Washington, D.C.'s museums, attractions, and restaurants are beginning to reopen — here's what you need to know.

By Meena Thiruvengadam
May 12, 2021
Advertisement

Washington, D.C. is ready to get back to business.

The city plans to lift more capacity limits later this month and eliminate most coronavirus restrictions on June 11. "We will be able to all turn up activity in the District all the way," Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said in a news briefing covered by local station WTOP News.

Restaurants, gyms, and special event venues will no longer face capacity restrictions as of May 21. Bars and nightclubs, however, will maintain a 50% capacity maximum. And sports venues, including Nationals Park, will be able to welcome more fans to home games beginning May 14.

On Monday, Washington, D.C. revealed a plan to lure back tourists with cash prizes of up to $25,000 to experience the nation's capital, a city filled with free museums, restaurants of all kinds, and monuments to American history. Winners of that contest will be announced throughout June.

A woman jogs along a mostly empty National Mall during covid stay-at-home order in Washington, DC.
Credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Key sites across Washington, D.C. have already reopened their doors. Among them: George Washington's Mount Vernon, Ford's Theatre — where former president Abraham Lincoln was assassinated — the International Spy Museum, and the Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden.

The National Gallery of Art, National Portrait Gallery, and National Museum of African American History and Culture are scheduled to open on Friday. Meanwhile, the National Museum of American History — home to Dorothy's ruby slippers from the Wizard of Oz and a pair of Muhammad Ali's boxing gloves — is set to reopen on May 21.

Several live music performances also are on the summer schedule at iconic locations such as the Black Cat and 9:30 Club. The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is scheduled with ballet, theater, and dance shows in October.

Patrons of all these institutions will have to continue wearing face masks for now.

Meena Thiruvengadam is a Travel + Leisure contributor who has visited 50 countries on six continents and 47 U.S. states. She loves historic plaques, wandering new streets and walking on beaches. Find her on Twitter and Instagram.