UPDATE – FINAL Oct. 17, 2013: The shutdown is over. Early this morning the President signed the paperwork. All attractions will reopen shortly, if not immediately.
UPDATE Oct. 13, 2013: Some iconic U.S. tourist attractions reopened over the weekend including the Statue of Liberty (more below), the Grand Canyon and Utah’s Zion and Bryce National Parks. Mt. Rushmore begins accepting visitors again on Monday, Oct. 14. The states worked out agreements with the National Park Service despite the ongoing government shutdown which allowed them to reopen but if your favorite attraction is still closed, see suggested alternatives below.
Statue of Liberty – UPDATE: Now reopened
Update: The symbolic statue is now reopened to visitors at least through Oct. 18.
Alternative attractions: Wow. So many. New York, after all, is the city that never sleeps, but if it’s a view you want, try the Empire State Building, then see a museum or a Broadway play or shop and dine at the gazillion options New York offers.
Earlier this summer, a big fire shut it down (well, partly). Then came the shutdown. If you can’t see it now, try later – it’s worth it.
Alternative attractions: The countryside surrounding Yosemite is gorgeous and so is San Francisco and the Napa wine country to the east, while the arresting Gold Rush-era ghost town of Bodie is just 70 miles away.
To miss Yellowstone is a real heartbreaker – it has it all. But there is a lot to see nearby.
Alternative attractions: Jackson Hole, Wyoming, to the south is a fun mixture of ultra-wealth and working cowboys while the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming, is always worth a trip.
- Getting there: Fly into Idaho Falls, Jackson or – Salt Lake City (if you don’t mind a drive – but it’s pretty!)
Did you know there are actually 19 Smithsonian museums? And every one of them closed, alas.
Alternative attractions: Look at the White House and Capitol building from the outside (no tours), or visit the Newseum (all about news media), Arlington National Cemetery (see President Kennedy’s grave and those of famous military figures dating back to the Civil War). For forensics fans, there’s always the Crime Museum.
Philadelphia’s signature sightseeing venue – the cracked bell – is off limits to tourists, for now.
Alternative attractions: Many of the city’s excellent art museums and its world class zoo are open to visitors – ditto for the Betsy Ross house. Don’t forget to grab a tasty cheesesteak.
- Getting there: Fly into Philadelphia.