Don’t get us wrong, 5-star resorts and Michelin star dining are great. But if you’re on a budget and looking for a vacation that won’t break the bank, Washington, DC is a great option this summer. Whether you’re a single explorer or a family of four, there’s plenty of inexpensive or free things to do in Washington, DC!

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History


One of the best parts about visiting the Nationals Capital are all the free museums in DC. Smithsonian Museums are among the best in the world and happen to be free. This also includes The National Zoo. All the Smithsonian Museums have varied hours but are open daily. Spend an afternoon at one of these Washington DC attractions to explore history, culture, art, and more.

There is nothing better than a movie outside in the summer! Catch an Outdoor Movie for free at one of the 19 locations throughout Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia. There is a movie genre for everyone, ranging from romance to family-friendly. Pack your blankets and lawn chairs for a free movie night outdoors!

Looking for a free weekend activity? DC Brau offers free brewery tours on Saturdays from 1:00-4:00, while Right Proper runs tours on Saturdays and Sundays at 2:00, 4:00, and 6:00. Grab your friends and learn about how some of your favorite beers are made!

Greater U Street Heritage Trail is a great way to explore one of Washington DC’s most vibrant neighborhoods. This self-guided Cultural Tourism DC Neighborhood Heritage Trail will help you learn more about Washington’s Greater U Street neighborhood. Follow the signs along the way to discover how self-sufficient African American community flourished in the early 20th century.

The United States Capitol


National Arboretum is the perfect place for the plant enthusiasts and green thumbs of the world. Since it is open daily from 8:00-5:00, you can enjoy the natural landscape as it changes throughout the year. The website has an interactive map for guests who may be looking for a specific plant, bench, or more.

No trip is complete without visiting the Monuments and Memorials in Washington DC. Of all the Washington DC attractions, these are a must-see if visiting for the first time. Explore the history, architecture, and natural beauty of these attractions while in the Capital. The National Mall is open 24 hours, which makes night the best time to explore these exceptional attractions!

Washington DC is home to the National Cathedral, which is the second largest Cathedral in the United States. With beautiful gardens and incredible architecture, there is something for everyone to enjoy. The Cathedral is open for sightseeing Monday-Friday 10:00-5:00 and Saturdays 10:00-4:00. Sunday is reserved for Worship services in the morning and available for sightseeing at 12:45pm.

Ready for a break from the city scenery? Head to Rock Creek Park! This a totally free Washington, DC attraction with miles of hiking, biking, picnicking, and educational programs! The 32-mile trail system all through Washington DC and Maryland offers something enjoyable for everyone.

Eastern Market


Amsterdam Falafelshop brings the Chickpea to life. With many different Falafel options, there is something for most everyone to try. There are multiple locations throughout Washington, DC and they have vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options!

If you are looking for multiple cheap eats in Washington DC, head to Eastern Market! Being Washington DC’s original food and art market, there is an amazing option for everyone. It is in the heart of Capital Hill and has been a community staple for over 136 years. Eastern Market is open Tuesday through Sunday and closed on Mondays.

Stop by Julia’s Empanadas for a fresh baked meal on-the-go in three different Washington DC locations. Every empanada is hand-made and always fresh with unique spices and flavors. This affordable, quick, and centrally-located gem is a perfect stop to fuel for your day of sightseeing all the Washington DC attractions.

If you are craving a piece of Italy while in Washington DC, A. Litteri is a must-visit. Open Tuesday through Saturday, this market has all your favorite Italian goodies and includes a sandwich counter for authentic Italian food. Here you can build your own sub or order a classic!


Of course, no vacation is complete without a hotel to call home. Check out some of the amazing packages Hilton has to offer to make your stay unforgettable.

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