Washington D.C. is a haven for the budget traveler. There are plenty of fun museums, attractions, and events for all ages that don’t cost a penny. Make the most out of your visit this summer and let free-dom ring with these totally free activities!
1.) Fill your Instagram Feed with the Blind Whino
Atlanta-based artist HENSE transformed this abandoned church into a colorful community arts center. Snap some pictures out front and check out the art gallery inside!
2.) Watch a Movie Beneath the Stars
The Capitol Riverfront Outdoor Movie series is returning to Canal Park on June 1st, with movies playing on the big screen every Thursday evening. Movies begin at sunset so get ready to grab a blanket and enjoy the show!
3.) Take a Selfie with the Blue Rooster
Head to the rooftop terrace of the National Gallery of Art and strike a pose with the 15-foot electric blue rooster, known as “Hahn/Cock.”
4.) Check out the Watermelon House
The owners of this beloved row house near Logan Circle reportedly tried to paint their house bright red, but a color mishap led to a more pinkish shade. They made the most of the situation by creating a fun mural and local landmark!
5.) Listen to Jazz at the Sculpture Garden
The Sculpture Garden on the grounds of the National Gallery of Art just returned with its Jazz in the Garden series. Catch a live performance every Friday from May 19th through August 25th from 5:30pm to 8:30pm.
6.) Catch the Sunrise at the Lincoln Memorial
Sit on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and watch the sun rise behind the Washington Monument, the Reflecting Pool, and U.S. Capitol.
7.) Watch the Planes at Gravelly Point Park
This spot is ideal for watching the planes take-off and land at Ronald Reagan National Airport. Lay back and watch the planes fly directly overhead as low as 100 to 150 feet!
8.) Find All of the POW! WOW! Murals
This international art movement is back! Explore the NoMa neighborhood and try to find all of the original masterpieces created by 15 talented local and international muralists.
9.) Admire the World’s Largest Deep Blue Diamond
The National Museum of Natural History is home to the infamous Hope Diamond. Legend states that it brings great misfortune to whoever owns it, with Marie Antoinette cited as one of the victims. Fortunately, the museum has avoided the curse for over 50 years.
10.) See How Money is Made
Visit the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing and take a free 40-minute tour to learn more about the U.S. currency production process. Timed tickets are distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis starting at 8:00am.
11.) Take a Free Fitness Class
Free outdoor fitness classes are offered at both Yards Park and Canal Park in Navy Yard with instructors from Balance Gym, VIDA Fitness, and Jazzercise Inc. The Morning Boot Camp begins June 1st at Yards Park and occurs every Thursday from 6:30am to 7:30am.
12.) Picnic on the National Mall
The new lawn at the National Mall is prime for picnicking season! Bring along some snacks and soak in the surrounding views of the U.S. Capitol and the Washington Monument.
13.) Explore the U.S. Botanic Garden
Check out the exotic plants at one of the oldest botanic gardens in North America. Don’t miss the medicinal and poisonous plants exhibits as well as the views of the jungle canopy.
14.) Tour the Library of Congress
The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library and the oldest cultural institution in the nation. With more than 38 million books, its massive collection sits on nearly 838 miles (1,349 km) of bookshelves!
15.) Visit the Animals at the National Zoo
The National Zoo is open 364 days a year and home to over 400 species – and the admission is totally free! Don’t miss the orangutans who swing overhead visitors on a series of cables and towers known as the O-Line.
About the Author – Hayley Andrews is a Washington D.C. native with an extreme case of wanderlust. She is the author behind Navigate Abroad, a travel blog that shares travel tips and recommended itineraries for destinations around the world. You can follow her on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.