This year, winter in D.C. seems to have a mind of its own–one day it’s raining icicles and the next day you’re turning off the heat and opening windows. One thing that remains constant is the host of cool activities that happen during this time of the year (no matter what the temps are doing). Whether it’s brisk or balmy, here are some of our favorite winter to-dos that the whole family will dig.

cocoa-cc-Eden, Janine, and Him.jpgPhoto: Eden, Janine and Him via Flickr

1. Visit the Mitsitam Café and get warm from the inside out with some Native American inspired hot chocolate.

2. Remember what it feels like to be warm by taking a stroll through the U.S. Botanic Gardens, and enjoy the winter blossoms, trickling streams and smells of foliage, foliage everywhere.

3. Take a spin around the National Gallery of Art’s Sculpture Garden Ice Skating rink. Where else can you skate between renaissance painters and the Hope Diamond.

4. Take in a free performance at the Kennedy Center–everyday at 6 p.m. they host a gratis family-friendly show!

5. Visit one of the many clay fired studios in the area and make your very own piece of art. We personally love Color Me Mine in Silver Spring.

Bounce BackPhoto: Flight Trampoline Park

6. Jump, flip, bounce, and fly at Flight Trampoline Park. Cabin fever? What’s that?

7. Head to Make Meaning in Bethesda and get your craft on!

8. Scale Jack’s giant beanstalk, Mount Rushmore, the Empire State Building, the bones of a T-Rex or any of 70 themed walls at ClimbZone in Laurel, Maryland.

9. Practice your putting at the H Street Country Club (it’s the only miniature golf course in D.C.-proper) where little ones are more than welcome to tag along during the day.

10. Cozy up for story time at the Library of Congress every Friday morning at 10:30 a.m. in the Young Reader’s Center.

National Postal MuseumPhoto: Ayren Jackson-Cannady

11. If you’re looking for an off the beaten path museum, check out the National Postal Museum where kiddos can ride in a stagecoach, throw mail into the right bins, and even try their hand at driving an 18-wheeler.

12. Teach kids that money doesn’t grow on trees – take them to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing for a tour that showcases how a dollar bill becomes a dollar bill.

13. Train-loving kiddos can get their fix at the National Capital Trolley Museum where riding, looking and gasping at the trolleys is A-OK.

14. Keep your eyes peeled for the first real snowfall of the season (those early January flurries just don’t count!), and head into the city for an epic family snowball fight at the National Mall as President Lincoln keeps a watchful eye.

15. Visit a Home Depot on the first Saturday of every month for a fun DIY workshop for the kiddos. They can make anything from mini-sleds to bug houses to birdcages.

11082538_532958703513452_175689700455505281_nPhoto: UpCycle

16. Artsy kiddos will love UpCycle in Del Ray which features tons of recycled odds and ends to make crafts, build masterpieces and maybe design a present or two.

17. Keep your eye on Ticketplace, and score cheap seats to a day of show or theatrical production.

18. Keep little minds and bodies active this winter with a membership to Nook in Arlington, Virginia. Kids can make believe, make music and make art till their hearts are content in this modern, clean space that inspires creativity.

19. Take a quick, 1.5 hour trip to the snow-filled slopes of the Ski Liberty Mountain Resort, where you’ll find skiing, snowboarding and snow tubing on the front and back of a mountain that resides only a few miles from historic Gettysburg.

7283738932_df794830ae_zPhoto: Jonathan Seal via Flickr

20. Try duckpin bowling at White Oak Lanes in Silver Spring. Not sure what it is? Click here to find out.

21. Tour the National Cathedral and take part in their family, self-led scavenger hunts. The brochure “Exploring the Cathedral with Children,” will help you find secret images, tiny carvings and even some gargoyles.

22. Tour SpagNVola’s Chocolate Factory – not only is it warm and cozy on a winter day, but the smells are amazing…as is the chocolate!

What’s your favorite cold weather past-time? Tell us in the comments section below. 

–Ayren Jackson-Cannady and Hilary Riedemann