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Enjoying Washington DC on a Budget


One of the most appealing aspects of visiting and living in DC is that many of the attractions and events are free -- perfect for those on a budget.  Here are a few off-the-beaten-path attractions that don't always make the guide books.

Rock Creek Park

One of the lesser known perks of Washington's Rock Creek Park is the planetarium.  The planetarium provides free tours of the night sky on weekends with shows at 1 and 4 pm.  Explore Washington's sky with experts and discover how to see constellations from your backyard.

DC by Foot

DC by Foot provides engaging tours of the National Mall that uncover hidden secrets coupled with a running historic commentary on the monuments and memorials scattered around the Mall.  Kid-friendly with trivia and games along the way, the tour is "name your own price," meaning that you only pay what you think the tour is worth at the end.

East Potomac Mini-Golf Course

This miniature golf course located within East Potomac Park allows players 18 years of age and younger to play for $5 per game. You can enjoy excellent views of the Potomac River as you play.

Watch the Planes

With thousands of planes taking off daily, The Reagan National Airport in Arlington, Virginia, is the closest airport to the nation's capital.   You can head over to Bravely Point, off the George Washington Memorial Parkway, for a great view of the planes as they take off from the airport.

Union Station

As an architectural landmark, Union Station on Capitol Hill is easy to enjoy without spending a dime.  Designed in 1903 in the Beaux-Arts style after some of the classic Roman Architecture, Union Station's arches symbolize its primary function as a gateway.  The classic lines and white granite of Union Station are credited with setting the style for many of Washington's favorite monuments, including the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials and the Supreme Court.  In addition to serving as a train station and the Metro stop for Capitol Hill, Union Station is also the site of a number of events throughout the year.

And, of course, all of the Smithsonian Museums are free as well as some of these lesser known museums and memorials.

  • Smithsonian American Art Museum
  • National Portrait Gallery
  • National Gallery of Art
  • National Arboretum
  • Lincoln Memorial
  • Washington Monument
  • World War II Memorial
  • Arlington National Cemetery
  • Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall
  • National Portrait Gallery
  • The White House
  • National Archives
  • National Air and Space Museum
  • Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial

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