The best time to visit Washington DC varies depending on your travel style and budget, but with a wealth of things to see and do around every corner in this robust city, no matter when you travel, you will be sure to experience something unique and exciting!
Filled to the brim with famous sights and iconic monuments, the city of Washington DC attracts visitors year round. From the world renowned White House to the National Monument, with dozens of museums, parks, unique neighborhoods and cultural attractions in between, the capital of the United States of America is a truly unique and remarkable region that holds an astounding amount of options for travelers to experience in a relatively small footprint.
The climate of the region is variable and damp. Cold temperatures and snow mark the winter months, while heat and high humidity are indicative of the summer months, with moderate rainfall amounts expected throughout the year.
No matter which time you decide is the best time to visit Washington DC, it pays to research ahead of time and look for travel tips to know exactly what type of weather to expect. With advance planning, you’ll know exactly what to pack to accommodate anything Mother Nature has to throw your way.
Regardless of when you do visit, you’ll be rewarded with a bounty of truly unique experiences and memories from your time spent in Washington DC!
Best Time to Visit Washington DC by the month
While the month of January is often quiet and cold, every four years it becomes the best time to visit Washington DC when the presidential inauguration brings travelers from all across the country to witness this pivotal event.
Temperatures range from highs of around 43 degrees Fahrenheit to lows of 28, with occasional rain and up to 5.5 inches of snow. Other popular events that bring tourists to the streets in higher numbers include Martin Luther King Jr weekend concerts and recitations on the “I Have a Dream” speech and fancy balls, especially around the inauguration festivities.
Wear lots of warm layers and plan for the weather and you’ll be able to have a memorable experience in the nation’s capital, despite the chill in the air.
Budget savvy travelers will often profess that February is the best time to visit Washington DC because of the discount hotel rates and quieter crowds.
With the exception of President’s Day weekend, the city is sparse and uncrowded, the tourist crowds generally trying to avoid the cold temperatures that can dip as low as 30 degrees Fahrenheit and never really venture above 47 degrees.
Occasional rain is normal on the warmer end of the spectrum but snow is far more frequent, with total snowfall amounts of almost 6 inches being the average. Chinese New Year and DC Winter Fashion Week are two events that can also draw larger crowds, but for the most part you will find that most sites are far less crowded than peak season.
Spring begins to sprout across the capital of the United States, making March the best time to visit Washington DC if you want to avoid the coldest winter weather.
That’s not to say it is always warm, with lows that can dip to around 37 degrees Fahrenheit, but with highs of 56 degrees, the weather is far more mild and snow is much rarer, only averaging around an inch or so.
Even the rain is sparse, with just around 3.5 inches throughout the month.
Toward the end of the month, the Washington DC Cherry Blossom Festival kicks into high gear, flooding the streets with tourists from all over the country and the world while also inflating prices throughout the city and beyond. One of the big mistakes some spring tourists make is not knowing that this is a busy and pricey time to visit, but worth it!
Parades, festivals and concerts fill the schedule with all sorts of things to see and do, making it one of the most popular times for travelers to visit the area.
Outdoor activities take advantage of the flood of green and the plethora of blooms around the city’s gardens and parks and sightseeing on foot is far more enjoyable now that the chill of winter is gone from the air.
The beginning of the month of April usually brings with it the peak bloom for the cherry blossoms and the crowds continue to flock from all around the world to take in this spectacle.
Warm spring temperatures of 47 degrees to around 66 degrees Fahrenheit combined with moderate precipitation that averages around 3 inches of rain for the month make for a pleasant climate and plenty of good days to take in all the sights of the nation’s capital.
Easter, when it falls in April, is marked by the White House Easter Egg Roll, a family friendly event that attracts over 20,000 families from around the country every year.
A busy month for events and graduation celebrations throughout the city, the month of May is considered by culture and history fans to be the best time to visit Washington DC because of the Passport DC festival, a month long itinerary of events that celebrate the cultural and historical features of the region.
Unprecedented opportunities to tour the embassies and museums of the region as well as the collections found therein bring travelers from far and wide who are looking to take advantage of this special period of the year.
The wettest month of the calendar year with an average of 4 inches of rain, the weather is still pleasantly warm with a range of about 56 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Hotel prices and restaurant prices both tend to be on the high end of the spectrum, as well as the crowds.
Crowds start to dissipate just a bit as schools let out and field trips subside, but the rates continue to stay high as the temperatures climb higher.
Lows rarely venturing lower than 66 degrees and the highs can climb upwards of 84 degrees Fahrenheit, with rainfall amounts of around 3.5 inches causing some humidity and dampness.
Pride Festival, barbecue competitions and cultural events at the Smithsonian all fill the month’s itinerary with things to do, making it a fun filled and exciting time to visit the region.
Most school groups have gone home from touring the city, giving you the opportunity to visit some of the nation’s most remarkable sights and monuments without such large crowds can be a bonus for visiting this remarkable region of the United States.
Independence Day in the capital of the United States is a truly remarkable experience and this holiday is the reason July is often considered the best time to visit Washington DC.
This is in spite of often uncomfortably hot and humid weather. Rainfall amounts over 3.5 inches combined with temperatures that never dip below 70 degrees and can climb as high as 90 degrees Fahrenheit can create some uncomfortable conditions, but with so many sights and things to do, the city itself is still filled with intrepid travelers coming to take advantage of the plethora of options and remarkable sights in and around the district.
If you can handle the heat, a visit to the nation’s capital in the month of July will provide a number of opportunities to forge memories that will last a lifetime for young and old alike.
In August, everything seems to get just a little bit quieter as Congress goes on break and the schedule of events slows considerably.
Occasional rain and high heat with a temperature range of 70 to 87 degrees Fahrenheit make the dog days of summer more suited to siestas and less about sightseeing. For this reason, those hoping to avoid the throngs of tourists and eager groups of school children will find August the best time to visit Washington DC.
The lower rates of tourism and business travel will cause a dip in the prices in some locations, but all the famous attractions are always available, so you’ll be able to take advantage of the best of both sides of the coin, especially if you don’t mind the heat and occasional humidity.
As the temperatures begin to moderate and the city begins to come back to life after the heat of the summer begins to break, the hotel prices will begin to climb again.
Despite this, the events schedule begins to fill up again and travelers will begin to frequent the city ahead of the autumn season.
Moderate and comfortable temperatures of around 62 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit offset rising rainfall amounts of around 3.5 inches for the month, creating a comfortable climate and another reason that many consider September to be the best time to visit Washington DC.
The annual National Book Festival takes advantage of the back to school fervor that continues to sweep through the schools and universities that went back into session at the end of August.
Autumn brings with it pleasant weather and lighter tourist crowds, making October another month that is considered the best time to visit Washington DC.
The Marine Corp Marathon is a popular event, as well as Halloween and other autumn themed festivities that take advantage of the comfortable temperatures felt throughout the month.
Lows rarely dip further than 50 degrees Fahrenheit and the highs hover around 68 degrees Fahrenheit, making it a comfortable climate in which to walk among all the outdoor sights and famous monuments.
Be sure to pack rain gear, since October experiences about 3.5 inches of rain throughout the month, but the weather overall is comfortable and pleasant, so accommodating tours and sightseeing an easy task.
Winter is just around the corner and the President will pardon a turkey in advance of Thanksgiving, so the fervor of tourist travel is lower than usual, resulting in sparser crowds and more affordable hotel rates.
For this reason, many savvy travelers choose November as the best time to visit Washington DC, even if they have to dodge a few raindrops and wear a few extra layers to do so.
Temperatures trend cooler as the month progresses, with lows around 41 degrees and highs generally hovering around 58 degrees Fahrenheit.
An average of 3 inches of rain will fall throughout the month, and even a flake or two on the coldest of the days, but with the right preparations, you will still find that a November visit to the nation’s capital is a rewarding and memorable experience.
The holiday season is in full swing for the month of December and with so many things to see and do, you will understand why a large number of travelers and tourists consider this month to be the best time to visit Washington DC.
Despite the cold temperatures that range from a frosty 32 degrees Fahrenheit to a chilly high of 48 degrees, the capital of the United States will be dressed in holiday finery around every corner.
Precipitation falls as rain at the beginning of the month at an average of around 3 inches but as the Christmas holiday approaches, the region will see up to 2 inches of snow, often making the National Tree a suitably seasonal spectacle for travelers to the region from near and far.
All over the city, holiday themed events fill the itineraries of travelers and locals alike, lifting the holiday spirit for one and all.
The best time to visit Washington DC will vary from traveler to traveler, but one thing is true about the capital of the United States of America; no matter when you decide to visit, you will find so many remarkable things to experience that you will surely find yourself wanting to visit again and again.
From huge museums to unique landmarks, the city of Washington DC is a bucket list must for thousands from around the country and the world, making it one of the top spots to visit in the United States.
Be sure to research ahead of time to take advantage of all the unique things to do throughout the year and you too can experience a once in a lifetime visit to this remarkable region of the United States!
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