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 August 7, 2021. 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?
The Smithsonian has now opened most of their DC museums. Those that have not yet reopened will all be reopening soon. The National Gallery of Art is also now open with no tickets needed.
The only Smithsonian museums in Washington DC that have not yet reopened have the following reopening dates:
- The Hirshhorn Gallery will reopen on August 20. (Take note that the Hirshhorn Gallery Sculpture Garden is already open).
- The Postal Museum is reopening on August 27.
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 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 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.
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?
The exterior areas are all open. The interior remains closed. Bartholdi Park and the Terrace Gardens remain open.
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 remains closed, with the exception of Sunday worship at 11:15 AM. 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.