Okay, so I’ll end the suspense right now. There is no single best month of the year to visit. That’s because each month of the year is great (but for different reasons). That’s why we’ve done a whole blog series on the pros and cons of each month. So now that we’ve covered all 12 months of the year, we thought we’d go back, reflect, and let you decide for yourself which you think is the best time to visit Washington, DC.
January: Time for Snow (Maybe)
January is the best time to visit Washington, DC if you want the best chance to see snow. Washington, DC has four diverse seasons, and if you’re interested in the weather, our podcast episode with Jason from the Capital Weather Gang is a great in-depth weather discussion.
But a word of warning: it’s not actually that snowy in Washington, DC. In a typical winter we get about a foot and a half of snow. Still, the month with the most snow, on average, is January. So if you want the best chance to have a snowball fight near the Lincoln Memorial, January is the time of year.
February: Nice and Quiet
February is the best month of the year if you hate crowds. Simply put, people generally do not come to Washington, DC in February. Some people think it will be too cold to have fun—which couldn’t be further from the truth. But mostly people don’t come because the kids are in school and spring break isn’t for another month.
But if you want to come and have the museums, monuments, and big sites mostly to yourself, February is the best time to visit Washington, DC.
March: Spring in Bloom
Even if you’re too early for the blossoms, we have magnolias and other flowing trees that look really nice. And if you come after the 20th you can check out the Cherry Blossom Festival events and festivities.
April: Cherry Blossoms
April is the best month if you want to see the actual cherry blossoms in bloom. Now I have to warn that there is no guarantee they will be in bloom in April. If we have a warm winter, they might come out in March. But on average, peak bloom typically happens around the first week in April.
If you want information about the blossoms or the National Cherry Blossom Festival, I recommend this Trip Hacks DC podcast episode with one of the festival staff.
May: Great Weather
May is the best month to come if you want reliable spring weather. March and April can be kind of a gamble. Even though it’s spring, you might still run into a chilly day or a windy day. May typically has the most reliable spring weather.
So if you’re looking for sun and warmth but not heat, then May is the best time to visit Washington, DC.
June: Lots of Daylight
June is the best month if you like long days. The summer solstice is on June 20th and sunset on that date isn’t until 8:37pm. So if you like to be outdoors or go to a ballgame and enjoy the sun, this is the month for you.
July: Summer Fun
July is the best month for summer fun. Of course Independence Day is on July 4th. But this is the best chance to do all the summer-specific stuff, like Jazz in the Garden, outdoor movie nights, and evening military concerts at the Capitol.
August: Cheap Hotels
August is the best month if you like good hotel deals. August is one of the cheapest months of the year because there is very little business or conference travel happening in DC. The last week of the month is usually one of the cheapest weeks of the year, so if your kids go back to school after Labor Day, this is a great time to come visit.
It’s also a little less busy. Many folks who live in DC take their own family vacations in August. What’s more, Congress is on recess, and there generally isn’t a lot happening business-wise.
September: Low Humidity
September is the best month if you like heat but not humidity. I will be the first to admit that summer here can be pretty miserable because of the high humidity in June, July, and August.
But once September starts to roll around, the humidity starts to drop off. Since the temperature is still pretty summerlike, it’s a nice balance.
October: Fall Colors
October is the best time to visit Washington, DC if you want to see changing leaves. I will caveat this, though, by saying that the leaves only really start to change in the second half of the month. Also, even that has a lot to do with environmental factors, like the temperature in September and the amount of precipitation.
But if you’re really looking to see the fall colors, consider the end of October a good time to visit DC.
November: Weather and Hotel Deals
November is the best month if you like crisp fall air.
Most DC tour guides are huge fans of November. After sweating and fighting through the peak tour season of the summer, it’s a thrill to put on a jacket and go and give tours.
The week of Thanksgiving is also a great week to visit because hotels are very cheap. Lots of people travel for Thanksgiving, but nobody is traveling for work, which pushes hotel prices way down.
December: Holiday Cheer
December is the best month if you’re in the holiday spirit. If you love Christmas trees, lights, and everything else related to the holidays, it’s nice and festive around here.
We have a ton of resources about the holidays in DC, like five things to do during the holidays, less touristy holiday attractions, and even what to do on Christmas Day. So be sure to check those out if you’re considering visiting DC for the holiday cheer.