There's no shortage of things to see and do in Bethesda, Maryland and America's capital city. From shopping and dining to sightseeing and tours, Washington DC is a world-class city that is home to some of the world's greatest attractions, many of them free. The 19 museums of the Smithsonian Institution are publicly funded and never charge admission. Go totally wild at the National Zoo, which
is home to rare pandas and is also one of the fun, free attractions you won't want to miss in Washington, DC. See where it all happens by taking a seat in the gallery at the United States Capitol Building, and watch laws, perhaps even history, being made. The American Inn is the perfect place to experience the very best Washington DC has to offer, within 5 miles of the White House, the National Portrait Gallery, the SPY Museum, Arlington National Cemetery and the Lincoln Memorial, plus so much more. See our Walking Map here.
The Lincoln Memorial pays tribute to one of America's greatest presidents and occupies a famous place on the National Mall in Washington DC. Assassinated while serving as President, Abraham Lincoln is today remembered with a towering statue that dominates the entrance to his memorial, which was designed by Henry Bacon. To learn more about visiting one of Washington DC's best attractions, visit www.nps.gov/linc/index.htm.
The White House.
The White House is the home of America's presidents. The first White House was built in 1792 and its construction was supervised by America's first president, George Washington. After being reconstructed to repair damages suffered during the War of 1812, the White House that stands today is a gleaming, historic landmark that has been home to history. Touring the White House is an unforgettable experience but it does require advance planning. To learn more about arranging a tour of the White House, visit www.whitehouse.gov/about/history.
The National Zoo.
The National Zoo is Washington DC's largest and most notable animal park and home to more than 2,000 animals, including its beloved panda bears. Part of the Smithsonian Institution, admission to the Washington, DC zoo is always free. It's a great place to take the kids and one of the best free things to do for families in Washington DC. Spend the day exploring fascinating animal exhibits at one of the leading zoological centers in the world. To learn about fun things to do with kids at the National Zoo, please visit www.nationalzoo.si.edu.
Washington DC National Air and Space Museum.
The Smithsonian Institution National Air and Space Museum is one of the best things to do in Washington DC and as part of the Smithsonian Institution collection of museums, admission to the National Air and Space Museum is always free. See some of history's most noted airplanes and spacecraft like the Apollo 11 command module at this Washington DC museum and Charles Lindbergh's "Spirit of St. Louis" For more details about attractions at DC's National Air and Space Museum, visit www.nasm.si.edu.
National Air and Space Museum Chantilly, Virginia.
The National Air and Space Museum in Chantilly, Virginia is the second building after the National Space Museum's building on the National Mall. The newly designed Chantilly, VA building also houses the Smithsonian's air and space collection. In addition, the contemporary facility houses a planetarium and modern-day classics like a model of the Mother Ship from the movie "Close Encounters of the Third Kind." To learn more details about things to do at the National Air & Space Museum in Chantilly, VA, please visit www.nasm.si.edu/UdvarHazy.
The United States Capitol Building.
The United States Capitol Building is the seat of power for the legislative branch of government, which includes the US Senate and the House of Representatives. The US Capitol Building features a striking dome, which dominates the building architecturally, plus two building wings that flank the central rotunda. When Congress is in session, get a seat in the galleries to watch American government at work. To learn more about interesting things to do at the United States Capitol Building, please visit www.aoc.gov/index.cfm.
The National Portrait Gallery.
The National Portrait Gallery houses some of America's finest portraits and is perhaps best known for its collection of portraits of Presidents of the United States, including the famed likeness of George Washington. The National Portrait Gallery collection occupies the Old Patent Office Building, which is a stunning architectural landmark in itself. For more information about one of Washington DC's top attractions, go to www.npg.si.edu.
Arlington National Cemetery.
Arlington National Cemetery is located just outside Washington DC in Arlington County, Virginia and is known for being the final resting place of some of America's greatest heroes as well as fallen presidents like John F. Kennedy. Arlington National Cemetery was first used as a military burial place during the American Civil War, which was built on land from General Robert E. Lee's family. To learn more about visiting Arlington National Cemetery, please go to www.arlingtoncemetery.org.
The Washington Monument.
The Washington Monument is an iconic sight which dramatically punctuates the center of the National Mall. One of Washington, DC's most visited attractions, the soaring white obelisk design of the Washington Monument is one of the world's most recognizable monuments at 555-feet tall. Visiting The Washington Monument takes advance planning and may require lining up early for the free tickets. For more information about visiting the Washington Monument, go to www.nps.gov/wamo/index.htm.
The National Museum of Natural History.
The National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC is one of the 19 museums in the Smithsonian Institution collection and ranks among the greatest natural history museums anywhere in the world. See the spectacular Hope Diamond. Marvel at giant dinosaur bones, and see ancient artifacts that document the cultures of people from around the world. As one of the Smithsonian Institution museums, admission is always free. To learn more about totally fun, free things to do at the National Museum of Natural History, visit www.mnh.si.edu.