The Best 2023 – 2024 Winter Events in Maryland and Washington DC

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Winter is upon us and while the cold weather may seem daunting, there are plenty of exciting events to look forward to in Maryland and Washington DC. From festive holiday celebrations to outdoor activities, this region has it all when it comes to fun winter events. Whether you’re a long-time resident or just visiting for the season, these upcoming 2023 – 2024 winter events will have something for everyone. So bundle up and get ready to experience the best that Maryland and Washington DC have to offer during this chilly yet cheerful time of year!

Winter season in Maryland and Washington DC

As temperatures drop and leaves fall off trees, citizens of Maryland and Washington DC prepare for the winter season. This period of time typically lasts from December to February, bringing with it frosty winds, snowflakes, and ice-covered streets. Despite the chilly weather, there are still plenty of ways to enjoy the season. From ice skating at National Harbor to visiting the winter wonderland at the National Zoo, there are plenty of fun activities for families and friends alike. Additionally, the region is home to a variety of cozy restaurants and bars, perfect for warming up with a cup of hot cocoa or mulled wine. Though the cold may appear harsh, the winter season in Maryland and Washington DC is full of opportunities to make memories and bond with loved ones.

The National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at the White House

Every year, on the first Thursday of December, the White House hosts the National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony. This tradition dates back to 1923 when President Calvin Coolidge lit the first national Christmas tree. Since then, the ceremony has become a beloved holiday event for people all across the United States. Over the years, the location of the National Christmas Tree has changed, but the event has remained a symbol of unity and hope. Today, the switch is flipped to light the tree surrounded by musical performances and guest appearances by celebrities. The National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony is a perfect way to kick off the festive season.

Ice skating at the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden

The National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to enjoy ice skating in Washington D.C. The garden’s skating rink is surrounded by beautiful sculptures that add to the already serene atmosphere, making for a beautiful winter skating experience. This rink is located just a block from the National Mall and is open from November to mid-March, providing visitors with plenty of time to enjoy ice skating in the nation’s capital. Plus, tickets are affordable, and skate rentals are available on-site. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to spend a lovely winter afternoon gliding across the ice amidst the stunning sculptures of the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden.

Winter Lights Festival at Seneca Creek State Park

Tucked away in the heart of Montgomery County, Maryland, Seneca Creek State Park plays host to one of the most spectacular events of the winter season – the Winter Lights Festival. As the sun sets and the stars twinkle above, the park comes alive with more than 450 illuminated displays and over a million twinkling lights. Visitors of all ages can take a leisurely drive through the enchanting wonderland, soaking up the festive ambiance and marveling at the stunning light displays. From graceful swans to majestic reindeer, the Winter Lights Festival offers something for everyone, making it an event you won’t want to miss.

Outdoor Winter Markets in DC and Maryland

As the temperature drops and snow starts to fall, the outdoor markets in Washington D.C. and Maryland transform into winter wonderlands with festive cheer and warm drinks. These markets showcase local artists, farmers, and businesses, creating a unique and authentic shopping experience. Visitors can browse the stalls, sipping on hot cocoa and mulled wine while searching for the perfect holiday gift. Shoppers can find an array of goods, from hand-crafted ornaments to homemade fudge. The wonderful aromas of roasting chestnuts and cinnamon spice create a magical atmosphere, embracing the holiday spirit. The winter markets are a perfect place to find something special and support the local communities. So, wrap up warm, grab your friends and family and venture out to explore the outdoor winter markets in DC and Maryland.

Polar Bear Plunge at Sandy Point State Park 

Every year, thousands of brave souls take the plunge into the chilly waters of the Chesapeake Bay as part of the Polar Bear Plunge held at Sandy Point State Park. This event is not for the faint of heart. Participants willingly submerge themselves in water temperatures that can dip below freezing. But why do they do it? For many, it’s a thrilling way to start the new year. For others, it’s a chance to support a great cause. The Polar Bear Plunge is a fundraiser for the Special Olympics, a global organization that provides year-round sports training and athletic competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. It’s an exhilarating experience that brings people together to embrace the cold and support a worthwhile cause.

DC Winter Restaurant Week 

Looking to satisfy your culinary cravings this winter season? Look no further than DC Winter Restaurant Week. This annual event offers the opportunity to sample some of DC’s finest cuisine at a fraction of the regular price. Participating restaurants offer special prix fixe menus for both lunch and dinner, with prices ranging from $22 to $35 for lunch and $35 to $55 for dinner. With over 200 participating restaurants, there’s sure to be something for everyone. Don’t miss out on this great opportunity to indulge in the best DC has to offer.

The variety of fun winter events in Maryland and Washington DC

As the winter months approach, Maryland and Washington DC are gearing up with a plethora of exciting events that are sure to warm your heart! From the annual National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony on the White House Ellipse to the dazzling display of lights at ZooLights at the National Zoo, there is no shortage of festive cheer around every corner. Whether you prefer ice skating at the Sculpture Garden Ice Rink or attending the outdoor holiday markets in Baltimore and DC, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Even if you’re not a fan of the cold, cozy up at one of the many local cafes and enjoy a hot drink while admiring the beauty of the season. So bundle up and get ready to immerse yourself in the celebration of winter in Maryland and Washington DC!


In conclusion, the winter season in Maryland and Washington DC is filled with magical events and activities that are perfect for individuals, families, and friends to enjoy. From witnessing the National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at the White House to gliding on ice at the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden, there is something for everyone to experience. Don’t forget to bundle up and check out the Winter Lights Festival at Seneca Creek State Park or explore unique gifts and delicious food at one of the many outdoor winter markets. And if you’re feeling brave, why not participate in the Polar Bear Plunge at Sandy Point State Park? And before you leave DC, make sure to take part in DC Winter Restaurant Week where you can try new restaurants while saving some money. There’s no doubt that these fun winter events will leave you with unforgettable memories and warm feelings despite the chilly weather. So don’t wait any longer, start planning your winter itinerary and make it a season to remember!

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