The 11 Best Free Things To Do In D.C.


There is no place quite like the Capitol of the Unites States of America. Especially when it comes to free things such as museums, monuments and festivals. Washington D.C. plays home to a gaggle of free activities for the entire family year-round.

Whether it’s the astonishing views you are searching for or the historical treasures you are eager to teach your kids about, Washington, D.C. is the perfect place to take the family to get out and explore.

From the museums, to the parks, to the zoo, Washington D.C. has it all.

Without any further ado, here are the Top 11 Free Things To Do in Washington, D.C.:

  1. Visit the National Mall
    The National Mall, usually the centerpiece of any Washington D.C. vacation, extends from the Washington Monument to the U.S. Capitol building and includes a plethora of historic tourist attractions. Along with the Washington Monument and the Capitol Building, the mall also features: 10 Smithsonian Museums, National Monuments and Memorials, the National Gallery of Art, and the U.S Botanic Gardens, all with free admission! The best time to visit is in the spring during the National Cherry Blossom Festival.  If you want to avoid the spring crowds and higher rates, visit  in the late summer and fall!
  2. Lincoln Memorial
    This moving sculpture is a D.C. must. More than just a work of public art, the 19-foot marble statue of the 16th President has been known to draw visitors into deep reflection about the man who led our country through the conflict that nearly destroyed it. Prepare to give you and your family 30 minutes – one hour to appreciate the monument.
  3. The Capitol
    Ever wondered what actually goes on inside of The Capitol? Guided tours are free but require tickets that are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis so plan ahead!
  4. Visit The National Zoo
    Set within the Rock Creek National Park and apart of the Smithsonian Institution, admission is free and perfect for a family visit. The National Zoo plays home to more than 400 different species.
  5. Take a free walking tour with D.C. by Foot
  1. Tour the White House
    White House tours run Tuesday through Sunday from 7:30 AM to 11:30 AM and are scheduled one month in advance through your member of congress, but beware it can take from 3 weeks to 6 months to get them so we recommend not waiting until the very last minute!
  2. Visit the National Archives
    National Archives? Sounds boring, right? It just happens to play home to the original Declaration of Independence, U.S. Constitution, and Bill of Rights. No big deal.
  3. Visit The Pentagon
    Guided tours are given by military personnel and are available by reservation only through the Department of Defense Headquarters.
  4. National Air and Space Museum
    No matter the age, feel like a kid again inside of the National Air and Space Museum! From the Wright Brothers to the moon landing and beyond, this is one of the most kid-friendly branches of the Smithsonian. Build model planes and rocket ships and don’t forget to stop by the gift shop for some astronaut ice cream.
  5. Visit the United States Holocaust Museum
    If you want to get historical, this museum provides a once in a life opportunity to dive deep into one of the most significant events in World History.
  6. National Gallery of Art
    Home to America’s only Da Vinci painting, the National Gallery of Art opened in 1937 and continues display some of the nation’s most unique pieces of artwork.

With Spring Break in full effect and summer just around the corner, there is no time like the present to plan your family vacation to DC! The American Inn of Bethesda offers a welcoming atmosphere, warm hospitality and a lineup of professional business amenities catering to corporate and leisure travelers alike. With the perfect location just 4 miles from D.C. and access to the city Metro that can get you to and from all 11 locations listed above, our Bethesda hotel offers a winning blend of well-appointed accommodations and amenities in a comfortable suburban location.

See you soon, history is waiting!