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 May 6, 2022. We hope that everything that is currently closed will be reopening this spring or summer.
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!
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.
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:
- The National Air and Space Museum is closed for renovation until Fall, 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.
- A few Smithsonian museums remain closed on one weekday each week. Happily, all of these museums will reopen 7 days a week starting from May 30.
- The Renwick Gallery will reopen on May 13, 2022.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 timed pass is required for entry.
Is the National Gallery of Art Open?
The National Gallery of Art is open daily. No passes are required.
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 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.
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?
No. The Old Post Office Tower is still closed until further notice.
Is the United States Botanic Garden Open?
Yes. Open daily 10:00 to 5:00 PM.
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.
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.