See D.C. For Free.



I've been raving on and on about the Caribbean and Mexico, but I wanted to take some time out offer some tips on those who are looking for a trip that comes with a free U.S. history lesson.

We visited DC a couple years back and really loved how easy it was to get around. We stayed in Alexandria, Virginia and had a free shuttle to the subway every morning and got dropped in the city and just walked around all day. It was a beautiful experience and I can't wait to go back again. Lodging was cheap, the ride down cost us next to nothing, and the sights along the way were breath taking. Plus, once we got there we learned that there are so many free attractions!

If you are planning a trip to D.C. anytime soon, make sure to take advantage of everything it has to offer.

Here is a list of 50 Attractions in Washington D.C. that you can visit for FREE:

1. African American Civil War Memorial and Museum- This Washington, DC attraction honors the African American struggle for freedom in the United States. A Wall of Honor lists the names of 209,145 United States Colored Troops (USCT) who served in the Civil War and the museum showcases artifacts from this time period.

2. Air Force Memorial- One of the Washington, DC area's newest attractions features soaring spires that can be seen from a great distance. This memorial honors the millions of men and women who have served in the United States Air Force.

3. Anacostia Community Museum- The Smithsonian Institution’s museum of African American history and culture offers exhibitions, educational programs, workshops, lectures, film screenings and other special events that interpret black history from the 1800s to the present.

4. Arlington National Cemetery- This popular Washington, DC attraction serves as a cemetery and a memorial to America's war heroes. More than four million people visit Arlington National Cemetery each year, attending graveside services and special ceremonies to pay tribute to veterans and historical figures.

5. Botanic Gardens- The living plant museum located on the National Mall showcases an impressive state-of-the-art indoor garden with approximately 4,000 seasonal, tropical and subtropical plants. The U.S. Botanic Garden is administered by the Architect of the Capitol and offers special exhibits and educational programs throughout the year.

6. Bureau of Engraving- This is a fun attraction for all ages. Visitors see how U. S. paper currency is printed, stacked, cut and examined for defects. The Bureau of Engraving and Printing also prints White House invitations, Treasury securities, identification cards, naturalization certificates, and other special security documents.

7. Capitol- The U. S. Capitol Building is open to the public for guided tours only. Visitors learn about the work of the Senate and the House of Representatives, and the impressive architecture of the most recognizable historic buildings in Washington, DC.

8. C & O Canal- The Chesapeake & Ohio Canal, a national historic park that dates back to the 18th and 19th centuries, stretches 184-miles from Georgetown along the Potomac River to Cumberland, Maryland. The tow path is a popular place to walk, bicycle and picnic.

9. DAR Museum- The museum of the Daughters of the American Revolution is a small Washington, DC attraction that is often missed by visitors. The collection features more than 30,000 examples of decorative and fine arts, including objects made or used in America prior to the Industrial Revolution.

10. East Potomac Park- The 300+ acre park features many of Washington's famous cherry trees, has terrific views of the city and is a popular place for biking, running, fishing and picnicking. There is a golf course, tennis center and swimming pool.

11. Ford’s Theatre- The historic theater where Lincoln was assassinated is a national landmark and also functions as a live theater. Visitors can enjoy a short talk by a National Park guide and learn the fascinating story of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination. On the lower level, the Ford's Theatre Museum displays exhibits about Lincoln’s life and explains the circumstances of his tragic death.

12. Fort Dupont Park- The 376 acre park is located east of the Anacostia River in southeast Washington, DC. Visitors enjoy picnics, nature walks, Civil War programs, gardening, environmental education, music, skating, sports, theater and concerts.

13. Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial- The memorial dedicated to Franklin Delano Roosevelt features four outdoor gallery rooms depicting the 12 years of FDR’s presidency. The memorial includes ten bronze sculptures of President Roosevelt, his wife Eleanor Roosevelt and World War II.

14. Frederick Douglass Historic Site- The National Historic Site honors Frederick Douglass' life and accomplishments. Douglass freed himself from slavery and helped to free millions of others. Learn about Douglass and visit his home at Cedar Hill. This site is known as having one of the best views of Washington, DC.

15. Freer and Sackler Gallery- The adjoining Smithsonian art museums feature a world-renowned collection of Asian art including paintings, ceramics, manuscripts, and sculptures. The Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Auditorium provides free performances of Asian music and dance, films, lectures, chamber music, and dramatic presentations.

16. George Mason Memorial- The monument is dedicated to the author of the Virginia Declaration of Rights, which inspired Thomas Jefferson while drafting the Declaration of Independence. Mason persuaded our forefathers to include individual rights as a part of the Bill of Rights.

17. Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden- The Smithsonian's museum of modern and contemporary art is comprised of approximately 11,500 artworks, including paintings, sculptures, works on paper, photographs, collages, and decorative art objects.

18. Iwo Jima Memorial- This memorial, also known as the United States Marine Corps War Memorial, is dedicated to the marines who gave their lives during one of the most historic battles of World War II, the battle of Iwo Jima.

19. Jefferson Memorial- One of Washington, DC's most popular attractions, this dome-shaped rotunda honors the nation's third president. The 19-foot bronze statue of Jefferson is located on the Tidal Basin, surrounded by a grove of trees making it especially beautiful during Cherry Blossom season in the spring.

20. Kennedy Center's Millenium Stage- The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is the home to the National Symphony Orchestra, Washington Opera, Washington Ballet and American Film Institute. Performances include theatre, musicals, dance, orchestral, chamber, jazz, popular, & folk music; youth and family programs and multi-media shows. Free daily performances are held on the Millennium Stage in the Grand Foyer.

21. Korean War Veterans Memorial- Our nation honors those who were killed, captured, wounded or remain missing in action during the Korean War (1950 -1953). Nineteen figures represent every ethnic background. The statues are supported by a granite wall with 2,400 faces of land, sea and air support troops. A Pool of Remembrance lists the names of the lost Allied Forces.

22. Lafayette Park- The seven-acre park provides a prominent arena for public protests, ranger programs and special events. Buildings surrounding the park include the White House, the Old Executive Office Building, the Department of the Treasury, Decatur House, Renwick Gallery, The White House Historical Association, Hay-Adams Hotel and The Department of Veterans Affairs.

23. Library of Congress- The world’s largest library contains more than 128 million items including books, manuscripts, films, photographs, sheet music and maps. Visitors can explore the library and navigate books through page-turning technology and learn how America’s greatest thinkers were inspired.

24. Lincoln Memorial- The memorial is one of Washington, DC's top attractions and occupies a prominent space on the National Mall. It is a tribute to President Abraham Lincoln, who fought to preserve our nation during the Civil War, from 1861-1865. The Lincoln Memorial has been the site of many famous speeches and events since its dedication in 1922.

25. National Air & Space Museum - This museum displays the largest collection of air and spacecraft in the world. Visit here and learn about the history, science, and technology of aviation and space flight. There are IMAX films and planetarium shows several times a day.

26. National Archives- The National Archives and Records Administration stores and provides public access to the original documents that set up the American government as a democracy in 1774. See the United States Government's Charters of Freedom, the U. S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence.

27. National Building Museum- The museum examines America's architecture, design, engineering, construction, and urban planning. Exhibits include photographs and models of buildings in Washington, DC and offer insight into the history and future of our built environment. The museum offers a variety of educational programs and special events, including informative lectures, interesting demonstrations and great family programs.

28. National Cathedral- The Cathedral is an impressive structure, English Gothic in style, with exquisite architectural sculpture, wood carving, gargoyles, mosaics, and more than 200 stained glass windows. The top of the Gloria in Excelsis Tower, the highest point in Washington, DC offers dramatic views of the city. The grounds include beautiful gardens and a gift shop.

29. National Gallery of Art and Sculpture Garden- Washington, DC's most popular attraction for art lovers is a world-class museum that displays one of the largest collections of masterpieces in the world including an international collection of paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, sculpture, and decorative arts from the 13th century to the present. A six-acre sculpture garden includes 17 major sculptures by internationally renowned artists such as Louise Bourgeois, Mark di Suvero, Roy Lichtenstein, Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, and Tony Smith. Free jazz concerts are held in the garden on Friday evenings during the summer months.

30. National Geographic Museum- The high-tech exhibit hall houses exhibits that explore nature and human cultures around the world through spectacular photography and interactive displays. The National Geographic Museum is a small museum that appeals to all ages and takes about an hour to visit.

31. National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial- The memorial honors federal, state and local law enforcers for their dedication and sacrifice. Bronze sculptures depict a series of adult lions protecting its cubs, symbolizing the protective role of law enforcement officers. Blue-gray marble walls are inscribed with the names of more than 17,500 officers who have been killed in the line of duty (dating back to 1792).

32. National Museum of African Art- The Smithsonian museum features a collection that includes ancient as well as contemporary works from Africa. There are special events, storytelling, demonstrations and children’s programs.

33. National Museum of American History- The museum displays more than 3 million artifacts of American history and culture, from the War of Independence to the present day. The Smithsonian's world class museum offers a wide range of exhibits that demonstrate the diversity of America’s history and culture.

34. National Museum of the American Indian- The Smithsonian museum showcases Native American objects from ancient pre-Columbian civilizations through the 21st century. Multimedia presentations, live performances and hands-on demonstrations bring the Native American people’s history and culture to life. The museum also features films, performances of music and dance, tours, lectures, craft demonstrations and special programs.

35. National Museum of Natural History- This Smithsonian museum is one of Washington, DC's most popular attractions. It houses a collection of more than 125 million natural science specimens and cultural artifacts. The museum is a favorite with kids, but has plenty to intrigue all ages. Popular displays include dinosaur skeletons, an enormous collection of natural gems and minerals, artifacts of early man, an insect zoo, a live coral reef and much more.

36. National Portrait Gallery and American Art Museum- The restored historic building in the Penn Quarter neighborhood of downtown Washington, DC, houses two museums in one building. The National Portrait Gallery presents six permanent exhibitions of nearly 20,000 works ranges from paintings and sculpture to photographs and drawings. The Smithsonian American Art Museum is the home of the largest collection of American art in the world including more than 41,000 artworks, spanning more than three centuries.

37. National Postal Museum- The museum displays the largest stamp collection in the world and examines the development of the postal system using interactive displays. This museum is located under Washington's old Main Post Office near Union Station.

38. National Zoo- One of the most kid-friendly places to visit in Washington, DC is the National Zoo where you can see more than 400 different species of animals. Among some of the favorites are giant pandas, other bears, lions, giraffes, tigers, monkeys, sea lions, and much more.

39. Navy Memorial and Naval Heritage Center- The Navy Memorial and Naval Heritage Center in Washington DC honor and commemorate the sailors of the United States Navy. The memorial is an outdoor public plaza and the Heritage Center serves as a place to learn about the history and heritage of the men and women of the sea services.

40. Navy Museum (Navy Yard)- The former shipyard for the United States Navy houses the Navy Museum and the Navy Art Gallery with exhibits and artwork from the Revolutionary War to the present day. This is a great attraction for kids because of its interactive exhibits including naval artifacts, model ships, undersea vehicles, sub periscopes, a space capsule, a decommissioned destroyer and much more.

41. Renwick Gallery- The Smithsonian museum highlights American crafts and contemporary arts from the 19th to 21st centuries. The Renwick Gallery features unique works of art including clay, fiber, glass, metal, and wood.

42. Rock Creek Park- Visitors can picnic, hike, bike, rollerblade, play tennis, fish, horseback ride, listen to a concert, or attend programs with a park ranger. Children can participate in a wide range of special programs at Rock Creek Park, including planetarium shows, animal talks, exploratory hikes, crafts, and junior ranger programs.

43. Supreme Court- The Supreme Court is in session October through April and visitors may view sessions on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The Supreme Court Building is open throughout the year from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Visitors can participate in a variety of educational programs, explore exhibits and see a 25-minute film on the Supreme Court.

44. Theodore Roosevelt Island- The 91-acre wilderness preserve serves as a memorial to the nation's 26th president, honoring his contributions to conservation of public lands for forests, national parks, wildlife and bird refuges, and monuments. Theodore Roosevelt Island has 2 1/2 miles of foot trails where you can observe a variety of flora and fauna. A 17-foot bronze statue of Roosevelt stands in the center of the island.

45. Udvar-Hazy Center- The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum's companion facility, located adjacent to Washington Dulles International Airport, provides a second location with exhibits such as the massive space shuttle Enterprise, the Lockheed SR-71 and numerous aircraft, spacecraft and other artifacts.

46. U S Holocaust Museum- The museum is a memorial to the millions who died during the Nazi regime in Germany during World War II. The permanent exhibition presents a narrative history of the Holocaust, the annihilation of 6 million European Jews By Nazi Germany from 1933 – 1945. The exhibit uses more than 900 artifacts, 70 video monitors, and four theaters showing film footage and eyewitness testimonies of Nazi concentration camp survivors.

47. Vietnam Veterans Memorial- One of the most visited Washington, DC attractions, the Vietnam Memorial, features a v-shaped granite wall that is inscribed with the names of the 58,209 Americans missing or killed in the Vietnam War. Across the lawn is a life size bronze sculpture of three young servicemen.

48. Washington Monument- The memorial to George Washington, our nation's first president, is the most prominent landmark in Washington, DC and stands as the centerpiece of the National Mall. It is the tallest structure in Washington, DC and measures 555 feet 5 1/8 inches high. You can ride the elevator to the top and see a birds-eye view of the city.

49. White House- The White House is the oldest public building in Washington, DC and has been the home of every president except George Washington. Public tours of the White House are limited to groups of 10 or more and must be requested through one's member of Congress. The White House Visitor Center is open to all and features a 30-minute video and exhibits about White House architecture, furnishings, first families, social events, and relations with the press and world leaders.

50. World War II Memorial- This beautiful structure serves as a peaceful place to remember those who served our country during World War II. The World War II Memorial is an oval shape with two 43-foot arches, representing the war's Atlantic and Pacific theaters. Fifty-six pillars represent the states, territories and the District of Columbia at the time of the war. Two sculpted bronze wreaths adorn each pillar. Small fountains sit at the bases of the two arches.

Kira Solomon

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