Trying to save money now that the holidays are over? We have you covered with our list of the top free winter events in Washington DC, Baltimore, Northern Virginia, and beyond!
Free Winter Events in Baltimore
Lunar New Year Celebration at The Walters Art Museum
Experience a free day of indoor fun at The Walters Art Museum in the Mount Vernon area of Baltimore on Sunday January 22nd. The Walters goes all out for Lunar New Year with live performances, hands-on art activities, a scavenger hunt, and more. Special needs families can take advantage of the sensory break areas that provide less stimulating areas. A traditional lion dance will also be performed at 3 pm.
The Walters Art Museum is free year-round and offers lots of programs to take advantage of. There is a Family Art Center that allows kids to create their own masterpiece. On weekends, there are guided drop-in art activities in the Family Art Center. Check out our post to find out more about visiting The Walters Art Museum with kids.
Free Events at Benjamin Banneker Historical Park & Museum
Benjamin Banneker Historical Park & Museum, located in Catonsville, offers several special free educational events during the wintertime. Head to the link above for more information and event times.
- On Saturday, January 14th, join local historians to find out how Banneker spent his winters.
- On Saturday, February 4th, celebrate Groundhog Day with a special story time session.
- On Saturday and Sunday February 18th and 19th, participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count! This event will include a short hike. Bring your own binoculars and dress warm.
Free Events at the Center for Maryland Agriculture and Farm Park
The Maryland Agriculture and Farm Park, located in Cockeysville Maryland, offers educational opportunities and agricultural experiences throughout the year. While all events below are free, consider donating to the farm. You can check out their winter donation wish list here.
- On Saturday, January 14th, preschool and elementary school-aged families can enjoy story time and a craft based on Jan Brett’s book, The Hat.
- On Sunday, January 22nd, plan your garden for spring and create a planting calendar. This event is recommended for ages 10 and up.
- On Saturday January 28th, look for signs of spring and find out why Groundhog Day is significant for our local farmers.
- On Saturday, February 11th, get ready for Valentine’s Day with farm-themed crafts and cards.
- On Sunday February 19th, preschool and elementary school-aged families can attend story time and activities based on the popular book If You Give a Pig a Pancake.
- On Saturday February 25th, learn all about maple sugaring on the farm.
- On Sunday February 26th, learn how to make maple candies with farm-sourced syrup!
Eclectic Goods Craft & Vintage Market at Ministry of Brewing
Every Sunday through March 12, head to Baltimore’s Ministry of Brewing for a pop-up market. All market events are kid- and dog-friendly. If you haven’t yet been to the Ministry of Brewing, it is must-do on Lombard Street! Located in the restored St. Michael’s Church, the brewery has a great craft beer selection plus soda and cider in an expansive taproom.
Third Annual Pig Day Celebration
Cuddle and play with pot belly pigs from Whispering Rise Farm & Animal Sanctuary for National Pig Day! This one-of-a-kind family event in Baltimore is from 1 to 3 pm on Saturday March 4th. Other activities will include crafts, story time, and snacks.
Purim Carnival at the Jewish Museum of Maryland
Celebrate Purim at the Jewish Museum of Maryland at the Purim Carnival on March 5th. This free family event will include crafts, games, carnival games, and dancing. There will also be a Purim costume contest! Capacity is limited. Register for tickets now!
St. Patrick’s Day Parade – Baltimore
The St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Baltimore has delighted spectators for over 65 years. This popular parade will be held on Sunday March 12th at 2 pm. The Baltimore St. Patrick’s Day Parade starts at the Washington Monument. It proceeds down Charles and Pratt Street towards the Inner Harbor and ends at Market Place.
Free Winter Events in Washington DC
Lunar New Year at National Museum of Asian Art
Head to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art for a full day of fun to celebrate the Lunar New Year! On Saturday, January 21st, events will include live performances, cooking demonstrations, guided tours of exhibits, and more.
Meditation + Mindfulness Virtual Series
Improve your well-being this New Year with the National Museum of Asian Art’s free Meditation and Mindfulness sessions! From January 27th through June 30th, these free 30-minute virtual sessions will help you find inner peace. All sessions are held on Fridays at 12 pm and led by DC-based meditation teachers.
Spark! Lab at American History Museum
Spark! Lab is open from 11 am to 4 pm on select dates throughout winter and spring at the American History Museum. Geared towards children ages six to twelve, this exciting lab encourages kids to build, imagine, explore, and experiment with STEM-based materials that encourage creativity. Kids six and under should check out Wonderplace. Wonderplace is a history-themed learning space that is open on select dates as well.
Women of the Freer Gallery of Art Tour
In honor of Women’s History Month, the National Museum of Asian Art will conduct free docent-led tours to share the stories of the women in their collection. Tours will be conducted every day in March from 12 to 1 pm.
Culture Queen Kids Hour at Anacostia Community Museum
Head to DC’s Anacostia Community Museum on Saturday March 4th. Grammy-nominated artist Culture Queen will help kids realize their special powers in an interactive session that includes music, stories, and crafts.
Ireland at The Wharf
On March 18th, head to The Wharf in Washington DC. Enjoy free festivities on the District Pier including live bands and bagpipers. Plus lots of Guinness beer, whiskey and food vendors on-site.
Free Winter Events in Northern Virginia
LEGO® Discovery Center D.C. BRICK FACTOR
LEGO® Discovery Center Washington D.C. will be opening at Springfield Town Center in Summer of 2023! To kick things off, they are inviting families to attend LEGO® Discovery Center’s Brick Factor on February 11th from 10:30 am to 3:30 pm at the Grand Court in Springfield Town Center.
During this event, families can watch top adult LEGO® builders compete for the coveted Master Model Builder title! There will also be LEGO bricks available so kids can build their own master creations. Local celebrities including the former Washington Commanders Tim HIghtower, Commanders’ mascot Major Tuddy, and ABC 7’s Kidd O’Shea are scheduled to appear.
Fun Dog Show – Alexandria
Join the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria and the Ballyshaners on the corner of King and S. Royal Street in Alexandria for this annual tradition! The Fun Dog Show is a free event that starts at 11 am on Saturday March 4th just before the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. There is a fee for contestants to enter. Costume categories include the Most St. Paddy’s Spirit, Best Human/Canine Duo, and Most Creative.
St. Patrick’s Day Parade – Alexandria
The Alexandria St. Patrick’s Day Parade kicks off at 12:15 pm on Saturday March 4th at Alfred and King Street. It will feature traditional Irish dancers and bands, community groups, and other entertainment. The parade route will run several blocks along King Street before concluding at the corner of Lee Street. A Classic Car Show will also be held in conjunction with the parade starting at 9 am on the 100 block of N. Pitt Street between Cameron and King Streets.
Other Free Winter Events Near the DMV
Sailing Through the Winter Solstice – Frederick
Missing those holiday lights? Well, you’re in luck because you can enjoy Sailing Through the Winter Solstice through March 4th in downtown Frederick! Twenty-eight boats are stationed in Carroll Creek and they are fun to see day and night! The best part is that all the boats support local non-profit organizations. After you see the boats, you can vote for your favorite Frederick Winter Solstice Boat by donating funds to your favorite design! Last year, this effort raised more than $102,000 for charity.
St. Patrick’s Day Parade – Annapolis
If you love St. Patrick’s Day, you can’t miss the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in downtown Annapolis. This 2.5-hour parade will be held Sunday March 5th starting at 1 pm. The parade kicks off at Amos Garrett Boulevard and makes its way around downtown Annapolis’ main streets.
St. Patrick’s Day Parade – Gaithersburg
On March 11th, head to The Rio in Gaithersburg for their St Patrick’s Day Parade. The parade starts at 10 am at Rio Boulevard and Grand Corner Avenue. It will include Celtic dancers, Irish bands, school groups, equestrian units, community organizations, kids’ characters and more.
Irish Festival – Westminster
Downtown Westminster goes green on Saturday March 11th. The street festival kicks off with a Celtic Canter 5k and Leprechaun Chase fun run. Family-friendly events will follow with arts and crafts, vendors, food, a beer garden, and live music. Adults can enjoy a pub crawl starting at 12 pm. Free trolley rides will also be offered from 12 until 5 pm.
Live Music at The Common Kitchen – Clarksville
Come out to The Common Kitchen in Clarksville every Friday night from 5 to 7:30 pm to enjoy live music. The Common Kitchen is home to nine different international food vendors. Beer, wine, and cocktails are also available for purchase at Trifecto.