Food  |  Shopping  |  Things to Do

How to Plan a Cozy and Luxurious Winter Picnic

The outdoor affair isn't just for the summer

Photograph by Melissa Harrell.
Winter Things to Do

About Winter Things to Do

Lace up skates, dine in an igloo, go stargazing, drink a hot cocktail. Here are lots of places and ways to delight in the season, whether you’re chilling outside or getting cozy indoors.

Photograph by Melissa Harrell.

Sure, picnics are typically summer affairs, but you can still bring a basket lunch outside in winter. Michelle Ison, founder of Picnic and Peonies, offers tips for a pleasant time—even when the temperatures drop.

Location, Location, Location

Many summer spots also work for winter, says Ison, but you’ll want to lay your blanket in a space surrounded by trees to help block wind. “Our two favorite locations are Georgetown Waterfront Park and Founders Park in Old Town Alexandria, because they both have lots of trees and water views,” says Ison.

Pack Pillows and Blankets

Protect your bum from winter freeze with pillows and a waterproof blanket. “We also like to have a little basket on the side with lots of blankets to keep everybody cozy,” says Ison. If you’re feeling ambitious, place a rug under your blanket for further insulation and cart a portable heater.

Pour a Warm Drink

Cold weather calls for hot drinks. Wrap mittened hands around a cup of hot cocoa, spiced (and perhaps spiked) cider, or mulled wine that you’ve kept warm in a thermos. For food, Ison recommends packing typical picnic fare such as sandwiches and charcuterie.

Consider Playing a Game

Keep your mind off the temperature with some friendly competition. “We do badminton, Connect Four, cornhole, giant Jenga—you name it,” says Ison. The activities play a dual role, keeping picnickers entertained while getting them moving in the cold. Ison has also seen people paint or practice yoga.


Shop It

Winesulator + 2 Uncork’d XL Set, $85


Shop Now

Extra-Large Waterproof Outdoor Blanket, $79


Shop Now

Amazon Basics Ladder Toss, $39

A lightweight (about nine pounds) ladder game for easy transport.

Shop Now

Photograph courtesy of retailers.
This article appears in the December 2022 issue of Washingtonian.

Jessica Ruf
Assistant Editor