Labor Day Weekend 2020: Celebrate with socially-distanced activities
Mei Xiang, one of the National Zoo’s resident Giant Pandas, may has given birth.
(Courtesy National Zoo)
The Smithsonian’s National Zoo is open each day from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. in a timed-entry protocol in order to limit the number of people on campus at once. Face coverings are required for all visitors ages 6 and older, with recommendations that younger children wear them as well.
The big news of recent weeks is the birth of a new panda cub. While Mei Xiang’s baby won’t have a name for about 100 days after its birth, and its gender has yet to be revealed, you can still get a view of the older pandas.
The Giant Panda House is closed due to the pandemic, but between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m., it’s likely you can catch a glimpse of the animals via the upper outdoor viewing path.
A sculpture at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C.
While many of the Smithsonian museums on the National Mall remain closed for indoor guests, one of the most interesting outdoor-only attractions recently opened back up. The Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden, located on the Mall side of the Hirshhorn Museum near the intersection of 7th Street and Jefferson Drive SW, opened in mid August.
The grounds, which include works by artists including Rodin and even Yoko Ono, are open from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. each day. Enter from the National Mall, but capacity is limited.
Newly-installed sculptures by Huma Bhabha and Sterling Ruby are now on display.
Audience members watch as Italian conductor Gianandrea Noseda conducts the National Symphony Orchestra (NSO) during a concert at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C., on Feb. 14, 2019.
(AFP via Getty Images/ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS)
The traditional outdoor NSO concert on the National Mall has been canceled for 2020, but the symphony is offering a live simulcast at Park Up DC, one of the parking lots that is part of the RFK Stadium complex in Southeast.
The symphony plays Sunday, Sept. 6 at 7 p.m. The concert is free, but tickets are required.
You can still pick your own apples, but many fall festivals have been canceled.
The coronavirus pandemic has canceled a number of Labor Day festivities in D.C.’s surrounding suburbs, and even the Virginia Scottish Games in The Plains, Virginia. Be sure to check with the town or city you may be visiting to see if there is a properly distanced in-person event or a virtual remembrance in honor of the holiday.
In Bluemont, Virginia, for example, the Corn Maze and Farmers Market and apple picking is still open, while some festival activities are reduced. Timed access tickets are suggested. No festival activities will be available on Labor Day, though.
Mount Vernon, the home of George Washington, in Virginia.
(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
One of the special tours offered at George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate is of the distillery. Each year, the estate produces rye whiskey of the same style the nation’s first president distilled when he lived there.
Tours are offered during weekends in September, including on Labor Day weekend.
The tour on Sept. 5 includes a whiskey tasting.
There’s also a virtual George Washington Patriot Run, where participants can submit their 5k and 10-miler times between Sept. 1 and Sept. 12.
In this Sept. 5, 2019 photo, workers walk atop a green roof at The Reach, an expansion of the Kennedy Center in Washington.
(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Visit the bust of President Kennedy at the Kennedy Center, walk the grounds of the 1-year-old The Reach campus, and have a glass of wine overlooking the Potomac River.
The outdoor expansion of the Kennedy Center, unveiled last fall, is open for visits. As is the center’s Grand Foyer, where you can see President John F. Kennedy’s statue.
After walking the grounds and checking out the views of D.C. and Virginia, you can stop for a glass of wine at the pop-up wine bar, Victura Park. It’s open each day of Labor Day weekend, starting at noon.
Murals from the recent social justice protests at the Building Museum
While the National Building Museum has recently installed exhibits to celebrate summer during the year’s hottest months, it has pivoted to an outdoor exhibit this summer. While last year saw The Lawn host dance parties and yoga classes, this year, the actual lawn outside of the museum has some protest artwork saved from events of the past summer.
The outdoor exhibit is called Murals That Matter, and it’s on display through November. The art is on the building’s west side, along 5th Street NW. The exhibit opened Aug. 28.
Six new murals, in honor of the 57th anniversary of the March on Washington, were painted live on the grounds of the museum and honor six important figures who organized the 1963 march.
Fourth of July fireworks explode over the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument and U.S. Capitol, along the National Mall in Washington, Saturday, July 4, 2020.
(AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
If you’ve missed out on the summer’s traditional haul of fireworks due to coronavirus-related cancellations, you may be able to get some “bang, zoom” back in your life on Saturday, Sept. 5, in the Northern Virginia city of Manassas.
A nine-minute firework display should be easy to see from just about anywhere in the city, so no need to crowd together. The display begins at 8 p.m.
The Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens reopened in June
On the east side of the Anacostia River, take a socially-distanced stroll through the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens. The facility is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Learn the history of the gardens and how the plants in the marsh and wetlands have contributed to food, medicine and shelter for centuries.
Kayakers and a paddle boarder are seen on the Potomac in D.C. this summer. Masks are required until you get onto the water.
(Courtesy Jen Nuessle)
One of the best socially distant activities you can do in this pandemic-marked summer? Get in a boat by yourself.
Most of the boat launches in D.C. and Virginia are open, according to Boating in D.C., whose manager, Jen Nuessle, told WTOP in late August that “paddling offers a great opportunity to get out of the house and enjoy the outdoors while socially distancing.”
Be sure to check the Boating in D.C. website ahead of time and make a reservation if you want to hit the water.
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Dan Friedell is a digital writer for WTOP. He came to the D.C. area in 2007 to work as digital editor for USATODAY.com, and since then has worked for a number of local and national news organizations.