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How is the Weather in Washington DC in January?

Updated: January 31, 2024

This post is an overview of the DC weather in January, with tips on how to dress and things to do to help make the most of your trip. 

Weather in January in DC


The month of January is the coldest month of the year in the nation’s capital with morning low temperatures mostly in the mid to upper 20s F (-2 to -3C) with afternoon highs in the low to mid-40s F (6 to 7C).

Average DC Temperatures in January

On the coldest mornings expect morning lows can dip down into the mid-teens (about -8C).

About 1 in 10 days will see lows at or just below zero F (-18C).

On the other hand, a few of the warmer afternoons can reach up into the upper 50sf (14-15C).


Generally, you can expect about 14 days of sunny or at least partly sunny conditions with about 16 days being mostly cloudy.

Precipitation normally falls on 9-10 days this month with significant precipitation of 0.5 inches (13mm) or more falling only on 2-3 days. 

DC January Weather Calendar

About 3 days this month will see measurable snow and about 1 or 2 of these will record snowfall amounts of 1 inch (about 2.5 cm) or more.  

Snowfalls of 3 inches (about 7.6 cm) or higher occur about once every other year.


Be sure to read our post on what to wear and pack in DC for advice all year round on DC weather and how to prepare for it.

Disclosure: While our recommendations are always unbiased, we may receive a small share of sales through some of the links as an Amazon Affiliate below at no cost to you. See the full text.

Most days will require winter clothing, though there will be some days when you're going to want a lighter jacket.

We've made a list below of our recommendations to pack for DC in January:

1. Heavy Jacket or Coat

For the occasional snow days, you're going to want something like this nice wool peacoat from Nautica.

It's heavy enough for walking the monuments outside but stylish enough to go straight to dinner at a nice place. 

2. Lighter Jacket 

During some of the warmer days, you may just need a medium weight coat like these from Columbia, which is waterproof and comes in great colors. 

3. Comfortable Walking Shoes

We like these comfortable waterproof walking boots from Merrell to take a winter walking tour in. 

4. Umbrella

A compact travel umbrella is easy to pack and will come in handy for wet days.

What to Wear in DC in January

With so many great museums, you'll have plenty of time inside but even the monuments and memorials.

Almost all have visitor centers and bookstores to warm up in and there are a few refreshments stands along the way that serves coffee and hot chocolate.


Below are 10 top things to do in DC in January.

Be sure to read our full post on what to do in DC in January, which includes free things to do, night and family-friendly activities and attractions, as well as our definitive post on the best things to do in DC.

And if you are planning on visiting many of DC’s top attractions, then you should consider a tourist discount pass.

These passes could save you up to 50% of retail ticket prices to tours, attractions, and restaurants. 

  1. Check out a hockey or basketball game.
  2. Go to a concert.
  3. See a musical like Come From Away or Cats.
  4. Save money with a DC attraction pass.
  5. Take the family ice skating.
  6. Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr
  7. Sample delicious food during DC Restaurant Week.
  8. Take a tour of a public building.
  9. Laugh at a stand-up comedy show.
  10. Take the kids to see Paw Patrol Live.

Be sure to check out all the top things to do in January in our main post.

Seasonal Outlook - January to March 2024 Washington, DC

There is an 80% chance for normal to above normal temperatures with near normal precipitation.

About The Author

Fred Pickhardt

Fred is a marine meteorologist and sailed briefly with American Export Lines in the Far East trade. He has extensive experience in weather analysis, weather forecasting, and forensic weather event reconstructions. Fred founded Ocean Weather Services and currently provides forensic marine weather reports to the maritime industry.
Updated: January 31st, 2024
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