Updated: Aug 6, 2018
You can explore on your own or in a guided tour, many of which also provide tips on things to do, restaurants and places to stay. Of course, you can join us for one our tours for deeper insight into the neighborhoods shared by one of our knowledgeable and personable guides.
D.C. is the capital of the United States and hosts millions of tourists every year. You may be surprised to learn that much of the city's sights and attractions are free of charge to visit. This article offers tips on experiencing and enjoying them at a very budget-friendly cost.
Visit any one of the 19 Smithsonian museums and galleries, all with free admission. Many famous museums under the Smithsonian name are located in the heart of the city, including the National Air & Space Museum, National Museum of American History, Museum of Natural History, and the National Museum of the American Indian.
· Plan to spend at least a few hours at the Smithsonian museums, which feature hundreds of exhibits and displays that can take a while to fully experience.
· Be the first to enter the museums in the morning, or the last to purchase tickets for tours in the afternoon. Crowds are large and virtually unavoidable here, even on the weekdays.
See the Washington Monument from ground level. A nominal fee is charged to access the landmark's indoor observation deck, but the grounds and base of the monument are free of charge to explore and walk around or visiting the information center/gift shop.
Take a walking tour of Washington's famous historical landmarks.
· Start by visiting the Capitol Building, headquarters of the United States government. (Keep in mind you will need a prearranged tour if you want to spend time inside the building.)
· Stroll down Pennsylvania Avenue and enjoy the view of the White House, home to the President of the United States. Again, you will need to prearrange a tour to visit inside, but the exterior can be viewed from a distance by simply walking up to it.
· Have a picnic lunch or walk around in The Ellipse, an oval-shaped park just south of the White House, where the National Christmas Tree and Menorah are lit during the holiday season.
· Visit the Lincoln Memorial several blocks away, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous I Have a Dream speech. Enjoy strolling along the nearby Tidal Basin, surrounded by cherry blossom trees gifted from Japan.
· End at the Jefferson Memorial, facing the Tidal Basin, which makes an excellent photo opportunity.
Spend time in Georgetown. This vibrant neighborhood located not far from downtown D.C. offers numerous shopping, dining, and entertainment venues, as well as a great place to walk.