Washington DC is rich with history and attractions to entice people of all ages and the best part about these attractions is that most of them are free! You can check out numerous galleries, museums, and monuments without having to shell out any cash. Check out the following freebies that are among the most popular:
1. Visit the President (well, his house anyway)
The most popular attraction in D.C. includes free guided tours of the house, well, some of the rooms anyway. Don’t expect to meet the president himself while you visit but you may be able to catch a glimpse of him at times. Beware that this attraction will likely have a looong line, even first thing in the morning. But don’t let that stop you from going, this is definitely one stop you won’t want to pass up.
2. Arlington National Cemetery
Many war veterans rest here as well as President John F. Kennedy along with his wife Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and their two children, and brother Bobby nearby. JFK’s grave is marked with an eternal flame. Nearby you can find the Tomb of the Unknown soldier and join the other many visitors that watch the guard change at regular intervals throughout the day.
3. Stroll the Mall
This is not a shopping mall so don’t expect to find the latest fashions here. Between this a large green area that is usually bustling with activity. The mall has been the site of many festivals, protests, concerts, and more. Hundreds of people out for exercise jog around the big rectangle every day. The Mall is a good place for a picnic or a quick rest between stops at the nearby Smithsonian Museums.
4. Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens
The Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens is the last natural marsh in Washington DC. These ponds along the Anacostia River are home to many beautiful blooms among the water and is also home to dozens of species of birds. The Gardens have thousands of water plants and flowers, and it does not cost you anything to visit.
5. Enjoy a Monumental Vacation
You can sightsee for free and get a good exercise as you walk around to see the many memorials of DC such as the Washington monument, the Lincoln Memorial, and the Vietnam Memorial. Most of the monuments are within a short walk of each other and are near the reflecting pool of the Mall.
6. C & O Canal
C & O stands for the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal which was once used for shipping goods to the Potomac River. It is a 185 mile long canal completed in 1850 that runs through Maryland and the District of Columbia. If you are visiting popular Georgetown, all you need to do is just take a quick detour down one of many side streets to see the canal up close. Many people like to stroll or bike ride along the banks of the B & O Canal.
7. National Arboretum
The National Arboretum is great for the plant lover or gardener in your family. Here, to explore, are more than 400 acres of land riddled with many plants, trees, shrubs and more laid out for your enjoyment. There is even a unique Bonsai collection for you to see. Many people bring a picnic lunch to enjoy casually amidst the beautiful plants.
8. See JFK’s Old House
John F. Kennedy lived in a historic brick building in Georgetown referred to as the red house, before moving into the White House. JFK’s old home is not open to the public but many tourists like to stroll along the street it sits on just to see the building that once served as a home to the Camelot family. Employees at the tourist office can guide you with directions on how to find the old home.
9. Stroll in Georgetown
Georgetown is popular trendy, and pricey, but it is also a very beautiful area to stroll in the streets and have lunch at a sidewalk cafe. Window shopping won’t cost you anything but can give you a lot of ideas on the latest of everything from clothing to house wares. If you want to get away from the bustling main street, just turn down one of the side streets for a more quiet stroll among the beautiful old mansions and town homes of the elite and rich.
10. Union Station
Union Station is built with amazing architecture that is amazing to look at. It is also equipped with many shops and restaurants to lure you inside.
11. Browse Through History at the National Archives
At the National Archives you can glance over public government documents, look into your family history, and even see the original Declaration of Independence among over three billion records kept here. The Archives offers group tours but be sure to call ahead to make an appointment.
12. Navy Museum
At the Navy Museum you can see various naval artifacts, old ship equipment, and more. You can even see submarine periscopes and World war two gun mounts. These exhibits are completely free can you are free to explore as you wish.