For those students taking English courses in Washington DC, the winter season is sure to be a fun one. There are tons of fun things to do around the DC area – many of which are free or cheap! Plus, many of these traditional winter activities provide students an opportunity to practice their English in a real-world setting and immerse themselves in the culture. Here are a few of our favorite things to do during the winter in DC.
Embrace Festive Traditions
The winter holiday season lasts from Thanksgiving through New Year’s, but the height of the season surrounds Christmas. You will find there are many fun, festive ways you can celebrate the holiday season and practice English.
For example, radios will be blasting holiday music all season long, so practice your English by singing along. Put on an ugly Christmas sweater when you go to your English class in DC. Practice writing in English by filling out holiday cards for your friends. And go on a holiday light adventure with your classmates.
Attend Holiday Parties
A highlight of the winter season is the number of holiday parties and events. If you are invited to one, make a point to go and have fun! If you do not know anyone throwing a holiday party, then throw one yourself! Send out invitations, decorate, and cook some traditional holiday dishes. This will be a fun way to put all of your English skills to good use.
Embrace the Weather
Learn how to discuss the winter weather in English and embrace some of the English idioms, such as “break the ice.” When the DC area is affected by winter weather, it is beautiful, and it provides a lot of chances to have fun outdoors. Get together with others from your Washington language school and build a snowman or have a snowball fight. The snow and ice also provide great photo opportunities.
Warm Up by a Fire
Don’t let the cold weather keep you stuck indoors. Many DC restaurants have fireplaces for guests to warm up while they enjoy food and drinks. Additionally, the cold weather is ideal for bonfires and making s’mores (a traditional American dessert with marshmallows, graham crackers, and chocolate bars).
Go Ice Skating
Throughout the winter season, students should take advantage of the pop-up ice skating rinks around the DC area. For those who have never ice skated before, DC is the perfect place to give it a try. For example, you can ice skate outdoors by the ice-skating rink at the National Mall. Check out Trip Savvy’s Outdoor Ice Skating in Washington, DC to plan your outdoor ice skating adventure.
Hit the Slopes
The winter weather also provides the opportunity to hit the slopes. Students should take advantage of the nearby ski resorts on their weekends. You can rent a vehicle and go with your classmates or take a bus to visit ski resorts a few hours away. At ski resorts, you can enjoy skiing, snowboarding, or snow tubing.
Hunt for the Best Hills for Sledding
A fun winter pastime happens every time it snows in DC – especially if the language schools in Washington DC close due to the inclement weather. This tradition is to hunt for the best hills to go sledding. If you don’t have a sled, there are many other objects you can use for sledding like the ones listed in No sled? No problem. 17 DIY ideas. Check out Curbed’s Sledding in D.C.: The best locations, mapped to find the perfect hill.
Shop at a Holiday Market
If you are looking for unique gifts for your family and friends back home, then you should visit the Downtown Holiday Market. It is located in front of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery from November 22, 2019 to December 23, 2019. The holiday market offers goods from local vendors, as well as performances in a festive setting.
Watch Holiday Movies
In addition to the radio playing non-stop holiday music, you should also expect the television stations to be playing a steady rotation of classic holiday movies. Curl on the couch with a blanket and binge watch some of the American holiday classics. Plus, this is a great way to supplement learning English.
Enjoy a Live Holiday Performance
For those who study English in Washington DC, they should make a point to attend some of the live holiday performances such as The Nutcracker Ballet or A Christmas Carol live theatre event. Here’s a guide to 15 Holiday-Themed Theater Performances & Shows in Washington, DC. For students with extra time, head to New York City to take in a holiday performance by the Radio City Rockettes.
Decorate a Gingerbread House
A fun way to embrace the season is to spend some time decorating a gingerbread house. You can find gingerbread house kits at most grocery stores during the holiday season. You may even want to host a gingerbread house decorating competition with your classmates. It will be a fun way to spend time together outside of class and practice speaking and listening in English.
Cheer for the Home Teams
Winter is also a great season for sports fans. Popular winter sports include ice hockey and basketball. Students can cheer on the Washington Capitals hockey team, the Washington Wizards basketball team, and the Washington Redskins football team. Additionally, students can cheer on local college teams during the winter, as well. Plus, the Super Bowl (National Football League championship game) takes place in February, so go ahead and start planning your Super Bowl celebrations now.
Sip on Something Warm
Finally, don’t forget that the reason you are in DC this winter is to learn to speak English fluently. So, look for opportunities to combine studying English with enjoying the winter weather, such as sipping on a cup of delicious hot chocolate while you review for your English language test.
Ready to head to DC this winter? Test your English today!