Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

5 cozy indoor activities for the chilly winter months

Gigi Baer
“Where Do Words Come From?” exhibit at Planet Word Museum.

While Foggy Bottom is no North Pole, the District is home to goosebump-inducing temperatures. 

Winter weather is often an excuse for students to stay huddled in dorms watching comfort holiday movies as a break from increased classwork, but dropping temperatures don’t hinder D.C. from providing a plethora of indoor activities to use to decompress. Here are five spots around the District to keep you entertained without having to brave the cold this winter.

Planet Word Museum

Looking to expand your knowledge of a language but don’t have the time to commit to a linguistics course or Duolingo streak? Head to Planet Word in downtown D.C. for an immersive, semantic experience instead. Planet Word opened in 2020 with the hope of providing all-ages access to the science and art of language.

Upon entering, you might be spooked by the hundreds of voices speaking different languages echoing through the room as they walk under the Speaking Willow tree, a motion-activated sculpture made of bulb-shaped speakers, each one playing snippets of different languages from around the world. 

But the experience continues through three floors of exhibits, including installations on the science of speaking and interactive exhibits allowing visitors to paint with words, explore the songwriting process through karaoke and share personal, voice-recorded stories on the power words hold.

925 13th St. NW. Open Monday and Wednesday through Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and weekends 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission to Planet Word is free, but reserving a timed pass is recommended.

Mount Purrnon Cat Cafe

While Georgetown’s Crumbs and Whiskers Cat Cafe is a popular choice for GW students looking to cuddle with some kittens, Mount Purrnon Cat Cafe and Wine Bar in Old Town Alexandria offers a cheaper way to spend a longer time with adoptable cats. Accessible by a 45-minute metro and King Street Trolley ride, Mount Purrnon is Alexandria’s first cat cafe, with all proceeds going toward caring for the cats until adoption. 

The upstairs of Mount Purrnon houses 25 fluffy and huggable cats for visitors to play, cuddle or unwind with. The cafe also hosts events like cat yoga and “Cats and Tarot,” an opportunity to get a tarot reading while playing with cats.

After getting a feline-induced serotonin boost, visitors are encouraged to visit the downstairs cafe and bar. The cheese-centric menu offers a range of items, including quick bites, salads, desserts and a slew of grilled cheese selections. 

109 S Alfred St., Alexandria, Virginia. Open Monday noon to 6 p.m., Wednesday through Friday noon to 8 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday noon to 6 p.m. Mount Purrnon recommends making a reservation before visiting. One hour with the cats costs $20.


If your preferred choice of relaxation involves hanging with friends, friendly competition or tossing lumberjack tools, it won’t matter, Kraken has it all in one place: roller skating, pickleball, rage rooms and axe throwing. Talk about the best of both, if not all, worlds. 

After a 20-minute trip on the Blue, Orange or Silver metro lines, a social, experience-based oasis bound to keep you out of the cold awaits. There’s a range of hands-on activities that are sure to fit any budget and group size: The Rage room and axe throwing is $29.99, pickleball starts at $10 and the roller rink starts at $8. 

Whether you prefer upping your ‘80s core aesthetic beyond your Doc Martens at the rink, relieving rage the old-fashioned way — seriously, who needs therapy when you can Hulk it out — or living out your axe-laden horror movie fantasies “The Shining” style, Kraken’s energizing experiences will help you break up the monotony of winter.  

840 E St. NW. Open Tuesday through Thursday 3 to 10 p.m., Friday 3 to 11 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The Potter’s House Café & Bookstore

Nothing quite captures the bundled-up penguin-esque vibes of a winter day indoors than hunkering down with a warm tea and a book at Potter’s House, a 30-minute bus ride from campus. The plentiful menu — including coffee, pastries and breakfast or sandwich meals — might help de-Jack Frost your icy hands as you settle into a windowfront cafe chair. With dark wood decor and brick walls to boot — yes, the dark academia vibes are on point —  there’s the homey feel of diving face-first into a fireplace-like hub of warmth, books and community.

Located in Adams Morgan, the indie bookstore’s selection focuses on justice and equity, social movements, cultural studies, all while centering diverse voices. You can find reads from a variety of staff-picked lists, including Acts Of Restoration: Decolonize Your Bookshelf, Dangerous Reads: Banned And Challenged Books and Antiracist Reading.

Any profits made from the cafe or bookstore purchases go back to the local community, aiding the Pay It Forward Program, which offers free meals to anyone in need.

1658 Columbia Rd. NW. Open Tuesday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

Paint It Forward

Ready to take some warmth to the next level this winter? A 3000-degree fiery kiln might do the trick. 

At Paint It Forward, a pottery painting studio, you can get your arts and crafts on as a solo date or with friends. 

With no extra studio painting fee, you’ll have the option of picking your next artistic masterpiece (ranging from $6-60), including mugs, figurines and vases. From there, it’s up to your creative whims: Feel free to spend the next couple of hours letting your inner child’s creativity flourish in this cozy and artsy setting. 

Once you’re done painting, all there is left to do is wait for the fiery pottery magic to commence, because in seven to 10 days your masterpiece will be ready for pick-up as the new centerpiece of your room.

3413 Connecticut Ave. NW. Tables are open on a first come first serve basis for walk-in studio painting on weekends from 1 to 3 p.m. and by table reservation on weekdays, Tuesday through Friday noon to 8 p.m. 

More to Discover
Donate to The GW Hatchet