VACATION IDEAS

PHOTOS: 20 Fabulously Free Things to Do in D.C.

Take a tour of the free offerings you can find in our nation's capital, from cherry blossoms to world-class museums and more!

  1. The Lincoln Memorial isn't just an amazing public monument but also a moving work of art.

    (Courtesy Ryan McFarland/Flickr)
  2. Many visitors find the 19-foot-high sculpture of our 16th president, by American sculptor Daniel Chester French, unexpectedly mesmerizing.

    (Oleksii Popov/Dreamstime)
  3. The National Gallery has the U.S.'s only Da Vinci painting.

    (Wangkun Jia / Dreamstime.com)
  4. The distinctive pyramid at the National Gallery.

    (Jorg Hackemann / Dreamstime.com)
  5. Visitors taking part in the "Broad Stripes and Bright Stars" public program at the National Museum of American History.

    (Courtesy of the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution)
  6. The National Museum of American History has a collection of artifacts ranging from battle-scarred flags, inaugural gowns, and Archie Bunker's living room chair.

    (Courtesy of the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution)
  7. The iconic Capitol building is more than just the place where the Senate and Congress convene. It's a living history museum as well.

    (Courtesy jorgeq/myBudgetTravel)
  8. Hour-long tours of the Capitol are free—head for the nearby visitor center to get your tickets.

    (Courtesy Flightdirector/myBudgetTravel)
  9. The National Mall and Washington Monument provide an inspiring backdrop to a vacation in D.C.

    (Songquan Deng/Dreamstime)
  10. The annual Cherry Blossom Festival makes April the coolest month in D.C.

    (Courtesy bdinphoenix/myBudgetTravel)
  11. The National Statuary Hall at the Capitol Building is worth a stop while you're visiting better-known attractions.

    (Ken Cole/Dreamstime)
  12. The rotunda of the Capitol dome is dramatic and unforgettable.

    (William Perry/Dreamstime)
  13. The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial is the first of its kind that is not dedicated to a war or a president.

    (Steveheap/Dreamstime)
  14. The memorial to slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. is a must-see in this once-segregated city.

    (Steveheap/Dreamstime)
  15. You'll likely find visitors searching the Vietnam Veterans Memorial for the name of a loved one. Names of more than 58,000 Americans who died in the Vietnam War are listed chronologically.

    (Dinhhang/Dreamstime)
  16. Many visitors lay flowers at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in memory of lost loved ones.

    (Dinhhang/Dreamstime)
  17. The location of the Jefferson Memorial can't be beat, especially in spring!

    (Songquan Deng/Dreamstime)
  18. The author of the Declaration of Independence, who also made a memorable appearance on The Simpsons.

    (Toddkuhns/Dreamstime)
  19. The National Air and Space Museum is a must for kids from 1 to 100.

    (Kphotos6411/Dreamstime)
  20. Vintage aircraft are among the favorite exhibits at the National Air and Space Museum.

    (Jerry Coli/Dreamstime)
  21. The National Museum of Natural History will get its first T-rex on April 15!

    (Julie Feinstein/Dreamstime)
  22. The National Museum of Natural History is home to the 45-carat Hope Diamond, which once belonged to Louis XIV.

    (Valentin Armianu/Dreamstime)
  23. You might call the White House the world's most coveted address.

    (Courtesy rooneycat/myBudgetTravel)
  24. Tours of the White House aren't easy to nab—you've got to contact your member of Congress—but they are worth the hassle.

    (Vacclav/Dreamstime)
  25. We cannot tell a lie: The view from the top of the Washington Monument is unbeatable! (But the monument is closed for earthquake repairs till May 14.)

    (Vacclav/Dreamstime)
  26. Pay-what-you-want tours of the National Mall and its monuments are a great way to see the sights on a budget!

    (Ritu Jethani/Dreamstime)
  27. This ceiling detail at the Library of Congress is just one example of what makes this collection much more than just a conventional library.

    (trekandshoot/Dreamstime)
  28. Shh! The Library of Congress has a lot more than books. Comedian Bob Hope's joke file is even housed here!

    (trekandshoot/Dreamstime)
  29. The National Archives houses only a fraction of the documents produced by the U.S. government, but its holdings include impressive items like the U.S. Constitution, Bill of Rights, and Declaration of Independence.

    (Pgangler/Dreamstime)
  30. You, the people, should see "We the People" in person!

    (Jeffery Kaufmann/Dreamstime)
  31. The grave of John F. Kennedy and its "eternal flame" at Arlington National Cemetery.

    (Americanspirit /Dreamstime)
  32. Arlington House, on the grounds of Arlington National Cemetery, was once the home of Robert E. Lee and now serves as a memorial to him.

    (Sidonsbones/Dreamstime)

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