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 there are a lot of things to do in DC that are open and ready for you to visit right 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 June 11, 2021. 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. The only exception is that the interior of the Washington Monument is still closed.


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.  However, the National Park Service has not yet opened up the elevator to the observation deck.


Cherry blossoms at the Washington Monument

Are the Smithsonian Museums Open?

The Smithsonian now has opened many of their DC museums.  Those that have not yet reopened will all be reopening over the summer.  The Smithsonian and other institutions announced the following reopening schedule during May, 2021:

May 5:  Smithsonian Air and Space Museum Annex in Chantilly, Virginia

May 14: 

  1. Smithsonian African American History and Culture Museum
  2. Smithsonian American Art and Portrait Gallery
  3. Renwick Gallery
  4. National Gallery of Art West Building

May 17:

  1. Holocaust Museum

May 21:

  1. Smithsonian Museum of American History 
  2. Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian
  3. National Zoo

Announced reopening dates have been announced for the following Smithsonian Museums:

  1. Smithsonian Museum of Natural History is reopening June 18.
  2. National Museum of African Art is reopening on July 16.
  3. The Freer Gallery (National Museum of Asian Art) is reopening on July 16.
  4. The National Air and Space Museum will reopen on July 30
  5. The Smithsonian Castle will reopen on July 30.
  6. The Anacostia Community Museum will reopen on August 6.
  7. The Hirshhorn Gallery will reopen on August 20. (Take note that the Hirshhorn Gallery Sculpture Garden is already open).
  8. The Postal Museum is reopening on August 27.


Free timed passes to the Smithsonian Museums are required and the museums are only operating at 20% capacity.  The cafes will remain closed for now. On the same website, both the African American History and Culture Museum and the American History Museum are offering some same-day tickets at 8:15 AM.  Be quick if you want to scoop up these tickets.

The National Gallery is a separate institution, which also requires free timed passes. The Metropolitan Cafe and Sculpture Garden associated with the National Gallery of Art are currently open for walk-in visitors. It is generally much easier to get into the National Gallery of Art than into the Smithsonian. Even if you think you don’t like art, you will love this museum.

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 timed pass is required for entry.

Is the National Gallery of Art Open?

The National Gallery of Art West Building is open. The National Gallery of Art East Building is opening on June 18. Free timed passes to the National Gallery of Art are required and are available on the website. The National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden and the Metropolitan Cafe are open from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM daily. The East Building has not yet been reopened.


National Gallery of Art

Is the Holocaust Museum Open?

The Holocaust Museum is open. Free timed passes are available in advance. 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.

The Museum of the Bible is now open from Thursday – Monday from 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM.

The National Building Museum is open from Friday-Sunday 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

Planet Word Museum is open from Thursday – Saturday 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM.

The Phillips Collection is now open from Thursday – Sunday 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM.

The National Museum for Women in the Arts is open from Monday-Saturday 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM and on Sunday from 12:00 PM to 5:00 PM.

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 under renovation and closed until May 23, 2021.\

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. The US Capitol Visitors Center is closed until further notice.

Is the Library of Congress Open?

No. The Library of Congress is closed to visitors until further notice. There is limited access to researchers.


Library of Congress

Is the National Archives Open?

Yes. The National Archives reopens on May 15 with limited capacity. To start, the Archives will only be open on weekend days, but they will soon be reopening for weekdays, as well.  Free online tickets for the National Archives will be required. 

Is the Ford’s Theater Open?

Yes.  The Ford’s Theater reopened on May 12.  Free online tickets to the Ford’s Theater are required. 

Is the Bureau of Engraving and Printing Open?

No.  The Bureau of Engraving and Printing is closed until further notice.

Is the Old Post Office Tower Open?

No. The Old Post Office Tower is closed until further notice.

Is the United States Botanic Garden Open?

No.  The conservatory and the gated gardens are closed.  But, Bartholdi Park and the Terrace Gardens remain open.

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 remain closed.

Is the National Cathedral Open?

There is a special exhibit called Las Colombes which is open.  Tickets for the National Cathedral are available online. However, the rest of the National Cathedral is closed for tours and worship. The grounds and garden are, however, open from dawn to dusk.

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