Washington, D.C., a city where you can read the original Constitution on your way to visit the Supreme Court, is the place to see the intersection of the past and present of the United States. The city hosts its 15 million annual visitors with magnanimity, offering a nearly endless supply of affordable things to do. By some counts, there are at least a hundred free or almost free activities, including admission to the Smithsonian (the National Air and Space Museum and the National Museum of Natural History, among others) and nightly performances at the Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage. Day and night, Washington, D.C. inspires with celebrated sights such as the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, and the White House. Evenings can be as activity-packed as days, with a vibrant restaurant scene and dozens of performing arts venues around the city. From the National Cherry Blossom Festival held every spring to the spirited festivities surrounding the Fourth of July, Washington, D.C., knows how to celebrate. With three metro area airports—Reagan National (DCA), Dulles International (IAD), and Baltimore/Washington International (BWI)—serving more than 100 U.S. destinations, finding airfare to Washington, D.C. is a cinch. Now, if only narrowing down a list of things to do in Washington, D.C., were as easy.
Deciding when to visit Washington, D.C. can make all the difference in how much you spend. When planning your trip, be sure to factor in weather and seasonality, peak tourism times, and special events such as the Presidential Inauguration and May graduations. As a general rule, plan to spend more on visits during the business week, as well as on weekends in spring and fall when the weather is nicest. There are ways to save, however, regardless of when you go. Here are some insider tips to help you put together a cost-effective trip. D.C. is a popular place to visit from mid-March through mid-June, and again from mid-September through early November. Visitors will find the highest hotel occupancy rates during these months, as well as during the business week (Mondays through Thursdays). The hot, humid days of July and August and seasonably cold January are D.C.'s low seasons. high season: March to mid--June, mid-September to early-November low season: July to mid--September, January to February shoulder season: lateJune, November to December