3 Tips For Visiting DC In The Summer

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Last Saturday, we did something we wouldn’t normally do in the middle of the summer heat: we went to a museum. This may seem weird to you because museums are great all the time, right? Right (kind of)! We live in DC where the summer season gives us high heat (90’s for most of July and August), high humidity, and thousands of tourists. So why did we venture out this weekend? The National Gallery of Art is having a Hubert Robert exhibit that we wanted to see. The exhibit was awesome, but heading to the tourist-laden Mall reminded us to share a few tips that might make your summer trip to DC just a little better.

  1. Enter the museums through back entrances. All of the museums have at least 2 entrances: the one facing the Mall where almost everyone tries to go and one on the back side of the building. Many museums have side entrances as well. A quick walk to the back of the building (the entrance NOT facing the Mall) will cut your line-waiting time at least in half, maybe more.
  2. Focus on The Less Popular Museums in the Middle Of the Day. The Air and Space Museum is amazing. You should definitely go to it, but try to do it when it first opens. Then, when the peak of the day comes, you can head to the Gallery of Art or the National Museum of The American Indian (my favorite). There will still be plenty of people in these museums in the height of the summer travel season, but we found there were significantly less than at Air and Space and the History Museum.
  3. For Crying Out Loud, Drink Water. Bring your own, buy some at the outdoor vendors that surround the Mall, or even buy some in the museums (supporting the free Smithsonian museums is something I never mind doing), but do stay hydrated! There are some water fountains in the museums, but you could have a real problem on your hands if you don’t focus on hydration.
  4. BONUS TIP: Please check your luggage at your hotel. No one wants you holding up the line while you try to take your suitcase and carry-on through security.

Have you ever gone to a popular destination in the middle of summer? Do you have any tips?

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