Planning a trip to the President’s hometown in winter? There’s no better time to go. See the National Christmas Tree, watch a festive boat parade down the Potomac River, and enjoy some crowd-free sightseeing.

Here are the top things to do in Washington DC in winter…

Take to the ice

Washington Harbour in Georgetown is home to the largest ice rink in Washington DC. Grab your skates and whizz around the huge outdoor rink which is decorated in lights and boasts views of the Potomac River. There are loads of rink-side restaurants and cafes where you can warm up with a hot chocolate. And, it’s open from November until March so you can enjoy it whatever time you visit over winter.

A post shared by dquerey (@dquerey) on

Yellow Loop Route - Georgetown Harbor

Cosy up by the fire

Think campfires are strictly a summer evening activity? Not in Washington DC. Head to The Wharf shopping and dining complex and you’ll find a huge fire pit right next to the waterfront. Visitors are encouraged to gather around the pit and toast marshmallows to make those delicious s’mores (crackers, chocolate and marshmallows sandwiched together). And, there are winter games and entertainment like curling and broomball to keep you occupied too.

Red Loop Route – Museum of the Bible

See the National US Christmas Tree

The National Christmas Tree is Washington DC’s claim to Christmas fame. The large evergreen tree can be found near the White House in the northeast quadrant of The Ellipse. Every year it’s covered in hundreds of Christmas lights, and in early December the President of the United States lights the tree and makes a formal speech during the tree lighting ceremony. An online lottery opens up in October where you can try your luck at getting tickets for the prestigious event if you want to get the full experience.

A post shared by Colleen Meehan (@fichser) on

Red Loop Route – White House

Watch the boat parade of lights

Every year in early December, this stunning Christmas spectacle sees light-decorated and festive-themed boats sailing down the Potomac River and lighting up the city sky. Viewing the parade is free of charge, so you can stand on the banks and take plenty of snaps of the colourful vessels. And there are Christmas-themed festivals on both sides of the river to keep you in that festive mood, with a Santa’s Grotto, ice skating, live music and plenty of seasonal food stalls.

Tour the city sights   

Winter is technically low season in Washington DC, even though there’s so much going on. It’s a great time to tick off the city sights without the queues and crowds, and have those famous landmarks and memorials to yourself. Keep warm on a hop-on, hop-off bus tour which will take you straight to the city’s best bits. And, learn all about Washington DC’s political history from the fact-packed and trivia-heavy commentary as you go. 

A post shared by Hee Jin Nam (@hi_heejina) on

Start planning your winter escape to Washington DC today. There are so many unique festive activities over the winter months, and it’s the perfect time to take advantage of lower prices and fewer crowds. For even more itinerary inspiration, click here.