Deals, Freebies Around DC for the Government Shutdown

Furloughed federal workers can score deals, discounts and freebies throughout the city

Furloughed federal workers may be feeling a squeeze on their bank accounts during the government shutdown, but plenty of businesses are trying to ease the pain with freebies and discounts.

For more on the shutdown, here's what you can and cannot do, what's open and what's closed, and how to find help in the D.C. area.

From discount admission at paid museums to cheap drinks to fitness classes, here's where you can score a deal:

Food and Drink Deals

World Central Kitchen
701 Pennsylvania Ave. NW 

Chef José Andrés' nonprofit organization World Central Kitchen is running an "emergency kitchen" to feed federal workers affected by the shutdown. It's open daily from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and serves a "rotating menu of hot meals, sandwiches and salads," a statement from the organization said. Take-home meal kits will be offered soon. Go here for more info.

Broccoli Bar (1817 7th St. NW)

Andrés has also teamed up with &pizza to open a second kitchen at Broccoli Bar for for furloughed government workers and their families, daily from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Across the Pond Restaurant & Pub
1732 Connecticut Ave. NW

Federal workers get 10 percent off with government ID at Across the Pond Restaurant & Pub. Not valid on in-house specials.

Free Beer Via Pay It Furloughed
Various Locations

Furloughed and unpaid workers and contractors can score free beers — paid for with funds donated online at Three local breweries, Atlas, DC Brau and 3 Stars, plus Shop Made In DC, are participating as of Jan. 15. Those looking to buy a beer for others can do so here; those looking to get a free beer may find more info here.

Baked by Yael
3000 Connecticut Ave. NW

Federal employees and contractors can get a free coffee through the shutdown. Zoo employees required to work without pay can get a free bagel sandwich or small soup each weekday.

The Brighton
949 Wharf St. SW

Show your federal ID for 10 percent off your order at this spot on The Wharf.

Capitol Lounge
229 Pennsylvania Ave. SE

Capitol Lounge offers federal employees with on-theme cocktails for $5. Drinks include the Nothing Really Mattis and the Border Wall Banger.

Charlie's on the Avenue
1501 Mt Vernon Ave., Alexandria

Get 20 percent off your meal with a government ID.

City Tap Penn Quarter
901 9th St. NW

Happy hour is extended from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. every day during the shutdown. That includes $5 select drafts, $6 house wines and $7 beer and a shot combo.

Cork Wine Bar & Market
1805 14th St. NW

Cork Wine Bar says it's offering all-day happy hour through the shutdown.

The Dog Park
705 King St., Alexandria, Virginia

The shop is offering 20 percent off all dog and cat food (cans/kibble) for those affected by the shutdown, with government or contractor ID.

Duplex Diner 
2004 18th St. NW

Duplex Diner is offering furloughed feds a free Monday meal and a glass of wine. Bring your ID or business card. 

Hula Girl Truck
4044 Campbell Ave., Arlington, Virginia

Furloughed government employees can show their ID to get a free beer and a burger at the bar during happy hour, which runs Monday to Friday 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Live Oak Restaurant
1603 Commonwealth Ave., Alexandria

Show your government ID and get 20 percent off your meal.

Maggiano's Chevy Chase
5333 Wisconsin Ave. NW

The Italian chain is offering 50 percent off to government employees.

Peri Peri Original
6456 Old Beulah St., Alexandria

Anyone with a federal government ID can get a free chicken or beef burger, with the option of adding free fries or a soda, available until the shutdown ends.

Pork Barrel BBQ
2312 Mt Vernon Ave., Alexandria 

Furloughed workers and out of work federal contractors can get a free pulled pork sandwich until the shutdown ends.

The Queen Vic
1206 H St. NE

Federal government employees can flash the bartender a federal ID during the shutdown for an 18 percent discount.

ThinkFoodGroup Restaurants
Various Locations

José Andrés promised to give federal workers and their families a free sandwich at the bar of any of the famed chef's restaurants, including Oyamel, Zaytinya, America Eats Tavern and Beefsteak. The offer stands from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. daily until the shutdown ends, Andrés tweeted. You'll need to show a federal ID.

Wings Over College Park
4200 Hartwick Road, College Park, Maryland

Guests with a current federal government ID can get free wings and sandwiches.

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Music, Museums and Experiences

B&O Railroad Museum
901 W. Pratt St., Baltimore

Show your federal ID for free admission as long as workers are furloughed.

George Mason University Basketball
EagleBank Arena, Fairfax, VA

Complimentary tickets to men's and women's basketball games are availaible for federal workers affected by the shutdown. Limit two per federal employee with a valid government ID. Offer can be redeemed at the box office on the day of the game. Call the ticket office at 703-993-3270 for details. 

George Mason University's Center for the Arts
4400 University Drive, MS 2F5, Fairfax, VA

Federal employees can see performances of MOMIX Jan. 25 at 8 p.m., Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra Jan. 26 at 8 p.m. and "The Phantom Tollbooth" Jan. 27 at 2 p.m. for $5.

George Mason University's Hylton Performing Arts Center
10960 George Mason Circle, Manassas, VA

Federal employees can see performances of "The Phantom Tollbooth," Jan. 26 at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. for $5.

Glen Echo Park
7300 MacArthur Blvd., Glen Echo, Maryland 

Glen Echo Park Partnerships for Arts and Culture are offering free and discounted events for furloughed workers by showing a government ID. Events featured are dances, children's theater, nature programs and yoga classes. See the schedule here.

The Mansion on O Street
2020 O St. NW

Furloughed federal employees will receive a free beer or glass of wine with regular admission during the government shutdown by showing their ID upon arrival.

National Building Museum
401 F St. NW

Federal employees can show their ID for free admission until the shutdown is over. The DC Is Open campaign is offering a number of discounts.

Nile Rodgers & CHIC
MGM National Harbor

Nile Rodgers & CHIC are offering 300 pairs of free tickets to their Jan. 26 concert at MGM National Harbor to government workers affected by the shutdown. The first 300 people to apply here will get a pair of tickets.

555 Pennsylvania Ave. NW

Federal employees get free admission during the shutdown by showing their badge in person at the admissions desk. Everyone else can get 15 percent off on general admissions tickets at during the shutdown (the tickets must be used by Dec. 31, 2019). The DC Is Open campaign is offering a number of discounts.

Phillips Collection
1600 21st St. NW

Federal employees get free admission with government ID during the shutdown.

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Bender JCC of Greater Washington
6125 Montrose Road, Rockville, Maryland 

Take a swim, steam in the sauna, or work out at Bender JCC of Greater Washington. Stop by the center between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. with a government ID.

1110 Ripley St., Silver Spring and 6960 C Maple St. NW

Take an indoor cycling class at CYCLED! of Silver Spring, or try a cycling, barre or yoga sculpt class at the Takoma Park location. Use the code "SweatItOut@CYCLED!" to sign up, and to show your government ID at check-in.

Montgomery County Parks:
Various Locations

Furloughed government employees can get the following discounts, with valid federal ID:

  • 50 percent off any public skating admission at Cabin John Ice Rink and Wheaton Ice Arena (for federal employees and up to three family members)
  • 50 percent off a bucket of balls at the South Germantown Driving Range
  • 50 percent off a Spot Time court fee at Pauline Betz Addie Tennis and Wheaton Indoor Tennis
  • 25 percent discount on all permits and rentals, good for events happening while the permit holder is furloughed

RYDE Cycle
1025 N. Fillmore St., Suite J, Arlington

For the duration of the government shutdown, the rhythm-based cycling studio in Clarendon is offering free 5:30 p.m. classes Monday through Thursday for those with a federal ID. Also offering free shoe rentals for all classes for those with a federal ID.

Sweat DC
3232 Georgia Ave. NW, Suite 105

All are offered a free two-week pass. This Petworth studio is known for 45-minute, high-intensity core-cardio-strength classes. The Sweat Strong class uses higher levels of equipment, more dynamic moves and offers more one-on-one attention.

Yoga in Daily Life
2402 Mt Vernon Ave., Alexandria 

Take free yoga classes during the shutdown; just bring your government ID. See the class schedule here.

Other Services

Acupuncture at Whole Health Associates
1625 K St. NW, Suite 375

Whole Health Associates is offering free seated (ear) acupuncture treatments to any furloughed federal employee Monday, Jan. 28 from 9 to 11 a.m. They say the treatment helps with stress, sleep and "a bit of detox to clear us of both physical and psychological 'garbage'." Tea and sandwiches will be available too. RSVP via email at or by calling 202-822-1711.

Haircuts at Bishops
1742 Connecticut Ave. NW

Furloughed federal workers can get free haircuts.

Haircuts at Salon deZEN
118 N. Fayette St., Alexandria

Show your valid government ID for a free haircut until the shutdown ends. Valid 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday with select stylists. Limit one haircut per person for four-week period.

Headshots From Istrico Productions
3145 Mt Vernon Ave., Alexandria

Get free headshots from Istrico Productions. They'll also help you format the photo for LinkedIn. Message the business on Facebook or call them at 202-643-0675 to set up an appointment.

Knitting Classes FibreSpace
1319 Prince St., Alexandria

FibreSpace is periodically offering free knitting classes for furloughed workers. Check their Facebook page for upcoming events.

Rides From Via

Ride-share service Via is offering a free $10 credit for new users with "ViaForLow." You'll need to download the app for Apple or Android. 

For Federal Employees Who Work at BWI Marshall Airport

The 600+ federal employees who work at BWI Marshall Airport can receive discounts on meals, free chair massages, free grocery items and more. Concession participants include Subway, Jamba Juice, Pinkberry and more.

The airport is also hosting a food drive for affected workers. Those who want to donate to the food drive can bring non-perishable items to the Maryland Transportation Authority Police and the lower level of the BWI Marshall Airport. 

Have any discounts to add to the list? Email or tweet at us!

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