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.
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):