As the home of the United States government, Washington, D.C., might seem like a tough place to find activities and spots to bond with your team — but your workplace can be the exception. After all, there’s more to D.C. than politics: the city boasts a thriving culinary scene, world-famous museums, and stunning natural beauty. Help build team spirit at your organization by experiencing with your colleagues the best of what the district has to offer, including some of these top retreat activities in Washington, D.C.
1. Jump into the shark tank at The Mansion on O Street
The Mansion on O Street is a historic venue in Dupont Circle known for its hidden doorways and secret passages. It’s a great setting for corporate events, with multiple meeting rooms, a social club, and overnight accommodations all available on site. Your team will begin thinking outside the box from the moment they walk in the door of this unique location.
Plus, you can choose from several activities designed with team-building in mind, from cooking and mixology classes to treasure hunts and a “shark tank” workshop. This two- to four-hour workshop involves designing and pitching a project, and it’s perfect for getting your team to collaborate together in a high-energy environment. Suitable for up to 150 people, you can book it as a standalone activity or as part of a full-day retreat.
2. Book a unique retreat venue on Peerspace
If you want the most variety and flexibility in your retreat, considering renting a venue from a local host on Peerspace. You can rent everything from a rustic urban mansion in Alexandria, VA, to a spacious modern church in downtown D.C. Many Peerspace locations offer A/V and furniture rentals, and you can ask your host to recommend local vendors and caterers.
If you need help managing your booking, call up the Concierge service for some personalized support. They’ll make sure the venue meets all of your requirements, as well as arrange for catering or a professional photographer to document your event. Once you have a location in mind, fill out the day with some of these additional retreat activities in Washington, D.C.
3. Enjoy a company retreat at Smokey Glen Farm
Take your company picnic to the next level with an all-day retreat at Smokey Glen Farm. This sprawling venue in Gaithersburg, MD, offers covered pavilions and open seating areas to make the most of the summertime weather. With so much room to spare, this location is suitable for large groups of up to 5,000 people. You can choose from several classic BBQ menus.
In addition, Smokey Glen Farm has a variety of activities on site, including volleyball, mini golf, horseshoe pits, and more. Bring your own workshop facilitators, or arrange for the professional on-site crew to host team-building games and other outdoor activities.
4. Visit the EDGE at George Mason University
The EDGE is a state-of-the-art facility for “outdoor experiential learning.” With over 30 years of experience, the team at George Mason University will show you the ropes — literally — at this outdoor adventure course designed for collaborative challenges. Whether you climb the Alpine Tower or stay close to the ground, everyone on your team will have something exciting to do. Learn to solve problems and build communication skills you can take back to the office.
5. Go geocaching at Primland
Primland is an outdoor lover’s paradise in the Blue Ridge Mountains that’s best for a weekend getaway or a high-class executive retreat. Although you’ll have to venture further from D.C. to get here, the scenic drive is worth it, and you’ll have a variety of activities to choose from once you arrive. Practice your aim on the archery range, enjoy stargazing at the observatory, hit the trails in an all-terrain vehicle, or play a round of disc golf.
Arguably the best activity for team-building, however, is geocaching. Your team will receive GPS devices and race to discover hidden caches at secret locations along the trails. Learn about the local culture and environmental issues from guidebooks created by a conservation institute.
6. Take an aerial adventure course at Terrapin Adventures
For an outdoor activity closer to the city, take the team to Terrapin Adventures, which has a zip line, ropes course, and other team-building activities. Their programs are designed specifically to boost collaboration, creativity, and communication skills. And, if you aren’t up for an outdoor adventure, they can come to your office or Peerspace location as well.
7. Go on a scavenger hunt at the Spy Museum
Although not as well-known as the Smithsonian, the recently renovated Spy Museum has some of history’s most famous espionage devices, including the “Enigma” machine used in WWII. Its on-site scavenger hunt is one of the most fascinating retreat activities in Washington, D.C. Teams get to race around the museum “bugging” each other to decipher codes and uncover clues.
This is a fun way to see the museum, while also participating in a fast-paced competition that your team will remember for years to come. Combine it with a catered dinner or cocktail party, and enjoy the views from the rooftop terrace while watching the sun set over D.C.
8. Play team-building trivia at Port City Brewing
Port City Brewing is a fun all-in-one retreat option that’s perfect for a casual team looking for a relaxed retreat activity in Washington, D.C. With private tours, meeting spaces, and team trivia all available on site, you’ll have every aspect of your event covered. Choose your own trivia categories to suit your team’s interests. You can also add on a guided beer and food tasting in the Lighthouse Lounge, featuring items from Cheesetique and Bluprint Chocolatiers.
9. Learn to paint together at Wine & Design
Drink-and-draw classes are fun, but you can take them to the next level with a workshop hosted by Wine & Design. Their programs can be tailored to suit your team, including “Art Breakers” for teams that are just getting to know each other. Alternatively, partake in workshops focused on productivity. Everyone gets a glass of wine or beer to drink at the event. Classes take place either at their Alexandria studio, your office, or Peerspace venue.
Whether you host an event in downtown D.C. or take your team out into the mountains, these fun retreat activities should give you plenty of ideas to get started!