Washington D.C. Trip
August 19, 2010 9:34 PM   Subscribe

Planning a trip in mid/late december to Washington D.C. and am not sure what sort of clothing/essentials should be taken with me; as I've never been there before. Your help is appreciated.
posted by nygma2001 to Travel & Transportation around Washington, DC (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

The weather could be anything from 70s to a foot of snow on the ground.
posted by drjimmy11 at 9:39 PM on August 19, 2010 [4 favorites]

It will *probably* be cold yes, but there can certainly be weeks of freakish warmth too.
posted by drjimmy11 at 9:40 PM on August 19, 2010

Seconding drjimmy11--I've definitely worn shorts during freakish warm spells that happen almost every December. Or it could be like last December with piles of snow on the horizon. But on average for that time, I'd say it'll be a little above freezing outside, so pack warmly with a hat, gloves, scarf for the wind...I even wear a down puff coat to stay toasty.
posted by trampoliningisfun at 10:06 PM on August 19, 2010

DC is a pretty heavy walking town. The best way to get around is metro and walking, and most of the touristy-stuff is very pedestrian-centric. It wouldn't be terribly unusual to walk 5 miles in a day. What I'm getting at is, bring comfortable shoes. More than one pair, so that you can switch them out on alternating days.
posted by decathecting at 10:19 PM on August 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: You'll want to dress in layers.

It could be a freak heat spell, but mostly it'll be cold and then you'll go inside a store and the heat will blast you to death. Layers help to keep from getting soaked through in case you're shuffling through snow, or huddling from rain, or both at the same time. D.C. is windy, and the layers also help cut that bone chill you can get even when it's not that cold but feels like it.

You'll want a pair of thin gloves that fit comfortably in a coat pocket, a coat that's good for freezing temperatures (a lightly lined wool blend peacoat is pretty much ideal), comfy socks, shoes with gripping rubber soles, a scarf that's not inconveniently large, lots of undershirts, a few sweaters/hoodies, and whatever else is in between.
posted by Mizu at 11:49 PM on August 19, 2010

Response by poster: Very helpful, everyone. Thank you!
posted by nygma2001 at 11:58 PM on August 19, 2010

Washington is very damp, and as I've posted before, a damp 33-degree day here feels much colder than the single-digit temps I grew up with in Upstate New York.

So as you get closer to the actual trip, if it is cold here, you will want to keep that in mind.
posted by jgirl at 4:48 AM on August 20, 2010

I assume you aren't packing today? Wait until the week before, and check out the forecasts. Then assume a 50% error factor :)
posted by COD at 5:27 AM on August 20, 2010

By the way, the Smithsonian museums on the mall have locker rooms where you can dump a parka for the day while you tour around.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 5:37 AM on August 20, 2010

So, this one time, on my internship in DC, we had a hurricane (Dennis.) Something like two weeks later, there was another one (Floyd.) I've been there three times and it was almost always strange, if not bad, weather - and much worse than what the forecast led me to expect. Definitely have a Boy Scout mentality - have a hat for snow and one for rain, an umbrella, more socks than you'd wear in twice as many days, thermal underwear, two umbrellas because one will break, and everything Mizu said (pea coats rock.) Oh, and an extra pair of closed-toe shoes, in case the first set has to dry by the heater.
posted by SMPA at 8:02 AM on August 20, 2010

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