A lot has happened already in 2019. If you’re coming to DC this year, these are some important 2019 DC Updates that you need to know about.
Trip Hacks DC Tours
When we launched Trip Hacks DC we offered exclusively private tours. This meant that tours were just you and one tour guide showing you the sites on the National Mall. However, we heard that you wanted public group tours that were affordable to smaller groups. So last year, we created Monumental Trivia at Twilight.
This year, we added a few new tour guides. Monumental Trivia is a public tour which means that you pay per person rather than for the entire group. Rob will lead Monumental Trivia on Saturdays and our other guides on select other days of the week.
The National Park Service originally advertised Spring 2019 on their website for the re-opening of the Washington Monument. Unfortunately, now it looks like August 2019 is the earliest possible re-opening. Remember that this is only an estimate and can change.
There is a major Metro shutdown scheduled this summer. The yellow and blue lines will be completely closed south of Reagan National Airport. This will last from Memorial Day weekend through September. This is especially important to know if you are considering staying in Old Town Alexandria for your trip. Even though Old Town is a great area and it’s one of our recommended areas it is not a good choice this summer. The good news is that there are still plenty of other great areas to stay.
Smithsonian Folklife Festival
The Smithsonian Folklife Festival is one of our favorite things to do in DC. It usually runs for about two weeks and highlights cultures from all around the world. However, in 2019 it’s only going to run for two days: June 29th and June 30th. The official reason is because there are a number of delays and planning issues most likely as a result of the historically long government shutdown that happened last December and January.
The Circulator bus is currently (and temporarily) free! In February, Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser announced that Circulator would be completely free indefinitely. Rides used to cost one dollar and you could pay either with a dollar bill or a SmarTrip card. Now, they are free, SmarTrip or cash required. Free Circulator won’t last forever. The DC City Council already voted to switch back to the old fares. So, be sure to double-check the Circulator website before you trip.
Another Circulator update is that they are launching a Zoo Express bus. It will take you from the Woodley Park station straight to the National Zoo entrance. This seasonal bus is going to run from May through September.
If you visited DC in the past, then you might have checked out the International Spy Museum at their location downtown near the Capital One Arena. This winter, the Spy Museum started moving to their brand-new location in L’Enfant Plaza. It is bigger and will provide a much better experience for visitors. So, if you do want to go to the Spy Museum this year make sure to double check to make sure you’re heading to the right location.
Electric scooters are seemingly everywhere in 2019! There are scooters from half a dozen different companies. You can download their app, create an account, and put in your credit card information and ride away on a scooter. These are also a fun novelty if you are on vacation.
One important thing to note is that the scooters are technically not allowed outside of their service area. The National Mall is outside of the service area. So, when you are walking around the National Mall, you will see scooters everywhere. The scooter companies are not enforcing their service areas and charging people fines if they break their rules. But we do not know if this is still going to be the case in a week a month a year or ever. So, be aware of this if you’re planning on using them around the National Mall.
When you visit the Jefferson Memorial this year, you are going to find a big construction zone around the monument. They are working on remediating a substance called biofilm. This black material is growing on top of the dome. From a distance, it looks like dirt but it’s actually a microscopic organism that attaches itself to the stone. This makes it a whole lot more difficult to clean up than dirt. The National Park Service did a successful test a few years ago which is why there’s one spot that looks nice and clean. Now they are going to do the rest.
Air and Space Museum
The Air and Space Museum is one of, if not the most popular, museums in DC. Smithsonian just started a major renovation that will last for the next several years. Be sure to reset your expectations of the museum since it will feel like a construction zone and the exhibits closed on a rolling basis.
Coming to Washington DC, want to come on a tour with us?
Trip Hacks DC was founded by Rob, a veteran tour guide in the Nation’s Capital. Trip Hacks DC provides tips, tricks and travel hacks for planning your trip; and guided tours to show you around once you get here. Our tours are family and school group friendly and our guides specialize in the major Washington, DC sites. Click here to check out the upcoming tour options and to book your tour here today!Feel free to contact us if you have any tour questions.