For many locals, the government shutdown means lost paychecks and a sudden overabundance of free time. For visitors to the D.C. area, it means running into barricades while trying to visit museums and landmarks.
But there’s still hope for furloughed workers and tourists looking for something to do. Many local eateries and venues are offering cheap drinks and discounted food, and there are still plenty of open venues and tourist destinations that offer free or low-cost activities and entertainment. (The Going Out Guide has rounded up some of the best options for food, drink or entertainment, so make sure you visit them throughout the shutdown.)
Quite a few bars and restaurants are offering shutdown drink specials, with some spots extending their happy hour deals and others offering other discounts to workers with government IDs.
For workers who want to go out and eat but need to watch their spending with paychecks on hold, there are plenty of deals available for cheap food or treats across the region.
But maybe you don’t need cheap food or drinks. Maybe you just need something to do, either because you can’t go to work or because you’re visiting D.C. and can’t access the National Zoo or one of the museums on the Mall. There are still plenty of free options, ranging from the Washington National Cathedral to free music at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage. And for every shuttered museum or destination, there are very good replacements available.
Even though you can’t make it to the Lincoln Memorial or the Air and Space Museum, there’s still a lot you can see. Plus, some venues that normally cost money are offering free admission during the shutdown: The National Geographic Museum is waiving its usual $11 entrance fee and offering free admission on Tuesday. The National Museum of Women in the Arts is also offering free admission to federal employees with IDs.
If you just need a place to go and aren’t looking for a museum, concert, food or drink, the Sixth & I Historic Synagogue in Northwest D.C. is offering a free social space for government workers. The venue has ping pong, board games and streaming episodes of “The West Wing” as well as coffee, food and Wi-Fi.