Capitol Visitor Center Washington DC

Free Stuff in Washington, DC

Free Stuff in Washington, DC

Arlington National Cemetery – The burial site for soldiers, diplomats and politicians including John F. Kennedy and the Tomb of the Unknowns. 

Bureau of Engraving and Printing – Millions of dollars roll off the press each day at the “Money Factory,” where you can take a free tour.

Capitol Visitors Center - The United States Capitol is a monument, a working office building, and one of the most recognizable symbols of representative democracy in the world. Visitors are welcome to enter the building through the Capitol Visitor Center, located underground on the east side of the Capitol.  

DAR Museum – The Daughters of the American Revolution’s museum includes 33 period rooms with lavish pre-1840s décor. 

Folger Shakespeare Library – Features one of the world’s premier collections of Shakespearean materials.

Ford’s Theatre – The infamous site of Lincoln’s execution still stages theatrical productions every year.  (Note: currently closed for renovation)

Franciscan Monastery – Founded to educate Franciscan missionaries to the Holy Land, the Monastery’s grounds in DC’s “Little Rome” are home to breathtaking gardens.

International Trade Center/ Reagan Building – One of the largest buildings in DC houses shops, restaurants, government offices and the DC Visitors Information Center.

John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts – This living memorial to JFK is one of the most celebrated performing arts institutions in the country.  Free performances daily at 6 pm on the Millennium Stage. 

Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens – Unusual water flora abound in the National Park Service’s only facility dedicated to aquatic plants.

Library of Congress – The magnificent Jefferson Building houses the great Reading Room where scholars come to conduct research.

Lincoln Park – Located just east of the Capitol, this park exemplifies 19th century design and also celebrates emancipation from slavery. 

National Arboretum – Now an expansive nature wonderland and home to impressive azaleas, herb gardens, and bonsai collections, it was originally a munitions depot. 

National Gallery of Art – The nation’s permanent collection of American and European painting and sculpture attracts blockbuster traveling exhibitions throughout the year.

National Geographic Society – This educational facility includes interactive exhibits in its Explorers’ Hall. 

National Mall & Memorial Parks –The landmarks honoring Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, FDR and other celebrated heroes are among DC’s most popular free attractions.

National Museum of Health and Medicine – Medical marvels include the world’s largest collection of microscopes, preserved specimens, Civil War surgical tools and the bullet that killed Abraham Lincoln.

National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception – Roman Catholic Shrine with the largest collection of contemporary Christian artwork in the country.

Old Post Office Pavilion – Former post office houses shops, restaurants and offices, as well as a magnificent observation tower.

Old Stone House – The oldest house in Washington, DC, built in 1765, stands in historic Georgetown.

Pope John Paul II Cultural Center – This interactive museum illustrates the teachings of Pope John Paul II.

Rock Creek Park – 1,754 acres of rustic woodlands featuring trails, picnic areas, an amphitheatre and a golf course.

Screen on the Green – A free weekly screening of classic movies on the National Mall in July and August.   

St. Matthew’s Cathedral – Established in 1840, this breathtaking church is where John F. Kennedy’s funeral Mass was held.

Smithsonian Folklife Festival – This international celebration of contemporary living traditions is held every summer on the Mall. The 2008 dates are June 25-29 and July 2-6.

Smithsonian Institution Museums – There are more than a dozen Smithsonian Museums in DC: 

  • Anacostia Community Museum

  • Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

  • Freer Gallery of Art

  • Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden

  • National Air and Space Museum

  • National Museum of African Art

  • National Museum of American History

  • National Museum of the American Indian

  • National Museum of Natural History

  • National Portrait Gallery

  • National Postal Museum

  • National Zoological Park

  • Smithsonian American Art Museum and its Renwick Gallery.

Supreme Court of the United States – The highest court in the land.

Union Station – A Beaux-Arts masterpiece and one of the largest train stations in the country.  It is also a center for shopping and dining. 

U.S. Capitol – Atop Capitol Hill is the seat of the United States legislature. 

U.S. Botanic Garden – On the grounds of the Mall, the Botanic Garden contains an array of flowers with exceptional views of the monuments and the Capitol.

U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum – This emotional, interactive museum addresses Hitler’s reign in the 1930s and 40s and the effects of the Holocaust. 

U.S. Navy Memorial & Naval Heritage Center – The striking outdoor Navy Memorial plaza pays homage to all personnel that served at sea.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial – The moving black wall inscribed with the names of the soldiers lost in battle.

Vietnam Women’s Memorial – A tribute to women who worked the backlines of the war as nurses, drivers and infrastructure support. 

Washington Monument – At 555 feet, the monument is the tallest structure in the area. 

Washington National Cathedral – The 6th largest cathedral in the world is also the last purely gothic building to be constructed. This non-denominational temple has spectacular architecture and marvelous views of the city.

White House Visitors Center – The Visitor Center offers a 30-minute orientation film about the White House.