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November or December ?

Level Contributor
108 posts
24 reviews
November or December ?

Hi everyone and thanks in advance for your time.

Was looking to visit solo from the UK in Sept' or Oct' for a week of sightseeing etc, but boy how expensive. So now looking at coming after Nov' 16th when the prices drop considerably. What is it like over the Thanksgiving period ( Thurs - Sun ) is it crowded with people that weekend ?, or is it worth waiting for the 1st week of December when I should imagine it all calms down again. Coming from the UK not really worried about the colder weather as long as it' not absolutely freezing, that would spoil it a bit, but I can live with cold and damp.

Once again thanks for your time.

13 replies to this topic
Washington DC...
3 posts
1. Re: November or December ?

I would strongly recommend waiting until after Thanksgiving to be honest if cost is your main driver - the weather won't be too much different.

If you can, might be worth arriving before, and leaving after, Thanksgiving - that way you can enjoy the atmosphere at that time, and see the parade etc too

Edited: 26 April 2018, 18:18
Destination Expert
for Las Vegas, Washington DC, County Donegal, Western Ireland
Level Contributor
61,963 posts
48 reviews
2. Re: November or December ?

“and see the parade etc too”

DC has a parade?

Falls Church...
Level Contributor
3,537 posts
7 reviews
3. Re: November or December ?

Airports and train stations will be busy around Thanksgiving but the city itself won't be so bad. It might even seem slower than usual because so many workers take time off.

Museums and monuments will be open on Thanksgiving but restaurants might not be (or doing specific thanksgiving meals).

Level Contributor
397 posts
1 review
4. Re: November or December ?

I'd go with the first week of December just because the holiday events will be starting.

I imagine hotels will be less expensive around Thanksgiving but airfare may be higher.

washington dc
Level Contributor
4,820 posts
4 reviews
5. Re: November or December ?

If you're not limiting yourself to hotels, there are hundreds of good vacation rental options for as little as $125.00 per night (or less if you are willing to have just a private room in a shared place on Airbnb.) As a solo traveler, you might especially enjoy this option.

9 posts
6. Re: November or December ?

I'm returning to DC in November and staying at a hostel for $25 a night. Many hotels are available for around $100 that time of year. Best to reserve one early.

Destination Expert
for Baltimore
Level Contributor
5,760 posts
22 reviews
7. Re: November or December ?

I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss coming for the long Thanksgiving weekend if you find the airfares to be reasonable. I can't say this with authority, but unlike domestic flights, international ones to/from the U.S. might not be subject to the demand-based domestic pricing we see preceding and following the holiday. Hotel prices over the period are likely the lowest you'll ever see in D.C.; that might offset the sting of airfare in the event that's higher than normal.

On the actual Thursday holiday, visiting the Smithsonian museums is a no-brainer IMHO. The memorials are open 24/7/365, but you won't be able to get a discussion/tour from a park ranger. Plenty of restaurants will be open serving their regular menus, in addition to those serving only special fixed-price Thanksgiving dinners. You won't go hungry, nor will you go broke with the only options being pricey holiday buffets.

With the understanding that every government building with a tour will be closed on Thursday, the only concern in my mind would be potential closures on Friday of venues on your to-do list. The popular Bureau of Engraving & Printing and Capitol tours are usually open that day--the White House might not be. Friday is a *very* packed day for touring as local residents tend to direct their out-of-town guests into the city. It's also the traditional start of the retail holiday shopping season ("Black Friday"); some enjoy while others detest the thought of dealing with crowds to snare a huge bargain.

Edited: 27 April 2018, 16:06
St Bees, United...
Level Contributor
718 posts
91 reviews
8. Re: November or December ?


I visited just before Thanksgiving last year (18-22/11) and found it a great time to visit. Hotel prices did seem to drop for that period when I started first planning my trip (I got a very good deal at Club Quarters DC).

Although there were lots of other people around during the day, I didn't feel anywhere was especially busy and it was pretty quiet around the monuments and White House in the evenings. The weather was milder than expected so I did spend a lot of time outside walking around to make the most of it but the museums I did visit weren't too crowded and no queues in those with security checks.

Centerville, Ohio
Level Contributor
14,347 posts
3,388 reviews
9. Re: November or December ?

We have decades of experience with mid November and December DC visits.

Several National Conferences schedule conventions in order to take advantage of steep reductions in Rack Rates.

We encourage a visit at these times.

Washington DC
Level Contributor
4,205 posts
64 reviews
10. Re: November or December ?

I would definitely come in November if you have a choice. Don't see any advantage to December, weather could just get worse.

I don't know why airfare would be more expensive at Thanksgiving, it might be within the US but I wouldn't think it would be from UK to DC. It's always cheaper to fly on the holiday itself though, as I often fly on Thanksgiving to go to MExico, and it is cheaper than the day before.

A lot of people think DC is busy at Thanksgiving for some reason, it isn't some big Thanksgiving destination at all. NYC is, though, due to their parade.

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