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Family boating on the Potomac River near the Kennedy Center - The best activities and things to do in Washington, DC

12 Ways to Enjoy Labor Day in Washington, DC

Celebrate summer’s last big weekend with free events, outdoor activities and cultural experiences in the nation's capital.

We’re taking the work out of making your Labor Day weekend plans. Close out your summer in Washington, DC with the best activities, events and things to do. Here are 12 ways to make the weekend a memorable one, including safe, in-person activities and DC-themed at-home fun. Check out the latest COVID-19 info for the District as you consider your options.

Your ultimate guide to summer in Washington, DC


Safely enjoy the banks of the Potomac and Anacostia rivers

Take advantage of the waning days of summer and head to one of the many waterfronts in and around the District. Make a splash with plenty of safe, family-friendly outdoor water activities to choose from, including kayak and paddleboard rentals, grabbing a meal to-go and enjoying gorgeous on-the-water scenery


Take a socially distanced stroll through a DC park

Although many indoor options for recreation remain closed, DC’s outdoor offerings are still very much in play. There’s the 2,000+ acres of Rock Creek Park, the Capitol Columns at the scenic U.S. National Arboretum, the neoclassical beauty of Malcolm X Park and more. Additionally, you can check out the gorgeous gardens of Tudor Place and gaze at outdoor sculptures at the Hirshhorn.


Make it a DC date night

couple on the national monument

As the nation continues to wrestle with COVID-19 and people are encouraged to stay home, we’ve put together some DC-themed date nights that can safely be enjoyed in-person or from the comfort of your own home. Suggestions include watching a movie shot in the nation’s capital, listening to music from DC, playing a District-themed game and more.


Re-visit the Zoo and watch the Giant Panda Cam

The Smithsonian’s National Zoo has opened its doors with new safety guidelines in place, making it ideal for a Labor Day weekend excursion. There are two options for passes to the zoo: a free timed entry pass or a paid parking pass. All passes to get into the zoo must be reserved online beforehand, and the last entry time to the zoo is 3 p.m. Some of the exhibits will be closed for the safety of the visitors, staff and animals. The zoo is currently opening up to a maximum of 5,000 visitors per day. On Aug. 21, the Smithsonian National Zoo's famous giant panda, Mei Xiang, gave birth to a new baby panda! You can watch the Zoo's Giant Panda Cam to see Mei Xiang care for her newborn cub throughout the day.


Check out the National Museum of Women in the Arts during Free Community Day

The National Museum of Women in the Arts is welcoming visitors again, and doing so for free on two Sundays this September, with the first falling on Labor Day weekend (Sept. 6). Timed tickets are required to maintain social distancing; masks must also be worn upon entering the building. Read more regarding the museum's safety protocols before reserving a ticket, which will be valid for free entry from 12-5 p.m.


Watch the national pastime and grab some tasty items to go with it

Even though we sadly can’t watch the 2019 World Series champion Washington Nationals in-person this summer, the team is still defending their title and all their games can be viewed on MASN locally or heard on 106.7 The Fan on your FM dial. Watch or listen to the Nats take on their rival, the Atlanta Braves, throughout the holiday weekend, and order up some to-go food from a DC restaurant and re-create the ballpark experience at home.


Safely marvel at ‘Hanami: Beyond the Blooms’ at ARTECHOUSE

Although spring is in the rearview, you can still be dazzled when you immerse yourself in this cherry blossom-themed exhibit at ARTECHOUSE, which is currently open with limited admission and timed tickets and masks required (make sure to read all the safety guidelines before booking a visit). In Hanami, handmade ink illustrations by artist Yuko Shimizu are made digital, showcasing the wind breezing across flowers, birds flying overhead and petals drifting to the ground. You will embark on a journey with these flowers through land, air and sea, encountering Japanese traditions and cutting-edge interactivity along the way.


Make monumental memories

The National Mall is America’s front yard, where the past, present and future come together. The monuments and memorials, including the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, the strikingly detailed Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial and the World War II Memorial, honor American forefathers and heroes in majestic fashion. Please wear a mask and maintain a safe social distance when visiting this beloved national park.


Learn about espionage safely inside the International Spy Museum

Visit the recently relocated International Spy Museum in L’Enfant Plaza to discover the ins and outs of the espionage trade, from gadgets to strategies to costumes. The museum has capacity limitations in place, as well as social distancing guidelines and mask requirements – read more about their protocols before securing a ticket. During your visit, kids will love the Undercover Mission, which allows you to hone your spy skills while exploring the incredibly interactive museum.


Savor a meal outdoors

Many of DC’s beer gardenspatios and rooftop restaurants are offering safe, socially distant dining experiences that you can savor during the holiday weekend. Takeout and delivery service also remains a safe dining option, if you want to bring home a delicious meal and hang out on your own deck or patio.


Take a safe journey through The Mansion on O

The Mansion on O has partnered with The District Pit BBQ for a special Labor Day event. Enjoy a socially distanced, self-guided tour through the 100-room mansion featuring 70 secret doors. After this adventure, grab a takeout meal from District Pit and enjoy! Advanced reservations are required.


Make the trip to the historic Mount Vernon

Head to Virginia to spend a day at Mount Vernon, George Washington’s former estate that also features a museum. The estate is hosting safe, socially distanced visits and masks are required. With a panoramic view of the Potomac River, choose from a tour of the Mansion, Gardens, the Tombs or the Distillery and Gristmill. Start your visit in the Ford Orientation Center to see a film, and then plan your day with the help of the living history guides.

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