Washington, D.C. has no shortage of places to explore. Here’s a list of non-inauguration related events and displays you can enjoy while in town for the inauguration.
The newest addition to the National Mall, the NMAAHC opened in September 2016. Tickets are some of the most-sought after in town. You must have a timed pass to enter. Same-day passes are available online beginning at 6:30 a.m. daily. A limited number of walk-up passes are available on weekdays beginning at 1 p.m. Tickets are free.
Items on display include Harriet Tubman’s shawl, a South Carolina slave cabin, the Emancipation Proclamation, Muhammad Ali’s headgear, Oprah Winfrey’s studio couch, and Chuck Berry’s 1973 Cadillac.
AMERICAN HISTORY MUSEUM
This display focuses on three women who changed the face of comedy—Phyllis Diller, Carol Burnett, and Miss Piggy. “The showcase will highlight the power of laughter in the realm of social and political discussion,” the Smithsonian website states. The exhibit features Burnett’s “charwoman” costume, a costume Diller wore during Bob Hope’s USO Christmas Tour in 1967, and yes, Miss Piggy herself.
Other popular items to see at the American History Museum—Dorothy’s Ruby Red Slippers and the flag that inspired the Star-Spangled Banner. Up for a drive? Check out Fort McHenry in Baltimore, where that flag was flying when Francis Scott Key wrote the National Anthem in 1814.
NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM
America’s National Park Service turned 100 in 2016. In this exhibit, explore more than 50 photos by award-winning photographers showcasing some of America’s most magnificent national parks.
Also popular at the Natural History Museum—The Hope Diamond.
The Sultan of Swat… the King of Crash… the Colossus of Clout… the Great Bambino! Explore Babe Ruth’s life as a baseball icon and a media sensation. The collection includes personal items, photographs, and historic prints.
Browse images of America’s presidents. “This exhibit lies at the very heart of the Portrait Gallery’s mission to tell the American story through individuals who have shaped the country,” the museum says on its website.
AIR AND SPACE MUSEUM
This exhibit has been updated and renovated to mark the 100th anniversary of Boeing and 40th anniversary of the Air and Space Museum. You’ll see Charles Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis plane, the Mercury capsule Friendship 7 flown by John Glenn, and you can even tough a moon rock.
Up for a drive? Check out the National Air and Space Museum, Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Va. Located about 30 miles west of D.C., this museum features aviation and space artifacts that are too large to be housed on the Mall—including Space Shuttle Discovery, B-29 Superfortress Enola Gay, and a Lockheed Martin SR-71 Blackbird.
While this isn’t on the National Mall, the National Zoo is an easy Metro ride away. Be sure to check out the Giant Panda Habitat, which is home to four giant pandas, including 1-year-old Bei Bei.
Get a tasted of the DMV’s (our nickname for the D.C./Maryland/Virginia area) best food. Head to the D.C. suburbs for Montgomery County’s Restaurant Week. For $36, you’ll get a three-course dinner at several of the county’s most loved restaurants. Restaurant Week goes from Jan. 13-22.
Situated on a prime spot of the Potomac River in neighboring Prince George’s County, National Harbor has a little bit for everyone—including a Ferris Wheel for the kids and the brand new MGM casino for the adults. From Jan. 14-20, you can eat your way through the waterfront destination for National Harbor Restaurant Week. Three-course dinners cost $38 and you’ll get 20 percent off at the Capital Wheel if you keep your meal receipt.
D.C. has a vibrant arts scene. Where better to take in a performance than at the Kennedy Center? Throughout the week of the inauguration, you can see the classical Chinese dance and music company, Shen Yun Performing Arts. There are also tickets available for orchestra and opera performances throughout the week.
But the spotlight at the Kennedy Center will be on Gladys Knight on Monday, Jan. 16. The Grammy-award winning singer will perform in Let Freedom Ring!, a musical tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Tickets are free. You can line up to get yours beginning at 4:30 p.m. on Monday. The performance begins at 6 p.m.
For the small price of $3 you can take a tour of the historic site where America’s 16th president Abraham Lincoln was assassinated.
But the theater doesn’t just offer tours. Beginning Jan. 21 you can enjoy Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? on the theater’s stage.