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 April 30, 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.


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.

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.


Are the Smithsonian Museums Open?

The Smithsonian will open seven museums and the National Zoo in May, 2021. The Smithsonian and other institutions have 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

Other museums are expected to reopen this spring and summer, but have not yet announced any reopening dates.

The Smithsonian will require free timed passes and will only operate at 20% capacity.  The cafes will remain closed for now.

The National Gallery is a separate institution, which will also require free timed passes. The Metropolitan Cafe and Sculpture Garden associated with the National Gallery of Art are currently open for walk-in visitors.

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 has announced a reopening date of May 21, 2021. A free timed pass will be required for entry.

Is the National Gallery of Art Open?

The National Gallery of Art West Building will reopen on May 21, 2021. Free timed passes will be required and will be 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.


Is the Holocaust Museum Open?

The Holocaust Museum will reopen to the public on Monday, May 17. Free timed passes will be available in advance. If capacity is not full, same day tickets will be available for walk-ups starting at 11:00 AM.

What Museums in Washington DC Are 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?

No. The National Archives is closed until further notice.

Is the Ford’s Theater Open?

No.  The Ford’s Theater is closed until further notice.

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.

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?

No. 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.



Robert Hart: Nonpartisan Pedicab is owned and operated by Robert Hart an experienced, professional pedicab tour guide. We provide pedicab transportation and tour services on the National Mall and throughout Washington, DC.
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