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Washington, D.C., was built on a swamp, so expect muggy weather if visiting in the summer months. Winter on rare occasions gets extremely cold, but also beautifully snowy. Still, spring and fall are the best bets for a trip. Expect large crowds at Arlington Cemetery around holidays such as Veterans Day and Memorial Day. Major events in D.C. such as the Cherry Blossom Festival in March and April do affect hotel prices and crowds in these areas.
In December the Historic Alexandria Candlelight Tour is a one-night visit to historic houses for light refreshment and performances of period music of the holiday season. 703/838–4242. oha.alexandriava.gov.
Over Presidents Weekend in February, George Washington's Birthday is celebrated in Alexandria, Virginia, with a parade—175 floats and marching units—and a reenactment of a Revolutionary War skirmish at Fort Ward nearby. 703/549–7662. www.washingtonbirthday.net.
The Virginia Gold Cup, steeplechase horse races held in May near Middleburg in Northern Virginia, has been among the most prominent social and sporting events of the state since the 1920s. 540/347–2612. www.vagoldcup.com.