1. All the Smithsonian museums.
You can visit the Air and Space Museum, American History Museum, American Indian Museum, Arthur M Sackler Gallery, Natural History Museum, Portrait Gallery, African American History & Culture Museum, as well as 11 other museums all for free.
2. National Zoo
While technically this is part of the free museums that are part of the Smithsonian, it’s worth listing it separate. There are 1,800 animals and 400 species including the famous giant pandas.
3. Millennium Stage
4. Live jazz in the Sculpture Garden
Every summer, the National Gallery of Art hosts Jazz in the Sculpture Garden, a free weekly performance of eclectic Washington area jazz artists.
5. Kenilworth Park & Aquatic Gardens
Enjoy the beautiful lotus flowers and lily pads at this unique natural oasis in Washington. It’s open all year round so you can enjoy the beautiful environment even in the winter.
6. The monuments and memorials
There are so many spectacular free monuments in DC that are a beautiful tribute to history and examples of architectural and design excellence.
7. U.S. Botanic Garden
Step inside the beautiful glass atrium to enjoy the US Botanic Gardens, a living plant museum. The Botanic Garden has seasonal exhibits and does an incredible holiday display.
8. Explore history on the neighborhood heritage trails.
Presented by Cultural Tourism DC, the Neighborhood Heritage Trails are the official walking trails of DC where you can stroll through DC history. These self-guided tours combine stories, maps and historic photos. Choose the neighborhood or trail and enjoy a stroll through the past!
9. National Arboretum
A peaceful place of nature, the National Arboretum is the perfect free way to feel like you’ve escaped the city without going anywhere. Check out the bonsai trees and the historic Capital Columns.
10. Shakespeare Theatre
11. Anderson House
Home to the Society of the Cincinnati, you can tour the historic Anderson house for free. Visitors can view the beautiful home, as well as many of the original art and furniture that belonged to the Andersons when they lived there in the early 1900s.
12. Listen to the beats at the Meridian Hill Park drum circle.
The drum circle at Meridian Hill Park is a DC favorite. Locals come to listen the unique music, dance, practice music and just enjoy the culture and community.
13. Ford’s Theater
You can pay to visit Ford’s Theatre but purchasing tickets in advance (for $3 and $2.50 for groups of 10 or more) but if you want to see the historic site for free, then get to the theatre early where they offer a limited number of same-day tickets on a first-come, first-serve basis.
14. Saturday Morning at the National Theater
Every Saturday morning, the National Theater offers free programs that is perfect for children between the ages of 4 and 10. Performances take place at 9:30am and 11am every Saturday of the season. You can reserve tickets online before hand or arrive 30 minutes early for walk up admission.
15. Yards Park
The Yards Park is a large open park and performance venue that is perfect for relaxing, picnicking or wading in their large pool. They also offer many free events throughout the year.
16. National Mall
The National Mall truly is like DC’s front yard and anyone can come to picnic, play, ride bikes, run read a book or just relax in the heart of it all.
17. Theodore Roosevelt Island
An adventurer's paradise! You can enjoy trekking through the 88.5 acres of Theodore Roosevelt Island for free any time of year.
18. Military Band Summer Concert
Since 1863, the district has enjoyed military band concerts every summer for free. The Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force bands perform on alternating days throughout the summer at different locations in the city.