Bundle up, get out there and explore!
A new year is the perfect time to set new intentions and grab the opportunity to try new things!
Whether you plan to connect with nature, chill and watch a film festival, or checking out the latest event at Victura Park, we've curated a list of 20+ things to do (virtual and in-person) that will keep you busy all month long.
Before leaving the house, check the hours of operation and COVID-precautions of where you're going as event information is subject to change and be sure to wear a mask.
1. Ring in the new year with First Day Hikes
West Virginia state parks have a cool New Year’s tradition: First Day Hikes. Go on an organized, guided group hike through the winter wonderland of our state parks, like Bluestone, Cass Scenic Railroad, Pipestem Resort, Cacapon Resort and Beech Fork state parks. Or you can stick closer to home and roam in the wooded landscape of Rock Creek Park.
2. Sip wine in winter comfort
Who says going to wineries is just a warm weather activity? There's nothing like sipping wine by a fire pit so take a short road trip to Virginia-area wineries that offer winter comfort and fine wine.
3. Capitol Hill film fest fun
The Capitol Hill Film Festival is virtual this year, which means you can enjoy 70-plus films from the District, Maryland, and Virginia. Grab a month-long pass to watch movies like Ballin’: A Kickball Story, featuring one of the District’s favorite pastimes, and One Fall, which takes a look at D.C.’s world of indie pro wrestling.
4. Get cozy at some of the coolest outdoor eating spots
With the new restrictions on indoor dining in DC, restaurants have come up with cool and clever outdoor dining options for the winter months, from igloos to yurts and Swiss-chalets. Check out our guide for some of the coolest al fresco dining spots to cozy up to right now.
5. Watch the best in Japanese cinema
Explore Japan without leaving home during the first online New Year J-Film Fest. For three 72-hour weekend screenings in January, the Japan Information & Culture Center (JICC), Embassy of Japan and the Japan Commerce Association of Washington, D.C., Inc. have selected some amazing films from some of the latest and greatest talents in Japanese cinema.
6. Witness dating drama (not your own!) at Woolly Mammoth
Join Ryan, a gay man with a high sex drive and cerebral palsy, on his search for love, a date or ever a hookup at Woolly Mammoth's staging of "Hi, Are You Single?" from January 25 to February 21. And get their new Golden Ticket, a Wonka-inspired, all-access pass to unlock the unlimited experience of the 2020-2021 Season.
7. Appreciate art at Hirshhorn's outdoor sculpture garden
With more than thirty works of art displayed year-round, the Hirshhorn Museum’s Sculpture Garden offers visitors a contemplative haven to escape the hustle and bustle of the National Mall. Comprising nearly a fourth of Joseph Hirshhorn’s initial gift, sculptures were and remain a critical aspect of the Museum’s identity, and the garden, which opened with the Museum in 1974. The contemporary art garden recently added two new additions, and can be glimpsed in "Wonder Woman 1984" — a moment that includes a visual punchline about just what qualifies as art. Free
8. See "Stars" at The Yards
Didn’t decorate this year? WE DON’T BLAME YOU! But you should def-o check out the incredible annual holiday light show at The Yards ft. the installation “Stars” by Australian-based immersive light design sculptors Amigo & Amigo. Open to all through January 10, but do wear a mask and practice social distancing! Free
9. Take a virtual writing or poetry class with Politics and Prose
The independent bookstore has always been a haven for literary lovers and continues its mission by offering virtual book groups, fiction classes taught by esteemed authors and live events with authors. Upcoming classes discuss Proust’s Sodom and Gomorrah and Tolkien’s Three Great Tales.
10. Dine out during Winter Restaurant Week
Diet? What diet? Winter Restaurant Week, presented by Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington (RAMW), returns as the biannual celebration of the region’s resilient restaurants from January 18 - January 31, 2021. Participating restaurants will offer multi-course dinner menus for $35 or $55 per person. Many restaurants will also offer specially priced to-go dinner meals, available at two price points intended to fit a range of budgets and tastes. Where possible, restaurants will provide contactless or curbside pickup, personalized options that offer even greater reason to take advantage of the promotion.
11. Tap into mindfulness with the Freer Gallery of Art
We could all use a little bit of meditation and mindfulness in these trying times, which is exactly what you can get four times per week from the Freer Gallery of Art. Tune in online to access regular event programming that’ll help you channel some much-needed inner peace for 30 minutes each session. Free
12. Go winter bird watching at Kenilworth Park & Aquatic Gardens
You’ve already completed your mastery of sourdough breadmaking and even created a TikTok, so it’s time to level up your socially distanced pandemic activities and pick up birding. In DC, there’s no better place to do so than at Kenilworth Park, where you can find beautiful lotuses in the summer and an array of migrating birds in the winter. There, check out the River Trail or the boardwalk, where you can find a variety of new feathered friends such as great blue herons, Canada geese, kingfishers, woodpeckers, and bluebirds. Free
13, Find a new (stack of) books to read
If you’re missing the leisurely fun of perusing the stacks at the bookstore for an undiscovered treasure, you’re not alone. Capitol Hill Books luckily has the answer to your woes, and is now mailing out “Grab Bags” of books daily during the pandemic. Just fill out their form, including your budget and authors or genres you like, and they'll send over a picture of a proposed stack of books. Thrill seekers can even go with a blind stack for what they call “the full mystery effect.”
14. Watch famous artists take the Kennedy Center’s digital stage
Already made it through your Discover Weekly on Spotify? Check out some of the most extraordinary performances from the Kennedy Center, which is releasing new videos daily. From special series and original stories to performances from world renowned artists such as John Legend and Beyonce, these are the next best thing to catching a live performance at the historic venue.
15. Give the blues the boot at ARTECHOUSE
Dive into the blue as ARTECHOUSE focuses on Pantone’s Color of the Year: Classic Blue. Crystalline dives into blue’s connection with earth, crystals and adventure through a wondrous castle and rooms filled with creative curiosities through February 28.
16. Explore women's history on DC callbox tour
Eight callboxes have recently been converted to share the story of eight significant women in our city's history. Join A Tour of Her Own for a walking tour of the new callboxes installed in downtown D.C. While callboxes were once part of the city's emergency services system, today many stand as public art installations.
17. Tune in to Phillips Collections' Sunday Concerts
Marking the 80th anniversary year of the museum's acclaimed concert series, kick back and enjoy 20+ live-streamed performances on Sundays between January-May, 2021. The series introduces debut artists, return performances, and an exciting series of commissions from some of the brightest voices in new music, including Benjamin Attahir, Nathalie Joachim, Outi Tarkiainen, inti figgis-vizueta, and Marcos Balter. Free
18. Get your skate on at area rinks
Some of our favorite ice rinks didn't open this season, but other venues are open and ready for customers, though capacity is reduced and other COVID guidelines are in place. So whether you're a novice or want to practice Olympics-worthy jumps, here are the rinks where you can skate this season.
19. Take an Hill Center online cooking class
You can't live by banana bread or sourdough alone, so broaden your at-home cooking skills with online classes at Hill Center in Capitol Hill. Class range from basic knife skills to making paella to a duck boot camp and a pâte à choux (thanks to the Great British Baking Show we know what this is!) workshop.
20. Check out the newest Victura Park event at the REACH
From a summer wine garden to holiday market, the Victura Park folks have certainly been making creative use of the space at the REACH. They're busy working on another event that will be opening on January 9th; we're heard it might be a beer garden, but whatever it is is sure to be a can't-miss winter place to be! Follow on social for details.
21. Take a Biden-Harris Inauguration Virtual Tour
You don’t need to brave the crowds or get tickets to a black-tie ball to experience a presidential inauguration! Take a virtual tour that covers the indelible moments, and historic and personal connections in DC on the road to the White House for President-elect Joseph Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.
22. Celebrate MLK Jr's birthday with a National Museum of African-American History concert + conversation
NMAAHC’s annual community program honors Dr. Kings’ commitment to racial quality, justice, and service with a 45-minute concert of jazz and poetry digital performance featuring six-time Grammy award-winning bassist, composer, and educator Christian McBride and students from The Julliard School. The concert will conclude with a conversation between McBride and Sanchez and the Associate Director of Curatorial Affairs.
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Look up, down, and all around. Adventures can be found everywhere -- if you're curious enough to look. k for it