Free Activities in DC

Enjoy all of the free activities that Washington, DC has to offer including free admission to Smithsonian Museums, beautiful nature trails, and historical monuments and memorials. And don’t forget your local public library!


Bureau of Engraving and Printing

Tour the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and witness millions of dollars being printed.

Library of Congress

The Library of Congress offers free tours plus poetry readings, lectures, exhibits and other activities.

National Postal Museum

Visit the National Postal Museum, located at Union Station. Part of the Smithsonian Institute, it focuses on America’s postal service, stamps, and other mail-related topics, with plenty of hands-on activities.

National Archives

Visit the National Archives, home to the Declaration of Independence and The Constitution.

National Museum of African American History & Culture

The National Museum of African American History and Culture houses more than 36,000 artifacts that document African American life, history, and culture.

National Air & Space Museum

View the Spirit of St. Louis along with numerous exhibits that chronicle the history of aviation and space flight in the Washington, DC location of the National Air and Space Museum.

National Museum of American History

The National Museum of American History’s vast collection includes the original Star-Spangled Banner, Abraham Lincoln’s top hat, and Dorothy’s ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz.

National Museum of the American Indian

The Washington, DC location of the National Museum of the American Indian showcases exhibits of Native artifacts including objects, photographs, and archives from the entire Western Hemisphere.

National Museum of Natural History

Exhibits at the National Museum of Natural History include the iconic African Bush Elephant, Bone Hall, ancient Egypt, and the Hall of Gems.

Renwick Gallery

The Renwick Gallery, a branch museum of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, features contemporary crafts and decorative arts from artists in the United States.


Washington Monument

Get a bird’s eye view of DC from the top of the Washington Monument.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial

Enjoy the sculptures, carved quotes, and water features of the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial

Marvel at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, adjacent to FDR’s Memorial, with its 30-foot statue carved from one huge block of stone.

Lincoln Memorial & The Reflecting Pool

& At the Lincoln Memorial, find the secret ‘I Have A Dream’ step where MLK stood to make his famous speech, and gaze out over The Reflecting Pool.

The Jefferson Memorial

Visit The Jefferson Memorial and walk the Tidal Basin, home of DC’s Cherry Blossom Festival in Spring.

Other National Mall Memorials

Other National Mall Memorials are the World War II, Korean War Veterans, and iconic Vietnam Veterans Memorials.

Arlington National Cemetery

At Arlington National Cemetery, see the hourly changing of the guard, JFK’s Eternal Flame, and more.

National Cathedral

The National Cathedral offers a family guide and scavenger hunt for kids. Admission is free on Sundays.


Smithsonian’s National Zoo

See an A to Z of animals at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo.

Millenium Stage

The Kennedy Center’s Millenium Stage hosts a different free performance every night at 6pm. 

US National Arboretum

The National Bonsai & Penjing Museum houses fascinating examples of Japanese bonsai and its Chinese equivalent, penjing. The Museum is located at the US National Arboretum, which is also free.

Butterfly Pavilion

The Natural History Museum’s Butterfly Pavilion is free on Tuesdays (with timed entry tickets).

Rock Creek Park Nature Center and Planetarium

The National Park Service’s Rock Creek Park Nature Center and Planetarium host a variety of free programs and activities for youngsters, plus wheelchair-accessible nature trails for all abilities.

The Yards Park

The Yards Park is a new waterfront park that includes water features, grassy areas, and sculptures.

Eastern Market

Stroll round Eastern Market, where vendors sell arts and crafts, fresh food, flowers, and more.



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