Five fun and free things to do on the weekend while visiting Washington, DC

Sunday, 7 April 2019

One of the best kept secrets is the overwhelming number of museums to visit in the Nation’s Capital.

The Smithsonian Institution, operates 17 museums that offer a family friendly environment and free admission. The newest addition and one of my favorites is the National Museum of African American Culture, which stands eight-stories and covers 85,000 square feet of educational exhibits. Please plan your visit to the museum, since it’s opening in September 2016, it’s filled with thousands of visitors daily. Make sure that you bring lunch money so that you can experience the amazingly delicious southern cuisine located within the museum, Sweet Home Café.


Please visit the National Museum of African American History Etix site for updated information and options for obtaining timed entry tickets.
The following list includes other free museums to visit: The National Air & Space Museum, The National Museum of African Art, The National Gallery of Art, National Museum of American History, The United States Holocaust Museum, Hirshorn Museum & Sculpture Garden, The Smithsonian American Art Museum/National Portrait Gallery and The Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, The National Museum of Natural History, and The National Museum of the American Indian.

Next on the free tour is The National Mall, which is also home to quite a few museums. This landscaped park sits right in the center of Washington, D.C at the foot of the United States Capitol and stretches to the Potomac River. The park offers early morning or evening walks, runs or bike riding, but please ensure that you plan your trip by visiting the National Parks for operating hours and other pertinent information.

Our next stop on the free things to do in Washington, DC is Rock Creek Park. If you like to hike or bike, then Rock Creek park and it 32 plus miles of trails is the perfect weekend spot for you. Located in Northwest D.C., amongst the infamous Georgetown area, this park is filled with rich history, culture, technology, environmental goodies and a planetarium that allows you to see and view the moon, planets, and the stars. Although the park is free, there are some aspects of the park that will require permits and reservations. 
Do you love animals? Well, if so, I have something really nice for you, the Smithsonian National Zoo, more commonly known as the National Zoo. Located right next to Rock Creek Park on approximately 200 acres of land, is home to the Giant Panda Bei Bei and Tai Shan housing almost 3,000 animals. Please be sure to check out the National Zoo website, for park rules to ensure the safety of the animals, tourist and the employees. Although the zoo is free to enter, there are a few attractions that require a fee.

The United States Botanic Garden is our next tour stop for the lover of living plants. The museum of living plants, promotes knowledge and education on how plants and humans need each other to co-exist. The U.S. Botanic Garden provides beauty and tranquility with the many rare forms of plants from the tropics to the desert. Open every day, with extended hours from Memorial Day until Labor Day.

The last stop and bonus on the free tour experience sits by the MGM and right across the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. The National Harbor offers a beautiful waterfront view with a huge plaza screen that shows various sporting events and movies during the week and on the weekends.

I hope you have enjoyed the free tour of Washington, DC and surrounding areas. Please ensure that you check websites for policies and timed entry provisions. A great place to visit and enjoy during a vacation or just a weekend getaway. Please visit Washington, DC for more details on visiting the Nation’s Capital.

By Tracy Broady

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