To celebrate Father’s Day, the National Park Service will, once again, be offering free admission to national parks. The freedays begin with a special Father’s Day admission offer on Saturday, June 16, and continue through the end of August. Expect long lines as the national parks fill up before sunup.
Some holiday basics
You’ll also want to check with your local or regional DMV to see what’s closed in your area for the holiday. For several, such as Secret Service, all state and local government offices, public schools, and recreational facilities, will be closed. If there’s a federal building in your area, check to see if it’s open. Another good rule of thumb: If the holiday falls on a Tuesday, don’t go; all federal offices close that day.
From coast to coast
Giant AC/DC poster at the Pentagon. (Photograph by Bryce Covert)
It’s both official and unofficial
Federal offices will be closed for the holidays, but museums such as the National Museum of the American Indian and the National Gallery of Art will be open, as will airports, train and bus stations, and motorways. By and large, the Federal Trade Commission will be open, as will courthouses and post offices, but check first with your local or regional DC government office to make sure.
Half-day in the kitchen
You won’t find an official holiday meal plan for Monday or Tuesday, and everything might be sold out online. But simply going to the supermarket on Saturday (and, for that matter, Sunday) should allow you to stock up on needed items like eggs, milk, bread, paper towels, and batteries, since most shops will be closed.
Most branches of Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods will remain open, and most Whole Foods markets will be open for business on either the two holiday days. Wal-Mart, however, is encouraging its workers to take the day off. Most grocery stores will be open and will ask you to weigh in about the kind of food you’d like to buy before stocking your cart.
One of the more typical first-world problems is returning clothes or appliances to stores, so that you can claim your return receipt. The best advice for the holidays is to use the account timeline, which lets you register for 15-day return dates for items bought on the holiday.
Leaving lots of stuff
Some people like to leave boxes of stuff on the front porch or in a driveway to de-stress. Others do not. Either way, expect lots of neighbors to be asked to help sort through your scattered items.
Running out of gas
No part of the country is exempt from the holiday–so if you’re not near a gas station, expect some gas stations to be closed. While some areas like New Jersey will open up on the holiday, others, like New York City, will close down.
Cue the kids, will you?
Everyone’s invited to baby showers, college reunions, and get-togethers with grandchildren this weekend, but mark it on your calendar in advance. Kids must be accompanied by an adult at events where alcohol is served, and you’ll want to RSVP sooner than later to figure out where you’ll be partying with your kids, absent Mother Nature.
Merry Washington treats
You’ll have more options for things to do without leaving the country. The Smithsonian Museums: The Hirshhorn, the American Folk Art Museum, and the African Art Museum, for example, will all be open.
And if your electricity goes out? The Washington Fire Department will hand out flashlights, batteries, and candles to keep your lights on and to help you sing Christmas carols.
If you’re really looking to leave Washington on a high note, arrange an official White House Christmas party via either the White House or the City of Washington’s website.