Packing for Washington D.C.
Deciding what to pack for a trip to Washington, D.C. largely depends on the time of year: The city is home to all four seasons. Summers can be brutally hot and humid, while winters invariably include at least one snowstorm and low temperatures. It’s important to have the appropriate accessories on you—they can mean the difference between a good trip and a great one.
Clothes for the Season
When are you heading to Washington, D.C.? Travelers who spend time in the nation’s capital during the first few months of the year would be well advised to bring plenty of layers and a winter coat. Lighter jackets typically won’t cut it in the city at this time of year, when temperatures drop to record lows and snowstorms threaten to break up the workweek. As the season shifts and temperatures rise, it’s still a smart idea to pack a few warm pieces. Travelers who visit the city in April comment on the occasionally uncharacteristic warmth, so it’s a good idea to be prepared with slightly lighter clothing options as well.
Summer is sticky in the District of Columbia. Humidity can make hottest temperatures seem even warmer, and navigating crowded city streets can be tricky in those conditions. Opt for light, airy clothing that wicks moisture from the body and allows the skin to breathe. During fall, it’s a good idea to tote along a lightweight jacket or a thick cardigan. A scarf provides some extra insurance in the event of an unexpectedly cold day.
The Right Accessories
While it’s not always hot in Washington, D.C., the sun does shine regularly. Travelers recommend bringing sunscreen. During summer, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have a visor, sun hat, or baseball cap to protect your complexion from potentially harmful sun rays. On the same note, you aren’t likely to find a refreshing bottle of water for free anywhere in the city, so be sure to grab a reusable one before you head out for the day. Toss a snack into your bag, too, unless you plan to stop for a meal.
Visitors who come to D.C. for its historic monuments, museums, and other memorable sights suggest bringing a high-quality camera. You might even consider bringing a portable tripod if you plan to take many photographs throughout town.
Remember that navigating the city involves plenty of walking, so it’s a good idea to pack a pair of reliable shoes with thick soles and padded footbeds. Crime is not uncommon, so carry your handbag or backpack with caution. You could opt for a cross-body style bag that can be worn across the front to avoid sneaky thieves. Stash an umbrella inside if you’re traveling during spring, when the potential for rain is higher.
Editor’s Note: The information contained on this page was compiled using real traveler reviews about what to pack for Washington, D.C.