When planning to visit Washington DC, unless you are coming in for a specific event, the most important considerations for when to go are the weather and the crowds. Washington DC vacation planning tends to include a look at the congressional calendar, as well. Basically, when Congress is in, which is approximately from mid-January to June, and from mid-September through Thanksgiving, hotels are full of guests here on policy-oriented business, and rates will be higher. When Congress is out, not only is the city a quieter, more serene place, but hotels and tour operators are more likely to offer Washington DC vacation packages that are good deals.
The most popular time to visit Washington DC is in the
spring, when the cherry blossoms and other flowering trees
are blooming along the water, and temperatures are mild,
between 50 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. There are many outdoor
attractions to enjoy on your Washington DC vacation, and
springtime allows you to meander happily along the Mall,
fly a kite by the Washington
Monument, or dine al fresco at any number of vibrant
eateries. Spring is also the most crowded time of the
year, due to the Cherry Blossom Festival, Spring Break,
and the fact that Congress is usually in session, as well.
Springtime is also a favored time for marches and protests,
which can be a fascinating and often rewarding experience,
often featuring national entertainers performing free
Summers are long, very hot and extremely humid. Some people love that, and if so, making DC trips when Congress is out, particularly in the heat of August, can save you money. However, with schools out, many families and international tourists come in the summer, so events and tours can get crowded and noisy. Most of the public buildings and museums are air-conditioned, as is the Metro train system. But a lot of the attractions are outdoors or involve walking along the mall, so if you are heat-sensitive or crowd-adverse, you may prefer to wait for cooler days. Or, you may prefer to enjoy your summer Washington DC vacation by scheduling more of your outdoor activities in the evenings, which can be cooler, moonlit, and very serene, especially around the monuments.
Other than the obvious excitement and loaded event calendar of springtime, fall may be the best time to visit Washington DC. Washington DC vacation packages often take advantage of the first week of October, when the deciduous foliage along the Potomac and in the neighboring Appalachians attracts admirers from all over the world. There is no better time to try the Skyline Drive through the Shenandoah Valley than in the fall. Best of all, the summer family crowds go home so the kids can go to school, and Washington DC returns to a more homey, businesslike ambience at this time of year.
Winters in Washington DC are mild, depending on what you are used to, of course. Temperatures rarely drop for long below freezing, tending to stay in the 30s and 40s, with intermittent crisp sunshine and the occasional ice or snow storm. This is the most unpredictable time of year, so pack a range of clothing options for warmth. The holiday season can be a beautiful time to visit Washington DC, and there are many interesting DC vacation packages that center around the Inaugural season every four years, also in winter.
There is always something special going on in this great city, and people make DC trips year-round. Just know yourself and keep these guidelines in mind, and you can"t go wrong. You should be able to find all the information you need to plan a wonderful Washington DC vacation adventure.