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Columbus Day: Eating, Shopping and Parking

What's open? What's closed? Why do we celebrate Columbus Day, anyway?

Columbus Day remembers Italian explorer Christopher Columbus’ long journey across the Atlantic Ocean to the “New World." The voyage was victorious when land was first spotted on Oct. 12, 1492.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt is responsible for making the day a federal holiday in 1937. The day is also considered a celebration of Italian heritage, as well as a huge shopping day. 

Many banks and the U.S. Postal Service are closed today in observance of the holiday. In Montgomery County, local government offices and schools are open, though libraries are closed.

Ride On and trash collection services will operate as usual today.

MCPS has designated Columbus Day for schools to hold open houses, so many parents who are off work may be visiting their children at school today. Most county schools are participating, according to school system spokesman Dana Tofig.

And then, of course, there's the shopping. Many local businesses are offering up deals this Columbus Day. Check out the Westfield Wheaton Mall, where stores including Sears, Macy's, and the Children's Place are discounting their merchandise.

Bad news for drivers, however -- you'll still need to pay to park in county lots and garages. Parking fees are suspended in neighboring Arlington and Alexandria, however, WTOP reports.

What are your plans for Columbus Day? Shopping? Relaxation? Visiting your child's school? Tell us in the comments.

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