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What’s Open Right Now in Washington DC? 15+ Things to Do While Social Distancing

Rock creek park

Washington DC Social Distance Guide

Our nation’s capital is one of those places every American must visit at least once in their lifetime. With today’s new normal, it’s important to find social distancing approved activities around the breathtaking city, worth exploring. Luckily, Washington DC has plenty of fun social distancing approved options available to enjoy. Whether it be visiting a historical landmark or strolling a lush garden, there’s a ton of social distancing approved activities worth discovering. Here are just a few of the exciting options around Washington DC that are open right now and practicing proper social distancing protocols.

Arlington National Cemetery Tours

picture of arlington national cemetery vehicle driving past arlington house and tombstones in foregroundSpread across 600 acres of rolling hills and beautiful gardens, Arlington National Cemetery Tours by Old Town Trolley is the only tour operator authorized to give tours at this esteemed site. Because of its sheer size, this tour provides an ideal way for guests looking to see the entire property in a manageable amount of time. With limited seating to maintain proper social distancing, our open-air trolleys are the perfect way to discover the cemetery’s history, the heroes who rest there, and other stories from your knowledgeable guide. Aboard the continuous 45-60 minute loop, you’ll have the opportunity to disembark and explore the grounds. Don’t miss your opportunity to experience one of the most informative and awe-inspiring tours during your visit to Washington DC.


Picture of a garden in the background, a glass encased green house to the left in the background and the top of the US Capitol in the center in the background

No matter what time of year it is, the lush greenery and gorgeous plants are always thriving at the United States Botanic Garden. Located just next door to the Museum of the American Indian at the foot of the Capitol, the Botanic Garden is an oasis of beautiful plant life and flowers and home to 4,000 living species. The conservatory houses exhibits that focus on the importance of plants to people and on the ecology and evolution of plants.


lincoln memorialThe Lincoln Memorial was opened on Memorial Day in 1922, 57 years after Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States, was assassinated. 
The immense Greek Temple stands in front of a gleaming reflecting pool and is a stunning spectacle during the day and especially at night.

National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden

The National Gallery of Art was created in 1937. Through the generosity of Andrew W. Mellon, a financier who was also a public servant, the Museum gained its first collection. Mellon had a passion for art and his large collection of old master paintings, sculpture and other works were intended for all of America to enjoy. After his death, Congress accepted his collection and thus the National Gallery was born.

World War II Memorial

Honoring the 16 million people who served in the United States Military during the war, the more than 400,000 who died and the countless others who supported our troops from home, the World War II Memorial is a stunning tribute to the sacrifices that were made.


jefferson memorial in washington dcA tribute to the third President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson, the Jefferson Memorial is a recognized symbol of democracy and independence. As one of the founding fathers of our country and the author of the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson’s significant impact on the shaping of our government is known throughout the world.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Often referred to as the wall that heals, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial beckons visitors of all ages, races and nationalities. It was created to honor and remember the men and women who served in the Vietnam War and to help our country heal after the controversial, emotional conflict ended. The enormous black wall lists 58,209 names of those who are missing or were killed during the war.


Created in 1932 when the botanical garden moved to its present location, Bartholdi Park is named for its majestic centerpiece fountain. Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, the French sculptor responsible for the Statue of Liberty, designed the water feature officially known as the Fountain of Light and Water. The 2-acre park has been home to a demonstration garden for over eight decades. Exhibits include edible gardens, patio gardens and rain gardens along with plantings native to North America. It serves as an educational center where visitors can learn horticultural techniques for their own home gardens.


pool at washington dc lovers laneHome to over 440 acres of parks and gardens in Washington DC. Boasting one of the largest collections of bonsai trees in North America, these gardens contain the National Herb Garden, National Bonsai and Penjing Museum and the Flowering Tree Collection. Wander the miles of trails or take the open-air tram for a tour of the area.

FDR Memorial

The FDR Memorial is located along the Western edge of the Tidal Basin, between the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials. Built in 1997, the memorial is known for its unique design, its tribute to our 32nd President, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and for the fact that it tells the story of America during the years of FDR’s Presidency. Four outdoor rooms portray the President’s terms in office, each with different statues and quotes. Beginning with a likeness of him riding in a car during his first inaugural speech and ending with him seated in a wheelchair, the memorial traces his twelve years of office as well as the many changes our country went through during that era.


martin luther memorialOne of the newest additions to the list of monuments in Washington DC, the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial opened in August 2011. This date was chosen because it marked the 48th anniversary of the march on Washington for jobs and freedom, lead by King. Located just southwest of the National Mall in Potomac Park, this monument celebrates the tireless work of freedom visionary Martin Luther King, Jr. and is a lasting legacy to his leadership.

The design of this memorial and its location are intended to create a visual line of leadership, from the Lincoln Memorial to the Jefferson Memorial. A 30-foot stone figure of King, named the “Stone of Hope,” stands past two pieces of granite, symbolizing a line from King’s famous speech, “Out of a mountain of despair, a stone of hope.”

U.S. Navy Memorial

The US Navy Memorial is a truly spectacular tribute to those who served or are currently serving in the nation’s sea services. A stunning plaza paved in granite forms a 100-foot diameter of the world. Fountains, pools, flags and historic panels surround the deck of the plaza tracing the achievements of the Navy, Marines, Coast Guard and Merchant Marines. The famous Lone Sailor statue stands as a representation of the men who joined the service to fulfill their patriotic duty; a striking sight, it is perhaps one of the most well-known aspects of the memorial.


Offers some of the best views of all of Washington DC. With spectacular vistas along the Potomac River, this open park is a great spot for whimsical wandering, picnics, bike rides and skating adventures.

George Washington’s Mount Vernon

Just 16 miles outside the city, Mount Vernon is the place where George Washington lived for more than four decades. Today, visitors can tour the first floor of the mansion, see Washington’s Tomb and walk the grounds of his expansive plantation. The mansion, built in 1735 by George Washington’s father, was originally a one and a half story farmhouse. But throughout his lifetime, George expanded and enhanced the home, and today it is three stories and 11,028 square feet, ten times the size of the average home in colonial Virginia. The estate also includes museum exhibits, a working blacksmith shop, a 4-acre demonstration farm and more. A fascinating look at the life of our first president, Mount Vernon makes for an unforgettable day trip while visiting our nation’s capital.


Close to the National Mall, puts visitors smack in the center of all things cherry blossom. This man-made inlet that sits next to the Potomac River is the perfect spot to wile away the hours on a paddleboat or take in the beauty of the seasons. In spring, visitors to the famed festival find themselves in the perfect spot to take in all of the magic of the cherry blossoms.


leaves turning orange at kenilworth public park in washington dc

Part of Anacostia Park. Located along the east bank of the Anacostia River, this beautiful spot is filled with hiking trails and boardwalks enticing visitors year round. Play a round of golf, test your skill at the driving range, bird watch, hike, canoe, or enjoy the company of a friend. Visit in summer for the beautiful spectacle of the water lilies in bloom.


Offers some of the best views of all of Washington DC. With spectacular vistas along the Potomac River, this park is a great spot for whimsical wandering, picnics, bike rides and skating adventures.


rock creek public park in washington dc during fall

A 1700-acre park established in 1890. It’s filled with serene, wooded trails that transport visitors away from the political hubbub and into a space of peace and tranquility. Here visitors can visit the planetarium and nature center, take a horseback riding lesson or a trail ride, play a round of golf, take in a show at the Carter Barron Amphitheater or spend an afternoon with a plethora of animals at the National Zoo.


aerial view of dumbarton oaks public park in washington dc

Approximately 40 plus acres of gorgeous gardens. Set on the highest point in Georgetown, this park area is filled with hiking and running trails that follow behind many of the local embassies. In late spring, the full bloom of the peonies welcome visitors.


A 12-acre urban park that was established in 1912. This National Historic Landmark is home to a beautiful and welcoming tiered fountain. Home to a statue of Joan of Arc, Dante and a memorial to President Buchanan, this space has been hosting a drum circle on Sundays in the summer for the past 50 years.


sculpture at yards public park in washington dc

A waterfront park with a boardwalk running along the Anacostia River. Home to well-known ‘outdoor rooms,’ visitors to this park can wander near the dancing fountains at the entrance that welcome visitors to this special space.

National Zoo

national zooPart of the Smithsonian Institution, the National Zoo houses more than 400 species of animals. The zoo’s founder, naturalist William T. Hornaday, developed the zoo because of his concern over the decline of many native American species. Hornaday envisioned a facility that would breed endangered American animals in captivity and educate the public about wildlife. Although he eventually left the National Zoo, it continued to grow and today is known around the world for its collection of uncommon animals.


man with donkeys at chesapeake and ohio canal in washington dc

Dates back to the 18th and 19th centuries. This open historical spot is a great place to meet up with friends, host family picnics, take a bike ride, spend hours fishing or taking in the beautiful scenery.

See Popular Sites With Old Town Trolley

old town trolley tour stop at the Jefferson memorialTo see the monuments, museums, the most popular points of interest and attractions take a tour. The Old Town Trolley Tour of Washington DC is open right now and shows you more than 100 points of interest and is fully narrated. We have trolleys coming and going throughout the day, so you can see the sights and your own pace.

The safety and well-being of our guests and team members remain our highest priority. Read about our safety information.


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