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11 DC Experience Gifts That They’ll Actually Remember

Photograph by monkeybusinessimages via iStock.

While new stuff is always great, new memories are better—especially if your gift recipient lives in a tiny apartment with no more room for added trinkets. Here’s some gifts they can use and enjoy that won’t take up any additional closet space.

A Career Boost

Matchmaking, but for the ambitious women in your life who need mentorship. The Mentor Method will pair your gift recipient with a top DC business woman for guidance as she develops her career. You can gift a four-month membership for $25 a month, which includes a mentor match, a career consultation, a career personality profile, and a guide to goal planning. $100 at The Mentor Method.

An Adventure Away from the Elements

Now that EarthTreks has opened their massive, 45,000-square-foot indoor climbing center in Crystal City (in addition to locations in Columbia, Timonium, and Rockville), there’s plenty of walls for an adventure-seeker to tackle. With 400 roped courses along with bouldering, this climbing facility brings some of the challenges of real mountains indoors, making it a perfect January excursion. A day pass to the Crystal City EarthTreks center is $25.

Better Instagram Photos

Whether she wants to up her social media game or he just wants to be able to take better family photos, the world is full of amateur photographers who might like some coaching. At Capital Photography Center, you can learn how to handle a DSLR, or, if a high-end camera isn’t available, you can also take an iPhone photography class at the National Gallery of Art or National Portrait Gallery. iPhone Photography classes are $89 at Capital Photography Center.

Celebrity Chef Sighting

For the foodie in your life, seeing a celebrity chef in person may feel like spotting a unicorn. Give them this experience when Mario Batali comes to town on January 28 to talk about his America’s regional cooking following the publication of his book, Big American Cookbook: 250 Favorite Recipes from Across America. Batali will chat with Washington Post food editor Joe Yonan and will be available afterwards for a book signing. Tickets start at $25 and can be purchased through Smithsonian Associates.

Posh Adventure Getaway

No trip to Nemacolin Woodlands Resort—which is three and a half hours northwest of DC—is complete without some snow tubing and skiing, a dip in the heated indoor pool, a leap off the 50-foot drop with a harness, or a round of paintball. And did we mention that there’s also a spa? Book your trip on Nemacolin’s website, and make sure to budget time to swing by Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater, which is just 12 miles away.

Beers Delivered to Their Door

For beer-lovers who are always hunting for their favorite new brew, the Craft Beer Club will ship them 12 beers a month—three bottles of four different brews—to try. Start your gift recipient off with a shipment or two, and once they fall in love with it, you’ll know what to get them for every birthday from now into eternity. One month of Craft Beer Club is $39.

A Night Out on the Town

This January, you can treat a loved one to a show at the Kennedy Center, including Into the Woods or Wicked, or you can leave it up to the recipient and just purchase them a gift certificate for the performance of their choosing.

A Month of Gym-Hopping

For the gym junkie who doesn’t want to conform to one type of workout, a Class Pass membership will get their New Year started off on the right sneaker. A $55 one-month membership will get them five classes, while a $105 one-month membership will provide them with ten classes that can be used for barre, rowing, yoga, boxing, and more.

A Valuable New Skill 

For the savvy young professional looking to up her skill set, coding classes are a perfect gift to help make her even more in-demand. At General Assembly, a gift recipient can take a 10-week part-time HTML, CSS, and Web Design Circuit class for $1,250, or enroll in a digital marketing or visual design courses.

A Trip to the Cinema

An obvious movie pick for Washingtonians, Jackie depicts Jacqueline Kennedy following her husband’s death. Need something a little lighter? You can always opt to get tickets for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them instead. Jackie will show at Landmark’s E Street Cinema and Bethesda Row Cinema.

An Age-Old Craft 

Even if they’ve never touched on a sewing machine before, Alexandria’s Stitch Sew Shop has a range of classes where they can learn the lost art of sewing, creating bags and clothing. The store’s online calendar lists upcoming classes, which can be purchased on Stitch Sew Shop’s website.

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Associate Editor

Caroline Cunningham joined Washingtonian in 2014 after moving to the DC area from Cincinnati, where she interned and freelanced for Cincinnati Magazine and worked in content marketing. She currently resides in College Park.