Where to go in Washington for free: More than 24 million people visit the US capital every year. Washington attracts tourists with a well-developed tourist infrastructure, famous attractions, rich nightlife, and a whole complex of museums of the Smithsonian Institution.
Today we have prepared for you a list of 10 popular places in Washington that you don’t have to pay to visit. This collection is especially useful for those planning a budget trip to America.
White House ( on the map )
Perhaps the most famous building in the United States. The official residence of American presidents is located on Pennsylvania Avenue in the heart of the city. Around it, on an area of 7.2 hectares, the Presidential Park is located. The White House has six floors, with two floors underground. Inside there are 132 rooms, including:
- Oval Office
The President of the United States works here. The windows in the room are made of bulletproof glass for reliable protection of the first person of the state.
- Situation Room
In this room, the President of the United States meets with ministers. The hall is equipped with a projector, monitors and other useful things for meetings.
- Presidential Room
Previously, the presidential secretaries used to work in this room, but now it is used as a dining room for receiving important guests.
- Office of the Vice President
This room is occupied by the Deputy President of the United States. In the event of the death of the first person of the state, it is he who becomes the head of the country.
In addition, the building has a press conference room, dining rooms, the president’s personal suite, and over 32 bathrooms.
You can visit the White House from Tuesday to Saturday, and you should sign up for a group tour in advance. To do this, you must, at least 21 days before the expected date, contact the American Embassy with a request to be added to the list of visitors. Walking through the rooms allowed for inspection on two floors, one can look at the personal belongings of members of the presidential families.
Capitol ( map )
On one of the hills in Washington, DC is once the tallest building in the city – the Capitol; its height is 88 meters. It was built by 1800 for the US Congress, however, 14 years later, the Capitol was almost completely burned down after the British attack. At that time, the so-called Second War of Independence was underway. The restoration of the building took over five years. Over the next two decades, the Capitol was completed and reconstructed. In its current form, the building of the US Congress was formed in 1865.
Today, 2 out of 540 Capitol buildings are open to visitors. You can see the famous Rotunda, which contains a unique collection of paintings and sculptures. Separately, you can sign up for an unusual excursion – from a special gallery, you will be allowed to watch the meeting of the US Congress.
To get to the Capitol, you need to find a kiosk with free tickets near the right-wing of the building.
Lincoln Memorial ( map )
From the Capitol, there is an excellent view of the National Alley, and right behind it, in the distance, you can see a huge building that looks like an ancient Greek temple; this is the Lincoln memorial. It was built in 1922 in honor of the 16th President of the United States. Its walls are carved with the names of 48 states, and in the center is a giant 19-meter sculpture of Abraham Lincoln, pensively looking towards the Capitol. At first, it seems that the statue is carved from a huge piece of marble, but in reality, it is not. The sculpture consists of many separate parts, just thanks to the skillful work of the masters, this is not noticeable.
The inauguration of the memorial in 1922 was attended by Robert Todd Lincoln, the only of the four sons of the American president, who lived to see the completion of the monument.
Despite the fact that the memorial is open to the public around the clock, it is better to come there late in the evening or at night; thanks to the backlight, it looks especially impressive.
Monument to George Washington ( on the map )
This granite monument, faced with marble, was erected in 1848-1884 and before the construction of the Eiffel Tower was considered the largest structure in the world (height 169 meters). The obelisk in honor of the first President of the United States weighs about 80 tons. Upstairs, where the observation deck is located, is a staircase of 896 steps and a special elevator. The monument is open to the public free of charge. To do this, you need to get tickets at 2 15th St NW and go to the monument at the appointed time.
Memorial to the Veterans of the Korean War ( map )
One of the most emotional monuments in Washington is the National Mall Memorial to Korean War Veterans. It looks unusual: 19 soldiers making their way through the thickets of live juniper. The monument was erected in honor of those who died or went missing during the Korean military conflict. Americans often call that war “forgotten” because for a long time it was not customary to talk about the participants in the hostilities in Korea. And the memorial itself appeared not so long ago, it was installed only in 1995.
The memorial looks especially impressive late in the evening or at night: in the rays of light, the figures seem alive, frozen only for a moment in the darkness.
Memorial to veterans of the Vietnam War ( on the map )
One of the longest and bloodiest wars in US history is the Vietnam War. During the hostilities, more than 60,000 American soldiers have died or gone missing. A memorial was built in memory of them. Architects and designers from all over the world worked on the creation of the project. The winner of the competition announced by the US Congress was Maya Lin, a student from China. The memorial strikes with a combination of monumentality and minimalism: the names of all the victims are engraved on a huge black granite wall (75 meters long). Endless rows of names and surnames on a stone polished to a mirror shine – it makes a great impression.
National Museum of Natural History ( on the map )
The museum, founded in 1910, is administered by the Smithsonian Institution. Its collection consists of more than 126 million exhibits: here you can see samples of minerals, minerals, meteorites, and objects from archaeological excavations. The Ocean Hall, which covers an area of more than 200 square meters, has huge screens showing the life of the inhabitants of the sea.
The most valuable and expensive item in the museum is a 45.5-carat diamond by British aristocrat Henry Hope. The second name of the jewel – Hope – sounds rather ironic; the stone brought misfortune to all its owners. However, studies have shown that most of the stories about the curse of this stone were invented by Pierre Cartier, one of the previous owners of the diamond. Probably to ward off potential burglars.
The National Museum is open every day, except on Christmas days. You can visit it for free.
Library of Congress ( map )
The largest library in the world was founded back in 1800. Then her fund was only 720 books. Today, the library’s collection includes over 30 million books, 58 million manuscripts, 12 million photographs, and much more. According to the most conservative estimates, every year the fund grows by 2-3 million storage units. It will take tens of years and terabytes of memory to digitize this entire array of data.
Tourists rarely visit the Library of Congress looking for a specific book. Most often, they visit it in order to inspect the interiors of the main building: stairs, tall marble columns, art paintings, paintings, and unique old books displayed under glass.
Before traveling, be sure to check the library website, because it often hosts various events: concerts, exhibitions, scientific and educational lectures, and much more. When you leave the building, do not forget to buy souvenirs from the small shop. In addition, books and prints can be purchased there.
Smithsonian National Zoological Park ( map )
The Washington Zoo is one of the oldest in the United States. It was founded in 1889. Now about 1800 animals of more than 300 different species live here. The most popular zoo inhabitants among tourists are pandas and fur seals.
The entrance to the zoo is free, but various events are often held on its territory, participation in which requires payment. The proceeds from ticket sales usually go towards keeping animals. Perhaps the most interesting attraction is a night excursion and overnight in tents on the territory of the zoo.
National Museum of Aeronautics and Astronautics ( on the map )
The museum is famous for its collection of aircraft – the largest in the world. Here you can trace the entire history of the development of aeronautical technology: from the first wooden aircraft to Boeings, space rockets, and lunar modules.
Among the exhibits are Yuri Gagarin’s spacesuit, the Soyuz and Apollo spacecraft, Soviet rockets, and much more.