It is a hat-wearing, scarf-wrapping, see-your-breath kind of day. That includes arctic weather we haven't seen the likes of in two years.
"It's just cold," says Mary Dutch. "I'm sorry, I'm not going to curse on TV, but it's a little cold."
The average temperature for this time of year is 43 degrees, but today it barely got out of the low 20s.
"It's actually the kind of cold that cuts through your clothes," says Aron Soloman of Toronto. "I've got a Canadian winter jacket on, a scarf and a hat and you still feel it. I've got wool pants. Nothing keeps you warm today."
First-time mom Lauren Higgens was worried about bringing her three-month-old baby girl out in the elements.
"She's all wrapped up, she's got lots of layers on and she's next to my body so I'm hoping my body heat is keeping her warm, too," says Higgens.
Wind chills in the single digits are brutal for people who work outside, especially if they're not fully prepared.
"If I had known it was going to be this cold I would have worn a base layer. Usually I wear a silk liner but the temperature dropped like 30 degrees overnight so I wasn't really ready for this weather," says Uriah Simonton, an electrician.
The Cardinal Plaza Shell service station in Springfield was busy well into the evening.
Some people and a lot of cars don't like the cold.
Chris Chagnon, the manager of the Shell station, said low temperatures can affect you cooling system, batteries and tires.
"Tires will lose somewhere between eight and nine pounds for every degree of temperature change," Chagnon explained.
Karen Thobin was one of the many people who pulled into the station due to plummeting tire pressure.
"Well, you know, it was down to 25, and so I had to zip it up. So I'm glad I came tonight," Thobin said.
A few Brazilian tourists weren't ready for the sudden drop in temperatures either. They found a street vendor and bought what they could to stay warm.
"It's not nice, especially for us that we are not accustomed to this kind of weather," says Romeu Zema.
Some seem immune to the cold and embrace the opportunity to play. For some, the work must go on, from cleaning up the National Mall to leading tourists on a three-hour tour.
Grace Morrow wore four pairs of pants, six shirts, a sweater, jacket, scarves and two pairs of mittens to stay warm.
Many D.C. landmarks were still crowded with visitors trying to grab one more peek at history before heading home.
Tourists from the warmth of Texas to the cold of Chicago stood together to get the most out of their visit to the nation's capital.
The cherry blossoms bring thoughts of warmer days, but today, observing history may provide enough warmth to keep people happy on a cold January day, even though a few more natural layers of protection wouldn't hurt.