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DC in September: How to Plan for Your Visit August 11, 2019

Are you planning a visit to DC but want to avoid the summer crowds? If you can swing it, September is one of the best months to visit our nation’s capital. DC in September features all the great summertime weather without the humidity (and the hoards of middle school students). Here are some things to keep in mind if you’re planning to visit DC in September.

Weather in September

On average, September weather in DC is really pleasant. In fact, DC weather expert Jason Samenow told the Trip Hacks DC podcast that September is one of his favorite months for DC weather. That might be for several reasons:

  • The average daily high is 81°F.
  • The average daily low is 63°F.
  • Best of all, the humidity is ramping down for the season.

There still may be some muggy days in September. But unlike in July, when every day is a guaranteed sauna, September in DC offers visitors more than a sporting chance against the humidity.

Something else to keep in mind is that September falls squarely during Atlantic hurricane season. To understand what that could mean for your trip, you can listen to this episode of our Trip Hacks DC podcast about weather phenomenon in Washington, DC.

What to Pack for September in DC

Visiting DC in September, you’ll want to think in terms of “summer clothes.” Most days, shorts or a light dress would be appropriate. On colder days or if you’re doing early morning/late evening activities, a light jacket or sweater might be helpful.

If you have plans to go to an event at the Kennedy Center or an upscale restaurant, it’s a good idea to pack pants and a button-down for the gents or a dress or blouse and skirt for the ladies. Also, pants and a long jacket are a good idea if you have tickets to a baseball or soccer game; it can get pretty chilly in those stadiums once the sun goes down.

And of course, like every month, comfortable walking shoes are a must. 

Labor Day in DC

There is one federal government holiday in September: Labor Day. This is the first Monday of the month.

The most notable Labor Day event in DC is the starlight National Symphony Orchestra Concert on the West Lawn of the Capitol. This is one of three big concerts held at the Capitol every year, with the others held on Memorial Day and Independence Day. The Labor Day concert usually offers a calmer atmosphere and cooler weather than the Memorial Day and Independence Day concerts.

Also, since Labor Day is considered the unofficial end of summer, many bars and restaurants hold a lot of “end of summer” festivities over Labor Day weekend. It’s just one more reason you should consider visiting DC in September.

September Events in DC

September 11th is the National Day of Service and Remembrance. It’s not a day people will be off work or school, but you may find some events happening around the memorials, Arlington National Cemetery, or the Pentagon if you visit that day. 

Otherwise, the biggest September event in DC is the National Book Festival, hosted by the Library of Congress. It usually falls the Saturday before Labor Day. To learn all about it and plan for your trip, you can check out this Trip Hacks DC video on the National Book Festival.

September is also the month when a lot of neighborhoods host their neighborhood street festivals. This includes events like the H Street Festival, Adams Morgan Day, and Barracks Row Fall Festival. These are usually held on Saturdays (and occasionally Sundays) during September. You can learn a little about the neighborhood, the local businesses and try food from some of the restaurants. 

Another reason you might consider a trip to DC in September is if you’re running a marathon or participating in a charity walk (or run). September is when these events start to pick up, since the weather is cooler and crowds are smaller. 

DC Sports in September

If you’re a sports fan, Major League Baseball and soccer are coming to the end of their respective seasons in September. And once the kids go back to school, tickets for these games get really cheap on websites like SeatGeek and Stubub. Check out this post on Trip Hacks DC on how to score really cheap tickets for the Washington Nationals.

But watch out! September in DC may mean great weather and smaller crowds, but with more business travel into DC than in August, hotel rates are much higher. But don’t let that stop you from enjoying DC in September. Check out these tips for how to get an awesome deal on DC hotels.

Caroline D'Agati

Caroline is a writer and tour guide for Trip Hacks DC.

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