Seeing Washington, DC – Free!

Brian and I are headed to Washington DC this fall for a work/fun trip.  There is lots to do, but that doesn’t mean we need to spend a lot of money.  Here’s some free events that visitors to Washington DC can check out.


Photo Credit:, Original Author: Wendy Harman

  • The National Theatre’s free performance series “Saturday Morning at the National” is a weekly showcase designed for the whole family.  It features a variety of performances that includes puppetry, magic, music and ballet. Tickets are distributed on a first come, first-served basis 30 minutes before the curtain goes up.
  • On Sundays (weather-permitting) between 3 and 9 p.m, you can stop by Meridian Hill Park to listen to or participate in a drum circle.
  • On Sunday evenings at 6:30pm, the National Gallery of Art features free concerts in the West Building at 6th St. & Constitution Ave.  Again, seats are available on a first-come, first served basis starting at 6pm.  And if you just want to check out the galleries, admission (including guided tours in multiple languages) is free!
  • Over at George Washington University’s Lisner Auditorium, free shows happen year-round, including performances by the GW Orchestra and the United States Air Force Band Jazz Ensemble.
  • I’m NOT looking forward to going to the National Museum of Natural History’s Butterfly Pavilion.  I hate butterflies.  However, in case butterflies are your thing, Tuesdays are free.

Any Washington natives out there?  What other free events and attractions are there?

Seeing Washington, DC – Free also appeared in Frugal Friday: DIY Car Repair & Maintenance.

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  1. I’ve never been but I’ve always wanted to go – I love that there is all this free stuff to do!

  2. Modest Money says:

    Sounds like you found a lot of cool things to check out when you’re in DC. Surprised to hear about a girl that doesn’t like butterflies. They are pretty nasty when you think about what they really are. All those colors just distract people from the fact that they’re nasty flying caterpillars.

  3. Nice! I haven’t been in a while, but would love to go back sometime soon. Will pin!

  4. Jason @ WSL says:

    We visited DC a few years ago and it was a blast. There are SO MANY THINGS TO DO! I think you seriously need a week to visit everything and soak in all that it has to offer. I wish I would have done more research about the free things to do before visiting there, but we just went with my in-laws and allowed them to lead the way.

    • CF says:

      I feel that way about a lot of places! When we were in NY a few years ago, we stayed for 5 days and it just wasn’t enough either.

  5. I’ve been to DC a while ago. I can’t remember if the things we saw were free but there are a ton of museums all along a few streets that you can hop from one to another. Sooo many things to see and do, even outside. Have fun there!

  6. HA I love that the drum circle ranked higher on your list than the Smithsonians!

  7. It’s been quite awhile since I have been to Washington DC, but I remember loving the city.

  8. Michelle says:

    I would love to take my boys there some time! My 8 year old actually uses Google maps to “tour” the White House sometimes! Did you know you can actually “walk” around some of the rooms and such? Yeah, I didn’t either! It breaks my heart a little when I see him playing like this, because I know he’s such a good boy and loves to learn, but that we just can’t afford to travel right now. Next year, family vacation…no excuses! BTW, I haven’t been to DC since I was a teenager, so I didn’t know all these things were FREE! Sweet!

    • CF says:

      That’s pretty cool that you can tour the White House virtually, and it’s great that your son has discovered it. Family vacations can be expensive – my family never took many vacations either when I was young, but when we did, it was awesome 🙂 I’m sure he’ll enjoy it just as much next year.

  9. I grew up in the DC area and absolutely love all the museums. I was so shocked the first time I had to pay for museum admission in another city! The Natural History Museum, the Air and Space Museum, and the National Gallery of Art are my favorites.

    • CF says:

      That’s really interesting because I was shocked that all these museums were free! All of the museums and galleries in Vancouver charge for admission (aside from special nights).

  10. I haven’t been to DC since I was a little kid so that was a good 25 years ago! (Wow, that makes me seem really old….lol). I’ll have to add that place to my list of places to re-visit. Hooray for free tourist attractions!

  11. I personally like going to the Old Post Office and going up in the clock tower. The second highest place in DC absolutely free!

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