Who says you have to spend big bucks in order to do something fun in the District? There are plenty of places to go and things to do for free in the D.C. Check out this list of the best free tours in the District and have some fun today. Who knows, maybe you’ll learn something new too.
DC by Foot
1740 18th St. N.W., Suite 304
Washington, DC 20009
Sign up for a free walking tour with D.C. by Foot and learn about what makes the nation’s capital so great. Tour the National Mall and learn about the magnificent monument dedicated to our first president as well as the Lincoln Memorial. D.C. by Foot also offers tours around the Tidal Basin, Capitol Hill, the Arlington National Cemetery and Embassy Row. Each tour is roughly two hours long and led by friendly, fun-loving tour guides with no upfront costs, though tips are appreciated. Other walking tours available by D.C. by Foot include ghosts of Georgetown and photography tours as well as a twilight bus tour.
Old Post Office Pavilion
1100 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W.
Washington, DC 20004
Recognized as the third tallest building in the District, the Old Post Office Pavilion offers guests plenty of things to see and do, including a free self-guided walking tour. Make your way to the observation deck and admire the beautiful 360-degree scenery. Or, head to the 10th floor and listen to the Bells of Congress, a gift from the Ditchley Foundation recognized as replicas of those found at London’s Westminster Abbey. The free, self-guided tours begin every five minutes in the lobby and include an interactive exhibit area and access to the observation deck. Please note that the observation deck is exposed to the elements and may be closed due to inclement weather. Bring a jacket to keep you warm.
Bureau of Engraving and Printing
14th and C St. S.W.
Washington, DC 20228
Save your Benjamins while watching Benjamins be made. The Bureau of Engraving and Printing offers a free 40-minute tour, including an introductory film and a gallery tour of the money-making process. The visitor center also offers interactive exhibits as well as currency products, such as commemorative prints, currency sheets and coins and medals for sale. Cameras are allowed on the tour, however they may not be used while visitors are in the gallery. Strollers are allowed in the facility but not during the tour. During peak season, tours run every 15 minutes and free tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis. To get tickets, visit the ticket booth by 8 a.m.
National Mall and Memorial Parks
900 Ohio Drive S.W.
Washington, DC 20024
The National Mall is a two-mile swath of land that is home to many memorials and monuments, including the Washington Monument, Lincoln, Jefferson and Martin Luther King Jr. memorials as well as the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall. The National Park Service offers a free ranger-led bike tour that take visitors around all of these beautiful sites and more. This casual ride includes a discussion about many historical, natural and cultural points of interest in the city. The free bike tour may last up to three hours and is designed to be a fun activity, meaning you don’t have to be a triathlon star in order to sign up. Bicycles and helmets are required. Participants are also encouraged to bring water, a light snack and protection from the elements.
Rock Creek Park
3545 Williamsburg Lane N.W.
Washington, DC 20008
Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and make your way to this majestic piece of paradise. Rock Creek Park offers visitors an opportunity to reflect and admire Mother Nature thanks to fresh air, tall trees and beautiful flowers. There’s plenty of things to do including hiking trails, bicycling, picnicking, tennis, golf, playgrounds and horse trails. The parks also offers free cell phone tours, where visitors enter the phone number provided on various “Dial and Discover” signs posted throughout the park. Rock Creek Park also offers free ranger-led astronomy programs including free tours of the night sky. The parks also features an amphitheater and a boat center.