37 Mostly Free Things To Do In Washington DC


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panda National Zoo
Pandas! – photo by Smithsonian National Zoo

America’s capital has an inexhaustible number of things to do for visitors of all ages, and many of them have no admission fees at all, making it an affordable place to see the sights on a budget. Book yourself flights to Washington and a hotel, and you’re all set.

Here are our picks:

1. See cute animals at the National Zoo (free)

2. Visit the National Air & Space Museum Stephen F. Udvar Hazy Center (free)

3. Explore the Library of Congress (free)

4.  Eat at Ben’s Chili Bowl

Ben's Chili Bowl
Ben’s Chili Bowl – photo by Martin Locraft

5. Visit the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History (free)

6. Visit the Newseum

7. See the cherry blossoms in springtime (free)

8. Let your imagination soar at the National Air & Space Museum (free)

9. Stroll the National Mall (free)

10. Take a paddle boat ride in the Tidal Basin

11. Visit the National Museum of the American Indian (free)

12. Visit the Lincoln Memorial (free)

Museum of the American Indian
Museum of the American Indian – photo by Xavier de Jaureguiberry

13. Tour Arlington National Cemetery (free)

14. Visit the Great Hall at the National Building Museum (free)

15. Ascend the Washington Monument (free)

16. Visit the International Spy Museum

17. Learn how to make money at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (free)

18. Visit the Folger Shakespeare Library (free)

19. Immerse yourself in history with a tour of Ford’s Theatre

20. See dazzling Asian Art at the Freer and Sackler galleries (free)

21. Make a rubbing at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (free)

Jefferson Memorial
Jefferson Memorial – photo by Katie Harbath

22. Get dialled in to culture and track down Art on Call installations (free)

23. Cycle the Washington & Old Dominion Trail (free)

24. Investigate the Crime Museum

25. Stargaze at Rock Creek Park (free)

26. Visit the National Postal Museum (free)

27. Go locavore at FRESHFARM Markets (free)

28. Broaden your horizons with the Passport DC Around the World Embassy Tour (free)

29. Put faces to names at the National Portrait Gallery (free)

National Arboretum
Bleeding hearts at the National Arboretum – photo by Michael Bentley

30. Take a panoramic picture of Washington from the Jefferson Memorial (free)

31. Explore the National Geographic Museum

32. Hang out with movers and shakers in the lobby of the Willard Hotel

33. Grow an appreciation for flowers and plants at the National Arboretum

34. Visit the US Capitol (free)

35. Listen to Evensong at Washington National Cathedral (free)

36. Stoke your creative juices at the Smithsonian American Art Museum (free)

37. Be moved by the US Memorial Holocaust Museum (free)

Cherry Blossoms
Cherry blossoms in Washington DC – photo by Cayusa

About the Author: Steph Spencer

Formerly the Editor of Let's Roll, now you're more likely to find Steph prowling the halls of incredible museums, hunting for historic landmarks, discovering mind-blowing science and literary attractions, tracking down the world’s largest whatchamacallit or attending wacky festivals. She is a freelance travel writer who explores the geeky side of travel on her blog A Nerd At Large, and dispenses random quirkiness on Google+ and as @ANerdAtLarge on Twitter.

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