Ten Free Things to Do in Washington, DC

Smithsonian Castle

Washington DC is a top tourist destination, and not without reason. The historic monuments, memorials and the world renowned Smithsonian museum system is one of the world’s best and is completely free. However, once you wander beyond the National Mall, the city can be a little pricey. In an effort to help the average traveler to Washington, here is my top ten list of awesome free things to do in Washington.

1. Want to see a show but don’t want to pay big bucks? Then head to the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage, which has free performances every evening at 6pm. Acts include everything from orchestras to dance to jazz.

2. For a close-up view of the stars, go to the Rock Creek Nature Center. The Center is home to the only planetarium operated by the National Park Service.

3. The tour company DC by Foot offers a free, kid-friendly ‘More than Monuments’ walking tour. The tour guides use games and trivia to make the walk fun for the whole family.

4. Explore the lesser known statues and memorials by finding the five secret statues of Washington.

5. For a taste of Germany, visit the Goethe Institut to learn all about German culture, and see the work of German artists in the gallery.

6. Conveniently located in downtown Washington, the National Geographic Museum offers free exhibitions that highlight international cultures and natural wonders.

7. Eastern Market is the perfect start to your weekend morning with hundreds of local artists, farmers and assorted vendors of the unusual.

8. Check out the early days of Washington by following Georgetown’s cobblestone streets to the Old Stone House, the last pre-Revolutionary building standing in Washington, DC on its original foundation.

9. Visit America’s first museum of modern art, The Phillips Collection in Dupont Circle.

10.  Avoid the long lines at the Washington Monument and instead head to the Old Post Office Pavilion  for an awe-inspiring view of the city.

By: Matt Long

Matt has a true passion for travel. As someone who has a bad case of the travel bug, Matt travels the world in order to share tips on where to go, what to see and how to experience the best the world has to offer.

4 thoughts on “Ten Free Things to Do in Washington, DC”

  1. This came just in time, Matt! I’ve been putting off visiting DC for the first time, but I’m planning to go down for at least a day in June (I live in NY). Definitely want to check out that Millenium Stage.

  2. excellent, glad you found the list. Millenium Stage really is a city treasure about which most people don’t know. If you have any questions as you plan your trip, please feel free to ask!

    1. Thanks for reading! During the week, admission to the Phillips permanent collection is by donation, which makes this a “near free” option.

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