Top Attractions In Washington Dc For Free

Washington DC is one of the best places in America for free and cheap activities.

It’s one of the most history-abundant places in the US and as it’s the capital of the United States of America, it has both historic and modern fascinating tales to tell.

If you’ve got a trip planned to the country’s capital but you’ve no idea where to begin when it comes to planning your travel itinerary, check out our detailed guide below!

You’ll find the 10 best free attractions in Washington DC, as well as the top-rated paid activities too!

Free Things To Do in Washington Dc

1. Lincoln Memorial (Free)

5 Free Tourist Attraction

Located on the western side of the National Mall, the Lincoln Memorial is without a doubt one of the most iconic structures in Washington DC.

Opened in 1922, it was built to honour the 16th president of the United States; Abraham Lincoln, and is a pillar of historic foundations for the city, and for the whole of America.

The whole family will enjoy a stroll along the National Mall where you’ll recognise the place that Martin Luther King Jr made his infamous speech, as well as scenes that were filmed for the beloved Forrest Gump movie.

Once you get to the Lincoln Memorial, you’ll be able to look back along the National Mall and admire the stunning symmetrical strip of history.

Address: 2 Lincoln Memorial Cir NW, Washington, DC 20037

2. Georgetown (Free)

5 Free Tourist Attraction

The historic suburb of Georgetown actually dates back before Washington DC by around 100 years so it’s a great place to visit if you’re looking to soak up even more American history.

Georgetown is an ideal place to visit with the whole family as there are hundreds of eateries, cafes and bars to try out, as well as the famous Georgetown Cupcake Bakery which sells some of the fanciest and finest treats in the area!

The Georgian-style homes of the town have been carefully preserved and almost every building looks like something out of a pretty painting!

There’s not a whole lot of individual activities to do in Georgetown, but just wandering around and admiring all the beautiful architecture is one of the best things to do in Washington DC!

Address: Georgetown, Washington DC

3. National Gallery of Art (Free)

5 Free Tourist Attraction

The National Gallery of Art is said to be one of the most important art museums in the world!

Home to more than 141,000 paintings, sculptures, drawings and photographs, the museum is a pivotal point in art history.

If you’re an art lover, then you can easily spend hours getting lost in the works of the world’s most famous artists such as Picasso, Kruger and Calder.

The National Gallery of Art is also home to the only Da Vinci painting in the Americas so it’s a true pleasure to get to see his famous ‘Ginevra de’ Benci’ painting in real life.

The Gallery also houses a beautiful sculpture garden that features an ice rink during the winter months; something to remember if you’re visiting Washington DC over the holidays!

Address: Constitution Ave NW, Washington, DC 20565

4. National Capitol Columns (Free)

5 Free Tourist Attraction

The National Capitol Columns are a famous landmark inside the incredibly substantial 446-acre National Arboretum, just north of Washington DC Capitol.

The 22 Corinthian Columns are beautiful to walk around and photograph and definitely one of the highlights in the Arboretum, if not in the whole of Washington DC itself!

Of course, while you’re inside Washington DC’s botanical gardens, you can also enjoy a lovely stroll through the many trees and plants, but the National Capitol Columns are arguably the best part!

The columns that once supported the East Portico of the US Capitol between 1828 and 1958 now sit proudly amidst a vast expanse of open air and they make for a fantastic postcard picture!

Address: 3501 New York Ave NE, Washington, DC 20002

5. White House (Free)

5 Free Tourist Attraction

One of the most famous buildings in the whole of America, the White House is home to the President of the United States and has been a famous DC landmark for hundreds of years.

You can take a free tour of the public rooms inside the White House, but the effort to do so is quite an extensive process; you’ll have to contact a local congress representative and then you’ll be put on a list to schedule a visit.

Instead, why not just enjoy a walk around the exterior of the White House You’ll be restricted by tall gates but you can still get a good view of one of the most famous houses in the world.

Visiting the outside of the White House is a great activity to enjoy with kids as it’ll give them the chance to learn about America’s current affairs and modern-day politics.

Address: 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20500

6. Smithsonian Museums (Free)

5 Free Tourist Attraction

Undoubtedly one of the best free attractions to enjoy in Washington DC is to pay a visit to the numerous Smithsonian Museums.

As they’re “America’s Museums”, the Smithsonian buildings are completely free of charge to visit and they’re home to some truly incredible artefacts, history and collections.

The National Air and Space Museum is a must-visit for the whole family, especially with young children, as the interactive exhibits and collections provide educational facts, as well as tonnes of fun!

Make sure to pay a visit to the National Museum of American History as well as the African American Museum to learn about the country’s vibrant past. You can easily spend hours getting lost in all the museums and learning so much from the Smithsonian complex.

Address: 600 Maryland Ave SW, Washington, DC 20002

7. The Library of Congress (Free)

5 Free Tourist Attraction

The largest library in the world resides in Washington DC on Independence Avenue and it’s a must-see while visiting the capital city.

The library is home to more than 168 million items, books and papers. While it might not be such a fun activity for kids to enjoy, literature lovers and history fanatics will love a visit to this impressive structure.

Built in 1800, the library houses some of the most important and famous documents and artefacts in the United States and the fact that it’s free to enter this incredible complex is an opportunity that can’t be missed!

Make sure you remember to take pictures of the outside of the library as well as the interior as the entire building is incredibly beautiful and remarkably photogenic!

Address: 101 Independence Ave SE, Washington, DC 20540

8. National Museum of Natural History (Free)

5 Free Tourist Attraction

The National Museum of Natural History is another museum that belongs to the Smithsonian family in Washington DC, but it deserves a spot in this list all of its own.

The museum is free to enter and is open 364 days of the year (closed on Christmas Day), so no matter when you visit DC, you can rest assured that you can visit!

The National Museum of Natural History is a place that you’ll want to take the whole family as there are so many different exhibits and collections that everyone will enjoy.

Wander back in time and see the 31,000-square foot Deep Time exhibit where you’ll learn all about fossils, or visit the Butterfly Pavilion or the African Bush Elephant exhibit where you’ll learn more about African animal ecology!

Address: 10th St. & Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20560

9. National World War II Memorial (Free)

5 Free Tourist Attraction

For an incredibly sombre but beautifully peaceful place to visit in Washington DC, you need to head to the National World War II Memorial.

It’s an area of the city that’s dedicated to the American soldiers and civilians who fought during World War II and despite its awful history, the memorial itself is a stunning place in Washington DC.

The memorial consists of 56 pillars, with each one marking one of the 48 US States as well as numerous other important places in the world that aided in the war such as the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Guam and American Samoa.

The National Memorial is also centred around a water fountain, with two 13-metre high triumphal arches residing on either side of the semi-circle of the monuments.

It’s a lovely free place to visit in DC and it’s the perfect place to pay your respects to the fallen soldiers of the war.

Address: 17th Street, between Constitution and Independence Avenue

10. Washington Monument (Free)

5 Free Tourist Attraction

The Washington Monument is yet another famous city landmark that resides along the National Mall and was built to commemorate the first President of the United States; George Washington.

Standing proudly at a towering 555-feet high, the Washington Monument was once the tallest structure in the world, and despite no longer holding that title, it’s still one of the most famous and most important structures in DC.

Take the kids along to visit the Monument and make sure you’ve packed your camera so you can pretend to “lean” against the column and take funny pictures!

The Washington Monument is definitely a landmark that you need to add to your Washington DC itinerary as it’s free of charge and commemorates a pivotal time in American history.

Address: 2 15th St NW, Washington, DC 20024


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