How Safe Is Washington DC for Travel?

Washington DC, United States
Safety Index:
56

 Flag : Safety by City

United States - safety as a country - state review

A world-class metropolis that is only fitting for the capital of the United States, Washington, D.C. is the seat of America’s three branches of government, as well as the federal district of the U.S.

The city has an unmatched amount of free, public museums you can visit and it’s the base of the nation’s most loved memorials and monuments, like the Washington Monument or the famous Lincoln Memorial.

The vistas on the National Mall between the Capitol, Washington Monument, White House, and Lincoln Memorial are worldly famous as pillars of the world’s wealthiest nation.

Washington D.C., however, isn’t only a political and cultural center of America.

No, it has everything a tourist might want to experience: a bunch of shopping, dining, and nightlife opportunities of a class you’d expect in the American capital.

Warnings & Dangers in Washington DC

Overall Risk

OVERALL RISK : MEDIUM

Washington D.C. is overall very safe to travel to, with some dangerous areas and spots where you might feel uneasy. However, the criminal activities that occur only apply to dangerous parts of the city, which are rarely frequented by tourists.

Transport & Taxis Risk

TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW

Washington D.C. has safe and convenient public transport, though you shouldn't let your guard down. Be extremely vigilant while on public transport and don't linger around the bus, railway and metro stations.

Pickpockets Risk

PICKPOCKETS RISK : MEDIUM

Pickpockets and purse snatching can be an issue in crowded places and public transport, as well as in some dangerous neighborhoods. It is wise to watch your belongings while on public transport or in crowded places.

Natural Disasters Risk

NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : LOW

Occasional natural threats exist in the form of occasional strong blizzards and snowstorms that have been known to hit Washington D.C.

Mugging Risk

MUGGING RISK : MEDIUM

Muggings can be a problem in the neighborhoods of Shaw, Adams Morgan, and Near Northeast and the area around the Gallery Place-Chinatown Metro station. These are areas that are frequented by tourists after dark as this is where the nightlife happens. Don't avoid them, just be careful around them.

Terrorism Risk

TERRORISM RISK : LOW

Excluding isolated shootings, Washington D.C. hasn't been the target of any terrorist attacks recently, but the attacks shouldn't be ruled out. Be aware of your surroundings at all times.

Scams Risk

SCAMS RISK : LOW

Just like in other tourist destinations, there will be people trying to scam you in Washington, D.C, too. Homeless people can turn aggressive if you refuse to give them money. Be wary of anyone trying to distract you, flashing large signs in front of you or ATMs that look like they've been tampered with.

Women Travelers Risk

WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW

Washington D.C. is very safe for female solo travelers. Following basic precaution measures should completely minimize the chances of anything going wrong.

So... How Safe Is Washington DC Really?

Back in 1991, Washington was known as the “murder capital”, with an extremely high number of homicides annually.

However, these numbers have dropped significantly, and as a tourist, you are highly unlikely to experience anything similar to a violent crime. Generally, in the U.S. chance murders don’t happen that often.

Those who have been victims of homicides have known their killer for a long time before the crime.

The crime that goes on in Washington D.C. is usually confined to certain dangerous neighborhoods and individuals that know each other from the streets.

All tourists should take the usual precaution measures, just as they would in any other city or their hometown. This means avoiding dark alleyways any communication with unknown people.

You should, by all means, stay informed on which neighborhoods should be avoided due to heightened criminal activities and avoid those neighborhoods.

As for crimes of property theft, they are an issue in the nightlife-centered neighborhoods of Shaw, Adams Morgan, and Near Northeast and the area around the Gallery Place-Chinatown Metro station.

This is not to say that you should avoid them: it would be a real shame.

Still, remain vigilant when moving around these neighborhoods.

Bear in mind to not use your mobile phones as liberally as you would someplace else because they are a very popular snatch-and-grab item around the Metro stations and on the trains.

How Does Washington DC Compare?

CitySafety Index
Washington DC56
Baltimore56
Boston67
Detroit56
New York City67
Calgary (Canada)82
Buenos Aires (Argentina)60
Vancouver (Canada)82

Useful Information

  • Visas - The US is famous for its harsh policy for acquiring a tourist, let alone a resident visa. The US embassies usually ask for interviews before granting tourist visas, and tourists usually have to pay up to 160 USD to get a visa. If you are not sure about your visa status, visit www.doyouneedvisa.com which will let you know whether or not you need visa based on your nationality and the country you want to visit.
  • Currency - The United States dollar is the official currency in Washington D.C. Credit and debit cards are accepted nearly everywhere, and ATMs are widely available. The prices vary but you can plan on spending about 100 dollars per day.
  • Weather - The weather in Washington D.C. is very pleasant mostly during the spring and fall. The northerly subtropical climate results in cool breezes and moderate temperatures and, of course, the cherry blossoms. You can experience the cherry blossom walk around the Tidal Basin during this period. Winter temperatures are also relatively mild, with occasional snow. However, summer is not the best time to visit as it's very hot and very humid due to humidity.
  • Airports - Washington Dulles International Airport is an international airport in the eastern United States. It is located in Loudoun and Fairfax counties in Virginia, 42 km west of downtown Washington, D.C.
  • Travel Insurance - Just like anywhere else, we recommend getting travel insurance when traveling to Washington D.C, since it covers not only the costs of medical problems but also theft and loss of valuables.
Click here to get an offer for travel insurance

Washington DC Weather Averages (Temperatures)

Jan 1° C
Feb 3° C
Mar 8° C
Apr 13° C
May 19° C
Jun 23° C
Jul 26° C
Aug 25° C
Sep 21° C
Oct 15° C
Nov 9° C
Dec 4° C
Choose Temperature Unit

Average High/Low Temperature

Temperature / MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
High
°C
681319252931312721159
Low
°C
-4-327121720191583-1
High
°F
434655667784888881705948
Low
°F
252736455463686659463730

Where to Next?

20 Reviews on Washington DC

  1. I live in DC. Stay away from South East DC and you should be fine. There is no reason for tourists to visit the South East part anyway.

    1. What area is that?
      Were coming up there on vacation in October what areas should we stay away from?

    2. A
      Anonymous says:

      Cool city

      You realize parts of Cap Hill are in SE, right? All of SE isn’t dangerous, there’s a Whole Foods on MLK now LOL. You must be a transplant.

  2. C
    Charles Stephens says:

    DC is a violent City without police protection.

    You people are lying, I’m watching a crowd of BLM threaten people trying to enjoy their meal…No police, the people who work in the restaurant are doing nothing…and a couple just trying to enjoy their visit are threatened with violence and hate… Clean up your City DC, until then everyone should boycott…

    1. A
      Anonymous says:

      Domestic terrorism

    2. N
      Nerys Rozhenko says:

      D.C, eh.

      I mostly agree, it is pretty much domestic terrorism. Other than that I like the city, overpriced as a Capitol should be, “Uptight woke fam” as you would expect there to be. Safe enough when there isn’t any terrorism happening.

    3. D
      DC resident says:

      Good, we don’t need your kind here.

  3. T
    The DS killed Kennedy says:

    Leave before dark

    Stick to the monuments and any place where the American flag is displayed and leave before dark. Situational awareness and don’t trust blacks.
    If you get harassed at a restaurant, don’t pay. A restaurant is supposed to provide a secure environment.

    1. D
      DC Native says:

      Beware of Whites

      Actually, in Washington DC, you’re safest if you don’t trust whites.

    2. N
      N. Rozhenko says:

      Making us ALL look bad now.

  4. P
    Playfair says:

    Consider the Whole Picture

    Most tourists should not miss DC, be they museum hoppers, foodies, architecture buffs, armchair historians or people watchers. I have lived in and near DC for perhaps half my life. As a resident and commuter, I feel that the capital of the planet should have better stuff. As a tourist, I like to see everybody and everything, even neighborhoods that are “dangerous.” I am a woman of color in my sixties and not the same kind of target I might have been as a younger person. While it is true that an area can change significantly at night and it is a best practice to wind down your foray at daylight’s end, generally, if I speak the language and feel comfortable with the culture, I’ll go out in the evenings, although I will not drink alcohol or appear flimsy when I do so. You could also hire a cab or take a special tour available in DC to see the town at night. It has been my observation both here and abroad (I have visited Europe, Asia, Mexico, Africa, and 45 states) that many non-touristy neighborhoods, including the very poor, often have people who are eager to prove a bad reputation false and act as ambassadors for their part of town. There will be people in any host country/town who are hostile and others who appreciate the visit. I once had a group of skid row men jump up from their stoop and wave me away from a one-way street where someone had turned the sign the wrong way as a joke. Don’t let racism or classism waste your time or spoil your adventure. In any big city you should be aware and guard your valuables, whether resident or tourist, and be aware of the “tone” on any street you visit as well as any active political vibes.

  5. A
    Anonymous says:

    Lived in DC for past 10 years, it’s pretty safe. Just watch out for those Nazis on Cap Hill👍

  6. A
    Anonymous says:

    Who do you believe

  7. D
    DC Experincer says:

    See What it is?

    DC is relatively safe, just stay away from Brentwood, Deanwood, Anacostia, Stadium-armory and the Southeast DC quadrant. Then you should be fine. I recommend you stay in a place like somewhere near Union Station, or somewhere you think it is safe, after all, it is YOUR DECISION.
    Hope that helps!,
    DC EXPERINCER

  8. N
    Niki dom says:

    No way ,very dangerous place

    My son had is truck stolen in 1400 block of Sheridan street, a 2004 white Cadillac escalade truck . September 12-13,2021. You would not believe the bull shit we had to go through. Cops said call all these districts, could not locate vehicle .then found out my son’s tag from MD was put on a stolen car and the stolen car in a accident. The cops you had to talk to many district cops .needless to say nothing has been done ,no phone calls from cops. This is all you surreal. I wouldn’t go to dc never .avoid that place like the plague.

  9. Are you people for real?!

    We were planning a trip to DC for the Cherry Blossoms but after seeing the blatant racisms in these reviews we question our decision. We are used to people that are much more kind and open minded than this group………

    1. We’ve recently moved away from the DC area. It is NOT safe. Union Station (THE major travel hub for trains and buses) has become a homeless haven and the mall is empty of all but the homeless. Even Starbucks has left the area because they can’t keep their employees safe. The most honest thing I’ve seen in this review is that DC is just as safe as Baltimore. THAT is true. As a child, I used to ride the bus lines all over DC by myself. For the past few years I’ve avoided the city like the plague. IF you decide to visit, stay in highly populated tourist areas and make sure there is a police presence. Do not use public transport — taxis are a safer bet. Be aware of your environment and do not accidentally wander out of the safer areas. Do not flash cash. Do not make eye contact with the homeless or anyone acting oddly. Good luck

  10. I
    Isabelle says:

    A mixed bag

    Washington DC is a mixed bag in my opinion. It has areas that are very safe and some well protected ones by police. Other areas not so much. Protests can get out of hand sometimes and become unsafe so be careful if you are there and encounter one. There are some pickpockets that will try to go for your phone mostly as that’s the easiest thing they can get. Be very careful in buses as pickpockets are almost always there trying to find someone to steal from. Muggings do happen here but not as often as you’d think. Just don’t go into bad neighborhoods and don’t wander around at night alone.

    If you practice a little caution and pay attention to where you are and who is around you, you will avoid pretty much all problems. Ok, with that out of the way, there are a lot of things to do or visit in Washington. Here are a few I like:

    National Air and Space Museum – here you will find the original Wright Brothers Flyer (from 1903). This museum is filled with very important pieces of history like the Apollo 11 command module. There are also flight simulators which you can use for a fee and these allow both adults and children to experience flying.

    Washington has a lot of must-see museums, but the National Air and Space Museum should be the first you visit. Others are the National Museum of African American History and Culture, National Museum of American History, National Museum of Natural History.

    I also liked the National Zoological Park which is imho one of the better zoos in the US. seeing everything this has to offer can take the better part of a day, if you really want to experience everything.

    There’s much to see in Washington and it should be on your radar but it’s not among the top 10 places to visit in the US in my opinion.

Rated 3.5 / 5 based on 20 user reviews.

Share Your Experience