A Civil World. Off-topic discussions on a variety of topics. > Travel

Washington DC - when to visit?

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CLE_Girl:
Any one from DC or visited DC want to comment on when to plan a vacation there? 

I've done some research online and as far as I can tell Spring(March-June) and Fall(sept-oct) are peak season because the weather is nicest.  But is the summer that bad?  Is the cherry blossom festivel worth it?  Is it worth staying in DC proper?  Am I correct in assuming hotels are cheaper in VA or MD? 

DH and I are looking to take our first "vacation" (really just a mini-break 4 days) in 3 years.  Since we live in Cleveland, we're about an 8 hour drive from a bunch of places. 

Any comments to help me figure out when to go and where to stay would be helpful!

Sharnita:
Driving in or around DC can be a nightmare.  I would fly in and take the metro.  It is clean and really easy to figure out.  It can get really hot in the summer but it isn't nice enough in the winter to count on being able to do the walking you'd probably want to do and be comfortable.

I think the Holocaust Memorial Museum is a must, the Lincoln Memorial, Korean and Vietnam Memorials.  The Second World War Memorial is nice and there is a new FDR Memorial. There are lots of great free museums - it depends on your interests.

CLE_Girl:

--- Quote from: Sharnita on November 26, 2012, 11:12:42 AM ---Driving in or around DC can be a nightmare.  I would fly in and take the metro.  It is clean and really easy to figure out.  It can get really hot in the summer but it isn't nice enough in the winter to count on being able to do the walking you'd probably want to do and be comfortable.

I think the Holocaust Memorial Museum is a must, the Lincoln Memorial, Korean and Vietnam Memorials.  The Second World War Memorial is nice and there is a new FDR Memorial. There are lots of great free museums - it depends on your interests.

--- End quote ---

Not planning on doing any driving except to DC and back to CLE.  Will leave the car parked during the vacation. 

magicdomino:
Washington DC in the summer:  How do you feel about hot and humid?  If you were born and raised in Houston or New Orleans, it won't be that bad.  If the thought of walking outside into the breath of a giant dog makes you wilt, you won't like it.  Keep in mind that the memorials and the various Smithsonian museums will require quite a bit of walking outside.  So even if we don't have record highs in June and July again, it won't be fun.  If you must do summer, try late August.  Average highs are still in the 90's, but tend to be lower than July, plus most of the school tours are gone. 

Speaking of school tours, mid-May through the end of June is wall to wall tour groups, something to take into account if your plans include the Hope diamond or the Air and Space Museum.  September has almost none. 

Spring and fall are absolutely beautiful here, and spring is by far my favorite season.  Weather is always a roll of the dice, though.

Cherry blossoms:  Well, I think they are worth taking a sunny afternoon off work to admire.  :)  Cherry blossom time is the most expensive season, but if you can swing the costs, go for it.  The best time to see them?  Early evening, especially if the moon is near full.  Now part of their beauty is that cherry blossoms are fragile; they can be wiped out by a spring storm.  But there are plenty of other things to admire, plus the parade and various events.  In fact, there will be blooming things all over the place in April and May.

Yes, you can save some money by staying in the suburbs if your hotel is near the Metro.  I recommend Crystal City or Rosslyn, but I'm sure there are good places in Silver Spring and Bethesda.  Whatever you do, do not plan on driving downtown.  It's frustrating enough for us locals.

By the way, the best place to eat on the Mall is the cafeteria in the Museum of the American Indian.   :)

CLE_Girl:
Thanks MagicDomino!  Air and Space Museum is high on our list, so I will keep school tours in mind.  Crystal City is a great recomendation!  And the DC metro website is SOOOOO good!

Okay...so maybe instead of mid-june annivarsary trip, we'll do mid/late april for my bday.

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