Your Guide to Reliving Summer in D.C. (During the Coldest Months of the Year)

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Do you daydream—five times a day—about that next beach vacay? Have your kids started a countdown for when their summer break starts (it’s roughly 150 days, in case you’re curious). Sounds like your household has caught a case of the winter blues? Don’t worry, though; there’s a cure! From splish-splashing around in the pool to chowing down on ice cream, with a few tweaks your family’s favorite summertime activities are totally winter-appropriate. For proof, read on.

swim-girl-gogglesPhoto: thebo21 via Flickr

#1 Go Swimming
The indoor swimming pool scene in D.C. runs deep. From the tip-top of Maryland to the bottom of NoVa, there are comfy cozy watering holes that let little ones splish-splash around without catching a case of the shivers. A must visit is the Woodrow Wilson Aquatic Center in Tenleytown. This immaculate complex has everything—an Olympic-sized pool with platform diving; a separate 25 meter lap pool, connected to a zero-entry kids play area, and a massive hot tub (for the adults, of course). Bonus: it’s saltwater, so no chlorine eyes or dried out skin.

butterfly-pavilion-hatPhoto: sandi.k.barr via Flickr

#2 Go Butterfly Chasing
What’s better than running after butterflies in the great outdoors on a GORGE spring day? Playing with the pretty insects indoors in the winter. Imagine being instantly surrounded by free-flying butterflies and exotic plants in shapes, sizes and colors you rarely see on your city block. That’s what happens when you visit the Butterfly Pavilion at the Museum of Natural History. The pavilion is open daily, and it’s free to get in on Tuesdays (online reservations are suggested). The climate-controlled environment is kept at 80 degrees, and 80 percent humidity.

hiking-girl-winterPhoto: Swambo via Flickr

#3 Go Hiking
Granted, you’ll have to bundle up a lot more than you would during the summer. But, going for a quick little hike during the winter is one surefire way of busting that blah feeling. Best for kiddos: Cabin John Park Trail in Bethesda stretches six miles through the park and is mostly flat the whole way; Rock Creek Park is D.C.’s backyard playground full of year-round foliage and if you’re lucky Junior might even spot a deer or two.

boy-eating-ice-creamPhoto: Ayren Jackson-Cannady

#4 Go for Ice Cream
Here’s the thing: Ice cream may be cold, but remember, many parlors have indoor, heated seating. So go ahead—indulge in the icy, sweet treat year-round! Many shops, including up and coming nitrogen icecream fave Nicecream Factory, even offer artisan style javas, cappuccinos, and hot chocolate to go side-by-side (or poured over) the frozen cream. #matchmadeinheaven

sugarloaf-craft-festivalPhoto: Sugarloaf Craft Festival via Facebook

#5 Go to a Festival
During the warm summer months, D.C. hosts a slew of outdoor festivals. A little known fact, though, is that during the winter months there are also a bunch of family-friendly festivals that crop up. If your mini is into arts and crafts pen the Sugarloaf Craft Festival into your calendar (Jan. 30-Feb. 1). In addition to live entertainment and yummy food, more than 500 crafters will be displaying and hawking their handmade wares (from jewelry and wood to clothing and sculpture). If chocolate is more your bunch’s speed, the Chocolate Lovers Festival in Old Town Fairfax (Feb. 7-8) is a must. Check out the Chocolate Challenge—an arts contest featuring art made completely of chocolate—sample chocolates, peep historic re-enactments, and get involved in some chocolate themed crafting of your own.

What is your favorite summery activity to do during the winter. Tell us in the Comments section below. 

—Ayren Jackson-Cannady