Basics

Published by at under Washington DC

Weather

Washington’s temperate climate is mild compared to many areas in the United States.

Avg. High Avg. Low
January- February 45° 25°
March 55° 33°
April 66° 42°
May 76° 52°
June 84° 62°
July- August 88° 66°
September 80° 57°
October 69° 44°
November 58° 36°
December 47° 28°

Seasons

Washington has four distinct seasons. The most popular for tourists is spring, a lovely time of year. At the first blush of the cherry blossoms at the end of March, the city bursts with activity. Throughout April, the delicate blossom can be seen on walking tours, by bike, on photo safaris, by paddle boat in the Tidal Basin. The flowering is celebrated at events, performances, exhibits, symposiums and ceremonies. Favorites are the Lantern Lighting Ceremony on the Tidal Basin, the Smithsonian Kite Festival on the Mall, and the city’s largest spectator event, the Parade of the National Cherry Blossom Festival.

Summers are warm and humid, with a multitude of things to see and do. Music moves outdoors for the Hottest Smooth Jazz Festival and for the Cinco de Mayo Festival in the Sylvan Theater in the Mall. Shakespeare is performed under the stars in Rock Creek Park; splendid music is enjoyed in the coolness of the National Cathedral. Families with children in tow flock to national landmarks the children

have only seen in school books, delight at the giant pandas in the National Zoo, marvel at dinosaurs in the National Museum of Natural History and enjoy productions in Discovery Theater. Fall, crisp and glorious in autumnal color which peaks in mid to late October, is a wonderful time to visit parks and botanical gardens. Walk down the color-dappled trails of Rock Creek Park; Marvel at the red blaze of the Japanese maples in the Hillwood Museums and
Gardens
; see fabulous specimens in full foliage in the National Arboretum. In Georgetown, the spectacular gardens at Dumbarten Oaks are a must, and be sure to seek out the D. C. Millennium Landmark Tree, a tulip poplar planted more than 200 years ago at Tudor Place and Gardens.

Winter is relatively mild, the perfect time to take in the spectacular array of indoor exhibits, permanent and changing, at the countless museums: the Hirshorn, Freer, American Art Museum, National Gallery of Art, Anacostia Museum, The Phillips Collection, the Kreeger, and ever so many more. During December, the city lights up for the holidays, with the National Christmas Tree and Pathway to Peace on the Ellipse, the season’s crown jewels.

Population

The 2005 census population estimate for the city of Washington, D.C., the “District,” is 582,049. However, during the workweek, 400,000 additional people a day stream in to work from the outlying suburbs of Virginia and Maryland. The cross-section of Americans working in the city, combined with people from all points of the globe working in embassies, for international organizations and attending universities, lends a cosmopolitan atmosphere to the
nation’s capital.

Size

The 68.39 square mile capital city, bordered by Maryland on three sides and Virginia on the fourth, was carved out of land once belonging to these two states. The Potomac River, Rock Creek and the Anacostia River, run through the
city, and some of the district’s land was created by filling in the marshes along their banks. One quarter of Washington is devoted to parks, contributing to its pleasant, open feeling.

Transportation

Washington is divided into four quadrants: northeast, northwest, southeast and southwest, with the Capitol at its epicenter. You can get around D.C. by car, however parking is difficult to find and the many roundabouts and angled streets can be confusing.

The public Metrorail, convenient and easy to use, operates throughout the city, starting at 5:00am, Mon- Fri and 7am, Sat & Sun, closing at midnight Sun-Thurs, and 3am, Fri & Sat nights. Avoid the workweek rush hour. Fares are based on when and how far you travel and farecards can be purchased from machines at every station. Metrorail offers a One Day Pass offering unlimited rides. Metro Stations are marked by tall columns with a large “M” on each side, with colored strips indicating which Metro lines serve that station (Blue, Green, Orange, Red, Yellow). Another option is the D.C. Circulator, buses which circulate on three routes in and around the busy areas of downtown from 7am to 9pm. Bus stops are designated by the red and gold signs at points along the route.

When you first arrive, a great way to see the city and get around at the same time is on a narrated tour aboard the Old
Town Trolley Tours ® of Washington, D.C
. You’ll be entertained, get oriented and see places and details you might otherwise miss. The orange and green trolleys with great viewing windows provide a wonderful tour of all the
important sights. As an added bonus, you can hop off at any of the 16 stops along the tour route to explore on your own, hopping back on the next available trolley when you’re ready to resume the tour. Purchase tickets through this
website, from the concierge in hotels, or in ticket booths in Union Station and the Welcome Center at 10 th and E.

Accommodations

The list of conveniently located accommodations in Washington is long and varied. There are luxury hotels, landmark hotels, historic hotels, brand-name hotels, suite hotels, boutique hotels and charming inns. Some are pricey; others
moderate. Familiar brand name hotels are plentiful. Suite hotels are popular with families; some hotels are pet friendly. Your hotel can be part of the Washington scene, where diplomats and politicians frequent, or it can simply be a comfortable retreat from days spent sightseeing.

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