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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)

Average Precipitation (in)

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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