What is Open in Washington DC?

If you are a tourist coming to DC, the most important question to ask is surely, what is open in Washington DC?  So, first of all, let me reassure you that almost everything has reopened by now.  It’s not overly crowded in Washington DC right now, so it’s a good time to visit to appreciate the city without the crowds. This information is updated as of August 4, 2022. We hope that everything that is currently closed will be reopening this spring or summer.


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Are the Monuments and Memorials Open?

Yes.  All the monuments and memorials are open 24 hours a day. Furthermore, the visitors’ centers at the memorials are all open, and each monument has a bathroom that is open during daytime and early evening hours. Update:  Visitors can now get tickets to go up the Washington Monument!


Lincoln Memorial Tour

Is the Lincoln Memorial Open?

Yes. The Lincoln Memorial is open 24 hours a day. For those with walking difficulties or who are disabled, the elevator to the inner sanctum is now open until 10:00 PM.

Is the Washington Monument Open?

You can visit the base of the Washington Monument 24 hours a day. There are lovely views from here in all directions.  The Washington Monument is now open to visitors to go up the elevator to the observation deck. Tickets for the Washington Monument are available from reservation.gov. All tickets become available at exactly 10:00 AM for a timed entry on the next day. You must either click on the recreation.gov site at exactly 10:00 AM or call the phone number 1-877-444-6777 at exactly 10:00 AM. Competition is very fierce.  Wait until 10:01 AM, and you have no chance. Also, free same day tickets are available from behind the Washington Monument Lodge. Timed tickets for entry are distributed at 8:45 AM. You should be on line at 7:45 AM in order to feel safe that you will indeed get a ticket before they run out. Once the ticket window opens, the tickets are all quickly distributed.


Cherry blossoms at the Washington Monument

Are the Smithsonian Museums Open?

Unless otherwise mentioned below, all Smithsonian museums in Washington DC have reopened. Only the Smithsonian African American History and Culture Museum requires advance tickets. The National Gallery of Art is also now open with no tickets needed.

These Smithsonian museums in Washington DC  have restricted opening hours:

  1. The National Air and Space Museum has been closed for renovation since March, 2022. The announced reopening date is October 14, 2022. The alternative is to go to the Udvar Hazy Center (a large annex) in Chantilly, Virginia, which is open daily 10:00 AM to 5:30 PM.  
  2. Smithsonian Museums are now open 7 days a week again.

All museums except three are open to full capacity and do not require any advance tickets to enter. Most museums are closed on certain days of the week now, so check the Smithsonian website to see which museums are closed on any given day. The three that still require tickets to avoid overcrowding are:

  1. African American History and Culture Museum tickets  They put tickets up on the site 30 days out, and they also have some same day tickets available at 8:15 AM each day. If you want a same-day ticket, you must be ready to click at 8:15 AM sharp. By 8:16 AM, these will likely all be gone.
  2. National Zoo tickets. Go onto the site.  It’s pretty easy to reserve free next day tickets.  Same day tickets on a weekend might be tight. But, they do give you an option to purchase a parking pass which includes same day tickets for everyone inside a given vehicle. Parking is $30.
  3. Holocaust Museum tickets  The Holocaust Museum is not part of the Smithsonian Institution. It is a separate website. You can reserve tickets for the future. Also, there are some limited same day tickets made available at 7:00 AM each day. Better be ready to click on the link at exactly 7:00 AM.

All outdoor gardens and areas on the National Mall belonging to the Smithsonian remain open, including the Haupt Garden, the Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden, and the Butterfly Walk.

Is the National Zoo Open?

The National Zoo is open. A free pass is required for entry. Passes are no longer timed and are usually easy to get. If you drive to the zoo, there is a paid parking lot. If you park, your party does not require timed passes to go in. 

Is the National Gallery of Art Open?

The National Gallery of Art is open daily. No passes are required. 


National Gallery of Art

Is the Holocaust Museum Open?

The Holocaust Museum is open. Free timed passes are available in advance. A limited offer of same day tickets becomes available on the website every day at 7:00 AM on the dot. Don’t try at 7:01 AM or you will probably miss out. If capacity is not full, same day tickets will be available for walk-ups starting at 11:00 AM. 

Other Museums in Washington DC Open Now

The Spy Museum is now open 7 days a week. Weekdays from 9:00 AM -6:00 PM, and on weekends they close at 7:00 PM. It’s advisable to purchase advance tickets to the Spy Museum on their website.

The Museum of the Bible is now open daily from 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM. Entry tickets to the Museum of the Bible can be purchased online. Adult tickets cost $19.99.

The National Building Museum is open from Friday-Monday 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Adult tickets cost $10

Planet Word Museum is open from Wednesday through Sunday 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM. Entry tickets by donation. 

The Phillips Collection is now open from Tuesday – Sunday 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM. Timed passes required. Masks still required for entry. Entry is $16

The National Museum for Women in the Arts is currently closed for renovations.

Is Arlington Cemetery Open?

Arlington Cemetery is now open for visitors daily from 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM, including the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. There is parking available. The Arlington Cemetery Metro is nearby.

Is Mount Vernon Open?

Yes. Mount Vernon is open daily from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

Is the US Capitol Visitors Center Open?

No. Due to Congressional fears of imminent death from Covid, the US Capitol Visitors Center remains closed until further notice  Representatives and Senators, however, are free to intermingle with lobbyists and donors at large indoor campaign events mask-free.

Is the Library of Congress Open?

Yes, open every day but Monday. Free timed passes for the Libary of Congress are required.


Library of Congress

Is the National Archives Open?

Yes. The National Archives is open with limited capacity. Reservations are no longer required. If busy, however, you may have to wait on line to get in.

Is the Ford’s Theater Open?

Yes.  The Ford’s Theater reopened on May 12.  Free online tickets to the Ford’s Theater are suggested. Otherwise, go in person to pickup same-day tickets. Website currently says vaccine or negative Covid test required for entry as well as masks. However, this may be just a failure to update the website.

Is the Bureau of Engraving and Printing Open?

No.  The Bureau of Engraving and Printing is closed until further notice due to the ongoing pandemic. 

Is the Old Post Office Tower Open?

Yes!  The Old Post Office is now open daily 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM. And, it’s free. No tickets. No waiting. Just go right up. Entrance is from the 12th Street side.

Is the United States Botanic Garden Open?

Yes. Open daily 10:00 to 5:00 PM.

National Mall tour

Is the National Arboretum Open?

Yes.  The outdoor areas of the National Arboretum are all open daily from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Indoor areas, including the Bonsai exhibit are now open.

Is the National Cathedral Open?

National Cathedral is now open.  Tickets to the National Cathedral can be bought in advance or when you walk up.  Religious services and private worship are free.   

Are Tours Operating in Washington DC?

Some tour operators have returned to offering tours around Washington DC. If you would like a private tour around all the memorials, the very best tour of Washington DC is offered by Nonpartisan Pedicab.

Private Tours of the National Mall

Vaccine Requirements at the Smithsonian Museum

Proof of vaccination and obligatory masking are no longer required at the Smithsonian Museum.

The Phillips Gallery requires masking.

The Ford’s Theater website says they require either a vaccine card or a negative Covid test for performances, but it is implied that for a standard visit this is not necessary. 

Mask Requirements at the Smithsonian Museum

Masking is no longer obligatory in the Smithsonian or almost any other indoor space in Washington DC. Masking is no longer required on the Metro.


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