Should You Visit Washington?

Are you thinking about visiting Washington, District of Columbia? Here's what you need to know before planning your trip.


Is Washington worth visiting?

This city is a good place to visit for three to seven days. We first visited Washington in our early childhood and have been back many times since. As young adults we lived in the city for about six years and came to know the museums, history, and politics very well.. During our time here, we fell in love with international atmosphere and the global perspective of the city. It's often mentioned as one of the best places to visit in major publications, such as in Time Magazine's World's Greatest Places in 2023. Washington DC is a world class destination that attracts international travelers, students, and business workers. At the heart of the tourist scene is the National Mall, which has many of the most well known monuments including the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial. This is also where you'll find the most notable Smithsonian Museums. While many visitors make a visit to the National Mall a top priority, the more livable neighborhoods are where you'll find the true heart of the city.

The Lincoln Memorial during the Cherry Blossom Festival - Washington, D.C. The Lincoln Memorial during the Cherry Blossom Festival - Washington, D.C.

Reasons to Visit Washington

Museums
The city has world class museums that are often free. The Smithsonian Museums are arguably some of the most impressive museums in the United States. The city also has a large collection of monuments that are dedicated to past presidents or historical events. Many are best experienced at night when the sun sets and the lights come on.

Food
This city is among the most diverse in the country, so you can find restaurants from almost any cuisine here. It's worth exploring and stepping out of your comfort zone. There are popular neighborhoods for Ethiopian, Korean, Thai, Japanese, and Chinese food, among many others.

Theatre Productions
Theater is popular in the city. From major theaters like the Kennedy Center and Ford's Theater, to lesser known smaller venues, there are options for everyone.

Nightlife
Many visitors head straight to the museums and the National Mall, and don't realize what a livable and fun city this is. Some of the best nightlife is found in Dupont Circle, U Street, and even Arlington, VA. The city's young population ensures that there's never a dull moment.

Shopping
Head to Georgetown and Dupont Circle for some of the city's best local shopping. There are name brand chains mixed in with local boutiques. You'll also find plenty of souvenir shops in the more touristy areas if you're looking to pick up some trinkets.

Music
Notable live music venues include the 9:30 Club, the Anthem, and Union Stage.




Is Washington worth visiting in the Summer?

The high season for travel in Washington is the summer, so expect to see more tourists than usual. This destination is quite touristy, so in the high season it's busier than usual. You'll see larger crowds and longer lines, as well as higher prices. On the other hand, there's plenty to see and do at this time of year because everything is open. Summer is a beautiful and fun time to explore DC.

The warm weather in summer is one of the reasons people visit at this time of year. Temperatures average around 26°C (79°F) with daily high temperatures often more than 31°C (88°F).

The activities of the city are numerous, and this is a great time of year to explore all of them. From family-friendly attractions to romantic getaways, as well as budget-friendly things to do, there's something for everyone. Famous landmarks, museums, tours, and more are all available. You'll also find it quite easy to get around on foot, because this is a very walkable city, especially in the nice weather. During this season it's fun to experience the museums and landmarks, the big city activities, and the nightlife.


Summer Weather in Washington
Avg Temp
(°C/°F)
Avg Rain
(mm/inches)
July 26°C (79°F) 88 mm (3.5 in)
August 26°C (78°F) 98 mm (3.9 in)
September 22°C (71°F) 85 mm (3.3 in)

Is Washington worth visiting in the Autumn?

You'll find the weather to be very nice here during autumn with average temperatures around 15°C (60°F).

Autumn is the shoulder season for travel in Washington, which means slightly less visitors than in the peak season. This destination is quite touristy, so in the shoulder season you'll still come across plenty of touriss. However, the prices tend to be a little cheaper.

Autumn is a great time of year to explore the numerous museums and landmarks around town. They are fun for the whole family as well great for couples. This is a great time of year to take in the beautiful scenery, wander through the museums, and appreciate the quaint setting. Also, you can enjoy the city's energy and listen to some live music.


Autumn Weather in Washington
Avg Temp
(°C/°F)
Avg Rain
(mm/inches)
October 15°C (60°F) 73 mm (2.9 in)
November 10°C (50°F) 82 mm (3.2 in)
December 4°C (39°F) 82 mm (3.2 in)

Is Washington worth visiting in the Winter?

Winter is the low season for travel in Washington. This destination is quite touristy, but in the low season you'll see fewer crowds and much better prices. It may snow a couple times throughout the winter in Washington DC.

The weather in Washington can be quite cold during winter, and averages around 1°C (35°F). But be prepared for much lower temperatures, too.

You'll like that you can take public transit easily in the winter, too. You can get around quickly while avoiding bad weather if needed. You'll find plenty to do during winter, as you'll be able to browse through museums, spend an evening at the theatre, and taste delicious cuisine. Also, you can check out the nightlife, the live music scene, and the big city activities.


Winter Weather in Washington
Avg Temp
(°C/°F)
Avg Rain
(mm/inches)
January 1°C (35°F) 68 mm (2.7 in)
February 3°C (37°F) 69 mm (2.7 in)
March 8°C (47°F) 82 mm (3.2 in)

Is Washington worth visiting in the Spring?

This is the shoulder season for travel in Washington. This destination is quite touristy, so in the shoulder season you'll still come across plenty of touriss. However, the prices tend to be a little cheaper.

You'll find the weather to be very nice here during spring with average temperatures around 14°C (56°F).

The city this time of year is absolutely beautiful. Admire the gardens, parks, and fantastic architecture, too. During this season it's fun to experience the many shops, the famous sights and museums, and the quaint atmosphere. Also, you'll be able to take in the beautiful scenery, listen to some live music, and take advantage of the local nightlife.


Spring Weather in Washington
Avg Temp
(°C/°F)
Avg Rain
(mm/inches)
April 14°C (56°F) 72 mm (2.8 in)
May 19°C (66°F) 89 mm (3.5 in)
June 24°C (75°F) 83 mm (3.3 in)

Related

What is Washington most famous for?

Washington is most famous for its reputation as the capital of the United States, but it's also known for its many monuments, memorials, and museums. People visit this impressive city for its great museums and food. It is also known for its great theatre productions, nightlife, and shopping. And many visitors also come to this city for its music. It is often described as international, diverse, active, and monument-filled.

What is the most famous sight in Washington?

The most popular sight in Washington is The Washington Monument and the White House. You can see prices and costs for this and other sights in Washington on our travel costs page.

Or, see tickets, activities, and tours for The Washington Monument and the White House and other attractions here.

How touristy is Washington? Is it a popular city to visit?

Washington is a popular city for tourists and travelers. Here are some of the most popular activities and tours. (Prices in US Dollars)

  • Madams of DC Walking Tour: $30
  • Private Tour to see the Monuments and Memorials in Washington DC: $120
  • DC Mall Tour w/ Washington Monument Ticket Semi-Private 8ppl Max: $105
  • Curated Tour - National Gallery of Art with French Art Historian: $95
  • Residences of the Presidentses Walking Tour: Dupont & Kalorama: $25
  • The Escape Game DC: Epic Adventures: $36
  • National Archives + National Portrait Gallery - Semi Private Tour: $200
  • National Archives + American History Museum Exclusive Guided Tour: $200

How long should I spend in Washington?

The ideal length of time for a trip to Washington is at least three or as many as seven days. Since Washington has a variety of activities such as museums and dining, most people need this much time to see and do everything here.

If you have a specific amount of time for your trip, see our advice about how much time to spend here: Should I spend 1, 2, or 3 days in Washington?, Should I spend 3, 4, or 5 days in Washington?, and Should I spend 1 or 2 weeks in Washington?.