Shoulder Season in Washington, D.C.


Shoulder season is the savvy traveler’s best-kept secret. Labor Day has come and gone, and the kids have headed back to school. You still have plenty of beautiful weather and tons of things to do, all with fewer crowds, lower prices and a vibe that’ll make you feel more like a local than a visitor. Summer vacation may be over, but this is still a great time to discover and explore the national treasures of Washington D.C. Here are a few must-see fall attractions to include on your itinerary.

Treasures in Any Season

No visit to this city would be complete without a full tour of its landmarks, including the National Mall, which is affectionately called “America’s Front Yard.” This greenway links everything from the Capitol building to the Lincoln Memorial, along with museums like the National Museum of Natural History, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden and the National Museum of American History. Other high points to consider visiting while you’re in the city include the Washington Monument, the National World War II Memorial and the Tidal Basin.

Places to Enjoy the Fall Foliage

The cherry blossoms are a majestic sight in spring, but during the autumn months, Washington comes alive with vivid reds, oranges and yellows. If you want to experience the spectacular color of a D.C. fall, visit hotspots like:

  • U.S. National Arboretum: The city’s living agricultural museum.
  • National Mall: The memorials and monuments aren’t the only photo-worthy features here. The amazing seasonal display is just one more reason to visit the National Mall in fall.
  • Rock Creek Park: In addition to being home to a nature center, planetarium and fantastic walking trails, America’s longest urban park is also home to many trees, shrubs and other plants that put on a beautiful show during peak foliage season.

 Halloween Fun for Everyone

If you’re looking for Halloween-inspired thrills and chills while you’re in D.C., check out some of the spooky sights and fun frights geared toward families, couples and anyone who wants to get into the spirit of the season. Sound like something you’d enjoy? Consider checking out:

  • Air & Scare at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center
  • Boo at the Zoo at the National Zoo
  • Haunted tours of Capitol Hill, Georgetown and other D.C. neighborhoods

 Fall Festivals

From neighborhood-centric festivals like Taste of Georgetown  to regional favorites like Taste of D.C. and Mount Vernon Fall Harvest Days, D.C. and the surrounding areas host a bustling variety of annual events, festivals and fun things to do. And of course, if you’re over 21 or a fan of German food, there’s no better time to experience the Oktoberfest celebrations at beer gardens like Biergaten Haus, Union Market or Dacha Beer Garden.

Start planning your autumnal adventure in Washington, D.C. at


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