What is the best time to visit Washington?

Washington DC is indeed a year-round destination. The best time to visit Washington DC would be in the fall season, from September to November. The weather conditions are pleasant with lesser tourists. Regardless of the time of your visit, the memorials remain open 24x7, and the Smithsonian museums operate on all days except Christmas. Overall, the weather is relatively mild and the city witnesses four distinct seasons, of almost the same length. Expect cold and snowy winters, scorching and humid summers and rainstorms in extremely short bursts. One of the most beautiful things that Washington DC has to offer is its beloved cherry blossoms. If you want to witness the cherry blossom trees at its best, then it is recommended to plan a trip between mid-March and June. For tourists who are looking to partake in spectacular public celebrations, the best time to visit would be during the 4th of July celebrations.

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Monthly Weather in Washington

Month High/Low (°C) Rain
January 9°/ 1° 5 days
February 11°/ 2° 9 days
March 16°/ 7° 8 days
April 17°/ 7° 7 days
May 26°/ 16° 11 days
June 29°/ 19° 12 days
July 32°/ 22° 15 days
August 30°/ 21° 15 days
September 29°/ 19° 2 days
October 22°/ 13° 6 days
November 12°/ 3° 2 days
December 9°/ 1° 8 days

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More about Best Time to Travel to Washington

Washington in August

The average temperatures are still soaring in August. However, Washington DC witnesses a much quieter time in this month. Kids head back to school and politicians take a recess. August is easily the second hottest month of the year. It also has the highest precipitation of the year. Expect warm and muggy days with slight thundershowers. The rainfall in Washington DC occurs in short waves. So you can expect to go on about your day after the brief hiatus.

Events & Festivals in August
DC Beer Week is held in August. The festival focuses on celebrating the Capital city’s craft beer community. A vast variety of small, large and home breweries come together to take part in the festivities. You can expect to learn about the several stages of brewing, right from conception to the pint.
The Summer Restaurant Week is also held in August. The participating restaurants offer special menus at fixed and often slashed prices, encouraging everyone to try out new places and dishes. It is advised to make reservations in advance as some popular restaurants get entirely booked out.

Washington in September

September marks the beginning of fall in Washington DC. It is also one of the best times to explore the city on foot and take part in a wide range of outdoor activities. The changing colours of the leaves add to the pleasure of outdoor recreation.

Events & Festivals in September
September is an ideal month to get a taste of Washington DC’s local culture. Several neighbourhoods host their local festivals. DC State Fair sees a bunch of artisans and lots of history talk. Barracks ROw Fall festival has the Marine’s Silent Drill team performances. Adams Morgan Day is one of the oldest neighbourhood festivals and takes place in Northwest DC. The H Street Festival that started as a block party is now a one-stop destination for live music, art exhibits and fashion shows.

Washington in October

October is a great time to plan a trip to Washington DC. The temperatures reach a mild state this month. It is a pleasant time to take a hike or to participate in the Halloween events. There is also a decrease in the number of tourist crowds. The weather conditions are still quite warm, but there are no heat waves experienced, like in summer.

Events & Festivals in October
Taste of DC is considered to be the most significant culinary festival held in the mid-Atlantic region. It usually begins at the start of October. The festival comprises of tastings form a wide spectrum of restaurants and beer gardens. There are live music events and culinary demonstrations. It is recommended to book your tickets in advance, from their website.
Another annual event is the DC High Heel Drag Queen Race. It is held on the Tuesday before Halloween. Hundreds of spectators gather to watch the costumed drag queens exhibit their elaborate outfits as they race down the 17th Street. It is advised to arrive early as this event witnesses a considerable crowd.
The Marine Corps Marathon is an annual race that brings together runners from all walks of life. It is also referred to as “The People’s Marathon”.

Washington in November

With the advent of November, the days get shorter and colder in Washington DC. This month witnesses a transition from fall-like weather to winter-like weather. It is recommended to pack lots of warm clothing. There are considerably lesser crowds at this time of the year.

Events & Festivals in November
Veterans Day is celebrated on 11th November. It is a federal holiday and promises a plethora of activities and wreath-laying ceremonies. Thanksgiving comes towards the end of this month. This classic American holiday provides an opportunity to take part in volunteering activities, local Turkey Trots, and other events.

Washington in December

Washington DC reaches its peak beauty during this Christmas month. Giant red bow decorations, the glittering National Christmas Tree, all add to the festive vibes of the city. December also sees shorter and colder days. This month also records the least amount of sunshine received in the year, at 66 hours. The minimum temperature usually sinks below the freezing point. There is considerable snowfall, hence a white Christmas.

Events and Festivals in December 
The National Christmas Tree, located on the South side of the White House, is an honoured tradition. Do visit it and take in its spectacular beauty. The latter part of the month offers a wide array of holiday happenings that you and your entire family can partake in. Another noteworthy event is the ZooLights when the National Zoo is all lit up with LED lights.

Washington in July

July is the warmest month of the year for Washington DC. Expect soaring temperatures and humidity. Washington DC receives the maximum sunshine (an average of 226 hours) in this summer month. Afternoons usually tend to get extremely warm. Expect sunny skies with light winds. However, outdoor activities and events remain the major attraction of this month.

Events & Festivals in July
The most popular time to visit Washington DC is on the Fourth of July, Independence Day. There is no other place to celebrate this occasion, other than the nation's capital. There are fireworks, a concert and a sunset parade. There is a parade with drum corps and military units in the morning. The best place to catch the parade would be outside the National Archives. Fireworks on the fourth of July is a longstanding American tradition. People usually go to the lawns near the Washington Monument to witness the fireworks. The Lincoln Memorial and the Jefferson Memorial are two other favourite spots to watch the fireworks from. The entry to the Capitol Concert is free, and spots are served on a first come basis. The concert usually starts at around 8 PM, but it is recommended to get in line at least two hours prior if you’re hoping for a good spot. Also, make sure you carry snacks along.
The Smithsonian Folklife festival extends into the first week of July. The last few days of the festival are curated exclusively for kids. It’s a free event and is open to the public on all days.

Washington in Peak Season

The peak season for tourism in Washington DC is during Spring and Summer. The tourist attractions, museums and historical sites are packed with millions of visitors. Summer sees an additional inflow of local tourists owing to the schools going on break. The rush of tourism in Spring can be attributed to the blooming cherry blossoms. It is recommended to book your accommodation in advance during the peak season.

Washington in Offseason

Washington DC is different from most other tourist destinations. It does not have an offseason per se. There is almost always some activity and business going on. The city hosts multiple events, conventions and conferences throughout the year, that drive up the prices for travel as well as accommodation. However, the least crowded time of the year occurs from mid-August to mid-September. The period from December to February also witnesses comparatively lesser crowds, owing to the freezing winters.

Washington in January

January is cold and snowy in Washington DC. It is the coldest month here. The average maximum temperature ranges between 6-8 ℃. The average low temperature goes below freezing at 3 ℃. The winter season is quite unpredictable, but it also makes for a quiet and less crowded atmosphere, that is great for visiting museums and monuments, attending live entertainment events or even trying outdoor skating.

Events and Festivals in January
The Smithsonian Museums, monuments and memorials remain open while all other businesses are closed on New Year's Day. Do check the official websites or call to confirm any information. The events could undergo changes or closures due to unforeseen circumstances.
Be sure to check out some delicious food during Restaurant Week. Nearly 250 fine dining restaurants offer special menus at slashed prices. You can also tour the Mount Vernon estate and learn about the Christmas traditions of George Washington. These programs extend through the 1st week of January.
The Winter Theatre is also organised in Washington DC. It promises dozens of performances and top shows to keep the spectators entertained. There are exclusive Bridal shows and expos held. Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday is celebrated as a day of honour on January 21 and is a national holiday. There are various commemorative events held in different sites in Washington DC.

Washington in February

February is the second coldest month of the year in Washington DC. The average high temperatures increase only slightly, and the average low temperatures remain below freezing point. The weather is cold and blustery. It is a beautiful month to visit Washington DC if you don’t mind the chilly temperature. Moreover, rainfall is the lowest this month.

Events & Festivals in February
The festivities of the Chinese New Year take place in February. There are parades, cultural demonstrations and dances held throughout the city. These special celebrations start a week before the Chinese New Year and go on till after that date.
The cultural centres of Washington DC, like the Washington National Opera and the Washington Ballet, run their winter seasons in February. Check the official websites for information regarding the events and their timings. Other cultural institutions like the National Museum of African American Culture and History, Smithsonian American Art Museum, memorials like African American Civil War Memorial hold several events to remember the contributions of African Americans to the United States.
February 18 is celebrated as President’s Day. Visitors gather in Washington DC to pay their respect and tributes to America’s most famous leaders. Celebrations occur throughout the city, especially in memorials and museums.

Washington in March

March marks the beginning of the Spring season in Washington DC. There is a significant increase in temperatures. Warm days and the possibility of rain are characteristic of the days in this month. Moreover, March being the transitioning month, the earlier half is usually colder, and the latter half sees warmer days.

Events & Festivals in March
The annual cherry blossom festival is the main attraction in March. It starts in late March and goes on till mid-April. You can expect to see fireworks, parades, special exhibits and tours in the duration of this festival. There is also a Kite Festival held simultaneously that organises lots of activities for kids. There are kite making stations, kite battles and flying demonstrations.
St Patricks Day is celebrated on 17th March. Irish pubs hold live music events on this day that celebrate Irish music with dance performances. March is also the Women’s History Month, and you can expect to find several special exhibits in museums and historic sites. This spring month is also great to check out the diverse live music scene as well as the major league sporting events in Washington DC.

Washington in April

April is often regarded as one of the perfect months to pay a visit to the nation’s capital. Temperatures steadily increase throughout this month and Spring fully arrives. Snow is rare in April, and the forecast is generally for clear and partly sunny skies. The National Mall and other museums and memorials are the major attractions in this month, owing to the clear skies and warm days. Tourists often opt for guided tours to explore the city’s top attractions.

Events & Festivals in April
The Cherry Blossom Festival is the main attraction of Spring in Washington DC. It begins in late March and goes on till mid-April. Make sure you stay to enjoy the fireworks and parades. There are a lot of springtime walking tours that are held during this season. The White House Garden tours are held during a weekend in April. These gardens are open to the public only twice in a year. Travellers can take a stroll through the Jacqueline Kennedy Garden, Rose Garden, the South Lawn and the White House Kitchen Garden.
April is also considered to be the perfect month to go for baseball or any other local sport. Emancipation Day is held on April 16 and is a city-wide holiday. There is the Emancipation Day Parade, music concerts and lots of fireworks to look forward to. Several events are celebrated throughout April in honour of Earth Day. It is the main attraction in the National Mall, where concerts are held throughout the day.

Washington in May

Spring is at its peak in May. Washington DC receives close to 221 hours of sunshine this month. Few days could record some amount of rainfall. However, it is considered a beautiful time to take part in outdoor activities.

Events & Festivals in May
One of the most popular events of the year, Passport DC, takes place in May. Visitors get to travel the world without even leaving the district. Each of the embassies exhibits their culture, traditions and popular regional food in the form of interactive displays and demonstrations. The entry is free, and there is no prior reservation required. However, brace yourself for long queues at certain embassies.
The National Bonsai Day is celebrated on May 11. The best place to witness beautiful bonsai collections is the US National Arboretum. The flowers are in full bloom in the lush grounds. There are special bonsai demonstrations held on the occasion of National Bonsai Day. The entry is free.
Memorial Day is celebrated best in the nation’s capital. It is observed every year on the last Monday of May. There are several events held where you can honour the fallen and pay your respects to the veterans. The major attractions are the Memorial Day Parade and the Memorial Day Concert. The Rolling Thunder Motorcycle Rally is also held on this important day. Thousands of motorcycle riders start from the Pentagon and make their way through the district to the Lincoln Memorial. It is indeed an astounding event to witness.

Washington in June

June marks the beginning of the summer season in Washington DC. Despite the hot and humid weather conditions, you will see plenty of visitors flocking to the nation’s capital. It is because schools break for vacation this month. Expect sunny days and rare thunderstorms in this month.

Events & Festivals in June
There are several free concerts and outdoor events and movies held in Washington DC in June. The Capital Pride Street Festival also takes place this month. This parade aims to celebrate pride in the LGBTQ communities of Washington DC. It is free to participate, and the event is family friendly.
The Smithsonian Folklife Festival, a two-week event, also takes place in June. It takes place in the National Mall and honours culture and traditions from all across the globe.
June is a lovely time of the year to spend time outside after the sun goes down. Several Moonlight tours help you explore popular places and memorials after sunset. The lack of crowds ensures that you get the memorials to yourself, with plenty of time to take in its beauty with an added sense of reverence. You can also catch a free outdoor movie. They often play classics or new releases. Make sure you carry a blanket and some snacks along.

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