Washington, DC

10 Free Things to Do in Washington DC

Evan Crosby
Photo byAndy HeonUnsplash

Washington DC, the capital of the United States, is known for its historical significance, iconic landmarks, and vibrant culture. While the city offers countless attractions and activities, not all of them have to break the bank.

Here are 10 free things to do in Washington DC that allow visitors to explore and experience the city without spending a dime.

1. Visit the National Mall

The National Mall is a must-visit for history buffs and outdoor enthusiasts alike. This iconic open space stretches from the Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial, showcasing some of the nation's most important monuments and memorials, including the Washington Monument and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

2. Explore the Smithsonian Museums

Washington DC is home to numerous Smithsonian museums, all of which offer free admission. From the National Air and Space Museum to the National Museum of American History, these world-class institutions offer a wealth of knowledge and fascinating exhibits.

3. Enjoy the National Gallery of Art

Art lovers can immerse themselves in masterpieces at the National Gallery of Art. The museum houses an extensive collection of European and American art, including works by renowned artists such as Rembrandt and Monet.

4. Stroll through the United States Botanic Garden

Escape the bustling city streets and take a leisurely walk through the United States Botanic Garden. Home to a variety of plant species from around the world, this oasis offers a tranquil and educational experience.

5. Visit the Library of Congress

Delve into literary history by exploring the Library of Congress, the largest library in the world. Take a guided tour or simply wander through the awe-inspiring architecture and browse the extensive collection of books.

6. Experience the National Zoo

The National Zoo, part of the Smithsonian Institution, is a perfect family-friendly attraction. Get up close and personal with a diverse range of animals, including the beloved giant pandas.

7. Join a Ranger Program at Rock Creek Park

Rock Creek Park is an urban oasis where visitors can enjoy nature in the heart of the city. Take part in one of the park's free Ranger Programs to learn about the park's history, wildlife, and conservation efforts.

8. Explore the National Arboretum

The National Arboretum is a beautiful escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. Wander through its stunning gardens, including the iconic Capitol Columns, and discover an array of plant species.

9. Attend a Concert at the Kennedy Center

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts offers free performances every day at 6 p.m. in their Millennium Stage series. Enjoy a diverse range of music, dance, and theater performances from emerging and renowned artists.

10. Witness the Changing of the Guard at Arlington National Cemetery

Pay your respects at Arlington National Cemetery and witness the solemn and awe-inspiring Changing of the Guard ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.


Washington DC offers an abundance of free attractions and activities that cater to a wide range of interests. From historical landmarks to cultural institutions and natural wonders, there's something for everyone to enjoy without spending a dime. So, next time you visit the nation's capital, make sure to explore these 10 free things to do in Washington DC and make the most of your trip.

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