By Elena Macias

While the country anxiously waits for the government shutdown to end, the many tourist attractions in Washington D.C. have become limited.  The Smithsonian museums are closed, there are no more casual bicycle rides and get-togethers in the national parks, and definitely no chance of visiting the national zoo.  Isn’t it the worst when the people of America cannot peek in on the new baby panda via the panda cam?

As it is, many government-funded attractions have been closed for the past two weeks, which have forced tourist and locals alike to find entertainment elsewhere in the D.C. area.  Fortunately, there are still a few places and things that people can enjoy in the wonderful District of Columbia.  This past weekend, Washington D.C. was filled with numerous families and tourists despite the lack of open museums and zoos.

shakespeare theater
Photo by Elena Macias

Shakespeare lovers are in luck—the Shakespeare Theater’s doors are still open to all.  Sophomore Linda Navejar attended a performance of William Shakespeare’s “Measure for Measure,” this past Saturday with her family and then went over to Ford’s Theater for a brief history lesson.

“It wasn’t too hard to convince my family to go to both,” Navejar explained. “There really isn’t a lot to do down in D.C. anymore.  But it was a fun experience!”

Other students have found alternative spots to hang out at.  Junior Josy Claros-Nava enjoys the nightlife and headed down to Ultrabar nightclub this past Friday with a group of her friends to enjoy music and dancing.

“I love dancing,” she said.  “So I’m glad the shutdown didn’t affect any of the clubs!”

Sophomore Alex Garcia recalls going down to D.C. with his girlfriend to do some shopping just a few days after the government shutdown.  He even expressed his surprise with the amount of tourist and families still visiting the area during this time.

“Her sister had a birthday recently so I went with her to pick something out,” Garcia said with a shrug.  “I thought it was pretty interesting how there were still so many people in D.C. even though the government’s shut down.  You would think they wouldn’t even bother going down there.”

So if anyone is seeking activities to do down in D.C., here are four activities that are worth doing during this overlong shutdown:

  1. The Shakespeare Theater. The Shakespeare Theater is currently performing “Measure for Measure.”  If you’re in the mood for some dark comedy à la Shakespeare, here it is.  Visit for more information.
  2. Ford’s Theater.  Good ol’ Honest Abe!  This establishment will reopen for visitors to do the walking tour as of Wednesday, October 16. Unfortunately, the Petersen House across the street is closed due to the shutdown.  Performances will commence on October 19.  Visit their website for more details at
  3. Check out the museums that are still open.  Sure, these museums may not have the high caliber of the Smithsonian but they are worth going to.  Museums such as the International Spy Museum, the National Geographic Museum, Newseum, and countless others have much to offer visitors and are still open to the public.
  4. Shopping.  D.C. still has several stores such as Forever 21, Zara, and Meeps Vintage Fashionette for you vintage stylists.  If you have cash to spend or simply want to window shop, D.C. is the perfect place to do both!
Photo by Elena Macias
Photo by Elena Macias

Yes, it’s true, there are still things to do in Washington D.C., even with this intrusive shutdown causing problems for all.  So for anyone who has some down time, these are a few good selections to do during this time.  Don’t let the shutdown stop you from enjoying D.C. with your family and friends.


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