Free Things to do in Washington DC

Free things to do in Washington DC can be found all over the city. Unlike some locales where you have to open your wallet with every stop you make, you could spend a whole day exploring without spending any money to visit museums, monuments, and other fun DC spots. Even if you're not traveling on a tight budget, it is quite wonderful to visit such high caliber places without paying an admission fee. You'll have the chance to see some amazing things without spending any money. In America's capital city, many of the free things to do in DC are connected to the federal government. All the branches of the government—the legislative, executive, and judicial—welcome visitors at most times during the work day. The grand Supreme Court building closes the courtroom to the general public, but you are welcome to wander through rest of the building and see the artwork. A gift shop and cafeteria also are available here.


Tours of the many monuments, the National Mall, and even of the White House are all free in DC. White House tours can be arranged through your member of Congress within six months of your visit. Along with seeing the president's working home, you also can stop into the White House Visitor Center. Even if you don't have reservations to tour the most famous house in Washington, a visit here is interesting. You'll find exhibits and a film detailing the architecture and history of the First residence, and its connection to world leaders and the press corps.

Capitol Visitor Center

The third branch of the government has become one of the most popular free things to do in Washington DC. The Capitol Visitor Center, which opened in the very end of 2008, greatly enhanced the visitor experience. Here, you'll find an array of exhibits and works of art, including the moving Statue of Freedom, used to cast the gold statue at the top of the dome. There's also a large cafeteria, many chances for shopping, and movies to watch, in addition to the chance to view Congress at work. Even though the visitor center is one of the free things to do in DC, tickets are still required. You can arrange a tour through your Representatives or pick up tickets on site if some are still available.

Smithsonian Institution

Thanks to the generous bequest of James Smithson, a man who had never set foot in America, the many museums of the Smithsonian Institution are on the list of free things to do in Washington DC. This collection of world-class museums is spread throughout the DC, with some outposts in New York City. As the world's largest museum system, the Smithsonian holds an unparalleled collection of treasures-as large as a space shuttle and as precious as the Hope Diamond and the Star Spangled Banner. Without dropping a dime, you can visit art and history museums, explore a zoo, and embark on one of the many tours that are offered throughout the day.


Going hand-in-hand with the Smithsonian Institute are the many museums located in DC, as most of these are Smithsonian museums. One of the best museum cities in the world, Washington DC keeps almost all of its museums absolutely free. You can enjoy everything from the Holocaust Memorial Museum to the National Air and Space Museum to the Museum of Natural History—all for free.

Washington DC Monuments

Your options for free things to do in DC also includes visits the a stirring collection of monuments and memorials. Abraham Lincoln does not charge a fee for you to step and say hello (his statue that is), and the Jefferson Memorial is free to visit. The National Mall, a gathering place of the American people, is home to many of these memorials, including the Washington Monument and memorials dedicated to the soldiers of World War II, Vietnam, and Korea. Fees are not collected at the national monuments, which look amazing when illuminated after dark. It is free to visit the Washington Monument, but you'll need to pick up tickets the day of your tour.

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