to survey in their snow-covered serenity. (They’re not bad on the eyes, sans-snow, either.)
Following a brisk monument walk, you could grab a cup of coffee to heat back up. But here’s a little insider tip: museums tend to have awesome heating and cooling systems. We’re not suggesting you visit one of D.C.’s world-class cultural institutions merely to beat the chill outside, only that you factor the unbeatable feeling of thawing out into your itinerary. Each of the Smithsonian Institutions’ 15 locations offer free admission to the general public, and each of them are well worth visiting. The Air and Space Museum, the Smithsonian Castle, and the National Museum of Natural History are all stellar stops, and you don’t even have to leave the Mall to access them.
For those willing to venture just slightly off the well-worn path that is the Mall, the Newseum is there to reward those intrepid spirits. This institution houses seven floors of exhibits dedicated to the five freedoms protected by the First Amendment: religion, speech, press, assembly, and petition. If learning about the history and importance of these freedoms given the current political climate isn’t enough of a pull, then surely the hyper-modern architecture and sweeping views of D.C. will suffice.
After a tiring day spent hoofing it around Washington, D.C., it’s always nice to take a load off; bonus points if you can still take in the culture of the city while seated. Ford’s Theater offers just that. Perhaps best known as the theater where Lincoln was assassinated, it now holds claim to a more happy accolade: the annual host of D.C.’s production of “A Christmas Carol,” the classic stage adaptation of the Dickens novella. For thirty-five years now, this play’s been a D.C. holiday staple. Lump together some theater, tradition, and history all in one go.
After curtain call, chances are you’ll be pretty spent, hungry, and perhaps thirsty as well. If a loose itinerary is your thing, a crawl through the adjacent neighborhoods of Logan Circle and the U Street corridor is a surefire way to experience the sights, sounds, tastes, and toasts of D.C.’s top-notch restaurant and bar scene. Nosh on everything from Spanish tapas to Korean cart food, then wash it down with a beer from a dive, or a high-class cocktail from a lounge. This area’s ready to cater to whatever whim you may possess, and features great people-watching to boot.
Interested in seeing the Monuments of the National Mall with a private guide? Click here for more info.