The Top Two Reasons to Visit Washington, D.C. in Autumn

Having lived in Washington, D.C. for more than five years, I can say with certainty that there is a high season and a low season for tourism. What’s funny is, the tourist seasons don’t necessarily follow the best weather patterns. In fact, one could argue that the most popular time for tourism, summer, is actually D.C.’s most miserable time of year. The city was built on a swamp, after all, and it feels like it.

See where I’m going with this? To make it crystal clear, here are the top two reasons why you should visit Washington, D.C. in the fall:

  1. LESS TOURISTS
  2. BETTER WEATHER

It’s a pretty simple formula. I know, I know, it’ll be tough to execute: kids are back in school, work is picking up, and vacation season is over!

But I say, if you really want to see the Nation’s Capital at one of its most beautiful times of year (aside from cherry blossom season) and not compete with other tourists for a square-foot of viewing space to see the Hope Diamond, then fall is your ticket. Specifically, October through mid-November.

Not convinced yet? Here’s a selection of photos that show off some of the beauty of the city in autumn!

The Top Two Reasons to Visit Washington, D.C. in Autumn

I took this photo in Adams Morgan the first weekend of November. Notice the trees are only just turning! The weather doesn’t turn wintery here until December, but there will be a chill in the air beginning in October.

The Top Two Reasons to Visit Washington, D.C. in Autumn

Photo credit: Seanie Blue | seanieblue.com

The Top Two Reasons to Visit Washington, D.C. in Autumn

Outfit details can be found here.

The Top Two Reasons to Visit Washington, D.C. in Autumn

These next photos were taken last year in late October when my parents were visiting.

The Top Two Reasons to Visit Washington, D.C. in Autumn

Arlington Cemetery is especially beautiful in the fall.

The Top Two Reasons to Visit Washington, D.C. in Autumn

Looking out toward the city from Pierre L’Enfant’s grave at Arlington Cemetery. As the man who designed the layout of D.C., he was buried in the spot with the best view of his masterpiece.

The Top Two Reasons to Visit Washington, D.C. in Autumn

Though the Washington Monument is closed to visitors at the time of posting, it is worth going to the top for the views when the leaves are turning!

So, What Should You Do if You Visit?

Here are some of my favorite things to do in D.C. in October and November.

  • Leaf peeping around the city. Some particularly good spots are the Tidal Basin, Adams Morgan, Georgetown, Rock Creek Park and Arlington Cemetery.
  • Visiting the Smithsonian museums and the National Mall. Two words: fewer tourists.
  • Catching a game. Fall is the one glorious time of year when you can catch all of D.C.’s major sports teams in action (as long as the Nats make it to the playoffs). The Nationals (baseball), Wizards (basketball), Capitals (hockey), Redskins (football), and D.C. UnitedD.C. United (soccer) all overlap in October.

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The Top Two Reasons to Visit Washington, D.C. in Autumn


Photo credits: All photos of Marissa by Seanie Blue.


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