When is the best time to visit Washington, D.C.?

Smithsonian Castle in December

The Smithsonian Castle in the second week of December, 2015

Weather and crowds in Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C., is well known for its hot, humid summers. Winters are generally mild, with high temperatures in the low 40s (8C). There is no rainy season--it can rain at any time of the year, although it is normally sunny, even in the winter. Washington can get heavy snowfalls, but not every year. Some winters, there is little snow. Spring and fall are the best time to visit, although the monuments can be crowded in the spring.

January: The average high temperature is 43F (6C), although it can be bitterly cold (10F or -12C) at times. Any snow tends to melt rapidly. Probably the slowest month for tourism.

February: The same as January.

March: Warmer, with average highs around 55F (13C). More tourists in town, especially towards the end of the month. The cherry blossoms will peak sometime in the second half of March to mid-April, which can bring crowds.

April: High temperatures average 66F (19C). The cherry blossoms will peak sometime by mid-month. The monuments can be crowded with school groups. On weekends when the blossoms are at their peak, the Mall will be very crowded. The leaves return to the trees in mid-April.

May: Washington can be beautiful in May, with sunny days, relatively low humidity, and average highs of 75F (24C). The peak month for school groups.

June: Average highs of 84F (19C). The weather can be beautiful, with sun and relatively low humidity, but hot, humid summer weather is possible, especially towards the end of the month. School groups prevalent in the first two weeks.

July: Hot and humid. Average high temperature is 88F (31C), and days above 90F are common. Nevertheless, beautiful weather is possible if you are lucky. No school groups, but more families are visiting town.

August: Hot and humid like July, but beautiful weather is possible, with luck. Less crowded than July.

September: Average high temperature is 79F (26C), but it can still be hot at times. A good time to visit: nice weather, but not as crowded as the spring.

October: Average high of 68F (20C). Generally nice weather and a good time to visit. The leaves change color and normally reach their peak near the third week of October.

November: Average high of 57F (14C). The leaves fall off the trees, but the weather is still fairly mild. A good time to visit. Not crowded, except the week of Thanksgiving when out-of-town guests head to the Mall.

December: Winter temperatures, with highs of 46F (8C), but bitterly cold weather and snow is uncommon. Not crowded, except during the week between Christmas and New Year's.

Photograph: © Peter R. Penczer, 2015

Copyright © Peter R. Penczer 2018