Visit DC During Government Shutdown (What’s STILL Open) | (UPDATED January 2019)

Looking for what to do in DC during the government shut down?

While some sites will be closed, you can still visit DC during government shutdown! WE’RE STILL OPEN! The city doesn’t shut and in fact, there are often special events and discounts accommodate all the visitors locked out of museums.

THIS PAGE WILL BE UPDATED AS MORE INFORMATION IS AVAILABLE! – updated Jan 14, 2019

Think of this as a way to see the lesser known side of DC and sites that are often, sadly, skipped over. Some of the best places in DC are the smaller historic house museums.

Have a school/youth group visiting? Contact us for discounted private tours if the government shut downs so your group can still enjoy their trip.

If you’re visiting any of our other cities, see more below about what is closed/open in Philadelphia, New York, New Orleans, Chicago, Boston, Charleston and San Francisco below.

ALL of our tours will run as normal with little to no affect whatsoever.


WHAT WILL BE CLOSED DURING THE GOVERNMENT SHUT DOWN


  • All Smithsonian Museums and National Zoo are now closed.
  • National Archives
  • National Arboretum
  • Fords Theatre *performances still running, Aftermath Exhibits open 930am-5pm*
  • Kennedy Center will see no tours and reduced hours but performances will be unaffected.
  • White House Visitor Center
  • National Gallery of Art
  • The Washington Monument and Arlington House have been closed for renovations. The International Spy Museum has closed for a planned move. Tudor Place is closed every January but will reopen in February regardless of shutdown.

More importantly, WHAT IS OPEN IN DC DURING A SHUTDOWN?


FREE THINGS TO DO DURING THE SHUTDOWN

Since this is a partial shutdown, some federal buildings remain open. The sites below are open and admission is FREE. You’ll find a number of other recommended attractions, museums and historic sites listed farther below that have admission prices (but we think they are worth it!)

Memorials on the National Mall

Every memorial will still be open to visitors. All of our tours are running as normal! Hop on Hop Off Bus Tours are still running.

Despite shutdown, sidewalks maintained by the NPS will be treated and shoveled during snow storms.

Some restrooms, ranger stations, gift shops and museums will be closed but you’ll still be able to visit the memorials as normal.

There are some open restrooms located at:

  • WWII Memorial
  • Lincoln Memorial South Side
  • Thomas Jefferson Memorial

Arlington National Cemetery

Arlington National Cemetery will remain open and our Arlington Cemetery walking tours were still able to operate.


MUSEUMS AND ATTRACTIONS OPEN DURING THE SHUTDOWN

The below locations remain open during the shutdown as they are privately funded. There is an admission cost but we think its worth it!

Mount Vernon

Mount Vernon, George Washington’s home, is a private institution and is unaffected by the shutdown!

Washington National Cathedral

Washington National Cathedral is always worth a visit and will remain open. Though it has the word National in its name, it is not government funded.

You can also visit the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and Saint John Paul II National Shrine.

Private Museums and Historic Homes

Private museums and historic homes that require tickets will be open as normal as they are not government funded like the Smithsonians.

Museums: government shutdown

Art Museums:

Historic Sites:

The Bars!

A lot of folks here in DC work for the government, so if it’s shutdown, they are at home so restaurants and bars often open early and have special discounts.


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Since many attractions in Washington DC are federal there are a lot of closures, but some federal sites in other cities may be affected as well. OUR TOURS WILL STILL RUN!

PHILADELPHIA

  • Independence Mall will be closed. You will still be able to discuss and view the sites from outside so our Independence Mall tour will run as normal, but you will not be able to enter.

NEW YORK

  • Statue of Liberty – it is currently operating with state funding and is open.
  • Cooper Hewitt Design Museum (The Smithsonian Museums will remain open (and including) January 01, 2019. It will close on January 2, 2019 until the government opens)
  • National Museum of the Native American (this is a Smithsonian and may close if funds do not cover opening past shutdown. More will be announced if the shutdown occurs) (The Smithsonian Museums will remain open (and including) January 01, 2019. It will close on January 2, 2019 until the government opens)

BOSTON

  • The current belief is that National Park sites will close but exterior portions will remain open so while you’re still be able to take our Freedom Trail tour, you won’t be able to go inside any of the historic buildings that are run by the National Park Services.

SAN FRANCISCO

  • Alcatraz, Golden Gate Bridge Visitor Center, the Presidio, and Muir Woods are currently open but operating under limited staff. There are no Behind the Scenes or Night Tours at Alcatraz and some guest services, like bathrooms, at National Park Sites are not open.

CHARLESTON

  • Fort Sumter
  • Fort Moultrie on Sullivan’s Island
  • All State Parks including Charles Towne Landing & the Angel Oak Park
  • The Yorktown Aircraft Carrier & Museum