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New Years Day in Washington, DC

What's Open? Find Things to Do on January 1

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Looking for something to do on New Year's Day in Washington, DC? Many businesses are closed, but there are still a lot of great ways to spend your day on January 1st.

Visit the Smithsonian

Yes, the Smithsonian museums are open on New Year's Day. Explore the world class museums and you'll see a variety of exhibits ranging from art to space exploration. This is probably a great day to visit the most popular Washington, DC museums because many people sleep in after a big night of celebration.

Visit the Monuments and Memorials

New Years Day is a good time to see the monuments and memorials in Washington, DC and Northern Virginia. Parking should be easier than other days of the year and the crowds should be thin, especially if you get an early start.

Explore Mount Vernon Estate

The estate is open every day of the year. During the Holidays at Mount Vernon visitors get a glimpse of an early-American Christmas. Exclusively during this time, the rarely-seen third floor is open to the public. An elaborately re-created dessert course is displayed in the large dining room with the Washingtons' famed "Great Cake" as the centerpiece of the feast.

Spend the Day at the National Zoo

If you've got lots of energy, the National Zoo is open and makes a great excursion on New Years Day. Washington DC's 163-acre zoological park features more than 400 different species of animals. Be sure to dress warm enough and wear comfortable shoes.

See "Seasons Greenings" at the U.S. Botanic Garden

The Botanic Garden is open every day of the year. This great holiday exhibit features unique model trains and incredible replicas of Washington, DC's most famous buildings and monuments.

Explore Arlington National Cemetery

More than 250,000 American servicemen as well as many famous Americans are buried at the 612 acre national cemetery. Among the notable Americans buried here are Presidents William Howard Taft and John F. Kennedy, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, and Robert Kennedy.

Visit the National Building Museum

The museum is open on New Year’s Day from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Visitors can explore the exhibition, House & Home which explores houses both familiar and surprising, through past and present, challenging our ideas about what it means to live at home in America. PLAY WORK BUILD takes children and adults through an exploration of play with a hands-on display featuring molded foam blocks of all shapes and sizes and an original virtual block play experience.

Go to a Movie

Movie theaters are open and a selection of good movies usually come out in time for the holiday season. Here’s a guide to local cinemas:

Take a Hike in a Local Park

If the weather is clear, this is a nice day to take a quiet stroll through a park. Please note that some parks may close their entrance gates, so you may want to call ahead to find out about accessibility. See a guide to the local parks:

See a Show at the Kennedy Center

Washington's premier performance venue offers performances on New Year's Day each year. Check the official site for this year's schedule of events.

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