10 things to do in Washington, DC during the Government Shutdown

The White House, Washington, DC, (photo by R Nowitz)
The White House, Washington, DC

The shuttering of the federal government today means that travelers are going to have to get a bit creative with their itineraries. If you’re in the nation’s capital, you might be struggling - it seems like every monument is closed!

You might think that open-air memorials like the Lincoln, World War II, or Franklin Delano Roosevelt will still be open, but the official word is that the National Park Service will begin blocking entrances early on Tuesday morning. 

To help you plan your trip around the closures, we decided to compile a quick list of our favorite (non-governmental) destinations for you.

Things to do in Washington during the shutdown...


1. The Newseum

Great for families, it's an interactive museum about news and journalism. More exciting than it sounds, although the entry price of $21.95 for an adult might give you sticker shock.


2. The International Spy Museum

For anyone who has ever been slightly jealous of James Bond, the Spy Museum will give you an opportunity to play out your fantasy. The gift shop is a great place to start your Christmas shopping!


3. Mount Vernon

Take a trip out of the city and visit historic Mount Vernon. George Washington's home is the perfect place to explore the founding of our democratic government, even if the present one is out of business.


4. Kennedy Center

After dark is the best time to explore the city's cultural scene, and it doesn't get better than the Kennedy Center. Buy tickets online before you go.


5. The Phillips Collection

The current Van Gogh collection explores the artist's creative proces, and features some of less well-known (but still beautiful) pieces.


6. Arlington National Cemetery

Some might consider it odd to stop at a cemetery while on vacation, but it's a great place to reflect and pay respects to the men and women who have served their country.


7. National Building Museum

For architecture and design buffs, it doesn't get better than the National Building Museum. The current exhibit, all about Green Schools and environmental architecutre, is sure to resonate as we look toward a more sustainable future. 


8. National Geographic Museum

Insight Guide fans are bound to enjoy the photography at the National Geographic Museum. They're even offering free admission on Tuesday if you're a furloughed government employee!


9. The Mansion on O Street

For something a little off-the-wall, stop by the Mansion on O Street, which explores the creative process. You can get hands-on with the exhibits, and tours are arranged thematically (think numerology, treasure hunts, and Champagne tours).


10. Corcoran Gallery of Art

The current exhibit showcases the work of Ellen Harvey, and provides a glimpse into the future of a ruined Washington DC that is being visited by alien tourists. Heck, it might happen sooner rather than later unless the government gets up and running again!


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