Washington D.C. is rich with history and free attractions.
You can visit numerous galleries, museums, and monuments without having to shell out any cash. Check out these popular “freebies”:
1. The White House
You must request a tour through your U.S. Senator or Representative. The most popular attraction in D.C. includes free guided tours of a portion of the house. Visit White House. How to get there: Walk. It is 1.7 miles from the conference hotel.
2. Arlington National Cemetery
Many war veterans rest at Arlington National Cemetery, as well as President John F. Kennedy, whose grave is marked with an eternal flame. You can also find the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and watch the guard change at regular intervals throughout the day. How to get there: Take the Metro to the Arlington Cemetery station (transfer to blue line).
3. National Museum of African American History & Culture
You must book a tour yourself. At the National Museum of African American History & Culture, all Americans can learn about the richness and diversity of the African American experience. How to get there: Walk. It is 1.4 miles from the conference hotel.
4. The National Archives
At the National Archives, you can glance over public government documents, look into your family history, and even see the original Declaration of Independence among over three billion records. The Archives offers group tours, but be sure to call ahead to make an appointment. How to get there: Walk. It is about a half-mile from the conference hotel.
5. National Arboretum
Explore more than 400 acres of land riddled with plants, trees, shrubs and more laid out for your enjoyment at the National Arboretum. How to get there: Take Uber or a taxi. It’s about 2.8 miles from the conference hotel.
6. The Smithsonian Museums
At the National Air and Space Museum, see the Wright 1903 Flyer, the Spirit of St. Louis, the Apollo 11 command module Columbia, and a Lunar rock sample that visitors can touch. Watch exotic wildlife at the National Zoological Park, learn about dinosaurs and the diversity of mammals (including humans!) at the Museum of Natural History, and much more! How to get there: Walk. Several Smithsonian museums are about a half-mile from the conference hotel.
7. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
You must book a tour yourself. Visit the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. This extremely moving museum is a popular destination for visitors. The museum chronicles the rise and fall of the Nazis and the horrible treatment inflicted upon Jews and others. How to get there: Walk. It’s about a mile from the conference hotel.
Georgetown is popular, trendy, and pricey, but it is also a very beautiful area to stroll. Window shopping won’t cost you anything. If you want to get away from the bustling main street, just turn down one of the side streets for a quiet stroll among the stately old mansions and town homes of the elite and rich. How to get there: Take a taxi or Uber.
9. Union Station
When it was built, Union Station covered more ground than any other building in the country. One of the finest examples of Beaux-Arts style architecture, it now houses more than 100 shops and restaurants, has its own movie theater, and still includes a busy Metro and Amtrak station. How to get there: Walk. It’s two blocks from the conference hotel.
10. The National Mall
A good place for a picnic or a quick rest between stops at the nearby Smithsonian museums, the National Mall is the centerpiece of Washington, D.C. Home to magnificent monuments and wide-open spaces, you cannot truly experience the U.S. Capitol without coming here. Near the reflecting pool, see the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam Memorial, Korean War Memorial, and the beautiful new World War II Memorial. How to get there: Walk. It’s about a half-mile from the conference hotel.
11. U.S. Capitol Visitor Center
You must book a tour yourself (book early!). From its inception, the Capitol Visitor Center has been conceived as an extension of the Capitol that welcomes visitors to the seat of American government. At nearly 580,000 square feet, the CVC is the largest project in the Capitol’s 215-year history and is approximately three quarters the size of the Capitol itself. The entire facility is located underground on the east side of the Capitol so as not to detract from the appearance of the Capitol and of the grounds designed by Frederick Law Olmsted in 1874. The planting of 85 new trees, the restoration of historic fountains, lanterns and seat walls, and the addition of skylights, water features and granite pavers across the East Front Plaza will all serve to revitalize the historic landscape. How to get there: Walk. It’s two blocks from the conference hotel.
12. The Washington Monument
You must book a tour yourself. The Washington Monument is the most prominent site in Washington. It was built in honor of President George Washington who led the country to independence and then became its first President. The Monument is shaped like an Egyptian obelisk, 555 feet and 5 and 1/8 inches high, and averages 30 to 40 miles visibility in clear weather. It was completed on December 6, 1884. How to get there: Walk. It’s about one mile from the conference hotel.