The people who run our country might only change every two, four or six years, but the weather in our nation’s capital shifts several times per year. Washington D.C. is one of the few national capitals in the world to enjoy four distinct seasons: Scorching summers, brilliant autumns, freezing winters and flower-filled springs.
Whether you prefer cherry blossoms or fall colors, swimming in the outdoor pool or the indoor hot tub of your Washington D.C. hotel, choosing the perfect time to visit Washington D.C. is key to enjoying your trip here – and certainly, a lot more difficult than voting for your favorite politician.
America’s Birthday, America’s Birthplace
While the Delcaration of Independence might technically have been signed in Philadelphia, Washington D.C. has come to symbolize the genesis of the United States, the fact that it is named after the first American president notwithstanding. Even if you can’t be in town to see the (bottle) rockets’ red glare behind the U.S. Capitol building, you’ll enjoy the plentiful sunshine and average summer temperature of 78ºF.
Colors Change – Even if Politicians Don’t
You might not have to vote every November, but one thing’s for certain: If you visit Washington D.C. in the autumn, you’ll get a show at least as entertaining as the politcal spectacle. Fall foliage actually peaks in the capital area in late October, around 1-2 weeks before the typical Election Day, whether you enjoy it amid national landmarks, or in nearby state and national parks such as Deep Creek Lake, Blue Ridge Parkway or Shenandoah National Park.
Christmas at the Capitol
Winter is one of the best times to visit Washington D.C., even if you aren’t lucky enough to see the city covered in snow – it only happens an average of eight days per year! Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, there are few more exciting sights than seeing the National Christmas Tree lit up, or catching a Nutcracker performance at the Kennedy Center. Alternatively, visit D.C.’s Downtown Holiday Market, which is set up at 8th and F Streets from just after Thanksgiving to just before Christmas.
Sakura in Springtime
Love cherry blossom trees, but can’t swing a trip to Japan to see the sakura this spring? Thankfully for you, the former mayor of Tokyo gifted Washington D.C. with cherry blossoms in 1912, which means that a good old fashioned hanami session is a much quicker flight away. If you can’t visit in April, when the cherry blossoms bloom, you can also see Washington D.C. in bloom at sights like the National Botanic Garden and the National Arboretum, both of which happen to be free to enter.
So when, precisely, is the best time to visit Washington D.C.? The true answer is that you really need to visit during all four seasons to know which suits your preferences. Regardless of your final choice, all Americans can agree on one thing: Washington D.C. itself is way more awesome than any of the elected officials we vote to send there!