DC in May: What to know before you visit

Interested in visiting DC in May? May is in between busy spring break season and busy summer break season. It is also post cherry blossoms. There aren’t a lot of families in DC in May there are a ton of teenagers coming on their eighth grade field trips. May has springlike weather but if you’re hoping to catch some of the late flowering cherry blossoms, unfortunately you’re too late.

Tips for Visiting Washington DC in May

May weather

Weather-wise May is the most reliably spring-like month of the entire year.  The average daily high in May is a very pleasant 76 degrees and the average daily low is 54 degrees. To pack for your trip, we recommend you bring a lightweight jacket that you can easily throw into a backpack or a purse. Do not forget to bring your umbrella as well. May in DC is actually our rainiest month on average.

May holidays and special events

There are a lot of fun and special events that you can check out in May in DC. They don’t last all month so if you’re in town when one of them is happening, make sure to take advantage!

Around the World Embassy Tour

The first two Saturdays in May are usually when the embassies around the world have their annual open houses. This event is called Around the World. You can wander around the street that we call Embassy Row and learn about different countries and different cultures.

The embassy open house is split up into two weekends: one for countries from Europe and the other for countries from the rest of the world. The ‘rest of the world’ weekend is usually less crowded. A bonus trip hack is that there’s a cluster of embassies up near the Van Ness Metro station. They tend to be a lot less crowded than the ones that are down on Embassy Row (Massachusetts Ave NW).  

DC Bike Ride

Over 20 miles of DC streets are closed to cars during the DC Bike Ride. You can bike through Georgetown, around the monuments and on Pennsylvania Avenue. Whether you’re a novice or cycling pro, this is a fun and unique event. If you don’t have a bike you can travel with, don’t worry, there are plenty available in DC to rent.  

Memorial Day Weekend

Memorial Day is the only government holiday in May. The purpose of Memorial Day is to honor those who died serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.

For many years, Memorial Day weekend included the event called Rolling Thunder. Rolling Thunder is a meeting of veterans from around the country. They ride into DC on their Harley-Davidson motorcycles. However, this year is the last year for the Rolling Thunder. It also makes the experience on the National Mall a little bit different than on your typical weekend because of how many people are down there.

The Sunday before Memorial Day is when the National Memorial Day concert is broadcast live across the country and on PBS.  This takes place on the West Lawn of the US Capitol. A trip hack for this is to go to the full dress rehearsal on Saturday evening instead of the main event on Sunday evening.  It is the same show and the crowds will likely be smaller.

Other Non-Governmental Holidays

There are a few other non-governmental holidays in May worth noting.  May Day is on May 1st. Some people do use it as an opportunity for a rally a protest or another political event.  May the Fourth is Star Wars day. Don’t be surprised if you see someone walking around dressed up like Star Wars characters.  Cinco de Mayo is on May 5th so you may come across a party or two especially at one of our Mexican restaurants.

Mother’s Day is the second Sunday in May.  The most important thing you need to know about Mother’s Day is that it is probably the busiest brunch day of the entire year. So, if you’re in DC and you want to go to brunch on Mother’s Day, make a reservation well in advance.  

Coming to Washington DC and want us to show you around?

Trip Hacks DC was founded by Rob, a veteran tour guide in the Nation’s Capital. Trip Hacks DC provides tips, tricks and travel hacks for planning your trip; and guided tours to show you around once you get here. Our tours are family and school group friendly and our guides specialize in the major Washington, DC sites. Click here to check out the upcoming tour options and to book your tour here today!Feel free to contact us if you have any tour questions.

About Trip Hacks DC

Trip Hacks DC was founded by Rob, a veteran tour guide in the Nation's Capital.

Everyone wants to get the most out of travel experience; we know that planning a trip can be fun but sometimes stressful. The tips and travel hacks offered here will help you make the most of your trip and avoid missing out on the best things the city has to offer. Our trip planning e-book is the perfect resource for every first-time Washington, DC visitor.

If you're looking for a guided experience once you arrive, Trip Hacks DC specializes in private tours; but has public tours options as well. Visit the Guided Tours section to learn about some of the suggested tours and the trip planning resources section for help preparing for your trip. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions!

Trip Planning Resources

Newest Podcast Episodes

Proceed Booking