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5 Popular US Tourist Spots that Won't Operate During a Shutdown

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By Augustine Mbam - - 5 Mins Read
Statue of Liberty New York
Statue of Liberty | Laurenz Heymann

The United States is a vast and diverse country, blessed with an abundance of natural wonders, historical landmarks, and cultural treasures that attract travelers from all corners of the world.


From the majestic Grand Canyon to the iconic Statue of Liberty, these attractions are on the bucket lists of countless adventurers seeking to explore the beauty and history of the US.


However, many travelers may not be aware that their plans to visit these popular tourist spots can be jeopardized by an unexpected and often frustrating obstacle - a government shutdown.


Government shutdowns, a result of political gridlock and budgetary disputes, can have far-reaching consequences beyond the political arena. One of the most visible impacts is the closure of numerous national parks, monuments, museums, and other federally managed attractions.


In this article, we delve into the disheartening reality that during a government shutdown, five of the United States' most beloved tourist destinations find themselves temporarily shuttered to the public.


1. Statue of Liberty, New York City:


Statue of Liberty New York
Statue of Liberty | Avi Werde/Unsplash


The Statue of Liberty, a symbol of freedom and democracy, is one of the most iconic landmarks in the United States. Situated on Liberty Island in New York Harbor, it attracts millions of visitors annually.


However, when the government shuts down, the National Park Service, which manages the Statue of Liberty National Monument, faces funding constraints. As a result, the statue, its pedestal, and the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration are temporarily off-limits to tourists.


2. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona


A view of the Grand Canyon Arizona
Grand Canyon National Park | Shutterstock


The Grand Canyon is a geological wonder, known for its awe-inspiring vistas and breathtaking beauty. However, when the US government grinds to a halt, so do the services provided at Grand Canyon National Park.


The closure of visitor centers, campgrounds, and entrance gates disrupts the experience for tourists who have journeyed to witness this natural wonder. Hiking trails and viewpoints become inaccessible, leaving travelers with limited options to explore.


3. Smithsonian Museums, Washington, D.C.


Tourists at the Smithsonian Museums
Smithsonian Museums | Shutterstock


Washington, D.C. is home to a wealth of cultural and historical institutions, including the Smithsonian Museums. These world-class museums house extensive collections of art, history, and science exhibits.


Unfortunately, during a government shutdown, the Smithsonian Institution faces budgetary constraints, leading to the closure of its museums and the National Zoo. Visitors miss out on the opportunity to explore these enriching cultural resources.


4. Yosemite National Park, California


Yosemite National Park, California
Yosemite National Park | Shutterstock


Yosemite National Park is a haven for nature enthusiasts, boasting breathtaking waterfalls, towering cliffs, and diverse wildlife. However, when a government shutdown occurs, the park's infrastructure takes a hit.


Campgrounds, visitor centers, and restrooms may close, limiting the amenities available to tourists. Additionally, access to iconic landmarks like Glacier Point and Mariposa Grove may be restricted, affecting the overall experience of visiting Yosemite.


5. National Mall, Washington, D.C.


A view of the Washington Monument in the National Mall
A view of the Washington Monument | Shutterstock


The National Mall in the heart of Washington, D.C., is a must-visit for those interested in American history and culture. It's home to the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, among others.


Unfortunately, when the government shuts down, these cherished monuments and memorials are inaccessible. Visitors miss the opportunity to pay their respects and immerse themselves in the nation's history.


While planning a trip to the United States, it's essential to consider the potential impact of a government shutdown on your travel plans. The closure of popular tourist spots such as the Statue of Liberty, Grand Canyon National Park, Smithsonian museums, Yosemite National Park, and the National Mall can be disappointing and frustrating for travelers. To avoid disappointment, it's wise to check for any government shutdown announcements and plan your visit accordingly. Despite the occasional setbacks, the United States still offers a plethora of incredible destinations to explore when its government is up and running.