Government Shutdown Affecting DC Tourism

Thinking about traveling to the Nation’s Capital in October? You might want to think again.

Experiencing its first government shutdown in nearly 18 years, Washington is at a proverbial standstill with Congressional leaders battling to pass legislation to continue funding government activities. This means tourists looking to visit national landmarks such as the National Zoo, Smithsonian museums and galleries (meaning no dinosaurs), National Gallery of Art, National Mall and Memorial Parks, along with other area attractions controlled by the Federal Government will be closed.

Transportation Challenges

While all federal air traffic controllers are required to stay on the job, you can expect security screening delays at the airport. According NBC – Washington, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has identified 33% of its workforce as non-essential, a term used for civilian employees deemed not critical enough to continue working. Travelers can expect significant security delays at airport checkpoints as additional time will be required for those TSA agents still on duty.

Despite these delays, tourists can still expect Metro, Amtrak, and other transportation systems to operate without any issues. In fact, using these services may open the possibility of visiting other area attractions that are still open to the public.

Attractions Still Open to the Public

Washington, DC is home to dozens of free museums and monuments and unfortunately they are all closed. If you have some extra money to spend, you can still visit some really interesting places in the city. Some attractions that are still open include: The International Spy Museum, the Newseum, President Lincoln’s Cottage, Mount Vernon, and the Corcoran Gallery of Art to name a few.

All is Not Lost

It is uncertain how long the Congressional stalemate will last, so my best advice is to plan on spending some additional money to make your trip to Washington a memorable one. And if all else fails, Washington’s unique location still affords you an opportunity to see other attractions like the Baltimore Aquarium and Harbor, old-town Alexandria, Annapolis, and the National Harbor. 

Attractions Still Open in Washington (slideshow):

 

  • International Spy Museum International Spy Museum Home to the largest collection of international espionage artifacts available to the public, this museum is great for anyone who finds themselves fascinated by conspiracies and intelligence techniques. Address: 800 F Street, NW, Washington, DC 20004 Hours: 10 am to 6 pm (Monday - Saturday); Check online for Sunday hours. Ticket Price: Adults (ages 12-64) -$20.95; Children (ages 7-11) - $14.95; Children under age 6 - Free
  • Newseum Newseum The Newseum offers visitors 500 years of the greatest news stories in the Nation’s history. It also can serve as an instructional tool to help children understand the importance of free speech and the role of the Press. Address: 555 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20001 Hours: 9 am to 5 pm daily Ticket Price: Adults (ages 19-64) - $21.95; Children (ages 7-18) - $12.95; Children 6 and under - Free
  • President Lincoln's Cottage President Lincoln's Cottage President Lincoln’s Cottage served as Lincoln’s family residence for a quarter of his presidency and is where he was living when he developed his Emancipation Proclamation...and we know how amazing that turned out to be. Address: Rock Creek Church Road, NW, Washington, DC 20011; Hours: 9:30 am to 4:30 pm; Ticket Price: Adults (ages 13 and older) - $15; Children (ages 6-12) - $5.
  • Mount Vernon Mount Vernon The home of the Nation’s first president George Washington is an obvious choice for anyone looking to experience a piece of American history. Some of what you can expect to see the Mansion, The Tombs, Distillery and Gristmill. There are additional tours available for an additional fee. Address: 3200 Mount Vernon Highway, Mount Vernon, VA 22121; Hours: 9 am to 5 pm; Ticket Price: Adults (ages 12-61) - $17; Children (ages 6-11) - $8; Children 5 and under - Free
  • Corcoran Gallery of Art Corcoran Gallery of Art The Corcoran Gallery of Art stands as a major center of American art, both historic and contemporary. Founded “for the purpose of encouraging American Genius,” the Corcoran’s extensive collection of 18th, 19th, and 20th century American art represents most significant American artists. Address: 500 17th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20006; Hours: Wednesday: 10 am to 9 pm; Thursday - Sunday: 10 am to 5 pm; Ticket Price: $10; Children - Free
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