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Best Time to Visit Washington D.C. (Weather & Fun Events)

Find the best time to visit Washington D.C. for perfect weather & exciting events! Ideal months, budget tips, and top activities for travelers all included.

Tobi Miles
July 10, 2022
Best Time to Visit Washington D.C. (Weather & Fun Events)

Washington, DC, one of the most visited cities in the USA, provides a range of engaging activities. You discover American history and politics or see several of the nation's most famous landmarks. Great cuisine, fine art, cultural activities, and much more can be found in this dynamic city.

September through November and March through May are the ideal months to visit Washington, D.C. Temperatures range from 40 degrees to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. September and October have the best prices for flights and accommodations, saving you up to 30% total. Festivals are at their peak; visit for the dragon boat festival in May, or the Ghost tours in October.

Washington D.C. is one of the United States' places with the greatest variety of cultures. When in Washington D.C., you'll experience a wide variety of racial, religious, national, and cultural backgrounds.

When Should You Not Go to Washington D.C.?

The summer, particularly in July, is the worst month to visit Washington, D.C., due to extreme heat, humidity, and tourism taking over the city.

In addition to battling crowds to get to the city's top tourist attractions, it's quite possible you may also lose around five pounds just through sweat while doing so.

That might be a slight over-exaggeration, but the point is: The muggiest months in Washington D.C. are July and August.

Some say July is frequently regarded as the finest month to visit Washington, DC, if you don't mind the heat and crowds. This is because Independence Day in the nation's capital is a really unforgettable experience. This is true despite the frequently uncomfortable heat and humidity. It all comes down to your personal preferences.

Cheapest Month to Go to Washington D.C.

The middle to end of September and the month of October are often the most affordable times to travel to Washington D.C.

Make your reservation at least three weeks before your trip to secure a lower price. May, June, and July are regarded as high seasons. September to October are the cheapest months to go to Washington, D.C.

Best Time to Visit Washington D.C. to Avoid Crowds

September through November and March through May are the ideal months to travel to Washington, D.C. The hot summer is over in the autumn, taking the majority of the peak season travelers with it.

In the fall, the temperatures and the tourists start to decrease. Fewer crowds can be seen around this season, and the hotel rates aren't as expensive compared to summer rates.

Best Time to Visit Washington D.C. for Cherry Blossoms

The Tidal Basin is the most well-known and ideal location in D.C. to view cherry blossoms. Every year, thousands of visitors visit the basin to view the more than 3700 cherry blossom trees.

The Tidal Basin area might experience considerable foot and vehicular traffic during the cherry blossom season because of the crowds. There will be a sizable number of people at Tidal Basin, particularly during the day. So if you wait for a view without any other people, you can be waiting a very long time.

Around the beginning of April, cherry blossom trees typically reach their average peak bloom, when 70% of their blossoms are open. Peak bloom has previously happened as soon as mid-March and as delayed as mid-April.

The full blooming period, which encompasses the days preceding peak bloom, can last up to two weeks.

The Washington Monument and Jefferson Memorial, both made of white granite and marble, make a lovely backdrop for cherry blossom photographs.

Best Time to Visit Washington D.C. For Weather and Festiivies

January: Best Time for Winter Weather

Temperatures in the morning often range from the mid to upper 20s degrees Fahrenheit throughout the month of January. This makes it the coldest month of the year in Washington D.C., the nation's capital.

Although the winter weather in Washington, D.C., is unpredictable, it will likely be chilly and occasionally snowy in January.

Winter is also the least busy and crowded season, making it a fantastic time to explore museums, take in live performances, or go ice skating outside.

Things to do in Washington D.C. in January:

  • Ice skating
  • Visit museums
  • Go to a concert
  • See a show

February: Best Time for Unique Events

After January, the February temperatures climb a bit. Highs average 71°F lows 49°F. In the nation's capital, February is typically a frigid month. However, a warming trend is seen toward the month's end.

Early in the month, overnight lows are often in the mid to high 20s F, but towards the end of the month, they are much more prone to be in the mid-30s F.

There are many possibilities if you're looking for something to do in Washington, DC, in February. You can go to Tudor Place or Mount Vernon to honor George Washington's birthday.

Additionally, Dumbarton Oaks hosts a Valentine's Day celebration, while Lunar New Year festivities may be found in Chinatown.

Things to do in Washington D.C. in February:

  • Tudor Place
  • Mount Vernon
  • Celebrate Black History Month
  • Valentine's Day Festivities

Related Read: 25 Best Washington DC Hikes

March: Best Time for the Arts

In Washington, DC, March is regarded as the start of spring due to the weather. Since March marks the change of seasons, the first half is typically cooler, and we may even see snow. However, the second half is milder. Early in March, daytime highs are in the low 50s F.

By the end of the month, temperatures will more frequently be in the low 60s F, with a few of the warmer days reaching the mid-70s F or higher.

March is a great time to see the Washington Wizards play or visit another sporting event. You can also find plenty of concerts in Washington D.C. in March or other shows and entertainment such as Broadway and Ballet.

Things to do in Washington D.C. in March:

  • Sports Events
  • Broadway
  • Concerts
  • Ballets

April: Best Time for Memorials and Malls

In April, Washington, D.C., experiences an increase in daily high temperatures from 61°F to 71°F on average, with around 48% of the time being cloudy or mostly cloudy.

April is the ideal time of year to visit the National Mall and the memorials when the weather warms. Plus, April is the peak season for cherry blossoms. Be sure to visit Tidal Basin to see thousands of cherry blossom trees on your trip to Washington D.C.

Things to do in Washington D.C. in April:

  • National Mall
  • Tidal Basin
  • Cherry Blossom Season
  • Cherry Blossom Festival
  • Parks and Monuments
  • Guided Tours
  • Walking Tours

May: Best Time for the Great Outdoors

May in Washington, D.C. sees an increase in daily high temperatures from 71°F to 79°F on average, with around 48% of the time being cloudy or mostly cloudy. May has more rain than other months, but the weather is still pleasant.

Conventions, school groups, and university commencements make this a popular period, which results in price increases and frequently filled hotels.

Significant events that happen in Washington D.C. that you won't want to miss in the month of May include Passport DC, Washington DC Black Pride, and the Dragon Boat Festival.

One thing to note is that some people in Washington, DC, suffer greatly from allergies in the spring. If you have seasonal allergies, be ready now that pollen season has arrived!

Despite the city's abundance of national monuments, the United States Botanic Garden is a beautiful destination to add to your list of things to do in Washington, DC.

Over a million people visit the well-known D.C. landmarks each year, and there are countless reasons to do so.

Things to do in Washington D.C. in May:

  • Dragon Boat Festival
  • Washington DC Black Pride
  • Passport DC
  • USA Botanic Garden

Related Read: 30 Romantic Things To Do In Washington, DC

June: Best Time to Go On a Cruises & Tour

Rarely dipping below 70°F or rising over 94°F, the average daily high temperature rises from 80°F to 86°F. The average daily low-temperature rise gets up to about 70°F, and it rarely drops below 54°F or rises over 75°F.

The best things to do in Washington D.C. in June include checking out different pedestrian tours, and tour buses that go throughout the city. There are also boat cruises, and visiting historic D.C. memorials.

You also won't want to miss the Smithsonian Museums and Folklife Festival! Launched in 1967, the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. It is an annual summertime exposition of live cultural heritage from around the world in Washington, D.C.

Things to do in Washington D.C. in June:

  • Boat Cruises
  • Walking Tours
  • Bus Tours
  • Sports Events
  • Historic Memorials and Monuments
  • Concerts
  • Smithsonian Museums and Folklife Festival

July: Best Time for Fireworks

Daily highs hover around 87°F, rarely dropping below 79°F or rising over 96°F. Some of the best activities in July in Washington DC include summer festivals includes visiting the Shakespeare Theater Company. You also won't want to miss checking out the Aquatic Gardens and watching movies in the parks.

Of course, there's also participating in the 4th of July fireworks event by watching the night sky light up from the Lincoln Memorial at the nation's capital!

Things to Do in Washington DC in July

  • Visit museums and monuments
  • Attend a festival or a summertime event
  • From the Lincoln Memorial, observe the July 4th fireworks
  • Free tickets to events are available via Shakespeare Theater Company

August: Best Time to Go to a Festival

August in Washington, D.C., sees a drop in daily high temperatures from 88 to 84 degrees Fahrenheit on average, with 37% of the time being cloudy or mostly cloudy.

Washington, DC, is fantastic to visit in August. The summer tour season begins to wind down this month. Families fill a lot of the first half of August.

In August, you'll be able to explore Washington D.C. without the usual congestion because the second part of the month is much slower.

Things to do in Washington D.C. in August:

  • Water Lantern Festival
  • DC's World Reggae Festival
  • Check out a concert
  • Attend a musical
  • Visit the Smithsonian National Zoological Park
  • Around the World Cultural Food Festival

Related Read: 24 Best Black Owned Restaurants Washington DC

September: Best Time for Music Lovers

One of the ideal seasons to visit Washington, D.C., is in the fall. The months of September through November offer the best weather (highs range from the mid-fifties to the seventies). There is also a decrease in the number of tourists visiting the city.

Daily highs range from 83°F to 74°F and rarely drop below 64°F. Daily lows are from 67°F to 58°F and are rarely below 48°F.

September is a wonderful time for music lovers. There's the Jazz Fest in Washington DC, and there are free concerts held in September at The Wharf.

Before or after the show, you can check out the Hirschhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. Don't forget to visit the National Book Festival, a ten-day event, before you head back home.

Things to do in Washington D.C. in September:

  • Free concerts
  • Visit the Wharf
  • Jazz Fest
  • Hirschhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
  • National Book Festival Washington D.C.

October: Best Time for Fall Vibes

If your schedule is open and you're considering visiting the nation's capital, October in D.C. is tough to beat.

It's a good time of year overall because the crowds and hot summer temperatures have subsided, and the leaves are turning beautiful colors.

You should know everything before visiting Washington, DC, in October. Since it's close to Halloween time, you can check out one of their pumpkin patches or ghost tours.

In Washington, DC, there are several excellent ghost tours available, including at least a couple pay-what-you-want trips. The Georgetown Ghosts walking tour explores the sinister side of a storied D.C. neighborhood, telling tales of curses, hauntings, and more.

There is also the Harvest Festival of Washington D.C., where you can celebrate fall and Halloween in a festive way.

Things to do in Washington D.C. in October:

  • Harvest Fest Washington D.C.
  • Visit Arlington National Cemetery
  • Check out a Ghost Tour
  • Fall Wine Festival
  • Snallygaster Beer Fest

November: Best Time to Celebrate Thanksgiving

November in Washington D.C. has daily highs from 62°F to 52°F and is rarely below 40°F or over 73°F. Daily lows for Washington D.C. in November are from 46° to 38°, rarely dropping below 28° or rising above 56°.

If you'd prefer not to prepare your own turkey for Thanksgiving, keep a look out for unique Thanksgiving menu choices. You can also burn off the calories at the Turkey Trot afterward or think about volunteering to make someone else's holiday brighter.

In addition, Thanksgiving is a great day to go sightseeing in Washington, DC, because the city is typically much less crowded.

November is a great time to visit the Library of Congress. Volunteers are present all over the Thomas Jefferson Building to respond to queries, provide guidance, and tell tales about the Library's holdings and structure.

After you roam around the Library of Congress, you can visit the Zoo to see the seasonal ZooLights of Washington D.C.

Things to do in Washington D.C. in November:

  • ZooLights
  • Black Friday Shopping
  • Visit the Library of Congress
  • Annual Thanksgiving Day Parade

December: Best Time to Celebrate the Holidays

Washington, D.C.'s December Climate Washington, D.C.; United States Daily highs drop by 7°F, from 52 to 45, rarely dropping below 33 or rising over 65. Daily lows drop by 6°F, from 38 to 32, rarely dropping below 20°F or rising beyond 49°F.

During election season, the nation's capital is flooded in red, white, and blue, but as the holidays approach, every color of the rainbow is reflected in the light. There are a lot, lots of beautiful ribbons and decorations. From November to January, D.C. hosts daily holiday events.

What's Christmas without Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol"? See a performance at Ford's Theater to learn about its history. How about ice-only slides and ice Christmas figures? Christmas on the Potomac is at Gaylord National.

If you like thousands of shimmering lights, try to win a lottery ticket for the National Christmas Tree Lighting or visit Enchant Christmas DC.

This is where Nationals Stadium is turned into a town of lights. First Night Alexandria includes live entertainment, kid-friendly activities, and fireworks over the Potomac River.

Things to do in Washington D.C. In December:

  • National Christmas Tree Lighting
  • Scottish Christmas Walk and Weekend Parade
  • First Night Alexandria
  • A Christmas Carol Performance
  • Christmas Ice Figures at Gaylord National

Whether you want to see the Cherry blossoms, visit the Smithsonian or see the lighting of the famous National Christmas Tree, - there is always something going on.

This is one of the busiest and best places are open all year long, and the majority of events are free!

Related Read: 20 Best Boozy, Bottomless Brunches in Washington, DC

Best Time to Visit Washington D.C to Avoid Crowds

If you want to escape the crowds when you visit Washington, D.C., a good rule of thumb is to avoid going there in the early spring and in the midst of the summer.

Washington, D C, is a beautiful place to come in the fall, and the weather usually remains decent until Thanksgiving.

Because business travel slows down between Thanksgiving and the New Year's holiday, these times are the best for the lowest prices as well.

Tobi Miles
Article updated:
March 28, 2024
A nomadic wordsmith savoring the world's flavors and penning stories that turn every journey into an epic.
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