Washington DC in February is cold! But, the upside is that , it is not very crowded. If you don’t mind bundling up, then visiting Washington DC in February avoids crowds and high prices.
Here is everything you need to know about visiting DC in February.
Washington DC In February: Weather
Let’s first start with discussing the weather. While DC doesn’t get quite as much snow as New York and much less than Boston, a winter snow storm is entirely possible in the month of February. Be sure to prepare accordingly for cold and wet weather.
Before getting to the averages, which are quite cold, it’s important to remember that the nation’s capital does have occasional times where the weather gets randomly warm in February. In some years, it has gotten into the 50s and even 60s. This is not common and when it does happen its usually only for a day or two. Don’t count on having anything but cold weather when visiting, but hold hope on being surprised.
Packing for cold weather sightseeing:
- February is typically the second coldest month in DC.
- Average high temperatures are around 47°F, and lows average 27°F.
- Weather can vary significantly, so it might be warmer or colder than the average.
- It’s also the second snowiest month in DC.
- You absolutely must pack a heavy coat and winter accessories
- Don’t forget comfortable shoes that are easy to walk around in and tolerate wet weather
Cold temperatures in Washington DC in February are to be expected. Every once in a while you may see the daily averages get higher than usual. In February of 2023, there was a record high of 81 in this area, but this is unusual.
Washington DC In February: Sightseeing
One of the best things about visiting DC in February is that it is fairly easy to go sightseeing. Museums and monuments are not crowded and it’s easy to see things efficiently because of this.
Although it may be cold outside, aside from visiting the monuments, the museums are all indoors. This means if you can manage to travel between the popular museums without getting too cold, there’s actually quite a lot you can do. And as a bonus so many of the museums, including the Smithsonian museums are free of charge to enter.
Best Sightseeing In February In Washington DC
With the low temperatures in February, you will want to focus your sightseeing on indoor activities. You can also visit the monuments but this may be more in passing rather than spending a full day outside relaxing at the National Mall. The National Mall is a great place to picnic in the warmer months, when there are also many special events, but it’s not advisable in the colder months.
- National Museum Of Natural History: This is one of the most popular DC museums. Admission is free like many other DC museums. This museum is great for people of all ages so its fun to visit as both an adult and as a child.
- National Gallery Of Art: From the National Museum Of Natural History, you can walk next door to the National Gallery Of Art and Sculpture Garden.
- National Archives: The National Archives is across the street from the Natural History Museum so it’s easy to visit these 3 together in the winter season.
- Kennedy Center For Performing Arts: The Kennedy Center is a large indoor venue that has tons of shows and exhibits for you to enjoy.
- The Wharf: While the DC Wharf will be quite cold in February (because of the breeze coming off the Potomac River), all of the restaurants and shops in this area are very close to one another. This makes it easy to hop from one place to the next.
- 14th Street DC: Another very busy and popular street in Washington DC. There are tons of great happy hours as well as amazing restaurants on 14th street in DC. You can warm up here by bouncing from one happy hour to the next and then finally ending your evening with some delicious food.
- Georgetown: The Georgetown neighborhood of Washington DC is not only historic but it is a lot of fun. During the summer months, this area can be incredibly crowded with tourists but during the colder months, it’s actually a lot of fun to stroll the streets. You can experience amazing restaurants, cute coffee shops, and visit some iconic establishments (like Cafe Milano), without having to fight the crowds.
- Dupont Circle: Dupont Circle is another iconic area of Washington DC. Luckily this area is easily accessible by metro so you don’t have to walk here in the cold weather.
- U Street Washington DC: If you are looking for more of a hipster vibe check out U Street. Start where U Street meets 14th and make your way to the many popular coffee shops and restaurants on U street. Pop in and out of places as you escape the cold weather. From fun happy hours on U street to good vibes, you will enjoy your time walking here.
- Visit The White House: Another very famous indoor attraction is the White House. You will need to prepare ahead of time if you want to tour the White House. Public tours must be requested through your Member of Congress and their Congressional Tour Coordinator. If you are a foreign citizen, then you should contact you embassy in Washington, D.C., for assistance in submitting a tour request. Requests for touring the White House should be submitted a minimum of 21 days in advance and no more than 90 days in advance of the desired tour date. Reservations cannot be accepted outside this 21–90 day window. Tours are typically available from 9:30 AM to 12:30 PM on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, excluding Federal holidays. Tours are free of charge but are subject to change with little notice.
- International Spy Museum: This is an interactive museum where visitors can participate in spy missions and solve puzzles, making it a dynamic and fun learning environment for all ages. The museum also has immersive exhibits that allow guests to experience the life of a spy, including assuming a cover identity. There are also detailed presentations on historical and contemporary espionage activities. It’s a great place for both adults as well as young audiences.
Washington DC In February: Where To Stay
Because the average temperature in DC in February is in the 40s typically, you will want to aim to be centrally located. This will allow you to easily take a taxi to different sites or even walk. Being next to a metro stop is also a great option as this will allow you travel quickly without having to deal with traffic.
- Near The Metro: If you are visiting in the cold and don’t want to take a taxi or ride share everywhere, then staying at a hotel that is near a metro station is a huge plus. There are many hotels near the metro in Washington DC and the surrounding areas which give you easy access to DC.
- City Center: City Center is a luxury part of town that has good metro access, is walking distance from several sites, and has its own shopping and dining scene. The Conrad Hotel here is one of our favorite pics for a luxury experience. Especially if traveling with family, the Conrad hotel has spacious suites and rooms that are great for the whole family. It is also walking distance from the metro and top sites.
- Georgetown: This neighborhood is further from sightseeing. However, if you want to focus more on dining and drinking then Georgetown is the place to be. From amazing cocktail bars, to cute coffee shops, Georgetown so many fun things to do. There is also world class dining, including so pretty amazing Italian restaurants.
- Romantic Hotels For Couples: If you are looking for a romantic getaway in Washington DC, there are many hotels that will fit your vibe. From the Riggs to the Rosewood, there’s many romantic hotels in Washington DC.
Best Hotel Deals In February In Washington DC:
You can get some amazing hotel deals when traveling off season in February. Here are some hotels which tend to be deeply discounted in the colder months.
There are some 4 and 5 star hotels that you can get great deals on in the colder months.
Top Luxury Hotel Choice For Proximity To Sightseeing: The Riggs Hotel. – Top Hotel Choice In February given close distance to attractions.
Top Affordable Hotel Choice: The Kimpton Hotel Monaco.
This is still a 4 star hotel and it is just a block away from the Riggs.
Top Hotel For Large Rooms For Families In February: The Conrad
The Conrad is a 5 star hotel located in the trendy City Center part of time. It is walking distance from many attractions and has large rooms for accommodating couples as well as families.
Washington DC In February: Should You Bring A Car
Washington D.C. is a very walkable city and also has many public transportation options. A car is not really advisable since it’s hard to park it in most places in DC. There is some street parking available near the monuments and museums but you may have to circle to find it.
If you are traveling with a family that has young children, then a car may be helpful. If you are traveling solo or as a couple, using public transport, walking or taking a ride share is the best option.
Washington DC In February: Dining & Things To Do
It’s no surprise that you will want to pick activities and things to do in February that are indoors. You can still have a great time indoors in DC. Aside from exploring the many historical sites and monuments, there are plenty of other things to do in February in Washington DC.
If you enjoy winter activities, then DC has a couple great places where you can ice skate.
- Skating Rink At The Wharf: From November through February, The Wharf Ice Rink is a fun place to ice skae. For skate rental and admission, walk to Transit Pier right outside The Anthem. You can enjoy skating here with amazing views of the water and monuments.
- Ice Skating at The Washington Harbour: The Washington Harbour Ice Rink opens in mid-November and closes in late February (weather permitting). This Georgetown ice skating rink is one of the best activities in Georgetown. It is also the largest ice skating rink in the entire city, even larger than the Rockefeller Center skating rink in New York City! You can enjoy scenic views of the Potomac River, Kennedy Center, Key Bridge, as well as historic Georgetown while you ice skate!
Celebrate Valentine’s Day At A World Class Restaurant
Did you know that Washington DC has several award winning restaurants and chefs? There are several Michelin bib gourmand restaurants all over the city, from H street to 14th street and in Capitol Hill as well. Because February tends to be a month when people aren’t going out as much, it is really a great opportunity to try some amazing food.
Here are some of the best places when it comes to award winning dining in Washington DC
- Laos In Town: Michelin Bib Gourmand list, authentic Asian and Laotian cuisine
- Rose’s Luxury: This is one of Washington DC’s most famous restaurants and also one of its many Michelin-starred restaurants. Rose’s luxury has repeatedly won a Michelin star and the food is always innovative as well as delicious
- Tail Up Goat: Tail Up Goat in Washington D.C. has received a Michelin star. This Mediterranean restaurant is located in the Adams Morgan area. The restaurant opened its doors in 2016 and quickly garnered acclaim, earning its Michelin star for high-quality cooking.
- Imperfecto: Imperfecto in the West End neighborhood of Washington D.C. has also been awarded a Michelin star. The restaurant, led by Enrique Limardo, is recognized for its high-quality cooking and is listed in the 2023 Michelin Guide. Imperfecto blends elements of Mediterranean and Latin American cultures and showcases Chef Limardo’s bold and innovative cooking style.
- Maydan: Maydan and it’s sister restaurant Compass Rose are both popular places to dine. The dining room of Maydan is a sight to see. Some of the popular menu items here are the Lamb Shoulder, Hummus, Chicken, Roasted Carrots, Labneh, and Ribeye
In the winter months, it is much easier to get a reservation at some of the above restaurants. Even if it is Valentine’s Day, you have a better chance of getting a reservation than during the very popular spring and summer months.
There are many live performance venues in Washington DC, and Warner Theatre is one of them. Before or after visiting the theatre you can also grab a bite to eat at one of the restaurants close to Warner Theatre.
Enjoy A Spa Day
If you just feel like relaxing, you can enjoy one of Washington DC’s many spas. There are several gorgeous hotels with luxury spas in DC. Be sure to make reservations ahead of time as these get booked very quickly.
Capital One Arena
Capital One Arena is an event venue for live music and sports. You can check out their schedule of sporting events and live music events on their website.
Black History Month
February is Black History Month and there is no better time to explore DC sites that honor African American history and culture. Here are some highlights:
- Explore Shaw and the Howard Theatre: Walk through the historic Shaw neighborhood, once home to Duke Ellington, and visit the Howard Theatre’s Walk of Fame.
- Lincoln Memorial: Stand on the steps where Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his “I Have A Dream” speech during the March on Washington in 1963.
- Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial: Visit this memorial featuring a 30-foot statue of Dr. King, located in West Potomac Park.
- Black Lives Matter Plaza: Reflect on DC’s Black history at this city-commissioned mural with a powerful civil rights message, located on 16th Street, just north of Lafayette Square.
- Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture: This museum offers detailed exhibits on African American life, history, and culture. In 2023, it commemorates the 200th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation.
- The Mansion on O & O Street Museum: Honor the life of Rosa Parks with a dedicated tour and a short film about her relationship with this historic site.
- Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library: Attend author talks and the 34th Annual Black Film Festival, featuring films that highlight Black history and culture.
- Arena Stage: See “The High Ground,” a play set against the backdrop of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, focusing on a Black soldier’s story of resistance and recovery.
- The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater at Kennedy Center: Experience the famous modern dance company’s performance, featuring Ailey’s “Revelations” and other works.
- National Portrait Gallery: Visit the “I Dream a World” exhibit, showcasing photos of remarkable Black women like Althea Gibson, Cicely Tyson, and Oprah Winfrey
Anthem Theatre in the DC Wharf is another popular venue for enjoying live shows. It opened on October 12, 2017, with a performance that opened with The Struts and was then headlined by the iconic Foo Fighters.
It is a massive venue and it is just about 57,000 square feet. The Anthem has a movable stage and the capacity of the venue can range between 2,500 to 6,000.
Head To A Comedy Show
If you love comedy, then DC has a thriving comedy scene. It’s another great indoor activity to enjoy when it’s cold outside. There are many places you can see comics in DC. Here are some of the more popular venues
- The DC Improv: This venue is a hub for comedy in the city, showcasing a variety of shows, including stand-up showcases with outstanding local comics, duo comedy shows, and comedy school showcases. It’s a place where you can catch both established comedians and rising stars.
- The Comedy Loft of DC: Offering a range of comedy shows featuring well-known comedians, The Comedy Loft of DC is another excellent venue for comedy enthusiasts. It hosts performers who have appeared on platforms like Comedy Central, NPR, and various TV shows, ensuring a high quality level of entertainment
Washington DC In February: Art Galleries & Art Museums
If you are an art fanatic, then Washington DC has many indoor venues that celebrate beautiful and unique art. Here are some top places you can explore.
- Artechouse DC: This is a modern and funky art installation venue. Visiting Artechouse DC in February will give you an immersive and cutting-edge art experience, blending art, science, and technology in unique installations. This innovative art space is known for its interactive digital exhibits, which often combine visual, auditory, and tactile elements to create a one-of-a-kind experience.
- Smithsonian American Art Museum: Visiting the Smithsonian American Art Museum in February offers a unique opportunity to explore the rich diversity of American art. The museum, located in the heart of Washington D.C., features an extensive collection that spans centuries and includes works from a variety of American artists. February visitors can also enjoy special exhibits and programs, often including those that align with Black History Month, adding an extra layer of cultural and historical context to the museum experience.
- Phillips Collection: This art museum is renowned for its intimate setting and impressive collection of impressionist and modern American and European art. February visitors can enjoy the museum’s permanent collection, which includes works by Rothko, Renoir, and O’Keeffe, as well as special exhibitions that may be on display, offering a blend of historical depth and contemporary innovation in the art world
- Van Gogh Immersive Exhibit: The Van Gogh Immersive Exhibit in Washington DC offers a unique, multi-sensory experience. This exhibition, which has been touring since 2017 and seen by over 5 million visitors, features a 20,000 sq. ft. space with two-story projections of Van Gogh’s most compelling works. It includes a Virtual Reality experience where visitors can walk alongside Van Gogh and explore the inspiration behind eight of his iconic works. Additionally, visitors can create their own paintings and have them projected onto the walls, an activity enjoyed by both children and adults. The exhibit is located at the Rhode Island Center, about a 14-minute drive from central DC and a 6-minute walk from the main Metro station. It’s open on various days with time slots available every half-hour, and a typical visit lasts about 60 to 75 minutes. If it is very cold out, you may want to consider taking a taxi or a ride share since the walk in the cold can be difficult.
Washington DC In February: Sample Itineraries
Washington DC In February: Summary
Washington DC in February is likely to be cold, but also likely to be less crowded. You won’t be able to see the cherry blossoms during this time, but you can enjoy great prices on hotels and still have the best time. If you love museums and learning about history, culture, and art, then this is the perfect place for a cold weather getaway.
The DC metro area has so many things to offer, and even just walking through the different neighborhoods of DC can be a fun experience. From the Smithsonian Museums to the Kennedy Center, there’s lots to do in DC when winter weather hits. Mostly, it will be in the 40s during the day, but if you are lucky, you may get temperaturs in the upper 50s or even 60s.
You don’t need warm weather though to enjoy the great food and amazing historical sites that DC has to offer. Save money and avoid the March Cherry Blossom crowds by visiting Washington DC in February.