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Before air conditioning Washington was deserted from mid-June to September . . . But [now] Congress sits and sits while the presidents - or at least their staffs - never stop making mischief.
Gore Vidal, Armageddon: Essays 1983-1987
The local climate isn't great, it has to be said - often unbearably hot and humid in summer and bitterly cold in winter. It's claimed, with some measure of truth, that such an inauspicious spot was picked precisely to discourage early elected leaders from making government a full-time job. The advent of widespread air-conditioning during the 1950s alleviated matters, though, and as long as you're suitably kitted out for venturing outdoors you'll encounter few periods when sightseeing becomes unpleasant. Best times to visit are spring, early summer and fall, when the weather is at its most benign; there's usually snow (occasionally severe) in January and February, while late summer (July and August) is too hot and humid. Whenever you come, bring suitable, comfortable shoes - there's a lot of walking to be done.