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Home » Blog » The Top FREE Things to Do in Washington, DC

If you’re planning a trip to our nation’s capital on a budget, then free things to do in Washington DC can help you get the most out of your visit. Washington DC is brimming with things to do and the best thing is many of them are free! Get ready for fun but hold onto your budget – an affordable excursion is well within your reach with this primer on free things to do in Washington, DC.

Visit the People’s House

A visit to the White House is pretty much a rite of passage for anyone coming to tour Washington, DC, and fortunately, it’s free. To get a look at the inside of the White House you’ll need to get in touch with your Congressman (or woman) to arrange a visit. Because of Covid, inside tours are presently on hold but you are welcome to view the north or south face of the White House either from Pennsylvania Ave, NW, or The Ellipse, the park on the south side. 

Visit the US Capitol

Presently free guided tours of the inside of the US Capitol have been suspended because of Covid restrictions but walking the grounds of the US Capitol is still one of the most popular things to do in Washington, DC, by DC locals and visitors alike. In about an hour you can walk the park-like gardens and visit the scene of past Inaugurations. On the east side, you’ll be treated to a view of the Library of Congress, the US Supreme Court, and the east front of the US Capitol- planned originally to be the front of the Capitol building. The Capitol grounds are well lit and open 24/7.

The Library of Congress

You don’t have to be a bookworm to be impressed by the world’s biggest library located directly opposite the US Capitol at 10 First St. SE.  Housed in the Jefferson Building the Library of Congress is the planet’s largest and is home to a massive number of books, photos, maps, and more all set against the backdrop of the building’s Gilded Age structure. Go online for free timed stamped entry tickets – entry times from 10:00 AM to 3 PM.

The National Zoo

Always free and always amazing the National Zoo is a must-stop for the whole family. The zoo, which is open 364 days per year offers an array of animal exhibits (the Smokey the Bear exhibit is a must) along with fascinating displays both indoors and out. Book online for a free entry pass (or free entry with paid parking pass) from 8:00 AM to 3 PM; the zoo will email your passes.

The National Mall and Memorial Parks

No trip to DC is complete without a trip to the National Mall and the surrounding memorial parks. Entrance to the monuments and memorials in and around the National Mall is completely free plus they are open 24/7! Who can pass up the chance to view the Lincoln Memorial up-close and personal? Walk the Vietnam Wall – almost 500 feet of black granite inscribed with the names of those who gave their lives in that war. Visit the festive World War II Memorial commemorating the Allied victory and the hundreds of thousands of US soldiers who came back and built our nation… as well as those who did not return. Nearby memorials and monuments include the Washington Monument, the Martin Luther King Memorial, the Jefferson Memorial, the Roosevelt Memorial, and many more; see our website for more!

Museums on the National Mall

Immerse yourself and your family in the history and culture of our great nation in unforgettable visits to the world-renown Smithsonian Institution’s American History Museum, The Natural  History Museum, the National Gallery of Art, and the Holocaust Museum. The Air and Space Museum on the Mall is under construction and only open for limited times. All mall museums are open most days. Each of these DC hotspots is steeped in rich history and offers a whirlwind of amazing exhibits for visitors. To check on open/close times and for free timed stamped tickets go to each museum’s website.

Explore Free Things to do in Washington, DC With SEE DC TODAY!

With all the free things to do in Washington, DC don’t overlook the immersive excitement of a guided tour. Experience Washington, DC in a relaxed environment with See DC Today! We offer day and night-time small group tours and private tours under the direction of fun and knowledgeable guides. For more information about what’s open in DC and DC night tours contact us today!