From the White House to the Lincoln Memorial, the city of Washington, D.C. is packed with some of the world’s most iconic sights. This beautiful city, popular with visitors from around the globe, experiences distinct seasons. Whether you look forward to strolling along the National Mall or paddling on the Potomac, it’s a good idea to check the local weather to plan activities beforehand and decide what to pack for maximum comfort. Book a stay at a Washington, D.C. vacation rental today. Check out what to do in this city during each season.
Visiting Washington D.C. in the Summer
Summer in Washington, D.C. is hot, with plenty of sunny days that make for great sightseeing and photography. Temperatures usually stay in the mid-80s, with occasional afternoon thunderstorms. The city is known for its intense humidity, particularly in June and July; you can stay dry by wearing clothes made from light, breathable fabrics such as cotton and linen. It’s also a good idea to tuck a small umbrella in your day pack.
From June through August, all of Washington, D.C.s attractions and tours are open for business. The warm weather makes it possible to rent a kayak from Boating in DC and explore the Potomac River or take a swan boat around the Tidal Basin. On hot days, enjoy the breeze as you bike around the National Mall. The city hosts a huge variety of summer events, including the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Summerfest DC, and DC Beer Week. Crowd levels are high in Washington, D.C. during the summer, so book vacation rentals well in advance.
Visiting Washington D.C. in the Fall
Fall in Washington, D.C. is a traveler’s dream. The trees around the National Mall and along the Potomac River change color, framing the iconic monuments. September brings a respite from the summer heat, with days in the 70s. October and November bring temperatures in the 50s and 60s, along with a pleasant crispness of a perfect fall. A mid-weight jacket serves you well during this period, and if you’re planning to explore on foot, a scarf can shield you from the occasional cool wind or unexpected cold snap. The crowds thin out after September, making it a great time to stroll through Georgetown or explore the Smithsonian museums. All of the attractions in Washington, D.C. remain open throughout the fall, and the city celebrates the fantastic weather with events such as the H Street Festival, the Barracks Row Fall Festival, and the Taste of Georgetown.
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Visiting Washington D.C. in the Winter
Winter in Washington, D.C. is cold but manageable, with temperatures that range from the 20s to the 40s. An occasional dusting of snow gives the monuments a frosty twist, but you rarely need to worry about accumulation. Crowd levels are at their lowest at this time of year, so it’s a great time to explore the city without waiting in line. If you plan to walk, wear water-resistant shoes, a warm winter jacket, a hat, and gloves to keep cozy in the cold wind. Some popular tours, including the DC Duck Tours, are not available from October through April.
Washington, D.C. buzzes with activity throughout the winter. In late November and early December, local theaters open their holiday shows; one popular local tradition is the annual production of “A Christmas Carol” at the legendary Ford’s Theatre. The winter also brings the Downtown Holiday Market, the Washington Nationals Winterfest, and outdoor ice skating in the National Gallery of Art’s Sculpture Garden.
Visiting Washington D.C. in the Spring
Washington, D.C. thaws out slowly during the spring, bringing unpredictable weather. In March and early April, it’s safe to expect rainstorms and sunny days, all in the same week. Temperatures are still cool, often staying in the low 40s and 50s. Prepare for anything with a warm jacket, a hat, and an umbrella. By late April and early May, the weather warms into the 60s and 70s, and locals come out en masse to celebrate the blooming flowers and sunny days.
One of DC’s favorite spring events is the National Cherry Blossom Festival, which lasts from mid-March to mid-April and brings parades and festivities to downtown. The spectacular blossoms themselves usually bloom at some point during the festival; a variety of cherry blossom forecast websites can help you predict the likely peak bloom week and book your vacation rental accordingly. If you’re hoping to take a tour, April is a great choice. Tour companies start to open up shop but crowd levels are still low, eliminating wait times and high-season prices.
When Is The Best Time to Visit Washington D.C.?
The best time to visit Washington, D.C. is in the fall. Early September is the ideal time; Congress is on recess, crowd levels drop as children go back to school, and temperatures are perfect for exploring. All tour companies are operating at full steam, so you can have your pick of experiences. Late fall is also stunning since crowds remain smaller and DC turns into a fall postcard as the leaves change. When it comes to photographic moments, it’s hard to beat the Tidal Basin or the Reflecting Pool lined with brilliant orange and yellow trees.
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