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Things to do in Washington, DC during a Government Shutdown

by Tykesha77
Things to do in Washington, DC During a Government Shutdown
(Last Updated On: October 1, 2022)


Things to do in Washington, DC during a Government Shutdown

Things to do in Washington, DC: The Shutdown Edition

Washington, DC is a great family vacation destination.  There are tons of activities that will entertain you and your children as you explore this great Metropolis.

Unfortunately, some government agencies have had to close their doors due to a lapse in Federal funding.  The Smithsonian Museum and the National Zoo have been impacted but even though those two agencies are temporarily closed, there’s still plenty to do in the Nation’s Capital.

National Gallery of Art Shutdown sign

Closed Smithsonian Museum

Smithsonian Shutdown Sign



I have compiled a list of some of the attractions that are STILL open during the Government Shutdown.






1.  The U.S. Capitol Building and U.S. Capitol Visitor Center

U.S. Capitol Building

The Dome of the U.S. Capitol Building

The U.S. Capitol is one of the most recognizable buildings in the world.  When visiting DC, the U.S. Capitol Building and the Capitol Visitor Center (CVC) should be at the top of your list.  The architecture and artwork stored within the building are magnificent.  Both the U.S. Capitol Building and the CVC have been funded until September 2019, and therefore are unaffected by the shutdown.   Tours of the Capitol Building begin in the CVC.  The CVC features various statues of notable people throughout American history, a few gift shops, and a cafeteria.

Address:  First Street, N.E., Washington, DC 20515
Cost: Free.

2.  The Library of Congress

The Thomas Jefferson Memorial Building, Library of Congress

The Library of Congress is located across the street from the U.S. Capitol Building.  The Library of Congress is fully funded and open during the shutdown.  This museum houses not only books but also interesting artifacts and collections from extraordinary Americans throughout history.  If you’re not interested in books or artifacts, you should still visit the Libray of Congress’s Thomas Jefferson Building to experience the amazing architecture and design of the building.  In my opinion, it is by far the most beautiful and ornate of the historical buildings in Washington, DC.

Address:  101 Independence Avenue, SE, Washington, DC 20540.
Cost: Free.

3.  The U.S. Botanic Garden

U.S. Botanic Garden Courtesy:

The Botanic Garden is the oldest continually operated botanic garden in the country. The gardens are housed in a greenhouse that was built in 1892 and showcases plant collections.  The U.S. Botanic Garden is also unaffected by the shutdown.

Address:  100 Maryland Avenue, S.E., Washington, DC 20001
Cost: Free.

4.  The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum

U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum Courtesy:

According to their website, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum Building will remain open to the public during the shutdown.  However, there is a caveat on the website that states that the “decision to keep the Museum open to the public will be reevaluated depending on the duration of the shutdown.”  But for now, this Museum is open.

The Holocaust Museum tells the story of the Holocaust through oral histories, artifacts, films, and pictures.

Address:  100 Raoul Wallenberg Place, S.W., Washington, DC 20024
Cost:  Free

5.  Bureau of Engraving and Printing

Bureau of Engraving and Printing Courtesy:

If you’re interested in seeing how money is made, head over to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.  This Bureau, which falls under the U.S. Department of Treasury, will remain open during the shutdown.  This agency is responsible for printing paper currency.  I think visitors, both young and old, will enjoy seeing how money is made.

Address:  301 14th Street, S.W., Washington, DC 20028.
Cost: Free.

6.  The Newseum

The Newseum

The Newseum, which is located on Pennsylvania Avenue between the U.S. Capitol Building and the White House, is a private museum and therefore is unaffected by the Government shutdown.  The Newseum’s mission is the increase the public understanding of the importance of a free press and the First Amendment.  Visitors will be entertained by the interactive exhibits and educated about the role the press played during major events in history through multimedia galleries.

As a Journo-geek (journalism geek), I must say that this is one of my favorite museums.  I particularly love that outside of the museum where current front pages of newspapers from all over the country are on display.

Address:  555 Pennsylvania Avenue, S.W., Washington, DC 20001
Cost:  $24.95 (Adults), $14.95 (youth ages 7-18), Free for children 6 and younger.

7.  The Museum of the Bible

Museum of the Bible Courtesy:

The Museum of the Bible has quickly become a popular attraction since it opened in late 2017.  This museum features interactive games and exhibits that teach the history and impact of the Bible.  The Museum of the Bible is a private museum and is not impacted by the government shutdown.

Address:  400 4th Street, S.W., Washington, DC 20024
Cost: $19.99 (Adult); $9.99 (Children 7-17); and Free for children 6 and under.  *These prices are for tickets purchased online.  If you decide to buy your tickets at the door the cost is slightly higher.

8.  Visit Union Station

Union Station

Okay, so Union Station is not a museum or monument, it’s a major transportation hub for the Washington, DC area and houses many restaurants and shops.   It has landed on this list because it is a beautiful building.  This train station is almost 100 years old.  The architecture and the ornate designs loacted on the inside of the building are magnificent.  If you find yourself in the area, I think it’s worth a look.  Union Station has not been affected by the shutdown.

Address: 50 Massachusetts Avenue
Cost: Free

9.  The Memorials on the National Mall

The view of the Washington Monument from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial

And finally, the National Mall… the most-visited national park in the country.  The National Mall will remain open during the shutdown but the museums, ranger stations, gift shops, and restrooms along the mall will be closed.  Please don’t let that stop you from exploring the National Mall to see some of the country’s most iconic monuments and memorials.

Here is a list of some of my favorite monuments along the National Mall.  I have included some pictures of my favorites.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial
Lincoln Memorial
Thomas Jefferson Memorial
Washington Monument
Vietnam War Memorial
Korean War Memorial
World War II Memorial


Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial (The National Mall)

The Lincoln Memorial (The National Mall)

Korean War Memorial (The National Mall)

Vietnam War Memorial Wall (The National Mall)

There are a few memorials in Virginia that are also open during the Government Shutdown.  Here is a short list of places that are still open:

Arlington National Cemetery

1. The Pentagon
2. Arlington National Cemetery
3. The Marine Corps (Iwo Jima) Memorial
4.  Mount Vernon

Are you planning a trip to DC in the near future? I would love to know what monuments or attractions are your favorite.  Please leave them in the comments below.

Things to do in Washington, DC during a Government Shutdown




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