From restaurants and food halls to hotels, museums, theater, attractions and cultural events, the nation’s capital is a can’t-miss stop this season.
(Washington, DC) – Destination DC, the official destination marketing office for the nation’s capital, is primed to help travelers visit Washington, DC with safety in mind this fall by providing trip inspiration and opportunities for value.
For the first time since March 2020, the Smithsonian Institution in the DC area, consisting of 17 museums and the National Zoo, is fully open. The National Children’s Museum has reopened and the Kennedy Center kicked off its 50th anniversary by reopening all stages and campuses in mid-September. If a crisp fall breeze and leaf peeping are top of mind, DC offers ample greenspace and outdoor activities.
“This fall, we want visitors to experience DC. Whether your getaway includes experiencing a new exhibition, such as FUTURES at the Smithsonian’s Arts and Industries building, or heading to a show at the Kennedy Center, or celebrating Capital Pride with The Colorful Fest, we’ll help plan an unforgettable fall trip to Washington, DC,” said Elliott L. Ferguson, II, president and CEO, Destination DC.
UPCOMING AND NEWLY REOPENED MUSEUMS AND ATTRACTIONS
- National Children’s Museum (reopened Sept. 2, 2021)
After an 18-month closure, the museum reopened in September. Visiting exhibition Moomin Animations – Thrills and Cuddles is on display until Jan. 9, 2022.
- Franklin Park (opens Sept. 25, 2021)
The transformation of Downtown DC's largest green space has been nearly a decade in the making. The new park will include a restaurant and pavilion, an expanded and restored fountain plaza and a new children’s garden.
- Western Market (soft open Sept. 27, 2021)
Set to open this fall and located across the site from the original Western Market built in 1802, the 12,300 square-foot food hall brings more than a dozen local eateries to the Foggy Bottom neighborhood. Western Market was one of three marketplaces in Pierre L'Enfant's original plan for Washington, DC.
- Swingers Crazy Golf (opened June 18, 2021)
Swingers in Dupont Circle combines mini golf, cocktails and street food. Inside the adults-only venue, find two 9-hole mini golf courses, a food hall and multiple bars.
EVENTS, ARTS AND CULTURE
- The Kennedy Center 50th Anniversary
Programming to celebrate the anniversary is planned through September 2022.
To celebrate the Smithsonian’s 175th anniversary, the Arts & Industries Building reopens to the public for the first time since 2004. The FUTURES exhibition fuses awe-inspiring art, technology, design and history, inviting visitors to dream big and imagine many possible futures.
- The Colorful Fest
Capital Pride is identifying the safest ways to celebrate and create new traditions across the city in October. The new celebration and LGBTQ festival will include special exhibiting opportunities, programming, a block party, street fair and a twist on the traditional parade.
- The Wall/El Muro: What Is a Border Wall?
Using photography, video and artifacts, the exhibit at the National Building Museum examines the border wall from the perspective of architecture and design for a different point of view.
- Reckoning: Protest. Defiance. Resilience
A new exhibition at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in honor of the museum’s fifth anniversary uses art to explore the Black Lives Matter movement, social protests and the struggle for equality and freedom.
UPCOMING AND NEWLY OPENED HOTELS
- Holiday Inn Express Washington DC Downtown (October 2021): The hotel features 247 guest rooms, free Wi-Fi, a 24-hour fitness center and hot breakfast. Each room is equipped with a microwave, mini-refrigerator, 43" TV, and in-room safe. Meeting space on the top floor offers views of the U.S. Capitol Building.
- Kimpton Banneker Hotel (June 2021): A 144-room boutique hotel on 16th Street NW. The hotel offers 3,800 square feet of flexible indoor and outdoor meeting space. For dining, Le Sel is a relaxed French bistro and the forthcoming Lady Bird is a year-round rooftop bar with views of the White House and monuments.
- Lyle (April 2021): Located in Dupont Circle, Lyle features 196 calming bedrooms with Art Deco accents throughout. Design-forward neighborhood restaurant, Lyle’s, is led by executive chef Nicholas Sharpe and serves seasonal, contemporary American fare.
- Find deals and discounts on washington.org, including:
- The Jefferson: Park Stroll - overnight stay in a deluxe guest room, overnight parking, $50 food and beverage credit daily
- Paul Taylor Dance Company: Save 30% - Save 30 percent on orchestra seating for Paul Taylor Dance Company at the Kennedy Center. Valid now through Oct. 10, 2021.
- Ottoman Taverna: Mezze Monday - Enjoy unlimited hot and cold mezzes on Mondays at Ottoman Taverna for $19.95 from now until Dec. 27, 2021.
- George Washington’s Mount Vernon: Save 20% - Save 20 percent on grounds passes to George Washington's estate, just outside of Washington, DC (up to six tickets through Dec. 31).
- All outdoor memorials and monuments on the National Mall are open and accessible.
- Waterfront neighborhoods are open for exploring, including Georgetown, The Wharf, Buzzard Point and Capitol Riverfront.
- Rock Creek Park: with more than 2,100 acres of National Park Service land, offers lush greenery, miles of trails and picnic areas, a nature center, golf course, horse stables, amphitheater and a planetarium.
- The Smithsonian's Enid A. Haupt Garden is open dusk till dawn daily.
- Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens is open Tuesday - Sunday from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
- Kenilworth Park & Aquatic Gardens is open from 8 a.m. - 4 p.m., but the park visitor center and Eastern National sales area remain closed.
- U.S. National Arboretum is open daily from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
- National Gallery of Art's Sculpture Garden is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- The Fields at RFK Campus are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., daily, including the playground, fitness area and tables.
Visitors and locals will find value deals, a fall calendar, neighborhood guides and the latest status of attractions on washington.org.
Per Mayor Muriel E. Bowser, masks are required indoors in Washington, DC with few exceptions. Entities throughout the city have implemented safety mechanisms such as social distancing and enhanced sanitation efforts, and some businesses require proof of vaccination against COVID-19 to enter. National Mall and National Park sites requires face coverings when social distancing cannot be enforced and indoors.
About Destination DC: Destination DC, the official destination marketing organization for the nation’s capital, is a private, non-profit membership organization of 1,000 businesses committed to marketing the area as a premier global convention, tourism and special events destination with a special emphasis on the arts, cultural and historic communities. washington.org.