Washington, DC: 4 Reasons to Visit Off-Season

Offbeat, Washington DC — By Torie Castiello on November 19, 2009 at 2:31 pm

Unsurprisingly, Washington DC welcomes the majority of its visitors in the spring and summer months.  With school vacations and relaxed work schedules, it’s easier to head to the US Capital then, to view the sights (Cherry Blossoms! Monuments!) or to take part in cool local activities (museum tours! Fourth of July festivities!).  But there are plenty of reasons to visit DC in the fall and winter months. For one, it’s a heck of a lot cooler (DC in August is not for the faint of heart), and there are far fewer crowds. If you haven’t considered planning a trip to DC in the later months of the year, read on for a few ideas that might just make you give it some thought.

  • DC United games at RFK Stadium. The Redskins’ former stadium (before they moved out to the new, less accessible FedEx field in the ‘burbs) is a little on the run-down side, but that only adds to its appeal.  And DC United is one of Major League Soccer’s consistent leaders. DCU matches are never short on excitement — in addition to the on-field entertainment, the team’s two biggest fan clubs, Screaming Eagles and Barra Brava, are always on hand to keep the party going in the stands. Unlike at most major sporting events, however, the atmosphere at RFK stadium isn’t overwhelming. Parents routinely bring their kids to DCU matches, and the nearby Stadium-Armory Metro station provides non-driving fans with a much easier and less chaotic commute.
  • Fall festivals galore. From Oktoberfest at the National Harbor to the Renaissance Festival in suburban Crownsville, MD to the myriad “Harvest” festivals at places like Mount Vernon and in pumpkin patches all over the area, there are loads of family-friendly activities to take advantage of during the cooler months of autumn.  While you’ll probably need a car to access some of the more out-of-the-way places, all of them are close enough to merit a day trip.  And the changing foliage in some of the more rural areas is worth the trip alone.
  • The Scottish Christmas Walk Weekend.  Typically held during the first weekend in December, the Scottish Christmas Walk Weekend is an ode to Alexandria’s Scottish heritage.  Old Town Alexandria is easy to access via the Metro, and the weekend boasts all sorts of fun events– like tours and a children’s tea party– as well as opportunities to kick-start your holiday shopping.  The highlight of the weekend is the Scottish Christmas Walk Parade – you’ll be surrounded by more kilts and bagpipes than you can shake a stick at.
  • The Washington Jewish Film Festival. 2009 marks the 20th anniversary of this 10-day festival in December, presented by the Washington, DC Jewish Community Center.  The event’s organizers strive to present diverse and thought-provoking works that inspire conversation and tell the stories of different people in the Jewish community, both in the US and all over the world.  Many of the film’s directors attend the festival to hear feedback from viewers and discuss their creative inspirations.

[Photo:  A.M. Kuchling / Creative Commons]

Tags: DC United, fall, Festival, Scottish Christams Walk weekend, the Washington Jewish Film Festival, Washington DC, winter

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