The holidays were the easy part, with their flying reindeer and tolling bells. Now there’s the rest of winter to get through…frownie face-free. It’s a good thing we live around the District! From race car-making workshops to kitschy hotel staycations, here are the best ways to put smiles back into a cold snap.


Listen to Music
If kiddo needs room to stretch her legs and “Twist and Shout,” The Beatles’ Commemoration concert is a must-see (er, dance). The Yesterday and Today Show on Feb. 11 marks the 50th anniversary of the band’s first full U.S. performance, which took place in D.C….in the winter! Tribute band Beatlemania will get everyone in your family grooving to songs like “Roll Over Beethoven” and “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” Kids will forget all about the chill factor as they bop their mop tops to the classic tunes.

When: Feb. 11, 8:31 pm (when the original concert took place)
Cost: $45/standing; $100/general seating

Uline Arena
M St. and 3rd St., NW (Union Station)


Build Something
A fun way for your little Bob or Bobbie the Builder to hammer out extra energy is to check out  one of the age-appropriate classes offered at your local home improvement store. Even if kiddo doesn’t know the difference between a Phillips screwdriver and a butter knife, the clinics are a great way to learn tool time basics, make something cool (think: wooden race cars and trojan horse banks) and beat the chill. Plus, the pint-size handy men and women get to keep what they craft.

Home Depot
Various locations in D.C., Maryland, and Northern Virginia


Nosh on Free Food
No better way to heat things up than in the kitchen. The Daily Dish in Silver Spring offers several family friendly ways to share a meal. Eat in on Monday nights, when the under 12-set gets to eat for free off of the kids menu (standouts include mini-waffles, veggie sticks and mac and cheese). A relaxed atmosphere makes kids comfortable, but the food is artisanal enough to make mom and dad feel like they’re on a date night. If you’d rather stay in, The Daily Dish also offers DIY pizza kits. Packed with everything you need, including vegan options, kids can create their own mini pies for a wallet-welcoming $5.

The Daily Dish
8301 Grubb Road (Silver Spring, Md)


Have a Family Sleep Over…at a Hotel
We’re definitely not going to stop you, but you don’t necessarily have to hop on a plane for a change of scenery. Hotel Monaco in Alexandria is one of our fave places to take the family for a local staycation. Once you get there, you literally don’t have to leave the hotel (unless you want to do a little window shopping along boutique-filled King Street. Kids are treated to a daily get-happy hour, complete with board games, video games, and snacks. Bonus: Kids hour is immediately followed by wine hour for grown-ups. If your tot is hankering to make a splash, Dive-In Movie Nights, where a family friendly flick is shown poolside, are hosted every Saturday at the hotel’s indoor heated pool. In the room, kids will find their very own pet goldfish, plus fancy-schmancy mini animal print robes that they can lounge around in all afternoon.

Hotel Monaco
480 King St. (Alexandria, Va)

How do you beat the winter blues in D.C.? Tell us in the comments section below.

—Sonya Gavankar

Photos courtesy of Ayren Jackson-Cannady, jencu via Flickr,  Flux=Rad via Flickr, The Daily Dish via Facebook