Best time of year to visit DC?
August 18, 2022 12:44 PM   Subscribe

Pretty much as the title asks - my specific questions inside.

One of my bucket items is a week long trip to DC, mostly to see as many of the museums as possible as well as the monuments. I can go any time of year. I don't have kids to worry about. I'd like to go when crowds are minimal but also so that the weather allows comfortable walking. Re: weather - I consider between 65-90 degrees comfortable walking weather. Thoughts about what months/weeks I should go? Thanks!
posted by Saucywench to Travel & Transportation around Washington, DC (14 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
March-April. The air is mild, the cherry blossoms are in bloom, the temps are not yet insane. I'm not a big fan of DC as a city, but every time I end up down there around that time, I think, "oh, yeah, this is kind of nice."
posted by praemunire at 12:47 PM on August 18, 2022 [3 favorites]

Lifetime DC-er here voting for October!

March-April can indeed be nice weather-wise, but because of the cherry blossoms and various spring breaks, it can get a bit more crowded.
posted by nkknkk at 12:51 PM on August 18, 2022 [11 favorites]

Ditto October. Like after Columbus Day and before Halloween. Fall leaves will be nice at the Arboretum.
posted by inevitability at 1:19 PM on August 18, 2022 [1 favorite]

October for sure. But I also really like DC in January. It's cold but not yet icy (that usually comes in February and March) and not at all crowded.
posted by OrangeDisk at 1:21 PM on August 18, 2022

Yup, October based on what you wrote. September and November are also nice, but the odds are higher for it being too-hot or too-cold.

Avoid Spring. That’s the worst of the tourist season between the cherry blossoms (very nice and worth seeing, but very crowded) and the standard 8th grade field trips.
posted by General Malaise at 1:36 PM on August 18, 2022 [2 favorites]

Yes, October!! Fall in DC is great. It doesn’t get too cold too fast but the leaves turn and there aren’t as many tourists. It’s a little early for all the leaves in Rock Creek to have changed but it’s still gorgeous there that time of year.
posted by donut_princess at 2:46 PM on August 18, 2022 [1 favorite]

Another vote for October! For quite a few years, I was going annually in October sort of by accident at first, and then I realized it was perfect timing. I've had incredibly hot days, incredibly mild, and in between, and only twice had rain that let up really fast. Do not go in winter, imo. It's super unpredictable and I was there once after a blizzard when it was bone-breakingly cold and it was so effing miserable. You just never know what it'll be like.
posted by kitten kaboodle at 3:17 PM on August 18, 2022 [1 favorite]

Lived around DC for a long time, and I vote for anything between September and March, with special preference for October (usually not far off from peak autumn leaf color) and January for the blessed lack of crowds (and the slim chance of a snowfall).

Summer is not much fun in DC, unless you have no problem sweating all day long! And the crowds and lines at the National Mall get awful during spring and summer. (I went to see the cherry blossoms exactly once, and decided never again.... the absolute mob of humans turned it into an unpleasant experience, but I am not much of a people person.)
posted by cubeb at 3:25 PM on August 18, 2022 [1 favorite]

Another dc local and I also vote for October.
posted by emilynoa at 3:36 PM on August 18, 2022

Yet another October vote here—that’s when I went a few years ago and the weather was great, plus much shorter lines.
posted by bookmammal at 3:46 PM on August 18, 2022

October, hands down!
posted by jgirl at 4:36 PM on August 18, 2022

I just recently asked my uncle this - he’s a DC tour guide. October is correct!!
posted by punchtothehead at 6:10 PM on August 18, 2022

Response by poster: Wow such a consensus - such a rare event on metafilter! October it is! Thanks all!
posted by Saucywench at 7:59 PM on August 18, 2022

September is SWAMPY. Aim for the middle or end of October.
posted by desuetude at 11:04 PM on August 19, 2022

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