The temperatures might be frigid on a Washington DC winter day but don’t let that stop you from having a great day. In fact, with all of the District’s fascinating attractions, amazing (and heated) museums, and a number of nighttime activities to choose from, I couldn’t think of any other city on the I-95 corridor better than Washington.
To visit Washington, D.C., essentially means going around the Mall to pay respects to the monuments dedicated to veterans and prominent individuals whose legacy will forever be remembered, visiting one of the dozen or so Smithsonian museums, and finally, touring the iconic structures whose residents collectively run the most powerful country in the world. The buildings include the White House, the Capitol, and the Supreme Court of the United States. So what makes up for a perfect Washington DC winter day tour? Let’s take a look, shall we?
Washington DC Winter Day Tour Suggestions
Visit a Monument or Two
Washington, D.C., doesn’t need to impress by having the tallest skyscraper nor does it require neon lights to attract the crowds, but what it does have, that no other city in the country can match, is a collection of recognizable monuments that create the city skyline. The most recognizable is the Washington Monument, dedicated to George Washington himself, the country’s first president and to whom the city was named after. It’s the tallest structure in the District at 555 feet and some inches. Then there’s my personal favorite, the Lincoln Memorial. Dedicated to the 16th, and quite possibly the greatest president this country has ever had so far, it sits at the west end of the National Mall and overlooks the frozen Potomac River and wreath-covered Arlington National Cemetery. Other options include those honoring presidents Franklin Roosevelt and Thomas Jefferson, and civil rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr.
Warm Up Inside the Smithsonian Museums
Continue your Washington DC winter day tour by visiting one of the many great free museums in the District. The National Mall has more than a handful, from the crowd favorite National Air and Space Museum to the more exotic collections of the National Museum of the American Indian. If its art you crave, head just a few blocks north to the Penn Quarter neighborhood and explore the National Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian American Art Museum. The building itself, which was once the patent office, is a beauty. Though technically not a museum, the National Zoo is also worth considering, particularly now that Bei Bei, the latest addition to the giant panda family, can somewhat manage on his own. Besides, the cub is really so much cuter in person. So whether its art or science you fancy, the Smithsonian has you covered.
Sample One of the Many Gourmet Eats
Washington, D.C., might still be chasing the likes of San Francisco, New York, or Chicago when it comes to food but we certainly do not have a shortage of great gourmet eats here in the nation’s capital. Do you want an introduction to regional Indian cuisine? Then seek out Rasika where classic dishes are served with a delightful modern twist. Don’t miss the palak chat (crispy spinach). Maybe you’re craving a Tokyo-style izakaya…Washington, D.C., has that too in Izakaya Seki. Order their tuna with hot mustard to start and don’t forget the hot sake for warmth. Perhaps you want to bring in the heat on this blistering winter night. The answer might just be to dine in at Little Serow, a no-reserve space that specializes in northern Thai dishes. There’s no set menu, but with Chef Johnny Monis (the same one who runs Komi) behind the kitchen, you’re definitely in good hands.
Hear Some Live Jazz
You don’t necessarily have to wait until summer comes along to hear some live jazz while visiting the District. What many visitors might not know is the Washington, D.C., has a deeply rooted jazz culture thanks to the likes of Duke Ellington, Shirley Horn, and Frank Wess. Legendary jazz clubs like Blues Alley in Georgetown and the Bohemian Caverns on 11th and U Street, NW welcome a steady line-up of up and coming jazz bands while organizations like Art Soiree puts together a number of art and culture related events and parties that often feature local jazz bands as the feature performers.
Tuck in those winter blues and don’t despair just because the temperature is plummeting. You can easily craft your own version of a perfect Washington DC winter day with so many great attractions and activities to choose from.