Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > United States
Reload this Page >

Washington DC, Okay to Visit Between Christmas and New Years?

Washington DC, Okay to Visit Between Christmas and New Years?

Sep 25th, 2009, 01:54 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 611
Washington DC, Okay to Visit Between Christmas and New Years?

I've been to Washington DC several times (as a kid, teenager, and quick business trips), but I'd love to revisit (traveling alone) and take time to do the museums and see other sights. I know the weather isn't optimal, but I have the time off. I was thinking of flying up Christmas Day, then spending 4-5 days there, then return home on Dec. 30th.

Are there certain things that will be closed, that I should know about? Any special considerations because of the season? I'm assuming the crowds might not be too bad around this time -- or am I wrong?

Thanks in advance!
CarolM is offline  
Sep 25th, 2009, 03:47 PM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 86
The museums are usually closed on Christmas Day. The weather can be iffy at times, but then it can be great. You just need to come. There will be crowds during this time because kids are usually off for 2 weeks. The Smithsonian museums are the big attraction; they are crowded no matter what time of year you go. The Metro (subway) is the only way I travel around in DC. You can get pretty much anywhere in the city and suburbs. I found DC is a friendly place for those traveling and dining alone. You just need to be aware of where you want to go; as with any city, there are neighborhoods you may want to stay clear of. What kinds of things do you like to do? Museums? Shopping?
angelize is offline  
Sep 26th, 2009, 08:40 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 611
Thanks angelize, yeah I figured things would be closed on Christmas Day, that's why I'll use that as my travel day. However, I did not think about the fact that school kids would be on holiday break. I wonder if it's still not as busy as it would be in summer... at least I hope not!

I'm mainly interested in the museums and monuments (which I haven't seen since I was 12!) I want to check out the Air & Space Museum, Holocaust Museum, Museum of American History, National Archives... and I've never seen the Vietnam Memorial or the FDR, so I'd like to do the monument "circuit" too (I'm into photography, and it'd be nice to get new shots now that we're all digital!)

I'm friendly with my representative, so I'm gonna see if I can get myself a White House tour... we'll see! Maybe do the Capitol tour if I can. Also, it'd be cool if I can get out to Arlington Cemetery. Anyway, I haven't figured out my day-by-day, but I figure with 5 days, I can see a lot. I know certain things are walkable, but I'm all about jumping in a taxi if I need to.

I was talking about my trip with a friend this morning, and now he wants to go too! So I may have company (which means, yay, I get to research restaurants too!)
CarolM is offline  
Sep 26th, 2009, 10:11 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 33,656
It's a good time to visit as long as you don't care about Christmas Day closures. After all, it's vacation time so lots of workers and staff are out of town. While people are visiting museums due to being on holiday, it's not as crowded as summer when tons of people visit DC with their families and lots of school groups come in Spring. It's not as bad as either period, in my opinion. You never know about winter weather, but usually it's not that bad at Christmas, it gets worse in Jan-Feb.
Christina is offline  
Sep 26th, 2009, 02:30 PM
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 4,039
You might as well include a stop at the Ellipse to see the National Christmas Tree, the state Christmas trees and the giant menorah.
Even though you will be travelling on Christmas Day, there may be others who read this thread and want to know what is open that day. Mt. Vernon is open everyday, including Christmas.
longhorn55 is offline  
Sep 27th, 2009, 05:56 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 13,711
Since it was a place you mentioned, it's also worth also that Arlington Cemetery is open on Christmas Day.
obxgirl is online now  
Sep 27th, 2009, 08:07 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 611
Thanks! All good information everyone I'm sure I'll be back with more questions as I plan details!
CarolM is offline  
Sep 27th, 2009, 01:03 PM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 10,139
I think the musuems are not crowded at all over the Xmas holidays. Weatherwise, u can get rain and cold, rarely snow and often temps are comfortable -- 40's even 50's, but it has been very cold then too. No counting on the weather, just dress with layers and a hat and scarf and gloves. Come and enjoy all the decorations and the Ellipse with the tree on it. It does get crowded around that area in the evening and night.
yestravel is offline  
Sep 28th, 2009, 10:11 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 611
Thanks yestravel, sounds like layers is a good idea (as well as a travel umbrella)! Also, I guess I'll check weather.com a few days ahead and see what's up. I figure most of what we'll do will be indoors, and 1 out of the 5 days is bound to be nice enough to walk around to all the monuments/memorials.

I just reserved a room at the JW Marriott on Pennsylvania Ave, 'cause I loved the location.
CarolM is offline  
Sep 29th, 2009, 08:32 AM
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 2
My family and I are visiting DC between Christmas and New Years and I've been finding amazingly cheap hotel rates. I see the Grand Hyatt (where we stayed about 5 years ago) is only $87.50 a night. I'd like to stay at a more historic hotel this time--maybe the Mayflower, but my dream would be to stay at The Willard, anyone out there ever had luck getting it for less than $200 thru priceline? We did many of the museums last time we were there and I don't remember long lines... the docent tour at the new air/space museum was fantastic... looking forward to hitting them all again.
juliegstpaul is offline  
Related Topics
Original Poster
Last Post
United States
Dec 23rd, 2018 07:56 AM
United States
Oct 20th, 2010 08:00 PM
United States
Nov 11th, 2008 03:04 PM
United States
Oct 4th, 2004 04:33 PM
United States
Nov 23rd, 2001 05:44 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 03:42 PM.