“When is the best time to visit Washington, DC?” might be the most oft-asked question I hear. “Any time” is the best and easiest answer, and the truest. Winter, spring, summer, or fall — DC has got it all!
To simplify, let’s look at visiting Washington, DC and the DMV from a prettiest-time-of-year perspective. Each season has its own beauty and charm; however, spring may be the most popular and showiest time of the year. So, let’s begin there shall we.
Washington, DC and the DMV — The Pink Spring
Spring bloom in Washington, DC is the stuff of National Geographic magazine covers and movie making location shots. The pink canopy of Cherry Blossoms is the focus, and the Cherry Blossom Festival is the unofficial marker of the start of tourism season in the area. In 2019 a year before the pandemic kept most of us at home, DC had a record 24.6 million visitors, according to the city’s tourism arm, Destination DC. That’s the most lucrative tourism year on record.
If you are in my hometown this Spring 2021, please read Cherry Blossoms: Where and When to View Peak Bloom in 2021 for the best choices for your visit. Trust me, I am a local and give you the best options for incredible photo ops and how to avoid the crowds.
By the way, DC and the DMV are not all Cherry Blossoms! Do you also love crabapple blossoms and peonies? What about magnolias, tulips, and wisteria? Sunflowers? Water lilies? Then allow me to direct you to In the Pink: Best Spots for Cherry Blossoms, Magnolias, Azaleas + More in DC.
Is Summer a Good Time to Visit Washington, DC and the DMV?
Even though summer brings plenty of visitors and vacationing families, the pace is slower. The heat and humidity definitely play an influence. Expect predictable long lines and crowds at the most famous spots.
The area’s public gardens are at their best in summer. Add them to your itinerary. I, like many others, really got into gardening this past year. Did you? Either way, you love visiting these grounds and estates. Research here: 10 Best Washington, DC Gardens – and When to Visit Them.
Autumn is the Time to Fall in Love with Washington, DC
If season’s had personalities, spring in DC would be a diva. Hey, it’s hard to argue with that pink crown of glory. But autumn is quite amazing. Not only in DC and the DMV but in Northern Virginia, too. I suggest skipping the hordes of Leaf Peepers in New England and checking this out: Washington, DC — Ten Best Fall Foliage Photography Spots.
A vineyard is a perfect place to savor the colors of the season. Maybe you prefer something more active? Like hiking. Shenandoah National Park has so many trail options and don’t forget Harpers Ferry. Strolling a pumpkin patch is a seasonal favorite.
Here’s some insider info on the best patches: Fall Vibes at These 5 Pumpkin Patches in the DC Area. Fall 2020, the deer around my home feasted on the pumpkins I brought home. I promised to pick up more, so I’ll be headed back for more gourds. Plus, I love getting design and décor inspiration from shops and farms.
Winter: Season’s Greetings from Washington, DC and the DMV
I’m proud of and in love with the way my hometown celebrates the holidays. Lit up, colorful, festive, full of good cheer, and all with a kind of calm in the atmosphere. Old Lucketts Store is my go-to for getting in the spirit. (It’s great for all kinds of holidays — Easter, Valentine’s Day, and so on.)
If you’re the type to send family photos with your holiday mailings, I suggest checking out ’Tis the Season: 10 Reasons to Visit Washington, DC (DMV) for a Perfect Instagramable Moment. Everyone will look great in the pictures — I guarantee it!
Peruse Best Insider Tips on Washington DC’s Hotels, Restaurants, and Attractions for more ideas on spending time in DC’s winter wonderland.
Washington DC and the DMV — All Year ’Round Destinations
Yes, Washington, DC and the DMV area are captivating any time of the year. When you have the chance to visit, jump at it. Another question people often ask is “What should we see or visit while we are in Washington, DC?” Here are few suggestions”
- How about some colorful wall murals? This article, 10 Fun Colorful Wall Murals in One Location — Mosaic District (Virginia), will surprise you.
- Most important monuments? The Ten Best Things to Do in Washington, D.C. — Visit These Monuments
- Do you really want to get the flavor of the region? Then, you’ll need more than a weekend. More like a month. If you find you have some extra time, visit the Omni Homestead Resort: the natural place for hot springs and American history.
My final piece of advice? As you know, Washington, DC and the surrounding DMV area are steeped in history and serve as the center of government, which translates into school field trips. Lots of them. Especially on school breaks. Be sure to consult a calendar before planning your visit.
While I was putting together this quick-link-share-type of article, I realized I need to create an article of Top 10 Restaurants, because you know we all want to dine at the best places wherever we go. Let me work on that next. I’ll report back as soon as I finish.