When you read this, the federal government may or may not be operational. Nonetheless, in these uncertain times, it’s good to have a bunch of spots in your arsenal you know will always be open. After all, it’s no fun to plan a trip and then have your excursions thwarted.
The Newseum is not one of the museums run by the Smithsonian, so it remains open. Interactive and informative, it currently has exhibits on “The Civil Rights Act at 50,” how news and the media covered 9/11, a piece of the Berlin Wall (and how the fall was reported) and lots more.
The Kennedy Center offers free performances every day at 6 p.m on its Millenium Stage, from comedians and composers to choral groups and spoken word. (Some are decidedly more kid-friendly than others.) Check the website for the calendar, plan on getting there well in advance and know parking is $23 at the gate and $20 if you reserve online. Afterwards, go upstairs to the Roof Terrace Restaurant for a killer view and a drink or dinner.
Washington Harbour Ice Skating Rink
At 11,800 square feet, the Washington Harbour Ice Skating Rink is the biggest in D.C. Open from mid-November through mid-March, the circular rink is open every day for recreational skating overlooking the Potomac River. Afterwards, warm up with a table at the uber-popular Farmers Fishers Bakers, a casual, bustling farm-focused restaurant with something for everyone ($10/adults, $9/children, $6 for skate rental).
Sure it’s a little chilly in D.C. this time of year, but bundle up and explore District Wharf, the city’s hip new area on the water, with shops, restaurants and music venue The Anthem which hometown boy Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters calls one of the best places they’ve ever played in the world.
A few years ago “The Awakening”, a 72-foot statue of a giant embedded in the earth struggling to free himself, was relocated to National Harbor. Sitting on one of his massive hands is a selfie-lover’s dream. Once you’ve snapped all the shots from every angle, take a lot of some of the other art installations and life-sized bronze status of U.S. presidents you can pose next to, then peruse the shops or stay for lunch or dinner.