Things to Do

Our Guide to Fun Indoor Activities This Winter in DC

Stay warm without staying at home.

"Beyond the Light" at Artechouse. Photograph courtesy of Artechouse.
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.

Winter weather doesn’t mean you’re stuck at home until peak bloom. Take advantage of the chilly (and maybe even snowy) season to check out indoor destinations such as museums, roller-skating rinks, independent bookstores, and more. Here are some suggestions for how to spend the weekend.


Check out an exhibit 

National Portrait Gallery

The latest addition to the gallery’s permanent collection is an oil-on-linen portrait of Oprah Winfrey by artist Shawn Michael Warren. The painting will be on display until October 20.


Beyond the Light offers a glimpse at faraway galaxies and nebulae, thanks to an artistic collaboration with NASA scientists. This immersive exhibit covers the space with starry images from the James Webb Space Telescope. After a holiday hiatus, the display reopens on January 5.

National Gallery of Art

Head to the library atrium to see Latin American Architecture in Circulation, which features almost 40 documents (think: postcards, books, and photographs) showcasing Latin American builds from 1450 to 1800. The exhibit runs from January 8 to April 26.


Keep moving

Putt around at mini-golf

Warm up with a beverage while you hit the (tiny) links at mini-golf bars around town. Puttery  takes players through immersive decor such as an art museum or a series of trippy illusions. For windmills, water wheels, and drinks delivered to the green, head to Swinger’s in Dupont Circle. 

Try pickleball and rollerskating

No need to brave the cold more than necessary: You can enjoy two activities in a single venue at Kraken’s Bryant Street location, which serves as a hub for pickleball and roller skating. If you’re new to either sport, there are opportunities to sign up for private or group lessons and grow your skillset.

Go bowling

Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean the day can’t be a perfect strike. There are multiple Bowlero locations around Maryland and Virginia, each offering a neon-lit setting plus arcade games. In DC, bowling bar the Eleanor has two lanes set up with miniature balls and pins.


Get artsy

J Studio

Express your creative side at this brick studio in Truxton Circle. For $30, get access to supplies ranging from oil pastels and acrylic paint pens to exacto-knives and collage materials. Crafting sessions must be booked in advance.

Shop Made in DC

Beyond selling wares made by DC makers, the store also hosts a variety of art classes at the Union Market and Georgetown locations. Working on an independent project? There are free “crafternoon” sessions every Saturday at Union Market and every Sunday in Georgetown where you can utilize a variety of supplies.

She Loves Me

Learn the art of floral arrangements at the flower shop in Eckington. Workshops make use of seasonal blooms, walking participants through the design process.


Chill out (but stay warm) 

Play a game

Capitol Hill’s puzzle and games shop Labryinth is not just a place to buy the latest Catan expansion—it’s also a hub for game play. There are events nearly every night of the week for a variety of games, from Magic the Gathering to Pokémon. Want to try something new? Staff is on hand to help novices learn the rules on Thursday board games nights.

Curl up with a book

Stop by an independent bookstore to start checking off your TBR list for 2024. Walk down the steps into a colorful literary cave at women-owned East City Bookshop. In addition to a flagship location on H Street, Solid State Books recently opened an outpost on 14th Street. Originally an online store, Black-owned Mahogany Books now operates in Anacostia and National Harbor. And for culinary reads, Bold Fork Books is dedicated to cookbooks covering a bevy of different cuisines.

Sit by a fireplace

Is there anything more comforting than a warm hearth? Bar à Vin is a cozy wine bar with a brick-lined fireplace, located next door to sibling spot Chez Billy Sud. Cocktail hideaway 600 T also offers a seat by the fire. In Alexandria, Murphy’s Grand Irish Pub has a fireplace on both levels for twice the heat.

Daniella Byck
Lifestyle Editor

Daniella Byck joined Washingtonian in 2022. She was previously with Outside Magazine and lives in Northeast DC.