Surviving Tourist Season in D.C.

The cherry blossoms are set to peak today. The National Cherry Blossom Festival began yesterday. It’s officially springtime. All of these events coinciding in one week typically mean only one thing in D.C. — tourists. Late March and early April is peak tourist season in Washington. And it’s no steady flow of tourists, rather a groundswell of Rocket Power-style shoobies. Luckily for those of you heading out around town, we’re looking out for you. Follow these tips on making this year’s tourist season as stress-free as possible.

1. Pick a different running route. Yeah, I know, the monuments are beautiful with the cherry blossoms around the tidal basin. And that breeze coming off the river cools you down during your warm afternoon run. But, large families with strollers, people walking slowly and giant tour buses will get in the way of your normally stress-relieving run to the monuments. So, pick a different route. Jog along the Capitol Crescent trail, through Rock Creek Park or along the George Washington Trail across the Key Bridge.

2. Avoid 33rd Street between M and Prospect. More tourists means more customers at D.C.’s most famous cupcake establishment.  Somehow there are more customers lining up outside of Georgetown Cupcake with queues that may extend all the way up 33rd and around the corner onto Prospect. If you need to go to M Street, just avoid the queue and take 34th. If you really need a cupcake, hopefully you know by now that  there are plenty of other cupcake establishments in the neighborhood.

3. Take this opportunity to explore other parts of D.C. The Mall, Capitol Hill, and areas around the White House may be overcrowded, but the same isn’t true for Adams Morgan, U Street or Dupont Circle. Check out our own Kyle Short’s D.C. Ramblings series for more ideas on exploring these less touristy areas.

4. If you do plan to visit the monuments and museums, be knowledgeable about the area. Bathrooms and water are in short supply outside. Lines are long. The museums are more crowded than ever. So, make sure that you know where all of the necessary amenities are. It’s helpful both for dealing with tourists’ questions and for knowing where to go yourself when nature calls.

5. Respect the District. As DCist reminded us, many tourists (and residents) do not. Set a good example for those who are visiting the District for the first time. AKA – don’t do what the kids in this post’s picture are doing. PLEASE.

6. Look happy for Georgetown tour groups. More visitors to the District means more visitors to our lovely campus. We go to a great school. It’s beautiful outside. (Hopefully) you’re having a blast in your college experience. Show that to potential future applicants.

7. Look for alternative modes of transportation. Tourists love the Metro, and, especially during the Cherry Blossoms, gobs of them will be getting off at the Smithsonian stop. If you, too, want to go there, look at less popular modes of transportation — Metrobus and Capital Bikeshare are great choices (and they don’t take you underground). If you’re going to Metro, make sure you have a fully-loaded SmarTrip Card in order to avoid the lines at farecard stations.

Photo credit: DCist 

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