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Old Feb 2, 12, 3:12 pm   #1
 
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Labor Day in DC

How busy is Washington DC on Labour Day weekend in general?
We are thinking of staying just before Labour Day and either travelling to Boston on Labour Day or the day after.
How bad will the Smithsonian museums be compared to a normal weekend?
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Old Feb 2, 12, 7:15 pm   #2
 
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I'd say less busy than an average weekend. Many locals will flee the city for the beaches (last holiday weekend of the summer) or other places. Kinda late for the family crowd to vacation in D.C. I find many of the 3 day weekends like that -- the city proper is relatively empty.
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Old Feb 3, 12, 6:36 am   #3
 
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all roads leading to dc are terrible(out of dc also). the city is pretty quiet.
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Old Feb 5, 12, 1:47 pm   #4
 
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all roads leading to dc are terrible(out of dc also). the city is pretty quiet.
Avoid I-95 at all cost. Full stop.
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Old Feb 5, 12, 8:02 pm   #5
 
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Avoid I-95 at all cost. Full stop.
Yes, but this is always true.
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Old Feb 5, 12, 8:06 pm   #6
 
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Yes, but this is always true.
Not always. I made the drive from Philadelphia to DC yesterday in less than 2.5 hours...
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Old Feb 6, 12, 9:23 am   #7
 
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The museums will be hit-or-miss, and a lot of that will depend on the weather. There tend to be activities on the Mall on most summer weekends, everything from charity runs/walks to protests to festivals, and if it's a very hot day, or there's a pop-up thundershower, the folks on the Mall tend to take cover in the museums. Tourism is generally down for that weekend but we do get a fair number of rallies/marches over Labor Day weekend.

DC public schools start up before Labor Day, as do many of the suburbs, so we do not see the mass exodus for the last hurrah summer weekend over Labor Day weekend-- generally that's the weekend before--- even though it's a 3-day weekend, parents don't want their kids to miss an extra day so soon in the school year, and don't want to suffer through Route 50 beach traffic for such a short trip. So there are a lot more locals in town than one might expect, which goes back to "if the weather's bad, they'll all be looking for something to do indoors." Air and Space Museum often has the biggest crowds (kids love it).

If you are driving to Boston I'd leave on Tuesday (Sept. 4 this year) and not try to hit the road till 10-11am; if you're flying I don't see it as mattering too much although fares do tend to be higher if you fly on the holiday Monday.
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Old Feb 6, 12, 11:08 am   #8
 
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If you are driving to Boston I'd leave on Tuesday (Sept. 4 this year) and not try to hit the road till 10-11am; if you're flying I don't see it as mattering too much although fares do tend to be higher if you fly on the holiday Monday.
In general, DC is a quasi-ghost town over Memorial Day, July 4th, and Labor Day weekends. Most people in the metro area head out to the beaches or at least to somewhere not as swampy and humid. I'd also second the recommendation to avoid I-95 like the plague on that Monday as all the beach and tourist traffic will be on the highway.
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Old Feb 6, 12, 3:16 pm   #9
 
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Thankfully we're not going to drive to Boston but take the Amtrak Acela service but thanks for your replies as it's definately put DC back in the trip planner.
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Old Feb 8, 12, 3:36 am   #10
 
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Originally Posted by IaninDC View Post
In general, DC is a quasi-ghost town over Memorial Day, July 4th, and Labor Day weekends. Most people in the metro area head out to the beaches or at least to somewhere not as swampy and humid.
This is decidedly NOT true about the Fourth of July. Between the reading of the Declaration of Independence at the Archives and accompanying parade, the Smithsonian Folk Festival on the Mall and the fireworks at night, it is one of the busiest times in DC. Not quite as crowded as the Cherry Blossom Festival but pretty damn close.
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Old Feb 8, 12, 10:06 am   #11
 
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Originally Posted by mhnadel View Post
This is decidedly NOT true about the Fourth of July. Between the reading of the Declaration of Independence at the Archives and accompanying parade, the Smithsonian Folk Festival on the Mall and the fireworks at night, it is one of the busiest times in DC. Not quite as crowded as the Cherry Blossom Festival but pretty damn close.
Yes, but since they banned booze on the National Mall some time in the late 90s, the numbers have been getting smaller. Plus, these are day-tripper tourists for the fireworks, etc. On the days preceding the Fourth, DC is fairly empty. Then again, I've been living in the city for 20 years now and could just be well used to ignoring the tourists.
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Old Feb 15, 12, 2:21 pm   #12
 
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Originally Posted by IaninDC View Post
In general, DC is a quasi-ghost town over Memorial Day, July 4th, and Labor Day weekends.
DC's a ghost town over Memorial Day... oh yeah except for those 900,000 guys on motorcycles.... http://www.rollingthundermotorcyclerally.com/

If you're an actual resident going to away-from-the-Mall neighborhoods, it can be quiet, but any tourist and half the people who didn't go out of town will be on the Mall on any of those holidays (on Labor Day the half of the residents who didn't go out of town and don't go to the Mall will be at my neighborhood Target, buying whatever got missed on their Back to School lists). The rest of DC may be tumblin' tumbleweeds but the Mall will be hopping.
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Old Feb 15, 12, 2:30 pm   #13
 
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Thankfully we're not going to drive to Boston but take the Amtrak Acela service but thanks for your replies as it's definately put DC back in the trip planner.
That is a long train ride. Why not fly?

DC over Labor Day weekend will not be outrageously busy. Most people try to avoid DC in August through Labor Day, so you will have fewer residents and fewer locals than usual.
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Old Feb 20, 12, 4:22 pm   #14
 
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Originally Posted by dcpatti View Post
DC's a ghost town over Memorial Day... oh yeah except for those 900,000 guys on motorcycles.... http://www.rollingthundermotorcyclerally.com/.
It isn't 900,000. I think it's 1/3 that size. And those 300,000 or so motorcycles scare the hell out of all the other tourists, causing them to not visit during Memorial Day weekend. And I'm lucky that I live in the U Street/Dupont area in that most of these motorcycle tourists don't really bother with my 'hood.
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