What’s happening this week in DC? PLENTY!!!
We’ve missed you and are happy to welcome you back to Washington, DC, home to museums, monuments as well as all three branches of the United States government.
The magic of discovering beautiful treasures and iconic sites is still here but, of course, your visit will feel a little different than before.
Here’s what you can expect when you visit us and what our buildings and businesses will be asking from you to keep everyone safe: wear masks indoors and outdoors (it’s DC law); wash your hands frequently and use hand sanitizer; social distance by keeping your family or group at least 6 feet from members of any other party.
ALL Mall museums are still closed as of April 2021. No reopening date has been announced but we expect the Smithsonian Mall museums (including the Zoo on Connecticut Avenue) and the National Gallery of Art on the Mall to reopen late this spring.
However many private museums near the Mall are NOW OPEN as well as many exquisite DC gardens. All of our Memorials and Monuments in and around the Mall are OPEN – most Memorial and Monuments are open 24/7. Keep in mind that our efficient METRO is open – as well as bus routes and Circulator buses. DC attractions will respond fast to the ever changing re-opening rules so check frequently for the open status of every place on your list.
HERE’S A LIST OF WHAT IS OPEN TODAY:
Museums and Gardens-
National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden – with patio food service on weekends at Pavillion Cafe on the Mall
Hirschhorn Sculpture Garden – on the mall
The Smithsonian’s Enid Haupt Garden – near the Smithsonian Castle on the Mall.
The International Spy Museum (walkable to the Mall)
The Museum of the Bible (walkable to the Mall)
Victura Park at the Kennedy Center (outdoor patio with food service open Friday through Sunday (walkable to the Mall)
Artechouse (gallery)- where art, science and technology intersect (walkable to the Mall)
Planet Word – an innovative language experience – walkable to the Mall
The National Museum of Women in the Arts – walkable to the Mall
National Building Museum a very large historic property dedicated to architecture and design at Judiciary Square METRO
The Phillips Collection – a private museum located near Dupont Circle and Dupont METRO stop.
Dumbarton House (plus garden) – historic house museum near Georgetown
Tudor Place – Historic House and garden once owned by the granddaughter of Martha Washington in Georgetown.
Monuments and Memorials (listed from east to west on the Mall / Northern Virginia):
The United States Capitol- Presently the Capitol building, including the Capitol Visitors Center and Capitol grounds, are closed. This area is surrounded by a fence. The perimeter of the fence may change but presently the fence is located to the west of the Capitol lawn directly at the Grant Memorial which is open.
The Grant Memorial – open 24-7 features an enormous bronze sculpture of Civil War Battles and an equestrian statue of General Grant who became the 18th President of the United States.
The Dwight D Eisenhower Memorial – open 24-7. Dedicated to General Dwight D Eisenhower who led the Normandy Invasion that ended World War II in Europe. The Memorial features bathrooms (closed around 9PM), a Park Ranger station, and a gift shop. This is DC’s newest Memorial, which opened in September 2020.
The Washington Monument was begun in the mid 1800’s and is the oldest and first Memorial on the Mall. Presently the elevator to the top of the 555 foot tall Monument is closed but the Washington Monument grounds are open 24-7. The hill on which the Washington Monument is located offers spectacular views of the entire Mall and the Federal City.
World War II Memorial is open 24/7. It is dedicated to the States and Territories that were in the Union at the end of World War II and helped the Allies win the war. It features bathrooms (closed around 9PM) as well as an enormous fountain. The WWII Memorial offers excellent views of the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial.
The Martin Luther King, Jr Memorial overlooks the Tidal Basin and is easily walkable from World War II Memorial. The MLK, Jr Memorial is open 24-7. It features an elegant bas-relief statue of Martin Luther King, Jr as well as quotes from the Civil Rights leader’s speeches and books. There are bathrooms and a gift shop located across the street.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial is a 4 acre Memorial on the Tidal Basin dedicated to the first and only US President to serve 4 terms. There are many fountains enhancing this Memorial which will be turned on in April.
The Jefferson Memorial is located on the far south side of the Tidal Basin, open 24-7. It is a 15-minute walk along the Tidal Basin from MLK and FDR Memorials. This Memorial offers views of the White House and, seasonally, paddle boats on the Tidal Basin. The Jefferson Memorial features an elevator as well as bathrooms and a gift shop. Parking is about 2 blocks away.
The Lincoln Memorial is located at the far west end of the Mall on the Potomac River. It is open 24-7 and features bathrooms (usually open until 9PM) as well as a book shop in an alcove near the stature. A Park Service Food Kiosk is nearby. The Lincoln Memorial is located on the west end of the Reflecting Pool and offers excellent opportunities for views and photos of DC and the Mall.
The Korean War Memorial features 19 seven-foot-tall statues in battle gear – reminiscent of a platoon. It is located about three blocks west of the Martin Luther King Memorial to the south side of the Reflecting Pool. It is presently being enlarged to include a wall that will feature the names of those killed in action. Because of the construction, there may be occasional closures of some parts of this Memorial
The Vietnam Memorial is located to the north of the Reflecting Pool. It can be entered by paths from Constitution Avenue or from the Reflecting Pool / Lincoln Memorial. The main feature is a 100+ foot-long wall containing the names of every US soldier killed or missing in the Viet Nam War. There are two other important features: a statue of a group of soldiers in battle gear gazing over at the wall of names of their fallen comrades and an in-the-round statue dedicated to the nurses who lost their lives in the Viet Nam War.
A playful statue of Albert Einstein is located directly across Constitution Ave from the Viet Nam Memorial. Einstein is featured seated – holding papers containing his famous equations. At the foot of the stature is a map of the universe on the date of it’s dedication. Many school-age children can often be found sitting in Einstein’s lap as parents take photos.
Monuments and Memorials in Northern Virginia
Arlington National Cemetery (639 acres) is located directly across the Potomac River from the Lincoln Memorial. At the cemetery, there are 400,000+ gravesites. Presently Arlington National Cemetery is open but visitors must pass through security similar to airport security. There is a tram that runs approximately every 15 minutes. Most visitors stop at the gravesites of John Fitzgerald Kennedy and Jackie Kennedy plus visit the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers where they watch the Changing of Guard. There are bathrooms in the Arlington National Cemetery Visitors Centers but at present, the gift shop is not open.
Iwo Jima is a United States Marine Corps Memorial open 24-7 that features six US Marines raising the US flag over the battlefield at Iwo Jima, a critically important World War II battle. There is a park surrounding the Memorial and on Tuesdays, during the summer the park is where the United States Marine Corps performs a military parade.
The Air Force Memorial is now open. It contains three main features: there are three 200+ foot tall arcs that are visible from the surrounding area. These arcs are artistic representations of the contrails of Air Force’s Thunderbirds as they take off in “Bomb Burst” formation. There is also a statue of an Honor Guard from the US Air Force – don’t miss the female soldier in the Honor Guard. Also, there is an engraving in a glass wall depicting the “Missing Man Formation” flown by the Air Force to honor fallen pilots. There are bathrooms; a guard will allow visitors to park temporarily in a lot that runs alongside the Memorial.