After being closed for several months—or in some cases since March 2020—because of the Covid-19 pandemic, Smithsonian museums and art galleries in Washington D.C. and New York City will soon be open to the public thanks to staggered reopening dates and timed entry passes. Seven popular Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo reopened in May 2021, while 10 more are expected to reopen in June, July and August. Here’s a look at what’ll be opening when and everything else you need to know to plan your visit.
Smithsonian Museum Reopening Dates
The following Smithsonian museums and galleries are currently open to the public with reduced opening hours:
The following Smithsonian museums and galleries will reopen this summer with reduced hours of operation:
Timed-Entry Passes and Pandemic Protocols
While admission to all Smithsonian museums in Washington D.C. and the National Zoo is free, as are most in New York, you’ll need to reserve a timed entry pass in advance through your desired museum’s website—they’ll be available one week before each scheduled reopening and can also be booked by calling 1-800-514-3849 extension 1. Regardless of age, everyone will need a pass to enter when required, though you can print it out or present a digital version on your phone. Keep groups small for now—you’ll only be able to book up to six passes per property per day—and make sure there’s one adult in attendance per group of children and teens under 18.
Those visiting the National Zoo can choose between a free timed pass—if you’ll be walking, biking, taking the D.C. Metro or arriving via taxi or a ride-sharing service, though you’ll need to provide one for each person in your group, including infants—or a paid parking pass, which costs $30 and covers parking and timed-entry passes for everyone in your vehicle.
As of this writing, all guests ages two and older are required to wear a mask while inside the Smithsonian museums and galleries, though if you’re fully vaccinated—as in, it’s been at least two weeks since your last vaccine dose—you can remove them in outdoor areas. Visitors are invited to use hand-sanitizing stations and must maintain social distancing by staying at least six feet from anyone outside your group. Note that some dining facilities may be closed or offering limited services at this time, so check the website ahead of time to avoid disappointment.