The best time to visit Washington, DC, is in the fall, between September and November. During the fall, the crowds of summer and the burning sun have dissipated, allowing for a more personal and comfortable visit to the national monuments among the colorful leaves.
During these months, the weather in Washington, DC, is pleasant, without being too hot or cold. The temperatures range between 59°F to 80°F (15°C to 26°C), which is comfortable light jacket weather and avoids the highs of summer and lows of winter.
Traveling to Washington, DC, is more complex than packing a jacket and climbing the steps to the Lincoln Memorial, though. Learn exactly when to visit Washington, DC, with this handy seasonal and monthly weather guide!
Got more travel plans on the horizon? Check out our other weather & when to go guides and our United States Travel Guide for more recommendations on when to visit, where to go & what to do!
Weather in Washington, DC
Spanning the months of March to May, spring is a fickle but beautiful time to visit Washington, DC. During the spring months, daily highs range from 60°F to 70°F (15°C to 21°C), and the lows rarely dip below 37°F (2°C).
The spring season is still a lovely time to get out and explore Washington, DC, as the cherry blossoms bloom and cover the city in a sea of pink petals.
The National Cherry Blossom Festival is from March 20 to April 16, where you can catch events like the Pink Tie Party and the Cherry Blossom parade. Enjoy the colorful street art throughout the city or take an around-the-world embassy tour during the Passport DC festival in May.
During spring, booking accommodations and making reservations throughout the city is easier. However, it’s still best to plan in advance for busier weekends. Although spring isn’t the height of tourist season, it’s still a colorful and vibrant time to travel to Washington, DC.
Welcome to the peak tourist season in Washington, DC! Summer lasts from June until late August, and temperatures range from 77°F to 84°F (25°C to 28°C). The balmy weather comes just in time for all the fun activities Washington, DC, offers.
The sticky humidity of summer draws visitors to the city’s air-conditioned attractions, like the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum or the National Art Gallery.
If you want to get out and savor the summer heat and sun, interesting festivals are happening all over the city, like Smithsonian Folklife Festival from June 22 to 27 and June 30 to July 4, celebrating Washington, DC’s diverse culture through events, art, and food!
Summer is peak tourist season in DC, and although many locals leave to travel elsewhere, the city experiences an influx of tourists. If you want to enjoy summer in Washington, DC, fully, it’s best to buy tickets or book the best DC hotels and cars well in advance.
Fall is the season to visit Washington, DC. Lasting from September to late November, fall is when the summer heat finally dies off, making way for cooler, more enjoyable days and chilly evenings. Temperatures in the autumn range from 51°F to 77°F (10°C to 25°C).
Layer up and head out to enjoy the changing leaves throughout Washington, DC. Fall is a great time to visit the most popular DC tourist attractions like Capitol Hill and The Washington Monument, which’ll be less crowded in the off-season.
Fall is the perfect time to explore the city’s different neighborhoods and photograph the leaves changing colors at many of DC’s most popular places to visit. Nothing beats the experience of seeing The District bathed in a sea of colorful leaves!
Although it’s not the tourist high season, it’s best to book hotels, tickets, or rentals in advance, especially during fall festival weekends.
Winter is the off-season for travel to Washington, DC, but it shouldn’t be discounted entirely. From December to February, temperatures range from 15°F to 49°F (-9°C to 9°C) during the winter. The skies are mostly cloudy, and the city does get some snow, so pack those winter boots!
Although the skies can be gloomy, winter is a nice time to visit Washington, DC. Shop until you drop at the Downtown Holiday Market that pops up in front of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. After shopping, you can lace up your skates and glide around the Washington Harbour Ice Rink.
Winter is the slowest tourist season by far. It’s relatively easy to book hotels or rentals as you need, making it a flexible time to visit. Don’t let the cold and snow stop you: Grab your winter gear, get out, and explore all of Washington, DC!
By far the coldest month of the year in Washington, DC, January has an average temperature of 37°F to 44°F (2°C to 6°C). With the drop in temperatures, the snow begins around this time, usually accumulating to 55mm throughout the month.
Washington, DC, gets about 5.1 hours of sunshine per day in January, a decent amount for visitors to enjoy the city. Crowds are smaller this month after the peak Christmas season, so the month is a great time to see local attractions without the hordes of tourists.
February is the tail end of winter in Washington, DC. Average temperatures can be anywhere between 30°F to 44°F (-1°C to 6°C). Snow falls and accumulates to 46mm throughout the month. The District can also see 45mm of rain throughout the month.
Daylight stays about the same in February as in January, with 5.1 hours per day, although the days get longer as the month passes. The chilly weather often brings tourists inside to warmer attractions, which are easily booked in the off-season.
In February, there are many free activities around the city, and tickets usually go on sale to boost interest and tourism during the slow winter months.
March is by far the windiest month in Washington, DC, and the official beginning of spring. Temperatures range between 44°F to 53°F (6°C to 11°C), and average rainfall is 49mm throughout the month. The snow is lightest during this month, accumulating only 39mm throughout the month.
Although the average amount of sunshine is 6.9 hours per day, most people prefer to enjoy indoor activities to avoid the chilly weather. The beginning of the month is still relatively quiet. In contrast, the second half of the month starts to pick up with the National Cherry Blossom Festival and the start of the school field trip season.
Overall, March is a good month to visit Washington, DC. The tourists are starting to return to the city, but the peak season has yet to arrive.
April is a comfortable spring month, with temperatures ranging from 47°F to 65°F (8°C to 18°C). There’s an average of 53mm of rainfall throughout the month, and the snow has fully subsided by this time. Average sunlight reaches approximately 8.9 hours per day.
April is the kick-off month of everything cherry blossom, with tourists swooping in to see the beautiful swirls of pink petals. School trips are also in full swing; it’s best to be prepared to be surrounded by children of all ages when visiting popular and historical attractions.
Spring begins to taper off during May, and the temperatures climb to 65°F to 74°F (18°C to 23°C). May can be fickle and one of the wettest months of the year, with 65mm of rain on average and 8.9 hours of sunshine per day. The weather is usually warm and pleasant, great for exploring the city.
Tourist season continues through May, with Passport DC and graduation ceremonies bringing in tourists and out-of-town families. The locals also grab their light jackets and get outside to enjoy the warming May air around the city.
Hotels and car rentals will raise prices, and tickets for major attractions will increase in anticipation of the coming summer season.
In June, peak tourist season in Washington, DC, kicks off! June temperatures range from 64°F to 82°F (17°C to 27°C), and you can expect an average of 10.2 hours of sunshine per day. Rainfall tapers off during this month, but you can expect to feel the humidity on the horizon, with the average being 73%.
The heat index comes into play during the summer months when the actual temperature and the “feels like” temperature can vary greatly. Usually, it can feel 15°F warmer in the sun, and it’s best to take precautions to avoid heat exhaustion, like staying hydrated, wearing protective sun gear, and applying sunscreen.
Making any required bookings in advance is recommended as the tourist season will increase the prices and demand in Washington, DC.
July sees the tourist season and summer in full swing. Temperatures can reach between 69°F to 88°F (20°C to 31°C), and you can see an average of 10.7 hours of sunlight, making it the sunniest month of the year.
The weather in July is great for exploring during the mornings and late afternoons. Still, the mid-day sun and heat should be avoided due to potential heat exhaustion.
It’s best to make your travel plans in advance as July is the most popular month for tourists in Washington, DC, and everything is likely to book up fast. Expect long lines and massive crowds at popular local attractions and restaurants.
Towards the tail end of summer, tourism starts to slow, and temperatures range between 65°F to 80°F (18°C to 26°C). The heat index is quite high in August, so most people choose indoor activities and avoid being outside mid-day. With 10.3 hours of sunlight per day, there’s still lots of time to get out and enjoy the summer weather in the morning and late afternoon.
Famous DC attractions will still cost the same, but tourists might see a small dip in prices depending on the activity and time of the month. Tourism is still at its peak in August, so there are still considerable lines for major attractions. Hotels and car rentals will still require a booking in advance due to the busy summer season.
As the back-to-school season starts, the weather cools off in Washington, DC. Temperatures can reach 78°F (25°C) but rarely dip below 61°F (16°C). The humidity is higher at 74%, and there’s slightly less sunlight per day, with an average of 9 hours. Days are usually warm and pleasant, while the evenings begin to cool off.
After the significant temperature drop, tourism rises again, and you might see hotel prices climb a little in anticipation of the fall season. The back-to-school season and The National Book Festival help draw in visitors throughout the city. With cooler weather and many activities, September is a great month to visit Washington, DC.
October is, without a doubt, one of the best months to visit Washington, DC. Pleasant weather and the changing leaves draw in a small crowd. Temperatures range from 51°F to 66°F (10°C to 18°C), and the rainfall gets a little heavier, with about 51mm throughout the month.
Although the daily amount of sun decreases to 5.7 hours per day, this kind of weather is great for a mid-day stroll around the city or tackling some of the most popular day trips from Washington, DC. And with the dwindling tourist crowds, it’s much easier to fit in all the top attractions, especially if you’re visiting Washington, DC, in one day.
In October, The District ramps up for fall and Halloween events, and prices for local attractions drop slightly. It’s relatively easy to book a hotel or rent a car in the fall season, too.
As fall gives way to winter, the temperatures in November remain steady at around 54°F to 66°F (12°C to 18°C). Although temperatures feel cooler, the rain decreases to around 44mm over the course of the month, making exploring Washington, DC, a breeze.
Many locals leave the city for Thanksgiving, and tourism sees a steady decline. Hotel bookings are low throughout the month, making last-minute travel quite easy.
November is a great month to get a deal on sightseeing tours or other local attractions. Just remember to bring an extra layer!
The holiday season is in full swing throughout the month of December. Washington, DC, sees much cooler temperatures this month, between 34°F to 46°F (1°C to 7°C), getting cooler as the month progresses.
There’s about 49mm of rain throughout December, mainly towards the start. The rain turns to snow towards the middle of the month. Washington, DC, sees an average of 20mm of snow throughout the month.
It’s a good idea to pack warm winter boots, and a jacket when visiting in December Locals and tourists alike are making the best of the 5.1 hours of sunshine by attending events like holiday markets, concerts, and orchestras, as well as the National Christmas Tree lighting. To take in all the winter festivities, December is a wonderful month to visit DC.