Staying at home for the holidays? A guide of things to do locally.


Aliza Bellas

One of many beautiful sites to go on a hike is Great Falls, located right outside of DC.

Ari Kittrie, Opinion Editor

Winter Break is one of the most exciting times of the year for any high school student, but with travel prices going up, not everyone can travel for break this year. According to the U.S. Travel Association, airline fares rose by 42.9% and the price of motor fuel rose by 18.9% between October 2021 and October 2022. So, whether your vacation plans involve driving or flying out of town, the price tag won’t come cheap. As a result, many families have chosen to stay at home for the holidays.


A “staycation” may seem like a downgrade from going out of town. But staying at home for holidays has its perks beyond just the price reduction.


Visiting D.C.:


As residents of the D.C. area, many of us take for granted all the spectacular sights the capital of the U.S. has to offer. Many people around the world dream of coming to the capital of the United States, but they live too far away. As residents of the DMV, we are lucky to live close to a city filled to the brim with a wide array of museums, shops and activities. Because we live in such a lively and vibrant area, staying home for the holidays doesn’t have to be boring at all. So, if you still want to get out and explore, D.C. would be a great place to take a day trip on a staycation.


A place I’d suggest visiting would be “La Cosecha,” which is a newly opened Latin American marketplace in D.C. Another idea would be the D.C. Wharf, which just unveiled its Phase 2 additions, which includes two new Gordon Ramsay restaurants and Limani, a Mediterranean restaurant from New York. One of my personal favorites is “ARTECHOUSE,” which features innovative and modern art that never ceases to amaze even the most artistically knowledgeable.


Visiting Nearby Towns:


If you want to explore the area beyond D.C., you could explore towns only a drive away from the D.C. area including Fredrick, Ellicott City and Baltimore. In Fredrick, the Historic Downtown has a lot of unique stores and restaurants that range from antique shops to barbecue and ice cream. During the winter time, Frederick hosts “Sailing through the Winter Solstice,” which is a parade of sailboats decorated with lights in Carroll Creek Park. In Ellicott City, I’d suggest going to Patapsco Valley State Park which includes walking on a bridge over a picturesque river. In Baltimore, visit Fort McHenry, where the visitor’s center has lots of tidbits about the history of the fort and Baltimore in general.


Exploring your Community:


Another activity that you can do for a day is to take a walk around your neighborhood or town. Every day, we rush back and forth from our houses to work or school without taking time to experience and explore the small world around us. Some things you can do in your community include going on a walk on a local trail, going to a park or visiting your local mall. If you live in Bethesda, you may want to go to “The Block,” an Asian food hall, at Pike and Rose. Or, if you live in Cabin John, then you may want to go to the local ice rink. Another option is to go hiking at Great Falls and see the scenery. A personal favorite of mine is going to the Montgomery Mall and walking around the mall.


At-Home Amenities:


Even though wandering around a new area is lots of fun, it also can be nice to relax at home. Due to modern conveniences, such as Amazon, everything from food to clothing can be delivered to households without the need to get up from your couch. In addition, most movies and TV shows can be found online via streaming services such as Netflix, HBO Max and Prime Video. Some new shows and movies coming to streaming services include “Glass Onion: Knives Out Mystery” (Dec. 23) on Netflix and “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, Season 3” (Dec. 21) on Prime Video. With a ton of new series and movies coming out soon, winter break is a great time to start binging. 


Although going away is always a good time, there are so many things to enjoy right in your own backyard. So, why not just stay in town and explore the area around you? Doing so can help you appreciate your community in a way you might not have imagined.