When is the best time to visit Washington D.C.?

Answers from Our Experts (2)

McLean Robbins

Visitors to Washington, D.C. with some flexibility in their schedule should consider planning a visit in late spring and early fall to take advantage of the best temperatures for walking around and viewing outside attractions.

While temperatures are often best in mid May through early June for spring visitors, travelers might consider coming in early April for the famous Cherry Blossoms that dot the waterfront and downtown. Visitors seeking prime outdoor weather could also choose an early fall visit, as temperatures from September through mid October are often quite pleasant, ranging from the low 80s by the early part of September to low/mid 60s by the end of October.

Visitors should, however, avoid summer visits if they hope to spend time outside. July and August are very warm and humid months, with temperatures hovering in the high 90s most days.

Mary Beth Albright

Look, there's no bad time to be in the nation's capital. That said, July 2013 is a pretty fantastic time to be here. Summer is hot, sure, but DC's green spaces provide respite and perfect venues for outdoor events like plays, movies, and National Symphony Orchestra Concerts. With 20-year-old phenom Bryce Harper back on the field after a knee injury, the Nationals are rising in baseball stats faster than DC temperatures. And a DC United soccer game will give a crazed-crowd fix for the most rabid European fan of futbal.

Then again, in winter, special events for the holidays are everywhere, from art exhibits to the lighting of the national tree and menorah to theater for all ages. Santa brunch at the Kennedy Center is a best-kept secret, and a photo with Santa overlooking the Potomac River and the monuments is priceless. Spring brings cherry blossoms — the best time to see these glorious pink puffs along the Tidal Basin is super early in the morning, before the crowds get too overwhelming. The weather is perfect, flowers are blooming, and even Capitol Hill seems a little more congenial with its milky white dome against the brilliant cloudless sky. Fall is clear and pleasant, a virtual replica of spring, and the city comes alive again with the new theater seasons and Congress back in session (which, for better or worse, means the city gets buzzier). Day trips down to Shenandoah National Park provide foliage to rival New England. 

Related Questions