Would you go ahead with a trip to DC this coming week given the weather?
March 1, 2014 5:24 PM   Subscribe

My family and I are set to travel by train to DC for a week of enrichment during our Mardi Gras break. The weather looks like it has the potential to close museums etc. and make us fairly uncomfortable for the significant walking from place to place. We could cancel it all and set out for something warmer tomorrow, but is my concern overblown? We're going tomorrow through Friday. The potential for closures and outages is the biggest factor, I guess.
posted by zangpo to Travel & Transportation around Washington, DC (13 answers total)
Best answer: There might be some disruptions on Monday, but things will open back up quickly. The Smithsonian museums often remain open, even when the schools and the Federal Gov shutdown.
posted by humanfont at 5:26 PM on March 1, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I would not cancel or even worry this much. Monday might be a bit messy/unpleasant...but you're coming for several days, and Tuesday through Friday should be just fine. I'd make the trip.
posted by schroedingersgirl at 5:28 PM on March 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Capital Weather Gang is a good source for DC weather information. They are predicting rain Sunday, then a solid snow on Monday (best guess now is 5"-8" of snow for DC proper, mostly coming on Monday morning), followed by very cold temps on Tuesday. Then we're expecting cold for the rest of the week but not another major storm.

I think it depends on how prepared you are for cold temperatures. With good coats and boots, walking around in the weather will not be bad. Museums will not be closed, except possibly part of Monday. Driving will be gross Monday, but you can just avoid it -- stick to walking or play cards at the hotel. But are you coming from New Orleans, with kids? I can imagine that might be a taller order if you don't have warm coats etc. Where are you staying in town/which sights do you most want to see?
posted by LobsterMitten at 5:45 PM on March 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I'd say keep your trip on! Monday will yes be messy, but we clean up quick around here - especially on the National Mall and main city streets. Also, since you'll be downtown Metro (underground stations) won't be affected at all - and I'll bet you with the forecast amount of snow above-ground stations won't be disrupted either.

This is going to be a snow event for us, but this season it's something we're prepared for and just about used to!

Travel on, Garth...
posted by matty at 6:00 PM on March 1, 2014

Best answer: I'm headed there for my niece's stage debut (cowardly lion, 4th grade). Neither rain nor snow can ruin a trip to DC - go & enjoy!
posted by headnsouth at 6:49 PM on March 1, 2014

Response by poster: Great, thanks everyone for the reassurance and for your insights. It's on. We've had some rare ice closures in Louisiana this season, and with the news I guess i am thinking more about how cities react and what level is required to test their readiness.

We're staying right on the Mall, so okay, it sounds fine. We often ski for Mardi Gras, and cold is not something we are too terribly bothered by. Although, I wasn't planning on bringing that kind of gear.

Best of luck to your niece headnsouth! I had a best friend in third grade who killed in that role.
posted by zangpo at 7:08 PM on March 1, 2014

What's your tolerance for being cold, having wet feet (take dry socks), generally crappy weather vs. having a Snow Adventure? On the plus side, bad weather may limit attendance, and you may have the Smithsonian to yourself, and may be able to get reservations at some snazzy restaurant.
posted by theora55 at 7:24 PM on March 1, 2014

Schools might be closed on Monday because of the storm -- I expect they will be here in the VA suburbs but DC has a higher tipping point than VA for cancellations. Be aware that they are predicting more snow for Friday and that this could affect your train plans. Enjoy!
posted by onlyconnect at 6:50 AM on March 2, 2014

Reports now say we expect a hard freeze Monday night which could potentially cause closings on Tuesday as well. Honestly if it were me and I was able to cancel, with weather impacting Monday, Tuesday and Friday and imagining walking around with kiddos in freezing temperatures, I'd probably cancel. (But my kiddo kind of hates snow and cold, so YMMV.)
posted by onlyconnect at 12:19 PM on March 2, 2014

OPM has already closed the Federal Government for Monday. This means that banks and most businesses that depend on them will also be closed. Given the fact that 5-8 inches are being forcast for Monday, ending in the early evening (5 PM), and that DC takes longer to clean up after snowstorms than more northerly locations, I would suspect that the Government will also be closed on Tuesday as well.

You should reconsider your plans. I would not come here under these conditions.
posted by Gringos Without Borders at 5:02 PM on March 2, 2014

Best answer: Just in case you're still checking - it looks like all the Smithsonian museums will be closed on Monday EXCEPT the Air and Space Museum. So if you're in town, head there. They have a nice IMAX theater, and according to my husband, dippin dots. Because I'm sure that's just what you'd want on a freezing cold day :)
posted by echo0720 at 7:23 PM on March 2, 2014

Please report back about what you did and how it turned out!
posted by onlyconnect at 3:43 PM on March 3, 2014

Response by poster: Yeah, we went ahead and it was quite cold on Monday. In hindsight, that would have been a good day to get a taxi and hit all the monuments. We did that later and walked a ton around the entire tidal basin, wasting valuable museum time!

Overall, it was a blast, and we and the kids saw multiple Smithsonians, the Capitol, Library of Congress, National Gallery, major monuments, National Archives, and several nice restaurants and bakeries in the Penn Quarter. (Eat at the museum of the native American; we ate there twice) Harrington Hotel did us right (thanks askmefi!), saving us money for that excellent food and saving us time getting around.

The train was delayed 4 hours with the snowstorm and state of emergency in North Carolina Friday, but what can you do?

I did not get to see Dumbarton Oaks, but that seems like better for a non-winter trip anyway. Plenty left to see, so we plan to come back soon. No regrets.

Thanks again for all your suggestions.
posted by zangpo at 7:18 PM on March 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

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