Winter Holidays in America’s Capital Region

Create lasting memories on winter holidays in Capital Region USA, where the season is all about celebrating traditions (or starting new ones) and indulging in experiences that leave you feeling warm and cosy. Here are some wintry things to do in Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia, USA.

Winter Holiday Traditions in Washington, DC, USA

America’s capital city is especially beautiful — magical, even — when dressed up in wreaths, garlands and sparkling lights for the holidays. Special activities, festive markets, events and performances across Washington, DC make it easy to get into the spirit of the season. For a unique experience with a touch of nostalgia, go ice skating at one of the Smithsonian museums: The open-air National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden features an ice rink in winter, so you can twirl (or try to keep your balance) while surrounded by artwork. 

During Chanukah, the towering golden National Menorah stands proudly on The Ellipse, a park just south of the White House where the nation’s current president resides. The menorah’s annual lighting features music, food and entertainment, sometimes from a celebrity Jewish artist. 

Admire the National Christmas Tree at the White House Ellipse — the baubles represent all 50 US states, the nation’s territories and the District of Columbia (DC’s full name). There’s another stunning Christmas conifer that glows in stark contrast to the white dome of the US Capitol building; each year the US Capitol tree is harvested from a different national forest across the county.

Each December, the Kennedy Center hosts performances of Tchaikovsky’s family classic The Nutcracker, Handel’s Messiah and various other shows that range from children’s choirs to candlelit affairs. 

Winter Sports, Ski Holidays & Lodges in the Capital Region

Those searching for snowy playgrounds will find what they’re after on ski holidays in Maryland and Virginia, USA. Revel in the thrills of winter activities in both states with a day of skiing, snowboarding or snowshoeing. Or, settle in at a ski lodge or mountain resort for the ultimate winter escape.

Ski Holidays in Maryland, USA

In Maryland, hit the slopes of Wisp Resort, which sees an average of 64 inches (163 cm) of snow each year. Here you can snowboard, ski or cross-country ski in the Appalachian Mountains. For breathtaking views to go along with your snow-filled thrills, try “The Face,” one of several black-diamond runs. The resort also has plenty of runs for beginner and intermediate skiers. 

The Lodge at Wisp borders scenic Deep Creek Lake and boasts a heated indoor pool — perfect for warming up after runs — as well as a fitness centre and continental breakfast. At the summit of the resort sits Whitewater Lodge, a charming log cabin holiday rental that sleeps nine and has cosy perks like fireplaces and an indoor hot tub. 

For a serene nature experience, soak up the sounds of the forest as you cross-country ski on groomed trails at New Germany State Park near Grantsville, Maryland. Other state parks perfect for winter holidays include Herrington Manor near Oakland for sledding and snowshoeing, Seneca Creek near Germantown for its enchanting winter lights display, and Savage River State Forest, also near Grantsville, for cross-country skiing and snowmobile rides. 

Ski Holidays in Virginia, USA

Virginia’s Massanutten Resort delights winter enthusiasts with skiing, snowboarding and snow tubing in the Shenandoah Valley. Once the sun sets on the slopes, warm up with a steamy cup of cocoa as you stroll through snowflake tunnels and play with interactive light features at Light Up the Park!, which also features a dancing tree show.

At Wintergreen Resort in Nellysford, Virginia, dash through the snowy (and stunningly scenic) Blue Ridge Mountains on skis, boards or tubes. Little ones can sign up for ski and snowboard lessons and — on select Saturday and Sunday afternoons — the whole family can cheer on competitors as they speed down the mountainside during ski races

The Warm Springs Pools at The Omni Homestead Resort’s spa — located in the aptly named town of Hot Springs — have been frequented by 20-plus US presidents including Thomas Jefferson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy. The resort is a National Historic Landmark and offers an array of winter activities, from skiing and snowboarding to ice skating, tubing and riding mini snowmobiles.  

Two hours from Washington, DC by car, Bryce Resort is an upscale, family-friendly retreat in the Allegheny Mountains. Here you’ll find trails for mostly beginner and intermediate skiers, along with an expert run and a terrain park. When you’re not on the slopes, you can ice skate, cheer for racing skiers or celebrate the season at wintry events.

Winter Warm-Ups at American Restaurants in the Capital Region

There’s no better time to savour satisfying cuisine in intimate (and warm!) settings.

Restaurants in Washington, DC, USA

Make your way to 1789 Restaurant in DC’s Georgetown neighbourhood; here the likes of branzino bouillabaisse and butternut-squash risotto are served with a side of fireplace warmth in a historic 19th-century home. Set in DC’s city centre, Tabard Inn’s restaurant serves seasonal American fare like sweet-potato soup with chèvre gnocchi and fresh Chesapeake Bay oysters. The inn also boasts a fireplace lounge, so you can snuggle up and listen to live jazz on select nights before retiring to your room for sweet dreams.

Restaurants in Maryland, USA

In Columbia, Maryland, The Kings Contrivance Restaurant is set in an old farmhouse and praised for its classic cuisine and romantic ambiance. Look for special menus during winter holidays that feature indulgent dishes like shellfish bisque, veal tenderloin and Maryland crab. Or warm up with a delightful line-up of wines and vermouths at The Wine Collective in Baltimore’s eclectic Hampden neighbourhood; as you sip, you can snack on tapas-inspired dishes like octopus, chorizo and manchego sandwiches and charcuterie boards. 

Restaurants in Virginia, USA

In Falls Church, Virginia, the award-winning 2941 Restaurant offers contemporary American dining with dramatic outdoor views showing off a landscape featuring waterfalls and koi ponds. Their  chef’s rotating tasting menu has showcased dishes such as spiced shrimp with kaffir lime sauce and mushroom Wellingtons. 

Favourite places to gather around the fire for wine and conversation include The Winery at La Grange in Haymarket, which sometimes hosts special chef-prepared dinners. Naked Mountain Winery in Markham dishes up comforting lasagne lunches on select dates in late December through March. And Old House Vineyards in Culpeper offers weekend treats such as shepherd’s pie, quiche and pimento cheese dip — a speciality food of the American South. 

Find more wining and dining in Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia.

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Celebrate the holidays in America’s Capital Region.

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