Header Image

Free Things to Do When In DC

See the sights and enjoy the city without exhausting your budget!

 

DC is a great place to visit not only because of the historic monuments but also because of the fact that most of these great places are FREE! Take a look at this list of sights to see (as compiled by the good folks at US News and World Report) and start planning your trip today!


Lincoln Memorial

Although the Lincoln Memorial is just one of the District’s many monuments, the larger-than-life Honest Abe is also among travelers’ favorites. History buffs might enjoy the man of few (albeit powerful) words’ two famous speeches, the second inaugural address and the Gettysburg Address, which are both etched into the memorial’s opposing walls. Meanwhile, art history and architecture aficionados will enjoy admiring the building’s striking design by Henry Bacon, complete with 38 Doric columns, 36 of which signify the states in the Union at the time Lincoln passed away. (read more)

National World War II Memorial

A popular memorial, the National World War II Memorial was dedicated in 2004 to the 400,000-plus Americans who died during the war. A circle of 56 pilings (representing the then 56 U.S. states and territories) looks over the Rainbow Pool. At night, with lights shining, this memorial can be quite ethereal.

Past visitors said they felt inspired after visiting the National World War II Memorial. Though you’ll rub elbows with other tourists in the spring and summer, previous travelers suggest timing your visit during one of these seasons so you can enjoy the memorial’s fountains and waterfalls. (read more)

The White House and the Washington Monument

Even if you’re only in town for a short trip, visiting the Washington Monument and the White House – two marbleized symbols of the free world – is a must for any first-time D.C. visitor.

At 555 feet and 5 inches, the Washington Monument (at its completion in 1884) was the tallest structure in the world. And nowadays, you can ride one of the Monument’s glass-encased elevators to the top observation deck to enjoy 360-degree views of the city. However, the Monument’s elevators are currently undergoing renovations, so visitors will not be able to go to the top until early 2019. You can explore the attraction’s exterior for free 24 hours a day, but National Park Service rangers are only available from 9:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. to answer questions. Visit the National Park Service’s Washington Monument page for more information. (read more)

U.S. Capitol and the Library of Congress

Arguably the most magnificent building in Washington, the U.S. Capitol is where visitors go to witness politics in action. Inside, members of both houses of Congress debate and create national policy and law, while visitors explore the building’s north and south wings and circular centerpiece: the Rotunda. This iconic hall houses paintings, frescoes and sculptures depicting famous scenes from American history, not to mention a 150-year-old cast iron dome. (read more)

“Everyone has the power for greatness, not for fame but greatness, because greatness is determined by service.”

~ Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial

Located beside the Tidal Basin, this 30-foot-high granite memorial pays homage to civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Everything from its address at 1964 Independence Ave. (a reference to the year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed by Congress) to its design (which shows King emerging from the “Mountain of Despair”), are meant to reflect King’s significant contribution to American history. What’s more, this towering sculpture opened to the public in 2011, making it one of the newest memorials to open in the District. It is also the National Mall’s first memorial dedicated to an African American. (read more)

The Tidal Basin

If you’ve never been to D.C. before, plan to spend some time along the Tidal Basin, a 2-mile-long pond that was once attached to the Potomac River and serves as the backdrop to some of D.C.’s best-loved sites. Every spring, the Tidal Basin bursts with color as cherry blossom trees (gifted to D.C. from Tokyo) bloom into cotton candy-colored tufts, and they attract hordes of visitors. You can follow the path that leads around the basin, but many recent visitors recommended testing the waters in a paddle boat.

Paddle boats are available to rent starting March 15 for $18 per hour for a two-passenger boat or $30 per hour for a four-passenger boat. You can pick up a paddle boat every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. from March 15 through October 9 from the boat dock near Maine Avenue. (read more)

RESERVE YOUR SPOT TODAY

SPACE IS LIMITED
** Registration open until June 30th **
Rojo
Member Banquet Ticket
$180
  • One (1) Banquet Ticket
  • Access to After Party
Buy Tickets
Friends of Phiota
Banquet Ticket (Accompanying Guest)
$150
  • One (1) Banquet Ticket
  • Access to After Party
Buy Tickets