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Washington, D.C. - Metro Area

So you guys know Jamie from C.R.A.F.T.  She's got a series on Create Really Awesome Free, Trips!
There's a linky party today. I'm participating. Aren't I the cool one? Totally.

Anyways! Some of you may know that I live in Gainesville, VA, which is 40 miles from Washington, D.C.

We are so blessed to live in the area, because having a Stay-cation here is so easy. The first major land battle of the Civil War was fought 5 miles from our house, at the Battle of Bull Run (or Manassas - if you're a southerner) :)

So let's get on with the list of free things to do in DC!

1) Smithsonian Museums
On the north side of the National Mall are a bunch of the Smithsonian Museums, and all of them are FREE!!! I would advise you to plan on having lunch on the Mall, because the restaurant prices inside the museums are a little steep.
The T-Rex at the Museum of Natural History. This is from Dev's birthday visit in December.
Here's a list of the museums in DC.

1000 Jefferson Dr., SW
Metro Stop: Smithsonian, Mall exit
950 Independence Ave., SW
Metro Stop: Smithsonian, Mall exit
7th & Independence Ave., SW
Metro Stop: L'Enfant Plaza, Maryland Ave. exit
8th and F Sts., NW
Metro Stop: Gallery Place-Chinatown,
9th St. exit
14th St. & Constitution Ave., NW
Metro Stop: Federal Triangle or Smithsonian,
Mall exit
4th St. & Jefferson Dr.,SW
Metro Stop: L'Enfant Plaza,
Maryland Ave. exit
Jefferson Dr. and 12th St., SW
Metro Stop: Smithsonian, Mall exit
1050 Independence Ave., SW
Metro Stop: Smithsonian, Mall exit
Independence Ave. and 7th St., SW
Metro Stop: L'Enfant Plaza, Maryland Ave. exit
10th St. and Constitution Ave., NW
Metro Stop: Smithsonian, Mall exit
Massachusetts Ave. and 1st St., NE
Metro Stop: Union Station
17th St. at Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Metro Stop: Farragut West, 17th St. exit
1100 Jefferson Dr., SW
Metro Stop: Smithsonian, Mall exit

2) The National Mall

The Mall is a terrific spot to enjoy some lovely scenery, its also a National  Park, which is who the hubs works for, so please help support NPS!

So the Mall is free, its big, and its gorgeous. At one end of the Mall is the Lincoln Memorial, then the Reflecting Pool, Vietnam Memorial, Korean Memorial, then the absolutely gorgeous WWII Memorial and the Washington Monument. Then there are the Smithsonian Museums and finally the Capitol. There is so much to see, and you can visit these monuments during the day or at night. Personally, my favorite is at night, because the way all the monuments and memorials are lit up is just stunning.

3) National Zoo3001 Connecticut Ave., NW Washington, DC - Metro StopWoodley Park-Zoo/Adams Morgan or Cleveland Park

Off of Rock Creek Parkway is the Smithsonian's National Zoo, and admission is free, but unless you're a FONZ member parking will cost you. It's $15 for 3 hours and under, and then $20 for the day, the max you pay is $20.

 You should pack your lunch and enjoy the animals. Right now there are 7 new lion cubs in the Big Cats area. We visited on Saturday and had a wonderful time, despite a bunch of mishaps. The zoo opens up at 6:30, but none of the buildings open until 10, but in the cooler temps of the morning the animals are usually out more.

4) Georgetown
Georgetown is in the NW quadrant of DC and is home to lots of shopping, dining and history. The main thoroughfares are Wisconsin and M Street. Old Stone House is located in Georgetown, and is operated by NPS. It is the oldest standing building in DC. Admission is free to The Old Stone House!
Georgetown is bordered by Rock Creek Park and the Potomac. More on the former latter. :)

5) Tidal Basin
The Jefferson Memorial and FDR Memorial are both located along the Potomac in the Tidal Basin. The sight of the Cherry Blossom Festival each March/April, the area is really picturesque all year long.  There is also the George Mason Memorial along the Tidal Basin. NPS administers these too, and they're free. :)

6) Rock Creek Park
Rock Creek Park is a wonder in the hustle and bustle in DC. Its a forest park along the edges of NW DC, and borders Georgetown. Its run by NPS and is completely free. There are trails you can walk, or you can just sit and have a picnic while enjoying some of the wonderful views the park has to offer.
The National Zoo is also close to Rock Creek Park. Isn't nice that everything is connected?

7)The Waterfront
The Georgetown Waterfront Park provides a green space for visitor recreation and contemplation. Cyclists, skaters, and pedestrians have their own car-free pathways with views of individual boaters, kayakers and competitive crews as well as of Roosevelt Island and the magnificent Key Bridge. The park curves along 10 acres of the Potomac extending from the Washington Harbour complex to Key Bridge. This is also run by NPS. Are you sensing a theme yet? 

8)Union Station50 Massachusetts Avenue NE, Washington, DC
This is a wonderful example of gorgeous architecture near the Capitol. It's also helpful that its a transportation hub. :) Its also a mall. Score! There are no guided tours of Union Station right now, but just wondering around would be an experience in and of itself.
My father-in-law took this stunning picture.

9)The Capitol
Located at the end of the National Mall, the US Capitol is an impressive and stately piece of historical architecture. In the visitor's center, you can look up through skylights to see the Capitol's dome. Admission is free to the Capitol, but a tour pass is required.
Another Harry B photo :) 
10)The White House
So who doesn't come to DC and gape at the White House? Its behind the Ellipse and can be seen from the Washington Monument. Some pre-planning will be required if you want to take a guided tour of America's House, but self-guided tours are welcome, but only available during certain times and days. You would definitely want to check out the schedule here. I have lived in the DC area almost my entire life and have never been to the White House, which is a shame, but someday I'll get there. :)
Well I hope you guys enjoyed today's post, and go out and find something free to do in your town. :)


  1. Thank you for participating in Creating Really Awesome Free Trips :) I have NEVER been to is my number one city I want to check out in the US! Thank you for the great list!

  2. Washington, DC is near the top of my list of places I want to visit. So much history there. Thanks for sharing!

  3. I live right out of DC (Northern Virginia) and I haven't been to half of those places! So much to do in the Nations Capital. I really love the city and I plan on going a lot more this summer. Great post!