Washington, D.C. Travel Guide

USA  #1 in Best Places to Visit in May
Credit

Courtesy of Kevin Voelker Photography/Getty Images

Best Times to Visit Washington, D.C.

The best times to visit Washington, D.C., are from September to November and March to May. In the autumn, the sweltering summer is gone, taking with it most of the high season tourists. All that's left are crisp breezes and changing leaves, which, by the way, look great against all those marble monuments. Second to fall is spring, which is also a mini high season thanks to the National Cherry Blossom Festival in late March and early April. Summer in D.C. is hot and sticky, making less than ideal conditions for exploring the great outdoors. That said, many museums blast air conditioning, so if you can stand the heat, you'll find plenty of free attractions to keep you entertained. Winter is definitely low season. Although the chance to find lower hotel rates is high and the weather is mild compared to other destinations along the East Coast, the city is prone to freezing cold temperatures and snowstorms.

Weather in Washington, D.C.

Switch to Celsius/MM
Average Temperature (°F)
42.4
23.9
46.4
26.1
55.6
32.9
66.7
42.1
75
51.3
83.8
60.1
88
65.5
86.5
64.2
79.3
56.3
68.2
43.9
57.6
35.2
46.1
27.1
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
Average Precipitation (in)
2.68
2.74
3.38
3.47
4.55
3.98
3.67
3.53
3.92
3.25
3.41
2.96
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Data sourced from the National Climatic Data Center

September-November

Average high temperatures fluctuate between the upper 50s and upper 70s, making this shoulder season a pleasant time to visit. Make sure to bring layers because the lows can slide into the 30s. And even though overall tourism is much lower, there are many business travelers in town during this season, so a hotel deal may be harder to come by.

Key Events:

December-February

December, January and February make up the low season: Hotel prices are lower, but remember, so are the temperatures. Winters are freezing in Washington – literally. Bring your coat, hat, gloves, scarf and thermal underwear to help combat the temps, which generally hover in the 20s, 30s and 40s.

Key Events:

March-May

Spring kicks off with the National Cherry Blossom Festival in mid- to late March. Average temperatures are still pretty brisk at the start of spring, but they'll usually climb into the mid-70s by May, making this season a great time to experience the city's plentiful outdoor attractions.

Key Events:

June-August

The months between June and August are the busiest and hottest of the year in D.C. High average temperatures in the upper 80s are coupled with sticky humidity. That said, you'll find plenty of air-conditioned attractions like the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum and the Library of Congress, and since many locals vacation elsewhere at this time of year, the roads are less congested.

Key Events:

Popular Times to Visit Washington, D.C.

Average Tourist Volumes
Average Hotel Prices   Search Hotels
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sept
Oct
Nov
Dec

Tourism volume is estimated based on in-market destination search query interest from Google and on travel.usnews.com in 2015-2016. Hotel prices are sourced from a sample of U.S. News Best Hotels rates through 2015-2016.

Find Flight and Hotel Deals

FLIGHTS
HOTELS

Press the down arrow key to interact with the calendar and select a date. Press the question mark key to get the keyboard shortcuts for changing dates.

Press the down arrow key to interact with the calendar and select a date. Press the question mark key to get the keyboard shortcuts for changing dates.

Explore More of Washington, D.C.

When purchasing from our site, we may earn commissions. This does not affect the quality or independence of our editorial content.

Recommended

America's 15 Coolest Ghost Towns to Visit

From Kentucky to California, the U.S. is filled with eerie abandoned cities.

Lyn MettlerAugust 22, 2019

The 7 Best New Orleans Plantation Tours

Learn about the Big Easy's history through one of these daytrips.

Holly JohnsonAugust 21, 2019

22 Top Sonoma Wineries to Visit

Sip world-class wines while enjoying vineyard and mountain views.

Gwen PratesiAugust 19, 2019

30 Beautiful Caribbean Islands to Visit

It's time to plan your next tropical getaway.

Holly JohnsonAugust 8, 2019

The Best Travel Rewards Programs for 2019-20

See which airline and hotel loyalty programs come out on top.

Erin ShieldsAugust 6, 2019

20 Surprising Ways to Earn Loyalty Program Points or Miles

Branch out beyond hotel stays and flights to maximize your earnings.

Christine SmithAugust 6, 2019

The 12 Best Cancun Tours

These excursions will show you what lies beyond the city's bright beaches.

Lyn MettlerJuly 26, 2019

Traveling With Toddlers: 16 Tips to Make Your Vacation Go Smoothly

These expert travel hacks guarantee a happy trip for the whole family.

Kyle McCarthyJuly 25, 2019

The 11 Best New Orleans Ghost Tours

Hear chilling tales of the city's paranormal activity on one of these guided tours.

Kim Foley MacKinnonJuly 25, 2019

The 10 Best Seattle Boat Tours

Take in the Emerald City's top sights from the water.

Kim Foley MacKinnonJuly 24, 2019