Posted by Sophia K On February - 24 - 2014

The Smithsonian museum

It may cost money to get to Washington, D.C. but the best part once you get there is that a lot of the main attractions are completely free. Entrance fees can quickly add up when you’re a tourist exploring a new city, but all of the Smithsonian Museums, monuments, and tours for government buildings don’t require an entrance fee of any kind.

Unfortunately free attractions draw a lot of crowds but that’s normal for Washington, D.C. It’s usually best to get to the attractions early in the day to skip some of the biggest lines because in the afternoon just about every attraction starts to get busy. Tours especially fill up quickly so if you plan on following a guide during your trip to the city you better book it in advance.


Take a look at some of the best free attractions in the area:

  • National Mall – Don’t let the name fool you; this part of Washington, D.C. is not an actual mall. The National Mall is the space that exists between the Lincoln Memorial and the U.S. Capitol. The National Mall includes many of the city’s most popular monuments and memorials. Some of the most visited memorials include those for George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Franklin D. Roosevelt. Other memorials pay tribute to fallen soldiers of previous wars.
  • Pentagon – You can’t truly appreciate the size of the Pentagon until you’ve seen it in person and taken a tour. It’s the headquarters for the U.S. Department of Defence and it’s a very popular attraction. However not many people are able to tour the facility simply because they wish to limit foot traffic. If you wish to see the inside of the facility, make sure to book your tour several weeks or months in advance, otherwise you won’t be able to see it.
  • U.S. Capitol Building – This is a popular attraction for tourists because it’s the site where U.S. laws are created. It’s also the place where the House of Representatives and Senate meet when there is a debate. Same-day tickets are tough to come by so it’s best to book your tour in advance to travelling to Washington, D.C.
  • Smithsonian Museums – The Smithsonian Museums are by far some of the most popular attractions in Washington, D.C. The most frequently visited museum is the National Museum of Natural History, but there are about 20 museums and galleries to visit. Other popular museums include the Air and Space Museum and the American History Museum.
  • The National Zoo – This zoo is one of the largest zoos in the country, displaying over 2,000 animals. There are countless demonstrations throughout the day and some of them include feeding demonstrations. Regardless if you’ve been to a zoo before, you should definitely make an effort to see the Washington, D.C. zoo becomes it’s one of a kind.

Planning a vacation is often an expensive endeavour, but the number of free attractions in Washington, D.C. makes it an affordable trip for the entire family. Outside of transportation, food and lodging, you won’t have very many expenses unless you venture away from the free entertainment.

Although I have mentioned many free D.C. attractions there is one attraction in particular that is not free but very affordable and entertaining for the entire family. The National Museum of Crime and Punishment is a popular attraction that teaches visitors everything you could ever want to know about the history of criminology. There are plenty of interactive exhibits to keep you busy for hours. Anyone who likes mysteries or liked the show CSI will love this experience.

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Categories: USA

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