When is the Best Time to Visit DC?

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Visit Washington DC

If you’re traveling to the nation’s capital for business or to look for a new home among the Washington, DC houses for sale, you may not have a choice of when to go, but when planning to explore the many attractions, you’ll want to know the best time to visit to make the most out of your time here.

One of the great things about DC is that no matter when you go, there will also be something going on, from the famous cherry blossom bloom to the lighting of the National Christmas Tree. The primary concerns when planning a trip are the crowds and the weather. That makes fall, around late September through November (mid to late October is best), generally the optimal time to go as the crowds will be thinner, the weather is comfortable, and you’ll still find plenty to do. Plus, you can usually find discounts on hotel rates too.

Of course, as with anything, the best time to visit DC really depends on what you hope to get out of your trip.

Witnessing the Famous Cherry Blossoms

Cherry Blossoms DC

The cherry blossom season is the peak time for tourism, and while it changes every year, it generally falls sometime between late March and mid-April. There are Cherry Blossom Peak Bloom Forecasts that can be checked as it’s based on weather conditions. When temperatures are warmer in late winter and early spring, the blossoms will arrive earlier, while cooler temperatures mean a later arrival. They usually last a week or two, but that also depends on the weather.

If you plan to go during cherry blossom time, expect lots of crowds and high prices for accommodation. You can avoid the biggest crowds and still view the blossoms by visiting the Tidal Basin before about 8 a.m. Another option is to head to the Meadowlark Botanical Gardens or the National Arboretum, which both boast gorgeous blossoms minus the hordes of tourists.

Families Traveling with Kids

Lincoln memorial for kids

While spring is a popular time to visit DC for families and school groups, if you can stand the heat, it won’t be as busy in August, and you can time your trip when school is out. This is when Congress is out too, and many locals will be heading outside of the city, making it a cheaper time to come while enjoying fewer crowds too. The downside is that it will be hot with average temperatures in the high 80s, and often well into the 90s, combined with high humidity. The key is to plan those indoor museum visits during the peak of the day as most are air-conditioned. Down at The Wharf, a neighborhood along DC’s southwest waterfront along the Potomac, you’ll find plenty of fun ways to keep cool, including paddle boarding, kayaking, and sailing with rentals available at The Wharf Boathouse on Recreation Pier.

Fourth of July Celebrations

4 July Washington

One of the most popular Fourth of July celebrations in the country takes place at the National Mall. If you want to experience the spectacular display without being stuck in those big crowds, book a hotel room on an upper floor (well in advance), and you might have a fabulous view of not only D.C.’s fireworks, but other shows in northern Virginia.